Facebook Flies Internet Drones, Stream Live with Periscope, & More… [Tech News Digest]
Facebook drones on, Periscope usurps Meerkat, Microsoft Windows Apps, Clean Reader eBooks, distracted teenage drivers, and when Dragon Ball Z attacks.
Facebook Is Testing Its Internet Drones
— Verne Kopytoff (@vkopytoff) March 25, 2015
Facebook is preparing to put its full-size drones through their paces, with “a real test flight” planned for this summer. According to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook has already tested a small-scale version of the Aquila drone, and the solar-powered vehicle is now on course for a full launch.
Aquila has a wingspan equal to a commercial jet liner, but is shorter and much lighter. This will enable it to remain in the air for years at a time sourcing its energy needs from the sun. And the point of all this? To deliver Internet services to the billions of people around the world who currently don’t have access to the Web.
There are still several barriers Facebook needs to overcome if it’s to succeed at launching a fleet of Internet drones . As mentioned by The Verge, the first is persuading the authorities to speed up the process of regulating drones, and the second is doing deals with Internet providers willing and able to bridge the gap between the haves and have-nots.
Periscope Upsets Meerkat on Twitter
Twitter has launched Periscope, the live-streaming video app it acquired for $100 million in January. Periscope allows anyone to broadcast whatever they’re doing at any given moment with nothing more than a couple of taps on their smartphone. Crucially, the streams are also saved for future viewing.
This latter feature is what distinguishes Periscope from Meerkat, a rival live-streaming app which recently enjoyed several weeks of positive press coverage. Unfortunately, by the time you clicked on the video link through Meerkat, the person was usually no longer broadcasting live.
Periscope is already available for iPhone, with streams available to view on the Web. An Android version is also in the works. Hopefully, the competition means both services will be improved from here on in, leading to a new race to the top for live-streaming video apps.
Microsoft Settles on Windows Apps
Windows apps are post-Modern.
— Wes Miller (@getwired) March 25, 2015
Microsoft hasn’t got a great track record when it comes to naming products and services, but it does seem to be improving. The latest proof of this improvement is the renaming of Metro-style apps to Windows Apps. Which is both simple and descriptive.
Windows Apps will work across the range of devices powered by Windows 10 , including PCs, tablets, and phones. Traditional desktop software will now be known as Windows Desktop Applications. OK, so it’s not perfect, but it’s still an improvement.
Clean Reader Censors Rude eBooks
Hate the book. Ignore the book. Burn the book. Tear up the book. Just don’t try to rewrite the book. #CleanReader
— Joanne Harris (@Joannechocolat) March 25, 2015
Censorship, especially of the printed word, has existed for countless generations. Unfortunately, even though we should, as a species, be more enlightened now than ever before, censorship is still rife . And a new app called Clean Reader is adding to the problem.
Clean Reader is an app for Android and iOS which removes curse words from eBooks. After selecting the level of censorship you require, Clean Reader finds and replaces any words it decides has the capacity to offend. The F and C words are obviously top of the list, but even mild terms such as “breast” and “bitch” are removed, to be replaced by “chest” and “witch,” respectively.
Chocolat author Joanne Harris is none too happy with this app, especially as it alters works of fiction without the author’s consent. I smell a lawsuit
coming arriving forthwith.
Teenage Drivers Are Easily Distracted
While not all teenage drivers are reckless idiots, and it would be churlish to suggest as much, teenagers do get distracted more easily than most. This may not be a problem when they’re sat in a bar chatting with friends, but when they’re driving on the road, distraction means potential disaster.
This video shows just how easily even a minor distraction can lead to a major accident. Compiled by AAA, it reveals what happens when young drivers decide to text while driving, skip tracks on their iPod, or chat to a friend sitting in the passenger seat.
The lesson is clear: When you’re driving please keep your eyes focused on the road at all time, no matter how tempted you are to do anything else.
When Dragon Ball Z Action Figures Attack
And finally, some people keep their action figures boxed and in pristine condition, while others actually get them out and play with them. Taiwanese animator Jordan Tseng goes several steps further than that, creating stop-motion animations starring his favorite action figures.
In the video embedded above we see Tseng and Goku team up against Broly, who, despite using his best moves, ends up being humiliated. By being dropped into the toilet. Still, he’ll live to fight another day, being made out of plastic and all. [H/T Kotaku]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Are you happy to see Facebook launching its Internet-bringing drones into the skies? Would you ever stream your life live on Twitter using Periscope? Do you think books should be left as they are or is censorship acceptable?
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 Credit: BLM Oregon via Flickr