Ashley Madison Suicides, Get Cortana for Android… [Tech News Digest]
Ashley Madison offers a reward, Cortana lands on Android, Russia rags on Wikipedia, Kadenze offers online courses, Rockstar Editor comes to consoles, and a mad ad for Madden NFL 16.
Ashley Madison Suicides Lead to Bounty
Ashley Madison's "Life Is short. Have an affair." slogan will prove accurate, albeit reversed, once the leak leads to murders and suicides.
— Peter Lynn (@Peter_Lynn) August 19, 2015
Avid Life Media is offering a bounty for information on the hackers who recently broke into the servers of Ashley Madison. The hackers eventually released a ton of data after the company refused to comply with the hackers’ demands to take the site offline.
The CA$500,000 reward for information on the hackers comes at a time when reports are circulating of two people having committed suicide over the data leak. The suggestion being that they killed themselves after their involvement in the site was revealed.
Ashley Madison is a site which exists solely to allow married people to have affairs. But while the activity itself is to be frowned upon, the leaking of the data may have done more damage than anything else . And we still don’t know the true extent of the fallout.
Microsoft Releases Cortana for Android
OK, eighth time is a charm to install Cortana for Android, it seems :) pic.twitter.com/zt9X5SNv0y
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) August 24, 2015
If you’re an Android user you can finally try Cortana for yourself, at least if you’re resident in the United States. This is thanks to Microsoft releasing a beta version of Cortana for Android, and making it available to all through the Google Play Store.
There are some limitations, the most obvious being the inability to use the “Hey Cortana” voice command. This is due to the way Android handsets aren’t always listening, so blame Google rather than Microsoft. However, Cortana can now replace Google Now on the Android home button.
Cortana may be the best of the personal assistants, beating Siri and Google Now in its personality and usefulness. Which means that even in its current beta form it’s worth giving Cortana a chance to impress you with her skills .
Russia Wages War With Wikipedia
Russia is now blocking Wikipedia. More progress in making the country ignorant enough for Putin.
— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) August 24, 2015
Russia has banned the whole of Wikipedia over an entry about charas. According to Wikipedia, Charas is a “hashish form of cannabis which is handmade in India, Lebanon, Pakistan, Nepal and Jamaica”. But not Russia. Which makes the reasoning behind the ban somewhat incomprehensible.
The Washington Post has the full story, which appears to have originated with a prosecutor in Chyorny Yar. The prosecutor allegedly demanded the entry on chanas be deleted. Unfortunately, as it’s difficult to block individual Wikipedia entries, the Russian Internet watchdog Roskomnadzor is requiring ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to block the whole site instead.
This comes just weeks after Russia blocked Reddit because of a thread discussing magic mushrooms. That thread was eventually deleted, and access was restored. However, we’re not sure Wikipedia will capitulate so easily.
Kadenze Offers Free Creative Classes
Kadenze is offering a host of free online classes for those with a creative bent. While there are a host of MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) available to all, most are geared towards tech-heavy subjects such as coding. Kadenze is offering something a little different.
There are, at the time of writing, 24 courses available, ranging from The Modern Genius: Art and Culture in the 19th Century to Introduction to Programming for Musicians and Digital Artists. According to Lifehacker, while all classes are free to enroll in, premium memberships of $7-per-month are required to get graded and earn college credits.
Rockstar Brings GTA V Editor to Consoles
Rockstar Games is bringing Rockstar Editor to console versions of Grand Theft Auto V. Rockstar Editor, which is already available for the PC version of the game, allows players to record and edit video footage in order to make short GTA V films (also known as machinima ) such as the one embedded above.
Rockstar Editor will be available in September as a free update on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The update, which adds new music and sound effects, new fonts, and a host of other small changes, will also be rolled out to people playing the PC version. All of which should help keep people interested in playing the game.
Madden NFL 16: The Movie Is Bonkers
And finally, the new video advert for Madden NFL 16 is bonkers to the point at which we don’t know what to make of it all. Truth be told, it’s less of an ad and more of a short film, with Dave Franco and Christopher Mintz-Plasse joined by a host of footballers.
The plot is, well, it’ll be easier for you to watch it rather than have me trying to explain it. Because it’s insane. And yet strangely awesome. EA Sports obviously wanted to create a viral video ad , and judging by the coverage this is getting online the company has succeeded. [H/T Kotaku]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Should the Ashley Madison hackers have dumped the data? Are you keen to try Cortana for Android? Should Wikipedia comply with the wishes of the Russian Government? Have you ever taken a free online course? Will you be using Rockstar Editor on the console versions of GTA V? Have you seen a madder ad than the one for Madden NFL 16?
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.
Image Credits: Teakwood via Flickr
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