Today in Tech News Digest, Zuckerberg has words with Obama, Gates expresses his opinions, Amazon Prime goes up in price, Microsoft ditches Xbox contracts, Facebook gives Pages a makeover, and 3/14 is Pi Day.
Zuck Calls Obama To Complain About NSA
Zuckerberg called Obama about the importance of privacy. And then he posted about it 5 minutes later.
— Dave Pell (@davepell) March 14, 2014
In response to the allegations that the NSA (National Security Agency) used Facebook as a means of implanting malware onto the computers of unsuspecting citizens, Mark Zuckerberg called President Obama to express his “frustration” at the way the U.S. Government is abusing the Internet.
Zuckerberg states in a post on Facebook that, “to keep the internet strong, we need to keep it secure.” He confesses to having been “confused and frustrated by the repeated reports of the behavior of the US government,” and argues that “the US government should be the champion for the internet, not a threat.”
As has been noted by many people across social media, Zuckerberg’s stance on privacy is rather ironic given that Facebook’s privacy policies have themselves come in for a lot of criticism over the years. And telling the world you “called President Obama” doesn’t suggest a high regard of the right to privacy.
The NSA, meanwhile, has responded to the controversy by stating that the “recent media reports” are “inaccurate,” and “reports of indiscriminate computer exploitation operations are simply false.”
Gates On WhatsApp, Snowden, Religion
Bill Gates is richer than 140 countries in the world.
— Facts In Your Face (@FactsInYourFace) March 13, 2014
Founder and former CEO of Microsoft Bill Gates, who recently recaptured his lost crown as the richest man in the world, has given an open and honest interview to Rolling Stone. The whole thing is well worth reading, but we have pulled some choice quotes for those in a hurry.
On WhatsApp – “Microsoft would have been willing to buy it, too… I don’t know for $19 billion, but the company’s extremely valuable.”
On Edward Snowden – “He broke the law, so I certainly wouldn’t characterize him as a hero. You won’t find much admiration from me.”
On Politics – “The U.S. government in general is one of the better governments in the world. It’s the best in many, many respects.”
On Climate Change – “It’s a big challenge, but I’m not sure I would put it above everything. By the time we see that climate change is really bad, your ability to fix it is extremely limited.”
On Religion – “I think it makes sense to believe in God, but exactly what decision in your life you make differently because of it, I don’t know.”
Amazon Raises Price Of Prime To $99
Mathematicians are upset at Amazon raising Prime from $79 to $99 because 99 is not prime.
— Chirag Mehta (@chirag_mehta) March 13, 2014
Amazon is raising the price of Prime in the U.S. from $79 to $99. The increase will come into force on April 17, 2014, with subscriptions and renewals beyond that date subject to the new price.
This is the first time the price of Amazon Prime has been upped since its introduction in 2005, and the increase converts to around 5 cents extra per day. None of which has prevented existing Prime subscribers from complaining.
Microsoft Ditches Xbox 360 Contracts
Microsoft has quietly discontinued the two-year subsidized contracts it was offering on Xbox 360 hardware. The deal, which was introduced in 2012, meant gamers could pay $99 upfront for the console by agreeing to subscribe to Xbox Live for two years.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the deal ended in July 2013, with Microsoft stating, “This program was intended to be a pilot experiment from the start, and Microsoft routinely adjusts the mix of offers available to its customers.” The Xbox One is currently priced at $499.
Facebook Pages Undergo A Makeover
Liking 2,197 facebook pages in 2008 is my biggest regret
— Really Grumpy Cat (@GrumpyCatSpeaks) March 13, 2014
Facebook has given Pages a major makeover in an attempt to increase consistency across the while site. Following in the wake of the News Feed revamp, the Facebook Pages makeover introduces a three-column layout designed to help both admins and visitors.
We have a healthy community on Facebook so please do like the MakeUseOf Facebook Page if you’re that way inclined.
Today Is Pi Day
And finally, today is Pi Day, with March 14 chosen purely because in the U.S. this date is written as 3/14. Pi Day has been celebrated since 1988 and has gained worldwide observance thanks to the Web.
Pi Day is the day to celebrate Pi, the mathematical constant which dictates that the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter is approximately equal to 3.14159. But to many it’s an excuse simply to eat pie. A practice I can heartily recommend.
Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks.
Image Credit: Surian Soosay via Flickr