Tech News

Your Old iPhone Is Worth Money, Google Play Adds Podcasts… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 19-04-2016

There’s gold in them thar iPhones, listen to podcasts through Google Play Music, BlackBerry admits to helping the authorities, Kanye West gets sued over Tidal exclusivity, and A Social Life isn’t real.


Apple Recycles Millions of Dollars

Apple is raking in money from its recycling program. At least $40 million a year, to be exact. That’s the value of the 2,204 pounds of gold Apple recovered from old iPhones during 2015. In addition to the gold, Apple recovered $6 million worth of copper. In total, the company recovered 89 million pounds of material [PDF link] from old Apple devices in just 12 months.

This is great news for the environment, which is already struggling to cope with increasing levels of electronic waste Thou Shalt Consume: The Story of Consumer Electronics [Feature] Every year, exhibitions around the world present new high tech devices; expensive toys that come with many promises. They aim to make our lives easier, more fun, super connected, and of course they are status... Read More . This is also great news for the company, which gets to re-use lots of old materials in new products. However, it’s also spending a lot of money on its recycling program, so the numbers may not add up.

So, is it great news for you? No, not really, as the tiny amount of gold in your old iPhone is probably only worth a few dollars at best. So unless you can a) convince all of your friends and family to give you their old iPhones, and b) then successfully extract the gold from within them all, you’re not due a massive payday. Unlike Apple, obviously.

Google Play Music Adds Podcasts

Google has added podcast support to Google Play Music, and a host of brilliant podcasts The 20 Best Podcasts of 2015: As Recommended by MakeUseOf Have you ever wondered what your favorite MakeUseOf authors listen to when they want to learn something new, hear a good story, or simply be entertained? This article means you need wonder no more. Read More are already available through the service. These include Chris Hardwick’s The Nerdist, Marc Maron’s WTF, Radiolab, and Stuff You Should Know.


Just as Google already does with music, the company will recommend podcasts “based on what you’re doing, how you’re feeling and what you’re interested in”. As an example, Google recommends you try “Learning Something New,” “Getting Lost in a Story,” or “Laughing Out Loud”.

Podcasts are initially only available on Android and on the Web in the U.S. and Canada. Google has not yet announced when podcasts will be added to the iOS app or become available elsewhere in the world.

Podcasters keen to sign up to get their pods published on Google Play Music can do so here, and will need to add an RSS feed, confirm ownership, and then hit “Publish”.

BlackBerry Helps the Authorities

BlackBerry has admitted it sometimes helps the authorities spy on its users. The revelation came after Vice reported that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) had used a master encryption key to investigate a Montreal crime syndicate.


In total, more than 1 million BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) messages sent between 2010 and 2012 were intercepted during the course of the investigation. But how did the RCMP get hold of that master encryption key?

BlackBerry CEO John Chen revealed the truth in a blog post, stating:

“We have long been clear in our stance that tech companies as good corporate citizens should comply with reasonable lawful access requests. This very belief was put to the test in an old case that recently resurfaced in the news, which speculated on and challenged BlackBerry’s corporate and ethical principles. In the end, the case resulted in a major criminal organization being dismantled. Regarding BlackBerry’s assistance, I can reaffirm that we stood by our lawful access principles.”

In layman’s terms this means BlackBerry allowed the authorities to snoop on private communications without informing the public until it was pretty much forced to do so. And this comes just weeks after Apple steadfastly refused to cooperate with the FBI Apple Refuses to Help the FBI, Popcorn Time Returns... [Tech News Digest] Apple stands up for personal privacy, the original Popcorn Time gets resurrected, Kanye West learns the price of piracy, Sega gives games away on Steam, and play Pong on your Apple Watch. Read More (Federal Bureau of Investigation).

Kanye West Sued Over Tidal

In news that will warm the hearts of everyone who thinks Kanye West is a bit of an idiot, a fan is suing him over a broken promise. As reported by Ars Technica, Kanye West fan Justin Baker-Rhett is suing West and Jay-Z over the supposed exclusivity of The Life of Pablo.


Kanye promised that The Life of Pablo was always going to be available exclusively on Tidal, Jay-Z’s not-worth-the-money music streaming service Is Jay Z's Tidal Music Worth a Second Listen? We weren't impressed by Jay Z's TIDAL at launch. Now, one year on, we thought we’d check in to see if TIDAL is worth using... Read More . Kanye even tweeted, “My album will never never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale… You can only get it on Tidal.” Six weeks later and The Life of Pablo was released on Spotify and Apple Music.

Baker-Rhett wants to launch a class action lawsuit, and claims “West and Tidal defrauded customers, engaged in false advertising, practiced unfair competition, and enjoyed unjust enrichment from the millions of subscribers who handed over their personal information to the company”.

Watch a Social Short Film

And finally, is social networking having a positive effect 6 Positive Effects Social Media Sites Have on Society There are good things about social networking. Here's our exploration of the positive effects of social media and why it's good. Read More or a negative effect The Negative Impact Of Social Networking Sites On Society [Opinion] I have accounts on several social networking sites, and spend far too long on them writing my own updates and reading the updates of others. I enjoy doing so, being able to interact with friends,... Read More on us all? It’s shades of both, clearly, but some people are definitely being adversely affected by the need to show their best side on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others. And that’s really not healthy.

This award-winning short film called A Social Life explores the difference between a real social life and a “social” life. Posting a series of photos really doesn’t prove anything, so you would be better off actually living your life rather than constantly posting about it online. [H/T Sploid]


Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Should more companies start recycling old technology? Which podcasts do you listen to regularly? Are you surprised BlackBerry has helped the authorities? Should Kanye have kept The Life of Pablo as a Tidal exclusive? Have you ever lied on social media?

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: Karlis Dambrans via Flickr

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