Tech News

Google Code Is Shutting Down, The BBC Gives Micro Bits To Kids [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 13-03-2015

Google Code closes, BBC gifts Micro Bits, Panda eats itself, Microsoft offers edX courses, Terry Pratchett dies, and an Apple engineer explains what went wrong with the new MacBook.


Google Code Is (Soon to Be) No More

Google is shuttering Google Code, its platform on which developers were able to host open source projects. The reason for the closure is simple: No one is actually using Google Code any more, at least not for the reasons it was designed to be used.

Google Code was launched in 2006 when places to host open source coding projects were few and far between. However, plenty of other, and often better, alternatives have since entered the space, including GitHub Love GitHub? 4 Reasons Why You Should Host Your Code On BitBucket You have to think about where you intend to store your code. It's likely you've have heard of GitHub. That's not surprising. GitHub is used by individuals and enterprises to host code, collaborate on documentation... Read More and SourceForge. Google has therefore determined that Google Code is no longer needed.

Starting immediately, no new projects can be created on Google Code, and the long road to complete closure has begun. The service will eventually close on January 25th, 2016, except for the ability to download tarballs of projects, which will continue on until the end of 2016.

The BBC Donates Computers to Schools

The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) has launched a new program titled Make It Digital, aimed at fueling coding and creativity amongst the UK’s youngsters. The cornerstone of this effort will see 1 million British schoolchildren given tiny computers called Micro Bits.

The Micro Bit, which amounts to a simpler version of the Raspberry Pi Raspberry Pi - A Credit-Card Sized ARM Computer - Yours For Only $25 Something big has been brewing in the university town of Cambridge, UK. For the past year a team of academics, businessmen, lecturers and programmers have been making final amendments to a very exciting project indeed.... Read More , is currently at the prototype stage. Companies including Google, Microsoft, and Samsung are helping the BBC make this happen, with the hopes of giving one of the devices to every child starting secondary school in the fall.


Tony Hall, the Director-General of the BBC, said, “Make it Digital could help digital creativity become as familiar and fundamental as writing, and I’m truly excited by what Britain, and future great Britons, can achieve.” And let us hope other countries around the world follow suit with similar initiatives.

The BBC was instrumental in popularizing personal computers in the 1980s, with the BBC Micro Computerphile: Learn The History, Hacks & Tech Behind Everyday Computing [Stuff to Watch] If classic technology-themed television from the pre-Internet ages is something you remember fondly, you might want to give Computerphile a watch. Read More being the first machine many children of the era got a chance to use. Some of them are now at the top of the industry, so it’ll be interesting to see whether the Micro Bit has a similar effect.

Panda Antivirus Kills Itself

Earlier this week, Panda updated its antivirus products Free Anti-Virus Comparison: 5 Popular Choices Go Toe-To-Toe What is the best free antivirus? This is among the most common questions we receive at MakeUseOf. People want to be protected, but they don’t want to have to pay a yearly fee or use... Read More , but in doing so, it corrupted components in the tools themselves, leading them to being identified as a threat. This led to countless users suffering major headaches with their computers, and rebooting (the standard turning it off and on again cure) actually making things worse.

Panda has since fixed the update and automatically deployed it where possible. However, those unlucky enough to have already been hit by the problem may need to follow the steps outlined in the relevant support card. Before considering switching to alternative antivirus software which didn’t just almost kill itself and the machines on which it was installed.


EdX Offers Microsoft Courses

Microsoft has teamed up with online educator edX to offer a series of free IT development courses. Each of the MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) on offer will be taught by Microsoft experts, offering budding students the option of boosting their IT skills.

Anyone from around the world is welcome to enroll for free on the courses, which include Programming with C#, Introduction To TypeScript, and Windows PowerShell Fundamentals. However, obtaining a verified certificate upon completion will require payment of a fee.

Discworld Author Terry Pratchett Has Died

The literary world lost one of its greats yesterday with the passing of Terry Pratchett, the British author of the Discworld series 5 Brilliant Online Resources For Fans Of Terry Pratchett's Discworld One of the bestselling writers of all time, Terry Pratchett has created a literary juggernaut in the immense Discworld series. Here are the best places to get your fix of Anhk-Morporkian magic between books. Read More . Pratchett wrote 40 Discworld novels, and more than 70 books in total.

Pratchett was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2007, and died “in his home, with his cat sleeping on his bed surrounded by his family” on March 12, 2015. He leaves behind a phenomenal body of work that can be enjoyed by geeks of all ages for generations to come.


