Zone’s Martha Green handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

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1. Australia passes Google/Facebook news law

Facebook and Google are almost out of Australia’s bad books — as long as they pay for their news. In what has been deemed a significant milestone, the Australian government has passed its controversial new law that requires the tech giants to negotiate with news outlets to pay for their content or face arbitration.

After threatening to pull its search engine from the country, Google signed a pay deal with media organisations. Facebook went further, blocking users and publishers from sharing news, and…


Zone’s Ross Basham handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

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1. Facebook angers Australia with news ban

Facebook’s decision to block Australians from viewing and sharing news on the platform has met with a furious backlash from the government, which says it “won’t be intimidated”. The move came in response to a proposed law that would force Facebook and Google to strike deals with news companies to pay for news.

While the ban was only meant to target news publishers, dozens of pages run by key government agencies, community pages and charities were also blocked for several hours, which is…


Zone’s Ross Basham handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

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1. Facebook to test cutting back on politics

Fed up with seeing political content all over your Facebook page? Well, it plans to test how people respond to seeing fewer posts about politics as they scroll through their news feed (pretty positively, I’d have thought). The experiment is being done initially in Canada, Brazil and Indonesia, with a further test planned for the US.

Facebook says political content only makes up 6% of the typical news feed in the US, but that small percentage has had a big impact, prompting years…


Zone’s front-end developer Fran Haines tells us how mentoring for the charity Codebar has helped her build up a deeper understanding of her own skills…

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Fran at work with fellow front end developer at Zone, Silvia.

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘teaching others is the best way to learn’? Some may dismiss it as illogical — what can you possibly learn from teaching other people? Back in June 2020, I started coaching at Codebar, a charity that helps runs regular free workshops to help people from underrepresented groups learn to code. …


Zone’s Ross Basham handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

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1. Meet Andy Jassy, the new king of Amazon

So farewell, then, to Jeff Bezos, who is stepping down as Amazon’s CEO 30 years after he founded the company in his garage. But who is his successor, Andy Jassy? He’s been at Amazon for 23 years and founded its most lucrative business: Amazon Web Services (which accounts for a third of worldwide cloud infrastructure spend).

Jassy will be expected to grow more offshoots in the way he built AWS, such as its burgeoning advertising business, Ring home security, Amazon Prime and its…


Zone’s Ross Basham handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

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1. Facebook News feature launches in the UK

Facebook News, a dedicated section for news content, is launching in the UK. Several major news publishers, including Channel 4, Sky News and the Guardian, have signed deals with Facebook to provide content. The UK is the second market to get Facebook News, which launched in the United States last year.

Facebook News is the social network’s attempt to address the long-running friction between it and news publishers, as advertising spend has increasingly moved to the large tech firms instead of individual news…


Zone senior full-stack developer Jacob Pretorius offers his advice to ambitious developers looking to take the next step in their careers

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As an active mentor on codingcoach.io I hear from lots of ambitious developers who want to advance their careers. It can be difficult to say what makes someone a senior and when they’re ‘there’, so I’ve gathered my top five suggestions on how to set yourself up for success.

1 — Take ownership

The number one most important thing that sets seniors apart is that they take ownership and are able to work (at least somewhat) autonomously.

As a…


Zone’s Ross Basham handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

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1. Stuck-at-home TV viewers stream to Netflix

It will come as no surprise to learn that Netflix has done well from the pandemic. The streaming service now has more than 200 million paid members, up more than 30% from 2019, with more than 80% of the new sign-ups coming from outside the US and Canada, helping it make a profit of almost $2.8bn in the past year.

The success of Netflix Originals such as Bridgerton and the French-language drama Lupin shows what a major force it has become in film-making…


Zone’s Ross Basham handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

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1. ‘World’s smartest face mask’ unveiled at CES

CES 2021 — the annual trade show where tech companies show off all their new innovations — took place this week (entirely online, of course). One of the most eye-catching concepts came from gaming company Razer, who unveiled what is claimed to be the world’s smartest face mask, complete with a built-in microphone.

The prototype claims to amplify the user’s voice to prevent muffled speech and includes active ventilation, exhaling warmer air while pulling in cooler air. …


Zone’s Ross Basham handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

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1. Calls to cut data fees for online schooling

With most children learning at home again, there have been calls for broadband companies to do more to help low-income families. Many disadvantaged children live in homes without a fixed broadband connection and are dependent on pay-as-you-go or monthly phone subscriptions that only include a small data allowance.

And many schools are using video-chat tools such as Teams and Zoom to live-stream classes, which consume a lot of data. Tech for UK has suggested one way forward would be for internet providers to…

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