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Twitter's 'D' in Diversity Reflects Broader Industry Failure
July 24, 2014
Like many other tech companies, Twitter is largely made up of white, male employees, pointing to a lack of diversity in the industry. The company revealed statistics about its organizational demographics, noting that almost 60 percent of Twitter's U.S. employees self-identify as white. Of Twitter's global workforce of around 3,000, 70 percent are male, and only a tenth of tech workers are women.
EU Rides Apple Over Weak In-App Purchase Policies
July 23, 2014
The EU last year adopted a "common position" on how purchases made within mobile and online applications should be treated by operators of app stores. Now Google is drawing praise for striving to comply with EU guidance, while Apple is being rebuked for dragging its feet. Google announced specific steps it's taking, including removal of the word "free" from any app that enables in-app purchases.
Apple May Have Ordered a Big Boatload of Big iPhones
July 22, 2014
The frenzy over the forthcoming iPhone intensified Tuesday with a report that Apple has ordered up to 80 million units of the device. Meanwhile, Samsung unveiled an ad poking fun at the "iPhone 6" and Xiaomi introduced its answer to the iPhone, the Mi4. Xiaomi, known for high specs at relatively low prices, is cutting inroads into markets in the developing world where Apple is struggling.
Judge Rules Police Can Stuff Entire Email Accounts Into Evidence Lockers
July 21, 2014
Concerns about overly broad searches of digital data by law enforcement once again have emerged after a federal judge issued an opinion stating officials armed with a warrant can seize and hold a suspect's entire email account. Such an action would not violate the suspect's rights under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, said U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein.
Layoffs: There's a Right Way
July 21, 2014
Microsoft last week announced a large staff reduction tied to the acquisition of Nokia. There is actually a science to how to make layoffs, but much of that appears to have been lost over the last couple of decades. I have some theories as to why, but how you carry out job cuts actually is very important, and it reflects how well the CEO understands people.
Apple Settles E-Book Price-Fixing Case for $450 Million, Maybe
July 18, 2014
Apple has agreed -- conditionally -- to settle a lawsuit over allegations of fixing the prices of e-books brought against it by the attorneys general of 33 states in the United States, following a protracted legal battle. The settlement is subject to approval by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, which ruled on the case in September.
Microsoft CEO Nadella Hones His Axe
July 17, 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Thursday announced the elimination of 18,000 jobs -- roughly one in seven of the company's workforce -- in the next year. About 12,500 of the positions eliminated will be at Nokia. However, Microsoft will add jobs in "certain other strategic areas." Microsoft's time span may be shorter than Nadella's statement indicated, however.
Down the EU's Right-to-Be-Forgotten Rabbit Hole
July 17, 2014
Telecom regulators from each EU member state, together with the Article 29 Working Party -- a group comprised of a data protection authority representative from each state, the European Data Protection Supervisor, and the European Commission -- reportedly have invited search engines to a meeting next week. Microsoft, which just started fielding link removal requests to Bing, plans to attend.
Dish's Hopper DVR Is No Aereo
July 17, 2014
Dish Network this week chalked up another legal victory for its Hopper DVR service. An appeals court rejected Fox's bid to disallow some features in the Hopper platform, namely the place-shifting capabilities of Dish Anywhere and Hopper Transfers. Dish Anywhere gives Hopper customers the option to view content remotely from Internet-connected devices like tablets, smartphones and computers.
Android Sets iPhone Cloning Factory in Motion
July 16, 2014
Chinese company Wico has cloned the yet-to-be-released iPhone 6, if a pair of videos can be believed. "The similarities are eerily close," said IDC Research Manager Ramon Llamas, to the extent that the casual observer "may just simply accept this as an iPhone." There are slight differences on the sides, such as the volume and power buttons and the headphone jacks, as well as the chassis overall.
Microsoft Layoff Rumor Gets Mostly Good Vibes
July 15, 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella may launch a massive round of layoffs, possibly this week. Some details reportedly are still being worked out. Layoffs have been widely expected since Microsoft purchased Nokia, and Nadella's recent memo to Microsoft employees signaled they might soon be at hand. The layoffs are long overdue, said Mukul Krishna, digital media senior global director at Frost & Sullivan.
Comcast Rep Tears Into Fleeing Customer 'Like a Pit Bull on a Pork Chop'
July 15, 2014
Comcast on Tuesday was scrambling to repair the damage after a phone representative's rude treatment of a couple trying to disconnect their service went viral, thanks to a recording posted on the Web. The couple -- former Engadget editor Ryan Block, now at AOL, and his wife, TV host and writer Veronica Belmont -- called Comcast over the weekend and asked to cancel their service over the phone.
Google's Project Zero Cybersecurity Watch: No Excuses
July 15, 2014
Google on Tuesday announced Project Zero, an effort to speed up the security bug-fixing process. A team of cybersecurity experts will go after vulnerabilities in any and all software, notify the vendors, and then file bug reports in a public database so users can track the issuance of patches. The Project Zero team has promised to send bug reports to vendors in as close to real-time as possible.
Internet Heavyweights Lock Arms to Block Fast Lane
July 15, 2014
A trade association including Amazon, Google and Netflix on Monday called on the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to adopt rules banning deals by broadband providers for faster delivery of some Internet traffic. The Internet Association, in written testimony submitted to the FCC, called for simple "light touch" rules to ensure an open and neutral Internet.
Is Firefox in a Fix?
July 14, 2014
It's been difficult to hear ourselves think here in the Linux blogosphere lately, what with all the distractions that have been thrown our way. We've had the NSA casting aspersions on Linux users; we've had the IRS looking askance at FOSS. We've even had the well-respected Tor Project sucked into a lawsuit over revenge porn, of all things. Ready for the latest?
Amazon Floats Drone Exemption Proposal to FAA
July 14, 2014
Amazon is ramping up its drone delivery project and is hoping approval to conduct outdoor testing on its own property. The company has petitioned the FAA for an exemption from rules barring it from testing the devices. Amazon last year revealed it was working on a project that would allow it to deliver small packages to consumers within 30 minutes of ordering via the unmanned aerial vehicles.
Amazon Risks Customer Loyalty in Fight Over Kids' In-App Purchases
July 11, 2014
Amazon's reputation for stellar customer service could become tarnished if its current flap with the FTC gets out of hand. The FTC is suing Amazon for permitting children to make millions of dollars in unauthorized purchases through its Appstore. Similar accusations have been circulating for years. Other companies, including Apple, have been targeted, said Strategic Vision CEO David Johnson.
Aereo Aims to Make Lemonade From Supreme Court's Lemons
July 11, 2014
After the Supreme Court appeared to deliver a death blow to Aereo, it has latched onto a part of the Court's decision in an effort to stay alive. The Court determined that Aereo flouted copyright rules by retransmitting programming without a license. Aereo let users watch broadcast TV over the Internet for a monthly fee. Its goal was to give consumers greater TV-viewing flexibility.
Critical Infrastructure Companies Lack Cyberdefenses
July 11, 2014
Companies providing the world's critical infrastructure are woefully unprepared for cyberattacks despite the increasing threat level, evidenced by the release of the Stuxnet worm and the Shamoon virus in recent years, found a survey conducted by the Ponemon Institute and Unisys. Nearly 70 percent of the 599 surveyed companies in the past 12 months have reported at least one security breach.
FTC Goes After Amazon for Fleecing Kids
July 11, 2014
The FTC has filed suit against Amazon over billing kids for unauthorized in-app purchases that in many cases they did not know they had made. The suit accuses Amazon of violating Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce. The FTC is seeking a court order requiring Amazon to refund victims for the unauthorized charges.

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