The biggest torrent site in the world goes down, Firefox tackles its Flash problem, iOS 10 knows when your hardware is getting wet, Amazon brings classic articles to Kindle, and video games as stop-motion animations.
The Feds Take KickassTorrents Offline
KickassTorrents has been dealt a major blow, with U.S. authorities having arrested the alleged owner of the site and seized its official domains. The torrent site has subsequently been taken offline, although the KickassTorrents team are thought to still have control of the servers.
The possible beginning of the end for KickassTorrents is taking place in the aftermath of the arrest of Artem Vaulin, a 30-year-old Ukrainian man captured in Poland. The U.S. Department of Justice claims he’s the mastermind behind KickassTorrents, and are seeking his extradition. Vaulin stands accused of “unlawfully distributing well over $1 billion of copyrighted materials”.
"The U.S. Government has arrested the alleged owner of KickassTorrents, the world's largest torrent site." pic.twitter.com/ukFWmTHdA7
— Louise (@loucifreud) July 20, 2016
KickassTorrents was founded in 2009, and has since grown to be the biggest torrent site in the world, even bigger than The Pirate Bay. Vaulin was identified after the same IP address was allegedly used to purchase something on iTunes and log into the KickassTorrents Facebook account.
As well as the arrest and seizure of multiple domain names, the U.S. authorities have taken control of a bank account alleged to be associated with the site. Both Apple and Facebook are thought to have assisted in the investigation.
As discussed in detail by TorrentFreak, it’s entirely possible that KickassTorrents will make a comeback one day, but it’s unlikely to happen anytime soon. Plus, with the feds now openly investigating the site, users are advised to stay well away for fear of being dragged into the wider investigation.
Firefox Blocks Non-Essential Flash Content
Mozilla has committed to “reducing Adobe Flash usage in Firefox” with the first step being to “block certain Flash content that is not essential to the user experience”. This will start happening in August, signalling the beginning of the end for Flash on Firefox.
In 2017, Firefox will “require click-to-activate approval from users before a website activates the Flash plugin for any content,” a huge step which really will hammer another nail in the coffin of Flash. It follows on from similar efforts by Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, amongst others.
These changes, as detailed in an enlightening Mozilla blog post, are designed to “bring Firefox users enhanced security, improved battery life, faster page load, and better browser responsiveness”. Which they surely will. The problem is just how long we have been waiting for Flash to die.
Apple Warns You When Your iPhone Is Wet
One of the new features Apple has built into iOS 10 detects when your iPhone is getting wet. Specifically, it detects when liquid is present in the Lightning port, and proceeds to warn you to disconnect your Lightning accessory and let it dry out before continuing.
We know this is a thing thanks to a couple of different reports on Reddit, both of which originate from people testing the iOS 10 beta. Apple has yet to officially confirm the existence of this feature, but those who have tested it suggest it works on the iPhone 6s, the iPhone 6s Plus, and the iPhone SE.
Amazon Launches Kindle Singles Classics
Amazon has launched Singles Classics, which offers Kindle fans even more reading material. Singles Classics pulls together “timeless stories” by “iconic authors,” and showcases the best journalism, fiction and essays from the top authors and magazines of our time”.
In non-PR speak this means individual articles written by well-known authors which were originally published in magazines. So you have In Praise of Women’s Bodies by Gloria Steinem, Ten Thousand Words a Minute by Norman Mailer, and Slice of Life by Kurt Vonnegut.
And lo, Kindle Singles launches a "Classics" division. https://t.co/YDBp2ABQTG
— Sarah Weinman (@sarahw) July 19, 2016
Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read all Singles Classics for free, while the rest of us will have to pay $0.99 or more for each one. There are just over 140 Singles Classics available at launch, with more likely to be added in the future.
Video Games As Stop-Motion Animations
And finally, we have a video showing classic video games remade as stop-motion animations. There’s Centipede, Frogger, Asteroids, Space Invaders, and Pac-Man, which are five of the most iconic video games ever made, helping to shape the industry which now entertains millions of people.
This was made by the award-winning stop-motion artist, PES, whose videos have been viewed more than 200 million times on YouTube. Game Over isn’t quite up there with Fresh Guacamole or Western Spaghetti, but it’s still lots of fun regardless. It also takes me back to my childhood in a unique manner. [H/T Sploid]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
What are your thoughts on KickassTorrents being taken offline? Are you pleased to see Firefox disabling Flash? What iOS 10 feature are you looking forward to the most? Are you likely to purchase any Singles Classics? Which video game would you like to see turned into a stop-motion animation?
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.
Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.
Image Credit: Joe Shlabotnik via Flickr