Today in Tech News Digest, Twitter becomes Facebook, Microsoft releases Windows 8.1 Update 1, OpenSSL suffers Heartbleed, IE6 declared dead, Netflix streaming in 4K, Sesame GO launches, and Rise Of The Patent Troll.
Twitter Rolling Out Facebook-Like Profiles
oh man the new twitter profiles are terrible. RIP Twitter.
— Adrian Chen (@AdrianChen) April 9, 2014
Twitter is rolling out a major redesign of user profiles that takes its cue from rival social networking site Facebook. The updated profiles add more information and several new features designed to make the user experience easier and more fulfilling.
We first reported that a Facebook-like redesign for Twitter was on the cards in February 2014. The testing clearly went well enough that Twitter is now confident in rolling that same redesign out to all users. If you’re using Twitter the new design will reach you in the “coming weeks.”
The new Twitter profiles feature a large photo and wide header image, and more information about you and your usage of the site. The biggest change sees your most-popular tweets given more exposure, and you can even pin tweets to the top of your feed.
As for why Twitter is making these changes, Wired has a plausible explanation. If true, then expect to see more adverts and more mainstream users such as your parents joining Twitter in the future. Oh joy.
Windows 8.1 Update 1 Now Available
Windows 8.1 Update 1 is now officially available to download. This is a mandatory install, as Windows 8.1 users who don’t nab Update 1 will be barred from getting future updates. A Microsoft spokesman said, “It is a required update to keep your Windows 8.1 device current. Failure to install this Update will prevent Windows Update from patching your system with any future updates starting with Updates released in May 2014.”
Most users will simply download and install Windows 8.1 Update 1 via Windows Update, but those who want to download the packages themselves should visit the following pages: Windows 8.1 Update 1 for x86 and Windows 8.1 Update 1 for x64.
Heartbleed Bug Found In OpenSSL
A serious bug has been found in the OpenSSL program that the majority of websites rely on for encryption. The vulnerability, nicknamed Heartbleed, was discovered last week but has existed for more than two years. This means hackers may have already used it to obtain passwords, user IDs, and other personal information.
A full post on Heartbleed will be posted to MakeUseOf News shortly. In the meantime, some (but not all) security experts are advising ordinary Web users to change their passwords, and for Webmasters to update their sites to the latest version of OpenSSL, OpenSSL 1.0.1g, which thankfully fixes the issue.
IE6 Is Finally Dead
The news that Microsoft has ended support for Windows XP dominated the news yesterday, but it should be noted that April 8 was also the day IE6 died. Finally. The hated Internet Explorer 6 is still, inexplicably, being used by around 4 percent of computer users, but with no more updates being released this aged Web browser’s number is up. Is dancing on someone or something’s grave acceptable in this instance? We think so.
Netflix Begins Streaming In 4K
Watching House of Cards S2 in 4K on Netflix. WHOAH I mean seriously WHOAH. Freakin’ unbelievable. Full HD is ruined for me…
— Steve May (@SteveMay_UK) April 5, 2014
Netflix has begun streaming some of its content in 4K Ultra HD, with selected shows including House Of Cards leading the charge. To watch Netflix content in 4K you’ll need a 4K television set with the HEVC/H.265 decoding capability enabled and a generous broadband usage limit. Which is likely to apply to a tiny percentage of the people reading this.
Sesame GO: VOD For Sesame Street Fans
There are a multitude of different video on demand services to choose from, but few (if any) which offer only a handful of television shows. Sesame GO is an exception, as for $3.99 per month (U.S.-only) it offers programming from Sesame Workshop. There are worse ways of keeping your kids entertained for hours at a time.
The Rise Of The Patent Troll
And finally, patent trolls are a serious issue in this day and age, and something needs to be done about them. Kirby Ferguson, the man behind the Everything Is A Remix video series, agrees, and has thrown his support behind Fixpatents.org.
Fixpatents.org is an effort supported by Engine, Public Knowledge, and the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), and calling for patent reform in the United States. Adding your voice to the campaign could make all the difference.
Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks.
Image Credit: Duncan Hull via Flickr