Issue 836

Friday, 15th March 2019

In This Issue


Tesla announce new Model Y electric SUV, coming in late-2020

Tesla's S3XY (ugh) product lineup is now complete, with the Model Y formally announced this afternoon. It's pretty much what we expected - an SUV variant of the Model 3. Pricing starts at US$39,000 (around A$65,000 on-road), with real world range starting at about 370km. Deliveries will begin in March-June 2021 in the USA for that base model and September-October 2020 for the more expensive models with more range. Not much more info than that right now, as that's literally all Elon said in the presentation about the car. The other 25 minutes was Elon making awful jokes, forgetting what he was saying and laughing to himself.

Apple gives dates for WWDC & judge rules Qualcomm owes Apple US$1b in unpaid royalties

Two bits of Apple news today. First up, WWDC is gonna happen in San Jose between June 3rd and June 7th. I hope they release a new Mac Pro. Second, a US judge has decided that Qualcomm owes Apple almost US$1b in unpaid patent royalties. There's multiple lawsuits between Qualcomm and Apple right now and this one started 2 years ago, because Qualcomm stopped "payments because Apple had broken the agreement by urging other smartphone makers to complain to regulators and making "false and misleading" statements to the Korean Fair Trade Commission, which was investigating Qualcomm over antitrust allegations". Looks unlikely Qualcomm will pay that US$1b any time soon, as they're still arguing over other patent stuff.

Facebook poorly explains yesterday's outage & two important executives quit

Facebook made a statement about its almost 24 hour outage yesterday - a single tweet where they blame "a server configuration change". That's it. No incident report, not even a layperson statement or more info when various media outlets ask. Kinda weird for a massive company like Facebook so proud of its infrastructure not to go into more detail. It was good for Telegram though, who gained almost 3 million new users whilst Facebook wasn't working. Unrelated to the outage, but Chris Cox, Facebook's chief product officer and "a member of Mr. Zuckerberg's inner circle" and Chris Daniels, who runs WhatsApp, both announced their resignations from Facebook. Apparently both are fed up with how Zuck is running the joint.

Huawei has a backup plan if trade sanctions result in being unable to use Android

In an interview with a German newspaper, Huawei let loose that they have developed an Android replacement as a "Plan B", just in case the US or EU governments slap a ban on software exports to China that result in Google (a US company) being legally unable to provide Huawei (a Chinese company) with Android (predominately US-developed software). Maybe it's overkill, but a smart move considering the political football Huawei has been lately. No details on what it's called, it it has backwards compatabilty with existing apps, or anything like that. Just that if Trump did something crazy like ban software exports to China, Huawei won't be left holding its dick in the wind.

10 kids arrested in India for playing PUBG in public

I don't know if this is 100% legit, but the Indian state of Gujarat has banned people playing PUBG in public because they reckon "the education of children and youth are being affected and it affects the behaviour, manners, speech and development of the youth and children". Sounds like one of those things you'd legislate to keep the tabloids happy and never actually use, but 10 kids have been arrested for playing PUBG on their phones in public. That sounds like a severe over-reaction to me.

Not News, But Still Cool

Some details on how Flightradar gets live aircraft location info

Have you ever wondered how sites like Planefinder or Flightradar work? They're taking advantage of a little device on most passenger planes called an ADS-B transponder that "sends various flight telemetry — airplane type, its coordinates, destination etc, using the 1090MHz unencrypted radio frequency". These two mobs have thousands of $20 RTL-SDR dongles (basically hacked USB TV adapters) hooked up to Raspberry Pis, all around the world that listen to the output from ADS-B transponders and chuck it on a map on the internet. One of my long list of projects I want to do when I have a solid chunk of time with no other responsibilities is build a solar powered ADS-B receiver.

Fiber optic submarine cables are cool

Long time readers of The Sizzle will know that one of my favourite topics is submarine cables. The New York Times has a cool article about these cables, with heaps of pics of the cables being made, getting installed and info about how internet companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google are now so big, that it makes sense for them to lay their own submarine cables instead of renting capacity from telcos. The best article on this topic is Neal Stephenson's (yeah, that Neal Stephenson) Mother Earth, Mother Board published in Wired back in 1996, which was one of the very first things I linked to in The Sizzle back in 2015!

Cheap Surface Pro 6, Xbox One X, PS Plus sub, PSVR & camera combo, Google Pixel Stand, Philips LED bulbs, YouTube Premium, Tidal, Hulu/Spotify accounts

That's it, see ya Monday!

 Lights & Music - Cut Copy