Remember when you thought you could blissfully sail through hours of YouTube without being bombarded by ads? Those were the good old days. And then came the ad-blocking policy test. Now you’re down to just three ad-free videos and suddenly, you’re knee-deep in the choppy waters of the ad-infested YouTube sea. Brace yourself, folks! That’s just the tip of the tech-berg.
Tech news, you know, it’s not always fun. You’d rather scroll through the newest memes or explore the latest fashion trends, right? But hold on to your seats because this week, tech world has dropped some real humdingers. From YouTube pulling the rug from under your ad-free binge-watching, to the next big thing in prosthetics – ‘Jizai Arms’, it’s been a whirlwind.
So, take a deep breath. We’ve gone through the rubble of news articles, PR statements, and tweets so you don’t have to.
1. YouTube’s Ad Blocking Policy Test
I’ve lived the high life of skipping ads on YouTube, and it has been a seamless experience, if I say so myself. The autoplay just moving on, from one video to another, not a single pesky commercial in sight. But then, my Zenfone 10 pinged me with an update, and I discovered a new world order: YouTube is throwing a curveball with a ‘three-strike’ ad-blocking policy.
Now, this isn’t some local pilot project. No, no, they are thinking bigger, far bigger—this is a global experimental attempt. I’ve always been one for living on the edge, but it looks like the landscape is changing. With this policy, users get to savor ‘three free adless videos.’ Three. That’s it. Just when you’re settling into that cozy binge-watching groove, there’s a warning that nudges you out of your reverie. The ultimate objective? To nudge us into allowing those ads through the gates.
And I’ll be honest, I like to ride it out, testing the limits. But this experiment has a bit of a sting in the tail. Non-compliance can lead to, get this, playback disablement on accounts. The rug is swiftly pulled out from under those who resist too long. So, there you have it. We’re no longer in ad-free Kansas.
2. AMD’s Exclusive Ryzen 5 5600X3D Processor Available At Micro Center
If there’s one thing that can get a gamer’s pulse racing, it’s the phrase “AMD’s new Ryzen 5 5600X3D processor.” The allure of AMD’s 3D V-Cache™ technology, specifically tailored for gaming enthusiasts, has drawn many towards this new chip, including yours truly. I was browsing my local Micro Center – the exclusive U.S. retailer for this little piece of silicon gold – when I stumbled upon it.
You might be wondering why Micro Center? Well, it turns out this processor is a limited-run product. AMD’s clever move of using “bad yield” chips to churn out these beauties has naturally led to a restricted supply. Nevertheless, the sense of exclusivity is pretty darn exciting.
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably asking: “what’s the damage?” Brace yourself; it’s a competitive $229.99. A steal if you ask me, especially considering the value for money it promises. But let’s say you’re feeling a bit adventurous, the kind that craves for more firepower under the hood. Well, AMD has you covered with the 5800X3D, just a $50 step-up from our hero, the 5600X3D.
Now, I won’t pretend the word “bad yields” didn’t raise my eyebrows. But one look at the gaming performance, and I’m suddenly feeling a lot better about those so-called “bad” chips. It’s like discovering a secret level in your favorite game – unexpected but oh so satisfying.
3. Google Deprecates Open-Source Android Apps
Back when I first cut my tech teeth on Android, the open-source ecosystem felt like an absolute haven. It was as if you had the freedom to remodel your smartphone like a childhood treehouse. But in the recent past, I’ve begun to feel more like a tenant in an upscale condo with a particularly persnickety landlord. Case in point? Google has quietly deprecated support for Android’s open-source dialer and messaging apps. One morning, you wake up, and instead of your familiar morning texts, you’re greeted with a chilling message: “This app is not actively supported.”
If you’re a custom Android OS creator, you’re going to be in for a shock. You’re now required to develop your own texting and calling applications. Not exactly the stuff you want to deal with over your morning cup of Joe, I wager. Tech commentator Louis Rossman calls Google’s move “death by a thousand cuts,” and frankly, I couldn’t agree more.
