Internet Security

News Roundup: 3D Misery, Nudes and Conscious Homes

A roundup of the week’s tech news including Nokia Rises, In-App Punks and Glassfails

Going Green & 3D Misery

Amazon, one of the biggest Cloud providers in the world, is going green. In an update on its About page, the company announced, “AWS has a long-term commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy usage for our global infrastructure footprint.” Do we have Greenpeace to thank? The eco-charity’s Clicking Clean report was damning of Amazon’s Green activities earlier in the year, following a similar pattern with Apple – now a leader in Green IT - a couple of years ago. In an email to ZDnet, Greenpeace said, the "race to build a green internet may be gaining a crucial new competitor."

3D Printing is pretty cool right now. Sadly it’s not the place to be if you desire a happy work life. According to Glassdoor, worker satisfaction at the likes of Makerbot, Stratasys and especially 3D Systems was low. Formlabs and Shapeways both had very positive reviews though.

The latest edition of the Corporate Equality Index has just been released. Rating American Workplaces on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equality, the tech industry does ok compared to other industries: Computer Software (9), Computer Hardware (6), Computer and Data Services (5) had just 20 firms achieve a 100% rating between them. These included Apple, HP, Adobe, CA, Cisco, Dell, eBay, Facebook, Google, Groupon, IBM, Intel, Lexmark, Microsoft, Netapp, Qualcomm, Salesforce, SAP, Xerox, Yahoo! and Yelp. There were 89 Law firms, 49 Banking and Financial Services and 21 Food, Beverages and Groceries that achieved the top rating.

Facework & Facebus

Facebook is coming for the enterprise. Mark Zuckerberg’s social network is reportedly working on ‘Facebook at Work‘, some sort of office social network-cum-collaboration software to compete with LinkedIn and Google/Microsoft and various other Enterprise Social Networks. TechCrunch originally reported on this some time ago, but it seems to have been unofficially confirmed now. Will it work? Possibly, but probably not; the company doesn’t have a great track record outside of its main app.

In other Facebook related news, the bus drivers who shuttle FB employees to and from work have voted to unionize. A similar thing nearly happened with Amazon’s workers earlier in the year, but they voted against the idea.

Nokia Rises

It’s confusing times for the Nokia name. The division owned by Microsoft has been all but erased, but the other Nokia has just released its own Android tablet and special Z Launcher skin. It’s a clever work around ensuring the Nokia name is still a potential force in the mobile market.

Also announcing a tablet this week was Nokia’s MeeGo successor, Jolla. The Finnish company launched a wildly successful campaign on Indiegogo to fund its Open Source Jolla tablet, and has raised over $1 million – beating its target of $380,000 within a few hours.

Glassfails

The headlines around Google Glass continue to paint a grim picture. App developers abandoning projects, analysts labelling them still socially unacceptable, the hardware has a blind spot, and possibly most telling of all, the consumer release date has been pushed back to sometime in 2015. Is this the end for Google’s much-hyped Smart glasses?

Despite the possible end of Glass there’s plenty of other interesting projects appearing. Volvo is using Google’s nifty Cardboard VR gear for its own marketing, while Vsenn is a new entrant in the modular phone space. The company has so far remained shtum on the details; it was apparently co-founded by a former Nokia Android X program manager and has three replaceable modules; camera, battery and processor/RAM. How mysterious.

Intel has revealed a very stylish smart bracelet featuring snake skin and peals. Also out is a stylish entrant from HP, some smart ear rings and even a fitness-tracking hat. Wearable tech is getting trendy, people.

For those wondering, Apple’s new font for its Smartwatch is called “San Francisco.”

NSA

The usual dose of NSA headlines

-          The USA Freedom Act, the bill that would have reformed the NSA, failed in the US Senate this week. The bill was just two votes short of reaching the required 60 needed, losing 58-42. The BSA Software Alliance called the result a ‘Missed Opportunity,’ while the White House plans to revisit the issue soon.

-          NSA director Admiral Mike Rogers says China and "one or two" other countries can invade computer systems of various US industries.

-          The U.S. Department of Justice claims that children will die because of phone encryption.

-          Salon is accusing Google of working closely with the US government.

-          Security experts still aren’t very impressed with GCHQ boss Robert Hannigan.

-          One Swedish internet provider is offering free VPN services, while Amnesty is providing a new tool to detect any spying on your devices.

Verbatim – Code, Conscious Homes and Punks

Inventor of the World Wide Web Tim Berners-Lee wants more MPs to code. “We need more people in Parliament who can code, he said at the Every Second Counts Forum. “Not because we need them to spend their time coding but because they have got to understand how powerful a weapon it is, so that they can make laws that require people to code to make machines behave in different ways.”

Senator Al Franken replied to Ted Cruz likening Net Neutrality to Obamacare. “He has it completely wrong, he just doesn’t understand what this issue is,” he said. “We’ve had net neutrality for the entire history of the internet… Obamacare was a government program that fixed something, that changed things. This is about reclassifying something so that it stays the same.”

Smarthomes shouldn’t be called Smarthomes anymore, according to one of the Smarthome industry’s leaders. “We call it the conscious home,” said Nest CEO Tony Fadell. “Smart is overused. It’s not smarter than you.”

Apple must be feeling the heat from Xiaomi. Replying to claims the Chinese company wanted to be the world’s number one smartphone vendor, Apple VP Bruce Sewell replied, “It is easy to say, it is much more difficult to do.”

Are in-app purchases Punk? I’d say not, but Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon must think otherwise. “I wasted 10,000 f‑‑‑‑‑‑ pounds in the last two years on apps on my iPad,” the butter-selling legend told the Telegraph. “I got into Game of Thrones, Game of War, Real Racing, and I just wanted to up the ante. And like an idiot I didn’t check myself.”

New Digital Economy Commissioner Günther Oettinger conducted a live Twitter chat this week. It didn’t go well. Apparently his favourite app “is the weather app.”

M&A

Apple is now worth more than the entire Russian stock market. Microsoft is now the 2nd biggest company in the world. M&A expectations are high.

According to Tech Crunch, a company called App Suey wants to own 1% of ALL apps in the App Store by the end of next year. Crazy? Absolutely. Elsewhere, Merkle Inc. has acquired 500friends, Deloitte Digital has bought design agency Flow Interactive, Campaign Monitor now owns GetFeedback, Groupon has got its hands on Analytics startup Swarm Mobile, Galvanize has purchased Zipfian Academy, Tech Mahindra has snapped up Lightbridge Communications, and music tech startup ROLI has snaffled software framework JUCE.

Intel has undergone a bit of restructuring with the news that it is to merge its mobile and microchip divisions. “The lines are blurring between PCs, tablets, phablets and phones,” said an Intel spokesperson. “The idea is to accelerate the implementation and create some efficiency so that we can move even faster.”

Nudes!

Sex sells. But apparently in Silicon Valley it’s underdressed engineers that are hot. “Find the hottest tech talent,” reads one billboard for technology jobs website Dice.com. Grim. 

source-dice-holdings-inc-via-bloomberg


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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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