Microsoft Rejects Windows 10 Privacy Concerns, Project Spark Goes Free… [Tech News Digest]
Microsoft counters Windows 10 criticism, Project Spark will soon be completely free, the iPhone 6s may actually be waterproof, Facebook suffers another major outage, Coca-Cola pays for emoji, and The X-Files is back.
Microsoft Explains Windows 10 Privacy
Within days of Microsoft launching Windows 10, users started raising concerns over the way the operating system collects and uses data. Some of these issues were overblown, but some have an element of truth to them. Either way, two months later, Microsoft has finally addressed these Windows 10 privacy concerns .
In a lengthy blog post, Windows chief Terry Myerson details the many ways Windows 10 collects and stores data. He tries to explain why Microsoft set things up this way, and allay fears that the company is nibbling away at users’ right to privacy.
The overarching message is, “Windows 10 collects information so the product will work better for you,” and “you are in control with the ability to determine what information is collected”. What’s more, Windows 10 “collects and uses a limited set of data” which allow you to “use additional features,” all of which are “optional”.
Myersen also addresses claims that Cortana is some kind of keylogger. He explains, “To give you text suggestions and auto-corrections that actually help, we make your personalized dictionary by using a sample of your typed and handwritten words. We automatically take out things that could potentially be used to identify you, like IDs and IP addresses”.
Microsoft is clearly rejecting the very idea that Windows 10 is somehow spying on its users, and explaining its methods should help allay some fears. However, anyone who already mistrusts big companies, including Microsoft, to do the right thing, are unlikely to be swayed. In which case they should probably avoid upgrading to Windows 10 in the first place.
Project Spark Will Soon Be Free
Project Spark will soon be available completely for free, with Microsoft switching the game from free-to-play to simply free. For the uninitiated, Project Spark is set of tools allowing you to design your own games, and hundreds of thousands of users have already produced their own games.
The change will occur on Oct. 5, with an update that opens all existing content packs and assets up to everyone for free. Anyone who paid for the game or content on or after July 28 will receive Microsoft Store credits. This may lead Microsoft to abandon Project Spark altogether, but for now, free equals good.
The iPhone 6s May Be Waterproof
Your iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus could be waterproof, even though Apple isn’t selling this as a feature. We know simply because YouTuber Zach Straley drowned both devices in a bowl of water for an hour to see what would happen. A full 48 hours later and both have survived intact.
What does this mean? Well, we would recommend you endeavor to keep your iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus as dry as possible at all times. However, if you were to accidentally drop it down the toilet or in the bath, it should at least survive the ordeal. And if it doesn’t, blame Apple, not us.
Facebook Goes Down Yet Again
Facebook went down again on Monday (Sept. 28), making it the second major outage for the social networking site in less than a week, and the third over the past month. The previous two outages lasted for 5-10 minutes, but this latest one lasted around 40 minutes. Which is pretty devastating for a site serving 1.5 billion users.
Facebook blamed “a configuration issue” for the latest outage, but has never explained the reason for the other two shorter outages. Facebook’s share price dropped 4% in the aftermath, showing there are real-world consequences attached to these minor incidents. And we’re still interested in finding out what you do when Facebook is down .
Coca-Cola Pays For Custom Emoji
— Coca-Cola (@CocaCola) September 18, 2015
Coca-Cola has become the first brand to pay Twitter for custom emoji. You may have noticed these promotional emoji popping up when you use certain hashtags, but Coca-Cola is the first company to have actually paid for the privilege. So, Disney got that trio of Star Wars emoji for free, but Coke is paying for #ShareaCoke.
This is a win-win for Coca-Cola and Twitter. Coca-Cola gets the iconic shape of its bottled drinks posted across the social network, and Twitter gets cold hard cash. Meanwhile, Twitter users have to come to terms with the fact these custom emoji are likely to become less of a novelty and more of an annoyance from here on in.
The X-Files Is Back!
And finally, The X-Files is back, with a new six-part mini-series set to start airing on Fox in January 2016. Four months ahead of the return of this iconic sci-fi show comes the first proper teaser trailer, which gives eagle-eyed viewers plenty of clues as to what’s kicking off.
The trailer shows FBI agents Mulder and Scully back together again for the first time in over a decade. And it looks as though the relationship is still built on the same foundation, with Fox Mulder being the instigator, and Dana Scully reigning him in as the skeptical scientist.
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Do you accept Microsoft’s reasoning for collecting data in Windows 10? Are you interested in playing Project Spark? Will you be risking drowning your iPhone 6s in a glass of water? What did you do during the great Facebook outage of September 28th? Will you be watching The X-Files mini-series?
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.