Week in Tech: Pods, Pigs and Petitions

Here at Octopus Group, we’re no strangers to tech. Any veteran followers will surely know the rules of topics such as cryptocurrency, smartphones and machine learning by now, and so do we. Essentially, a full commitment to tech is what we’re looking for at OG – and you surely wouldn’t get this from any other agency. We just want to tell you how we’re feeling about the most recent developments in this exciting, innovative and revolutionary era we live in.  We want to make you understand that, no matter what you may read on Twitter, in the tabloids or on that toilet door, we’ll never gonna give tech up. Strap in, lads – here are our most exhilarating news stories in the sector for the past week.

Apple HomePod leaves nasty ‘white ring of death’ stain on owners’ tables

In a week of SpaceX, the Olympics and English football teams dominating European giants in football matches, one piece of news in particular managed to stand out. You guessed it – Apple have a new product launch that is making headlines for its remarkable and innovative design. The California-based company has released the HomePod, its affordable £319 take on the ‘smart’ speaker market, and within days of its launch ardent Apple fans have complained that the device is leaving white marks on their expensive wooden furniture. Apple have offered up a number of suggestions to counteract this bespoke design feature, such as buying a £20 coaster or even ‘oiling your wood’. Maybe wait till the next model, folks.

Artificial intelligence is being used to raise better pigs in China

Alright, alright – now onto the news that really matters. Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce company, has been hogging the spotlight of late with bold experiments in artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing, but have recently decided to put these emergent innovations to use with pigs. Don’t turn your snout up at this – after an agreement with Tequ Group, a Chinese food-and-agriculture conglomerate that raises approximately 10 million pigs a month, facial and voice recognition are to be deployed in an attempt to make the identification process more efficient. While this relatively conservative use may sound like a bit of a boar, it’d be hogwash to take such futuristic farming processes for grunted.

Snapchat urged to get ‘back to basics’ as petition to scrap update hits one million

Personally, I deleted Snapchat last month, after an embarrassing video of me singing Nickelback at New Year’s Eve Karaoke threatened to undermine my elitist music cred. However, it seems I’m not the only one wistfully warbling about photographs from another era, as over a million disgruntled users have signed a petition demanding the Silicon Valley start-up renege on a recently released redesign. While the ire of the collective Snapchatters (?) seems particularly strong this time around, and the growing competition of Instagram poses a serious challenge to its image-sharing throne, the furore will likely disintegrate within a few dozen seconds as usual.

Crypto-currency craze ‘hinders search for alien life’

The search for alien life is next to Tottenham Hotspur’s attempts to win a major trophy in things that have gone on for ages, have wasted loads of money and that no-one really cares about anymore. But the folks at Seti (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) are dead-set on listening out for those totally harmless and hospitable enemy races in the far corners of the galaxy. However, such trailblazers have come stuck in recent weeks. Dan Werthiner explains -” We’d like to use the latest GPUs [graphic processing units] …and we can’t get ‘em”. In this week’s news, people buy computer parts.

Google turns on default adblocker within Chrome

Okay, time to take off my cap of cynicism, and instead put on my fedora of furious indignation. Google announced this week that they will turn on an adblocker by default in their Chrome browser, which will likely sound like fantastic news to anyone who has faced intrusive pop-ups for free iPhones and trips to Burkina Faso while browsing the internet – let alone anyone with elderly relatives who might have actually clicked on them. However, if not implemented fairly, this could spell disaster for smaller websites that are struggling with advertising revenue already. Furthermore, with Google Ads a major player in the advertising sector, there are major question marks as to whether we can trust the company to remain truly impartial over what they choose to block. Google state that their aim is to ‘not filter any ads at all but improve the experience for all web users’.