Today in Tech News Digest, the NSA gets some good press for a change, Obama makes plans to meet a group of technology executives, Facebook launches a ‘Donate Now’ button, Amazon embraces 4K ultras HD, China is rumored to be getting the Xbox One in 2014, Twitter is rumored to be developing an ‘Edit’ feature for tweets, and Google’s evil scheme for persuading you to sign up to Google+ is finally revealed. Probably.
The NSA On 60 Minutes
60 Minutes should really leave technology reporting to people who actually try to be journalists.
— The real Jon Brodkin (@jbrodkin) December 16, 2013
On Sunday night the NSA was the subject of a segment on CBS News’ 60 Minutes. Unfortunately, the same show that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos used to unveil his flying delivery drones was a little soft when it came to what many supposed would be a hard-hitting investigation. This, some critics asserted, was nothing more than a puff piece.
The segment was presented by John Miller, who has not only worked “in the office of the director of National Intelligence,” but is thought to be chasing a “top counterterrorism or intelligence role” with the NYPD. So, perhaps not the best choice for an unbiased look at this organization.
The NSA and its director Gen. Keith Alexander were presented as the good guys, whistleblower Edward Snowden was condemned as a “strange … high-school dropout,” and it was suggested that those concerned about the level of surveillance and spying on ordinary civilians really have nothing to worry about.
The Wire has a good rundown of the segment, The Guardian details the many issues it has with the reporting, and The Verge has an in-depth look at the BIOS virus China is supposedly planning to cripple the U.S. economy with. So, a good day for journalism, just not from CBS News.
Obama Meeting Tech Execs
There is one company that takes its entire store down to update one listing.
obama wants their help with his website http://t.co/PVpkwnXStr
— Mike Beasley (@MikeBeas) December 16, 2013
U.S. President Barack Obama is today (Dec. 17) meeting with 15 technology executives. The main topic of conversation will be the state of the HealthCare.gov website, which has been plagued with issues since launching. Also on the agenda is the scale and scope of the NSA surveillance programs, many of which use data collected by these tech companies. Those invited include Eric Schmidt (Google), Tim Cook (Apple) Brad Smith (Microsoft), Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook), and Mark Pincus (Zynga). One of these things is not like the other. Zynga? Really?
Facebook Launches ‘Donate Now’ Button
Facebook has launched a new ‘Donate Now’ button that offers a simple way for non-profit organizations to collect donations through the social networking site. A total of 19 non-profits have signed up already, with more expected to do so in the future. This is a positive move by Facebook, but with the company collecting billing information during the process, it’s not an entirely altruistic effort.
Amazon Embraces 4K Ultra HD
Amazon has embraced 4K Ultra HD, promising that all of its original programming will be shot in the format in 2014. Amazon Studios is known to be producing at least five new comedy and drama pilots in the new year. 4K Ultra HD television sets are available to buy (for a price), but whether you should actually buy one or not is still up for debate. This news means there will at least be a small amount of 4K content available to watch.
China To Get Xbox One In 2014?
Microsoft may be planning to launch the Xbox One in China at the end of 2014. According to Kotaku, citing Sohu IT, one of China’s largest tech sites, the news comes via the CEO of online video service Funshion. China had a ban on video games consoles in place until earlier this year, but with that (reportedly) lifted, Chinese gamers may be set to gain access to the Xbox One. Sony, the ball is now firmly in your court.
Twitter To Let You Edit Tweets?
If this happens, it will be big for journalists and news orgs. Twitter working on “edit” feature for tweets http://t.co/c7bJTxxps5
— Kevin Sablan (@ksablan) December 16, 2013
Twitter might be working on an ‘Edit’ feature, allowing users to modify tweets for a limited amount of time after posting. This feature has been requested for some time, and would see Twitter mimicking a recent Facebook change, but it still may not happen. The Desk claims it is on the cards, while CNET and others suggest otherwise. If it does happen, then expect chaos until the bugs get ironed out.
Google Is Going To Blackmail You [NSFW]
And finally, Google is known to be keen for us all to join Google+. Which is why YouTube comments are now filtered through the social network, and all Google services are now being integrated into it one after the other. Resistance is futile, because, lest you forget, Google has some serious dirt on you it could easily leverage in the future. At least according to CollegeHumor, the makers of the [NSFW] video embedded above.