In the tech world, a lot happens in a week. So much news goes on, in fact, that it’s almost impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of the top 10 tech stories from this week. Everything from Nike’s charitable way of celebrating Back to the Future to iOS 9.1 and new emoji for iPhone owners — it’s all here.
If you’re inexplicably hypnotized by one-second videos played on loop ad nauseam, Instagram has a present for you, and it’s called Boomerang. Today, the app that makes all of our lives look better than they are is releasing a new standalone app that allows you to take five photos, string them together into a GIF, and play them over. And over. And over. Tapping into our collective obsession with GIFs, using Boomerang is as easy as tapping the photo button on your phone — then, the app does the rest.
In 1989, Marty McFly and Doc Brown traveled to October 21, 2015, and 26 years later we finally have something to hold from their trip. Nike is celebrating Back to the Future Day by releasing the illusive self-lacing Nike Mag sneakers for charity in Spring 2016. The official Twitter account fortweeted out a picture of Michael J Fox wearing a pair of the elusive sneakers. The proceeds will go towards The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
Xbox One owners enrolled in the Preview program might want to hold off on updating to the Windows 10-inspired “New Xbox One Experience” dashboard for the time being. That’s because, as a number of Reddit users have reported, consoles with NXOE installed are failing to format newly connected hard drives
“I was one of the lucky ones that was able to get 2TB My Passport Ultra external hard drive for $29.99 this past weekend,” one user wrote. “But now, when I am trying to set it up to format it for Games and apps, I come to the part where I can name the hard drive, briefly see the keyboard and current title ‘External’ before it quickly goes away and replaces it with the blue spinning circle. I’ll wait, but nothing will ever happen.”
Consumer Reports named the Tesla Model S as its “Best Overall” new car to buy two years in a row, and earlier this year it claimed the electric car “broke” its ratings scale. Right now, however, the magazine doesn’t have such nice things to say about the car.
While it still maintains that the Model S is the “best-performing car” it’s ever tested,Consumer Reports says its reliability is another matter. In the recently-released Annual Auto Reliability Survey, the Model S slipped from an “average” predicted reliability rating to “worse than average,” causing Consumer Reports to pull its “recommended” rating for the car.
In the survey, which included responses from 1,400 Model S owners, the main reported problems included issues with the drivetrain, powertrain, charging equipment, body squeaks and rattles, and problems with the 17-inch central touchscreen that is one of the Model S’ main selling points.
Apple’s software updates are like a workday lunch: perfunctory and predictable, but nonetheless appreciated. Especially appreciated, in this case, because of a few notable emoji additions: tacos, places of worship, and … well, a disembodied hand flipping the bird. In upgrades rolling out for the iPhone (iOS 9.1), the Apple Watch (watchOS 2.0.1), Apple’s introduced new graphics, fixed bugs, and laid the groundwork for the soon-to-be released iPad Pro and new Apple TV. The new emoji, which in addition to the aforementioned characters, include a bag of popcorn, a scorpion and other animals, sports equipment, an unhappily bandaged smiley, and more than 150 others.
Next page: 5 more tech stories you might have missed this week
After suffering a brain injury in a horrifying car crash in June 2014, comedian Tracy Morgan is ready to keep his comeback going. Morgan announced an upcoming stand-up comedy tour, Picking Up the Pieces, on Twitter Tuesday, and shared the specifics on his website. So far, 34 shows have been announced, running from February 5 to May 26, 2016.
The tour will bring Morgan around the country, starting in Indiana and ending in New York, with stops in far-flung states along the way. It’ll be a lot of travel for Morgan, who’s clearly ready to put the tragic accident behind him. Tickets for the March 23 Lakesville, Pennsylvania, show are already on sale, but most won’t gone on sale until October 23 and later.
When Apple and Dropbox join forces, you know something big is happening. And that something big is controversial security bill CISA, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act. Just days before the United States Senate is expected to take the legislation to a vote, both tech companies are voicing concerns about how much privacy will be sacrificed under the guise of security. The bill, which has long drawn the ire of tech giants like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit, would effectively make it easier for private companies to collect their users’ personal data and share it with the National Security Agency or other government branches historically involved in surveillance.
Yahoo appears to have lost its big streaming gamble. The company is now reporting that its video division took a 42 million dollar hit in the third quarter of this year, with expensive shows like the company’s recently-purchased comedy series Community to blame.
This massive loss could spell the end of the tech giant’s foray into high-budget series. Despite big-name advertisers like Honda, CFO Ken Goldman said that Yahoo was struggling to monetize its newly-acquired series, stating that it, “couldn’t see a way to make money over time.” Besides Community, Goldman also blamed Yahoo shows Sin City Saints and Other Space as contributors to the financial losses.
Apple let it be known on Monday that its fledgling music streaming service currently has 6.5 million subscribers handing over $10 a month. The revelation came courtesy of CEO Tim Cook, who was speaking on stage at a Wall Street Journal technology conference in Laguna Beach, California. Cook added that another 8.5 million are currently sussing out the service via the free three-month trial, taking the tally for the number of music fans engaging with Apple Music to 15 million. The Apple boss was upbeat about the user numbers, telling the gathered audience, “To have over 15 million on there, and 6.5 million in the paid category, I’m really happy about it.”
Facebook represents an incomprehensibly vast collection of social interactions, but sometimes getting a sense of the collective pulse about topics — how people are responding to the legalization of gay marriage, or reactions to the latest presidential debate — doesn’t feel as straightforward as it should.
In 2013, the social network giant launched Graph Search, a semantic tool aimed at making searches a bit better, but it wasn’t quite exhaustive — Graph Search didn’t search public posts that hadn’t been shared with you, for example. But now, Facebook’s rolling out an entirely reimagined search that’s based less around the people you know and more around what people are saying.
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