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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

In response to the allegations that the NSA (National Security Agency) used Facebook as a means of implanting malware NSA Malware Plan, Google Lawsuit, Angry Birds Epic, Learn Linux [Tech News Digest] NSA Malware Plan, Google Lawsuit, Angry Birds Epic, Learn Linux [Tech News Digest] NSA wants to infect you with malware, class-action over in-app purchases, iPhone returns, Angry Birds Epic is epic, someone hits 1 million Gamerscore milestone, MOOC to learn Linux, and aluminium Nintendo Entertainment System. Read More 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 The (Very) Unofficial Facebook Privacy Guide The (Very) Unofficial Facebook Privacy Guide Time to lock your Facebook settings and private profile information. Facebook doesn't make this easy, however; features are constantly added and the default for each new one seems to favor transparency instead of privacy. Read More 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

Founder and former CEO of Microsoft Bill Gates, who recently recaptured his lost crown as the richest man in the world Microsoft Changes, Kutcher Phones, Gates Billions, Leather Chromebooks [Tech News Digest] Microsoft Changes, Kutcher Phones, Gates Billions, Leather Chromebooks [Tech News Digest] Microsoft switches things up, Lenovo loves Ashton Kutcher, Bill Gates still rich, Samsung brings leather to Chromebook, Kickstarter takes $1 billion in pledges, Oppia goes beta, and kids cannot get their heads around rotary phones. Read More , 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.

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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

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 5 Ways In Which Xbox Live Has Changed Gaming – For Better Or Worse [Opinion] 5 Ways In Which Xbox Live Has Changed Gaming – For Better Or Worse [Opinion] It's difficult to remember a time when games consoles didn't connect to the Internet. I'm now so used to online features being an integral part of the gaming experience, that it's easy to forget that... Read More 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 Microsoft Xbox One Review And Giveaway Microsoft Xbox One Review And Giveaway The console wars are officially raging, and we've had sufficient time with both of them. That begs the question: how does the Xbox One compare? Read More is currently priced at $499.

Facebook Pages Undergo A Makeover

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 Following Facebook Pages Gets Better With A New Streamlined Look Following Facebook Pages Gets Better With A New Streamlined Look A new design for Facebook Pages swiftly follows the revamp of the News Feed a few days ago. In keeping with the consistency site-wide, Facebook says it is a more streamlined look. Read More 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

  1. Gennady S
    March 14, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    While Zuckerberg's call to White House may earn him a few publicity points, he could be advised to cut the hypocrisy and instead, clean up his own house (Facebook, that is)

    • Dave P
      March 16, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      Indeed. As noted in the article Facebook hasn't exactly got a sparkling reputation when it comes to privacy.

  2. jkendal
    March 14, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    From the NSA article: 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.” How can we trust anything they say - they were recently caught telling multiple lies about their current spying programs. I trust Edward Snowden FAR MORE than I trust the NSA (along with the rest of the federal government). He risked everything (and his life is still at risk) to reveal to the people the criminality in which our government is involved.

    • Dave P
      March 16, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      The NSA was always going to either refuse to acknowledge the accusation or deny any such involvement. The blanket reporting of the issue clearly meant it felt the need to address the issue. It's up to each individual to decide whether they believe them or not :)

  3. Koshy G
    March 14, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    that means more pie for me, to be more precise 4.465887703 times more pie. Happy Pi day [Sorry for posting two comments, accidently posted the first one prematurely. I hate that I can't delete my comments ]

    • Dave P
      March 16, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Send James a nasty email about the comments system ;)

      What kind of pie(s) did you have?

    • Koshy G
      March 16, 2014 at 3:03 pm

      The first part of my comment didn't even show up. Did somebody delete it ?

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