Google Photos Kills Picasa, Unix Flaw Bricks iPhones… [Tech News Digest]

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Google retires Picasa after 14 years, your iPhone has bad memories of the 1970s, Netflix goes all in on Amazon Web Services. the Nigerian scam no one will fall for, and jamming with Google Translate.

Google Photos Kills Picasa

Google is retiring Picasa in order to entirely focus on Google Photos. Picasa started life outside Google in 2002, allowing users to organize and edit their photos before sharing them online. Google acquired Picasa in 2004, and it rapidly grew into a very popular application.

In 2015 Google launched Google Photos, a standalone service spun out of Google+. This was seen as the natural successor to Picasa, and that’s exactly how things have played out. The Picasa desktop app will die on March 15th, with Picasa Web Albums following suit on May 1st.

Thankfully, transitioning from Picasa to Google Photos is as easy as logging into the latter, as all photos and videos have already been moved across. However, practicality doesn’t always trump nostalgia, and we’re sure there will be people mourning the end of Picasa even though there’s a ready-made replacement in the form of Google Photos.

Unix Date Flaw Disables iPhones

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Another day, another serious problem for iPhone users. Hot on the heels of Error 53, which bricks your iPhone if and when the Home Button is repaired by someone other than Apple, comes the Unix date flaw. To be fair, this is less likely to happen to most people, and there is a way of fixing the device. However, it’s still newsworthy.

This particular problem occurs when the date on your iPhone (or iPad) is changed to January 1st, 1970. After a reboot, the iDevice ceases to function, displaying nothing but the Apple logo. Thankfully, the date resets when the battery dies (or is removed), and boots up normally afterwards. However, it’s still a major annoyance.

Of course, no one is dumb enough to do this to their own phone, but we all have friends (yes, even Apple fanboys), some of whom like to play pranks. There’s also a risk (albeit a small one) that someone, somewhere will prank a larger group of users by spoofing an NTP (Network Time Protocol) update.

So, why January 1st, 1970? Because that’s the first day of the Unix epoch, and any Unix-like system works on the basis of the number of seconds that have passed since then. As explained by Ars Technica, this is stored as a 32-bit number, which is why 64-bit iPhones and iPads are struggling to cope.

Netflix Relies on Amazon

Netflix is now completely reliant on Amazon, having moved all of its customer-facing services to Amazon Web Services (AWS). It has been a long road to get to this point, with Netflix beginning its epic journey to the cloud in 2008, but as of January 2016, the streaming company completed the move, and “shut down the last remaining data center bits” it was using.

For those interested, Yuri Izrailevsky, Netflix’ VP of cloud and platform engineering, has written an extensive blog post detailing the move. However, the most interesting part for us is Netflix relying on a company it’s actually competing with. Amazon Prime Video is a direct competitor to Netflix, and Amazon would benefit from Netflix experiencing “problems”. Which must surely constitute as a serious conflict of interests.

The Worst Nigerian Scam of All Time


Nigerian scams, also known as the advance-fee scam or 419 scam, have been around almost as long as the Internet. Essentially they involve an email promising a big cash reward for helping someone out; the caveat being the need to send money in the other direction first. Suffice to say, the money only ever travels in one direction, and the promised payout never arrives.

Shockingly, people still fall for this scam. However, we don’t think anyone would be dumb enough to fall for the latest one. This particular Nigerian scam, as discovered by Anorak, suggests there’s a Nigerian astronaut who has been stuck on a secret Russian space station since 1990. He has earned $15 million since then, but to get to that loot we first need to bring him home.

It’s a truly ridiculous story that anyone in their right mind would immediately dismiss as fantastical claptrap. It also bears some resemblance to The Martian, the serially published book that became a movie starring Matt Damon. But it’s not true, and nor was The Martian. So if you receive this email immediately send it to your trashcan while laughing hysterically.

Google Translate Meets Bass Guitar

And finally, an Italian funk bassist, who goes by the name of Davie504 on YouTube, has created an awesome song with a little help from Google Translate. The audio playback of various numbers and odd combinations of letters provides a simple framework for the bass guitar licks.

Of course, it’s this guy’s bass guitar-playing skills which really makes this video, but Google Translate definitely helps things along. So much so that this could be the start of a new genre. Hell, if hard drives can be used to make music, surely any piece of technology can. [H/T Reddit]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Are you sorry to see the end of Picasa? How tempted are you to set your iPhone back to 1970? Is Netflix asking for trouble by relying on Amazon? Have you ever seen a more ridiculous Nigerian scam? What’s the most fun you have had with Google Translate?

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.

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