Twitter’s worth $31bn, net no longer neutral and Google teaches us to cook: #StuffToKnow this week

Stufftoknow 14

Stufftoknow 14

A certain internet birdie is now worth US$31-billion, but you probably already knew that right? If we are not careful meanwhile, some sites could soon be slower than others because they upset the wrong people. That’s crazy — almost as crazy as the fact that Bieber is now investing his millions in tech. In other news, Google’s going to teach you stuff live, a new hand costs 10 bucks and a nine-year-old girl can knock your socks off.


Twitter stock soars in early trading

After Facebook’s notorious collapse upon their IPO, many were initially worried for other social media platforms fairing in the stock market. Thankfully any fears were in vain. Twitter, or shall we say TWTR, launched smoothly and brilliantly. To give you more perspective, usually stock “pops” roughly 17% above its estimated opening price, but Twitter’s price was 74% higher.

The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, once said of Twitter “it’s as if they drove a clown car into a gold mine and fell in”. I think he was right on the money.

We’re about to lose Net Neutrality — and the internet as we know it
If you don’t know about this you should: it will affect you no matter where you are viewing the internet from, not just the States. Currently you pay a telecommunications company for access to the internet and the big internet companies like Google and Yahoo! also pay them to connect to the users. Now what’s happening is the telecommunication companies want to charge extra for “reliability of service.” What this essentially means is they can slow down some sites (read: competition or critics or just don’t like) to a near halt and have fast speed on other sites (read: their sites and those that are affiliated with them and their views) this of course would massively tilt the perspective of the internet.

Google goes live with real-time expert assistance service Helpouts
Meet Helpouts, where you can hire an expert to teach you something live, as in not you watching a pre-recorded video tutorial. They see you and you see them and show you how to do whatever they are offering training in. Some are free, some you pay for:


This is not an original idea but it’s a great one and something Google Hangouts is perfect for. Google has integrated Google Wallet for paying and the Google+ profiles of the experts. Now before you go trying to get money to teach people how to fold paper planes or anything, it’s invite only for now. That’s probably because Google wants to make sure you actually are an expert.

How we know the NSA had access to internal Google and Yahoo cloud data
Contrary to what has been assumed by some media outlets, the NSA doesn’t have access to the databases of these internet giants that have all our communications and data behind layers and layers of top-level security.

According to new reports from whistleblower Edward Snowden, the NSA, working with Britain’s version the GCHQ, they are able to access and thus read communications that run on private circuits between the fortress-like data centres that each company operates on multiple continents. In other words, they tap the lines between the databases.

Justin Bieber invests in new social network
Yes, other than allegedly giving money to YouTubing prostitutes, the young singer is also making some slightly wiser uses of his money by investing in a social media site called Shots Of Me… yes that’s the name I swear…

Books arrive on South African Play Store
It took a couple years before iTunes had books available in South Africa and it’s been a similar story with Google’s Play Store. Now we just have to get the music and movies and we will be like the lucky brats above the equator. However, I noticed the service recommended the Hunger Games to me for some reason. An Idiot Abroad, fair enough but the Hunger Games? That’s just a low blow. By the way, you can still read books you’ve bought on the Play Store on the web (yes you can read it on your iPad too).

Google Play Books


This awesome dad 3D printed a prosthetic hand for his son
The advances of 3D printing are nothing short of exponential, though this story is an especially nice one. The future implications though are staggering usually an automated prosthetic would easily have cost in the thousands, this one cost less than US$10. Admittedly, the 3D printer itself cost US$2 000 but when the boy grows and needs a larger hand the dad can just print a whole new one slightly bigger.


White House to Screen Weinstein’s ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’
The movie showing the life of Mandela will be shown at the White House with stars Idris Elba and Naomie Harris right along side with Mandela’s daughters Zindzi and Zenani. The movie premièred in Johannesburg on Sunday, with Mandela’s former wife Winnie (played by Naomi Harris in the movie) in attendance.

“Knowing what a strong relationship President Obama has with President Mandela, it’s an honour for this film to be shown at the White House,” Harvey Weinstein said in a statement.


Nine year old sings opera
Ok here I am biased. Well, more than usual; I’m Dutch so this grabs me more than most, but just wait till you hear this little nine-year old let loose, wow! She blows away the sceptical judges. This is the purest voice you’ll hear in a long time…

Let me know if I missed anything this week in the comments.



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