News Roundup: Trump is keeping tabs on Mark Zuckerberg's Presidential ambitions

A roundup of the week’s tech news including CommandScape, Android Oreo, and Apple’s driverless car.

A roundup of the week’s tech news including CommandScape, Android Oreo, and Apple’s driverless car.



The US’ offensive cyber unit has been elevated in status in order to further the country’s cyberwar efforts. President Trump announced last Friday that Cybercom is now a  Unified Combatant Command. Admiral Michael Rogers will remain the head of both Cybercom and the NSA, but Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is looking at whether to split the two in the future, according to the statement.

“This new Unified Combatant Command will strengthen our cyberspace operations and create more opportunities to improve our Nation’s defense,” said President Trump in a statement. “The elevation of United States Cyber Command demonstrates our increased resolve against cyberspace threats and will help reassure our allies and partners and deter our adversaries.”


Trump tracking Zuck

Despite his repeated statements to the contrary, there’s a lot of people who think Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be running for US President in 2020. One of these people is the current President. Donald Trump is already optimistically preparing a 2020 re-election campaign, and, according to Politico, tracking potential Presidential rivals, including Zuckerberg. How amusing: a man obsessed with Twitter gathering information on the man who has nearly half of the world’s personal data at his fingertips.


GCHQ let Hutchings get arrested by the FBI

The UK government knew the FBI was investigating Marcus ‘MalwareTech’ Hutchins – aka the guy who helped stopped the spread of WannaCry – before he flew to the US. The Times is reporting that GCHQ was fully aware Hutchins would be arrested despite the fact he was working for the UK intelligence agency, but allowed it to happen as a way to avoid an extradition battle.

Hutchins is back online after pleading not guilty, but is struggling to be any sort of memelord due to legal woes.

Oh yeah, and LG was hit by WannaCry last week.


Tech vs the Alt-right

While many were probably quite happy to see the likes of GoDaddy, Google, and CloudFlare turn their back on The Daily Stormer, some were not. “We strongly believe that what GoDaddy, Google, and Cloudflare did here was dangerous,” said the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in a statement this week. “Internet intermediaries, especially those with few competitors, control so much online speech, the consequences of their decisions have far-reaching impacts on speech around the world.”

Meanwhile, members of the “Alt-Right” are mulling whether they can build “a full-blown Amazon-style infrastructure company” to host content that keeps getting banned elsewhere.


Android Oreo, Chrome Enterprise, Bixby speakers

The latest version of Android has a name! To the surprise of no one, meet Oreo. Will users actually be able to get their hands on a device though? Gartner is predicting that a shortage of flash memory and OLEDs could hit the supply of premium smartphones in the second half of 2017.

More interesting from Google, however, is the company announcing Chrome Enterprise. Essentially a slightly more business-focused version the regular ChromeOS with more device management options, it seems Google is trying to head off Microsoft’s Windows 10 S before it can gain traction.

After several months of conflicting reports, Samsung has finally confirmed that it is in fact working on a Bixby-powered smart speaker. “Maybe soon we will announce it. I am already working on it,” DJ Koh, the president of Samsung's mobile division, told CNBC. While it might be late to party, Gartner predicts the smart speaker landscape will be a $3.5 Billion market over the next four years, so there should be enough room for such a big player.

Is Goole working on its own AirPod-like headphones? 9to5Google reports that it’s found references to Google Assistant-enabled headphones under the name ‘Bistro’ in the latest version of the Google App.



Microsoft this week announced a new initiative to improve Deep Learning capabilities. Project Brainwave uses a new Deep Learning architecture programmed onto field programmable gate array (FPGA) chips with the goal of making real-time AI a possibility.

Google, meanwhile, provided a deep dive into the Titan chips it uses to secure its Cloud platforms. Given that the search giant is a distant 3rd in the Cloud computing race, bigging up its security credentials might be a way for the company to differentiate its services.

BAE Systems this week revealed its new radiation-hardened space-bound computer. The new RAD5545 is designed for the next generation of spacecraft, “delivers exponential improvements in size, speed, and power-efficiency over its proven predecessor” and is, like, totally space-proof.



Cisco has acquired Sprinpath, Accenture has purchased VERAX, Avent now owns Dragon Innovation, Rajax has bought Baidu’s Xiaodu food delivery business, Amazon’s Twitch has snapped up video indexing platform ClipMine, Venture capital outfit Apex Partners has got its hands on ThoughtWorks, and Meltwater has snaffled Cosmify.

Fujitsu is reportedly looking to offload its mobile phone unit, and Microsoft is shutting down its GigJam service.


Bitcoin fluctuations still a regular thing

Bitcoin proper has returned to around $4,400 a coin after sinking as low as $4,000, while Bitcoin Cash – which forked from the original a few weeks ago – set a new high of $940 before sinking back to around $600.


Apple’s Car

The history of Apple’s car project – dubbed Project Titan – reads like a bad soap opera or a musician being all weird just before they drop a new album: no one knows what’s going on or when something good will actually happen. According to the NYT, Apple is ‘scaling back’ its driverless car ambitions and instead adopting a ‘we develop it, you build it’ type model a la Wyamo. The company is also said to be working on an autonomous employee shuttle service. This wait for an Apple car is almost as bad as waiting for a new Tool album to drop.

Also the latest study shows over half of people (55%) would still refuse to ride in a driverless car.


Oracle giving up control of Java (Enterprise)

Is Oracle giving up control of Java Enterprises Edition? Possibly in the near future. In a company blog, Oracle Software Evangelist, David Delabasse, said the company was considering moving Java EE to an Open Source foundation (for example, Apache) in order for development to become more ‘agile, flexible, and open’.


Sunken wrecks and CommandScape: Who needs retirement?

How do tech billionaires spend their retirement? Being far more interesting and active than the rest of us. As well as funding the building of a giant space plane, Paul Allen hit headlines in 2015 after his Octopus super yacht discovered the wreck of the Japanese Yamato-class battleship Musashi. This week the Microsoft co-founder announced the discovery of the USS Indianapolis, which sank in 1945 during World War II and lies 5,500 meters below the Philippine Sea.

Jim Clark doesn’t need to do anything. The 73-year-old creator of NetScape and what would eventually become WebMD has had plenty of success and has nothing to prove. But who wants to rest on past laurels? Clark this week launched CommandScape; a new smart building management system. Clark has reportedly sunk $10 million of his own money into the venture, and given his history, you wouldn’t bet against this being a success too.


Data Dollar Store

Kaspersky are a funny old lot. Between being constantly harassed by the US government, they do funky PR stunts like putting their CEO’s face on Christmas socks.

This week they’ve teamed up with UK graffiti artist Ben Eine to give away exclusive merchandise. But instead of cash, you have to hand over personal data. Apparently it’s “Playing on the parallels between the intangibility of art and data” and will “make shoppers think about the value of the data held on their devices.” Sounds like a good way to get some monetizable data to me.