Tech News

Government Spies Are Using Twitter, Watch Internet Explorer Die… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 14-12-2015

Twitter warns users about spies, Internet Explorer shrinks to nothing, Microsoft has 10 free albums waiting for you, Apple desperately wants you to upgrade, and Saturday Night Live mocks toy collectors.


Twitter Warns of State Sponsored Attacks

Twitter has started warning users that their accounts may have been hacked by “state-sponsored actors […] possibly associated with a government.” The number of users notified that they have been targeted is unclear, but a handful have now published the warning they received on Friday (December 11).

Those affected have been warned that their username, IP address, email address, and phone number may have been obtained. However, according to Motherboard, there seems little to connect those targeted apart from an interest in security, activism, or free speech. Some have loose connections to the Tor Project Really Private Browsing: An Unofficial User’s Guide to Tor Tor provides truly anonymous and untraceable browsing and messaging, as well as access to the so called “Deep Web”. Tor can’t plausibly be broken by any organization on the planet. Read More .

Twitter is just the latest company to notify users when they’re targeted in this way. Google has had such a policy since 2012, and in October 2015 Facebook publicly announced it was following suit Facebook Is Watching You, Watch the New Star Wars Trailer... [Tech News Digest] Facebook tracks the hackers, watch the new Star Wars trailer, NASA launches epic website, Google launches Doodle 4 Google, Netflix saves Gilmore Girls, Back to the Future in LEGO. Read More . However, the notices are the first indication Twitter has changed its policy in this way, with no previous public pronouncement.

Watch Chrome Eat Internet Explorer

It may be a difficult concept to grasp now, but at one time in our very recent past Internet Explorer was THE Web browser of choice. Microsoft owned in terms of market share for many years, remaining popular despite the challenges offered by Firefox, Opera, and Safari.

However, everything changed in 2008 when Google released Chrome. It quickly gained a foothold, and then grew to become the most popular Web browser around. A position it retains to this day. The video above, as discovered by The Next Web, gracefully shows how Chrome ate away at the dominance of Internet Explorer.

It’s a beautifully made video which truly brings home the impact Chrome had on the browser market. Internet Explorer still isn’t dead 7 Most Common Internet Explorer Issues (And Easy Ways to Fix Them) Here are some of the most common problems you may encounter with IE and quick and easy solutions for fixing them. Read More , but with Microsoft switching focus to Edge 10 Reasons You Should Be Using Microsoft Edge Now Microsoft Edge marks a complete break from the Internet Explorer brand name, killing off a 20-year-old family tree in the process. Here's why you should be using it. Read More , its days are very much numbered. Predictions for the date of its ultimate demise on a postcard please.

Microsoft Rewards Windows 10 Users

Microsoft is currently giving away 10 of the most popular albums released in 2015 for free to Windows 10 users 10 Compelling Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10 Windows 10 is coming on July 29. Is it worth upgrading for free? If you are looking forward to Cortana, state of the art gaming, or better support for hybrid devices - yes, definitely! And... Read More . As announced on the Windows Blog, the company is extending the offer to “Windows 10 fans as a gift from us for the holidays, and to say thank you for the support!”

Albums on offer completely for free for a limited time only include Chaos and The Calm by James Bay, Sound and Color by Alabama Shakes, Revival by Selena Gomez, and Delirium by Ellie Goulding. The free downloads are available by following the individual links on the Windows Blog post.

Unfortunately, the offer only applies to people using Windows 10 devices in the United States. Because Microsoft hates the rest of the world. Probably.

Apple Is Desperate for You to Upgrade

Apple appears to be pushing its fans to upgrade to newer devices in a much more aggressive manner than before, employing popup ads on the Apple Store for the first time. Anyone using an iPhone 5s or older device is being hit with a popup advertising the iPhone 6s iPhone 6s Review and Giveaway Spoiler alert: if you like iPhones, you’re probably going to love the iPhone 6s. But are you really surprised? Read More , which Apple describes as “Ridiculously Powerful.”

According to 9to5Mac, Apple has always used the Apple Store to advertise new products to existing users, but this represents a change in strategy. The popup hides the page users are viewing, and they have to click Skip to acknowledge they have seen it.

We can only assume that the next step will be Apple sending someone around to your house to beg you to upgrade from your crappy, two-year-old device. Because the new one is so much shinier. OK, so the battery life sucks so much you have to buy an ugly battery case Mozilla Kills Firefox OS, The Real Face Behind Bitcoin?... [Tech News Digest] Mozilla has killed Firefox OS on phones, unmasking the creator of Bitcoin, everything wrong with the iPhone Smart Battery Case, Donald Trump hates the Internet, and the plight of Instagram Husbands. Read More , but that’s surely a small price to pay.

SNL Mocks Adult Toy Collectors

And finally, the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, which opens on December 17th, has brought with it a host of new toys. These toys are primarily aimed at children, who will take them out of the packets and play with them. However, there is another set of toy collectors keen to get their hands on the new releases.

Adult toy collectors generally buy toys to keep them for the longterm. They won’t remove them from the packets, instead keeping them safely stored away for the future. These people aren’t harming anyone, and their hobby is about as inoffensive as hobbies get. However, that hasn’t stopped Saturday Night Live from mocking them.

Is it just me or did SNL used to be so much better?

