Also, PSN and Xbox Live are back online, Pinterest rolls out Promoted Pins, how to stream The Interview, and preferring a chocolate iPhone to the real thing.
Twitter Back Up After Strange Downtime
Twitter went down and I realized, my life is so boring that I had nothing else better to do other than wait for it to be fixed.
— CJ (@ImCJerome) December 29, 2014
Twitter is recovering from a prolonged period of downtime which affected Android and desktop users. For around five hours on Sunday (Dec 28), anyone trying to log in via the official apps was hit with an error message. The iOS Twitter apps remained unaffected by the issue throughout.
Tweetdeck users were hit with a different issue whereby all tweets were dated one year into the future. This could explain the problem, with the premature date change leading to session tokens instantaneously expiring. Either way, Twitter has now fixed the issue… at least until the real 2015 rolls around.
Bitcoin Endures Terrible 2014
Bitcoin took nearly a trillion from taxpayers, then foreclosed on millions, and is closed on weekends. Oh wait, I’m thinking of the banks!
— David Seaman (@d_seaman) December 26, 2014
It’s fair to say Bitcoin had a bad 2014. In fact, its plunge in value makes it the worst performing currency over the past year. According to Bloomberg, the value of Bitcoin dropped a massive 56 percent during 2014, falling from around $770 at the start of the year to around $320 at the time of writing.
This means Bitcoin has performed worse than the Ukrainian Hryvnia, the Russian Ruble, the Ghanaian Cedi, and the Argentine Peso. Which is all a far cry from 2013, when Bitcoin peaked at a value of $1,130. Ironically, this drop in value has coincided with Bitcoin being accepted by an increasing number of companies and services.
PSN & Xbox Live Back Online
One last thing, is PSN down?
— Damon B (@Karma2rings) December 29, 2014
Both Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network are back online after being taken down by determined hackers over the holidays. The online services were severely affected by a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) which prevented millions of people from enjoying their new games consoles on Christmas Day.
A hacking group calling itself Lizard Squad has claimed responsibility. In a bizarre twist to the tale, they claim to have called a halt to the hack after Kim Dotcom (of MegaUpload fame) sent them hundreds of dollars in gift cards to stop. Xbox Live was back online by Friday (Dec. 26), with PSN back online by Saturday (Dec. 27).
Pinterest Pushing Promoted Pins
After several months of beta testing, Pinterest is finally ready to roll Promoted Pins out across the whole site. According to The New York Times, Pinterest will officially launch Promoted Pins on Jan 1, 2015, with the 70 million-plus users then faced with seeing ads for the first time.
With Promoted Pins, a brand creates an ad which looks exactly like any other pin, but which ultimately advertises either the company or its products. These Promoted Pins will be targeted at users based on their gender, location, and interests.
Early results suggest Promoted Pins are shared just as often as ordinary pins, which is obviously a major win for both Pinterest and the brands involved.
The Interview Available Almost Everywhere
The Interview is now available to stream on a range of different platforms, meaning everybody who wants to see it has no excuse not to do so. That is, at least, in the U.S. and Canada, where it’s available on Google Play, YouTube, Xbox Video, and iTunes, with Apple being the latest company to add the movie.
The satirical comedy starring James Franco and Seth Rogen was originally slated for a theatrical release on Christmas Day, but those plans were changed when theater chains pulled the film after a vague terror threat from unknown hackers. The movie then enjoyed a limited theatrical release, taking millions of dollars in revenue from online rentals.
A Chocolate iPhone Is The Greatest Gift
And finally, it may come as a surprise to anyone under the age of 20, but not everybody wants a smartphone. This video is proof, showing someone fooling their grandma by buying a chocolate phone, but placing it in a real iPhone box.
Her reaction is priceless, as her obvious anxiety at the thought of having to learn how to use a new gadget gives way to relief. There is lesson here for us all: give people what they want, not what you think they want. Especially old people.
Your Views On Today’s Tech News
Were you affected by Twitter going down? What does the future hold for Bitcoin? How do you feel about Promoted Pins coming to Pinterest?
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 Credit: Esther Vargas via Flickr