Tech News

Gmail Adds a Block Button, Groupon Still Exists…[Tech News Digest]

Justin Pot 23-09-2015

Google now lets you block people on Gmail, Groupon is struggling, Netflix thinks TV as we know it will disappear, Samsung hopes you’ll pay more for a designer television, and the single hardest Mario level ever created.


Gmail Adds a Block Button

Social networks have long offered a way to block annoying users How To Block An Annoying User On Twitter One of the big problems with social media - and the Internet in general - is the delicate balance of having to maintain one’s privacy without being a completely boxed-in hermit of anonymity. As useful... Read More , but there’s nothing quite like that for email…until now. Gmail announced yesterday the addition of two new buttons, one of which lets you “block” any email address from reaching you.


Email from “Blocked” users end up in the spam folder, so you don’t have to see it. This could be useful for avoiding spam, or for stemming the flow of online harassment Online Harassment Is Your Fault; Here's How To Fix It What happens to harassment victims who aren't good at interacting with the press, or do or say unpopular things? Read More .

Now, you might wonder “who would even want this?” I did, but a quick search on Twitter set me straight.


I could go on, but the point is that this functionality was clearly wanted.


Perhaps even more interestingly, Google is adding their one-click unsubscribe button Keep A Cleaner Inbox As Gmail Gets One-Click Unsubscribe Button A prominent "unsubscribe" link at the top of an email is the small but user-friendly change that should be coming to all Gmail accounts soon. Read More to their Android client, meaning you’ll be able to stop receiving newsletters in just one tap.

Groupon Apparently Still a Thing, Announces Layoffs

Remember when Google offered $6 billion to buy Groupon, and Groupon turned it down? I bet investors do.

The local deals marketplace made headlines again yesterday when it announced it was laying off 1,100 people – 10 per cent of its workforce. To which many the average web user, who last used the service in 2010 only to be told by a local business owner that they misread the fine print and actually this is going to cost $40 more than you thought, had just one reaction:


Groupon also announced it was closing it’s offerings in Morocco, Panama, The Philippines, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Thailand and Uruguay. Their Indian branch was sold off earlier this year.

Netflix CEO: All TV Will Be Online in 10-20 Years

The Internet has fundamentally changed the way we listen to music, read the news, and hail taxis What Is Uber and Why Is It Threatening Traditional Taxi Services? Uber has landed, and it's fundamentally changing inner-city transit. And some might say, not entirely for the better. Read More , to name just three examples. It’s changing the way TV works as well TV Channels Are Dead: Why Sling Isn't The Future Of Sports TV Kids don't watch channels; they watch shows. Worse, TV channels have been an obstacle for comprehensive coverage of live sports events. Sling doesn't solve that. Read More .

Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, argues that more change is coming. His prediction: in 10 to 20 years all TV will be Internet TV. He spoke to CNBC about this, and how they use data to work out which shows work best.


“We are just a learning machine,” said Hastings. “Every time we put out a new show, we are analyzing it, figuring out what worked and what didn’t so we get better next time.”

Samsung Hopes You’ll Pay More For a Designers Television

Would you pay extra for a designer television? Samsung hopes you will.

Their Serif TV, a collaboration with French designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, is their first attempt. Here’s how it looks:

The Verge’s James Vincent put it well:

“Whether or not you think the Serif would look good in your home is a matter of personal taste, but it’s certainly good to have a TV that is an aesthetic choice, rather than simply a functional one”. -James Vincent, The Verge

Most TV’s aren’t designed to look good – they’re functional. Yet they’re usually placed in prominent places in our homes. I bet we see more devices like this pop up in years to come.

Pricing isn’t confirmed, but a Daily Mail report suggests models will cost £499 ($772), £699 ($1,081), and £1,199 ($1,855).

And Finally, This Super Mario Maker Level Will Make You Weep

Super Mario Maker is prompting all sorts of creativity, and it should come as no surprise that some of these levels are difficult. This one, though, is straight-up masochism.

This level is a never ending string of impossible-to-pull of maneuvers. Yoshi needs to be abandoned multiple times – poor guy – and at some point Mario is basically juggling shells so he can jump off them. The creator had trouble beating it.

