The Sizzle

Issue 446 - Monday, 31st July 2017


NBN's Bill Morrow yelling at ISPs about CVC again
NBN CEO, Bill Morrow, has published a 7-page PDF and an accompanying ranty blog post, explaining how everything wrong with the NBN isn't the NBN's fault. The issue according to Bill, is that ISPs are not buying enough bandwidth or spending time to tell their customers higher speed options exist. He goes on to say that NBN has reduced CVC costs 3 times now and simply can't go any lower, or else NBN won't achieve a financial return on the government's massive investment. We can't have that now, can we? Classic, "I'm not mad, you're the one who is mad" stuff from the NBN. This article from IT News explains that unless something drastic is done, the NBN won't make a return on its investment as planned.

Tesla gives out proper Model 3 specs and US pricing
Tesla unveiled the full spec list and pricing (in USD) for the Model 3 on Saturday arvo. The base is US$35,000 and has a ~350km EPA range. A bigger battery that has up to ~500km miles of range is an extra US$90,00. Lots of other options, but I know the option all you nerds care about is is full self driving capability. That is US$8,000. The full option list is in that Inside EVs article I linked to. Dunno why Tesla hasn't yet put up a Model 3 config page, like it has for the Model S. Tesla has put up an FAQ regarding reservations however (over 500,000 people have plonked down cash). The first question - when will I get my Model 3? You can log in and see a rough ETA on delivery. Most Australians are slated for 2019. Ugh. In the meantime, this Austin Evans bloke has a decent video of what it was like to attend the launch event and Motor Trend has loads of pics from a review model they were given.

Apple removes VPN apps from Chinese App Store & Russia just bans them entirely
Apple has kicked out all the VPN apps from the Chinese App Store. It said that it's simply following Chinese law which states all VPN providers must now have a government licence to offer services. Not a licensed VPN provider that the government can keep an eye on? No App Store app for you. This makes it just that little bit harder for Chinese people to know what's happening in the rest of the world. Russia has seen this, gone "yes, we want that, but better" and is banning the use of VPN, proxies and Tor entirely as of November 1st, thanks to new laws signed by Putin. That's almost 2 billion people who have had their access to knowledge, let alone the ability to participate in debate about it, crippled.

Dates & pricing for AMD's Threadripper CPU and Vega GPU
AMD have oozed out a little more detail about their upcoming Threadripper CPU and Radeon RX Vega graphics cards. There will be three Threadripper variants - each with 8, 12 or 16 cores on a single CPU. They'll be out worldwide August 10th and cost US$549, $799 and $999 respectively. AMD's long awaited Vega range of graphics cards will be out on the 14th of August and we finally have some specs and pricing for the high end model - the AMD Radeon RX Vega 64, which comes in three variants. One air cooled, another air cooled "Limited Edition" with a metal heatsink shroud (lol who gives a shit) and one water-cooled beast model for super high clock speeds. The water-cooled one will cost US$699, the aircooled, US$499. Can't wait to see some benchmarks for these.

Solid rumours that new iPhone will have infra-red face detection
Last week, Apple released the upcoming HomePod smart speaker firmware for developers. It's actually a full version of iOS (v11.0.2) - basically an iPhone without a screen. That's mildly interesting on its own, but what's even more interesting is that inside that version of iOS, are icons and APIs relating to an as yet unreleased iPhone. The icon Steve Troughton-Smith dug up is of an iPhone that lacks a home button or TouchID on the front and just a little bar up the top for various sensors. Together with that icon, is code that relates to infra-red face unlock in BiometricKit, which is the framework responsible for Touch ID. No home button! Face unlocking! This new iPhone is gonna be interesting.


What's with all the Russian hackers?
What's the go with all the Russian hackers? Like, every time you hear about some nasty shit online, it's a Russian. Krebs has taken a look into this to see what's going on over there to incite all this info sec related activity. I thought it's because Russia is a hell hole of a country and there's just a lot of people with computer skills looking to get paid, but it's also because Russian kids are taught computer science quite early. Well there you go, teach em early, combine a depressing need for money with limited opportunity and you end up with a sophisticated hacker army.

P&G cut $100m from their digital ad spend and nothing changed
Proctor and Gamble, one of the biggest advertisers in the world, responsible for household brands such as Gillette, Oral-B, Vicks, Old Spice, Olay, cut US$100m out of its digital marketing spend last quarter and noticed that nothing changed. Sales remained the same. Essentially, that US$100m was a total waste of money. A chunk of that money was taken away from Facebook, which P&G found wasn't that effective when used to target specific customers. Practically the opposite of what Facebook and Google like to claim their platforms are best at. All those smart people, insanely funded, still can't sell fucking razor blades and cosmetics any better than a TV ad or billboard.

The USA also sucks at providing its citizens with cheap, fast internet
While we crap on about the NBN here, it's interesting to see how the USA, the wealthiest, richest country in the world, has its own problems in disseminating internet access to all its citizens. FiveThirtyEight, part of ESPN (yeah, weird) has a fascinating article focusing on some hick town in the middle of nowhere struggling to get online because even they can no longer ignore the need to have a decent internet connection in their daily lives. Rural areas in particular are already behind the curve when it comes to economic outcomes and without proper internet access, are going to be left even further behind.

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

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!