Apple iPad Crashes Down Planes, Google Buys Up Patents, & More… [Tech News Digest]
Grounded by malfunctioning iPads, Google purchases patents, Dropbox adds comments, Star Wars games land on Steam, stream Seinfeld on Hulu, and the Apple Watch gets blended.
Buggy iPads Down AA Flights
Dozens of American Airlines flights were grounded after the iPads used by the pilots crashed without warning. American Airlines use iPads as electronic flight bags, with pilots switching from using the weighty paper-based alternative in 2013.
According to Quartz, this was intended to prevent pilots from getting injured carrying heavy flight bags. Dumping the 35-pound bags also saves on fuel costs. Unfortunately, the switch to iPad has invited other problems, and of a potentially more serious nature too.
The iPads are used to share flight plans with the pilots, and pass other information onto the flight crew. However, what AA described as “an issue with a software application” meant the iPads stopped functioning correctly , leading to the flights being grounded until the problem was fixed.
As anyone who uses technology on a regular basis knows, this basically means turning it off and on again. Which somehow took American Airlines several hours to accomplish.
All Your Patents Are Belong To Google
If google had bought Tesla I wonder if they would have opened up all their patents.
— Stephen Bird (@sebirdman) April 21, 2015
Google wants your patents. All of them. Or at least those it feels have some value. In order to find these patents and buy them from their current owners, Google has created a new Patent Purchase Promotion. Which is essentially a marketplace designed to remove any friction from the process.
The marketplace will open on May 8 and stay open until May 22. Individuals and businesses are invited to put their patents up for sale during that window, and Google will then determine which patents it wants to purchase. Google hopes to have all sales tied up by the end of August.
The big idea here is for Google to buy up valuable patents before they fall into the hands of patent trolls out to make a fast buck. As noted by TechCrunch, the added bonus for Google is that it gets to see what patents are currently available, and pick and choose those which it thinks will pay off financially over the longterm.
Dropbox Adds Comments To Shared Files
— Dropbox (@Dropbox) April 28, 2015
Dropbox is adding a commenting option to all shared files. Formerly only available to business users, all Dropbox users on the Web can now add comments, and the feature will soon be coming to mobile too.
This all means you can have conversations with people around Dropbox files, whether they’re your own or ones that have been shared with you. Mentioning someone by name or email address adds them to the conversation, and you can choose to receive email notifications when a new comment is added.
Star Wars Games Touch Down on Steam
Steam has added a host of new Star Wars titles to its store, with Star Wars: TIE Fighter Special Edition, Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance, Star Wars: X-Wing Special Edition, and Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter all being available to download either individually or as part of a bundle.
This is all just in time for Star Wars Day on May 4th, and in advance of the new Star Wars: Battlefront game due to arrive in November. Which itself is a precursor to the new film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. If you don’t like Star Wars then you should consider moving somewhere off the grid for the rest of 2015.
Hulu Streams Every Seinfeld Episode
Hulu has reportedly bought the rights to stream every episode of Seinfeld on its service. The deal for rights to show all 180 episode is, depending on which source you believe, worth between $130 million (Deadline) and $180 million (Variety). Which works out to between $700,000- and $1 million-per-episode.
With Netflix having secured the rights to stream Friends in its entirety, this pitches two of the best comedies of the 1990s against each other. I personally love both, but because I’m in the UK I’ll have to stick with my DVD box-sets instead. Because Netflix hates the UK, and Hulu isn’t even aware of its existence.
Will It Blend? – Apple Watch Edition
And finally, we have the answer to the question currently being asked by absolutely everybody in the world. Yes, the Apple Watch WILL blend. We know, because someone, namely Tom Dickson, has blended one and captured the glorious footage for us all to see.
Dickson is the founder of Blendtec, and has been blending all manner of weird and wonderful objects for almost a decade now. And as if you hadn’t already guessed by now, it turns out everything will blend, as long as you’re using a Blendtec. [H/T MacRumors]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Should airlines be relying on iPads so much that a software glitch grounds flights? Should Google be allowed to own so many patents? Does Dropbox actually need to allow comments on shared files?
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.
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