News Roundup: Women with Jobs, The Dot-Ly Bubble and Libertarian Tech

A round up of the week's tech news including Angel investor woes, Angry Pirates and shameless self-promotion

Some Actual Good News on The Gender Divide?

Women in IT is just one of those subjects that never goes away. We’ve written plenty on it and why there should be more ladies in the IT space, but very little ever seems to change. That may finally be changing, however, with the news that 60% of tech jobs created in the US this year were filled by women. This is the first time women have represented the majority gender in new hires, and definitely a step in the right direction.


Snowden’s leaks are still causing a stir. Latest headlines include…

-          Tim Berners Lee still unhappy about all this snooping, a different security expert says NSA has broken the internet.

-          US Judges decide not to get involved, despite NSA ignoring court orders a lot.

-          Norway and the UK compliant in collecting data for the US.

-          NSA definitely asked for a backdoor in Linux, according to its creator’s Dad.

-          Admin privileges remain mostly unchanged, despite increased paranoia.

Google’s Predictions

Google are fun. They’re not afraid to try new things and go wacky on what the future will look like. I think, however, Eric Schmidt may be a bit overambitious in predicting the end of censorship within the next ten years. "First they try to block you; second, they try to infiltrate you; and third, you win. I really think that's how it works,” he said. "I believe there's a real chance that we can eliminate censorship and the possibility of censorship in a decade." He also added his trip to North Korea was a failure and he’s not been invited back. Unlike Dennis Rodman, who is the world’s greatest hope for bringing democracy to the Hermit Kingdom. With Vodka.

In a follow up to the much-hyped Project Loon, the company have now launched Project Link. Sadly lacking any balloons, Project Link involves laying bog standard fibre-optic networks in regions where internet access is limited. Noble, but not nearly as exciting.

Dot-Ly’s Angels – Like Charlie’s, But More Regretful

The amount of money startups can raise is borderline unfathomable these days. Many are saying we’re looking at the next dotcom bubble, which must obviously be called the dot-ly bubble. But is it all money well spent? Seems not, as a new survey found half of Angel investors regret an investment decision they made this year. Worthworm surveyed 100 investors, and their biggest peeve was overinflated valuations and promises on return. Remember, the dot-ly bubble, you heard it here first.


Remember when people used MySpace? Chris DeWolfe does. The former Chief of the social network spoke to the Telegraph about it recently and didn’t shy away from having a dig at Rupert Murdoch.  “[Mr Murdoch] writes on Twitter, 'Crappy MySpace’. Well, if Facebook was worth $20bn or $30bn then, MySpace was worth at least $15bn, so shame on you for letting $15bn go to waste and selling it for $30m a year and a half later.” Murdoch has previously admitted on Twitter that he screwed up the company he bought in $580m in 2005, but he probably doesn’t need reminding.

Online Politeness

The internet is full of trolls. They’re not the ones who throw abuse at you on Twitter, they’re just twats. But they’re not acceptable anymore either. A bunch of studies about online abuse have all come out at the same time and they found that abuse is still rife online, but it’s becoming less acceptable. Apparently 1 in 12 has been abused online, but less than a third actually reported it (12% decided abusing back was the best way to go). A different study found that 80% of young people said it’s important for people who use slurs or discriminatory language online to be held accountable for their actions. Also, adding "just kidding" doesn’t make it ok.

Samsung – Not Watching Its Numbers

Plenty of Samsung news this week. First, the good; the company is investing £869 million in a decade-long research project - part of which will be used to find alternatives for a the rare-Earth materials that are vital to most piece of tech equipment. I’ve written more about it here, but basically the less we use this stuff the better. The first phone running Samsung’s own Tizen OS also looks to be in testing in South Korea with an aim to launch early next year.

The bad news comes from the numbers behind the Galaxy Gear smartwatch; it seems no one knows how many of the little buggers anyone has bought. First, there was a report that the company had only sold 50,000 of the watch; a failure. The company rebutted, saying they’ve shipped 800,000; a success. Problem is, the WSJ pointed out, they said shipped, not sold. So no one really knows how many have actually been sold and how many still sit in the shops. And then they made this advert

Smartwatches Not for Christmas

Whether there’s a connection to Samsung’s Miley Cyrus advert and Gartner’s latest assessment of the Smartwatch market is hard to tell, but either way it’s not looking good. The analyst firm announced the devices will not be the big stocking filler this year, due to them being “uninspiring in terms of design, available apps and features.” Either way, there are still more and more models getting ready to flood the market. Nokia’s latest multi-display smartwatch has shown up online. It looks cool, but not like it could be a game changer. ZTE have announced they are planning to get in on the action early next year, but didn’t bother with any details. And Pebble have finally thought of a genuine use for smartwatches and added quick mobile banking to its list of features.