The crux of the matter isn’t just the extra work for Android developers. It’s what this means for users. If you, like me, enjoy having the option to not use Google services on your Android, things are getting progressively stickier. It’s a bit like being invited to a potluck but then being told you can only eat the host’s cooking.
Data collection by tech giants has always been a contentious issue, and this move does nothing to assuage those fears. It’s a bit like being told your personal data – your location, browsing habits, even your penchant for late-night taco recipes – is nothing more than a “postage stamp.” A stamp, mind you, potentially sold to advertisers eager to hawk their wares in your direction.
So, where does this leave us? In a tech world that’s becoming less of a sandbox and more of a gated community, Google’s move feels like another brick in the wall. I’m looking at my Android and thinking, “Well, that’s a darn shame.” Isn’t that exactly the point?
4. Reddit and Moderators’ Clash
Reddit is typically a place where keyboard warriors clash, but it seems the drama has leveled up, with a full-blown revolt taking place between Reddit’s corporate bigwigs and their volunteer moderators. This hullabaloo began when the powers-that-be decided to roll out some new API changes. Many a mod found themselves ruffled, and let me tell you, it wasn’t just a handful of unsatisfied keyboard jockeys — the uproar has been widespread.
Similar spats in the past saw Redditors hold “blackout protests” which, get this, ended up reducing daily traffic by a significant 7%. You’d think that’s bad, right? Well, things got worse. In the world of free platforms, advertisers are the big kahunas, and they were not impressed. Following the blackout, advertiser traffic took a nose dive, falling by a staggering 20%. Ouch.
But perhaps the biggest slap in the face for Reddit’s executives came from an unexpected quarter. Microsoft’s game developer, Mojang, decided to pull the plug on their official subreddit, removing their support. Now, Mojang’s never been a stranger to controversy in the Reddit world. But withdrawing support altogether? It seems like they’ve decided to steer clear of the choppy waters this time around.
It’s been quite the week for Reddit, one that’s seen its share of stormy seas. The tech world is watching, popcorn in hand, waiting to see how this digital drama unfolds. Will Reddit back down, or are we on the verge of yet another blackout? Only time will tell, dear reader. Only time will tell.
5. ROG Ally Handheld MicroSD Card Performance Issues
For those of you who snagged the new ROG Ally handheld, you might’ve noticed it’s not all smooth sailing. I’m not talking about the kind of issue where your favorite game freezes for a nanosecond. No, it’s more like your handheld’s turning into a personal heater, and I don’t mean that in a cozy, keep-your-hands-warm-during-winter way.
Remember when you popped in your microSD card and found it nestled snuggly over the device’s heat exhaust? Yeah, me too. Well, Jeff Gertzman, who we all know is no slouch when it comes to tech, highlighted that the exhaust heat is extreme. It’s not like sitting in a sauna. It’s more akin to being in a frying pan, and it turns out your SD card’s on the menu.
You’ve probably experienced this: your handheld’s humming along, and then bam, five minutes into your gaming session, your SD card decides to go on a surprise vacation. As humorous as it may sound, Asus is advising users to contact technical support if they’ve seen this problem, hinting at the possibility that their SD card might be, well, “scrambled” due to heat.
Yes, you read that right. Scrambled, as in what you do to eggs on a Sunday morning. Here’s hoping Asus whips up a fix soon because this handheld is too good to let a little, or rather, a lot, of heat, get in the way. Until then, folks, game at your own risk. Or at least keep a potholder nearby.
6. Let Me Spy App Data Breach
In an unfortunate twist of events that I’m sure none of us saw coming (sarcasm is my coping mechanism here), the “Let Me Spy” app had a massive data breach. And not the good kind of massive, where you find an extra-large pizza at your doorstep. No, we’re talking about the kind of massive that’s the digital equivalent of the Boogeyman. This is the app designed to keep tabs on kids and employees, now spilling its secrets like a soap opera character in a pivotal plot twist.
