Issue 871

Wednesday, 8th May 2019

In This Issue


Google releases Pixel 3a smartphone and beta of Android 10

Google announced the Pixel 3a and showed off more of Android 10 (aka Android Q) at its I/O conference today. The Pixel 3a is basically a cheaper Pixel 3 ($649 vs $1199), but there's not that many sacrifices made to get the price down that low - no wireless charging, water protection and a single front facing camera seem to be the main omissions. The Verge has a table comparing specs. For the 10th version of Android, Google's added features like dark mode for the entire UI, "smart replies" built-in to notifications, auto-generated captions for any media, extra "digital wellbeing" tools and "50 new features and changes focused on security and privacy". The Pixel 3a is on sale now and a beta of Android Q is available now too.

More miscellaneous Google I/O conference stuff

Also at Google I/O: Kotlin is now the preferred programming language for making Android apps, Google Maps, Search and YouTube will get incognito mode so you can search for stuff in those platforms and not have it remembered, there's a 10-inch screen version of the Google Smart Display (which is now called the Nest Hub) which also includes a camera that can act as a security camera and heaps more little things that you can find in TechCrunch's or The Verge's in-depth coverage of the conference.

ALP splash more cash in tech election promises

More tech-ish election promises from the ALP. $25m for "the creation of Digital Skills Hubs across regional areas around Australia to assist with digital learning across a several programs for up to 500,000 Australians" and a tweak of the R&D Tax Incentive so "businesses can add an additional 10% to the value of their calculated R&D tax offset when they are spending with a public research institution, whether it’s a university or an organisation like the CSIRO". Oh and speaking of elections, anyone

Samsung delays the Galaxy Fold indefinitely, refunds pre-orders

Samsung has delayed the Galaxy Fold indefinitely, emailing all those who pre-ordered that unless they specifically confirm they want one of the dodgy folding smartphones, their order will be canceled. You also can't pre-order one anymore either. Samsung still insist the Fold will go on sale eventually, they just don't know when - but honestly, who would drop thousands of dollars on a Galaxy Fold when the Huawei Mate X is coming soon anyways and looks superior in every way? Or even just wait for Corning to get its act together with folding Gorilla Glass?

Powershop's new off-peak EV charging tariff is very good

Powershop has launched a new electric car tariff in Queensland. If you charge your EV between 12am and 4am (enough time to add 180-200km range in most EVs), it'll only cost ya 9.9c/kWh. That's damn cheap. To drive 200km with petrol (assuming 7L/100km @ $1.50/L) would cost around $21 compared to just $2.77 for off-peak electricity (28kWh). Meanwhile, Volkswagen's affordable electric car, the ID.3 (~350km range for ~$40,000) which begins pre-orders tonight, won't come out until 2022 in Australia. Considering Australia has no emissions regulations, why would you bother selling your limited amounts of stock here when you need to sell them overseas to avoid fines?

Not News, But Still Cool

That wombat game with the nice drawings

Paperbark is an adorable app for iOS (via the App Store), Windows & Mac (via Steam) that "tells a beautiful short story of a wombat, the bush and a very hot Australian Summer". You poke a wombat wandering around, doing whatever it is that wombats do and take part in its wombat adventures. It's just a really nice looking little game/story with a cute wombat. Here's a video of the game in action. If you feel like chilling out for a bit or enjoying with a kid, it's well worth the $5.99.

The end of the internet dream

This is the oldest thing still hanging around in my "stuff to mention in The Sizzle" bookmarks pile - The End of the Internet Dream by Jennifer Granick, who gave this article as a talk at Black Hat 2015 (you can watch it here). In it, she discusses the fact that the internet isn't exciting as it used to be. The internet is now increasingly regulated by governments because it's being used for money laundering, pedophilia, terrorism and selling drugs. The internet is also becoming more centralised (Facebook) and less global (i.e: Russia & China). It isn't what most of us older techies got excited about all those years ago.

Cheap Nokia 6.1, Sonos, AudioTechnica turntable, Ubiquiti USG, 15% off iTunes gift cards

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

 Total Trash - Sonic Youth