The Sizzle

Issue 327 - Wednesday, 8th February 2017


4 million premises now have access to the NBN
NBN has been busy with the press releases today. First is the announcement of 4 million premises now able to access an NBN service. Just 1.8m of those premises have actually bothered to get an NBN service. Remember the promise that every house will be hooked up by the end of 2016, hahaha. They aren't even half way! NBN also announced the creation of a "skunkworks" to "uncover the intersection between emerging technologies and the future of NBN". English translation: they're setting up a group within NBN that can identify any new tech that the NBN might find useful. I would have assumed that would be a constant thing NBN does, but who knows what these ratfuckers do all day besides undermining our country's economic future.

Facebook's video playback stats drop 94% now that they're not faking it
The latest video streaming stats from Nielsen (a very important metric for where advertisers decide to throw their money) has shown a massive drop in numbers for Facebook. Video streams dropped by 94% on Facebook in Australia. YouTube's meanwhile, remained steady. Facebook admitted to fudging the numbers last year, but this is the first independent data released since that admission. In August 2016, Facebook said it had 12.5 billion video streams. In October and November, that figure dropped to 560m. Tsk tsk tsk.

Twitter adds some anti-abuse measures that probably won't do much
Twitter's attempts to stem the flow of abuse has increased today, with some new features it hopes will calm everyone down. There will be improved fraud detection so bastards don't keep signing up for new accounts and better "post quality" monitoring, so posts Twitter thinks are crap, will be hidden from view in searches and conversation threads. God speed little blue bird.

Google's deep learning can create a detailed image from a pixelated one
Google's deep learning efforts have shown off the ability to automatically enhance pixelated images to render something with more detail. From just 64 pixels, Google Brain (just one of Alphabet's deep learning groups) was able to create a face with 32 x 32 pixels that's clearly identifiable. Part of how it does this, is to take high resolution images, turn them into 8 x 8 pixel images, then compare the downsized images to the input 8 x 8 image to see what looks similar. Thanks to Sam on Twitter for bringing it to my attention!

Researchers show how anonymous browsing history can be used to identify you
Researchers at Standford and Princeton have been able to take someone's anonymous browsing history, link it to their public info on social networks and reveal who that browsing history belongs to - with a 72% success rate. This sort of info is gold for advertisers, who track people's browsing via all sorts of cookies and Javascript trackers across websites. Using a VPN thwarts this a little, with TOR being the strongest defence. Just another reminder that the internet is an evil place that always out to get you.


Logitech has improved quality webcams
If you want a webcam with higher quality video than 1080p30, Logitech has finally released one with a bit more grunt. The 4K Pro and Brio webcams can now record and stream in 1080p60 and 4k30 resolutions. It even supports Windows Hello (which I think is a fucking awesome feature Apple needs to steal) and HDR mode for more even lighting in ya next webinar. The new cams aren't up on the Australian Logitech site yet, but I can't imagine them being far away.

The Met unleashes 375,000 public domain images of its collection
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has made 375,000 digital images of its amazing collection of art free to use. These public domain artworks are now covered under Creative Commons and can be legally used for pretty much anything. They even made a GitHub repo of the image metadata (like descriptions, dates, etc.) and have worked with Wikimedia to use this content in the various Wiki projects around the place. Creative Commons also launched a new search engine to find content using its licence. Sometimes the internet doesn't suck.

Honda realises nobody wants a fuel cell hydrogen car, partners with Hitachi to make EV motors
Honda make excellent cars, so it's a relief to see that they've finally realised electric cars are a thing people want. Honda has stubbornly focused on fuel cells and hydrogen being the way cars are powered, so to catch up, they've partnered with Hitachi to create a joint venture company to make electric motors for passenger vehicles. Honda is still a solid decade behind, but at least they've listened. The more electric cars the better. Focussing on anything but electric cars powered by batteries is just a esoteric research project, not a product you can sell in volume.

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Like The Sizzle? Like it on Facebook!