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Intel Reports Progress in Achieving Diversity
February 6, 2016
Intel this week released a new report showing some major improvements and continued challenges in its effort to achieve workforce diversity, and challenged rival companies to show their cards. The report comes a year after Intel CEO Brian Krzanich pledged to make improvements amid a sea of criticism about the industry's domination by young white males.
Google to Put Self-Driving Cars Through Rainy-Day Paces
February 4, 2016
Google on Wednesday announced that it has chosen Kirkland, Washington, as the next location to test its self-driving cars. It picked Kirkland as the third test city to give the cars more experience driving in new environments, traffic patterns and road conditions. Google has conducted testing mainly at or near its campus in Mountain View, California. Last year it expanded to Austin, Texas.
The Next President's Alternative Energy Agenda
February 4, 2016
Alternative energy has become a real growth engine during the last several years. It seems to bounce up and down, depending on the leadership in the White House. President Obama is a supporter, so growth has been relatively strong in recent years. The big question is, what will happen under a new president? That is a question every investor and industry worker is asking.
Europe, US Cut 11th Hour Safe Harbor Deal
February 3, 2016
Europe and the United States on Tuesday announced a new Safe Harbor agreement that neutralizes the threat of enforcement actions against domestic companies handling overseas data. The EU-US Privacy Shield aims to protect the privacy of data belonging to European citizens when it's handled by U.S. companies. It "will protect the fundamental rights of Europeans," said EU Commissioner Vera Jourová.
Harvard Researchers Debunk Warnings of Terrorists 'Going Dark'
February 2, 2016
The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University on Monday released a report that questions the so-called "going dark" phenomenon. The U.S. government and surveillance and law enforcement agencies have been calling for an end to encryption because they say it lets terrorists communicate with impunity and is responsible for the inability of law enforcement to monitor communications.
Report: Apple Has Assembled a Crack Team of VR and AR Experts
February 1, 2016
Apple reportedly has hired a team of hundreds of workers as part of a plan to develop a new set of virtual reality headsets. The report came on the heels of Oculus VR finally taking preorders on its Rift virtual reality system, which it is offering for $599. The Rift is scheduled to begin shipping on March 28. Apple reportedly also poached a number of experts in the field from other companies.
How Analytics Could Upset the Presidential Frontrunners
February 1, 2016
Given all the campaign drama, there was little else on my mind when I started to write my column at the end of last week. The also-rans really didn't understand how suicidal Trump's comments were about fans supporting him even if he shot someone in New York. Also, Clinton's use of a nonauthorized BlackBerry revealed what she really thought of the Obama administration.
T-Mobile's Binge On May Run Afoul of Net Neutrality Rules
January 29, 2016
T-Mobile's Binge On streaming video service violates Net neutrality rules, according to a report authored by Barbara van Schewick, director of The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. Among the reasons the Binge On service may be problematic: It doesn't offer unlimited video streaming, raising transparency concerns; and it gives participants a competitive advantage.
FCC Chief Proposes End of Set-Top Box Rule
January 28, 2016
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on Wednesday announced that he'd shared with colleagues a long sought-after proposal to loosen the set-top box's grip on home entertainment. The proposal seeks to spur competition and consumer choice in an arena dominated by large cable and satellite television providers. Wheeler's proposal would provide a mechanism for creating new ways to access video content.
3D Printing: Innovation's New Lifeblood
January 27, 2016
To many, 3D printing is little more than a toy. A toy that mostly prints toys. To others, it's a prototyping tool good for a hands-on feel of a manifested idea but not much more. Yet for a select few, 3D printing is the heart of innovation, and each new iteration is pumping the future's lifeblood. Here are some of the innovations 3D printing is bringing to life.
