ShinyShiny tech roundup: App users spending more time on TikTok than YouTube

App users in the UK and US are spending more time on TikTok than on YouTube, a new report suggests. Data from app monitoring firm App Annie indicates that average time per user spent on the apps is higher for TikTok, indicating high levels of engagement. App Annie characterised TikTok as having “upended the streaming and social landscape”. However, YouTube retains the top spot for overall time spent – not per user – as it has many more users overall. BBC

A robotic dog is being trained to stroll the streets of suburban Adelaide to monitor power lines. You may remember the Boston Dynamics’ “agile mobile robot” from such moments as dancing with Grimes, or policing social distancing in Singapore. Nasa is also training him to explore caves on Mars. And now utility company SA Power Networks is teaching Spot to look out for damaged infrastructure and other issues in its poles and wires network.The nimble robot can scoot over uneven surfaces, carrying up to 14kg of equipment, such as cameras. Guardian

El Salvador’s move to become the first country in the world to make Bitcoin legal tender was marred on launch day when the government’s digital wallet system crashed. President Nayib Bukele confirmed that the Chivo Wallet had been taken offline following complaints about installation problems. No time has been given for when it will be online again. He said that server capacity was being increased – a “relatively straightforward problem to fix”, but one that needs the system to be disconnected. Sky News

Mercedes-Benz’s latest autonomous concept car, the Vision AVTR, boasts a ‘brain-computer interface’ that allows passengers to control various features with their thoughts. To operate, users focus on lights on the digital dashboard and the car’s artificial intelligence recognizes their choice and begins a preset function. This could include changing a radio station, opening a window, answering a phone call, or, eventually, sending the car on a predetermined route.  ‘The BCI device measures the neuronal activity at the cortex in real-time. It analyzes the measured brainwaves and recognizes on which light points the user directs [their] focus and full attention,’ Mercedes said in a release. Daily Mail 

WhatsApp is making some minor changes to its privacy settings that will make its easier for you to disable privacy settings for specific contacts. This was announced by WABetaInfo, the main independent portal where you can discover news and real-time updates about WhatsApp, on Twitter. The update will be on WhatsApp beta for Android and iOS. Currently, the Facebook-owned messaging app has three privacy settings (last seen, profile picture, about) with three options (everyone, my contacts, nobody) to manage these settings….The new update WhatsApp is working on will introduce another option called ‘my contacts except…’, so you can finally enable your last seen back, and you can disable it for specific contacts. Geo News 

Germany has protested to Russia over attempts to steal data from lawmakers in what it suspects may have been preparation to spread disinformation before the upcoming German election, the Foreign Ministry in Berlin said Monday. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Andrea Sasse said that a hacker outfit called Ghostwriter has been “combining conventional cyberattacks with disinformation and influence operations,” and that activities targeting Germany have been observed “for some time.” AP News

Chris Price