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Is Twitter right to warn its users they’re being spied on? When will Internet Explorer die completely? Is Microsoft right to reward Windows 10 users? Are Apple’s nagging popup ads a step too far? What do you think of adults who collect Star Wars toys?

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: Beau Giles via Flickr

Explore more about: Internet Explorer, Star Wars, Surveillance, Toys, Twitter, Windows 10.

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  1. Barrie Templeton
    December 16, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    I recently stumbled upon an offer to try a new browser, called Vivaldi. It was in a pre-release mode, and had lots of quirks (i.e. bugs). Vivaldi is now in full beta mode, and its stability has greatly improved.
    Not being a real techie, I can't describe the features this browser in detail, but I can say that it loads pages quickly, and I like the way it does many things.
    I have had some difficulties with recent versions of Firefox, and have stopped using it. Chrome is still in the tray, and gets lots of use, but I deleted IE from Win10 when I installed it. I understand Edge may be an improvement over the bloated IE, but I will wait before jumping over there.
    What is annoying is the persistence of some writers who tailor their work to IE, then insist their users use it rather than configuring their apps to adapt to Chrome, FF, etc.

  2. Barrie Templeton
    December 16, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Microsoft is not offering those albums outside the U.S. This is most likely because they would have to make copyright arrangements for each country it wants to "reward" (as if Selena Gomez is anyone's idea of a reward).

  3. Mike
    December 16, 2015 at 9:09 am

    I dont agree with the statement that IE is dieing...Its just had a sex change, and a new name to match. lol

    • Barrie Templeton
      December 16, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      It may be more of a rebirth. The total users of IE and Edge are much smaller than IE used to

  4. Anonymous
    December 16, 2015 at 12:50 am

    I think you need to review the history of personal computers. What IE killed off was Netscape. Only later was Phoenix developed by Mozilla as an alternative to IE. Because of copyright issues the name 'Phoenix' was then changed to Firebird, but that name also ran into copyrights and it was ultimately changed to Firefox. I've been using Firefox since the days of Phoenix and it never was considered more than a fringe browser by either the pundits and experts or by PC users. In those days Phoenix was as popular as Midori or Arora are today. Firefox, under any name, did not start making inroads into IE market share until Firefox 3.x

    "Same with Windows. Apple owned the desktop at one point,"
    There was a period of 5 to 7 years when Windows and IE had 90%-95% of the world's personal computer market.

    Apple owned the desktop when personal computers like Apple II series, TRS-80, Commodore 64 and 128, Amiga were considered no more than toys. That was before IBM released its first PC with MS-DOS. IBM PC gave personal computers and MS instant credibility. All of a sudden companies buying millions of PCs. Of all the personal computer manufacturers in existence at the moment when IBM PCs hit the market only Apple has survived.

    "the real competitor to Windows back then was DOS"
    Now I know your history is a bit off-kilter. DOS, especially MS-DOS, PC-DOS and DR-DOS came before Windows. Windows was developed as a GUI that ran on top of DOS. IIRC Windows NT was the first Windows version that did not require DOS. DR-DOS was a competitor to MS-DOS and PC-DOS, and by extension to Windows, but that did not last long. Surely you must have heard the Microsoft slogan of "Windows isn't done until DR-DOS won't run."

    "So yeah, plenty of alternatives to Windows all along."
    If by 'all along' you mean the last 5 years, then you are right.

  5. Eddie G.
    December 15, 2015 at 4:43 am

    @fcd76218: That was HILARIOUS!.....LoL! You're absolutely right!

    • Anonymous
      December 15, 2015 at 4:09 pm

      MUO Needs Some Basic Editing Features.

      Unless You Reply Directly To A Post ( Like I Am Doing Now ), That Person Will Not Read This Reply Of Yours.

      Unless, Of Course, That Poster Comes Here Again For Some Other Reason.


  6. Anonymous
    December 15, 2015 at 12:14 am

    IE8 Is Far From Dead.

    It Is The Best Browser For Shady Video Streaming.

    The Best To Kill Annoying PopUps, And Because There Are Few Extensions To Bloat It, The Fastest Of Them All.

    In Terms Of Safety, It All Comes Down To Configuration, Both For The Browser And Your AV:

    A - Configure The Browser To Disallow All Types Of Downloads,

    B - Configure Your AV To Send Notifications And Block Any File From Being Executed From The Temp And Download Folders - If Some Software Does Not Install, Unblock It Temporarily And Then Block It Again.


  7. Anonymous
    December 14, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    "at one time in our very recent past Internet Explorer was THE Web browser of choice."
    That's like saying that "at one time in our very recent past Windows was THE O/S of choice." When the choice was Windows and IE or Windows and IE, no wonder both were "THE most popular."

    • Anonymous
      December 15, 2015 at 6:40 pm

      When the choice was Windows and IE or Windows and IE, no wonder both were “THE most popular.”
      - - -
      Your time never existed. IE didn't exist in the early web, the forerunner of Firefox was the biggie for a few years--before IE killed it off by becoming better over another few years. But there were always alternatives.

      Same with Windows. Apple owned the desktop at one point, and then either deliberately or incompetently threw it away and handed it to IBM and MS. IBM then messed up, and Windows became the major force in 1995.

      Of course, Apple still existed at that time, and Linux had been out for years--but the real competitor to Windows back then was DOS. So yeah, plenty of alternatives to Windows all along.