News Roundup: Facebook IoT, self-assembling phones, and Dolmio

A roundup of the week’s tech news including God vs. Norwegian internet, drone faults, and eWaste medals.

Facebook IoT

What if your washing machine was connected to your Facebook profile? Do you want your kettle or toaster to know you liked that newer, more expensive version in the shop so much you took a picture of it? That’s the future we could have if Facebook get their way.

Mark Zuckerberg’s company recently filed a new patent for connecting Internet of Things devices to FB accounts. According to PatentYogi, the idea is to give each device a list of authorised users and control permissions for each person.

In a world were Facebook already has a worryingly large amount of data with which to paint a near complete picture of you, would you really want them knowing exactly how many IoT-devices in your home and who controls them?

Meanwhile, Facebook has tried to hit the reset button with teens. Now that Instagram and Snapchat are where all the cool kids hang out, FB has launched Lifestage, an app that sounds exactly like Facebook, but for teens to connect with friends at their high school. It’s dank.

Self-assembling phones

Automation is going to steal everybody’s’ jobs, we all know this. To help speed things along, MIT have come with a way to help factories which assemble phones lay off even more workers even faster.

MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab has created a phone which can snap together to form a whole device by throwing the parts in what amounts to a glorified tumble dryer for a couple of minutes. The phone design is pretty basic, and much of the phone’s innards are already pieced together before it goes for a spin, but the concept seems to work.

Mac vs. Chrome

For a while now, Mac sales have been steadily increasing under the radar despite the rest of the PC market sinking like a stone. According to IDC, however, Google’s Chromebooks are now outselling Tim Cook’s devices in the US. IDC analyst Linn Huang says this is mostly down to their use in schools.


Google has reportedly acquired Apportable, Apple has apparently snapped up health startup Gliimpse, Microsoft has definitely bought scheduling service Genee, Accenture now owns Aussie security consultants Redcore, Pinterest has snaffled Instapaper, and Nutanix has bought two companies but won’t say which they are.


-          The Technology Policy Institute think tank says giving up privacy is good for poor people

-          North Korea has made its own Netflix-like service called Manbang. It translates as “everywhere” or “every direction”, but Manbang and chill doesn’t have the same ring

-          China’s new state-funded Tibetan-language search engine doesn’t show any results for the Dalai Lama

-          UK MPs think social media companies are failing on extremism

-          Asian companies are the worst at cyber-security, apparently

-          Oracle – a company that’s been suing Google/Alphabet for a while - funds an anti-Google non-profit

Japanese eWaste = Olympic Gold?

You might be SHOCKED to hear that Olympic medals aren’t actually made of gold, and haven’t been since 1912. Gold medals are mostly silver with a gold cover. According to the BBC, however, Japan is considering creating medals for the Tokyo 2020 games made out of electronic waste. Given that more gold can be extracted from a tonne of eWaste than a tonne of ore, this actually makes financial and environmental sense.

Drone pilots: It’s not your fault

Good news drone pilots, it’s not your fault! A new study from the RMIT University School of Engineering has found that most drone errors are caused by technical failures, not humans being stupid. A study of 150 reported incidents found that 64% were due to technical issues, often broken communication links. That’s still 35% that were down to people, so don’t drop out of pilot school yet, or you could end up in the danger zone.

Dolmio vs. your phone

We’ve all been told not to use our phones at the table. But why try and tell your kids what to do when you can simply use technology to mess with their gizmos? Dolmio – the makers of pasta sauces – are offering a pepper grinder that apparently disconnects devices from the Wi-Fi. You can win one (if you live in Australia) by entering a competition. Everyone else will have to do that parenting thing.

Meanwhile, in New Zealand, Pizza Hut has announced plans to offer drone delivery. Clearly they saw Domino’s plans for autonomous pizza cars and wanted to do something equally techy.

God vs. the Norwegian internet

Given the current state of politics, it’s interesting to imagine how much worse things could get if we allowed any old internet troll to vote online. Just ask God.

Evangelical Lutheran Church – the official religion of Norway – lost 15,000 followers in four days after it added a one-click unsubscribe button. Previously if people wanted to leave the church it involved manually processed forms. Luckily the ELC still has some 3.8 million followers, and even added around 500 new ones thanks to the new online process. 


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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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