Tech Digest daily round up: Parler is back, Bitcoin hits $50,000



Controversial social-media app Parler is back online after a month out of service. The Twitter-like app was a favourite among supporters of former US President Donald Trump and right-wing conservatives. It was banned from Google and Apple’s app stores and Amazon’s web-hosting service, after an armed mob broke into the US Capitol building on 6 January. But now, the self-styled free-speech platform says it is “here to stay”. See story here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-56071112

Bitcoin has hit $50,000 (£35,900) for the first time, reaching record highs for the cryptocurrency as it continues its upward run. The digital coin has been buoyed by interest from the likes of Tesla chief executive Elon Musk, who was revealed to have bought $1.5bn in Bitcoin. See story here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2021/02/16/australias-plan-make-tech-giants-pay-news-expected-get-green/

NASA will use a “sky crane” to lower Perseverance to the surface of Mars

This Thursday, Feb. 18, NASA’s Perseverance rover will hopefully land on Mars, kicking off a new era in red planet exploration, writes CNet. And while NASA has a lot of experience with delivering machines to Mars, that doesn’t make it any easier this time. “Landing on Mars is hard,” NASA said. “Only about 40% of the missions ever sent to Mars – by any space agency – have been successful.” See story here: https://www.cnet.com/news/nasa-perseverance-rover-mars-landing-how-to-watch-live-this-week/?ftag=CAD-03-10acb0d

Tech Radar reports that Huwaei is set to drop its new P50 series of phones at the end of March (most likely March 26). Apparently, there are three new models – a Huawei P50, a Huawei P50 Pro, and a Huawei P50 Pro Plus, and the selling points are said to include the screen quality, gaming capabilities, and a “new ultra-sensing camera system.”

Climate campaigners have expressed disappointment after the body responsible for emoji rejected calls for a wind turbine to be added. Emoji – ‘the mini icon images used frequently when messaging via smartphone’, The Daily Mail helpfully adds – currently feature a gas pump and an oil drum, but campaigners argue there is nothing that represents renewable energy. RenewableUK said Unicode’s decision is an “odd stance” given that the body’s main sponsoring companies include tech giants which are leading private sector advocates for action on climate change. 

A $9.2bn (£6.5bn) deal to create the world’s largest classified ads business could reduce consumer choice and increase advertising fees, Britain’s  Competition and Markets Authority has warned. Shpock operator Adevinta’s proposed purchase of Gumtree from eBay would combine websites that allow people to buy and sell used or new items such as clothes, electronics and furniture. The eBay marketplace is the largest such platform in the UK.  See full story here: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/feb/16/ebay-gumtree-sale-competition-cma-shpock-adevinta

North Korea attempted to steal Covid-19 vaccine technology from US pharmaceutical company Pfizer, according to South Korean intelligence officials. South Korea’s National Intelligence Agency privately briefed lawmakers about the alleged attack, reported local news agency Yonhap. It is currently unclear as to what, if any, data was stolen. See story here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-56084575

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