Nothing is as quick to evolve or as adaptive as technology. That’s why we’ll be rounding up the latest updates for you on a biweekly basis. Here’s what happened in the first half of August:

1. Russian hackers collect 1.2 billion credentials

Russian Hacker


You might have thought your password was safe. You might have thought that the capital letters and inconvenient (but often required) numbers secured your accounts. But a couple of months ago, Russian hackers developed the heartbleed bug and used it to collect 1.2 billion usernames and passwords, 500 million of which were for email accounts. This is the second major security bypass this year, which leads us to question the pretense of online security. A wise precaution would be to change all your frequently used usernames and passwords, because there is virtually no way of knowing whether your credentials have been leaked.

 2. Facebook under fire for forcing users to use messaging app

Facebook Messenger

Even though Facebook has been readily informing their users that chat functionalities on their mobile app will be discontinued, they were met with a torrent of outrage when the plan was actually followed through. Users ranted against the new system, which requires that they download a separate chat app. Even though the app itself is free, fully functional, and efficient, practically forcing users to download it was obviously not the best course of action…comparable to Google shoving Google+ down the internet’s throat.

3. Microsoft Kinect becomes available for smartphones


When it comes to camera-dominant games, Mircrosoft is an unparalleled rival in the field. The Kinect, Microsoft’s flagship video game accessory, is unarguably the most powerful gaming camera, with the ability to track people’s movements, gestures, and facial expressions. On top of that, Microsoft has been able to develop a way to harness this power in the ordinary webcam and smartphone camera. This is exciting news, because if this technological advancement becomes available on more than one device, you won’t need an Xbox with a Kinect camera to play games that require one – it will be accessible to anyone with a smartphone (and an Xbox).

4. Sketchy app called racist 


This new app has been repeatedly criticized by many people, accused of being racist. Sketch Factor is an app that crowdsources information, using a method similar to that of Egypt’s Bey2ollak. However, while Bey2ollak crowdsources information regarding Egyptian traffic, Sketch Factor crowdsources information on reportedly “sketchy” areas. Many people have called the app out on reinforcing racism, as many of the posts pass judgements on areas where “privilaged white people feel uneasy.” The developers of this app have vehemently contested the app’s inherent racism, stating that it is for, and available to people of all colors.

That’s all for your biweekly tour of the technology world. Look out for the next update at the end of the month.