Tech News

Stop Queuing at Apple Stores, YouTube Kids Is Bad M’kay, & More… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 08-04-2015

Apple Store lines, YouTube Kids complaints, Google Moderator closes, Imgur embed options, Hulu GIF searches, and Game of Thrones gets a modern-day makeover.

Apple Hates Sleepy Lines Too

The whole world has looked on in astonishment as fanboys queue up outside Apple Stores Why You Should Never Queue For New Gadgets [Opinion] I personally cannot fathom the mindset of people who queue for the latest gadget on launch day. I've tried, I really have, but I think it's a bizarre choice to queue up for hours or... Read More for days (and nights) on end prior to the launch of a new iPhone or other such iDevice. And it turns out Apple has had enough of the sad spectacle as well, at least according to an internal memo written by Angela Ahrendts, Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Sales.

In the memo, Ahrendts suggests, “The days of waiting in line and crossing fingers for a product are over for our customers.” The reason? “The Apple Store app and our online store make it much easier to purchase Apple Watch and the new MacBook. Customers will know exactly when and where their product arrives.” She goes onto urge Apple Store employees to gently push customers online, saying “This is a significant change in mindset, and we need your help to make it happen. Tell your customers we have more availability online, and show them how easy it is to order. You’ll make their day.

It seems that while Apple once loved the publicity generated by these lengthy queues, the company would now rather people bought online instead. However, this is unlikely to dissuade the faithful Apple Starts a Religion, Microsoft Cancels Windows 10, & More... [Tech News Digest] Apple gets religious, Microsoft smashes Windows, Google takes a day off, Facebook culls Friends, vowels get banned, and MakeUseOf announces new offshoots. Read More , and there will still be the usual number of iDiots lining up outside their local Apple Store when the Apple Watch is released on April 24 Apple Watch Finally Arrives, HBO Now Exclusive to iDevices [Tech News Digest] Apple Watch arrives, HBO Now exclusive, Google releases Android 5.1, Facebook kills Friendfeed, Gigaom is no more, and Samsung builds a Dream Doghouse. Read More .

Both the shortages and black market buyers — and the bad publicity that these things generated — during more recent product launches, is likely to have played a significant role in this change of strategy.

Consumer Groups Condemn YouTube Kids

A number of consumer groups have joined forces to collectively condemn YouTube Kids YouTube Kids App Hides the Sex, Iggy Azalea is Bullied off Twitter [Tech News Digest] YouTube Kids is launching, Iggy Azalea abandons Twitter, Apple repairs old MacBooks, a Facebook emergency, Photoshop hits 25, and an iPad magician blows Ellen's mind. Read More , an app designed to make the video-sharing site safer for children. These organizations, which include the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Watchdog, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, have, according to CNET, filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The complaint alleges that YouTube Kids “take[s] advantage of children’s developmental vulnerabilities and violate long-standing media and advertising safeguards that protect children viewing television.” This is due to the commercial activity present on the app, which is free but supported entirely by advertising.

The consumer groups want the FTC to take immediate action, but Google isn’t taking this attack lying down, arguing, “While we are always open to feedback on ways to improve the app, we were not contacted directly by the signers of this letter and strongly disagree with their contentions, including the suggestion that no free, ad-supported experience for kids will ever be acceptable.

This all comes down to whether parents feel insidious advertising How to Avoid the Dangers of Online Advertisements Targeted at Kids You might think you're smart enough to dodge manipulative advertisements -- and maybe you are smart enough -- but what about children? Online ads are increasingly targeting younger and younger folks. What can we do? Read More is more or less of a problem than their children accidentally being exposed to videos aimed at adults. In fixing the latter, Google has potentially introduced the former.

Google Moderator Is Shutting Down

Another day, another Google service shutting down. The victim this time is Google Moderator, which will cease to be on July 31, 2015. One month before that, on June 30, Google Moderator will be switched to read-only mode.

Google Moderator was, in many ways, the prototype for Reddit’s AMA (Ask Me Anything) The Best Reddit AMAs Of All Time [Weird & Wonderful Web] Under the IAmA subreddit, you'll find informal interviews with all sorts of interesting people. These are some of the best AMAs online. Read More , allowing people to pose questions and vote up existing questions. With Reddit now being one of the pillars of the Internet 7 Most Important Websites We Can't Live Without The World Wide Web (now more commonly known simply as the Web) has been with us for over 20 years now, and in that relatively short space of time it has unequivocally changed the world.... Read More , Google clearly feels Moderator is no longer needed.

Imgur Launches Online Embed Options

Imgur has added embed options allowing bloggers and publishers to feature its content on their own sites. Unsurprisingly, Imgur’s embed options work in a similar way to YouTube’s embed options, with a piece of code used to direct users back to the source.

Embedding is becoming pretty standard How To Embed YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, And Google Maps Responsively One of the biggest buzzwords in the online design world in the past two or three years has to be 'Responsive.' With the advent of browsing on everything from a 4 inch smartphone screen to... Read More across the Web, with the aforementioned YouTube, plus Facebook, Twitter, Giphy, and others all offering the option. Imgur embeds should, like everything else, appear correctly regardless of the device on which they’re being viewed. Fingers crossed.

Hulu Launches Its Own GIF Tumblr

Hulu has launched its own Tumblr which acts as a GIF search engine for its content. Called The Perfect GIF, the Hulu Tumblr allows you to find just the right GIF to visualize your thoughts, with new GIFs being added on a regular basis.

This isn’t out of charity, of course, with all of the GIFs including the name of the show and the Hulu branding. Thus, Hulu gets free advertising every time someone posts one of its GIFs on a social network. Which, given how popular GIFs are becoming 6 Places to Create Amazing Meme-Worthy GIF Animations For some reason, animated GIFs have become all the rage. At first, I couldn’t understand what was so appealing about these silent video wannabes. Later on, I gave in a little and admitted that while... Read More , will be often.

Modern Game of Thrones Ad Makeovers

And finally, with mere days to go before the start of Season 5 of Game of Thrones 10 Intriguing Game of Thrones Fan Theories Read More , Shutterstock has imagined what the Great Houses of Westeros would be up to in this day, age, and universe. And all with nothing more than stock video footage and a suitably cheesy voiceover.

We see House Stark as outfitters with a passion for harsh environments, House Targaryen as an airline with a difference, and House Lanister as an investment group which always pays its debts. There has to be a Web series in this for someone more creative than myself. Surely. [H/T The Mary Sue]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Is it ever worth waiting in line for a new gadget, at an Apple Store or elsewhere? Should Google be forced to cut the advertising from YouTube Kids? Are you sorry to see Google Moderator being culled?

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 Credit: Rob DiCaterino via Flickr

Related topics: Apple, GIF, Google, Hulu, YouTube.

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