News Roundup: Snowden Selfies, Diversity Problems and BBQ Sauce

The Kids Will Be Alright

By now you may have heard there’s a skills shortage. You might have heard it’s only going to get worse. Well the kids have finally heard too, as enrolment for computer sciences in the US is skyrocketing. Shame that IT employers are more likely to value passion above qualifications for entry-level tech jobs. Best get making apps and joining hackathons, people.

Google’s New Logo, And Other Stuff About Diversity

Google has a new logo! What do you mean you hadn’t noticed? It might be because they dropped the L down one pixel and the G across one. On a slightly less important note though, the company released figures this week detailing just how white and male the company was; 83% and 60% respectively. We all know diversity in tech is a bit of a problem, so at least the company is showing how uniform things are, and that’s the first step to change, right?

Co-founder Sergey Brin was talking at the ReCode conference this week, and he threw up a few interesting quotes. The first was admitting that he wasn’t a very social person and being involved with the Google+ social network ‘was probably a mistake.’

Both he and Larry Page had views on the EU’s ruling about the ‘Right To Be Forgotten’ – Brin said he wished he could just forget the ruling (very witty) while Page said it could be abused by government for oppressive purposes. Their motto may tell them not to be evil, but it says nothing about being bitter.


The usual dose of NSA/privacy related headlines…

-          The bill designed to stop the NSA was watered down to the point it may do the opposite. Tech companies among those not very impressed.

-          As well as the Bahamas, Afghanistan had all its phone calls monitored, at least according to Wiki leaks. Google may be involved too.

-          Glenn Greenwald’s plans reveal pretty much everyone who has been spied on by the NSA.

-          Germany isn’t going to start a criminal investigation over the NSA spying because they can’t find any evidence.

-          The amount of data Snowden pilfered from the NSA “is staggering,” while John Kerry thinks Snowden should ‘Man Up’ and come back home to face punishment.

-          NSA publishes one email refuting claims Snowden tried to raise his concerns with superiors.

-          China is doing very well out of all this. Local companies are seeing an uptake in sales, while the Government published a very long report summing up what they thought about ‘the U.S. intelligence agencies' "unscrupulous" surveillance over the rest of the world.’

-          Another cryptography service endorsed by Mr. Snowden has randomly shut down.

Ed Snowden has been hitting the headlines again. He recently conducted an interview with NBC, his first US television interview since the NSA news broke last year. We learned various things about the man: He didn’t mean to end up in Russia, has never met the Russian president, watches the Wire, was trained as a spy, would like to go back home to the US [something his lawyers are working on], and also isn’t above taking a selfie with people who helped him break the story.

No More Wearables Anymore

Despite taking off at the pace of a leisurely snail, the wearables market is already due to come to a grinding halt. NPD predicts the sales of wearables will reach 91 million by 2015 and then slow down. Meanwhile that hasn’t stopped Microsoft apparently working on its own watch – dubbed the Zunewatch by the Reg – and Apple is supposed to be one of the most influential companies in the smartwatch industry despite never even admitting it’s working on a device.

Elsewhere, the doctor that said Google Glass hurts your eyes has been back peddling about his comments, clarifying that there’s no long term health risks and they only cause discomfort for a little while. And that you still shouldn’t use them to read books or anything. Also those super call scientist-types at DARPA have got in on the Oculus Rift buzz and are working on an interface for use by U.S. military hackers.

Delaying the XPocalypse - Again

If you’re one of these people that has an unnatural attachment to a certain OS that’s over a dozen years old now but are slightly worried about security, you’re in luck. Some German site found a way to keep getting security updates for free! All you have to do is edit the registry so that it tells Microsoft you're using POSReady 2009. Obviously Microsoft have told the masses not to do so en-masse since they are “intended for Windows Embedded and Windows Server 2003 customers and do not fully protect Windows XP customers.”

No Bubble Yet – But Plenty of M&A

Another week, more denials about tech bubbles. This time it’s internet analyst Mary Meeker’s turn to say everything is fine. Her yearly slideshow shows we’re a way off the kind of money and numbers of the DotCom bust.

Meanwhile M&A deals continue to stream in. Symantec have acquired email security suppliers NitroDesk, Atos have bought Cloud firm Bull, Intuit now own Check Inc, App Annie has taken over Distimo, Microsoft bought analytics firm Capptain, and Seagate are to take on LSI’s flash storage business. Rumoured acquisitions on the horizon include Google snapping up two companies - Skybox Imaging and Dropcam, while Jawbone may be soon be hoisting a ‘For Sale’ sign.

Watson’s BBQ sauce

AI is the future. Robots will replace humans in factories, chess tournaments, quiz shows and now in restaurants. The guys over at IBM decided the latest way to show off what their supercomputer Watson was to get it to create its own-recipe BBQ sauce. According to Fast Company Design, it was actually really tasty. Still, Watson doesn’t have its own sauce-y song yet, does it?


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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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