Other interesting wearable tech in the news includes a smart ring/bracelet set that can translate sign language, and a patent by Sony for a SmartWig. The patent describes the device as “a wig that is adapted to cover at least a part of a head of a user, at least one sensor for providing input data, a processing unit that is coupled to at least one sensor for processing said input data, and a communication interface that is coupled to the processing unit for communicating with a second computing device.”

Hardware news

-          So the Top 500 supercomputers were listed this week. The top five remained unchanged, but number six has gained a new entry. Piz Daint, based at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) in Lugano, Switzerland has gained two notable records for being in the list; not only is it the most powerful system in Europe, it’s also the greenest computer on the whole list.

-          Modular phones like Phonebloks and Motorola’s Project Ara have been garnering a lot of press recently, and I must admit the idea of building your own phone is almost enough to make me finally join the smartphone revolution. Almost. And joining the club is ZTE’s ECO-MOBIUS. The concept piece follows the same principles as the other two but comes in a sleek black design, which makes it far cooler in a Knight Rider kind of way.

-          We don’t really do games/console stuff here at IDG Connect otherwise this roundup would be mostly Pokemon stories with a few other bits thrown in. But Nintendo may be moving into the tablet space. Someone claiming to be a software engineer from the company posted a bunch of Tweets about an educational Android tablet he was testing before they were all deleted. Apparently Nintendo representatives have denied this guy works for them, but only time will tell.

Domain Dominance

Domain names are changing. Soon the internet will be flooded with new domain names such .Kitchen, .Diamonds and .Tattoo, along with non-Latin ones such as شبكة (Arabic for Web), онлайн (Russian for Online) and 游戏 (Chinese for Game). London papers went wild last week and announced .London as a ‘huge coup for city’, while .UK as a replacement for would be ‘upping the bar for security and data quality.’

While I don’t personally understand the craze around domain names, clearly some people do. A new survey found over 80% of companies think Generic top level domains [gTLDs] are a more useful method by which to market a company or product than social media. While it could signal the end of social media marketing it’s unlikely, since the survey was taken from people attending a conference on gTLD strategies and quite possibly because paying a few quid for a domain is cheaper than hiring a social media marketing type.

Pirate Birds

North Korea’s Samjiyon tablet has been stirring plenty of interest of late. So much so that it sold for $546 when one popped up on eBay, more than double its normal retail price. One of the most compelling facts about the tablet was the fact it came with Angry Birds already uploaded. Turns out, however, that this was done without Rovio Entertainment’s knowledge or endorsement. "Angry Birds Rio has not been localized into Korean, and Rovio Entertainment has no affiliation with the version of the game being shown on the Samjiyon tablet,” said a spokesman for the company. Naughty naughty.

BTC Bubbles

I recently bought Theme Park World for the PS2. But no matter how hard I try, my rollercoasters still don’t go up and down as much as Bitcoin. On the same day the US Justice Department called Bitcoins a “legal means of exchange,” the currency’s value soared to $900 a piece, before crashing back down to around $600, and then rebounding to around its current $750 mark. It’s also worth bearing in mind a couple of weeks ago was the first time BTCs had gone above $400 each, so the fulgurations are ridiculous.

Seemingly edging to towards being the first Bitcoin nation, Cyprus’s University of Nicosia has become the first uni in the world to accept Bitcoins as payment. They are also planning to run a Master of Science degree in Digital Currency in Spring 2014.

Our Robot Overlords will be Libertarians

Laws & Politics now. Turns out that Siri is a bit of a Libertarian. One Redditor asked the iPhone assistant, “What are your political views?” and Presidential candidate Ron Paul’s wiki page pops up in response. Questions over internet history etc. influencing the outcome seem null and void after a video of a newly set up iPhone providing the same result popped up online. Either someone at Apple is a Ron Paul fan and wants to share that with you, or Siri has a firm stance on what it believes.

Meanwhile in Australia, it turns out memes are illegal. Apparently the country’s old copyright laws are a bit outdated and don’t accommodate for the ‘sharing is caring’ nature of today’s social internet. They should get on that, otherwise a whole nation may be missing out on Grumpy Cat.

Shameless Plugging

We here at IDG Connect are never ones to shy away from blowing our own trumpet. And this month we’ve got two excellent new papers out that you should download and peruse at your leisure.

-          20 Red Hot, Pre-IPO Companies in 2014 B2B Tech: A rundown of the tech companies that may be looking to float on the stock market next year.

-          Who's Heard Of Green IT?: A comparison of attitudes to Green IT between Europe & the US, and whether enough is being done to promote the issue.

They look interesting, don’t they? You should download them now.