Today in Tech News Digest, the FCC is killing net neutrality, Google works on a “right to be forgotten” tool, PayPal comes to Google Play, Microsoft launches Code Hunt, Outlook gets new features, Nescafe jars gain 3D-printed alarm clock lids, and virtual reality headsets for chickens.
The FCC Votes To End Net Neutrality
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has delivered its verdict on the future of net neutrality, voting to keep pushing a proposal that allows ISPs to set up “fast lanes” on the Internet. These “fast lanes” would deliver content to consumers quicker if the third-party responsible pays for the privilege.
It should be noted that this isn’t set in stone, and the FCC could change its strategy if overwhelming public pressure forces it to do so. Unfortunately, the ISPs are pulling in the opposite direction, leaving the FCC in the middle trying to determine what’s best for the future of the Internet.
We haven’t got room here to discuss the latest FCC proposals in depth, but Ars Technica, GigaOM, and The Next Web all have useful primers on the evolving situation. The debate between both sides is set to run until July 15, which is when we’re likely to know more about how this will all be resolved.
If you’re as passionate as the people in the video are about keeping the Internet free and fair for all then now is the time to act. The FCC is seeking comments on its plans, so get in touch with them via DearFCC. You can also get in touch with your representative to make them aware of your views. Whichever side of the fence you stand on.
Google’s Right To Be Forgotten Arsenal
Here’s why “the right to be forgotten” is a terrible idea. — Politician and paedophile ask Google to ‘be forgotten’ http://t.co/QABY5MqILZ
— Chris Hoffman (@chrisbhoffman) May 15, 2014
There has been an immediate response to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling that citizens deserve the “right to be forgotten“ on the Web. BBC News reports that several citizens have already requested the removal of links, and The New York Times claims Google is busy developing a tool to make the process easier.
The “right to be forgotten” was discussed briefly on Technophilia 113: Mario Of War. There appears to be a fundamental difference of opinion between Americans and Europeans, with the former arguing for freedom of speech and the latter arguing for the right to privacy. Feel free to have your say in the comments section below.
PayPal Added To Google Play Pay Options
I don’t know wether i should be happy or sad that Google Play finally accepts paypal.
— darken (@d4rken) May 16, 2014
You can now use PayPal to buy digital content from Google Play. Initially, Android users in 12 countries — including the U.S., Germany, and Canada — are being offered the option, with more countries expected to be added to the roster in the coming months.
Microsoft Research Launches Code Hunt
— Microsoft Research (@MSFTResearch) May 15, 2014
Microsoft Research [PDF link] has launched a new game designed to demystify the tricky art of coding. Code Hunt is a browser-based game that requires the player to write or fix code in order to progress. This isn’t meant for absolute beginners, but looks perfect for those wanting to improve their basic programming skills.
New Features Come To Outlook
Outlook thinks I’m crazy, just sent an email from work with nothing in the subject line! Madness!
— lj rich (@LJRICH) May 7, 2014
Microsoft has added several new features to its email service Outlook.com. All of the new features — advanced rules for sorting mail, an undo option, in-line replying, and improvements to the built-in chat — are designed to “make your email life a lot easier.” Easier than Gmail? You be the judge.
Nescafe’s 3D-Printed Alarm Clock Lid
Nescafe has designed a new 3D-printed lid for its jars of instant coffee. The limited edition lids double as alarm clocks, with soothing light patterns and gentle sounds used to wake coffee drinkers from their slumber.
The alarm clock is turned off when you open the jar in order to consumer your first coffee of the morning. Naturally.
This is just a rebranding exercise with 200 jars having been sent out to celebrities. However, if Nescafe made this lid as standard then I may just be tempted to ditch my freshly-brewed cuppa and return to the pungent aroma of instant coffee. Possibly.
Second Livestock: VR For Chickens
And finally, Iowa State University assistant professor Austin Stewart has (half jokingly) floated the idea of virtual reality headsets for chickens. Calling the service Second Livestock, Stewart is proposing The Matrix for egg-laying hens.
This is more of a social experiment than anything, with Stewart telling Ames Tribune, “The goal of the project is to raise that question of how do we know what’s best, or what is humane treatment and also to look at how we treat ourselves. We’re living in these little boxes, just like chickens.”
Amazingly, this isn’t a new idea, with the video embedded above showing, in 2009, the exact same concept being proposed by a contestant on the BBC show Genius. Dave Gorman and Stewart Lee discuss strapping VR headsets to chickens before Lee gives it the thumbs up.
Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks.
Image Credit: Pavel P. via Flickr