Issue 754

Monday, 29th October 2018
The Sizzle has a podcast! It's basically my friend Eliza and I griping about how shitty the tech industry is for 30 minutes with some copyright infringement at each end. After listening you'll probably realise why I'm a writer and not a broadcaster. But hey, everyone's podcasting, so why not The Sizzle?

In This Issue


US$34b later, Red Hat is now an IBM company

IBM is spending US$34b to buy Red Hat. For those unaware, Red Hat is mostly known for its Red Hat Enterprise Linux distribution popular with many businesses, as well as heavily contributions to open source projects like Gluster, Ansible, CentOS, CoreOS, OpenShift, Fedora and dozens others that if you didn't already know what Red Hat is, wouldn't mean anything to you either. This is basically the big slow boring company (IBM) buying the "fan favourite" company to compete in the cloud computing market against AWS, Azure and all the rest. Red Hat will be a distinct unit within IBM and its current CEO will report to IBM's CEO. Hopefully IBM don't fuck with Red Hat too much.

PayPal, Stripe, Joyent & GoDaddy refuse to provide services to racist hellhole Gab

Gab is the cesspool where people too shitty for Twitter or Facebook go to talk with other fucked up individuals. It's in the news again as it's the online space where the dude who killed 11 people at a Synagogue in Pittsburgh was brainwashed and posted a bunch of anti-Semitic messages right up until minutes before the attack. In response to Gab's enabling of such pure hate, Stripe and PayPal have closed Gab's accounts, so it can't receive money to operate. Joyent has canceled its hosting, so the site has nowhere to live. Godaddy canceled its domains, so there's no way for it to be accessed. As nice as it is to have Gab "no-platformed", it's uncomfortable (to me at least) that the arbiters of what can and can't go online seem to be a bunch of businesses - and mostly American ones at that.

Tesla introduces Navigate on Autopilot for highway autonomous driving

Tesla has released a new Autopilot feature called Navigate, that allows those who got their Tesla with Enhanced Autopilot or Full Self-Driving Capability to, "guide a car from a highway's on-ramp to off-ramp, including suggesting and making lane changes, navigating highway interchanges, and taking exits" - basically autonomous driving on highways. Tesla's pitching it as "an additional layer of safety that two eyes alone would not have". Here's a promo vid demonstrating how Navigate on Autopilot works and here's a real world video of it in action in what I'd consider the easiest scenario available. The Navigate feature only works on highways (it uses GPS to know where you are and will disable it once you're off the highway) and does require some human input, to change lanes (you need to confirm lane changes and keep your hands on the wheel), but it looks like an awesome feature for long highway drives.

UN special rapporteur on the right to privacy gives his 2c on the Assistance and Access Bill

The government's proposed Assistance and Access Bill is so shitty, the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to privacy has stepped in and submitted his take to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security's scrutiny of the bill. The letter says that the bill is an "example of a poorly conceived national security measure", calling out the lack of judicial or independent oversight for use of this heavy handed bill and use of "vague, overly broad or not defined" terms. Basically, old mate from the UN is saying that the powers to force tech companies to create backdoors and shit in the Assistance and Access Bill can be used by practically any law enforcement agency in Australia, for pretty much any reason they like, with nobody checking to make sure they're doing it responsibly.

Electronic voting machines in Texas have been changing people's votes

Electronic voting machines in Texas have been causing votes to be submitted for candidates the person using the machine did not select. Pretty much the thing you really don't want your e-voting machines to do! "According to the Texas Secretary of State's Office, the voting machines are not at fault. Rather, the problems reported are the result of "voters hitting a button or using the selection wheel before the screen is finished rendering," which de-selects the pre-filled candidate selection". What a piece of shit. The UI is so slow to react, people are pressing a button thinking their machine has frozen, which causes the selections to be reset to the default. First of all, why is there even a default range of options? Second, get some modern goddamn hardware. Imagine if the Australian government got onboard the e-voting train, can you imagine how much of a shitshow that would be?

Not News, But Still Cool

The sad reality of right-wing groups discovering how to manipulate Facebook & Google

BuzzFeed's Ryan Broderick has a fascinating story explaining Google and Facebook's role in warping politics around the world. The article is littered with examples, but the key theme I took away from it are platforms allowing bullshit to spread unchecked and the inability of users to detect it. I'm not sure Silicon Valley is responsible for the desire of the electorate to vote for these sorts of populist candidates - that gut feeling has always been there - but it looks like over the last few years, savvy, mostly right-wing, groups figured out the internet exists and exploited Facebook and Google in a way progressives have not. Unfortunately conservative, right-wing groups also tend to be violent, hateful dickheads.

How to import an electric car into Australia

I wrote an article on Drive Zero about what it takes to import an EV into Australia from overseas, which was born out of my frustration with what's on the market locally. Basically, all that's economically feasible to import is a previous generation Nissan LEAF (the one with the 30kWh battery & ~150km range) from Japan, which can be hand for between $22,000 and $24,000 all up landed in Australia. Personally, I'm hanging for the current generation LEAF (the one with the 40kWh battery), which will be eligible for import here in around March/April 2019. If all goes according to plan, I'll be able to get one with under 10,000km on the clock into AU for ~$35,000 all up and I can finally piss off my fossil fuel burning automobile.

Cheap 55" LG OLED, Kogan 65", Sony CarPlay head unit, Surface laptop, 2TB SSDs, Sonos gear

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

LCD Soundsystem - Tribulations