Facebook went down again, more suspicious software was found on Lenovo computers, iPhone ad blockers are getting paid to allow some ads, some people think it’s acceptable to track their romantic partners, and treadmills are literally torture devices.
Facebook Keeps Going Down
— Senad (@senadpalic) September 24, 2015
Global productivity briefly spiked yesterday as Facebook went down for the second time in as many days. It was just five minutes, but believe me: people noticed.
As of this writing it’s not clear what happened (Dislike button complications?), but one thing is for sure: a whole lot of people headed immediately to Twitter, if only to avoid working while their preferred social network was down.
Stay strong, everyone. Look outside. See the birds and sky. #facebookdown
— Peter Biello (@PeterBiello) September 24, 2015
Myself, I spend way more time on Twitter than Facebook, so I’m not sure I’d have noticed the outage if not for the tweets. But man: there were a lot of tweets. Some say we’ll never give up Facebook, and how many people noticed a five-minute outage makes a decent argument for that. How many sites could generate this much conversation just by not working?
Lenovo Can’t Stop Won’t Stop With The Malware
Seriously, @lenovo, I was literally on the verge of buying a ThinkPad to replace my clapped-out 2009 laptop. Not now, though. RETHINK.
— Mike T?ylor ??????? ?? ?? (@MikeTaylor) September 24, 2015
Back in February Lenovo was caught installing the Superfish adware on user’s machines. Later it turned out that Lenovo software was actually printed into the firmware of the computer, allowing it to respawn even if you did a fresh install of Windows from a retail disc.
Now Michael Horowitz of Computerworld claims that a program called Lenovo.TVT.CustomerFeedback.Agent.exe runs once a day on every Lenovo laptop, and is possibly uploading user information to an Adobe-owned web analytics company called Omnivore.
Is this all paranoid? Possibly. But Lenovo denied that Superfish was a problem, so it’s natural that Horowitz, and users, are going to be a bit skeptical. Remember, everyone: remove bloatware from your new laptops before using them regularly.
Ad Blockers Be Getting Paid
You missed a gold rush, apparently. Last week Apple started allowing ad blockers on their devices, and one developer who got into the act early sold 100,000 $1 copies in just a week. And Dean Murphy, the creator of the Crystal ad blocker for iOS, isn’t stopping his monetization plans at sales.
the most popular adblocker in the app store is taking money to let some ads through ???http://t.co/gPlufnFLU2
— Casey Johnston (@caseyjohnston) September 24, 2015
Popular desktop browser extension Adblock Plus famously accepts payments from ad companies, including Google, to allow certain “acceptable ads” by default. Crystal will now receive a payment from the Adblock Plus team every month for making the same exceptions.
“Given how popular Crystal has become, it doesn’t provide any way for users to support publishers. I decided that’s a good feature to provide, and from what I’ve seen the ‘acceptable ads’ policy doesn’t let through what I’d classify as bad ads.” –Dean Murphy, creator of Crystal
To summarize: users pay for an ad blocker, which prevents sites from making money. Ad companies then pay the ad blocker to allow the ads, which the users then sees despite paying for an ad blocker. I’d try to make some sort of point here, but my head hurts, so make your own in the comments below.
Tracking Your Partner Is Acceptable?
The web loves to talk about privacy, particularly when the government is involved – but what about our significant others?
A study by Vic Health in Melbourne shows that half of Australians between 16 and 24 think it’s acceptable to track their significant others using technology. 84 per cent thought that tracking a partner without consent is “serious”.
Of course, tracking your partner with consent can be seriously useful, but make sure you have permission before you start doing that.
And Finally, Treadmills Are Literally Torture Devices
Have you ever looked at a treadmill and thought that kind of seemed like a torture device? Turns out you’re not far off: the history of the treadmill actually goes back to 19th-century prisons. This Ted-Ed video explains:
I know Dave usually uses this spot for simpler videos than this, but I’m boring: these sorts of quasi educational videos are what I love. Don’t worry, though: Dave will be back next week. Everything will be back to normal. You’ll like it.
Your Thoughts on Today’s Tech News
So: did you notice that Facebook went down? Are you weary about Lenovo laptops? Should ad blockers get paid for blocking fewer ads? Do you track your significant other’s location? Are you for or against treadmills?
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.