Believe it or not, we don’t cover every piece of tech news here at SnapMunk. In an effort to keep you apprised of all things relevant in the world of technology and startups, here are some noteworthy tech news items that didn’t get a full column this week but certainly deserve a glance.
WhatApp has over 1 billion users, making it the second largest self-contained communication network outside of Facebook itself. This week the founders made the momentous decision to add end-to-end encryption to every element of the service. Now not even WhatsApp employees have access to the data, meaning that if the FBI comes calling, WhatsApp won’t be able to comply with any court orders. The moral of the story is basically that everyone now hates the FBI.
With North Carolina governor Pat McCrory signing legislation that requires transgender people to use bathrooms that comport with their “gender at birth”, PayPal announced that it is canceling plans to open a global operations center in the state. The center would have provided around 400 jobs for North Carolina residents.
In a move that proves Twitter still has no idea who or what it wants to be, the company won the rights to stream NFL games on Thursday nights this coming season. The company is said to have beaten out Amazon, Verizon, and Facebook in the bid. Yes, the game will certainly attract users to the site, but the NFL and Twitter? It reminds me of the HBO / Sesame Street deal.
With the Internet increasingly becoming a visual, image-driven medium, blind people are being left in the margins. Facebook aims to remedy that by creating an AI system that can automatically interpret and describe photos to blind users. Currently the AI can recognize about 80 kinds of images and scenes, including cars, boats, tennis, basketball, ice cream, sushi, and a host of other items.
This is like something out of Mission Impossible, minus Tom Cruise constantly sprinting everywhere. Samsung has been granted a patent in South Korea for contact lenses with a display that projects directly into the wearer’s eyes. A built-in camera and sensors are controlled by blinking. Embedded antennas beam the content to a smartphone for processing. This is either really cool or really creepy. Still trying to figure out which.
Another reason not to own a dog! All dogs in England, Scotland, and Wales are now legally required to be microchipped. Owners who fail to comply could face a hefty fine. When a dog is microchipped, a small trackable device is inserted in the loose skin on the back of its neck. The chip contains a 15 digit code, which is maintained in a database, making it much simpler to reunite lost dogs with owners. Which sucks for dogs who ran away from their owners.
This story just keeps getting weirder and weirder. The FBI announced that it purchased a tool from a third party which allowed it to unlock the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter. But apparently the tool only works on the iPhone 5c, and not any of the other iPhone models. So does this mean that if they need to unlock another version of the iPhone they’ll be back in the courtroom with Apple? Will this ever end?
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!
Stephen Altrogge is a freelance writer based in Tallahassee, Florida. He writes about tech, marketing, faith, and lots of other things. He’s married to Jen and has three young girls. Every day he consumes more coffee than the entire population of Colombia. He knows more about Star Wars than any respectable man should, and he runs more than any sane man would. He once attempted to eat a 2 pound hamburger in under an hour. He failed.
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