Issue 832

Friday, 8th March 2019
Monday is a public holiday in Victoria, which means I will take a break from reporting on the relentless stream of news that sometimes overwhelms me to the point of tears. The Sizzle will return Tuesday the 12th of March.

In This Issue


Facebook to silence (but not remove) anti-vax discussions

You probably heard about the kid who got himself vaccinated because his mum reckons vaccines cause autism and he didn't want to die of a preventable illness. He testified in some US government thing a few days ago saying he's convinced his mum was brainwashed into thinking vaccines suck because of Facebook. A few weeks earlier, a politician sent a letter to Zuck calling Facebook "a direct threat to public health" due to their inaction on this topic. Soon as this combo of news gained a bit of negative press coverage, Facebook quickly decided to "stop promoting anti-vax groups and pages in recommendations and in predictions in the search box" and "make it harder to find them through search or in the News Feed". Society would be improved if anti-vaxxers were banned entirely, but this is a start.

Spotify, Pandora, Google & Amazon to fight against paying musicans more for their work

Spotify, Pandora, Google and Amazon are fighting against a new law in the USA that'll result in songwriters getting over 40% more royalties when their songs are played on streaming services. Apple are the only ones not fighting the increase. How we got here is pretty long winded, but the USA's Copyright Royalty Board decided to modernise the laws surrounding the rates songwriters whenever their music is played. Running on already thin margins, music streaming services don't want to have to cough up more money, so they're fighting it. It sucks as their services only exist becuse of these songwriters - to screw them out of more money isn't fair.

The more frames per second, the better your K/D ratio in Fortnite or PUBG

Nvidia took the kill-to-death ratios (how many times you killed another player divided by how many times another player killed you) in data they gathered via GeForce Experience program for PUBG and Fortnite and found "gamers that take full advantage of their graphics card by using a high refresh monitor (144Hz or above) have significantly higher K/D ratios". Even when they adjusted for the amount of hours played per week, players running at 60fps vs. 144fps had crappier K/D ratios. Sure, Nvidia is just trying to flog gamers high end GPUs that can run their favourite games at 144fps and it doesn't mean if you're shit at PUBG that if you go buy an RTX2080 and 144Hz monitor that you'll be king shit, but the data is still interesting.

Nissan LEAF electric car gets Australian price & date ($50k, August)

Nissan has finally given us a price and date for the LEAF's Australian launch: $49,990 plus on-road costs (so about $53,500 drive away in VIC) and it'll arrive in August. 240km range, only one trim level available with all the features like ProPilot, single pedal driving and CarPlay/Android Auto. Semi-reasonable price I reckon (almost identical to the USA price before incentives), shame that they're not actually going to be on the streets until August though - the LEAF went on sale in Japan back in October 2017! Also disappointing they're not going to bring the new e-Plus model with a larger battery (62kW, 364km range) to Australia.

More evidence that cryptocurrency exchange owner probably faked own death

Remember Gerald Cotten? The founder of a cryptocurrency exchance called Quadriga, who suspiciously died in India and didn't tell anyone the passwords to Bitcoin wallets that contained the exchange's reserves, leaving customers over US$137m in the hole? Well, there's a new twist, "A court-appointed auditor, Ernst & Young, has secured Cotten's laptop, home computer, USB keys and home computer. Using public blockchain records, it determined the digital wallets thought to contain millions were emptied in April, eight months before Cotten's death" (insert GIF of dramatic chipmunk here). Quadriga was apparently US$190m in debt back in January, so the theory that old mate took the money and ran suddenly makes a lot more sense.

Not News, But Still Cool

Microsoft opens Azure region in Africa, beats Google & Amazon

Here's something I didn't realise - the big cloud hosting providers don't have any African regions. It wasn't until this week that Microsoft became the first out of the big three to have servers on the ground in Africa (the other two are Amazon Web Services & Google Cloud) . There's now Azure regions available to use in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Amazon plans to launch in 2020. I'm surprised Alibaba Cloud didn't get there first, considering how much the Chinese love colonising/investing in Africa these days.

Looks like someone busted the DRM on 4K iTunes downloads

A WEB-DL version of Aquaman (terrible movie apparently) has appeared in the usual places, sparking excitement around the illegal download crowd that a brave genius has busted Apple's DRM for 4K videos. There's no 4K version of Aquaman anywhere else besides iTunes so it seems pretty likely that's what happened. There's a lot of movies and TV shows that are only 4K on iTunes, so fingers cross there's a nice stream of 4K content hitting Usetnet and BitTorrent before Apple patches the DRM.

Cheap GTA5, precision screwdrivers, Xiaomi powerbank, Asus 27" monitor, Nintendo Siwtch, Samsung 75" & 82" TVs, Audio Technica turntable, LG 60" TV, Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, Google Home Hub, Google Home Max, Alex Smart Home Starter Kit, UE Megaboom 3, Nest smoke alarm

The Good Guys have a 20% off eBay sale. Use the code PGUYS20. All items are plus delivery (which was only $5 for me, but might be more for you outside VIC), but you can click and collect from a Good Guys store for free:

That's it, see ya Tuesday!

 Panther Dash - The Go! Team