Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Government Spies Are Using Twitter

Twitter warns users about spies, Internet Explorer shrinks to nothing, Microsoft has 10 free albums waiting for you, Apple desperately wants you to upgrade, and Saturday Night Live mocks toy collectors.

Twitter Warns of State Sponsored Attacks

Twitter has started warning users that their accounts may have been hacked by “state-sponsored actors […] possibly associated with a government.” The number of users notified that they have been targeted is unclear, but a handful have now published the warning they received on Friday (December 11).
Those affected have been warned that their username, IP address, email address, and phone number may have been obtained. However, according to Motherboard, there seems little to connect those targeted apart from an interest in security, activism, or free speech. Some have loose connections to the Tor Project.
Twitter is just the latest company to notify users when they’re targeted in this way. Google has had such a policy since 2012, and in October 2015 Facebook publicly announced it was following suit. However, the notices are the first indication Twitter has changed its policy in this way, with no previous public pronouncement.

Watch Chrome Eat Internet Explorer

It may be a difficult concept to grasp now, but at one time in our very recent past Internet Explorer was THE Web browser of choice. Microsoft owned in terms of market share for many years, remaining popular despite the challenges offered by Firefox, Opera, and Safari.

However, everything changed in 2008 when Google released Chrome. It quickly gained a foothold, and then grew to become the most popular Web browser around. A position it retains to this day. The video above, as discovered by The Next Web, gracefully shows how Chrome ate away at the dominance of Internet Explorer.
It’s a beautifully made video which truly brings home the impact Chrome had on the browser market. Internet Explorer still isn’t dead, but with Microsoft switching focus to Edge, its days are very much numbered. Predictions for the date of its ultimate demise on a postcard please. 

Microsoft Rewards Windows 10 Users

Microsoft is currently giving away 10 of the most popular albums released in 2015 for free to Windows 10 users. As announced on the Windows Blog, the company is extending the offer to “Windows 10 fans as a gift from us for the holidays, and to say thank you for the support!” 

Albums on offer completely for free for a limited time only include Chaos and The Calm by James Bay, Sound and Color by Alabama Shakes, Revival by Selena Gomez, and Delirium by Ellie Goulding. The free downloads are available by following the individual links on the Windows Blog post.
Unfortunately, the offer only applies to people using Windows 10 devices in the United States. Because Microsoft hates the rest of the world. Probably.

Apple Is Desperate for You to Upgrade

Apple appears to be pushing its fans to upgrade to newer devices in a much more aggressive manner than before, employing popup ads on the Apple Store for the first time. Anyone using an iPhone 5s or older device is being hit with a popup advertising the iPhone 6s, which Apple describes as “Ridiculously Powerful.”
According to 9to5Mac, Apple has always used the Apple Store to advertise new products to existing users, but this represents a change in strategy. The popup hides the page users are viewing, and they have to click Skip to acknowledge they have seen it. 
We can only assume that the next step will be Apple sending someone around to your house to beg you to upgrade from your crappy, two-year-old device. Because the new one is so much shinier. OK, so the battery life sucks so much you have to buy an ugly battery case, but that’s surely a small price to pay.

SNL Mocks Adult Toy Collectors


And finally, the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, which opens on December 17th, has brought with it a host of new toys. These toys are primarily aimed at children, who will take them out of the packets and play with them. However, there is another set of toy collectors keen to get their hands on the new releases.
Adult toy collectors generally buy toys to keep them for the longterm. They won’t remove them from the packets, instead keeping them safely stored away for the future. These people aren’t harming anyone, and their hobby is about as inoffensive as hobbies get. However, that hasn’t stopped Saturday Night Live from mocking them.
Is it just me or did SNL used to be so much better?

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Is Twitter right to warn its users they’re being spied on? When will Internet Explorer die completely? Is Microsoft right to reward Windows 10 users? Are Apple’s nagging popup ads a step too far? What do you think of adults who collect Star Wars toys?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Image Credits: Beau Giles via Flickr  Source: www.makeuseof.com

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