Tech News

Texting 911 In An Emergency, Twitter Launches Video Ads, And More… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 13-08-2014

Also, Apple pays tribute to Robin Williams, Samsung’s VR headset looks like Google Cardboard, Google opens Classroom up to all teachers, OnePlus pulls sexist contest after condemnation, and a video explaining why you suck at video games.


The FCC Rules On 911 Text Messaging

The ability to text 911 in order to access the emergency services will soon be an option for all U.S. citizens. Texting 911 is already an option in some states, but the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now ruled that all cellular service providers are required by law to back the effort.

On making the ruling the FCC stated, “Today’s action will make text-to-911 more uniformly available and keeps pace with how Americans communicate.” However, texting 911 is being seen as a complementary option to calling 911 rather than a direct replacement. Which is a good job given the obvious limitations of a method of communication better suited to playing games 10 Fun Phone Games to Play Over Text With Your Friends Here are some of the best games to play over text right now without needing to download or install anything on your phone. Read More .

There are instances where the ability to text rather than call 911 could save lives, but actually speaking to a human operator who can gain additional details of the incident will surely always be preferable. There is also the problem of triangulating locations, which isn’t currently possible via text-to-911.

Twitter Launches Video Ads In Beta

Twitter has launched Promoted Video ads as part of its ever-expanding Amplify program. Promoted Video gives brands and businesses “a new set of video tools” helping them “upload and distribute video on Twitter, and to measure the reach and effectiveness of this content.


In an effort to make this more appealing to potential advertisers, Twitter is giving them “the ability to run ads with a new Cost Per View (CPV) ad buying model,” which means “advertisers only get charged when a users starts playing the video.” So if you hate a brand you could potentially cost them money by watching their crappy ads.

Twitter maintains that its “overall goal is to bring more video into our users’ timelines to create a richer and more engaging Twitter.” It helps that these will be paid for, obviously. And we’re fairly sure most Twitter users would prefer video content that isn’t trying to sell them something 4 Reasons I Won't Leave When Twitter Adds Adverts Twitter is a massive website. In fact, according to Alexa rankings, it is in the top ten websites on the entire Internet. Obviously, that means Twitter gets a lot of eyeballs, and when something gets... Read More .

Apple Pays Tribute To Robin Williams


Apple has paid tribute to Robin Williams, who was found dead in his home yesterday morning (Aug. 12). The company gave the comedian and actor a spot on its homepage in order to commemorate his life.


This is a rare occurrence, with homepage tributes usually reserved for Apple execs such as Steve Jobs What Is The Legacy Of Steve Jobs? [Geeks Weigh In] Steve Jobs has stepped down as CEO of Apple, and while he will continue as Apple's chairman, his relinquishment of the title is a clear indication that he sees his time as Apple’s leader coming... Read More or public figures such as Nelson Mandela, but Williams seems to have touched almost everyone with his work over four decades.

Samsung’s VR Looks Like Cardboard

Samsung is set to unveil its VR headset at an event on September 3. However, The Verge has got hold of an alleged leaked image of Project Moonlight, which suggests Samsung’s VR headset is very similar to Google Cardboard Google I/O Reveals Android Is Everywhere, Aereo Loses Big Fight, And More... [Tech News Digest] Also, Microsoft could be planning to give Windows 9 away for free, Europe is halving mobile roaming charges, Rock Simulator 2014 has arrived to blow your mind, and CollegeHumor demonstrates how the Internet has killed... Read More .

This looks to be made from plastic rather than cardboard, but the idea of utilizing a smartphone as the immersive screen will probably be exactly the same as with Google’s effort. Not that Samsung would ever copy another company’s ideas, of course.

Google Opens Classroom Up To All


Google has opened Classroom up to all teachers with a Google Apps for Education account. After releasing a preview version of Classroom in May Google Aims To Make Teaching & Studying Easier As It Launches Classroom Google Classroom seamlessly integrates Google Drive, Google Docs, and Gmail. The new free tool should help teachers create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedback, and communicate easily with their students. Read More , Google is now opening the learning management tool to a much wider audience.

The free Google Classroom gives teachers a content management system optimized for organizing lessons and offering feedback to students; students who may well be using a Chromebook Four Awesome Ways to Use a Chromebook in the Classroom Chromebooks now account for twenty percent of all United States school purchases of mobile computers. What role can Chromebooks play in the education sector? Read More . Which means Google’s influence on education is growing by the day.

OnePlus Condemned For Sexist Contest

Fledgling phone company OnePlus has been heavily criticized for running a contest which some consider to be sexist. The Ladies First contest invited females to take a selfie containing the OnePlus logo, either drawn on their body on a piece of paper. The 50 most-liked photos as voted for on the OnePlus forums would win a T-shirt and the chance to buy a OnePlus One.

After receiving condemnation across social media sites and more fake entries than real ones, OnePlus has now pulled the contest. It has also apologized for “any offense caused by this contest,” and called it a “very misguided effort by a few isolated employees.” Still, the OnePlus One is a damn fine phone Top Six Best Features Of The OnePlus One -- And One Drawback I've been living with the OnePlus One for a few weeks now, and it's amazing, but it's not perfect. Let's run through some of the best features -- and one downside. Read More .


Your Brain Sucks At Video Games

And finally, if you, like me, are decidedly average at video games despite playing them for many years, you only have your brain to blame. It turns out your gray matter isn’t capable of coping with the visual demands of most video games, and so we counter this cerebral lacking by blaming the game itself. The solution? Play more video games until your brain learns to cope. Result!

Your Views On Today’s Tech News

Do you think allowing people to text 911 in an emergency is a good idea? Are you disappointed to see video ads being heavily pushed on Twitter? Was the OnePlus contest as sexist as some have suggested?

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: Alan Cleaver via Flickr


Explore more about: Apple, Education Technology, Google, Virtual Reality.

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  1. Pat Levy
    August 13, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    As someone who is hard of hearing, I appreciate any effort to allow texting. It would also be very helpful when someone doesn't want to be heard calling for the police, as in a home burglary.

    • Dave P
      August 15, 2014 at 12:56 pm

      They are both very valid points. Text-to-911 may not be perfect but it clearly has its uses. Let's hope it becomes standard sooner rather than later.