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Carla’s Best Bits – an overview of July’s most interesting tech news

Posted by Carla Gutierrez on 7th August 2017

Last month whizzed by. As you may have seen in Robyn’s post, we had an evening of fun at Escape Rooms in London early in the month. We also had our summer party, which took us all the way to Brighton for a scavenger hunt. July was a good month for Wildfire. It was, however, not so good for Steve. If you don’t know who (or what!) Steve is, then you’ll have to keep reading, with my overview of July’s most interesting tech news:

  1. It’s nice to be nice…. but let’s keep it real!

On the 17th of July, a security robot tripped down some stairs and broke down when it fell into a fountain. Headlines in the UK read something like ‘security robot drowns’, and I thought,  ‘no — it didn’t drown because it didn’t breathe, it wasn’t alive’. Admittedly, it broke down, stopped functioning — but drown? As if these ‘humanising’ headlines weren’t bad enough, the day after the incident people decided to build a shrine for it. Seriously? There are humans dying and suffering all over the world, and some are building memorials for a bunch of cables, metals and plastics put together. I think society needs to stop trying so hard to demonstrate (mainly on social media) how much it ‘cares’ and start caring for real.

  1. Facebook fake friend hoax still scares people… but why?

It’s unbelieveable how easily people forget that when they are online they should apply the same common sense rules they apply when they are offline. You wouldn’t let somebody who just rang your doorbell walk into your house, so why even consider granting a stranger access to your Facebook, then panic about it and tell everyone they shouldn’t? It doesn’t matter that someone can’t actually hack you just by being friends with you. What matters is that:

  • You shouldn’t be accepting requests from strangers anyway
  • You should be smart enough to not fall into a panic every time someone says something that probably isn’t true but oh-my-god-what-if-it-is!
  • If you are generally safe online, and you only share non-sensitive information with real friends on social media, you have nothing to worry about

My parents warned me about strangers from a young age. Growing up with the internet, I was taught that, as with television, you shouldn’t trust that what a chat application is telling you is the truth. Yet, despite the warnings, the scary cases of ID theft, of burglaries ­­— because they knew owners were on holiday (thanks to that ‘check-in’ in Ibiza) and some seriously creepy stalking — it appears that people still haven’t learned to protect themselves.

  1. Eye scanners might replace fingerprint scanners

At the beginning of the month, news broke that the upcoming iPhone 8 might feature a revamped security system in which owners unlock the device using their face rather than fingerprint. Despite being ‘cool’, it’s probably not the most convenient security feature ever. I mean, how are we going to use ApplePay for the tube? Or, picture this: early morning, you need your coffee before you can tackle your inbox and head to [insert coffee shop of choice]. You queue, get to the barista, order your [insert beverage of choice] and then you…. Lift your phone up, awkwardly stare into it while the barista stands behind it patiently waiting and unlock it so you can pay? Yes, the whole eye scan thing seems like a great idea for security vaults and hidden lairs, but I think I’m good with fingerprint identification for my phone.

  1. You can now easily bold or italicise your WhatsApp texts

According to the Mirror, our lives are going to become so much easier thanks to WhatsApp’s new feature, which allows users to format texts in a simple way. I’m covering this in my news roundup as I’m genuinely shocked that anyone would feel this feature is an actual time saver. When messaging, I barely have time to check that auto-correct hasn’t changed the text to something utterly ridiculous before hitting send. There is no room for formatting, feature or not. So, if anyone reading this has time to think about and format their texts with bolds, italics, strikethroughs and such when they are WhatsApping, let me know. I’m intrigued!

That was July’s most interesting tech news. Stay tuned for August…

Carla Gutierrez