Issue 601

Wednesday, 21st March 2018

In This Issue


Day 3 of Facebook's very bad week

People are wondering why the hell Zuck & Sandberg haven't said anything or shown their faces yet and didn't bother to show up to a town hall event for employees to ask questions about what the hell their company is doing. The UK's House of Commons inquiry into fake news (look that's what the BBC is calling it ok) has sternly asked Zuck to show up and face the music. Sandy Parakilas, ex-platform operations manager at Facebook, who was responsible for policing data use by 3rd parties warned his bosses about the abuse of data they collect early as 2011, but they didn't care. The dude who started WhatsApp and made a few billion dollars selling it to Facebook now reckons you should delete Facebook. Facebook's share price has fallen 10% since Friday.

More details on Uber's robocar murder

More details about Uber's robocar murder (just a little bit of hyperbole) have come out now that authorities have seen video from the car's cameras. Elaine Herzberg was killed whilst pushing her bike across the road and the car was doing 40 in a 45mph zone. The car didn't attempt to brake and the human didn't know anything was wrong until he heard the noise of flesh hitting metal, then applied the brakes. I'm surprised the car's advanced sensors didn't see the person coming towards it and stop in time - isn't that the whole point of robocars? Police reckon if a human was in charge, it would have been "difficult" to avoid a collision. Arizona's department of transportation doesn't feel any regulations need to change as a result of this accident. Toyota has ceased its robocar testing for now though.

Telegram has to hand over its encryption keys to the Russian government

Telegram lost its Russian Supreme Court appeal to prevent handing over its encryption keys to the government. They now have 15 days to hand over the encryption keys, or I assume, Telegram employees will start getting picked off one by one via suspicious nerve gas attacks. That's usually how the Federal Security Service (aka the KGB) operates, right? Russia has a law where any messaging service that wishes to operate in the motherland needs to give the state a backdoor to prevent terrorism and Telegram doesn't wanna do that. Pavel Durov, Telegram's founder, said he will appeal it and if the service is banned in Russia, he will appeal that too.

Amazon knocks off Alphabet to be 2nd most valuable company in the US (Apple still 1st)

The three biggest companies in terms of market cap in the USA are Amazon, Alphabet (aka Google) and Apple. Today, Amazon overtook Alphabet to be the 2nd biggest company in the USA, valued at US$768b. Alphabet's worth a meagre US$762b and Apple is still king of the hill, worth US$889b. Oh and Microsoft and Facebook are 4th and 5th by the way. If Amazon's growth continues at its current rate, it will beat Apple to becoming the first business valued at over 1 trillion dollars. The amount of wealth concentrated within those 5 tech businesses is staggering and never ceases to amaze me. Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft and Facebook are worth more than $3 trillion all up. More than the GDP of every country except Germany, Japan, China and the USA.

Telstra & TPG news

Telstra has announced they're going to use 1000 mini radios that'll go on electricity poles to provide more capacity to overloaded areas and provide coverage for blackspot areas. Telstra also announced that it's managed to achieve 1Gbps in "real-world" speeds with the new Samsung S9+ (whilst standing on one and chanting "Thrive On"). TPG has also been busy announcing stuff. Good news: TPG has started deploying radios around Melbourne and Sydney for the launch of its 4G network mid-2018. Bad news: as TPG lost $21m in revenue over 6 months as more of its DSL customers move to the NBN and the ACCC has made TPG's subsidiaries Internode and iiNet give users compo for selling them NBN speeds they were never able to deliver.

Not News, But Still Cool

Why aren't RSS feeds popular these days?

In the wake of Digg's RSS reader's demise, Alan Jacobs argues that the RSS feeds are declining in popularity because they have no currency in a culture that values page views, sharing and virality. "As long as we want clicks and likes and shares and RTs more than we want genuine understanding, we’ll use social media platforms rather than RSS". I love RSS feeds. Without them, The Sizzle would not function. Bookmarking a bunch of websites and checking them every day would be too slow. Relying on a bunch of tweets and Facebook posts out of chronological order would mean I miss out on things. Reddit? Please, that joint's a dumpster fire at the best of times. For me, it's RSS or bust.

Google Assistant does AFL scores & stuff now

Google Assistant now understands AFL stuff. You can shout things like "where are the North Melbourne Kangaroos on the ladder" and it will say "last", or "what's the score in the North Melbourne Kangaroos games" and it will say "bad". Alexa has had this since launching, but it really becomes useful now that the men's AFL season starts tomorrow night. Oh there's NRL too, I don't think NRL fans have computers, so they wouldn't read The Sizzle unless a good Samaritan AFL fan read it to them out of pity.

Dell currently has the excellent U2717D monitor on sale

Monitors are the most clicked on item whenever I do a big list of bargains, so you lot should love this Dell monitor sale. The best overall monitor on the market right now is Dell's U2717D. 27" diagonal size, 2560x1440 resolution, fully adjustable stand and 99% sRGB coverage, so it'll look sweet for most people. If you actually know what sRGB is and need 100% of it, along with the list of other acronyms, then this monitor isn't for you. The U2717D is only $670.71 and includes a 3 year warranty, direct from Dell.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

PJ Harvey - 50 Ft Queenie