Tech News

Zuckerberg Wants Free Internet For All, XP Upgrades Halt PC Decline, And More… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 08-07-2014

Also, New Zealand ISP gives its customers what they want, Isis discovers the power of branding, GameStop sets out to ruin video games, a potato salad is successfully funded through Kickstarter, and we all watch the 72-minute-long trailer for the 720-hour-long movie.


Zuckerberg Argues For Free Internet

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is calling for “basic Internet services” to be free and available to all. He makes his plea in an editorial for The Wall Street Journal, arguing that as the Internet will “help drive human progress” it should be accessible in the way 911 is accessible regardless of a phone plan.

This is a nice idea, but Zuckerberg doesn’t explain what he means by “basic Internet services,” and only briefly touches on how we, as a society, can make this happen. Big ideas are surely nothing without detailed plans.

His timing also sucks, coming the week after Facebook was found to have conducted secret experiments on its users Facebook Conducts Hundreds Of Experiments, Google Bans Porn, And More... [Tech News Digest] Fallout from the "right to be forgotten," Yahoo kills several unheard of services, Google launches Project Ara beta, Lindsay Lohan sues Rockstar over GTA V character, and Tetris gets played on a T-shirt. Read More . Why not address that issue Don’t Be an Experiment: How to Control Your Facebook News Feed What determines what is and isn't a top Facebook post? How often you interact with a person, topics you're interested in, how many likes or comments the post attracts, and – apparently – psychological experiments. Read More before trying to change the world!

The PC Isn’t Dead After All

If Gartner’s latest predictions are to be believed, the humble PC isn’t dead after all. PC shipments slumped by an alarming 9.5 percent in 2013 Dead PCs, Gmail Stalking, Bitcoin Overstock, Kindle Kiosk [Tech News Digest] Desktops are declared dead, Gmail stalkers love Google+, Overstock starts accepting Bitcoin, scanning irises for passwords, Snapchat apologizes, Amazon starts selling hardware from a vending machine, and two companies fight over the right to pin. Read More , but the latest forecasts suggest only a slight decline of 2.9 percent in 2014. The decline in 2015 is expected to be even smaller, but shrinking declines do not represent a revival.

The reason behind this lessening drop? People upgrading from Windows XP Upgrade From Windows XP to a Modern OS in 7 Simple Steps It's time to say goodbye! Microsoft is ending official support for Windows XP on April 8 2014. Are you at risk? If you are still running this ancient operating system, it's time to upgrade. Read More . “Business upgrades from Windows XP and the general business replacement cycle will lessen the downward trend, especially in Western Europe,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. “This year, we anticipate nearly 60 million professional PC replacements in mature markets.


Our readers may disagree; many are steadfastly refusing to move on from XP Windows XP: What's Happening To It Now? Windows XP may be dead, but it's not yet gone. Over 27% of computers connected to the Internet still run Windows XP. Here's exactly what "end of support" means for Windows XP systems. Read More , while others are switching to Linux. Neither of which requires a new PC.

New Zealand ISP Adds VPN To Its Service

An ISP in New Zealand called Slingshot has added a VPN to its service in order to allow customers to watch streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. The cleverly titled “global mode” reroutes traffic so that it looks like Slingshot customers are based somewhere other than New Zealand.

Netflix hasn’t yet launched in New Zealand, and Hulu is only available in the U.S. There are also plenty of other geoblocked services Slingshot customers will now be able to access by default thanks to using a VPN The Best VPN Services We've compiled a list of what we consider to be the best Virtual Private Network (VPN) service providers, grouped by premium, free, and torrent-friendly. Read More .

As this is straddling the line of legality, Slingshot suggests “global mode” is only intended for international guests staying in New Zealand. Of course it is.


Isis Rebranding To End ISIS Confusion

Mobile wallet app Isis is being forced to change its name to differentiate itself from ISIS ( the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). Isis CEO Michael Abbott says the name has “become synonymous with violence,” hence the need to rebrand. A new name has yet to be chosen, but we humbly suggest avoiding rebranding as “Al-Qaeda.

GameStop Keen On Exclusive Content

GameStop has plans to offer more exclusive content for people pre-ordering video games from its stores in the future. This could mean GameStop “getting involved at the time of game development,” partnering with developers to insert content in games which will only be accessible to those who preordered through the retailer. Because what the games industry really needs right now more locked content included on discs.

Crowdfunding A Kickstarter Potato Salad

An absolute idiot/enterprising genius (delete as appropriate) has successfully crowdfunded the making of a potato salad. Zack Danger Brown asked for just $10 but has raised $35,000 at the time of writing with 25 days left on his campaign. We suspect Kickstarter may now be regretting its decision to soften its rules Google End-To-End Encryption, Slender Man Attempted Murder [Tech News Digest] Google goes End-To-End, Kickstarter softens campaign rules, Sony kills the PSP, Chrome goes 64-bit, Slender Man attempted murder, Todoist For Business, and teens reacting to 90s Internet. Read More .


