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Friday Five – Adios Google Reader, hello Samsung Galaxy S4

Chris Mayer

Another quintet of stories that caught our eye this week, including the boxer that came face-to-face with his Twitter troll.

Welcome to yet another installment of Friday Five, our semi-relevant lookback at the week that was. And what a seven days it has been, with plenty of stories to get our teeth stuck into. From big phone launches that fell slightly flat to the retirement of an old friend, we’ve got it all covered. At least we hope.

Let’s get to it.

1. Adios Google Reader

Google’s latest round of spring cleaning spawned global outrage yesterday, with the news that the Mountain View company are set to retire Google Reader. The RSS feed aggregator has been around since 2005 but will discontinued from July 1st 2013, due to a declining userbase.

Soon enough, the announcement spread like wildfire on Twitter, with avid users calling for Google to reverse the decision. Some went even further by starting a petition to keep it running (currently standing just shy of 100,000 signatures at the time of writing).

As users scrambled to find an alternative (including this very writer), editors rushed to put out ‘Top 5 Alternatives to Google Reader’ pieces. There was also the obligatory Downfall parody as well.


So long old friend.

2. Google Annotations Gallery

Finding that your Java annotations aren’t getting the message across? Fear not, the open source Google Annotations Gallery can help, with its expressive set of annotations that allow you to say what needs to be said.

They fall into four sets: Disclaimer, Enforceable, Literary and Remark. Our particular favourites include: @BossMadeMeDoIt, @ImaLetYouFinishBut and @SafeForSpeedsNotExceeding

3. Boxer meets Twitter troll

Some sage advice for Twitter trolls here. Former-footballer-turned-boxer Curtis Woodhouse had been on the receiving end of a taunt from James O’Brien, after losing his English light welterweight title last Friday. Rather than brushing off the abuse (or just blocking the individual), the fighter chose to track down his antagonist, offering a reward if his followers could help locate him.

Soon after, Woodhouse drove around 70 miles to the street in which O’Brien lived to confront him. Although the two didn’t meet face-to-face, O’Brien was suitably spooked as media attention grew.

Smelling a scoop, UK breakfast TV show Daybreak brought the two together once more to further embarrass O’Brien for his actions. But by this point, the two had patched up their differences.

No one comes out of this well – O’Brien for believing his taunts to a boxer wouldn’t go unpunished, Woodhouse for making a publicity whirlwind out of it all, and the media for jumping on the bandwagon. Although we’re not exactly helping here.

4. Samsung Galaxy S4’s unveiling

The covers finally came off Samsung’s newest smartphone, the Galaxy S4, at a glitzy ceremony in New York last night. Those expecting something to rival Apple’s iPhone 5 launch were likely appeased, yet there was little innovative to share aside from the pretty advanced specs like the 1080p 5-inch screen.

The Android Jelly Bean-running device’s biggest features appear to be “dual-camera video recording” (ie. both front and back at the same time) and Samsung Hub for storing video and music. There’s also some nifty eye-tracking features, like pausing a video by looking away and starting it again by looking back.

Will it be enough to persuade iPhone users to jump ship, though? Probably not.

5. Sim City modded for offline

Last week, we reported on the botched delivery of SimCity by EA and Maxis, which left fans seething. The game requires an online connection to EA servers at all times, a decision which has rightly angered users when high demand crippled the system. EA assured those left waiting that they were doing all they could to fix the problem, but there’d also been the sneaking suspicion that it was more about stopping piracy than enhancing gameplay. In fact, one modder has demonstrated that it is possible to play the game offline indefinitely, albeit without the ability to save.


Unsurprisingly EA and Maxis have yet to respond to the most recent news.

Image courtesy of KWDesigns

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