Tech News

Twitter Is Flatlining, Firefox 29 Is Radical, MacBook Air Is Cheaper [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 30-04-2014

Today in Tech News Digest, Twitter flatlines, Firefox updates, MacBook Air cheapens, Xbox One lands, Udacity expands, and Vsauce measures.


Twitter Is Flatlining

Twitter has reported its financial results for Q1 2014 [Broken Link Removed]. The figures can be spun a number of ways depending on your point of view, but the ultimate truth lurking behind them all is that Twitter is flatlining to an alarming degree.

The financials aren’t too bad. Twitter brought in revenues of $250 million during the last quarter, with earnings of $0.00-per-share. No, that isn’t a typo Why Typos Always Matter, Even Online & In Text Messages [Opinion] We all make mistakes from time to time. It's natural, a part of life, a learning curve which we use to better ourselves. Typos are no exception. They happen often, and if writing forms a... Read More , but as Wall Street had expected a loss, flat earnings are being considered a reasonable result.

Unfortunately, the usage statistics are less positive. Twitter did manage to add 14 million users during the quarter, with the total number rising from 241 million to 255 million. That’s a 5.8 percent increase for the quarter, and a 25 percent increase year-on-year. Timeline views also only grew 15 percent year-on-year for the quarter, compared to 26 percent last quarter.

This all suggests user growth is slowing to quite an extent, and those users that are present aren’t staying as engaged as they should be doing. The stock market was quick to express its worries for the future, with Twitter’s share price dropping 10 percent in after-hours trading.

This is a shame, because there are a number of valid reasons to use 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 . Unfortunately, it seems most people have decided they just don’t need another social network in their life.


Firefox 29 Brings Radical Redesign

Firefox 29 has been released to the general public, and it reveals a radical redesign for the Web browser called Australis that Mozilla has been working on for almost two years. The new UI looks very different, with rounded edges and a much simpler approach across the board.

Beyond the visual changes, Firefox 29 brings more customization options than ever before, an improved bookmarks manager, and major improvements to Firefox Sync, to name just a few of the new and updated features.

In many ways this is Mozilla taking a leaf out of Google’s playbook, with Firefox 29 looking and feeling a lot more like Chrome than ever before. With that in mind, perhaps it’s time for Chrome users to give Firefox a second look. Especially as Internet Explorer is currently off-limits Internet Explorer Flaw, Netflix Cable, Cortana Children, E.T. Found In Desert [Tech News Digest] Internet Explorer flaw, government-built social networks, Netflix as a cable channel, ComiXology in-app purchases, Cortana hates children, a Codecademy makeover, and E.T. found in the desert. Read More .

Apple Updates MacBook Air

Apple has ever-so-slightly improved the MacBook Air, while cutting the price at the same time. The improvements made to the line-up are new 1.4GHz Intel Haswell chips (up from 1.3GHz), better baseline storage, and an incremental improvement in battery life. And that’s all.


These aren’t exactly huge changes, but when coupled with a $100 price cut for all models the MacBook Air is a more attractive option 4 Reasons My Next Notebook PC Will Be A MacBook Air [Opinion] I’ve never owned a Mac before, and I never thought I’d be in a position where I intend to buy one. Growing up I was a die-hard Windows user, mainly for the many hours I’d... Read More than it was previously. However, another hardware update which will finally make the MacBook Air with Retina display a reality is expected before the end of the year. So now may not be the time to prise open your wallets and purses.

Microsoft Takes The Xbox One To China

Microsoft is taking the Xbox One to China, with a September launch now confirmed. This is a big move for the Xbox One Microsoft Xbox One Review And Giveaway The console wars are officially raging, and we've had sufficient time with both of them. That begs the question: how does the Xbox One compare? Read More considering games consoles were banned in China for many years. And even though the ban has now been lifted, there are still restrictions on the types of games available to play, with titles that promote “obscenity, drug use, violence or gambling” not allowed. All the fun titles, in other words.

Udacity Comes To iPhone

Udacity for iPhone is now available Try Learning On The Go With The New Udacity For iPhone Udacity has launched a free iPhone app. You can now access 12 full courses and 26 free and ‘open’ courses on an iPhone's smaller screen. Learn in your downtime. Read More , with the online learning platform now offering MOOCs Where To Study: Navigating The Free Online Education World Now that online learning is commonplace, it also is bit of a nightmare to choose which learning systems to use. We make it easier by giving you an overview of the best options out there. Read More (Massive Open Online Courses) to users of Apple’s smartphone. A total of 12 full courses and 26 free courses are accessible through the iOS app, with an Android version also in the works.

Vsauce Puts Humanity In Perspective

And finally, Vsauce has just demonstrated how insignificant the human race is by showing how little room the total population of the world would need if piled together in the Grand Canyon. The rest of the video is well worth watching, but this extraordinary visual is right at the start. Mind blown.


Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks.

Image Credit: Neil Milne via Flickr

Related topics: Apple, Mozilla Firefox, Twitter, Xbox One.

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  1. J. Anthony
    May 13, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    I loaded Classic Theme Restorer right away. Still not my old familiar customized UI, but bearable. Perhaps I won't switch to Chrome. We'll see.

  2. Howard Blair
    May 3, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    Classic Theme Restorer made the update to 29 bearable...install the addon, get the Firefox icon (small, no text) back, remove the "hamburger icon" and move a few things around, and everything's back the way I like it. Only thing missing is the ability to add the Tools menu to the Firefox button menu.

  3. Aibek E
    April 30, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    I have downloaded Firefox after reading this update) Been using Chrome as primary browser for about a year now

    • Dave P
      April 30, 2014 at 10:41 pm

      Good stuff. I'll be interested to hear how you find it after such a long time using Chrome.

  4. Ben S
    April 30, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    I'm liking the new Firefox so far. My favorite new feature so far is the new Firefox Accounts. So much easier than the old Sync mess.
    I don't know if the redesign is enough to make Chrome users switch, though.

    • Dave P
      April 30, 2014 at 10:40 pm

      The great thing about Web browsers is the capacity to have several on one computer. So, dedicated Chrome users could certainly give Firefox 29 a whirl without committing to making a permanent switch.