Issue 736

Wednesday, 3rd October 2018

I'm off to Sydney tonight for a thing I signed an NDA about (don't worry, you'll know all about it tomorrow afternoon). Josh Withers will be taking over in my absence Thursday & Friday.

If you're in Sydney and want to catch up for a beer on Thursday (4th Oct), I'll be at Hart's Pub in The Rocks from around 4:30pm until whenever everyone's had enough of me and I go to bed.

In This Issue


Tesla meets quarterly production targets, might actually turn a profit

Tesla announced that it's met its target of 83,500 cars delivered in Q3 2018. Mostly Model 3s (53,239), but also Model S and Model X vehicles (26,903 combined). Despite meeting its Model 3 target, investors are still a bit shitty as there's no info on how much those cars cost to build (maybe Tesla spent a fortune trying to meet those targets, so there's fuck all profit) or how much they've been selling for (at least if they were rushing the high end models, there's juicy margins on em, but we don't know). Tesla also said that they're "accelerating" construction of a Chinese car factory due to China raising tariffs on Teslas to 40% (!!) if they're imported from overseas instead of built locally. Elon said he reckons Q3 was be profitable too, but we have to wait a few more weeks for that info.

Microsoft announces Surface upgrades & noise cancelling headphones

Microsoft announced a bunch of Surface related updates and new gear overnight. The Surface Pro 6 & Surface Laptop 2 are mild updates, with faster CPUs and a cool matte black finish. Still no USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports though. The Surface Studio 2 is an update to the gorgeous big tilting screen desktop computer, that also gets faster hardware (latest GPUs and no hybrid SSD/HDDs - just pure SSD) and a really high quality display (192 PPI and sRGB, P3 D65, and DCI-P3 gamut support). Totally new, are the Surface Headphones. They've got 8 mics for noise canceling, so it'll be interesting how they go against the Bose or Sony's when it comes out later this year. Pricing for all the computers is up on Microsoft's AU website and they're all shipping in the next few weeks. Oh and the "Windows 10 October 2018 Update" was released today too.

Amazon increases minimum wage to US$15/hr

The fear of a union and public outcry has forced Amazon to raise its minimum wage to US$15 for its US employees. Over 350,000 people will get pay bumps because of this (holy shit Amazon employ a lot of people). It's still $3/hr lower than the average wage for a warehouse worker in the USA, but it's more than what Walmart and Target pay their warehouse workers. Now Amazon wants to lobby the US government to make $15/hr the federal minimum wage (it's currently $7.25/hr) and wants its competitors to do the same. I'm sure this initiative is from the bottom of Amazon's heart and desire for its warehouse employees to prosper, not say, competitors deciding to pay their staff less and using it as a cost advantage against Amazon. There's one analyst in that article I linked to saying that the only reason Amazon did this was that unemployment in the US is so low, it was struggling to find people who want to work for the shit pay they're offering - i.e: how the labour market is supposed to work.

Big tech companies join forces to fight Assistance and Access bill

Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Google, Telstra and Optus have gathered their resources into a single lobby group to try and repeal, or at least tame, the federal government's Assistance and Access Bill. This new lobby group is calling itself, "Alliance for a Safe and Secure Internet" and their main concern is that the government hasn't even bothered to talk to them, despite being the "Assistance" in the "Assistance and Access" bill. But that's the whole point isn't it? The government doesn't want to chat and try come to a reasonable solution. The government wants what it can't get its hands on (crims chatting with secure apps and hard to hack smartphones) and is using the law to get it, the feelings of others are irrelevant here. Unfortunately, the tech industry has little, to no clout with this government, so it'll be easily cast to the side with stories of brave cops battling pedos and terrorists.

Brief news snippets

Not News, But Still Cool

People are going back to piracy because there's too many streaming services

Sandvine's new Global Internet Phenomena report (yeah I've never heard of Sandvine before either) reckons that people are turning back to Channel BT to get their stories because there's too many Netflix competitors with exclusive content and buying a subscription to all of them costs way too much. It's not a huge increase at the moment, but the theory makes sense - by time you've paid for Foxtel Go/Play/whatever the fuck it's called now, Stan, Netflix and Amazon Prime, you're coughing up over $60/m (which is oddly, what a Foxtel TV sub with the good channels roughly costs). Piracy sure looks good at that price point. The TV and movie industry should learn from the mistakes of the music industry and just license all your gear out to whoever wants it. Be a wholesaler, not a retailer.

Victorian government grants $1m to build rapid EV chargers along the Hume

The Victorian energy minister just announced it's giving $1m to Chargefox (who are tipping in their own $1m) to build rapid EV charging stations in Euroa (about half way between Melbourne & the VIC/NSW border) and Barnawartha North (just outside Albury). Combined with the NRMA's efforts in NSW and the ACT, this'll mean EV owners can hoon along the Hume without getting stranded or owning a $150k Tesla. These are rapid chargers too, so if your car supports it (most EVs do), you'll go from 0-100% in around 15-20min. Perfect amount of time to take a piss, stretch the legs, grab a below average coffee then get back on the road. Now we need some along the M1, Great Ocean Road, M8 to Adelaide and M79/A79 to Bendigo & Mildura.

Cheap Amazon Echo & Philips Hue & Nokia 6.1, plus some random Aliexpress finds

Another slow day for bargains, with the only two things worth mentioning a deal from JB Hi-Fi for a 1st-gen Amazon Echo and Philips Hue bulb for $129 (clearing out stock I assume), and Harvey Norman selling the Nokia 6.1 (runs Android One, great phone) for $338. To make up for this lack of good deals, here's a selection of from my "stuff I saw on Aliexpress" bookmark pile:

If you ever find anything weird/cool/interesting on Aliexpress, please let me know so I can share it in The Sizzle (with credit of course). I love this kinda stuff!

That's it, Josh will see you tomorrow & Friday, I'll see ya Monday!

CKY - 96 Quite Bitter Beings