Apple Bricks iPhones On Purpose, Google Tackles ISIS With Ads… [Tech News Digest]

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Error 53 can kill your iPhone, Google uses ads to deter terrorism, Yahoo Games is no more, The Frinkiac is a search engine for The Simpsons, and the robot golfer who scored a hole-in-one.

Apple Kills Repaired iPhones

Thousands of Apple fans have had their iPhones bricked when upgrading to iOS 9. And, according to The Guardian, it’s all to do with Error 53, which renders the phone unusable if anyone other than Apple itself has tampered with it. This includes people who have had their iPhones repaired somewhere other than an Apple Store.

Error 53 has been a known issue ever since Apple released iOS 9 in September 2015. However, no one quite knew what it was, and the number of users adversely affected by it has grown as more people have upgraded to iOS 9. We now know this has everything to do with TouchID, and only Apple has the capacity to pair the fingerprint data with the sensor.

This effectively means that when anyone else repairs an iPhone, that pairing fails, rendering the iPhone unusable. On the face of it this is a clever safeguard, securing someone’s data if and when their phone is tampered with. But it also means Apple is bricking its own customers’ iPhones on purpose for daring to get it repaired by an unauthorized party.

Apple recommends contacting the Apple Support if you’re ever faced with an Error 53 message. However, getting your iPhone fixed at that point could be impossible, and will certainly cost a small fortune. Which is why so many people turn to third-party repairers in the first place. And if you’re one of those people, you may want to hold off from upgrading to iOS 9.

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Google Ads target ISIS Searches

Google is helping to tackle extremism by targeting specific ads at anyone searching for information on ISIS. While these users will not be redirected or have their search results tampered with, they will see ads designed to offer a narrative counter to that promoted by ISIS.

According to The Guardian, Anthony House, a senior manager at Google, told a British home affairs select committee:

“We should get the bad stuff down, but it’s also extremely important that people are able to find good information, that when people are feeling isolated, that when they go online, they find a community of hope, not a community of harm.”

What this means is that non-profit organizations fighting against radicalization will have their ads displayed prominently via a Google AdWords Grants program. These non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will place their ads alongside search terms of their choosing.

Google is one of a number of companies under pressure to help fight ISIS in the digital realm. As well as this advertising effort, Google is promising to make anti-radicalization videos easier to find on YouTube in an effort to dissuade people from joining ISIS.

Yahoo Games Is Shutting Down

Yahoo Games, which has been online for 13 years at this point, is shutting down. The news was buried amongst the major changes occurring at the company, which is being downsized and restructured, with around 15 percent of staff due to be laid off. But the shuttering of Yahoo Games may be more surprising to some than any of that.

Having an online games portal made a lot of sense for Yahoo in the 2000s. But then smartphones became a thing, and Angry Birds ushered in the age of mobile gaming. At which point Yahoo Games started to resemble a relic of a former time. So the surprise is that it has taken this long for Yahoo to pull the plug.

Search Through Clips of The Simpsons

Fans of The Simpsons can now access a dedicated search engine filled with clips and screenshots from their favorite show. The Frinkiac, as it has been dubbed by its developers, Sean Schultz, Allie Young and Paul Lehrer, “parses episodes and generates screen captures”.

All you need to do is input a quote from the show, and The Frinkiac will find all screenshots which match that quote. If you want to create a meme out of that screenshot, you select the option, and the quote is pasted on top of the screenshot in the classic meme fashion.

The Frinkiac currently covers the first 15 seasons of the show, and the developers aren’t yet sure they’ll be adding subsequent seasons to it. However, that shouldn’t really matter, as The Simpsons was a lot better in its early days anyway, so the most memorable quotes will already be there.

This Robot Golfer Scored a Hole-In-One

And finally, golfers can play for a lifetime without ever getting a hole-in-one, and yet it took a robot just five attempts. This amazing achievement happened on the 163-yard 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale during a Phoenix Open event. And the assembled crowd went wild when the ball dropped in the hole.

The robot who achieved this hole-in-one is called Eldrick, and he’s used to testing golf gear for Golf Laboratories. These robots can be programmed to play particular shots, with minute adjustments being made until the perfect shot is achieved. So, it’s not only our jobs they’re taking! [H/T PGA.com]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Is Apple right to brick iPhones it didn’t repair? Should Google get involved in the war on terrorism? Will you miss Yahoo Games? Do you still watch The Simpsons? Would you watch golf played by robots?

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.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

Image Credit: Alan Levine via Flickr

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