Netflix Admits Throttling Video, Using Facebook Is Depressing… [Tech News Digest]

Netflix has been throttling video for years, Facebook and Twitter are depressing, Google gives its photography tools away for free, Atari Vault lands on Steam, and Hitman kills a bunch of people.

Netflix Admits to Throttling Video Streams

Netflix has, for the first time, admitted it has been throttling video streams for its customers. The revelation came after a row broke out between T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T. T-Mobile CEO John Legere accused his company’s rivals of throttling Netflix, which they then duly denied.

It turns out Netflix is to blame, as its “default bitrate for viewing over mobile networks has been capped globally at 600 kilobits per second” for the last five years. This ism according to the company, an “effort to protect our members from overage charges when they exceed mobile data caps”. It also means Netflix avoids “unplanned fines from mobile providers”.

Netflix admitted it has been throttling video as it announced the forthcoming introduction of a “date saver” feature. As previously discussed, this will hand users more control over their data usage, allowing them to dial the quality up or down depending on the generosity of their data plans.

Social Media Can Make You Depressed

Another day, another study suggesting too much social media use isn’t good for you. This latest study, by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (via CNET) heavily suggests that the more time young people spend on social media sites the more likely they are to be depressed.

The University of Pittsburgh questioned 1,787 U.S. adults aged between 19 and 32, measuring their time spent of social media and assessing their mental state. The social media platforms included in the study were Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine, and LinkedIn.

The study found that “participants who reported most frequently checking social media throughout the week had 2.7 times the likelihood of depression”. Also, “participants who spent the most total time on social media throughout the day had 1.7 times the risk of depression.”

As the lead author of the study, Lui yi Lin, stated, “It may be that people who already are depressed are turning to social media to fill a void”. However, it could also be that using social media is the genesis of the depression, with feelings associated with envy, time-wasting, and cyber-bullying all contributing.

More research is clearly needed, but for the time being it might be worth getting off Facebook and heading outside occasionally.

Google Gives Away Photography Tools

Google is giving away a suite of photography tools which was once priced at $499. The Nik Collection by Google contains seven desktop plugins aimed primarily at professional photographers. However, amateur photographers with a technical bent could also make use of them.

The Nik Collection by Google contains Analog Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, Viveza, HDR Efex Pro, Sharpener Pro, and Dfine, all of which work in Photoshop, Lightroom, and Aperture. Between them these tools can help turn an ordinary photo into a work of art.

Originally priced at $499, Google later dropped the price of The Nik Collection to $149. Now, it’s completely free, and anyone who bought the suite of tools in 2016 will receive an automatic refund. Unfortunately, going free may mean these tools will no longer be updated.

Atari Vault on Sale on Steam

A new game has landed on Steam, and it’s one that should appeal to gamers over a certain age. That age being 40-something. The game is called Atari Vault, and it comprises a collection of 100 classic Atari 2600 games, including Missile Command, Centipede, and Asteroids.

The Atari 2600 was originally released in 1977 as the Atari VCS, but died a death with the video game crash of 1983. Still, for those pioneering gamers around in the last-70s and early-80s, this was the console of choice before the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) arrived.

Atari Vault is usually priced at $19.99 but will cost you $16.99 if purchased before March 31. Which is a bargain when you consider this collection contains some of the most important video games of all time. Why not show your kids what gaming used to be like in the old days!

Hitman Builds a Puddle Pile

And finally, the new Hitman game is garnering mixed reviews, with a number of small issues preventing it from being branded a classic. However, there are some really cool things you can do in the game, most of which involve killing people in lots of weird and wonderful ways.

This video reveals one method which, when taken to the nth degree, results in a pile of bodies lying in a puddle. Which is nice. The trick is to electrocute the water, and tempt people into stepping in it. As more people investigate, more end up sharing a watery grave. [H/T Reddit]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Are you annoyed at Netflix for throttling video? Have you had depressive thoughts while using social media? Will you be taking advantage of the Nik Collection by Google? What’s your favorite Atari game of all time? What’s the weirdest bug you’ve encountered in a video game?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

Image Credit: Helge Thomas via Flickr

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