News roundup: Light at the end of the tunnel for ZTE

A roundup of the week’s technology news including Facebook fines, rapid Blockchain consultation, and GitHub ’95.

A roundup of the week’s technology news including Facebook fines, rapid Blockchain consultation, and GitHub ’95.


ZTE almost back in business

I’m back, baby! Embattled Chinese telco company ZTE has jumped through the required hoops and will soon be allowed to restart operations in the US. The company has changed its board and agreed to place $400 million in an escrow account that the US government could take if it feels the company isn’t complying. Bloomberg reports the ban has so far cost the company around $3 billion.

Not everyone was happy with the news, however. Senator Chuck Schumer said allowing ZTE to resume business was “a direct betrayal” to American workers and President Donald Trump’s promise to be tough on China.



More bad news for Facebook

Another week, another deluge of bad publicity for Facebook. The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office fined the social network the maximum £500,000 ($660,000) it is allowed to issue over the company’s dealings with Cambridge Analytica. While the figure may be peanuts compared to the company’s revenue, it is the first time the ICO has ever issued the maximum fine allowed. Previously the largest punishment was £400,000, most recently issued to Carphone Warehouse in January.

Elsewhere, FB came under fire this week for labelling 65,000 of its Russian users as interested in ‘treason’. That’s an interesting choice of labelling to appeal to advertisers in any country, but potentially dangerous in a county that doesn’t welcome opposition. Facebook has since removed the category. It was also revealed Facebook gave Mail.Ru extended access to user data.

Facebook also released its diversity stats this week. The company is still largely white and male but has seen some progress; 36% of the social network’s workface is female, up from 31% in 2014. Black and Hispanic employees overall increased from 2% to 4%, and 4% to 5% respectively, but there was minimal change in representation in technical and leadership roles.



Broadcom has acquired CA, Intel has bought eASIC, AT&T has snapped up AlienVault, Box now owns, Forrester has made a double sweep for FeedbackNow and Glimpzlt, Autodesk has purchased Assemble Systems, Mimecast has got its hands on Ataata, and Kairos has snaffled EmotionReader.

Alphabet is spinning out Projects Loon and Wing into separate business units. Both the internet-providing balloons (which outlived Facebook’s similar initiative) and delivery drones started life inside the company’s ‘moonshot’ X lab.



Does Bitcoin do it for you? Does Distributed Ledger Technology get you hot under the collar? DogeCoin creator Jackson Palmer has taken Blockchain trolling to a whole new level. His new project, Fifty Shades of Blockchain, is a Twitter which combines the barely-readable and definitely not sexy language of the Fifty Shades of Grey series with Blockchain-related buzzwords. For example: ‘I shuffle down and grasp each end of its governance model.’, ‘Mr. Grey who grins back at him blankly, grasping for a decentralized solution.’, ‘“Anastasia, you should carefully weigh the risks, costs, and benefits of Ethereum smart contracts.”’. It’s terrible. But funny. And vaguely NSFW.


In other news, Fujitsu, which launched a Blockchain Innovation Center in March, has announced a new rapid Blockchain consultancy offering. For just €10,000 [$11,500], the Japanese giant will assess your Blockchain concept and deliver a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in just five days.

“We have created this ready-to-go package not only to jump-start the customers’ blockchain efforts but also to review and improve existing projects,” said Frederik de Breuck, Head of Fujitsu’s Blockchain Innovation Center in Brussels, Belgium. “We expect this assessment to have a major impact on unlocking blockchain’s potential for business use cases.”


GitHub Windows Edition

Recently we showed you what Windows 95 would look like if it were a smartphone OS. But what about if GitHub were around back then? Off the back of the news around Microsoft’s acquisition of the company, Alexander Prokhorov has created a new UI for GitHub which turns the code repository site into a Windows 95-style application. It comes complete with lots of grey boxes and it’s available now for free if you want to do that to yourself.