Texas Users Fume Over InstaFilter Ban, DogeCoin Co-Founder Says Most Cryptos Are Scammers, Russia Seizes Google Russia Bank Accounts

If it’s Thursday it’s time for the Top Tech News of the Week, Week, eeek! I’m on with  Mark Starling, John, and the First News 570 crew. This week’s top tech stories: face filters are banned in Texas, DogeCoin co-founder says most crypto projects are scams, and Russia seizes Google R bank accounts. You can listen to Mark and I point and laugh while talking about the wild and crazy technology world every Thursday morning, LIVE at 6:43am Eastern by tuning into WWNC on the iHeartRadio app. Listen now.

Meta Has Been Hit Hard These Last Two Years

TEXAS’ META LAWSUIT KEEPS DOG EARS OFF TEXANS’ FACES

Facial filters, dog ears, whiskers, and more have been disabled for Texas Instagram and Facebook users two months after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed lawsuit against Meta. The lawsuit alleged the social media companies were violating Texans’ privacy because the applications used facial recognition technology to apply these features to users’ faces. For its part, Meta countered it has halted its facial recognition program and doesn’t use facial recognition to tag images. So, it’s disabled the feature in Illinois and Texas to prevent meritless and distracting litigation. Ken Paxton says the suit could result in hundreds of billions of dollars in penalties for Meta. The company has already paid a record $5 billion in consumer privacy violations to the FTC in 2019.

DOGECOIN CO-FOUNDER SAYS CRYPTO IS A SCAM

Tuesday, Billy Markus, co-creator of the satirical crypto currency, Dogecoin, tweeted 95% of cryptocurrency projects are scams. He blames scammers and bad players for sowing distrust in the entire crypto industrial complex by top financial players and users. When pegged about his project, Dogecoin, he said that it was a satirical project designed to ridicule the proliferation of pointless crypto projects. All cryptocurrencies are down from their high flying values at the end of 2021 and beginning of this year. My personal holdings (in play money) are down 50%. The market began unraveling this week when a cryptocurrency pegged to the US dollar, US Terra (UST), depegged itself from the US dollar. Again, I’m not a fan of vehicles that have to rely on people losing money in order for others to make it.

So, what happens when you get a bunch of computer nerds who don’t really know anything about finance begin manipulating a fake, unregulated monetary market?

Read on for more details.

RUSSIAN BANKING AUTHORITIES SEIZE GOOGLE RUSSIA ACCOUNTS

Google’s Russian subsidiary plans to file bankruptcy after Russian Banking Authorities seized its bank accounts. Google R reported making 134.3 billion roubles ($2.086 billion) and employed 100 people in 2021. Google’s Russian activities weren’t always steady. Russia fined Google R $98 million dollars for making content the country considers illegal available on its platforms. Google had stopped selling ads in March after Russia’s Ukrainian invasion. This news comes after McDonald’s wished Russia, “do svidaniya,” this week and leaving the country for good by selling all of its franchises.

Bottom Falls Out of CryptoPunk NFTs, Google Teases New AR Glasses, iPod Touch Retires After 21 Years

If it’s Thursday it’s time for the Top Tech News of the Week, Week, eeek! I’m on with  Mark Starling, John, and the First News 570 crew. This week’s top tech stories: bottom falls out of CryptoPunk NFTs, iPod Touch retires after 21, and Google teases new AR glasses. You can listen to Mark and I point and laugh while talking about the wild and crazy technology world every Thursday morning, LIVE at 6:43am Eastern by tuning into WWNC on the iHeartRadio app.

Just a Little Bulky

CRYPTOPUNK SOLD IN NFT FIRE SALE: IS THIS THE END?

If it’s not, it should be. The digital gods giveth, and earlier this week they tooketh away. Earlier this week, the CryptoPunks Twitter Bot (I feel a certain kind of way about reporting breaking news from a bot), tweeted that the CryptoPunk NFT sold on Monday for $139,000. Not a bad sum for a computer generated image, but its last trading price was $1.03 million in October. That’s one-tenth the last value. This news has caused speculation that the NFT market is starting to cool off. Speculators think the digital image NFT market is over. I think there are some really great applications of the technology. Purchasing digital art in hopes of a rise in value however isn’t one I think is.

Meanwhile, don’t forget to pick up one of the absolutely, only 5 of a kind, First News 570 NFTs.

IPOD TOUCH RETIRES AFTER 21 YEARS

The iPod is one of the most innovative products of all time. I remember when Apple teased its phone and MP3 player leanings with a joint Motorola phone/music player product. Apple released the iPod shortly after that project in 2001. It could hold an unwieldy at the time, 1000 tracks of music. In 2007, the same team that built the iPhone, built the iPod Touch. An iPhone replacement for kids who don’t need a phone but one (like my 11 year old) that played only music and installed non-dialer apps. Apple is discontinuing the iTouch this week and will sell the while supplies last. It’s last update came in 2019. I’ve never owned one since I had the phone, but the device was a handy replacement for prototyping and is a great music player. It will be missed.

