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in « Weekly recap »,
 September 18 2015

This week's recap : Windows 10 for all, a taxi app for Vancouver, the Facebook "Dislike" button, the latest version of the Fire TV, and Google helps refugees

Microsoft: “Windows 10 on all machines!”


Microsoft confused a lot of people by downloading Windows 10 on all computers that once opted for receiving automatic updates, and that, whether or not users wanted this download. The Seattle giant even confirmed the practice, arguing that this will eventually make it possible for users to obtain the latest version of the operating system directly from their workstation, when they are ready. It is really possible that Microsoft did not think about all of the related problems (huge hidden folder, users that bust their downloading data allowance without understanding why, slowed internet, repeated "unexplicable" error messages...)?


An app to call a taxi... in Vancouver


Vancouver dwellers can now use the eCab app to summon a taxi, wherever they are. The app combined the 4 main taxi companies in the city, who had to work hand in hand to integrate each of their dispatching systems. Among the features of this app: the possibility to book ahead, to specify pick-up points in locations such as airports and train stations, as well as an integrated payment system. The app comes after the same companies fought the launch of Uber in their city last year, and could be viewed as a response to this growing threat. Such apps already exist in a handful of European cities, and a similar version will soon be offered in Toronto. Is Montreal next?




It's official: Facebook users will soon be granted the opportunity to click on a new "Dislike" button, available for every status. A fairly trivial news item in theory, but which caused quite a stir, mostly because of the paradigm change it supposes (do we really need more negativity on this social network)? According to Mark Zuckerberg though, people will not use the button to boo someone's baby or cat pictures, but rather to "show their empathy", for instance to better express their support when someone announces the death of a loved one (since "liking" such a sad status always feels a little strange).


The new and improved Fire TV


Amazon will soon release the second version of its Fire TV, and it will be 75% more powerful than its predecessor, thanks to a MediaTek quad-core processor. The box will include 4K video support, which users can obtain from either Amazon Video or Netflix, providing their TV supports it, of course. The system will also come with the Echo vocal assistant Alexa, and a gamer-specific version will be available, with a Blue Tooth game controller ($140). Competition just got a little more fierce for the new Apple TV... $99.99, on October 5, pre-order from now.


The philanthropic side of Google

Google juste added a new banner as well as a Donate button on its search engine. After directly giving $1 M to help refugees worldwide, the company now bets on the people generosity and aims at raising $11 M, by matching their users' donations. Funds will be given to the Network for Good non-profit, which will then distribute it to Doctors without Borders, the International Rescue Committee, Save the Children, and to the UN's High Commissoner for Refugees. Well done, Google, for thusly choosing to bank on the massive power of your home page, as even North Americans cannot pretend not to be concerned by the current, unprecedented migrant and refugee crisis anymore. Here's to hoping other technology majors will emulate that.

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