The Sizzle - Issue 1142

Monday 15th June, 2020

In This Issue

  • Internet Archive’s National Emergency Library ends two weeks earlier than planned

  • Smartphone camera company Light, no longer makes smartphone cameras

  • China’s GPS alternative to gain true global coverage by the end of June

  • Australian schools are at the mercy of tech companies while most parents don’t know what’s happening

  • Cheap Edifer speakers, Ryzen 9 CPU, Samsung 34" monitor, RTX2060 GPU, AirPods Pro, Yamaha amp, Boost Mobile & Catch Connect 12m SIMs, Uniden walkie talkie, 4TB Samsung SSD, Crumpler laptop bag


News

Internet Archive’s National Emergency Library ends two weeks earlier than planned

The Internet Archive has ended their National Emergency Library program two weeks earlier than planned. They launched the NEL at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as a way for people unable to access their local library to still get books to read. They basically turned off the DRM on the titles they normally restrict to one person at a time. This unsurprisingly pissed off publishers, who then sued the Internet Archive. Hopefully now that the Internet Archive stopped the NEL, the publishers call off their lawyers!

Smartphone camera company Light, no longer makes smartphone cameras

Who remembers Light? They had a point and shoot camera called the L16 that had 16 smartphone cameras on it, each with a different focal length instead of a zoom lens. I thought it was a relatively innovative idea, as did Nokia, Sony and Xiaomi who partnered with them. Nokia even released a smartphone using Light's tech (the Nokia 9 and its 5 cameras). A few years have passed since then and Light seems to have done nothing since. Android Authority dug into it and discovered that Light are "no longer operating in the smartphone industry", focusing on "machine vision for self-driving cars and other robots". The Nokia 9 didn't set the world on fire, so I guess the industry didn't think much of Light's approach.

China’s GPS alternative to gain true global coverage by the end of June

China's alternative to GPS, BeiDou (aka Big Dipper in Mandarin), will be complete when its final satellite launches at the end of the month. It joins Russia's GLONASS, the USA's GPS and Europe's Galileo as the fourth global navigation satellite system (GNSS) with worldwide coverage. Each country/region does their own thing because they don't trust the other to keep access going during some sort of conflict (good luck aiming those missiles via GPS if the USA decides to turn GPS off or reduce accuracy!). Pretty amazing that this sort of technology is so common place that 4 different groups can do it all themselves, shame it's all been done because it makes it easier to blow someone else up.


Not News

Australian schools are at the mercy of tech companies while most parents don’t know what’s happening

As an outsider to school tech (I don't have kids and don't work in it), The Monthly has a fascinating article about how many parents and teachers that Australian schools are flying blind, guided by tech company marketing instead of research when it comes to how kids use tech in schools. Then there's the the fact way more kids than you think don't have Internet access home, plus their parents have little to no idea how to use technology to guide their children through learning as a teacher would. Add on top the difference in quality of experience between rich families (latest devices, fast fixed-line Internet) and poor families (old devices, 4G/3G Internet) and you've just scratched the surface - the software sucks (most of it seems to be glorified poker machines or bland data entry), the legitimate issues with data collected via these platforms by companies like Google, the burden placed on teachers to manage it all and the immense cost for debatable outcomes.


Bargains


🎶 She Watch Channel Zero?! - Public Enemy

😁 The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Join us on Slack and chat with other Sizzle subscribers.

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The Sizzle is created on Wathaurong land and acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, recognising their continuing connection to land, water and community. I pay my respect to them and their cultures and to elders both past and present.​