The Sizzle

Issue 503 - Thursday, 19th October 2017


New Adobe stuff, Lightroom gets an overhaul
Adobe is in the middle of its annual Max conference and they showed off a mix of new apps and big updates to existing ones. New is Adobe XD, an "all-in-one user interface tool" (i.e: wireframing on steroids), Character Animator and Dimension. There's now two version of Lightroom - Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC. Lightroom CC has been redesigned to be a bit more friendly for new/casual users, whereas Lightroom Classic CC is the Lightroom you know and love right now, but still updated with new features and shit. Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere, InDesign and other apps in the suite got updated too. Adobe's Creative Cloud YouTube channel and blog has more detail on all new stuff.
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Samsung announces Bixby 2.0 and new IoT framework
Version 2.0 of Bixby, Samsung's voice assistant, was announced at their developer conference today (Samsung has a developer conference?). Bixby 2.0 is centered around a new IoT platform called SmartThings Cloud, which brings together a mish-mash of previous Samsung frameworks into one framework that'll allow 3rd party developers to make it easier than ever to shout at your Galaxy phone and have your other Samsung devices do stuff. The fact it'll be an "open platform" is cool, but really, is anyone gonna spend their time adding Bixby support when there's already Siri, Alexa, Cortana and Google Assistant out there? Also at the conference was Samsung saying they'll support ARCore, Google's augmented reality framework, which was previously only supported on the Pixel devices.
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A reminder that ARM based Windows 10 laptops are coming soon
Microsoft and Qualcomm have piped up with some new info about their plan to bring ARM based laptops running Windows 10 to market by the end of 2017. They've confirmed devices will be using the Snapdragon 835 SoC, that there's "hundreds" in testing around Microsoft HQ and that they'll certainly be released by the end of the year. What's most exciting is the prospect of multi-day battery life - more like a tablet (recharge every few days) than a laptop. Personally, I'm hoping this gives Apple a kick up the arse to bring their vastly superior A11 SoC to the Mac.
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Apple are still making a robocar
With all the hype around GM's Cruise, Google's Waymo and Tesla's Autopilot, it's easy to forget Apple are quietly working away on their own robocar too. MacCallister Higgins (who is a co-founder of a shittier robocar startup) posted some pics to Twitter of what appears to be Apple's latest version of hardware, sitting on top of a Lexus SUV. This new kit has "six Velodyne-made LIDAR sensors, several radar units, and a number of cameras — all encased in Apple-esque white plastic". The setup looks way bigger than the competition's, arguably, because Apple could be placing all the required hardware, including computers, into the roof rig, rather than hiding it in the boot - making it something relatively easy to attach to existing cars. Of course, "an Apple spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment", so it'll probably be a decade until we know what's going on here.
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auDA wants to introduce direct .au domain rego, AAP misunderstands
I saw this really brief article pop up on Twitter that the federal government has announced a review of the .au domain extension, to "identify risks for .au in a rapidly changing digital landscape". My first thought was, what the hell is this? What is there to review? There's risks that need assessing?! The TLD is .au and.. what else is there to say or do? But after a quick Google, I read that auDA wants to allow "direct" registrations of domains (e.g: instead of and auDA (not the government, even though auDA has a teeny-tiny government connection) is running a "Policy Review Panel" to get feedback and stuff. So yeah, just a case of an AAP wire journo not knowing what the fuck they're talking about.
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It looks like we may have passed the Uncanny Valley
You're all familiar with the concept of the Uncanny Valley, right? When something that's supposed to look human looks really human, but slightly isn't, the effect is weird and unsettling. According to this video essay by Alan Warburton, the CGI industry has busted past the Uncanny Valley. It's not a generally accepted statement, but Alan argues that it is. Artists can now create any scene they like using software. Just look at the latest blockbuster films - the destruction looks incredibly real. Over time, this technology will filter down to those without a $100m VFX budget, which inevitably leads to what we do with this technology in a post-truth society. What happens when any scenario can be faked and it becomes almost impossible to determine if it is real?
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Windows 10 has built-in screen projection over a LAN
Did you know that Windows 10 has a built in feature that allows you to use a 2nd computer as a 2nd monitor? It's in "Settings | System | Projecting to this PC" and it magically works over your local network. I just did it between two laptops and it's pretty damn smooth. The other laptop appears just like an extra plugged in monitor in the display settings - just it's running over the network instead of a cable. There's a little latency between mouse movement and keyboard input as my 2nd laptop doesn't support Miracast, but it's very, very slight. Nifty!
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Microsoft's bringing back the IntelliMouse!
I'm probably not the only one with fond memories of the Microsoft IntelliMouse. Back in the 90s, that mouse was awesome - it had a goddamn scroll wheel and that cool red optical light instead of a ball you had to constantly clean. It was amazing! Sheeeeet, in 2017 that mouse is still fantastic. No bullshit 400 buttons, smooth scroll wheel, comfortable and cheap. It hasn't been on sale for a while, but Microsoft are bringing it back. It's basically the IntelliMouse 3.0 with a modern 3200 DPI sensor and that's it. I don't think I could go back to using a wired mouse, but damn, I'm tempted.
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Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

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