Weekend Sizzle - Issue 2

Saturday 25th May, 2019

Free subscribers get this handy summary of recent tech news every weekend.

Paid subscribers get this news every afternoon, in more detail, alongside interesting tech related links and loads of links to cheap gadgets on sale - all for only $5/m.

News you missed

Google cuts off Huawei from Android after US national security ban

Google has cut itself off from Huawei following the US Goverment's recent decision to place Huawei on a threat to national security list. This means Huawei can no longer get access to the Google Play Store and other Google services. All Huawei can legally do now is take the open source bits of Android and make its own fork (i.e: pretty much what LineageOS does). Dunno what it means for existing Huawei device users, but it isn't pretty for Huawei outside of China (who already live without access to Google's services) going forward.

NAB customers can use Apple Pay at last

NAB finally implemented Apple Pay. You can grab your NAB issued Visa card (both credit and debit - I just added my NAB Visa debit card) and use it just like every other Apple Pay card on your iPhone or Apple Watch. NAB, along with a few other banks fought long and hard against Apple, all the way to the ACCC, saying the cut Apple wanted wasn't fair. But now Commonwealth Bank, Bendigo Bank and NAB all have it. Westpac is the final holdout and if you've seen Westpac's internet banking setup, it's probably because it's from 1998 and integration with Apple Pay is impossible, rather than Westpac wanting to keep treating its customers like mushrooms.

Modest MacBook Pro upgrade with slightly modified keyboard mechanism

Apple quietly released a speed bump to the MacBook Pro. Prices look the same, but you get faster CPUs. The top of the line 15-inch unit can be configured with an 8-core CPU that clocks up to 5GHz! I don't know how that is possible without the thin and poorly ventilated MacBook Pro chassis not spontaneously combusting. Besides the faster CPU, there's also a slight tweak to the materials used in the keyboard mechanism that Apple reckon will improve reliability. However, they've also immediately added this new MacBook Pro to the Keyboard Service Program, so yeah, the keyboard probably still sucks.

May 2019 feature update for Windows 10 is now live

Windows 10 1903 (aka the May 2019 Update) is now out and about for those who want it. Microsoft's changed up these feature updates are released, so unless you actively go and check for updates, it won't be funneled down to your PC and automatically installed - which for some people is a relief after the clusterfuck that was Windows 10 1809. There's now a "light mode" UI that I rather like, plus Windows Sandbox, which is kinda like a really simple virtual machine that lets you run a 2nd instance of Windows for messing around with. WinCentral has a list of all of the new stuff.

SpaceX successfully put 60 Starlink satellites into orbit

In less boondoggle-ish Elon Musk related endeavours, SpaceX successfully launched 60 of its Starlink satellites today, after 2 weeks of weather related delays. Musk said "this was one of the hardest engineering projects I’ve ever seen done, and it’s been executed really well" - if you go to around 1:21:30 in this video, you can see the cluster of satellites designed to blanket the globe in internet access let loose and slowly "fan out like a deck of cards into outer space". Pretty cool shit. Of all the things going on in tech these days, this kinda thing excites me.

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