In This Issue


Google cuts off Huawei from Android after US national security ban

Google has cut itself off from Huawei following the US Goverment's recent decision to place Huawei on a threat to national security list. This means Huawei can no longer get access to the Google Play Store and other Google services. All Huawei can legally do now is take the open source bits of Android and make its own fork (i.e: pretty much what LineageOS does). Dunno what it means for existing Huawei device users, but it isn't pretty for Huawei outside of China (who already live without access to Google's services) going forward.

Using augmented reality headsets for precision tasks ain’t so good

A new study has found that people struggle to do precision work when using augmented reality headsets like Microsoft's HoloLens, throwing into doubt how useful these things actually are for some of the scenarios they're marketed for (health & engineering). The test got people to do a join the dots test whilst using the headset and observed that people made errors twice as worse when using the naked eye due to "focal rivalry" - where the eye can't focus on real and virtual objects at the same time.

PTV puts out tender for an all new mobile platform with real-time data

I missed this last week, but Public Transport Victoria (PTV) has put out a tender asking for "next generation mobile applications" that includes "journey planning, real-time information, disruption notifications, and myki card management". PTV also want the app to "tailor service information and marketing based on user behaviour" (show info based on specific routes the user takes?). So yeah, I guess that means an all new suite of PTV apps and websites coming soon-ish? If you're keen, you can view the entire tender here and even apply if you think you’ve got the skills.

Bitcoin is worth over A$11,500 again

Bitcoin is back! Nobody has the slightest idea what happened, but the value of Bitcoin is now hovering around US$8,000. For the past year it was idling at around US$5,000-$6,000, then tanked to around $3,000 - $4,000 at the start of 2019. But since then it's been slowly rallying and is now a single Bitcoin is worth almost US$8,000 (~A$11,500). The Forbes article I linked to cites "retail adoption" (via some app called Spedn - not a typo) and a "legendary investor" (Mark Mobius), but I bet it's some insider trading scam bullshit thing.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise acquires Cray for US$1.3b

Most nerds have a bit of a soft spot for Cray - an company that built the world's fastest supercomputers for the US government, laboratories and governments and laboratories friendly with the US government around the world. Some of their 70s and 80s computers were famous just on their looks alone. A Cray XT5 at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory was the world's fastest computer in 2009 until the Chinese beat em. Anyway, Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced over the weekend that Cray is now part of HPE and will be leveraging Cray's supercomputing knowledge to grow their own supercomputing business.

Not News, But Still Cool

Moving an IBM System 360 from Germany to the UK looks like a pain in the arse

On the topic of computers that are the size of a room, three blokes in the UK stumbled across an eBay listing for an IBM System 360 Model 20 (remember the computer in Mad Men that Ginsberg reckoned was gonna turn all the men gay?), a legend in the history of computing. They won it for a few thousand euros, but they're in the UK and the computer is in Germany and the listing was pickup only. There's 3 blog posts explaining how they got it out of the office that hasn't had the door opened since 1970, but they're still working out how to get it from Nuremberg to Buckinghamshire!

Facebook couldn’t give a damn about stopping obvious political lies spreading on their platform

The Australian (of all places) has an interesting article about the spread of local political bullshit on Facebook. There's blatant lies and falsehoods like the ALP is proposing a death tax, that the Libs are going to slash hospital spending and that it's okay to write in your own candidate on a ballot (??!!?) to make them the PM. Facebook does nothing to stop this stuff and even boosts it into people's News Feeds as the engagements grow. I don't want to over emphasize Facebook's role in the news landscape, but it's not tiny and shit like this doesn't help make for a better informed electorate.

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😁 The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Join us on Slack and chat with other Sizzle subscribers.

The Sizzle is created on Wathaurong land and acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, recognising their continuing connection to land, water and community. I pay my respect to them and their cultures, and to elders both past and present.​