In This Issue


Snapchat, Netflix & Nintendo are making loads of cash because of coronavirus stay at home policies

The rona might be crippling economies, but for the tech industry it's been fantastic. Snapchat shares grew 20% because "people increasingly used the app to communicate with friends and family. Usage also increased for Snapchat's original content and in-app games". Netflix was flatlining prior to COVID-19, but gained almost 16 million new subscribers - double the market's estimates. That said, Netflix reckons it is only temporary and membership growth will "decelerate as home confinement ends". Sales in the videogame industry grew 35% in the US in March 2020 compared to 2019, with Nintendo Switch sales doubling compared to last year and Animal Crossing becoming the 2nd best selling game of the year despite being on sale only for a few weeks.

Western Digital pissed of a bunch of nerds by trying to pass off cheap HDDs as premium

Nerds are very upset they've been duped by Western Digital. Apparently their popular "Red" branded NAS-specific hard drives have been using shittier SMR (aka shingle) technology that's slower and arguably less reliable without disclosing it. SMR drives are cheaper to make (less platters), but way slower, so typically they're used big "archival" drives (8TB+) for stuff you don't need to access often. WD was selling 2TB and 6TB drives with SMR tech at the same price as non-SMR drives and not telling anyone. Western Digital has "apologised", but isn't changing anything so yeah, avoid WD Reds for your next NAS upgrade. Seagate has confirmed its Ironwolf range of NAS drives are SMR free.

Google’s quantum computing genius quits, arguing Google won’t build a quantum computer

John Martinis, Google's head of quantum computing, has resigned. In an interview with Wired he revealed that he was demoted and had constant arguments with his boss over the direction of Google's quantum computing initiatives, saying that "since my professional goal is for someone to build a quantum computer, I think my resignation is the best course of action for everyone". A statement like could be interpreted as Google has no intention of building a quantum computer any time soon and maybe Google's quantum computing will end up a sad joke like IBM's Watson currently is for artificial intelligence.

Not News

Get your videoconferencing shit together so your face is less of a burden for us to look at

It looks like videoconferencing is going to be a bigger part of our lives now, so it's time to put some effort into making them look and sound less shit. This Wirecutter article has loads of tips on making you look and sound awesome in your next Zoom or Teams session. The lighting info there in particular is very useful. If you've got an Nvidia RTX GPU in your computer, check out this app called RTX Voice, which uses GPU acceleration to clean up background noise. For less formal meetings you can get a funny background from ZoomerBackgrounds - loads there to choose from.


🎶 Saturday Saviour - Failure

😁 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.​