Tech Related Coronavirus News
A smorgasbord of software updates for Apple devices
Firefox’s Better Web plugin gains support for Scroll subscription revenue service
Doug DeMuro’s review of the Tesla Model Y
Interesting Aliexpress stuff
Apple reckons it'll start re-opening its stores "in the first half of April depending on the conditions in their community".
iTnews has a rundown of what states are doing to teach kids online now that it looks like schools might be shut for months. God speed to the many ed-tech subscribers who read The Sizzle!
NSW has passed laws to allow online local government meetings so councils don't have to meet up in person and Victoria is trying to do similar for its local councils.
YouTube is gonna default worldwide streaming quality to SD. You can still select HD or 4K or whatever manually, but by default you're getting 480p.
German mobile networks are adding "#StayHome" to their cellular network information so it comes up on everyone's iPhone when they're not using wi-fi.
Zenly is an app (owned by Snapchat) that has created a way for you to compete with your friends as to who can stay at home the most, by tracking when you leave the house.
Optus has announced a bunch of stuff to support customers like placing plans on hold if you don't need it, waiving late payment fees and making all fixed line broadband plans unlimited.
The Verge has a guide on using the Chrome Extension "Netflix Party" so you can synchronise watching Netflix with your mates and having a chatroom to go with it.
Instagram has done something similar, introducing a new feature called co-watching that'll "let you browse posts with your friends over in-app video chat". I didn't know browsing Insta as a group was a thing people did.
Screen is another screen sharing/video/audio chat app that looks really slick. It's supposed to be super fast with low latency.
IBM has established the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium to pool together 16 USA supercomputers comprising of 775,000 CPU cores & 34,000 GPUs for a total of 330 PetaFLOPS of computing power.
Apple dropped a bunch of updates for all its software platforms today. macOS 10.15.4 adds communication limits to Screen Time (like in iOS), a Head Pointer accessibility option so the mouse can be controlled via head movements detected by the Mac's camera and about a dozen other little things. iOS 13.4 fixes the Mail toolbar, new Memoji & Animoji, third party navigation in the CarPlay Dashboard, mouse cursor for the iPad and more. watchOS 6.2 now has an App Store on the watch itself and our kiwi mates get to use the ECG feature. tvOS 13.4 and the HomePod's OS (does it even have a name?) are pretty much just bug fixes.
Mozilla announced it has integrated Scroll into its Better Web plugin for Firefox. Scroll is a revenue sharing service that charges users US$5/m and distributes that monthly fee to websites enrolled in its program based on the amount of traffic Scroll users give that site. By integrating it into an official Firefox plugin like Better Web (which primarily enables Firefox's Enhanced Tracking Protection features) they're hoping adoption of Scroll grows. It's only available to US users at the moment, but it's an interesting business model that I would like to see investigated more at scale.
One of my favourite YouTubers, Doug DeMuro, got his hands on a Tesla Model Y and given it his usual "quirks and features" review. If you aren't already aware, it's an electric car like the Model 3 but jacked up to be in the popular SUV style with more cargo area that the vast majority of car buyers want in 2020. It's similar in size to a BMW X3 or Mazda CX-5. In the USA the current base model (Long Range) costs US$52,990 before taxes, which at current exchanges rates would put it at around $100,000 on the road with taxes in most Australian states. Oof. A "cheaper" more standard range model will come eventually, but it's all academic as there's still no Australian ETA or price estimate.
No good bargains around today (been a while since this has happened!), so here's a few Aliexpress items I've seen on Thieve lately I think are cool:
Enamel pins of an arrow and/or hand cursor - $2 for both
Translucent Qi charger - $38
🎶 Covered in Chrome - Violent Soho
😁 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.