Since I, for one, am boycotting most tech blogs and only checking Twitter when needed today due to Facebook IPO overload, I thought I’d share some of the more interesting news that may have slipped through the cracks while the rest of the world is buzzing about Facebook’s share price. Here are four non-Facebook related tech news items you won’t want to miss this week:
Verizon pisses off loyal customers– As a Verizon subscriber, I was fairly distraught to hear that the company will soon be doing away with the unlimited data plans they’ve offered to ‘grandfathered’ customers for the past few years. No longer will my friends on ATT look at me longingly as I pay only $30 per month to stream Pandora while downloading pictures and checking Twitter as often as I want. As early as this summer, I will be forced to move to a tiered plan and share data with my music-streaming-loving husband. (Hello, overage charges!) The one loophole I see in all of this is that I am currently eligible for an upgrade, and thus, I’ll have to sign another two year contract with Verizon. Since the tiered plans aren’t quite ready, that means I could (potentially, barring any weird loopholes) be ‘grandfathered’ in to unlimited data for at least the next two years. Looks like I’ll be making a visit to the Verizon store this weekend.
Amazon annoys Kindle Fire owners with ads– If you own a Kindle Fire, be prepared to receive a sales pitch every time you turn on your device. Earlier this week, Amazon announced their plans to sell advertising on the welcome screen of the Kindle Fire. Well, technically, Amazon didn’t announce anything. An executive at an ad agency with Ad Age told the media that Amazon had pitched his agency on the new program, promising that they would be a part of a ‘major PR campaign’ should they choose to spend $1 million on the Kindle Fire welcome screen ad buy. Ad executives at other agencies confirmed–off-the-record–that Amazon had also pitched them on the ad buy, but so far no one has agreed to the deal. Rumor has it, the minimum buy is $600,000 and Amazon is unable to guarantee reach at this point. So, perhaps this really isn’t an ad that will annoy Kindle Fire owners after all. (In other Kindle Fire related news, Amazon is reportedly planning a 10.1 inch tablet to compete with the iPad. I wonder how much money they’ll lose on THIS one.)
Updated Weather Channel app helps you bore your friends– I can’t be too judgmental. I’m just as guilty of talking about the weather as the next gal. It’s my go-to ‘I have no idea what to say to this person’ comment or question, but my-oh-my is it a boring topic. Now, thanks to The Weather Channel’s updated iPhone app, I’ll be able to maintain an incredibly dull conversation for a few extra minutes. With easy access to current weather conditions, temperatures and–wait for it–36 hour forecasts, my weather-related conversation will no longer be limited to ‘Gosh, it sure is sunny’ or ‘Man, I wish it was warmer;’ but will now take on a more forward thinking nature. Bonus: The Weather Channel app has updated social media integration so I can put my Facebook friends to sleep with weather-related drivel too.
Twitter becomes technology’s knight in shining armor..sorta– First they tried to end the patent wars, then they refused to share the tweets of Occupy Wall Street protester Malcolm Harris, and this week Twitter announced that they are partnering with Mozilla to implement the ‘do not track’ option that Mozilla offers for its Firefox browser. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably because it kind of is. In order for the ‘do not track’ option to work, both users and websites need to opt in to the service, something that Mozilla says only 8.6% of desktop users and 19% of mobile users have chosen to do so far. Additionally, advertisers will still be able to track Twitter users who click on ‘promoted tweets’ in their main stream. So, good for you Twitter. Way to fight the privacy fight, even if it is with a bit of a blunt sword.
Well, there you have it, folks. The week in non-Facebook related news. Lots of other stuff happened too. The Woz is weighing in on Steve Jobs biopic. HP might be doing layoffs and China loves the Windows Phone.
What about you? What was your favorite non-Facebook related tech story this week?