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It’s news to us: tech stories that caught our eye in April

Posted by Joe McNamara on 8th May 2014

End of Microsoft XP support – 7th April

I remember when XP was first launched – it was a pretty exciting product – BACK IN 2001! Yes, here we are almost 13 years later. During that time Apple has launched the iPod, iPhone and iPad; Chelsea FC have changed manager nine times; and most pertinently, Windows has introduced three different operating systems (excluding Windows 8.1) and seven new service packs. Yet the end of XP support looks set to hit businesses all over the world like a wrecking ball. This is largely due to the fact that Microsoft hasn’t exactly given XP office users much to get excited about with its new offerings. However, the argument that application incompatibilities are to blame for not upgrading your entire operating system in 13 years rather irks me.

Discovery of Heartbleed bug prompts password changes en masse – 8th April

The pretty rocky start to the month for the technology industry continued as an OpenSSL security flaw, named Heartbleed, was discovered to have affected millions of websites including large social networks and online email providers. Simply put, the flaw existed between 14th March 2012 and 7th April 2014 – during this time, attackers could potentially monitor all data exchanged between a user and a web service. The secret keys used to identify the service providers and to encrypt traffic, names, passwords and user content were all potentially compromised.

Facebook removes chat function – 10th April

Facebook launched its Messenger app in 2011. Three years later it had attracted 200 million users, which is a fairly significant chunk of the global messaging market but a drop in the ocean compared to Facebook’s one billion strong user base. Snapping up two of its main competitors, Instagram and WhatsApp, certainly tightens Zuckerberg’s control of the market and as a mobile messaging platform. That’s probably why he’s confident about dropping the chat functionality of the main Facebook app. Facebook’s in-app messenger didn’t have the greatest reputation. It was certainly known as a battery killer and had a slightly clunky interface. Obviously there’s been the kind of Neanderthal backlash we come to expect when Facebook changes anything nowadays, but I have to admit, purging the in-app messenger barely two months after snapping up WhatsApp does paint the social networking (and apparently now, messaging) giant in a pretty draconian light.

Nike puts an end to this wearable tech nonsense – 22nd April

Wearable tech has been touted as the next big thing for the best part of a year now. iWatch speculation barely seems to stop, Google Glass advances in sophistication on a near-daily basis and people fail to appreciate that we’ve been wearing technology in some shape or form since watches and compasses were made. Two months ago when we saw all the wearable tech showcased at MWC, everyone was saying we’d all be sticking ourselves to computers before the year was out. But now as if by magic, wearable tech is apparently dying… That seems quite a leap. How has it come to this I hear you say as you wipe a tear from your radar-enabled contact lens? Nike might not be making the FuelBand anymore. Yep, someone call Cupertino, tell them ‘pack up lads, it’s over.’ No one’s going to be buying your iWatch – they’ve gone and cancelled the FuelBand. I don’t think so, somehow. I’m both wearable tech’s biggest critic and one of its lone defendants. I would just sit on the fence when it comes to this topic for the time being. Let’s just say, we are still yet to see the best of the 21st century definition of wearable technology.

Joe McNamara