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News Roundup: A Purpose for Smartwatches, Social Swearing and Tech Philanthropy

Smartwatches have a purpose!

So Google finally revealed Android Wear, its operating system specially tailored for smartwatches. It looks very nice, but they’re still a step behind the guys at Pebble, who have finally a found a purpose for smartwatches we can all get behind: Tamagotchis. Revealing the Hatchi game at the Games Developer Conference, it makes perfect sense. I’m amazed that it has taken this long for people to realize.

In their continuing crusade to get people to stop hating on Glass, Google have followed up their ‘Glasshole’ social etiquette post with another one dispelling the “Top 10 Google Glass Myths”. Apparently these myths include ‘Glass Explorers are technology-worshipping geeks’, ‘Glass is only for those privileged enough to afford it’ and ‘Glass marks the end of privacy’.

Acquisitions & Charity

Compared to the flurry earlier in the year, the last few weeks have been rather quiet for acquisitions. Google bought controller maker Green Throttle Games, Dropbox acquired chat solution Zulip, and Russia’s big search engine Yandex, mobile location startup KitLocate. I imagine a big money buyout will pop up soon enough.

On the subject of money, Inside Philanthropy made a list of Most & Least Generous Tech Givers, but based on a percentage of their wealth as opposed to sheer volume of cash. It’s an interesting article, but smacks very much of punching a gift horse in the mouth. Yes, Michael Dell has only given 10% of his wealth charity [ignoring the fact 10% is quite a lot in my book], but that’s upwards of $1 billion. And even if people like Michael Birch and Jerry Yang don’t do a lot of philanthropy, it’s their choice and there’s no need to shame them because of it. It does highlight the generous nature of Cisco founders Leonard Bosack & Sandy Lerner though, so that’s good.

XP ATM EOL

The death of Windows XP draws ever-nearer, filling unprepared CIOs with a sense of indifference. Microsoft’s friendly pop-up reminders didn’t go down quite as well as they had hoped. Instead of increasing sales of Windows 8, users have been panicking and thinking that they’ve been infected by malware. Meanwhile the millions of ATMs still running XP look likely to stay that way, as banks are willing to pay through the nose to keep support going, although a small handful are looking to Linux as an alternative.

NSA and The Art of presentations

The usual dose of NSA headlines…

-          The US is giving up net oversight powers, Republicans are unhappy about this.

-          NSA watchdog wasn’t very good at its job, was unaware of mass snooping. Luckily the NSA may release transparency reports.

-          The NSA recorded all calls from a whole country, and hunt sysadmins to get your passwords.

-          The NSA are sneaky when it comes to zero-day exploits, and also when it comes to how much water it uses in its data centers.

-          GCHQ use fake LinkedIn pages to get at company data.

-          NSA lawyer says tech firms knew about all the spying, while the NSA generally is still saying mean things about Mr Snowden. And so is Bill Gates.

-          IBM and Samsung aren’t in cahoots with the NSA.

-          Snowden appeared at TED as a telepresence robot, hangs out with Google people.

-          The NSA like PowerPoint artwork, although ignore copyright rules.

Quotes

Dorian Satoshi ‘I didn’t invent Bitcoin’ Nakamoto was in the news again this week after he issued a statement unconditionally denying being the creator of Bitcoin. Meanwhile the MtGox saga continues after the exchange just announced its found 200,000 missing Bitcoins in an old digital wallet it doesn’t use anymore.

The ever-talkative Steve Wozniak has been interviewed again. This time he said that one of the reasons Apple is so successful is down to how little they change. "A lot of people do not like change, and the safest place is a smartphone that doesn't change too much too fast.” He’s also in favour of Tim Berners-Lee’s Digital Magna Carta idea.

Bill Gates recently spoke to Rolling Stone about a lot of things. Apparently Microsoft were interested in WhatApp [but not for $19 billion], Bill sounds like he’s more in favour of the NSA than not, Obamacare’s launch could have been better, and it’s ok if silly Silicon Valley startups fail. 

Senators and .Sucks

You may be aware that the internet is soon to be flooded with a whole host of new generic top-level domains, or gTLDs, to add to your usual .coms and .co.uks. One of the more unusual ones is the request for .Sucks, which has potential to cause untold mirth. “Will your organization allow a third party to purchase and operate ‘ICANN.sucks’?” asked one Senator who is trying to fight the requests. Though he has a point, it still sounds like a good juvenile laugh.

Meanwhile, one programmer is planning to switch code for Congress and is planning to run for the Democrats in Atlantic City. Previously working on the White House website and part of the Obamacare site, he now plans to take on bigger fish than Open Source Interfaces. “I’m running to tackle the issues that most affect families in South Jersey, like too few jobs, too high student debt, the need to act on climate change and the opportunity to make vital investments in education and infrastructure,” he told Wired.

No Naughty Words

The web is full of naughty language, words like Crevice and Nickleback, and that’s why you have to keep your gran away from the internet. Don’t want her getting offended. But the Mongolian government has gone one further and have banned over 700 phrases from the internet. While normally we here at IDG Connect don’t condone censorship, some of the words they’ve picked are just bizzare. Along with staple words that offend the establishment; sex, f*ck, gay, and lesbian, there’s a host of ones that wouldn’t normally spring to mind; C*mguzzler, C*cknugget, homodumbsh*t, poop, urinated, drunk, muddle, thunderc*nt, assassinate, female hygene [sic] accessory and guts. You can see the complete list here.

Back in the pure, uncensored and unfiltered www, some people at stats site BadgerStats decided to look at how often Reddit swears, and what its favourite naughty words were. It found that /r/4Chan was the most sweary, with just over 1 in every 100 words written being a swear (or 1.1%). Meanwhile the least profane were the nice people over in /r/gentlemenboners, with a cursing ratio of just 0.02%, or as Badgerstats put it, “Looking at classy pictures of women just doesn’t make one want to start swearing like a sailor.” It also compared the favourite naughty words of Reddit against that of Facebook, and found that for the most part, social media users aren’t as imaginative as the Mongolian government. Why does any of this matter? The study also shows that the more you swear online, the less happy you were. So stop fecking swearing and cheer up.

 

 

 

 

 

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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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