Panel: Time Is Running Out to Address Killer Robot Threat
January 25, 2016
The rise of autonomous war machines is outpacing policies and technological countermeasures, weapons and robotics experts warned last week at the World Economic Forum. Autonomous weaponry potentially is a $20 billion industry that has taken root in 40 countries, said BAE Systems Chairman Roger Carr. He was one of four panelists at the session titled "What If: Robots Go to War?"
How Trump Wins: Master Manipulator, Meet Analytics
January 25, 2016
Given President Obama's success in the last two elections, I was convinced that we would see a major emphasis on the use of analytics in this election season. It seemed that Clinton, in particular, would have been drawn to it after Obama used it to defeat her in the 2008 primaries. Although some of the PACs have embraced analytics, I haven't seen a similar effort on the part of any candidate.
Apple Stats Reflect Slow Slog Toward Diversification
January 22, 2016
Apple this week released a diversity report showing that initiatives to broaden the makeup of its U.S. workforce haven't been as successful as CEO Tim Cook suggested last year. The EEO-1 report filed with the federal government covers Apple's 2015 hires in the United States. Its numbers vary widely from the diversity numbers the company revealed in August.
Microsoft Cloud Rains Free Services on Nonprofits
January 21, 2016
CEO Satya Nadella on Tuesday took the occasion of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to announce that Microsoft plans to donate US$1 billion worth of cloud services to serve nonprofits and university researchers over the next three years. The company's recently formed Microsoft Philanthropies unit will manage the contribution as part of a three-part effort.
Child Laborers Mine for Cobalt Used in Tech Gadgets
January 20, 2016
Amnesty International and African Resources Watch on Tuesday issued a report alleging that the supply chains of major electronics companies -- including Apple, Sony and Samsung -- included cobalt mined by child laborers in Africa. The companies have failed to make basic checks to halt the practice, the report claims. The report traces the harvesting and sale of cobalt in the poverty-stricken DRC.
Cook Slams Door on Backdoor Discussions
January 19, 2016
Privacy advocates from around the globe have taken heart from reports that Apple CEO Tim Cook pushed hard against the Obama administration's efforts to reach a compromise on encryption during a recent Silicon Valley meeting. Cook reportedly lashed out at administration officials who were calling for a way to grant law enforcement officials limited, backdoor access to computer systems.
What the PC Industry Could Learn From the NRA
January 18, 2016
One of the fascinating things about the NRA is that buyers of guns think the organization represents them, when in fact its mission is to represent gun sellers -- not gun buyers -- and certainly never gun buyers against gun sellers. Guns for consumers largely have been banned in most of the world, with the exception of the U.S., which uniquely has the NRA.
Google's Self-Driving Cars Still Need Human Touch
January 14, 2016
Google's self-driving cars showed major safety improvements over the past year -- but there were dozens of incidents when test drivers had to intervene, the company said in a report recently filed with California regulators. There were 272 so-called immediate manual control disengagements due to a failure of the autonomous car technology, between September 2014 and November 2015, Google reported.
EFF Urges Revival of Human Rights Case Against Cisco
January 13, 2016
The Electronic Frontier Foundation on Monday pressed to revive a lawsuit against Cisco Systems for violating human rights in China, in a brief filed with a U.S. Court of Appeals. Members of Falun Gong, a religious group persecuted in China, originally filed the lawsuit in 2011, but a federal district court in California dismissed it in 2014. The federal appeals court now is considering a challenge to that dismissal.
Legere Steps Back After Hurling F-Word at EFF
January 12, 2016
John Legere, T-Mobile's loquacious CEO, has apologized to the Electronic Frontier Foundation for what he described as a "color commentary" that drew sharp criticism. "I am a vocal, animated and sometimes foul mouthed CEO," Legere wrote in a blog post. "I don't filter myself and you know that no one at T-Mobile filters me either." Legere offered a mea culpa for "offending EFF and its supporters."
