In the tech world, a lot happens in a week. So much news goes on 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 the latest in the Facebook Trending Topics controversy to a new chapter from George RR Martin, it’s all here.
In the near future, you may not need to touch your phone, tablet, or keyboard when you want to type. That’s the concept behind the Tap Strap, an amazing wearable Bluetooth keyboard that converts finger movements into key presses, so you can tap out messages using any surface as a virtual keyboard.
Tortoise-paced author George RR Martin has finally released a new chapter from the long-awaited sixth Game of Thrones novel The Winds of Winter, publishing the excerpt on his website. The acclaimed HBO series has now diverged significantly from the direction set forth by Martin’s famed novels — collectively known as A Song of Ice and Fire — but the new words will likely only appeal to those who read the books for another reason: The new words look through the eyes of a character that viewers of HBO’s series have never seen.
Five and a half years after its inception, Instagram is finally getting the redesign it deserves. Today, the Facebook-owned social network announced on its blog that the Instagram brand will have a new look, from the top down. The company hinted the new changes two weeks ago, when it confirmed it was testing a new look. The iconic icon is now brightly colored, and the app itself is monochromatic.
Mark Zuckerberg commented publicly for the first time on damaging allegations that Facebook has been suppressing stories from conservative news outlets for its Trending Topics section. In a 309-word message posted online, the boss of the social network giant insisted Facebook “stands for giving everyone a voice.” He said Trending Topics, which launched two years ago, is designed to “surface the most newsworthy and popular conversations on Facebook,” adding, “We have rigorous guidelines that do not permit the prioritization of one viewpoint over another or the suppression of political perspectives.”
Anyone who’s ever watched an F1 race knows how it can be won or lost in the pits. Every millisecond counts when a driver hurtles in for new tires or a repair, with each of the highly trained mechanics performing their precise role in super-quick time. A team of medical staff at the University Hospital of Wales tasked with resuscitating babies noticed how their work in many ways mirrored that of speedy pit-stop mechanics, where time is a crucial factor in the final outcome.
At Disrupt NY 2016 this week, a startup company of NYU students introduced Ephemeral, as reported by TechCrunch. Ephemeral is a new form of tattoo ink that lasts a year. You can also remove it sooner. One issue with tattoos is they go in and out of style. Sure, we’re now in a run of about 20 or so years where tattoos are cool, but who knows how much longer that will last?
If you live in suburbia and have a long commute to work, wouldn’t it be nice to have your own plane? But, oh yeah, you need a runway and your kids and the neighbor’s kids are always leaving things in the yards and in the streets. What you really need is maybe a helicopter, but they’re harder to fly and so noisy the neighbors won’t be happy (not to mention the FAA and your town zoning board). Lillium aims to make the first electric vertical take-off personal jet to solve this quandry.
Need to send a link to a website? Share an image or GIF? A lot of the time, people leave their messaging app to share this type of content. Google doesn’t think that’s intuitive. Google’s solution is Gboard, a keyboard for iOS that lets users search directly through the keyboard. It’s similar to how third-party keyboards like Giphy Keys and Riffsy’s GIF Keyboard work, except rather than solely searching for GIFs, you can run normal Google searches.
The release just over a month ago of the Panama Papers, the largest data leak of its kind in history, has already sparked global outrage over the tax evasion practices of some of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful individuals. And now, it looks as though things are going to get uglier. On Monday, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released a database containing “top players in the offshore world.”
As William Gibson so famously said, “the future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” That’s been the case with reverse osmosis water treatment machines for a while now, where the technology has existed, but was rarely compact or efficient enough for home use. Not any more though, as WaterO has fixed most of the technology’s problems, to make it viable for all.