As of the 21st of December, the Sizzle will be in holiday mode. There will be stuff all news anyways, so instead of scraping the bottom of the barrel for uninteresting press releases, I’ll release a weekly Sizzle on the 27th of December and the 3rd of January, with regular daily emails resuming on the 4th of January.
Dropbox ditches Mailbox and Carousel
Dropbox has unceremoniously ditched its standalone apps Mailbox and Carousel. Carousel won’t be missed, but Mailbox was quite popular and its demise on the 26th of Feb will force many people to choose a new mail client. Dropbox reckons they’re canning these apps so they can focus on the main Dropbox service itself. Dropbox spent $100m on Mailbox in 2013. I wonder if they got a good return on that investment?.
IBM “miss the mark” trying to get more women into tech and science
IBM’s marketing department put their foot in it yesterday, in a typical example of “heart in the right place, brain in the 50s” attempt to get more women interested in science and tech. A series of videos showed hair dryers being used in alternative scenarios, aka “hacking” a hair dryer, because women identify with hair dryers and hacking is what people do with technology now, they hack it. IBM’s since pulled the videos and apologised for missing the mark. Anna Spargo-Ryan’s opinion on the situation is worth a read.
US government re-iterates that it wants Silicon Valley to become a state vassal
The US government currently has an infatuation with Silicon Valley assisting them to defend us against ISIS. Hillary Clinton wants tech companies to disable terrorist communication tools (whatever that means) and President Obama gave a televised speech from the oval office asking Silicon Valley to “make it harder for terrorists to use technology to escape from justice” (which translates to give us backdoors into your software and weaken your encryption). Gonna be a lot of rock and hard place moments for the generally left leaning tech companies in the near future.
Neflix is doubling the amount of original content and takes up a third of US Internet capacity
Netflix has said that they’re going to double production of it’s own original content in 2016. There will be 31 scripted series released next year, in addition to a bunch of movies, documentaries and stand up specials. I love the Netflix original stuff – Master of None, Sense8 and the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt are great and people love Orange is the New Black and House of Cards (I should watch House of Cards). It’s no surprise then, that Netflix makes up a third of all US Internet traffic during peak hours – an impressive stat.
PAX will hit Melbourne again on the 4-6th of November, 2016 – tickets on sale now
If you’re thinking about going to PAX in 2016, you should buy a ticket now. It’s on again in Melbourne and will be in November 2016 instead of September, to avoid a clash with the Spring Racing Carnival. Tickets are on sale now and sell out super fast, so plan ahead (like a year ahead! Tickets are bit cheaper if you buy before Christmas too) and grab your opportunity to overdose on all the gaming culture you can handle.
New range of AC3100 and AC5300 wi-fi routers might not improve your wi-fi speeds
4×4 data stream 802.11ac enabled wi-fi routers are out, you may have seen them branded as AC3100 and AC5300 and Small Network Builder has decided to look into what, if any real world difference these new 4×4 units bring. Looks like the difference is marginal and on 5GHz can sometimes make things worse. An AC3100/5300 router also won’t increase or improve signal quality, if that’s what you’re after. I still contend that RF is black magic only understood fully by a handful of wizards and this backs me up.
Ookla’s Speedtest is now available without Flash
Ookla’s speed test is finally ditching Flash – so you can run speed tests on your Internet connection all day and not have to worry about installing shitty old Flash on your desktop computer. It’s still covered in a disgusting mish mash of ads, but I guess that’s part of the deal. Don’t forget Ookla’s Android and iOS apps – handy to see if there’s an issue with your Internet connection when you’re on 3G/4G.
Cheap local stock of genuine Xiaomi battery packs
There’s a good deal from Mushtato on genuine Xiaomi battery packs at the moment. $21.50 for the nice and slim 5000mAh unit (my personal favourite), $25.40 for the 10,000mAh and #39.95 for the big 16,000mAh battery pack. They’re shipped from Australia, so if you buy now, you’ll certainly get them before Christmas. Everyone needs one of these, and the Xiaomi ones are fantastic quality for the price.
Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)