News Roundup: Winkdexes, Social Media Lies and Glassholes


It’s all over the news, so we may as well start there. Facebook has bought WhatsApp. While that is newsworthy in itself, what turned it into a media frenzy was the eye-watering amount of money involved; Zuckerberg & co. are stumping up a hefty $19 billion dollars for the chat app. It’s the second biggest tech acquisition ever and largest for a venture-backed company. Makes the $3billion they offered Snapchat look cheap, doesn’t it? Both WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum and Zuckerberg have promised nothing will change, but how long that stays true for is up for discussion.  Not bad for a guy who Facebook rejected at one point.

Glassholes & Dirty Secrets

While probably not to the tune of $19 billion, Google have also been snapping up startups after they acquired sound-based security company SlickLogin.  But that was quickly forgotten after the one-two-three of Facebook’s announcement, the new Project Tango phone concept and Google releasing the Dos & Don’ts of Google Glass.

Most were fairly obvious; try all the features, get involved with the Glass community, don’t be a Glass Zombie or wear it while Cage fighting. But the highlight was the fact it had to tell users not to “Be creepy or rude (aka, a “Glasshole”)”. Wearable tech not for the socially acclimatised then?

Wearables might not be for anyone actually, at least after a few months. A new survey from Endeavour Partners shows that a third of people who have activity trackers such as Jawbone, Fitbit or the Nike+ Fuelband stop wearing them after six months. That doesn’t bode well for the scientist who wants to do a 25-year long ‘Quantified Self’ study, does it?

McAfee’s New Security App

Now free from the binds of Security Software association, John McAfee can get on with his life. So he’s made a privacy app. Cognizant shows users all the permissions that applications have been granted on a device, knowingly or not. We’re still waiting to hear what the promised D-Central will consists of, but seems the new McAfee Security dynasty is up and running.

And in another case of apps removing the need to think, some cunning programmer created The Hemmingway app. Providing faint levels of praise or criticism, it rates your sparkling prose on how easy it is to read. [These two sentences were ‘Good’, so I’m happy enough.]

Praise the Lord

The internet is full of Sinners. To remove the temptation of the Devil, Canterbury Cathedral has installed filters on its new Wi-Fi that blocks naughty things such porn being accessed. But if you are the kind of person that likes to access that kind of thing in church, there’s hope for you yet. A Reverend in Arizona has hit the news for performing exorcisms online on people all over the world via Skype. Demonology in the 21st Century eh?

Ubuntu’s Open Source War of Words

Samsung’s Tizen open source is reportedly ready to hit the market, but some are predicting it might be all over already. Canonical's Mark Shuttleworth has said that "Tizen is much less of a competitor today than it was six months ago." Ignoring the spirit of the open source community and definitely not just trying to push his new phone at all, the Ubuntu man said, “The spirit behind Tizen was credible, but the backers are seeking too much control and it's highly unlikely it will be adopted or shipped successfully in the mobile market. Tizen is now a fading force.”


The usual dose of NSA headlines…

-          The NSA spied on Pirate Bay and Wikileaks users.

-          The NSA plans to do more spying to protect themselves from lawsuits.

-          Australia has been getting in on the action, focusing on Indonesia.

-          Spy Chief says people would’ve been ok with spying if they were more honest from the start.

-          Some naughty NSA workers let Ed Snowden use their passwords.

-          Ron Paul is batting for Ed Snowden clemency.

-          EU still looking at creating its own Euroternet.

-          It’s ok to make & sell NSA parody T-shirts.


Tech loves Gold. It plays an important part in all our electronics, and is another reason to recycle all that eWaste we leave lying around.  And despite the billions of mobile devices we keep buying, it seems Tech’s demand for the shiny stuff has actually gone down. The latest report from the World Gold Council shows the tech world consumed just under 404 tons of the stuff in 2013, down from 407.5 in 2012. It’s enough to make you want to listen to Spandau Ballet.


Bitcoin is still being plagued by bad news; Mt. Gox is still a mess, and for every country accepting Bitcoin there’s more rejecting it. Despite this, its value is staying fairly stable, albeit around the 5-600 mark. The Winklevoss Twins are still reminding everyone how much they love Bitcoin, and have launched their own Price Index they’ve subtly called the ‘Winkdex’. Also you can order Pizza in the UAE with BTCs now.

The inexplicably popular Dogecoin is still going strong; its founder recently said he rejected $500,000 investment from VCs. That’s some serious confidence in your meme-based cryptocurrency, which had its first ATM demonstrated at the CoinFest digital currency festival in Vancouver. Kim Kardashian joined her fella Kanye West in becoming a celeb with her own coin after some guys decided Kim Coindashian needed to be a thing.


Social Media is full of baloney. The amount of misinformation you find can get quite impressive if you spend enough time glued to your feed. Luckily some scientists are working on a Social Media lie detector. Named Pheme, after the Greek mythological character who spent his time spreading rumours, the project aims to verify online rumours by looking at their sources and breaking them down into different categories. Quite how it addresses football rumours and the stuff politicians spout online is yet to be seen.


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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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