In This Issue


Kickstarter employees unionise, one of the few US-tech companies to do so

Employees at Kickstarter are the first white-collar workers at a high-profile technology company to formally unionise. Kickstarter's management said "we support and respect this decision, and we are proud of the fair and democratic process that got us here". Kickstarter's management tried hard to make sure it didn't happen, hiring a law firm that specialises in maintaining a union-free workplace, but the vote in favor of unionising was won 46-37. They're not a massive company with only around 83 non-management employees, but it's a bit of a watershed moment for something I think more tech workers should have an open mind to.

NAB cancels facial recognition ATM it said was the future of ATMs

In late-2018 NAB demonstrated an ATM that used facial recognition and a PIN to identify you and provide access to your money, using the facial recognition features of Azure and AWS to make it work. At the time NAB said that this face scanning ATM "was an incredible success, and as a result we are now building that into a proper steel ATM". Two years later and the fancy ATM has been shitcanned. NAB hasn't said why, but they went as far as getting APRA approval for it which apparently was a pain in the arse. Maybe the fact fewer people are using ATMs or the demo they gave wasn't realistic in real world use means being able to rock up to an ATM without a card or even a phone (ANZ lets me tap an Apple Watch/iPhone to get cash in/out of their ATMs) killed it?

Apple says it won’t hit expectations due to coronavirus, wider electronics industry probably in the same boat

Apple sent out a note to investors saying "worldwide iPhone supply will be temporarily constrained" due to COVID-19 so it kinda makes sense that any new gear Apple hoped to show off (they usually do something in March) will be delayed. Ming-Chi Kuo reckons it won't set Apple back and he’s pretty reliable, so who the fuck knows. A report from TrendForce reckons the entire industry will take a hit because of COVID-19, detailing a reduction in shipment of all pretty much all electronics manufactured in China. Flash memory is mostly made in Korea, so that’s all good. The next-gen consoles due this Christmas are probably okay as well as the lead time on that is still a few months away. Fiber optics is a Wuhan specialty and will take the longest to resume production, impacting the rollout of 5G networks.

Not News

Why Boost is a better Telstra MVNO than Aldi, Woolworths & others

One of the most common bargains I mention in The Sizzle is discounted Boost Mobile credit. They're my favourite choice for mobile telco services as not only are they cheap - $150 a year (often on sale for $135) gets me 80GB that's more than enough for my 4-5GB/m use - they use the full Telstra 4G network, which for a country bumpkin like me is kinda important. Other telcos like Telechoice, Aldi and Woolworths also use the Telstra network, but they only use a portion of it. Boost Mobile is the only telco besides Telstra that has access to the entire Telsta network. This article on Ausdroid explains it in more detail. You don’t get visual voicemail or eSIM, but I’ll happily live without those to save $245 a year ($135/yr for Boost vs $380/yr after the $400 gift card on this Good Guys/Telstra offer).


🎶 Subcutaneous Phat - Desert Sessions

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

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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.​