No Sizzle on Monday because it’s Labour Day in Victoria and I’m not a scab.

In This Issue


Government still keen to operate age verification service for online porn & gambling

The plan to make Aussies verify their age before enjoying some porn or having a punt might inched closer to reality yesterday. The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs submitted a report titled "Protecting the age of innocence" (that's not a loaded title at all, is it?) to the eSafety Commissioner telling them to come up with a roadmap to implement an age verification system within the next 12 months. The plan would be to have an "exchange" hosted by the government that sits between the users and the sites that offer age restricted services. How that works exactly is something the eSafety Commissioner will work on. At least the report didn't recommend previous suggestions of using the Home Affair's facial recognition database, mostly because they aren't sure if that database is actually legal (a whole other problem for another day).

Anthony Levandowski still has to pay Waymo US$179m for stealing trade secrets

Bring out the microscopic violin for old mate Anthony Levandowski, as his appeal to avoid giving Waymo US$179m for stealing their trade secrets failed and as a result, declared bankruptcy. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending if you loathe Uber or Levandowski more than the other), Uber might be the ones on the hook for this, as they were his employer and indemnified him against these types of civil lawsuits when they hired him. Uber is gonna challenge that so there's a chance the US$179m payment to Waymo will still be Levandowski's responsibility. He claims he has "fewer than $100 million in assets, while he owes between $100 million and $500 million to creditors", hence the bankruptcy (owes people more than he has). The cherry on top of this shit sundae is Levandowski still facing a criminal trial (this one was just Waymo suing him for damages) for stealing trade secrets as that's apparently a crime you can go to jail for. Love seeing a tech bro get to sleep in the bed he made for himself.

Sonos backtracks on giving customers a 30% discount on new gear if they brick their old ones

Sonos has decided to ditch its customer hostile decision to brick "recycled" devices. The plan was that Sonos will give you a 30% discount on new Sonos gear if you put your old Sonos stuff into "recycle mode", which would permanently disable the device from working again, even it isn't broken. Now they're going to still give you a 30% discount to upgrade to new Sonos devices, but all you have to do is give them the serial of the old device. The old device will keep on working indefinitely with no restrictions (but no new features). Some bean counter probably thought it was unfair to keep the old device working when offering such a generous discount, but this is how the Trade Up program should have worked in the first place and would have saved them from losing so much social capital. Will be interesting to see how long Sonos supports these older devices though - at some point its going to be uneconomical to support a 10, 15 or 20 year old device on the latest version of iOS/Android/whatever.

Not News

Having someone watch you work via webcam might help avoid procrastination

Procrastination gets the best of us, but if you're the kinda person that needs someone else to be made accountable, Focusmate might be the productivity hack you need. They provide "accountability partners" via video conferencing. You get three free 50 minute sessions a week where you are watched by some rando who also wants you to watch them. Apparently having another human on the other end of a video stream somehow avoids drifting off to YouTube or Reddit or whatever it is you waste time on instead of your work. Sounds incredibly uncomfortable to me (you’d need to wear pants, these aren’t camgirls), but if you try it out please let me know how you go.


Some stuff in The Good Guy’s latest eBay sale is cheap. Use the code PGGUYS20.

🎶 You Don't Think You Like People Like Me - Alex Lahey

😁 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.​