Issue 692

Wednesday, 1st August 2018
I'm making the first issue of every month a "please tell your friends about The Sizzle" issue. By far the most effective way of getting paid subscribers to The Sizzle is existing subscribers recommending it to others. The conversion rate of someone signing up for a trial via a recommendation from a friend is over 50% compared to around 5% for any sort of paid marketing I've tried. So, if you like The Sizzle and want to make sure it sticks around for a while, spread the word on social media and include a link to - thanks!

In This Issue


My Health Record to get amended legislation preventing police access & allowing permanent deletion

The Australian Medical Association and College of General Practitioners scored a meeting with health minister Greg Hunt and managed to get it through his thick skull that the system has some massive flaws. As a result, legislation will be passed in a few weeks to permanently delete records when requested and to make law enforcement and government agencies get a court order to access My Health Record. The medical groups also asked for an extra month for the opt-out period, but the government is still thinking about that. Whilst it's nice the minister finally listened to some experts, the fact no IT or privacy people were in this special meeting is pretty stupid. Greg Hunt is still going around saying My Health Record is unhackable and there's never been a data breach, even though there's been a dozen in the 6 years it's been operating.

Facebook catches someone trying to stuff around with upcoming US election

The Russians (we think) are at it again, with Facebook detecting a group of people trying to stir the same shit they did during the Presidential election in 2016, for the US Congress mid-terms in November. There were Facebook groups called stuff like "Black Elevation", "Mindful Being", "Aztlan Warriors" and "Resistors", that used Facebook's ad platform to build up large audiences, then used Facebook to start phony protests designed just to get everyone pissed off and cause social unrest. The people making these pages managed to get around Facebook's new checks by using "VPNs and internet phone services, and paid third parties to run ads on their behalf". Facebook has a blog post with details on what the groups were up to.

Apple's financials for Q2 2018 - still filthy rich

Apple has yet again showed the world that selling iPhones and services to go with it is the most profitable thing ever. I won't bore you by going through all of the numbers (you can do that yourself with the charts and analysis provided by Six Colors), but Apple had revenue of US$55.3b in just 3 months. A 17% increase over last year. This is a company worth close to almost a trillion dollars, yet has double digit growth! Next quarter Apple is predicting they'll get between $60b and $62b in revenue. This is absolutely crazy. At this rate, it wouldn't surprise me if Apple make $1b a day during this year's holiday quarter. As much as punters like me love to give Apple our opinions on what we'd like them to do, there's no denying that ignoring us is paying off big time.

Panasonic to ramp up production of Tesla batteries & whistleblower to sue Tesla for defamation

Panasonic has announced that it's gonna be making 30% more batteries at Tesla's Gigafactory in Nevada so it can keep up with demand for the Model 3. This is good news as the more batteries the industry makes, the cheaper they get. The cheaper they get, the more they'll be used and the cycle continues until huge lithium batteries are cheap enough to be more widely used to smooth out the supply of renewable power and be placed in electric cars that sell at reasonable prices. Also Tesla related, the guy Elon Musk called a saboteur and a bad apple is now suing Tesla for defamation. Going by what happens on Twitter when you critique Elon, I expect a thousand Elon Musk defenders to shower this dude with death threats any day now.

Mandatory drone registration & licensing coming soon in Australia

Over in the US and UK, you gotta register your drone before you fly it, if it weighs more than 250g - which includes drones like the DJI Mavic Pro and even the smaller DJI Spark. A government report that took 2-years to finalise has concluded that Australia also needs these laws. The report also proposes a basic competence test when registering your drone and for the government to operate a "tiered education program" that unlocks more advanced features on a drone like higher speeds and altitudes. "Three tiers have been suggested: beginner, recreational use and commercial, with various limitations assigned to each". There's no details on when the government will adopt the report's findings, but you'd assume it'd be relatively soon as it seems like common sense and pretty uncontroversial to me.

Not News, But Still Cool

Parsec's a pretty good (but expensive) cloud streaming service for PC gaming

If you're an infrequent gamer like myself, it doesn't make a lot of sense to go out and build a $3000 gaming rig when you'll probably only use it once a month. Parsec gives you a beefy gaming rig on demand thanks to Amazon's cloud computing resources and a fast internet connection. It literally sets up a Windows computer in the cloud for you, paired with a fast GPU and streams the game to your shitty computer in low enough latency that the game is still playable. I've used it a few times, and it gets a bit pricey, but it bloody works. Latency to Amazon's Sydney server is only ~18ms for me and I have a 250/100 internet connection, so I guess that helps.

You probably don't need a colour picking app for your iPhone, but i you do, this one is great

Cone is an excellent colour picker for iPhone. Just tap an area in any photo and Cone will tell you what that colour is in Pantone (e.g: Storm Gray, Limeade, etc.) and give you the corresponding hex value. It works in real time too and is super fast. That's all there is to it. I love apps like this - no bullshit, just one feature, well implemented. I don't really have a use for a colour picking app, but you designer types might find it handy.

Cheap games, Unix stickers, Google Home Mini, Airpods, LIFX bulbs

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

Regurgitator - All Fake Everything