Issue 1295 - Tuesday 2nd February, 2021

Hello to my 765 new friends that found The Sizzle via my special offer of a 1 month free trial on OzBargain last night! Hopefully some of you like what you see and stick around after the trial period. Feel free to reply to any email I send if you've got a question or just want to shoot the shit.

In Today's Issue

The News

Microsoft and Facebook CEOs have personal phone calls with Treasurer and PM about mandatory media bargaining code

Apparently Zuck has been on the blower trying to convince the Australian treasurer to tone down the proposed mandatory media bargaining code. The treasurer said "it was a very constructive discussion", but that "Mark Zuckerberg didn't convince me to back down". Meanwhile, the communications minister revealed that "the Microsoft CEO reached out to the prime minister" and they had a "very informative discussion about Microsoft’s interest in the Australian market", adding that "Microsoft, a giant American corporation, an information technology powerhouse, is very significantly interested in the market opportunity in Australia, should Google choose to withdraw its presence in search in Australia" - i.e: fuck Google, we can use Bing instead!

Upcoming iOS 14.5 will let you unlock iPhone with an Apple Watch if you're wearing a mask

The next versions of iOS and watchOS will come with a feature to unlock your iPhone with an Apple Watch if you're wearing a mask - "once turned on, you can begin unlocking your ‌iPhone‌ with an unlocked and authenticated Apple Watch while wearing a mask. The first time you go to unlock your ‌iPhone‌ with Apple Watch after enabling the feature you'll need to enter a passcode, but after that, Apple Watch unlocking is smooth, seamless, and quick". A beta was released today for developers, here's a video of this feature in action. iOS 14.5 also brings the ability for an iPhone 12 to have 5G on both connections when using an eSIM, support for Xbox Series X & PS5 controllers and a bunch of other mild updates.

Two civilian space tourist missions set to lauch late 2020/early 2021 on SpaceX rockets

SpaceX and Axiom Space have announced two separate civilian space missions. Axiom revealed their mission last week, with former astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria leading Larry Connor, Mark Pathy and Eytan Stibbe on a joyride to the ISS where they'll stay for eight days. The three civilians paid US$55m each for an expected take off no earlier than Jan 2022. The Inspiration-4 mission will be all-civilian, with Jared Isaacman, founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, paying for the entire thing himself. The other three seats will be filled by "an ambassador of St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital", a winner of a raffle (that you win by donating to St. Jude) and "an inspirational entrepreneur who has used the power of Shift4Shop to launch their dream business". This mission is planned for "no earlier than Q4 2021" and will "travel across a low earth orbit on a multi-day journey". When will SpaceX let middle-aged obese men with no training visit the ISS for under $1000, that's what I wanna know.

Something I Saw On The Internet

Happy 20th birthday to everyone's favourite app with a traffic cone icon, VLC

Can you believe that VLC is 20 years old today? On the 1st of Feb, 2001, the Ecole Centrale Paris open sourced its little project to play video over a network - hence the name Video LAN Client (VLC!) and set it up as a non-profit run by volunteers. The fact it's a non-profit is probably the main reason VLC is still a fucking little ripper of an app 20 years later. It's one of those sadly rare programs in 2021 that doesn't nag you to upgrade to VLC Pro+ 2021 Deluxe, insert apps that are borderline malware with its installer, sell off user data for a few bucks or gets investment from some wanker who promises not to change anything then 2 years later totally screwed it. VLC just plays any video file you throw at it and doesn't cost a damn cent. Here's a great article from Nov 2019 that highlights how special VLC is as an organisation. More software should be like this.


The End

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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.​