72-Minute Trailer For A 720-Hour film

And finally, Ambiancé is a new film set to have a running time of 720 hours. That’s 30 days. Swedish director Anders Weberg has put the first trailer — lasting 72 minutes — online, with further, longer, trailers promised in 2016 and 2018. The full film will be released on December 31st, 2020, when it will be screened once in its entirety and then destroyed. Why? We honestly don’t know.

Your Views On Today’s Tech News

Should basic Internet access be free? Can you take Mark Zuckerberg seriously? Is the PC dead or just on life support? Is the Kickstarter potato salad the dumbest thing ever?

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: Lord Jim via Flickr

Related topics: Kickstarter, Movie Trailer.

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  1. Rob
    July 10, 2014 at 4:31 am

    ...."other essentials such as food and TV." That's funny...made me bust out! TV is pretty far from essential. And free Internet is far from essential. Free Internet would most certainly come with no guarantees, so if you need to plug your oxygen machine into the Internet, you'd better pay for service.

    So the question is would I sign up with Facebook to get free Internet? Sure, why not? If you want a service for free you have to sign up with whoever is providing the service don't you? Since the Internet is a two-way medium (unlike TV/radio) it is reasonable to expect to have to signup with someone. Unless we figure out how to hack together our own Internet using Ham radios or something.

    Most (but not all) of the concerns over privacy with Google/Facebook is really paranoia. These guys mostly just want to know what you are doing so they can show you ads that are actually relevant to you. You still decide to buy something or not. Now, when the government gets involved, I start to worry...that's a different bag o' donuts all together, but it is already happening now and free Internet access from Facebook or Google won't make a bit of difference in that. The "experiments" Facebook did is somewhat worrying, since they "tweaked" what their users saw, but if you think the ISP Facebook would somehow filter your Internet access, well then you now are talking about Net Neutrality, another area that should concern us all regardless of who your ISP is, and whether free Internet materializes or not.

    I don't like Zuckerberg....I think he's a punk. But I also wish I was him, 'cause who wouldn't want to be a billionaire? You guys can keep beating him up: I don't care.

    The real question for you is, if you could make free Internet available to the masses, how would you do it?

  2. Rob Gazy
    July 8, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    It could work. We have examples of free-to-consumer services now, called Radio and TV. These are ad-supported services (through commercials). The parallels to wireless Internet access are easy to see, with mainly technical hurdles remaining to a feasible plan. Big companies with the most to gain and the deepest pockets would provide initial R&D followed by proof-of-concept infrastructure. Maybe spin-off a non-profit to run it, sign up other companies who see something to gain though advertising or just to promote corporate goodwill. Google and FB are already experimenting with WiFi balloons and drones to get around the "last mile" of access problem, so the R&D seems to be already underway. Maybe 10 years from now we will all have WiFi antennas on our rooftops along with our HDTV antennas.

    • Dave P
      July 9, 2014 at 9:07 pm

      I guess that is entirely possible. Countless surveys have seen people equate Internet with other essentials such as food and TV. So basic access paid for by advertising would definitely be of interest to a percentage of the population.

      The question is, would you sign up to Facebook if that was a prerequisite?

  3. dragonmouth
    July 8, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Is Zuckerberg's "free" Internet going to be available only through a subscription to Facebook? If that is his idea, then I would rather pay for my 'Net and spare myself the "advantages" provided by Facebook. I have freed myself from the stifling embrace of Microsoft and will soon extricate myself from Google's tender ministrations. I am not about to let FB get its tentacles on me.

    • Dave P
      July 9, 2014 at 9:05 pm

      Perhaps this is Zuckerberg's plan to persuade the 5 billion people not currently on Facebook to sign up.

      You're extricating yourself from Google? That's quite a challenge these days. No more Google Search? No more Gmail? No more YouTube?!

    • dragonmouth
      July 9, 2014 at 10:58 pm

      "You’re extricating yourself from Google?"
      I just have to find some app to replace GMail. I use DuckDuckGo for my searches and have never used any other Google services.

  4. Howard Pearce
    July 8, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    "Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is calling for “basic Internet services” to be free and available to all. "

    Is this like arguing for cotton picking services to be free ? The U.S. had that in the south at one time, I do believe.

    All services are obviously provided by other people. The demand that those services be free must necessarily impose a duty on those other people to provide those services one way or the other. It's the "other" I am concerned about in Zuckerberg 's demand/request. As for the "one way", my guess is that it requires the heavy hand of the state/government to make it happen.

    The simple fact is that the services of people is not a free commodity and the demand that someone somehow make them "free" is absurd and many other things too I will not state here.

    • Dave P
      July 9, 2014 at 9:03 pm

      You make a good point. The only way Zuckerberg's calls for free Internet access for all sounds OK is if he is offering to provide it himself. Which he clearly isn't. And if he did then I suspect Facebook would experiment on everyone making use of it.