Uber Settles With New York AG After 'Playing God' With Data
January 8, 2016
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Thursday announced a deal that would require Uber to encrypt geolocation information about its riders, as well as enhance its data security practices. The AG opened an investigation into Uber in 2014, in response to allegations that the service had tracked riders and displayed their locations in an aerial format, known internally as the "God View."
China Levels Antitrust Allegations Against Microsoft
January 6, 2016
China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce on Tuesday launched the latest in a series of investigations against Microsoft for possible violations of the country's antimonopoly law. Back in July 2014, about 100 SAIC officials burst into four Microsoft offices in various parts of China and copied contracts and records, downloaded data from company servers, and questioned executives.
China's Internet Tightrope Walk
December 30, 2015
Chinese President Xi Jinping recently told an international delegation of cybersecurity and technology experts that governments must be allowed to exercise sovereign rights and decision making over Internet use within their own countries. Speaking at the second annual World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, China, the president effectively called for a revised order in Internet governance.
Apple's Cook Goes to the Barricades on Encryption
December 22, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook brought the encryption battle between the high-tech industry and the nation's law enforcement authorities to prime time TV Sunday in an interview on the CBS news program 60 Minutes. During the interview, Charlie Rose asked Cook about the need for law enforcement agencies to access data that has been encrypted on Apple phones. There's all kinds of sensitive information on smartphones today, Cook noted.
Juniper Networks Shortens ScreenOS Threat List
December 21, 2015
Juniper Networks on Sunday informed customers that recent security threats to its ScreenOS were not as widespread as initially believed. The company last week issued an alert following its discovery in ScreenOS of unauthorized code that could allow an attacker to gain administrative control of devices using Netscreen or to decrypt a VPN. The two issues are unrelated to each other.
WhatsApp Brouhaha Breaks Out in Brazil
December 17, 2015
A Brazilian judge on Thursday lifted the ban a different judge had imposed on WhatsApp hours earlier, according to reports. It did not seem reasonable to affect millions of users to penalize Facebook, WhatsApp's owner, for failing to cooperate with judicial rulings, the judge reportedly said, suggesting that the imposition of a larger fine would have been more appropriate.
Star Citizen's Second Alpha Hurtles Past $100M Landmark
December 16, 2015
Racking in more than 200 times its original asking price, the crowdfunded space simulator Star Citizen recently reached a landmark 100 million in backer dollars. At the same time, developer Cloud Imperium released version 2.0 of the game's Alpha build. It's billed as the biggest Star Citizen update yet. The update puts to use the Star Citizen's multi-crew component.
Disgruntled Yahoo Investors Suggest Different Paths Forward
December 16, 2015
Two Yahoo investors, acting independently, have publicly called for radical changes or a potential sale of the firm. Both Canyon Capital Advisors and SpringOwl Asset Management apparently were unappeased by last week's announcement that Yahoo would spin off its core Internet business. Canyon Capital Advisors on Friday sent a letter urging Yahoo to find a buyer for its core Internet businesses.
Alibaba May Have to Handle SCMP With Kid Gloves
December 15, 2015
Alibaba Group last week announced that it has entered an agreement to buy the South China Morning Post and other media assets of SCMP Group. Alibaba, which claims to be the world's largest online and mobile commerce company, said its vision was to provide objective coverage of China to readers around the English-speaking world. The SCMP is known for its tough coverage of Beijing.
Bad Batteries May Cause Hoverboard Craze to Flame Out
December 14, 2015
Amazon has pulled some of this holiday season's most popular gifts from its website amid safety concerns, according to reports that surfaced Monday. It apparently stopped selling several brands of electric self-balancing scooters -- aka "hoverboards" -- including the Swagway. The move comes on the heels of last week's news that several airlines no longer would allow the devices on flights.
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What is your reaction to the rumored
4-inch iPhone?
I'm in -- I'd love to have a smaller iPhone.
I prefer a larger iPhone, but it's good to have more options.
I expect innovation from Apple -- seems it's running out of ideas.
I'm not interested in an iPhone of any size.