Issue 1407 - Wednesday 14th July, 2021

In Today's Issue

The News

Google fined 500m euro for not playing ball with French media outlets

Google has been given a 500 million euro fine/speeding ticket/fuck you fee by the French competition authority for not fully complying with a law mandating it negotiate in good faith with media companies for the use of their content on Google services. It's a bit complicated (the regulator's press release has more detail) but what I think it boils down to is instead of paying the media companies, Google just stopped using their content (snippets & photos mostly), which the regulator is interpreting as not negotiating in good faith and an abuse of its market power. Google's fucked if they do, fucked if they don't - kinda like what happened here.

Cuban government shuts down bulk of internet during protests

Cuba is in the middle of massive protests over "shortages of food and medicine and the government's response to the resurgent COVID-19 pandemic" and the government's response to these protests has been to shut off social media and internet messaging. According to NetBlocks, state-run telco ETECSA (the only lawfully allowed enterprise in Cuba to offer Internet and mobile phone services) blackholed Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Telegram and according to Reuters, people in Havana don't have mobile data at all. Time for Cuban nerds to rise up and build an underground mesh wi-fi network using smuggled hardware.

Official Apple MagSafe battery pack is now a thing

Apple's gone and released a MagSafe Battery Pack for the iPhone. It has a magnet in it that snaps on to the back of an iPhone 12 and wirelessly charges said iPhone at a rate of 5W. Plug the battery in to a 20W+ charger and it'll charge the phone at 15W and charge the battery at 5W. It's not a very big battery (~1500mAh) and isn't enough to fully top up an iPhone's battery entirely. By default it won't even charge the iPhone to 100%, you need to turn on Low Power Mode to charge past 90%. The battery is $139. There's other "magnetic" (they're not allowed to say the word MagSafe) iPhone 12 batteries out there for less cash, but they don't get the slick integration and reverse charging.

Something I Saw On The Internet

A review of IKEA & Sonos's Symfonisk picture frame speaker

The Verge has a review of the latest product in IKEA & Sonos's Symfonisk range, a wall art speaker". Hang this speaker on your wall, pick a nice cover for it and it's a picture that makes sound. It ties in to the rest of the Sonos ecosystem and apparently sounds pretty good - very similar to a Sonos One that costs about the same too. Get two and they can be used as rear surround speakers with an Arc or Beam - that is very cool. Renters will be pleased to know that a couple of 3M Command strips did a good job holding the frame up. Shame about the power cord dangling down but whatever. Costs $199 in the USA, so would probably sell for around $299 here when IKEA Australia get it some time in 2022.

Bargains

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.‚Äč