Weekly Digital Roundup: Mar 24 – Mar 31
Facebook Messenger App Reaches New Heights With Airline Partner
- According to Forbes, Facebook has taken another step big towards making Messenger a versatile, “Everything App”. Over the past year Facebook added a personal assistant called “M” to the standalone app along with integrating video calling and ride-hailing via Uber and Lyft. Now for the first time, Messenger can be used to manage flights and travel plans.
- Messenger and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines announced a partnership that allows KLM travelers to check-in, receive flight confirmation, access boarding passes, receive check-in reminders, get flight updates and make flight changes through live customer service chat without leaving the Messenger app. Facebooksaid the new services will work wherever KLM and Messenger operate and be available broadly in the coming weeks. The integration of tools and services in Messenger, which now has 800 million monthly active users, follows in the footsteps of popular Asian messaging apps such as China’s WeChat, Japan’s Line and South Korea’s KakaoTalk. Facebook has also announced that they plan to partner with additional airlines down the road.
Dancing, Laser Beam-Shooting Robot Teaches Kids How To Code
- According to Mashable, the Codeybot dances, plays music, changes colors and even shoots laser beams — all to entice little tykes to start programming. The coding toy from Shenzhen-based startup Makeblock is just the latest on the edutainment bandwagon taking things up a techie notch. A trend of code-teaching toys that seems to have become all the rage in the past few months alone.
- Within 24 hours of launching on Kickstarter on Tuesday, the Codeybot has already reached nearly 90% of its $100,000 funding goal. The toy looks like a self-balancing white cheese triangle on wheels that moves with a remote control app. It’s equipped with an LED screen to display messages and funny faces from your smartphone, and it can repeat what you say back in a cartoony voice. The mBlocky app aims to teach some principles of coding. The app lets users drag and drop graphical blocks on an iPad to program Codeybot. This is intended to help people feel how coding works. It’s based on Google’s Blockly library for building visual programming editors, and is touted to form the basis for kids to learn other programming languages, and importantly, creative problem solving.
Apple v. FBI – The Encryption War Has Just Begun!
- According to WIRED, Apples legal standoff with the FBI unfolded over the course of several weeks, but has ended in a matter of days. That’s how long it took the FBI to find a way into a San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone and successfully infiltrate it without Apple’s help. So while that particular case appears to be over, the encryption war is not.
- The standoff over Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone 5C didn’t set any legal precedents, but it reminded anyone with the slightest interest in the encryption debate that the stakes are real, and immediate. Almost everyone knows about encryption now. And everyone’s moving quickly to shape its future. Now that the point has been rendered moot, the Justice Department asked the court to vacate its order that Apple create such a tool.
- In February, The New York Times reported that Apple is developing security measures that will make it “impossible” for the government to break into a locked phone. In practice, this means making a phone so secure that even Apple can’t get into it. And there are other ways the company could head off law enforcement, like making iCloud encryption as secure as iPhone encryption. The bigger implication of Apple’s fight with the FBI is that it’s created a fundamental and perhaps insurmountable rift between law enforcement and the tech industry, two entities that haven’t always gotten along but had, for a time, found a way to work together.