Tech News

Net Neutrality Helps Terrorists, Siri Saves Lives… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 17-08-2015

Net neutrality is still causing confusion, Siri saves lives, Amazon is soulless, Microsoft works on news-reading app, Darth Vader is a PS4 fan, and a father makes the best baby rocker of all time.


Senator Confuses Net Neutrality

There remains a significant portion of the population either unwilling or unable to understand the issue the net neutrality. Unfortunately, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein is one of these poor saps. However, that may be because she has been fed misinformation by the Internet service providers (ISPs) who hate net neutrality with a passion.

According to The Daily Dot, Feinstein sent a letter regarding net neutrality to the Federal Communications Commission in May. She was concerned that the new Title II rules New Net Neutrality Rules Passed, Facebook Tackles Suicide [Tech News Digest] New net neutrality rules, Facebook prevents suicide, Apple Watch is launching soon, play Fable for free, Google hates Apple, and the Toejam & Earl sequel hits Kickstarter. Read More , brought into force after a long and fruitful campaign to protect the Internet How the Web Won on Net Neutrality: 5 Key Moments It does looks like net neutrality will reign, at least for a while. Let's take a look back at some of the most important moments in this battle. Read More , would help terrorists spread hate.

Specifically, she was concerned with the fact that Boston Bomber “Dzhokar Tsarnaev had studied bomb-making materials on the internet”. Various ISPs led her to believe that net neutrality would somehow prevent them from blocking such content in the future. Which is, of course, blatantly false.

Net neutrality doesn’t govern content, just the way it is delivered to customers What Is Net Neutrality & Why Should I Care? A significant number see Net Neutrality as essential to the survival of the Internet. In this article, we're going to look at why Net Neutrality matters, and why we should fight to protect it. Read More . So, if an individual piece of content is considered illegal and therefore blocked from being viewed, net neutrality plays absolutely no part in the equation.

Siri Is a Lifesaver

While you may consider Siri nothing more than an amusing distraction 8 Things You Probably Didn’t Realize Siri Could Do Siri has become one of the iPhone’s defining features, but for many people, it’s not always the most useful. While some of this is due to the limitations of voice recognition, the oddity of using... Read More , it turns out she’s capable of saving your life. In fact, Siri, the voice-activated personal assistant If You're Not Using Siri By Now, You Should Be Most of the commercials, jokes, and media hype about Apple's iOS voice assistant, Siri, have subsided, but I still run into iPhone users who don't take advantage of this powerful feature. Just the other day... Read More built into iOS, has already saved at least one person’s life.


Sam Ray, a teenager from Tennessee, was fixing his truck when it fell on him. He was working alone, and had no way of freeing himself. However, he had his iPhone in his back pocket and managed to activate Siri, who then called the emergency services for him.

The dispatcher heard Ray’s cries for help, triangulated the signal from his cellphone signal, and sent help. Ray was pulled from beneath the truck, airlifted to hospital, and is now recovering from his injuries.

As a result of Siri saving his life, Ray is a committed Apple fanboy. As he told his local newspaper The Tennessean, “I guess I’m stuck with an iPhone for the rest of my life. I owe them that.”

The New York Times Vs. Amazon


The New York Times recently published a scathing report as to the culture within corporate giant Amazon Is Amazon Prime Worth Your Money? We Help You Decide! Amazon Prime is a big deal. But is it worth the money you pay for it? We answer your questions and concerns. Read More . The newspaper claims life is tough for employees of the online retailer, as they’re pushed to breaking point by long hours, Machiavellian tactics, and unreasonably high standards. There are also “annual cullings of the staff,” and disregard for those suffering personal tragedies.

Unsurprisingly, Amazon has refuted the claims made in the report. Company CEO Jeff Bezos also sent out a memo to all staff which has since been leaked to the press. In it, he states, “The article doesn’t describe the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with every day,” rejecting the idea that “any company adopting the approach portrayed [in the Times story] could survive, much less thrive, in today’s highly competitive tech hiring market”.

