Hashtag Trending – Farmers hacking tractors; Bitcoin’s carbon footprint; Frustration over Uber Eats’ pay system

Farmers are having to hack their own tractors just to keep it running, a new study suggests Bitcoin uses more electricity annually than the whole of Argentina, and frustration swells over Uber Eats’ pay system.

It’s all the tech news that’s popular right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Friday, February 12, and I’m your host Alex Coop.

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A story from The Drive about the right to repair farming equipment has gained a lot of steam on Reddit. The publication referenced frustrations with John Deer equipment that include terms of service that prevent farmers from repairing machines. The story goes on to highlight how some farmers have opted for black market firmware or software to sidestep official channels. And while loopholes mean hacking your tractor isn’t illegal, it’s not easy to do. As one farmer put it “in agriculture, we run things ti’ they’re dead. And then we run them a little bit more after that.”


Mining lucrative bitcoins requires a lot of horsepower, and according to a report from the University of Cambridge, it actually consumes around 121.36 terawatt-hours a year. The report says that energy could, for example, power all kettles used in the U.K for 27 years. For those who are unsure why some cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin require so much power, a quick crash course for you: In order to “mine” Bitcoin, computers are connected to the cryptocurrency network. The network is tasked with verifying transactions made by people who send or receive Bitcoin. This process involves solving mathematical puzzles, which, while not integral to verifying movements of the currency, provide a hurdle to ensure no-one fraudulently edits the global record of all transactions. The cherry on top is the reward for miners: They occasionally receive small amounts of Bitcoin in what is often likened to a lottery.


And finally, we’ve all seen the push notifications from Uber Eats and other food delivery apps increase during the pandemic. But that hasn’t translated to profits for couriers. In fact, couriers in Canada say their pay is dwindling. The Globe and Mail is reporting that delivery drivers say they’re earning “as little as $3.99 per trip before tips” due to a new pay system implemented during the pandemic. The wage structure lowers base fares but offers higher pay “boosts” on certain deliveries, which couriers say have gradually decreased. Uber says the system “better reflects each trip’s total time, effort and distance,” but gig workers argue “it’s profiteering during a pandemic.”


That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. I’m Alex Coop, thanks for listening!

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Alex Coop
Alex Coophttp://www.itwc.ca
Former Editorial Director for IT World Canada and its sister publications.

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