Weekly Digital News Roundup: May 21 – May 25
Sick of telemarketers and robocalls? The FCC is poised for a crackdown.
- According to theWashington Post, twelve years ago, the federal government took aim at pesky telemarketers whose annoying phone calls interrupted dinnertime conversations everywhere. The result was the Do-Not-Call list — a national registry that, if you signed up, told telemarketers they couldn’t contact you. Now the Federal Communications Commission wants to roll out additional measures to meet a new flood of telemarketing complaints.
- Under the new rules, you’ll be allowed to opt out of telemarketing calls with as little as a verbal order not to call again. That might sound like an obvious step. But many who’ve been hit by unwanted calls can’t find relief without filling out complicated forms or jumping through other hoops, said a senior FCC official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.
- Other steps are designed to thwart robocalls and automated dialing. One measure encourages phone carriers to adopt off-the-shelf products that can block robocalls automatically and offer them to consumers as a service. Another more clearly defines what auto-dialing technology is so that telemarketers can’t squirm out of obeying the regulations. And if you switch your phone number, telemarketers will only be allowed to call your new number once. The proposals could take effect as soon as June 18, when the FCC will vote on whether to approve them.
Google pledges funding for 3D-printed prosthetics, other aid technology
- According to CNET, Google has promised to pour out $20 million in funding from its nonprofit Google.org arm to support emerging technology aimed at improving the lives of those with disabilities. The tech giant has launched theGoogle Impact Challenge: Disabilities project, aimed at, among other things, propelling the development of 3D-printed prosthetics to assist the disabled in their daily lives.
- 3D printing offers cheapness of material and the ability to manufacture delicate components used in the moving parts of arms, legs or hands rapidly — with high precision thanks to computer-aided design programs used to operate 3D printers. This, in turn, drastically reduces the cost of prosthetics and opens up the opportunity of having one fitted for those in low-income households and developing countries.
- To kick off the open call for ideas, Google has awarded $600,000 to theEnable community to further the cause of open-source, 3D-printed prosthetic limbs. While traditional prosthetics can cost thousands of dollars to fit, assemble and purchase, research and development in 3D printing has the potential to revolutionize the industry. As an example, last year 3D printed prosthetics were used to replace limbs lost by children caught in the Sudanese war for as little as $100. Google’s funding will be used by the Enable community — which uses 3D printers to design, assemble and fit 3D prosthetics for free — to advance the development of open-source 3D-printed upper-limb prosthetics.
Fox Debuts ‘Movie of the Day!’ App with Daily Discounts on iTunes Movies
- According to MacRumors, Fox today debuted a new app called Movie of the Day! which aims to provide customers a new daily discount on one movie from Fox’s large catalog.
- Every day the app updates with a new movie deal, ranging from “from blockbusters to acclaimed indies, and everything in between,” at a discount, which goes up to 70 percent off of the original price. To start off, the app is available only for iOS devices, but there are plans to expand to other app stores like Google Play. In addition to the basic daily discount, the app also lets users browse a movie’s cast, check out other user reviews, and read a quick synopsis of the film.
- Going live today in United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and France, the app’s first discount is a $6.99 version of X-Men: First Class, originally $14.99. Every movie showcased within the new Fox app links back to the iTunes store, so anyone taking advantage of the daily sales will be able to build up their iTunes movie catalog at a cheaper rate than normal.