Tabs on Technology


Headlights on the new Audi A8 sedan models, set to premiere this spring, adjust to weather and oncoming traffic. They are, however, still illegal in the United States. Photo courtesy of Audi Luxury Cars. (Photo courtesy of Audi Luxury Cars)

Stuart Railey

1. Anonymous hacks North Korea’s Twitter and Flickr accounts

The Internet “hacktivist” group known as Anonymous allegedly gained access to North Korea’s Twitter and Flickr accounts this past Thursday in response to the DPRK’s increasing hostility. Uploading a photoshopped image of Kim Jong-un with a Mickey Mouse tattoo on the regime’s Flickr page, the loosely affiliated collection of hackers demanded that the regime stop threatening to use nuclear weapons and allow its citizens free access to the Internet. Anonymous alleges to have retrieved thousands of North Korean passwords, many of which would allow access to the country’s news organizations and government websites.

2. Audi Headlights are technically illegal, but totally awesome

German carmaker Audi will put to use a brand new “matrix-beam” headlight system on its A8 sedan models this spring. The dynamic LED technology boasts sensitive lasers positioned around the car to automatically detect weather conditions, adjust headlight brightness for oncoming traffic and illuminate sharp turns at night. Unfortunately the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is not impressed enough to change a law that dates back to 1968. According to the antiquated regulation, vehicles on American roadways are required to have both high and low settings on their headlights. The autonomous “matrix-beam” headlights featured by Audi’s cars do not fit this description. Other car manufacturers have made plans to help lobby for a change in this law, including BMW, GM and Mercedes-Benz. Until the restriction is changed, however, the headlights will remain banned on American soil. The Audi A8 is set for release in Europe some time this spring and will be priced starting
from $72,000. 

3. Google begins use of new browser engine “Blink”

The revered Google Chrome web browser is in the process of shifting from Apple’s “WebKit” to a new browser engine known as “Blink.” What exactly does this mean for typical Chrome users? Speedier web surfing, stronger security and more compatible applications. While this new engine will help simplify the overall code structure of Google’s browser, web developers have expressed concern over this transition. By nature, shifting away from “WebKit” will mean less support for iOS devices like the iPhone, among other compatibility issues.

4. Facebook Phone?

Remember when Microsoft launched its ambitious social-media cellphone, the “Kin”? Neither do we. The graveyard of experimental social-media oriented phones has grown extensively over the past couple of years. Despite trepidation about entering the hardware industry, however, Mark Zuckerberg has teamed up with Google to reveal the new “Facebook Home” app for Android phones. This custom-designed home screen will be integrated directly into mobile devices so that the Facebook feed, message center and other features will be immediately accessible from a phone’s lock screen. The app will be made available on select Android phones starting April 12.

5. Best online April Fool Jokes of 2013

iPlay: Apple’s new gaming system “iPlay,” which requires the purchase of an iPad mini to control, will feature only Angry Birds. What else could gamers really want?

Hulu: The online video-streaming website “Hulu” announced a new lineup of shows set for release this April including “Itchy and Scratchy Show,” “The Rural Juror” and “MILF Island.” 

Scope Bacon Mouthwash: Can’t get enough of that greasy pork flavor? Well, according to Scope’s Facebook page, now you can “indulge your meat tooth” with their brand new Bacon mouthwash. 

Google Nose Beta: We all know exactly what has been missing from the Google search engine: smells. Crossbreeding visual, auditory and olfactory stimulation, the Google “Nose” Beta will help users experience exotic smells from the comfort of their own home. 

Half Life 2, Episode 3: Ever since the second installment of the Half Life 2 series was released in 2007, fans have been on the lookout for any hints of a final chapter. This past Monday, the Steam Marketplace was graced with an advertisement for the new game, which turned out just to be a cruel, cruel hoax.