Why the New MacBook Sucks

And finally, while the Apple Watch dominated Apple’s Spring Forward event Apple Watch Finally Arrives, HBO Now Exclusive to iDevices [Tech News Digest] Apple Watch arrives, HBO Now exclusive, Google releases Android 5.1, Facebook kills Friendfeed, Gigaom is no more, and Samsung builds a Dream Doghouse. Read More , the company also launched its latest MacBook. Unfortunately, even the Apple faithful are unconvinced by this particular attempt at reinvention. Sure, it looks nice, but the lack of ports, the poor battery life, the crappy processor, the shoddy camera, etc. means this is one only for the fanboys 8 Essential Twitter Accounts for Apple Fanboys I’m not an Apple fanboy myself but I do know a few. They don’t deserve the treatment they receive, and have done throughout history. They’re still human, and still people who need love and attention... Read More .

So much so that this Apple engineer can’t quite believe he got away with delivering such a poor piece of hardware. OK, so he isn’t actually an Apple engineer, but this footage of an interview with El Risitas is the new Hitler Reacts 10 Of The Funniest Hitler Reaction Videos (Downfall Parodies) Featuring Technology Downfall, or Der Untergang in German, is a film detailing the last days of World War II in April and May of 1945. It's an often uncomfortable portrayal of a dictator facing the end; of... Read More . Which means that the fun is all in making the subtitles fit with the dialog. [H/T CNET]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Are you sorry to see Google Code closing? Do you feel the BBC Micro Bits initiative is a good one? What are your honest views of the new 2015 MacBook?

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: Coderdojo Brianza via Flickr

Related topics: Education Technology, Google, Microsoft.

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  1. Derek C.
    March 17, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    The lack of ports is just complete idiocy. The port system they are using is where the industry is going. Folks bitched the same when USB came out, for the same reasons. "What will I do without my serial ports and joystick ports???" The new port system is far better, and actually handle far more ports than the previous models of MacBooks.

    Now, as for the processor specs and such... I think that was them doing that to get the amazing battery life.... and when people bitch that an all day battery isn't a good thing.

    Then, people are looking for stuff to complain about.

    March 16, 2015 at 11:51 pm

    About the (very) serious MacBook problem of 2015 ...


    • Robert B
      March 17, 2015 at 12:20 am

      Exactly, unless you are
      (A) already an Apple fanboy or girl
      (B) or someone who has way too much money that likes to spend it on Extremely over priced and under preforming inferior choices of processors and graphics chips.
      If you really like the Mac OS then build your own Hackintosh and install the Mac OS, Linux, as well as what ever flavor of Windows you like in a multi boot environment. If its just the look of a Mac you like, install Linux and you can get a UI that closely mimics the Mac.

    • Robert B
      March 17, 2015 at 12:29 am

      Oh I also feel the same way about Samsung's new Galaxy S6. They have gone down the same path as Apple with way over priced hardware and putting form over function at the expense of the end user. I am sorry but having the external microSD card slot is at this stage considered by most to be a standard Android feature that everyone expects to be on Android hardware. For many current Samsung owners the elimination of the replaceable battery along with the microSD card slot makes the S6 just like the crap that Apple puts out with their phones. If we wanted a very limited and Expensive cell phone we would just go and by an Apple product. I think that as it now stands a lot will not be buying either and will just upgrade to some other brand of Android phone at the expense of Samsung. They have definitely lost me as a customer.

  3. Hildegerd
    March 13, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    I have a white Macbook from 2010, it was not a cheap machine, but it has paid for it self houndreds of times and is going strong still and I believe it will another year or so.

    The question is: Will the new Macbook of 2015 be going strong for 6-10 years and justify the high price?

    • Blacksmith
      March 17, 2015 at 1:11 am

      Hildegerd, you do not have much faith in your very expensive Macbook do you? It's only 5 years old and you think it may only last another 2 years.
      I have a home made PC that is 20 years old (running Win 95) and still does a job. My newest PC is 8 years old and cost me about £200 to build.
      High prices do not necessarily equate to quality.

    • random observer
      March 17, 2015 at 2:58 am

      This is a problem with all products Blacksmith. Not just computers. People see a recognizable brand name and a high price tag and think..."Oh, this must be a good product". No offense to you Hildegerd, since I have no idea if this was your reasoning or not. Manufacturers manage to move a lot of sub-standard product this way.

  4. dragonmouth
    March 13, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    "Sure, it looks nice, but the lack of ports, the poor battery life, the crappy processor, the shoddy camera, etc. means this is one only for the fanboys."
    Is this the harbinger of the shape of things to come for Apple in the post-Jobs era?