The Sizzle

Issue 396 - Friday, 19th May 2017


Google I/O, Day 2 - they really want VR to be a thing
Day 2 at Google I/O is all about VR. I don't really care about this, but Google sure does. YouTube will be in VR! Other viewers of videos will be able to voice chat with each other - can't wait to be part of that amazing discourse. Google Daydream is now close to being a full Android UI, with Chrome in VR and stuff and will be able to be Chromecasted to a TV so everyone in the room can see what you're seeing. The MLB's At Bat app will be in VR too, because why the fuck not? Google also announced the ability to send money to people via their own Google Payments platform via Google Assistant. Google.

Facebook fined by the EU for saying they can't link WhatsApp user info with Facebook user info
Facebook has been slapped with a €110m fine by the EU for lying to the EU about its ability to link WhatsApp and Facebook user info, during the EU's merger approval process. In 2014, Facebook told the EU "nah we can't link customer info, even if we wanted to", then in 2016, they did just that, the slimy fucks. It's just cost of doing business for these data hoarding grubs. But hey, at least they're doing something (I can't tell from the article what, exactly) about clickbait in your News Feed, I guess.

Laptops won't be banned from US-EU flights, nor EU-US-AU flights
That whole thing about the US banning electronics in the cabin between the EU and USA, that Australia will probably do too because we copy everything the USA does (except the good stuff like deep dish pizza)? Not happening. Talks between EU and US regulators lead to the decision not to change anything. Probably because the EU told the US that placing loads of potentially flammable batteries in the cargo hold isn't a smart idea.

Uber Freight - it's Uber but for trucks
Uber now moves more than people and food around, but also big stuff in big trucks. The newly announced Uber Freight is a way for contract truckies to find cargo that needs moving via an app. Companies with stuff to move post their requests on a marketplace and drivers can pick the jobs that sound good. It's mostly in Texas for now, but you can assume this'll roll out to the rest of the world pretty quickly - there's way less regulatory hurdles here as it's already a pretty standard thing for truck drivers to do, just Uber's made it less shitty. Of course, this is just a way to get some marketshare until Uber's fleet of self-driving trucks becomes reliable enough not to kill innocent bystanders.

Electric car news from Ford, Nissan and Qualcomm
A few tiny bits of potentially exciting electric car news, that on their own aren't worth much but together, create a hopeful scenario for those of us who want an EV but can't afford a Tesla. Ford is planning to release its first EV from scratch (the ones so far are just ICE models with a battery slapped in), which will be a cross-over (think small SUV) in 2020 that will have 300 miles range and be "mass market". Nissan have released a teaser pic of a headlight of the 2nd gen LEAF that should be out in 2018 - ridiculous, but still, I'm excited. Qualcomm has a 100m test track that can recharge an electric car whilst it's driving via an electrified, contactless rail. Cool.


Android Auto vs. Apple CarPlay
Check out this video of Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay compared side by side in a Hyundai. Android Auto creams CarPlay. It's better in almost every single way. I know personally I love Google Maps and it works so well on Android Auto. Google Maps doesn't work on Apple's CarPlay. Even Google's voice recognition system is superior to Siri - pretty important for in the car. I love my iPhone but man, everything services related I use on it is run by Google (Gmail, Photos, Music, Maps, Sheets). I may as well use an Android phone, but they suck. I wish that cold war between Apple and Google never happened.

Web developers, you should subscribe to Front End Centre
I recently stumbled across these videos called Front End Centre. It's a very slick series of screencasts for those looking to create websites that don't look like trash. Every month Glen uploads two excellent quality videos about a topic to do with front end web development. I have absolutely no desire to learn any of this, but the vids are so well produced, I watched an entire 16 min video about image CDNs. There's some freebies up on YouTube, but if you do this stuff for a living, you really need to get a subscription.

Financial hot takes on AU tech companies
Little Hedge is another interesting website I found recently. It's got nothing to do with tech, but is an investment blog that explains how companies make money, what their prospects for the future are and tell you if you should invest. One of the companies they recently wrote about is NearMap. These guys fly around Australia taking photos from a few hundred meters up and make it available online for customers who need higher-res satellite images than Google Maps. They also look at some other tech related companies such as SpeedCast (a satellite internet reseller) and NextDC (a datacentre/hosting company). I find it interesting to read about how these companies take a technology and then use it to make fat stacks of cash - not so much for finding things to invest in because I have no money to invest (my pissant amount of shares in Vocus and Redflow are tanking).

Here endeth the sizzle (until Monday!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Join us on Slack and chat with other Sizzle subscribers. Know someone who could use a bit of Sizzle in their life? Buy them a gift subscription!