This week the world was filled with wailing, gnashing of teeth and rending of garments as Twitter packed up – but thankfully it got going again before humanity reverted to cannibalism and worshiping false idols, which would have happened after an hour or so. But Twitter had it easy compared to other social media services, one of which shut its doors completely this week. Elsewhere we used Uber to catch a copter, took the brave and potentially foolish step of trying new music apps from Apple, and seriously suggested melting roads and hiring some mimes. It’s Week in Tech!
Remember Friends Reunited? For many Britons was the first taste of social networking, but now you can forget about it again: after more than 15 years reminding people of how horrible their school peers still are, it’s closing its doors. Friends Reunited may have predated Facebook, but Facebook did the social networking thing better and on a much bigger scale. The only surprise about Friends Reunited’s demise was that it was still going.
Uber über alles
Hailing an Uber cab is so last year. This year all the cool people will be hailing… helicopters! It’s a – yes! – pilot project right now, but Uber really is offering an on-demand service for people who need to hire helicopters, albeit only in and around the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. It’s not the only non-car Uber service: in Istanbul, Uber users can hail boats. One thing’s for sure: the cost of an Uber copter will make even the most expensive Uber cab seem cheap.
Who’s making the next Nexus?
Good news for anybody investing in beleaguered smartphone maker HTC: it looks like HTC will be making the next Nexuses, the replacements for the recently launched Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X. The launch is ages away but details are already beginning to leak, and it’s possible that the next Nexuses may take a step backwards in terms of their size: at 5.7 inches the Nexus 6P is a big big phone unless you’re a giant or have freakishly large hands. There’s still plenty of time for Google to change its mind, but for now it looks like your next Nexus will be an HTC handset, not Huawei as previously rumoured.
Apple updates music apps, not many dead
Apple has made some new music apps – and unlike Apple Music, they’re not bottomless pits of suck with user interfaces so unintuitive you’ll want to hurl your iPhone against a wall. There’s a new app, Music Memos, for easy recording and development of song ideas, and a big update to Garageband that adds the excellent Drummer and a new feature, Live Loops, that makes Garageband a pretty good DJing device too. It’s amazing to see what Garageband is capable of on an iPhone, especially if you’ve been around long enough to remember four-track tape decks.
The best Star Wars game you’ll never play
Forget EA’s Battlefront: the best Star Wars game of all time may just be one you can’t play. A leaked alpha of Star Wars Battlefront 3 shows what Free Radical Design was working on before EA snapped up the rights to the Star Wars brand, and even if you can track it down you won’t be able to play it without an Xbox 360 development kit. That’s a shame, Hugh Langley says: “Obviously it looks quite dated now and the build is still quite sketchy, but everything we’ve seen so far points to a more well-rounded game… Battlefront 3 looks like the game that fans have really been clamouring for.”
More rumours about the imminent arrival of the Nintendo NX, the next generation of Nintendo gaming: according to a new survey from one of Nintendo’s marketing partners, it’ll be capable of playing games at 60fps, offer 900p gameplay, and stream 4K video. Details of what the NX actually is are still rather sketchy, however, and while we know that it’s in development there’s very little hard information available as Nintendo enforces Apple-style levels of secrecy. You can find everything we do know –and a lot of things the rumour mill is predicting – in our round-up of NX leaks and rumours.
Netflix: no news is good news
We’ve seen lots of news from Netflix this week but it’s unlikely to delight Netflix addicts: if you’ve been benefiting from “grandfathered” prices, where your sub fees didn’t increase for HD because you were already a subscriber, that deal is coming to an end. Not only that, but the long-rumoured war on VPNs has begun: Australian residents are the first group to find themselves banned from Netflix’s US service, but they won’t be the last.
Today’s password is password
It’s that time of year again: not the Oscars, but the awards for worst passwords of the year. And the winner for 2015? “123456,” followed by “password,” “12345678,” and “qwerty.” Meanwhile some people attempted to be clever, but turned out not to be: as Parker Wilhelm explains, “Other common passwords seem strong at first glance, but are based on simple, easily guessable patterns. ‘1qaz2wsx’ and ‘qwertyuiop,’ both ranked on the Worst Passwords list, seem hard to guess at first until you realize they are just the first two columns and first row of letters on a standard keyboard, respectively.”
What you’ve gotta do for a free OnePlus 2
If you live in London, OnePlus is so sure that it can deliver your new phone within an hour that if it isn’t, your phone is free. And that got us thinking. How hard could it be to ensure the delivery can’t make it in time? James Peckham has the answers, and they involve, er, knocking out GPS, hiring mimes and melting the roads. It all makes sense in the article. Honest.