Tech News

Shooting Drones Out of the Sky, Messaging Strangers on Facebook… [Digest]

Dave Parrack 28-10-2015

Shooting down drones invading your privacy, messaging strangers on Facebook, abandoning Android for iOS, advertising Twitter on TV, and the world’s slowest Rube Goldberg machine.


Is it Legal to Shoot Down Drones?

It may now be legal to shoot a drone out of the sky. At least in certain cases. This is according to Judge Rebecca Ward of the Bullitt County District Court, who recently dismissed all the charges against the so-called “Drone Slayer”. The question really is whether the drone is invading your privacy How to Protect Yourself From Unethical or Illegal Spying Think that someone is spying on you? Here's how to find out if spyware is on your PC or mobile device, and how to remove it. Read More , which is where ambiguity over the lawfulness of shooting at drones still exists.

According to Ars Technica, Judge Ward has dismissed all charges against William Meredith, a man from Kentucky who shot a drone down because it was hovering over his property. Meredith was initially charged with firing his gun within city limits, and David Boggs, the owner and pilot of the drone was none too happy to have it shot down.

The question over whether this drone was invading Meredith’s privacy came down to its proximity to the property. Boggs claims the drone was flying 200 feet above the ground, and claims to have video evidence of this. Meredith claims the drone was flying “below the tree line,” and called three witnesses who testified on his behalf.

Boggs is planning to file a civil lawsuit, but the verdict in this case could be used as a precedent in cases where drones get shot down by gun-toting citizens concerned for their safety. While the shooter won out on this occasion, there is still a huge legal gray area hovering over the issue of drone technology. So please don’t take our headline as a call to arms.

Message Strangers on Facebook



You can now message complete strangers on Facebook, and complete strangers can message you. All you, or they, require is a name. Any message sent in this way will now show up as a Message Request sitting atop your inbox. You can then decide whether to accept it or ignore it.

In truth, strangers have always been able to try to message you on Facebook. However, previously, if you weren’t already friends, their message would be filed away in a folder called Other. And that folder was only visible on the website, and not on mobile devices.

This is a seemingly small change that could have huge consequences, both positive and negative. It will great for making contact with someone on a temporary basis for genuine reasons, but could condemn some people to being faced with hatred and harassment Online Harassment Is Your Fault; Here's How To Fix It What happens to harassment victims who aren't good at interacting with the press, or do or say unpopular things? Read More . Which really isn’t ideal.

Users Switch From Android to iPhone

According to Apple Insider, the number of people switching from Android to iOS New iPhone? How to Transfer Your Data From iOS or Android Transferring data to your new iPhone? Migrating from Android? Relax, it's easy to take your data with you. Read More is growing, with 30 percent of new iPhone buyers former Android users. Apple CEO Tim Cook is reported to have made the claim during the company’s most recent earnings call.


Apple started tracking these figures three years ago, and, according to Cook, the 30 percent of switchers during the last quarter is the highest so far. Apple believes even more are likely to switch in the coming months as they become eligible for a handset upgrade. But that could just be wishful thinking to set investors’ minds at ease.

Twitter Advertises for New Users

Twitter is still struggling to attract more users, growing by just 11 percent over the last year. The social network now has around 320 million active monthly users, which is less than a third that of Facebook. In total, if you include Vine and Periscope, around 800 million people use services owned by Twitter.

However, the company has a plan to win over people who haven’t yet given into the charms of Twitter 7 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Twitter Twitter has now been with us for seven years and counting. This was seven years to the day since Jack Dorsey sent out the first tweet in 2006, at a time when the micro-blogging social... Read More , part of which is advertising on TV. Twitter’s first full television commercial is embedded above, and it’s designed to sell the new Moments feature Microsoft Unveils Surface Book, Surface Pro 4, New Lumia Phones... [Tech News Digest] Microsoft unveils Windows 10 devices, Twitter has its Moments, Facebook does a Doodle, Bob Dylan meets IBM's Watson, and Universal posts a trailer for Jaws 19. Read More to both new and existing users. Is baseball really popular enough to achieve that aim?

World’s Slowest Rube Goldberg Machine

And finally, we have footage of the world’s slowest Rube Goldberg machine. At least the slowest for now, though we suspect others will seek to build ever examples to steal the crown. In the meantime, we can all enjoy the majesty of this effort from Bob Partington.


The whole thing takes around six weeks to complete, but thankfully the video has been edited down into a much more tolerable three minutes. Because I don’t think anyone has the patience to watch molasses pour out, grass to grow, and a tortoise to walk a few feet. Except Bob, obviously. [H/T Tastefully Offensive]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Would you shoot a drone out of the sky? Are you pleased that strangers can now message you on Facebook? Have you switched from Android to iOS? How can Twitter attract more users? How would you make the world’s slowest Rube Goldberg machine even slower?

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: Geoffrey Fairchild via Flickr


Related topics: Drone Technology, Facebook, iPhone, Twitter.

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