News Roundup: Frozen Eggs, Killing Finland and Will.i.Puls

A roundup of the week’s tech news including Twitpic’s Death Rattle and NSA Headlines.

A roundup of the week’s tech news including Twitpic’s Death Rattle and NSA Headlines.

Tech Workers & Frozen Eggs

There’s been a few surveys lately that build up a nice picture of what a tech worker wants. According to Robert Half Technology, most IT professionals want to work at midsize companies, not startups, while another survey found London is the city of dreams for tech workers. Another study of US tech CEOs found that Twitter is the most overvalued tech company, Uber is the most exciting startup, Teslas are the car to have and “Disrupt” is the buzzword to avoid. They think China is the most promising tech scene, don’t have Google Glass or drones but do use iOS.

In an unexpected move, Apple and Facebook are to offer female employees the chance to freeze their eggs while they get on with their careers. It’s caused a lot of discussion; some saying it’s great, others saying it’s invasive and creepy. I’m still on the fence. But if the women at these tech companies are happy about it, that’s all that matters really.

Twitpic’s Final Death Rattle

It all seems to be going on the big enterprise space. We’ve had the splits of HP and Symantec and the rumoured super merger of EMC with either Dell or HP, which Reuters is now claiming is definitely off. Quite how a split and super merger would have worked and whether one led to the other being called off is hard to say.

Also not happening is the resurrection of Twitpic. First there was a dispute with Twitter and claims it was too close for good, then came a saviour who was going to acquire the company. But fate has thrown a spanner in the works. “It’s with a heavy heart that I announce again that Twitpic will be shutting down,” said founder Noah Everett in a blog post. “We were almost certain we had found a new home for Twitpic, but agreeable terms could not be met. I’m sincerely sorry (and embarrassed) for the circumstances leading up to this, from our initial shutdown announcement to an acquisition false alarm.” What a strange old tale.

Meanwhile Qualcomm is splashing out $2.5 billion for UK chipmaker CSR, Reddit (which now counts Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto amongst its investors) snapped up the unofficial Reddit app Alien Blue and rebranded it as the official Reddit app, Box is acquiring Med-tech company MedXT, EMC is buying Cloudscaling and Docker has taken over Koality.


The usual dose of NSA headlines:

There’s a new doc on the Snowden leaks. In it we learn Snowden’s girlfriend is in Moscow with him, while Glenn Greenwald says there is to be a second NSA leaker. You can also see Snowden’s original emails to documentary maker Laura Poitras. He also seems to be a bit regretful about the whole thing.

- The NSA has saboteurs working for private companies in China, Germany, and South Korea.

- Former NSA director Keith Alexander has invested a lot of money in tech companies you’ve never heard of.

- The NSA won’t tell you what they’ve already told you. ‘Cus secrecy.

- The UN is unimpressed by all the mass surveillance going on in the US.

- UK police have access to people’s phone data without a warrant through an automated database.

- The FBI doesn’t like companies encrypting customer data, may try and prevent it happening.

- Google’s Eric Schmidt is worried that all this spying is “going to end up breaking the internet.”

Verbatim – Finland, Flattery and Generosity

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is still in the news for his comments about women and pay rises. This week an internal memo circulated apologizing for his words and outlined how he’s going to increase diversity and equal pay within the company.

That the people of Finland have a chip on their shoulder over Microsoft’s handling of Nokia is understandable. That they have beef with Apple over it is a more confusing, but it seems Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb has just that. “I guess one could say that the iPhone killed Nokia and the iPad killed the Finnish paper industry, but we'll make a comeback," he told CNBC this week.

Apple have more urgent fights to pick.  Jony Ive, Apple’s head of design, called out Xiaomi for its Apple-like designs. “I don’t see it as flattery,” he said at a conference. “I think it’s theft, and it’s lazy.” Xiaomi has said in the past that claims over copying the Cupertino company were “sweeping sensationalist statements.”

U2 frontman Bono is sorry for foisting his music upon anyone who thought it was a good idea to have an iTunes account. “I had this beautiful idea and we got carried away with ourselves. Artists are prone to that kind of thing,” he said on Facebook. ”Drop of megalomania, touch of generosity, dash of self-promotion, and deep fear that these songs that we poured our life into over the last few years mightn't be heard.” U2: Proof there is such a thing as too much generosity.

In more Apple news, one developer thinks he knows why people don’t want to download iOS8. "It's a nerd release," said developer Andrew Clark.  "Home Kit and Health Kit are useless until all the accessory-makers get on board. Extensions and third-party keyboards are great, but a casual user isn’t going to understand or care about them. iCloud Photo Library will be huge but it’s in beta and is switched off by default.”

Elsewhere Google’s Eric Schmidt clearly thinks a lot more of Amazon than he does Bing or Yahoo! "Many people think our main competition is Bing or Yahoo. But, really, our biggest search competitor is Amazon," he said in a speech in Berlin.

Huawei’s Guo Ping isn’t sweating over a US band. "People around the world can enjoy Huawei's products and services,” he told the BBC. “If one country can't, I feel it may be a bit unfair for their consumers. But for Huawei, it's not very important." He also added he would be ready when the US decided to change their minds.

British businesswoman Martha Lane Fox isn’t a fan of the internet. Too many men. She told the Radio Academy's Radio Festival in Salford that she felt uneasy "that something that is now fundamental, like the water, for everybody’s daily life has been entirely produced by men."


Apple can show off thinner iPads and Google can talk about Lollipop all they want, but it’s all about Will.i.Am this week. The Black Eyed Peas singer launched a standalone smartwatch, Puls, debuted at Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference. The smart bangle does all the things you expect a ‘normal’ smartwatch to do, but has a bit more fashion sense than most of its rivals.

A Novel BlackBerry

Finally, an author in South Africa wrote a whole novel using a BlackBerry. He enjoyed the experience so much he’s going to write the next one on a BlackBerry too. That’s a lot of words on a little screen. Rather him than me.