It’s Tuesday again, and you know what that means! I’m writing this while I sit at home, very impatiently waiting for the FedEx guy to deliver my new iPhone 6, so today really is a techknowledgy Tuesday for me! I promise I won’t try to bend it…but we’ll talk more about that in a second.
Ello, is it me you’re looking for?
Facebook recently started cracking down on users who use an alias instead of their real name on the site. This has, like every Facebook change ever, pissed someone off. In particular, this new policy has angered the drag community, who tend to use personal accounts with their stage name instead of fan pages. As many drag queens have pointed out, many Facebook users have a valid reason for wanting to keep their online persona separate from a potentially harmful backlash from those in their personal life. Now, many of them are looking to jump ship to a different social media network that allows them to use whatever display name they want. (Cue Twitter jumping up and down in the back of the classroom, waving its hands and yelling “OVER HERE, GUYS!”)
Enter Ello, a new social network launched about six months ago which pledges that it will never sell your personal information to advertisers. Although Ello is currently invitation-only, its user base has exploded from people abandoning Facebook. Currently Ello is pretty bare-bones, with a non-nonsense monospace font and a plain, stark interface. Ello itself may call its interface “simple”, but a lot of features are hidden, or not easily apparent at first glance. It’s kind of a hybrid of Twitter and Facebook: You reply to or message people using @username conventions, but you can post more than 140 characters and comment threading is a bit more conventional than Twitter. Most notably different is a lack of any way of liking, favoriting, or otherwise indicating that you approve of something without commenting. Personally, that means I have no way to measure my internet self-worth now, and it’s kinda weird. It’s also very hard to discover friends or interesting people to follow without telling them your username directly (usually through some other form of social media), so my current circle of followees isn’t as broad as it could be.
For now, it’s hard to tell where Ello will go. People still appear to be posting on it, which is a good sign…But I was in the first round of Google+ betas and my friends and I used that hardcore for about two or three months, and now it’s all but dead. It’s also not nearly as full featured as Facebook, lacking elements like direct messages or even a mobile app. But hey, maybe it’ll finally kill off MySpace or something.
Launch day iPhones have been out in the wild for about a week and a half now, so naturally, it’s time for the first scandal to hit. Early adopters first started posting pictures on various forums claiming their iPhone 6 Pluses had bent slightly in their pocket, right around where the volume control buttons are. #BendGate (or as I prefer, #Bendghazi), quickly exploded on Twitter. Apple released a statement a few days later stating that only nine people (out of 10 million phones sold) had come forward with bent phones, and invited reporters to tour their hardware stress test facility to show how rigorously their phones and computers are tested before launch. Consumer Reports also released an independent test, confirming that iPhones aren’t nearly as bendy as initial reports claimed.
In my entirely unscientific and anecdotally reinforced opinion, the whole thing is overblown. I’ve seen iPhone 5(s)’s bent the exact same way as an iPhone 6 Plus supposedly does. At the end of the day, your phone is a $600+ piece of fragile glass and malleable metal, and you should treat it as such. The worst thing about this story is there are now reports emerging that people are going into Apple stores and trying to bend the iPhones, which is (pardon my French) a dick move if I ever heard one. Damaging private property, even if you’re anti-Apple, doesn’t make you cool or subversive or prove any point, except that you’re a vandal who likes driving retail employees to drink. If you absolutely must bend something in an Apple Store, try the cables.
The Selfie Hat: Look ma, no hands!
Have you ever taken a selfie and thought, “This is great, but it would be even better if I had a giant sparkly pink hat on?” Well then, my friend, you are in luck. Designer Christian Cowan-Sanliuis has developed “The Selfie Hat” for London Fashion Week. Cowan-Sanluis has designed outfits for Lady Gaga, which would surprise exactly no one who’s seen the hat. It looks like a porkpie with an exaggerated brim…and an Acer Iconia A1-840 tablet hanging off one side. And just in case you want to show off your hot pink selfie style without wearing a hat that day, you can get a matching case for your tablet. Coming soon to an Instagram near you!
The newest reason why your IT guy is grumpy
Remember Heartbleed, the OpenSSL vulnerability that made you change all your passwords for the umpteenth time? Well, the good news is that the new Bash security hole, Shellshock, won’t require you to change any passwords! The bad news is that it could allow someone full access to the millions of devices that run Bash, so it’s way worse and there’s nothing you can do about it. Okay, there is something you can do about it: patches are being released, so be sure to update your software on any devices running Linux, Unix, or Mac OS X (so basically, anything that’s not a Windows machine), and try not to connect older devices that can’t be updated to the Internet. You could also bring a cup of coffee or some cookies to your Sysadmin at work, because god knows he’s going to need it after patching all those machines.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go sit by the window and watch down my street for the FedEx truck. Until next Tuesday, Towelites!