Tech News

Retailers Ban Confederate Flag, Use Messenger Without Facebook, & More… [tech News Digest]

Confederate flags disappear, Messenger drops Facebook, DriveClub arrives, Eternify trolls Spotify, Reddit turns 10, and Super Mario meets Game of Thrones.

Amazon & eBay Ban Confederate Flag

Online retailers including Amazon and eBay are banning all sales of Confederate flags. In doing so, they join bricks-and-mortar stores such as Walmart and Sears, which banned sales of the Confederate flag after the mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, which left nine people dead.

Dylann Roof, the suspect in the massacre that took place at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday, June 17th, previously draped himself in the Confederate flag. This racially motivated attack led to a debate about the meaning of the Confederate flag, and whether it should be revered or reviled.

Most retailers now want nothing to do with the Confederate flag, but it has been reported that sales skyrocketed in the days leading up to the ban. Meanwhile, there are plenty of controversial products still available to buy on Amazon and eBay, including Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler.

Facebook Messenger Without Facebook

You can now sign up to use Facebook Messenger without a Facebook account. Instead, users in the United States, Canada, Peru, and Venezuela can now sign up to use Facebook Messenger with nothing other than a name, photo, and phone number. It’s assumed other countries will get the option in the future. Doing this syncs your phone contacts, rather than your Facebook contacts.

This is Facebook further splitting Messenger off from its main social network. Why? Because as popular as Facebook may be, Mark Zuckerberg and co. are fully aware that many more people have a mobile phone number than a Facebook account. Add WhatsApp, also owned by Facebook, into the mix, and the company has multiple ways of pulling you into its ecosystem.

DriveClub Lands on PlayStation Plus

DriveClub is finally coming to PlayStation Plus, with DriveClub PlayStation Plus Edition launching today (June 25th). This is the free version of the PS4 racing game from Evolution Studios, which was due to be released in October 2014. So, it’s just eight months late.

The full DriveClub game arrived at retail on time, but it had such severe connectivity problems that the PS Plus version was put on hold. Now, Sony is confident the issues have been ironed out enough to warrant releasing the game.

DriveClub PlayStation Plus Edition will be available to download from today, but online functions will be added incrementally in order to ensure there are no more mess-ups. Having played the full version, prepare to be disappointed, as DriveClub is far inferior to Project CARS.

Help Reward Musicians With Eternify

Even before Taylor Swift took on Apple (and won), the popular singer with countless ex-boyfriends took on Spotify. Her complaint was that the Swedish company doesn’t pay artists enough money. Taylor Swift was wrong, obviously, but her suggestion led to the creation of Eternify, which lets ordinary punters generate extra income for their favorite musicians.

Eternify lets you play 30 seconds of the same song by your favorite artist on repeat. Ad infinitum. Each time the snippet is played, your favorite artist will receive an estimated $0.005. Therefore, persist for 200 plays (or 100 minutes) and you’ve generated $1. This may not seem like much, but if every fan did it, the total would soon rack up. Especially for smaller artists.

Reddit Celebrates 10th Birthday

Reddit has celebrated its 10th birthday, marking its first decade of existence with a rundown of interesting statistics. Over that 10 years, Reddit has generated 1,715,454,785 comments and 16,063,942,290 upvotes, and now has more than 36 million users.

The site has always been a source of controversy. This was originally due to its “anything goes” nature, but has recently been because of a crackdown on hateful communities. However, Reddit has persisted throughout, gaining more users every month. As Reddit signed off its blog post, “Here’s to the next 10 years”.

Super Mario Meets Game of Thrones

And finally, the best thing about Game of Thrones is that epic title sequence showing the various locations dotted around Westeros and Essos. Which makes it perfect fodder for parodies involving other epic landscapes. Such as Super Mario World.

This video shows what happens when the people and places of Super Mario World get the Game of Thrones treatment. The visuals are mightily impressive, but it’s the 8-bit rendition of the Game of Thrones theme tune that really sets this apart. [H/T Tech Times]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Should online retailers be banning the sale of Confederate flags? Do you use Facebook Messenger? Will you be downloading DriveClub? Is Eternify a really good idea or a really bad idea? What state will Reddit be in 10 years from now?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Image Credits: B Mully via Flickr

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