Techman Texts: Yo: The app that's ingeniously silly

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You probably have heard of the now famous app called Yo. Descriptions range from ingenious to silly. Basically, you can send a notification to a friend’s (or enemy’s) phone that says, “Yo.” They can yo you back. That’s it.

There is an even sillier takeoff called Hodor aimed at “Game of Thrones” fans. If you’‍ve watched the HBO series, you know that Hodor is the only word the character Hodor says. Using the app, you can send Hodors to your friends. In-app purchases allow you to Hodor-bomb people by sending 50 Hodors at varying intervals with one button. Hodor is available for Android phones, and an iOS version is planned. Who says the Internet hasn’t elevated humanity?

Happy bar-thday: We recently saw the 40th anniversary of one of the most pervasive and useful technologies. On June 26, 1974, at 8:01 a.m., Sharon Buchanan used a barcode to ring up a 10-pack of Juicy Fruit gum at the Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio. The rest, as they say, is history.

More NSA fallout: Germany will not renew its government contract with Verizon, citing concerns about National Security Agency spying. The contract, which began in 2010, will expire in 2015. The move follows the 2013 revelations that the NSA was spying on Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“There are indications that Verizon is legally required to provide certain things to the NSA, and that’s one of the reasons the cooperation with Verizon won’t continue,” Interior Ministry spokesman Tobias Plate told reporters, according to The Associated Press. Verizon has not commented.

Film noir: The suicide of Aaron Swartz, a 26-year-old who faced a hefty jail sentence if convicted on charges of stealing from MIT license-protected academic research documents the digital library JSTOR controlled, roiled the Internet in 2013. A bona fide child prodigy, Swartz co-founded the website Reddit, helped to craft key elements of the RSS feed and Creative Commons and helped lead the successful protest against proposed federal copyright law PIPA/​SOPA in 2012.

Now a documentary of his life has been made.

Titled “The Internet’‍s Own Boy,” it opened Friday in select cities (but not Pittsburgh apparently) and is available for rent or purchase online.

Here we go: Congress is at it again, trying to regulate the Internet. A bill, which Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein championed, called the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2014, is a successor to the Cybersecurity Information and Sharing Protection Act bill the Internet has already rallied against twice.

A coalition of 22 civil liberties groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Democracy and Technology, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Demand Progress, says the bill would “facilitate a vast flow of private communications data to the NSA” and has no protection for net neutrality policy as past attempts did. Keep an eye on it.

Digital dementia: Google has started removing results from its search engine under Europe’s new “right to be forgotten,” after the European Union’s top court ruling gives individuals the right to request removal of results that turn up in Internet searches for their own names.

Google sent emails to individuals informing them that links they had requested to be removed were being taken down.


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