GOOGLE TEASES NEW GOOGLE GLASSES

Keep trying until it works. Technology companies have been trying to bring computing to eye glasses since the early 90’s. Google has been trying to ship its glasses concept since the mid-aughts. Their first release was met with ridicule, but they may have finally found their stride. Showing how ordinary tech has become, Google’s I/O conference was this week to little fanfare. There, Google teased it’s new Google glasses concept that looks like regular, ordinary glasses. The devices features augmented reality driven translation. It might be the killer app for a glasses based device without turning into a privacy issue. Google hasn’t specified when, or if, the glasses will be made available. I’m hoping they will be, because my eyesight is showing its age.

Gizmodo Drops New Facebook Papers Release, Starbucks Announces NFT Coffee Line, Pixy Drones Take Selfies Airborne

If it’s Thursday it’s time for the Top Tech News of the Week, Week, eeek! I’m on with  Mark Starling, John, and the First News 570 crew. This week’s top tech stories: Snap announces new selfie drones, Starbucks announces a coffee NFT, and Gizmodo releases more Facebook Papers. You can listen to Mark and I point and laugh while talking about the wild and crazy technology world every Thursday morning, LIVE at 6:43am Eastern by tuning into WWNC on the iHeartRadio app.

Digital Coffee for a Digital Community

NEW TRANCHE OF FACEBOOK PAPERS RELEASED

Gizmodo has been systematically releasing private and protected Facebook documents since last November. The Facebook Papers (a la The Pentagon Papers) contains internal memos, policy documents, and internal polls highlighting what Facebook really thinks about its services and the impacts made on the public. Often times, Facebook internal communications are vastly different than their external politicking. Gizmodo’s latest release centers on their own polling showing a majority of Americans believe they were a catalyst for the January 6th riot at the Capitol.

PIXY DRONES PHOTO BOMB SELFIES NEAR YOU

Have you ever felt like you couldn’t get the right angle? Have you ever felt like your arms weren’t long enough to get everyone in the frame? Have you ever regretted taking a picture because you were caught drooling? Well, the Selfie Drone is the perfect product for you. Earlier this week, Snap; of Snapchat, announced the Pixy. A flying drone that takes pictures and video selfies without a stick. When Pixy is done, the cute little drone lands in the palm of your hand. Real talk…I THINK THIS IS A PHENOMENAL IDEA! I like selfies, you like selfies, but how many times have you wished you captured the perfect selfie of you and your friend who only comes in town once a year in September? Exactly. Pixy is an auto-piloting drone, that features Snapchat augmented reality that lands in the palm of your hand when all of your selfies are done. Selfies are saved in the app and can be uploaded at your pleasure. Pixies will be sold in the US and France starting May 9th when Facebook, uhh, Meta opens its first store. You can get the Pixy Flight Pack for $229.

STARBUCKS ANNOUNCES NFT COFFEE COMMUNITY

Sharp eared First News on 570 listeners know how we brought digital chicken wings to the airwaves. Yesterday, Starbucks announced plans for a digital collectibles community for coffee drinkers. A quote from the company: “We plan to create a series of branded NFT collections, the ownership of which initiates community membership, and allows for access to exclusive experiences and perks. The themes of these collections will be born of Starbucks artistic expressions, both heritage and newly created, as well as through world-class collaborations with other innovators and like-minded brands.”

I had to post that in full. I’m not really sure what a Starbuck’s Coffee NFT will grant me. They are planning to mint their genesis round towards the end of this year so get ready to hop on that.

Meanwhile, you can still purchase one of the very rare First News on 570 NFTs which will grant you some very real cool stuff. There are only 5 available.

Musk Takeover of Twitter Makes Waves, DJI Suspends Drone Business in Russia and Ukraine, Apple Starts Self-Service Repair Program

It’s another Thursday! I’m on with  Mark Starling, John, and the First News 570 crew. This week’s top tech stories: Elon Musk brings more drama to Twitter, DJI suspends drone business in Russia and Ukraine, Apple starts its self-service repair program. You can listen to Mark and I point and laugh while talking about the wild and crazy technology world every Thursday morning, LIVE at 6:43am Eastern by tuning into WWNC on the iHeartRadio app.

I’ll Just Pay Someone

MUSK ACQUIRES TWITTER IN HOSTILE TAKEOVER

The deal isn’t done yet, and may not be finalized until this fall, but it has been felt through out the technology, social, and political worlds. On Monday, Twitter’s board accepted Elon Musk’s hostile bid for the company at $54 per share. This values Twitter at $44 billion. Musk is putting up $21 billion of his own money with the rest of the financing coming from loans to the tune of Twitter servicing those loans at $1 billion per year.

