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Friday Five: 8/1 – 8/5

Rachel Lira


Happy Friday and Olympics Opening Ceremonies! You might as well catch up with some tech news before retreating into your two week international sports-watching binge. Have at it:

Samsung Uses Brazil Olympics to Break VR Content Conundrum - Bloomberg

Speaking of the Olympics, odds are you’ll be watching from your couch rather than Brazil, and Sony wants to help fend off the resulting FOMO. Those who own a Samsung Galaxy smartphone and Samsung Gear VR headset can watch the games via virtual reality on the NBC Sports app. Sony has exclusive VR rights to 80 of the 6,700 hours of programming, and the VR versions will air one day after the live events. So while the content may be limited, Sony is hoping the Olympics are the perfect time to catch attention and spread interest for the new technology.

New security flaw in credit card chips revealed - CNN Money

Implementation of EMV chip cards hasn’t gone too smoothly. American retailers spent an estimated $25 billion implementing the chip readers and shoppers spend an extra 15 seconds at checkout. Now it’s been revealed that the measure doesn’t bring as much security as promised. Payment terminals don’t encrypt transactions by default; retailers need to optionally pay extra for the basic security measure of turning on that encryption. That leaves the interaction between your card and the chip reader in plain text for any hacker to snatch up. NCR researchers recommend that retailers hurry to turn on encryption and that consumers use payment apps and e-wallets whenever possible.

A California City Is Fending Off Zika By Releasing 40,000 Mosquitos Every Week - WIRED

Clovis, California has turned to a biotech startup to address the threat of Zika. The Fresno County city has already been subjected to one case of travel-related Zika, and is working hard to keep it from spreading by releasing 20,000 mosquitos twice a week. It may sound counterintuitive, but these are no ordinary mosquitos. All are males that were bred in a Kentucky lab, where a bacterium called Wolbachia was embedded in their cells. The idea is that these infected mosquitos will mate with female mosquitos, and the resulting eggs will not hatch, thanks to the bacteria. By the end of the summer, 400,000 mosquitos will have been released.

Shocker! Facebook Changes Its Algorithm to Avoid ‘Clickbait’ - The New York Times

Facebook announced this week that articles considered to be “clickbait” will take a hit from its newest algorithm update. You know the type: “The Dog Barked at the Deliveryman and His Reaction Was Priceless!” and “When She Looked Under Her Couch Cushions and Saw THIS … I Was SHOCKED!” According to Facebook, posts like these withhold or distort information, and they’re working to push publishers to post content that’s actually valuable to readers.

Instagram launches “Stories,” a Snapchatty feature for imperfect sharing - TechCrunch

If you’re spending 20 minutes posing your salad for the perfect filtered photo, just know that Instagram offers a more off-the-cuff option now. Known for its curated and obsessively edited content, the photo-sharing service took a page from Snapchat’s book by adding its Stories feature. Stories appear along the top of the feed screen and allow users to add their own and watch others’ more spontaneous content, which disappears after 24 hours. It sounds just like Snapchat because it pretty much is. Even Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom won’t deny the inspiration, admitting up front that Snapchat “deserves all the credit.”

Read anything interesting in tech this week? Tweet us @WalkerSands!