Wait! What? 6/26: T-Swift and Apple shake off dispute, #LoveWins for brands

This is really, really colorful. (Thinkstock Photos)
This is really, really colorful. (Thinkstock Photos)

While you were recovering from the season finale of Game of Thrones, we were scouring the web for our favorite tech stories of the week. Take a break from your “Jon Snow’s not dead” debate – because it’s time for this week’s Wait! What?

  • Seriously, Taylor, we’re going to let you finish. Taylor Swift stood up to “The Man” so to speak by threatening to withhold her 1989 album from Apple Music…and then giving it back almost immediately when they responded with a very neutral letter. Victorious PR stunt?
  • Safety first, then teamwork. We are fascinated with Samsung’s new safety truck that features a video feed of the road ahead. It’s lane change time, y’all!
  • Speaking of driving, Uber is well on its way to a PR meltdown in France.
  • Even though few people actually own them, media can’t stop talking about smartwatches, because they’re futuristic and cool. So, how can marketers handle the challenge of the smartwatch? Embrace push notifications, be adaptive and create an ownable experience for publishers.
  • And finally, on a serious note, we are absolutely thrilled that the Supreme Court ruled to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states! Now check out these awesomely supportive tweets from brands that know what’s up.

That’s all – join us next week for a fresh new batch of news at the heart of PR and technology.

Wait! What? 5/15: Shape-shifting planes, secret agent desks, and Facebook’s controversial new feature

It's a bird, it's a plane! It's a plane. (Credit: Jim Ross, NASA)
It’s a bird, it’s a plane! It’s a plane. (Credit: Jim Ross, NASA)

Lots of big announcements this week in our beloved world of tech, but if you wanted to read about Verizon’s acquisition of AOL or the new Gmail login screen – you’ve come to the wrong place. As usual, we’re more interested in the weirder, more wackadoodle stories that you weren’t paying attention to over the past seven days. Buckle up – it’s time for this week’s roundup:

  • NASA successfully tested a plane with shape-changing wings. Will we ever get tired of futuristic space-stuff? No, we won’t – and before you say anything, ‘space-stuff’ is the term used by actual scientists.
  • Feeling less Ethan Hunt-y than usual? No problem. Introducing Sharetable, the desk that makes every other desk look like complete garbage. Its surface features a shareable screen connected to your desktop monitor, so that the person sitting across from you can see what you’re seeing. Although, he won’t be able to see the expression of total awe on his own face, since that view is reserved for you.
  • All the pretty girls love Samsung? Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea released the video for their song “Pretty Girls,” in which Iggy uses her space-alien super powers to transform Brit’s old school cell phone into a gigantic Samsung Galaxy something or other (marketing!). We don’t really have time to go through all of the problems with the video – but our main concern is that Iggy seems to think that robots and aliens are the same thing.
  • Media no-likey Facebook’s “Instant Articles.” Facebook announced “Instant Articles,” sparking controversy among media outlets. They’re concerned that the new feature will make it difficult for publishers to control their own content. They have a point, but we’re pretty sure that Facebook has been aggregating content for a while now, simply through its users. You know…because, like…cat videos.
  • If we use Waze, can we skip the rush-hour traffic out of King’s Landing? The answer is no, because you can’t just leave King’s Landing, and this totally awesome Google Map of Westeros isn’t connected to Waze.

Now you’re all caught up. Hopefully some of this will come up in your next round of bar trivia.

Highlights from Mobile World Congress 2015

Ikea furniture with wireless charging
Ikea furniture with wireless charging

The first few months of the year are always abuzz with tech news coming out of CES and Mobile World Congress, and 2015 has been the year of the connected everything. If you didn’t have the pleasure of traveling to Barcelona last week, we have you covered. Here is our take on the most interesting news that came out of MWC.

Ikea is making wireless charging furniture and Samsung is getting in on it

I know, more connected things. I was skeptical at first too. But then I realized this means I could ditch that extension cord that runs from the opposite side of my bedroom, under my bed, up my nightstand and under my pillow to get a charge. The idea is that you could place your smartphone on a piece of furniture embedded with the charging technology and it would then power up wirelessly. The new furniture will be compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge and covers will be available for incompatible iPhone and Samsung models. So it’s not perfect yet but a cool concept and something I may be first in line for.

The FCC defends its Net Neutrality policy

Quick catch up: Last week the FCC announced it would regulate broadband Internet as a public utility. The new net neutrality policy is meant to ensure that broadband providers / Internet and media companies / the ones with all the money are not making all the rules for wee consumers. That means, no content can be blocked based on what we pay for Internet service and we can continue to watch cute cat videos all day long.

Naturally, the powers that be are none too pleased about the FCC getting involved. So at a conference that’s historically attended by the carriers, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler wasn’t making too many friends. The net-net of his talk? Wheeler says broadband providers will be unaffected by the policy and that the new regulations “will not dictate carriers’ rates, impose tariffs or meddle with their business.” That’s democracy in action, people.

5G is the future

We’re adding more and more things to the Internet everyday – from cars to liquor bottles – so we’re going to need a faster, stronger infrastructure that offers more mobile data volume to support more connected devices. Much of the 5G conversation right now is about establishing a common set of standards including figuring out a way to efficiently power the network, which doesn’t exist yet.

Facebook is taking over the world

Zuck shared an update on Facebook’s Internet.org project, which aims to bring Internet access to “over 90% of the global offline population who live in developing countries.” Facebook has been working with mobile operators to get the job done and so far the success rate is pretty impressive – more than 500 million people in six countries can now access the Internet through the Internet.org app.

Clearly the major theme out of Mobile World Congress this year is building a connected world, with discussion focused on how exactly we will achieve it. Over the next year, businesses and media will continue to zero in on this broader trend – making it a top priority for PR and influencer programs looking to provide relevant content and expert POVs.

We’re excited to see how these conversations unfold and which companies emerge as the major players. Until next year, Barcelona.