It’s been a wild and crazy week for sure. Elon Musk claims he wants to take Twitter private because it doesn’t promote free speech. Twitter’s moderation policies have been uneven and clumsily applied, but it’s not really about freedom of speech. Trolls like Musk (I still consider him our generation’s Howard Hughes) want a place with a large audience where they can be mean, spread misinformation, and say anything they want and not be held accountable for their speech by wrapping themselves in First Amendment protections. If online free speech really was in danger and free speech platforms a draw, then 4chan and 8chan would be bursting at the seams with users. If you want platforms where you can say anything unmoderated and be as trollish and hateful as you want, the incels there are ready and waiting.

His Twitter purchase hasn’t ended some of his issues however. He lost his bid to end a 2018 agreement to have his tweets pre-vetted before posting as part of an agreement with the SEC. At the time, he tweeted raising enough funds to take Tesla private which sent the stock sky-high and enriching himself, but not taking the company private.

Overnight, Twitter employees have asked current leadership if they are protected from Elon Musk taking out his frustrations on them. Since Musk’s announcement, Twitter’s chief policy chief has been harassed by Twitter users to settle old scores.

And yesterday, Tesla’s shares fell by the same amount of Elon Musk’s cash he’s putting up for the company. $21 billion of value were wiped out from Tesla as investors there were afraid he’d sell of those shares to fund buying Twitter. I ain’t crying though. The company fell in value from $1 trillion with a ‘T’ to $906 billion.

It remains to be seen, whether or not Musk’s moves will make Twitter freer. I’ve said this before, if you’re looking in the right places you can find full on graphic sex, hateful speech, and borderline death threats on the platform. That doesn’t seem like it’s stifling free speech at all.

DJI SUSPENDS BUSINESS IN RUSSIA AND UKRAINE

Chinese drone manufacturer DJI has suspended its business operations in Russia and Ukraine. The sited the ongoing war between both countries as its reason. Honestly, I would have suspected suspending operations in Ukraine because China is such a close Russian ally, but here we are.

APPLE STARTS SELF-SERVICE REPAIR PROGRAM

Many, many moons ago, my wife, Sabrina, ordered a screen repair kit to fix her iPhone 6’s broken screen. I held my breath when I was watching her work like a surgeon taking the thing apart. She put it back together, plugged it in, and the screen worked like a charm. Finally catching up to 2022, Apple is selling and renting repair kits to Apple users so they too can void their warranty and fix their phones. Apple will make repair manuals available for all of its devices and list the parts needed for making various fixes. $49 for a repair kit is cheaper than the mall guy’s $120 fee. But…you’re really paying for peace of mind. You want that power button to work when you get it all together.

Hey there! Thanks for signing up for Top Tech News of the Week. Be on the lookout for, The Cloud. Technology is supposed to work for us. So, why does it seem we work longer and harder with each technological leap? Listen to The Cloud and find out. Our first episode drops on June 1st. Sign up for notifications at thecloudpodcast.net.

Workers at Apple Cube Want Union, NASA Funding Cheap Moon Missions, Best Buy Hauls Away Your Crap

It’s another Thursday! I’m on with  Mark Starling, John, and the First News 570 crew. This week’s top tech stories: Apple workers try to unionize at The Cube, Best Buy will haul your crap away and recycle it, and NASA is funding cheap Moon missions. Plus…more Musk. You can listen to Mark and I point and laugh while talking about the wild and crazy technology world every Thursday morning, LIVE at 6:43am Eastern by tuning into WWNC on the iHeartRadio app.

If I Got a Chance to Go, I’ll Be There in a Heartbeat

APPLE WORKERS AT THE CUBE SEEK UNIONIZATION

Workers at the Fruit Company’s Cube flagship store in New York has filed an intent to unionize. Staff workers at the store cite extraordinary working conditions due to COVID-19 and unprecedented consumer inflation as terms to demand more money. There are seeking a $30 per hour minimum wage for all workers at the store and more robust health and safety protocols because of COVID. Employees at 3 other Apple stores are attempting to unionize and this follows news of an Atlanta Apple Store trying to organize, successful unionization of Amazon workers, and a Starbucks store gaining union representation. The campaign is connected to Workers United an arm of Service Employees International Union.

BEST BUY WILL TAKE YOU TECH CRAP AND RECYCLE IT…FOR A FEE

Best Buy will come by your house and pick up two big items, and an unlimited number of small items and recycle them for $199. Big items include TVs and washing machines, and small items are small items. TotalTech subscribers who pay the $199 annual fee will receive a 20% discount. Best Buy already offers a trade-in-your-junk-for-new-stuff program when you buy something new. This is actually a needed service. It’s hard to get rid of electronics responsibly and renting a U-Haul can turn into a costly, time sucking experience.

NASA FUNDING NEW MOON MACHINES AHEAD OF ARTEMIS

I still don’t know if the book, or the mission inspire the other. NASA is returning humans to the Moon with its $7.5 billion annual spend on Project Artemis. While Artemis is geared towards building habitable conditions for humans on the Moon, they’ve been quietly financing cheaper science missions as part of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services program. The missions are designed to encourage commercial space flight by sending landers containing science experiments as well as payloads for Artemis up to space. Given that the program costs $250 million annually, NASA is getting this R&D done on the cheap.