Microsoft Develops Newsreading App

Microsoft is reportedly developing an app which reads the news to you. According to Neowin, which discovered the aptly named NewsCast on Microsoft Azure, the app will read out short snippets of news pulled in from around the Web, in a voice similar (but distinct to) Cortana How Cortana Became The "Other Woman" In My Life She appeared one day and changed my life. She knows exactly what I need and has a wicked sense of humour. It's little wonder that I've fallen for the charms of Cortana. Read More .

NewsCast is being made by the Bing team, which has been internally testing it on iOS. The idea is that commuters or otherwise busy people can listen to the news headlines of the day, sorting the wheat from the chaff by saving summaries they’re interested in. Which sounds like a solid idea.


Alternatively you could let us do the hard work for you by keeping your browsers pointed at Tech News Digest.

Sony Brings Darth Vader to PS4

If you thought the merchandising around the release of Minions was insane, prepare yourself for the onslaught of branded products set to be launched as Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits movie theaters. The fact that the new film is being released the week before Christmas only increases the odds of overkill.

One of the first big Star Wars-branded products has been unveiled, and it’s a PlayStation 4 with Darth Vader seeping out of every pore. His face is etched on the side of the console, and the controller features buttons matching the color of his lightsaber. The console will be available in two bundles from November 17th.

Baby Rides Speeder Bike Rocker

And finally, while most fathers dote on their children, few go to such extreme lengths to express their love as Tez Gelmir. After all, Gelmir carefully constructed a rocker for his one-year-old daughter that looks exactly like a speeder bike from Star Wars VI: The Return of the Jedi.


In order to keep things as authentic as possible, Gelmir based his speeder bike rocker on the design specs of the props used in the film. He has since posted the instructions on his Instructables page for others to follow. Because, to be perfectly frank, this is more fun for Star Wars-loving fathers than their children. [H/T CNET]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Are you still confused by net neutrality? Has Siri just proved her worth by saving a life? Do you believe The New York Times’ story about Amazon? Would you utilize Microsoft’s news-reading app? How badly do you want a Darth Vader PlayStation 4?

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: Backbone Campaign via Flickr

Related topics: Microsoft, Net Neutrality, PlayStation 4, Siri.

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  1. Anonymous
    August 19, 2015 at 7:50 am

    There are still just six episodes of Star Wars out, "Return of the Jedi" being number VI.

    • Dave Parrack
      August 19, 2015 at 8:09 am

      Good catch! I'll change that now.

  2. Anonymous
    August 17, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    "Net neutrality doesn’t govern content, just the way it is delivered to customers"

    So if the state decided to govern the way I delivered words to people (SPEECH) (but not the content) then that would be OK to MakeUseOf ?.

    That's very interesting. Would we outlaw anger to achieve peace ? :D

    • Anonymous
      August 18, 2015 at 1:43 pm

      " Would we outlaw anger to achieve peace ?"
      That's exactly what the US government has been trying to do by outlawing all speech that is not approved by the Political Correctness police.

  3. Anonymous
    August 17, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    Net Neutrality is similar to Book Neutrality except it is for the internet communication rather than printed communication. Of course the latter is protected by Freedom Of Printed Communication (press) but the constitution lists no Freedom of Internet Communication

    Of course those have no respect for our Freedom of Communication like some here at MakeUseOf are perfectly willing to give the monopoly state control of our internet communication on the typical grounds/lie that the state will improve whatever it touches.

    Though most with a sane mind will realize that this is far from the truth when it comes to state control of anything.

    So support Freedom of Communication .... ALL communication including press, speech, and internet and OPPOSE Net Neutrality (state control of our internet) :)

  4. Anonymous
    August 17, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Diane Feinstein is a pinko liberal.

    Are you sure the Bezos memo did not say "You WILL be happy! Any unhappiness in the ranks will be severely punished."