Issue 853

Tuesday, 9th April 2019

In This Issue


ALP to tweak NBN slightly if they win election

The ALP has let loose what it plans to do about the NBN if it wins the Federal election in a few month's time, on a dedicated website - It says there that they'll launch a "Digital Inclusion Drive" to get more old people and poor people onto the NBN, get NBN to fix the in-house wiring of FTTN users to improve their speeds, "establish an NBN Service Guarantee to set service standards for fault repair and installations", try and get more FTTP upgrades going, plus a review of how the NBN stacks up economically going forward. Good luck avoiding the problem of throwing good money after bad with the NBN, so much money has been pissed away already.

IKEA and Sonos unveil their speaker collaboration

IKEA and Sonos have finally revealed the result of their collaboration - Symfonisk. There's a traditional looking rectangle bookshelf speaker (US$99) and an.. interesting, looking lamp that's also a speaker (US$179). The lamp looks a lot like an Apple HomePod sitting on a teacup saucer, with a light on top. Apparently the lamp sounds "similar" to the Sonos One. Both speakers can be used in stereo pairs or as rears in a 5.1 setup, support AirPlay 2 and of course, the Sonos app. I like Sonos and I like IKEA, so I think I'll like these new speakers. Tempted to get two of those bookshelf speakers for a stereo pair. Hope IKEA Australia stock em.

You can download the Chromium powered Microsoft Edge browser now

Microsoft's new Chromium based Edge browser is available to download for testing and they've released a list of all the things they removed from Chromium or changed to Microsoft based services. It's mostly things like things like ad blocking, Google Now, Google Cloud Messaging, and Chrome OS-related services. It's gonna be the default Windows browser soon, so if you make websites for a living, you probably want to grab the test version to make sure your sites don't look weird. I quickly tried it out on my Windows laptop and like what I see but I'll stick with Firefox as it's the only cross platform browser (Linux, Mac, Windows) that isn't run by a data hoarder (Google) and is relatively modern (sorry Opera). Maybe Microsoft will make a Mac version?

More drones to buzz around Canberra dropping off coffee, burritos and medicine

Alphabet has received permission from CASA to expand trials of its "world-first drone delivery business in Canberra's north". A year long trial around Bonython saw 1,000 deliveries of burritos, medicine and coffee without a single incident, but residents hated how loud the damn thing were. Alphabet is making less noisy drones, but nobody knows who's supposed to regulate noise levels! The trial will now expand beyond that suburb of Bonython and to others like Crace, Palmerston, Franklin Harrison and Gungahlin. If you live in Canberra and want to get stuff delivered to you by drone, check out the Wing website for more info. I like the idea of drones delivering me goods within a few hours of ordering them, but damn they are noisy. I'd hate for my quiet suburb to be full of drones buzzing back and forth.

Use a 3D printer to bypass the Samsung Galaxy S10's in-screen fingerprint scanner

Imgur user "darkshark" figured out a way to trick the fingerprint sensor on the new Samsung Galaxy S10 - "take a picture of a fingerprint off of an object like a wine glass, add some depth to it in 3D editing software, and then print it out on a 3D printer". Place your printed fingerprint on the S10's in-screen fingerprint reader and bam, you're in. It's not exactly easy to make a 3D fingerprint (I don't think I'd be able to do it), but it doesn't look that hard either (if someone pissed me off enough, I'd learn to do it and get it done). A bit of planning and a US$450 3D printer later and you could get access to that cheating spouse or dodgy business partner's phone. Info sec expert advice remains the same - if you've got stuff to hide on your phone, use a password to login, not biometrics.

Not News, But Still Cool

The BBC Computer Literacy Project was cool

Back in the 70s and 80s, the UK government wanted to make the public less apprehensive and more interested in computers, so they got the BBC to start the Computer Literacy Project - a series of TV programmes about computers, along with books, support groups and an actual computer called the BBC Micro you could buy and follow the TV show with. Loads of people watched it and stands today as a great example of technology education. Sinclair Target has published a nice blog post about the Computer Literacy Project, comparing it to current attempts like Codeacademy. He reckons Codeacademy could be doing a way better job at teaching the general public about software development considering what the BBC achieved almost 40 years ago.

Optus now supports eSIM on the iPhone XS/XR/XR Max

Benny Ling over at AppleTalk pinged me last night to ask if I've heard anything about this new eSIM offering from Optus. He, like me, haven't heard a thing about this kinda important product launch. If you're not familiar with eSIM, it's an embedded SIM card in a device that lets you access the mobile network without a physical SIM - it's all software controlled. The Apple Watch for example, has an eSIM. According to Optus' documentation, it appears you can ask them to sign you up for a second plan and they'll send you a QR code you scan on your iPhone and that's it, your iPhone XR/XS/XS Max now has two phone numbers. One for personal use, one for work I guess.

Cheap iTunes cards, B&W P7 headphones, small discounts on CTO Macs, Samsung 1TB SSD, Logitech M720 mouse

Good Jobs For Nice People

If you'd like a Sizzle subscriber in your team, place an ad now!

Senior Software Engineer - ThoughtWorks (Melbourne)

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Director of Engineering - Noggin (Sydney)

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That's it, see ya Thursday - Josh is taking over Wednesday!

 American Gigolo - Weezer