So, here’s the scoop. The app’s breach exposed more than just the sort of data you’d expect – call records, messages, and location details. It gave away the identities of its users as well. Now, you might be thinking, “Well, a bunch of overprotective parents and micromanaging bosses, right?” Wrong. Some of the revealed users were, astonishingly, US college students. A surprising demographic, I’ll admit. It’s almost like a bad reality TV plot – College Kids: The Overzealous Spies.
But that’s not the kicker. It also turns out that there were government officials in the user pool. Yes, folks. Big Brother was using “Let Me Spy” to keep an eye on Little Brother. Not exactly what they signed up for when they downloaded this app, I bet.
As if that’s not enough, the breach not only exposed those doing the spying, but it also revealed information about unsuspecting employed kids. Yes, you heard that right. The supposedly monitored were in for an unpleasant surprise when they found themselves to be the unexpected stars of this data breach drama.
7. Reconstructing Physical Spaces Using Eye Reflections
Listen, we all knew tech was crazy, but this news out of the University of Maryland might have you questioning the fabric of reality. Remember that time you saw your reflection in someone’s eyes during a heartfelt conversation and thought it was pure poetry? Well, it just became a hardcore science. Yep, researchers have discovered a method to reconstruct 3D spaces using nothing but the reflection in the human eye. It’s like something straight out of a Sci-Fi movie!
Sure, the testing happened in a controlled setting – they aren’t exactly pulling data out of party selfies. Yet. The method is more Sherlock Holmes than Instagram, involving complex calculations based on eye gaze and the texture of the cornea. Imagine a world where crime scenes can be reconstructed just by examining the eye reflections in a photograph. Gives a whole new meaning to the term “eye-witness,” doesn’t it?
The researchers took this technique for a spin using stills from music videos and let’s just say, it presented quite the challenge. It’s one thing to pick up the glossy sheen of an eye in a well-lit lab; it’s a whole different beast to decipher reflections in a low-light, shaky, dramatically-lit, music video setting. What did they find? Vague blobs that might be camera equipment, or could just as well be extraterrestrial life forms – it’s all a bit fuzzy at this stage.
As exciting as this tech is, the researchers were quick to highlight potential pitfalls with AI-generated imagery. As we all know, if AI has taught us anything, it’s that it’s capable of being more creative (read: misleading) than a compulsive liar in a tight spot. It’s early days, folks, but keep an eye out (pun intended), because if this tech develops, your eyes might just become the most reliable storytellers in the room. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
8. Innovation in Wearable Robotics: The ‘Jizai Arms’
You know, I’ve seen some pretty cool tech in my time, but this one is something else. Fresh out of the University of Tokyo’s labs, courtesy of Masahiko Inami and his brilliant team, we now have wearable robotic arms. But these aren’t just any robotic arms—these are the ‘Jizai Arms.’ They’re based on the idea of ‘jizai,’ which is Japanese for ‘autonomy’ and ‘freedom.’ And boy, does it feel like the future.
Remember how musicians can make magic with their instruments? Inami’s dream is to form a similar bond between the wearer and the Jizai Arms. He’s taken a leaf out of the books of traditional Japanese puppetry and a short story by Yasunari Kawabata for his brainchild, infusing it with a sense of art and history that you don’t see every day. These arms aren’t trying to outdo us puny humans—they’re here to be our buddies, nudging us towards creativity.
Now, picture this (check the video attached above). Ballet dancers gracefully twirling around on stage, their robotic arms tracing elegant arcs in the air. That’s right, folks. There’s a promotional video out there that shows just that—humans and robots dancing in perfect harmony. The Jizai Arms, Inami says, grow on you over time, much like a good friend or a treasured trinket.
But it’s not all about the art. Inami’s futuristic contraption could potentially be used in serious operations, like search-and-rescue missions. Can you imagine how much safer and more effective rescuers could be with an extra set of hands? Or perhaps with wings or drones attached to them, as Inami suggested. There’s even a wild thought about new sports or advanced swimming techniques being possible with these wearable robotic arms.
Written by Johnathan Abram