Tech News

Niantic Updates Pokemon Go, The VCR Is Officially Dead… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 01-08-2016

Niantic issues controversial Pokemon Go update, the Video Cassette Recorder is no more, Kickstarter has boosted the economy, Google guides you through the 2016 Olympic Games, and how your smartphone is affecting you.


Pokemon Go Update Annoys Gamers

Niantic has released an update for Pokemon Go, the insanely popular mobile game which uses augmented reality Augmented vs. Virtual Reality: What's the Difference? Augmented reality. Virtual reality. Mixed reality. What are all these "realities" and how are they going to impact you over the next few years? Here's everything you need to know. Read More to bring Pokemon into the real world. Unfortunately, along with a host of good changes, the update has completely removed a couple of great features, and players are livid.

Pokemon Go version 0.31.0 allows you to customize your trainer and adjust damage values. It also improves some of the animations, improves memory issues, and fixes a host of bugs. These are all good, solid improvements the likes of which you’d expect from an update to an app.

Unfortunately, Niantic has removed the distance indicators for nearby Pokemon, leaving players searching blindly with no indication of how far away each Pokemon is. This feature was buggy, showing all nearby Pokemon as being three steps (300 meters) away, but removing it entirely is surely not the best solution.

The update has also removed the battery-saving mode which let you preserve your battery life while hunting for Pokemon, and Niantic has taken steps to shut down various third-party apps (such as PokeVision) designed to help the more adventurous Pokemon Go players locate and capture Pokemon.


All of which has left a particularly nasty taste in the mouth of those addicted to Pokemon Go. Players are complaining on Reddit and elsewhere, and the hype surrounding this game 4 Ways Playing Pokemon GO Can Improve Your Life You're likely one of the many people obsessed with Pokemon Go. Did you know the game can have positive effects on your life and the world around you? Here's how! Read More may be about to turn sour. Which was, to be fair, always going to happen; we just didn’t see it happening quite so soon.

The VCR Is Officially Dead

The VCR (Video Cassette Recorder) is officially dead, with the last company left producing them having manufactured their last one in July. Funai, which manufactured its VCRs in China and sold them in North America under the Sanyo brand name, has halted production, meaning there are no more new VCRs being made anywhere in the world.

Funai is blaming a combination of a lack of demand and a difficulty finding parts for the decision. The former isn’t surprising, with most people having moved onto DVD and Blu-ray players, or digital formats, a long time ago. So much so we were surprised to discover DVD players were still being made up to last month anyway.

Home video recording gained mainstream success in the 1970s, and by the end of the 1980s most people owned a VCR. But its success was short-lived, with the DVD rising to prominence around the turn of the century. And now even DVD players are obsolete, having been superseded by Blu-ray, Ultra HD Blu-ray Everything You Need to Know About Ultra HD Blu-Ray Ultra HD Blu-ray is one of the hot topics in home entertainment for 2016. Curious? Here's everything you need to know about it to decide if it's worth getting excited over. Read More , and high-definition streaming.


Kickstarter Helps Kickstart the Economy

Kickstarter is far from perfect, with plenty of examples of campaign creators taking the money and running, or failing to deliver on their promises. However, the crowdfunding platform has given a real boost to the economy, creating businesses and jobs, and generating serious income.

We know because Kickstarter told us, citing a new study by the University of Pennsylvania. The study found that Kickstarter had created 283,000 part-time jobs and 29,600 full-time jobs, created 8,800 new companies and non-profits, and generated $5.3 billion in income for those creators and communities involved in turning an idea into a product.

These figures shouldn’t be dismissed easily, as they show how much of an impact crowdfunding has had on the real-world economy. And while the failures make the headlines Crappy Crowdfunding: 10 Dumb Kickstarters We Did Not Support [Weird & Wonderful Web] The success of crowdfunded innovations has attracted the brilliant...and also the inane and insane. Here are 10 of the absolute worst Kickstarter campaigns we could find. Watch them because they are comedy gold. Read More , most Kickstarter campaigns succeed, allowing everybody to walk away happy. Even Amazon, which now has a section dedicated to Kickstarter products Share Google Apps With Your Family, Apple Sells 1 Billion iPhones... [Tech News Digest] Google lets you share apps with your family, Apple sells 1 billion iPhones, Microsoft releases an iPhone camera app, Amazon promotes Kickstarter products, and PewDiePie catches Pokemon using a drone. Read More .


Google Offers a Guide to Rio 2016

The Rio 2016 Olympics begin on Saturday (August 5), and Google wants to be your guide to the Games. So, as outlined in this Official Google Blog post, it has thrown its best resources at the task, with Google Search, Google Maps, Google Trends, and YouTube all getting utilized in some way.


Google Search is getting the event schedule, medal count, TV viewing times, and information on every sport and athlete involved. Google Maps has added a fresh Street View of Rio de Janeiro. Google Trends will be tracking the hot topics people are searching for. And YouTube will host highlights of the events, as filmed by the official broadcasters.

How Is Your Phone Changing You?

And finally, the vast majority of people now own a mobile phone, but how many of us actually ever take a moment to think about the effects it’s having on us and our bodies What Your Smartphone Is Doing To Your Body & Mind Smartphones are changing us -- is that a good or a bad thing? Find out what science has to say. Read More ? Very few, I suspect, because nobody wants to think about the negative impact of something we use on a daily basis.


This AsapSCIENCE video explores that topic, discovering how using a smartphone is damaging your spine, ruining your eyesight, disturbing your sleep, affecting your social interactions, and altering your brain functions. And if that list isn’t enough to make you look up once in a while then you may have a problem How Smartphones Are Ruining Your Life Your smartphone could be ruining your life, or at least have the capacity to do so in the future. Read More .

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Are you still playing Pokemon Go? If so, what do you think of the latest update? Do you still own a VCR? If so, why? Have you ever pledged money to a Kickstarter campaign? If so, which one? Will you be watching the Rio 2016 Olympics? Has your smartphone changed your life? If so, has it changed it for better or for worse?

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: Tydence Davis via Flickr

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  1. Leah
    August 3, 2016 at 6:03 pm


    I'm probably the last person on the planet who still uses a VCR to record. Gotta move up to DVR sometime.

  2. SciFiJim
    August 3, 2016 at 12:20 am

    Looks like I had better go buy a new VCR while I still can. I have a couple of hundred hours of my kids growing up on VHS tapes. I need to figure out a way to digitize them without spending a tone of money for someone else to do it or spend every evening of the next year doing it myself.