Tech News

How To Root Almost Any Android Handset, Stephen Hawking Q&A, And More… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 17-06-2014

Also, the Supreme Court discusses threats made on social media, Wikipedia changes its terms of service, IKEA bullies IKEAHackers out of business, Close Castles is your next addiction, and Facebook Messenger gets a Big Like, literally.


Geohot Releases Root Tool For Android

Infamous hacker Geohot has released a new tool capable of rooting almost any Android handset. Towelroot is most notably capable of rooting the Samsung Galaxy S5 on AT&T and Verizon, which has until now remained impervious to all rooting efforts.

Geohot, best known for rooting previous versions of the iPhone, accepted the challenge after $18,000 was raised by members of the XDA forum. Towelroot is available free to anyone who wants it, but Geohot is accepting donations via PayPal and Bitcoin.

Rooting your smartphone is akin to gaining administrator access on a PC, allowing you to make big changes to the system. Rooting is not for the faint of heart, and will void your warranty, so only head down this route after reading our guide to Android rooting The Complete Guide to Rooting Your Android Phone or Tablet So, you want to root your Android device? Here's everything you need to know. Read More . And swallowing hard.

Supreme Court Talks Social Media Threats

Later this year, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will be looking into the case of Anthony Elonis, a Pennsylvania man sentenced to four years in prison for making threats to kill his ex-wife on Facebook. Elonis claimed he never intended to follow through on the threats, which were delivered in the form of rap lyrics.

SCOTUS will be deciding [PDF link] whether “proof of the defendant’s subjective intent to harm” is needed, with the outcome having serious consequences for future cases involving threats made through social media 5 Inspiring Social Media TED Talks You Should Watch Social media has taken over the Internet. There are many who are actively trying to decipher the power of social media. Some of them have even given TED Talks that are well worth a watch. Read More . Surely the better option is for individuals to resist making such threats in the first place, whether serious or not. Or is that too easy?


Wikipedia Tackles Problem Of Paid Editing

The Wikimedia Foundation has changed its terms of service to try and weed out the paid editing of Wikipedia by individuals, brands, and websites. Anyone being paid to edit Wikipedia now has to disclose the arrangement, with a reminder that Wikipedia is “not an advertising service; we’re an encyclopedia.” This is just one reason you cannot believe everything you read on Wikipedia 10 Controversial Topics On Wikipedia Guaranteed To Spark A Debate One way to measure the level of controversy attached to different subjects on Wikipedia is to track the number of reverts that take place. The authors of a study at Cornell University in New York... Read More .

IKEA Bullies IKEAHackers Out Of Business

Swedish retailer IKEA has suddenly and inexplicably decided to attack IKEAHackers, a website dedicated to detailing different ways of using the company’s furniture. IKEAHackers has been online since 2006, but IKEA now wants it to disappear.

IKEA sent a cease-and-desist to Jules Yap, who runs the site, insisting she stop using the IKEAHackers domain name. After negotiations, Yap is able to continue using the domain on a non-commercial basis, effectively banning advertising.

We think this is harsh, but Cory Doctorow goes a step further, describing IKEA’s stance as “steaming bullshit.” We certainly don’t disagree with the sentiment.


Threes! Developer Teases Close Castles

Asher Vollmer, the developer of addictive mobile game Threes! — which inspired 2048 and all its various clones Playing 2048: 20 Of The Best Versions Of The Addictive Puzzle Game [Weird & Wonderful Web] There may not be 2048 versions of 2048 listed here, but with the original game being available as an open source project, perhaps there will be. Here are twenty variants to test your skills on. Read More — showed off a new game at E3 2014. Titled Close Castles, this cross between a tower defense and real-time strategy games sees four players battling it out for superiority.

According to The Verge, Vollmer has yet to decide when to release Close Castles, but the chances are it’ll be heading for a games console near you soon. But which games console do you currently own? Let us know by voting in the latest MakeUseOf Poll.

Facebook Messenger Adds A Big Like

The latest version of Facebook Messenger for Android and iOS has added the option to send a “Big Like” as well as shoot and send videos of 15-seconds or less. The video option is the same deal as with Instagram, which Facebook acquired for $1 billion back in 2012. Which surely makes one or the other surplus to requirements.

John Oliver Interviews Stephen Hawking

And finally, John Oliver interviewed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking as part of a new segment for Last Week Tonight. The pair discussed artificial intelligence, imaginary time, and Charlize Theron. It’s a fascinating conversation, with the biggest revelation being Hawking’s wicked sense of humor. It’s all in the delivery.


Your Views On Today’s Tech News

Will you be using Towelroot to root your Android handset? Do you believe threats made on social media should be taken seriously? What are your views on the paid editing of Wikipedia entries? Are you annoyed at IKEA over its treatment of IKEAHackers? Are you excited for Close Castles? What do you think of the new Facebook Messenger? Is Stephen Hawking a legend?

Let us know your thoughts on the tech news of the day by posting to the comments section below. All comments will be read and the best will earn a reply.

Image Credit: John Biehler via Flickr

Related topics: Facebook, Wikipedia.

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