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News Roundup: Silicon Valley As The 51st State, Tracking Social Self-Censorship and Tech-Level Education

The State of Silicon Valley

Is it me, or is Silicon Valley getting too big for its boots? Maybe it’s all these Silicon Tech Valley City wannabe tech hubs inflating its ego or something. The latest phase of honouring its own self-inflated sense of importance is to break away from the state of California. No really. Tech investor Tim Draper wants to split California into six separate sates, including “Silicon Valley”, which would stretch from the Sierras to the Bay Area beaches. Ambitious much?

Jobs and stuff

So Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are the top three tech companies to work at? They clearly didn’t ask us at IDG Connect or the fine people at Lewisham Tech City. Sadly working at any of these great institutions isn’t likely anytime soon – IT hiring is down by around ¾ compared to the first few months of the year. But just having a degree isn’t enough anymore, according to a survey of big important IT guys who hire people. What are your options? You could join up to one of those massive open online courses (MOOCs), which are growing in popularity and value, or if you’re UK-based you can sign up to these new-fangled industry-backed Tech-levels.

Scary Social Media

Some serious scary shit from Facebook now. It seems Facebook is keeping tabs on us more than is really ok. We all self-sensor on social media; type out something but delete/edit it before we hit the ‘Send’ button. But in a paper written by two Facebookers, it’s revealed that Facebook keeps track of what you write but later delete. According to Slate; The study examined aborted status updates, posts on other people's timelines, and comments on others' posts. To collect the text you type, Facebook sends code to your browser. That code automatically analyzes what you type into any text box and reports metadata back to Facebook. Not cool, Facebook. Makes moaning about aesthetic changes seem a bit trivial now doesn’t it?

Meanwhile, over on Twitter, you could well be in the network’s 96th Percentile. After some data sifting, data journalist Jon Bruner found that the median Twitter account has one follower, while anyone with 1,000+ is part of the 4%. Change the data to people who have posted within the last month, and the median account has 61 followers and follows 117 people. 76% of Bruner’s study follow more people than have followers.

NSA

Some NSA headlines to take you into the new year…

-          Tim Berners-Lee wants more transparency over mass surveillance.

-          We might never know how much Ed Snowden stole, considers amnesty in return for a stop to all the revelations.

-          Snowden instead asks for asylum in Brazil, which is denied. Still called a genius by former co-workers.

-          60 Minutes comes under flak for airing NSA propaganda.

-          Sweden takes the piss with a movie of its own, Merkel compares NSA to the Stasi.

-          BT has a backdoor in its router, India still really keen on its own spying programmes.

-          A US Judge says all this spying is probably unconstitutional, review panel says stuff needs to change in the first news something might change since June.

Intel InsideOut

Football [Soccer to some of you] is awash with money these days. Technology companies also have more money than sense, so it’s inevitable that the two should come together. Intel have decided they like the look of Barcelona, which is fair enough. The Catalan giants are still one of the major forces of the game. So what did Intel do? Put their logo on the inside of the team’s shirts, with the idea that people will see the logo when players score and put the jersey over their head. It’s a first in the sport and amazingly paid off in the first game, if you believe in coincidences and retro celebrations.

Bitcoin’s Final Burst Bubble?

So the Winklevosses think Bitcoin will eventually hit $40,000 a coin? China disagrees, and has banned companies from trading Yuans into BTCs, which caused its value to plummet from just under $1,000 each down to $400 each. And it turns out the FBI hold the world’s largest Bitcoin wallet. Whoops.

However, despite these setbacks its value is up to around $650 a coin, and US online retailer Overstock is due to start accepting them as payment. Europe’s first BTC ATM has been installed in Finland, and IBM has patented an “E-Currency Validation and Authorization Services Platform,” suggesting it may be getting into the cryptocurrency business.

A short one this week, but I’m time pressed. There’s a Christmas party to be attending!

Merry Christmas everybody, and see you in the new year!

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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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