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Today in Tech News Digest, an Amazon Prime Air progress report, OpenSSL Heartbleed culprit speaks, Google Glass for everyone, gamers get frustrated, Amazon buys ComiXology, Skype TX arrives, and S.E.L.F.I.E. automates the selfie-taking process.
Amazon Prime Air Drones In Flight Testing
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has issued his annual letter to shareholders detailing how the company is doing and where it’s going. The most interesting part of which concerns Amazon Prime Air, the delivery by drones initiative first revealed in December 2013.
Bezos reveals, “The Prime Air team is already flight testing our 5th and 6th generation aerial vehicles, and we are in the design phase on generations 7 and 8.” Which is a rather epic achievement for an innovation many people still doubt will ever come to fruition.
Other highlights of the shareholder letter, printed in full on Business Insider, include:
“Mayday Tech Advisors have received 35 marriage proposals from customers. 475 customers have asked to talk to Amy, our Mayday television personality.”
“The Amazon Appstore now serves … over 200,000 apps and games from top developers around the globe – nearly tripling in size over the past year.”
“Once a year, we offer to pay our associates to quit. The first year the offer is made, it’s for $2,000. Then it goes up one thousand dollars a year until it reaches $5,000.”
OpenSSL Author Denies Malicious Intent
The developer responsible for the Heartbleed bug recently discovered in OpenSSL has spoken out to deny accusations he inserted the error on purpose for nefarious reasons. He describes the error as “quite trivial” before explaining how it found its way into the official release channel.
Dr Robin Seggelmann, of Münster in Germany, told the Sydney Morning Herald, “I was working on improving OpenSSL and submitted numerous bug fixes and added new features. In one of the new features, unfortunately, I missed validating a variable containing a length.”
He further stated that “it was a simple programming error in a new feature, which unfortunately occurred in a security relevant area. It was not intended at all, especially since I have previously fixed OpenSSL bugs myself, and was trying to contribute to the project.”
For more information on the OpenSSL Heartbleed bug please read our full news piece on the subject.
Google Glass Available To Everyone
Google Glass will soon be available to everyone who wants it. Unfortunately, this offer is for one day only (Tuesday, April 15), applies only to those over 18 and resident in the U.S., and requires interested parties to part with $1500. You can sign up to the program on the Google Glass website.
Gamers Suffer Rage Through Frustration
Video games have long been blamed on many ills in society, not least of which is violence. The argument, as laid out by proponents of a link between violence in video games and violence in the real world, is that gamers lose the ability to differentiate between the real and the make-believe.
A new study by the University of Oxford suggests this is nonsense. Instead, any added aggression witnessed in gamers is as a result of frustration borne out of failing to win. And the same aggression from incompetency is seen whether gamers are playing violent games or not. The solution? Play games that you can beat rather than games that will have you destroying your controller.
Amazon Buys ComiXology For Comics
Amazon has acquired digital comics platform ComiXology for an undisclosed sum of money. According to ComiXology CEO David Steinberger, the deal means “the goal of making every person on the planet a comics fan” is “more possible than ever before.”
In an open letter on the ComiXology website Steinberger assured fans worried about the acquisition that ComiXology will “retain its identity as an Amazon subsidiary.”
Those not convinced by such assurances can rest safe in the knowledge that ComiXology isn’t the only way of buying comic books online.
Skype TX Adds “Studio-Grade” Performance
Microsoft has detailed Skype TX, an “easy-to-use hardware and software combination” designed for use by broadcasters. Features include “full frame HD-SDI formats with embedded or balanced audio” and “video and audio … free from all notifications, signals, adverts or pop-ups.” Details on pricing and availability haven’t yet been released.
S.E.L.F.I.E. Isn’t A Late April Fool
And finally, Bradley Cooper’s short arms no longer need to mess with your selfie-taking mojo. This is thanks to S.E.L.F.I.E., the Self Enhancing Live Feed Image Engine from iStrategyLabs, as noted by Mashable. It isn’t an April Fool, but it is an experiment rather than a buyable product.
Using a two-way mirror, a Mac mini, an Arduino, a webcam, and some LEDs, S.E.L.F.I.E. lets you take selfies to your heart’s content just by standing still and striking a pose. It even posts the resulting photo to Twitter for you. Which is awesome, if not a little disingenuous.