Friday roundup: A week in tech, 30 July | News

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The Innovation and Technology Network

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Friday roundup: A week in tech, 30 July

Apparently concerned that Facebook hasn’t done enough damage to the human race, its boss has revealed plans to transform the horror network into an “online metaverse”. Ffs.

Sounds utterly terrifying, doesn’t it? But what is it, exactly? According to Chief Zuckerberg, a metaverse is a place where the stupidest ideas on earth are collated and disseminated 24 hours a day, and billions of digitally mesmerised suckers make online purchases endlessly, while Facebook’s advertising revenues spiral into the trillions.

Actually, Zuckerberg says it’s an online world where people can work, play, and communicate, often with a Facebook VR headset on – which is basically what I said above.

And it gets worse: Zuckerberg gushed that Future Facebook will be “an embodied internet where instead of just viewing content - you are in it,” and if you’ve spent any time on the network, you’ll know this means the digital equivalent of swimming through an ocean of raw sewerage.

But don’t rely wholly on my well-grounded cynicism: the plans aren’t entirely ominous, as Zuckerberg sees virtual Facebook delivering 3D concerts and make-believe office spaces, so maybe it won’t be entirely bad, merely mostly.

Read about lots of the stuff I’ve left out here.

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Here’s a strange story. A former employee of eBay has been handed an 18-month prison sentence for unleashing a bizarre reign of terror on a couple who were critical of the online bidding behemoth.

Philip Cooke, who worked for the firm as a security supervisor, plagued the couple with grisly parcels, containing such things as a pig fetus, live cockcroaches, and a book on how to cope with the death of a spouse.

The ex-police captain, 56, also sent messages through Twitter warning them that he’d soon be turning up at their home.

The unnamed victims published an online newsletter that contained criticism of eBay, thus earning the wrath of Cooke.

Amazingly, six other former eBay staff are facing related charges, four of whom have already pleaded guilty.

According to the judge, Cooke’s behaviour was “abominable”. Judge Alison Burroughs added "I'm not sure if I saw it on television I would find it believable”.

The determined Cooke eventually began surveillance on the couple’s home in Massachusetts, which led to them getting the police involved.

They told the court “we were terrified” and became too afraid to leave home.

So, what does eBay think about this deranged behaviour? In a statement, the firm said: “EBay does not tolerate this kind of behaviour.

"EBay apologises to the affected individuals and is sorry that they were subjected to this.

"EBay holds its employees to high standards of conduct and ethics and will continue to take appropriate action to ensure these standards are followed."

Ok.

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It’s the roundup roundup bit…

Printer ink is terribly expensive, Which? has revealed; in some cases, even pricier than a bottle of high-end champagne. Here’s an example: a multipack for the Epson WorkForce WF-7210DTW is £75.49, which works out at £1,369 per pint! Awful, but, in my experience, it’s been this way for years. Read more here.

A man has attempted to drive from Land’s End to John o’Groats in an electric car, just to see if it’s possible and to get a Guardian feature out of it. Did he succeed? Find out by reading about it here.

Google is banning so-called ‘sugar-daddy’ apps from its Play Store, as it doesn’t think they’re very appropriate. The applications facilitate the passing of monies and gifts from older men to younger women in exchange for something that might superficially resemble some kind of relationship but is in fact purely a fiscal affair. Read about it here. Oh course, through the prism of Marxism, all relationships are financial and… (on and on for thousands of words).

Amazon is predicting slower growth as lockdowns end and people return to old fashioned shops, assuming there are any left. Sad news indeed. Read the sad news here.