“It took me 5 hours to make this level, it took me 9 hours to beat this level”. -PangaeaPanga

You can try the level yourself, if you have Super Mario Maker. Or, if you don’t have a Wii U yet, there are other ways to make your own Mario games 4 Ways To Make A Mario Game on Your Computer As long as there's been an Internet, there have been fan-made Mario games. Read More .

Your Thoughts On Today’s Tech News

Who will you block on Gmail? For me, it’s going to be online marketers who can’t take a hint. When’s the last time you used Groupon? Has Netflix replaced TV for you yet? Speaking of, would you spend more on a designer television? What hard levels did you design on Super Mario Maker?

Related topics: Gmail, Groupon, Netflix, Nintendo, Television.

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  1. Anonymous
    September 28, 2015 at 3:56 am

    Hmm.. Gmail's block function seems a lot like a shortcut to do something that's already been there for a long time: filter messages from a particular email into the trash/spam.

    • Justin Pot
      September 28, 2015 at 2:31 pm

      Yeah no doubt, this is something you *could* do before, but it's a lot faster now – and for people who can't be bothered to dig through Gmail's settings, this feature basically didn't exist until now.

  2. Anonymous
    September 25, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    i must find that mario level

    • Justin Pot
      September 25, 2015 at 3:37 pm

      There's a code at the end of the video which you can use in Super Mario Maker to find the level.

  3. Anonymous
    September 23, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    The problem with the Block button (and it's the same for the Report Spam button), people will use it to block/mark as spam legitimate emails like newsletters (emails they've signed up for) instead of using the unsubscribe button.

    • Justin Pot
      September 23, 2015 at 2:09 pm

      Why is that a problem? Sure, they signed up for them, but then they start acting like spam. If you don't want this to happen to your newsletter, don't be spammy.

      • Anonymous
        September 23, 2015 at 5:02 pm

        Everyone has a different opinion on "too much". I also pointed out you should unsubscribe if you don't want something you subscribed to, not click Report Spam or Block the sender.

        I don't subscribe to any newsletter because I don't want them filling my Inbox. If I did and according to your logic I should mark every email as spam or block the sender?

    • Anonymous
      September 23, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      Because I signed up for some stock market sites, I get tons of unsolicited newsletters. As far as I am concerned, those newsletters are SPAM, although the authors consider them their gift to humanity.

      As Justin says "If you don’t want this to happen to your newsletter, don’t be spammy."

  4. Anonymous
    September 23, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    "Gmail Adds a Block Button"
    Hopefully it will make filtering out undesirable mail unnecessary.

    "Groupon Apparently Still a Thing, Announces Layoffs"
    I can't complain. We've been quite satisfied with Groupon deals.

    "Netflix CEO: All TV Will Be Online in 10-20 Years"
    For Netflix sake, I hope they still around 10-20 years from now. :-)

    "Samsung Hopes You’ll Pay More For a Designers Television"
    Not bloody likely if it still looks like a flat screen TV. The Bouroullec TV is nothing more than a flat panel with a different bezel. Not worth the money.

    • Justin Pot
      September 23, 2015 at 2:09 pm

      What should a more attractive TV look like, in your opinion?

      • Mihir Patkar
        September 23, 2015 at 2:46 pm

        Something I can take home to mom.

      • Anonymous
        September 23, 2015 at 2:54 pm

        I agree with the article, LCD/plasma TVs are functional and it is very hard to disguise that function. After all, what can be done to with a 50", 60" or larger slab of blackness? In the good old days the TV came in a console that sort of matched the rest of the furniture in the room. You can put a nice picture frame around it and have it display paintings or scenes. That is what the Bouroullec design tries to do. You can have it fold up against the ceiling or disappear into a counter as is done in RVs and on boats.

        • Justin Pot
          September 23, 2015 at 3:25 pm

          Yeah I was thinking about the attractive wooden boxes of yesteryear, I wonder what bringing back that sort of aesthetic for a flatscreen would look like. Another thing you need to deal with: the sheer volume of cables that come out of most TVs.