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News Roundup: WWDC, Dyson Glass and Kindle Oaths

WWDC Happened.

So Apple had their big conference this week. The long and short of it is; plenty of new software but no hardware and no iWatch. But if you missed WWDC you can watch the whole thing here, but I recommend this musical summarising instead:

Lesser-reported highlights at the conference include:

-          The Gender divide of conference attendees [and speakers].

-          Dr. Dre’s phone number not being leaked.

-          Both WhatsApp and HealthKit not being impressed with what they saw.

Meanwhile the most pressing question many angsty rockers were asking about the recent Apple/Beats acquisition was the future role of Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor. Reports & denials circulated that the cheery NIN singer had left his role as Chief Creative Officer at the company. The man himself has Tweeted that he’s still the CCO and ‘Looking forward to what lies ahead with Apple.’ Hopefully the experience won’t be a Slip that leads to a Downward Spiral.

Verbatim

You’d think a company that generally deals in 3D design software and had just launched a 3D printing platform & printer would be waxing all lyrical about the idea, but apparently not. "Much of what's been said of the benefits of 3D printing has been way overhyped," Autodesk president and CEO Carl Bass told people at a conference. He was talking about the home market, but you’d think he’d be pushing it a bit harder none the less, right?

I haven’t really talked too much about the Net Neutrality stuff going on the US. But there’s no need. John Oliver did it perfectly. He managed to surmise the entire problem in ten minutes and rename the debacle to something much more eye-catching; instead of ‘Net Neutrality’, it should be called ‘Cable Company F*ckery’. See the video here:

The best part? It actually worked. His requests for the internet to let the FCC know what it thought crashed the organization’s site. Score one for the internet masses.

NSA

The usual dose of NSA/privacy related headlines…

-          The NSA has been collected images of people’s faces from the web.

-          But that’s fine because the NSA says it’s legal.

-          Vodafone admit there’s a massive state surveillance network across Europe and beyond. Not cool.

-          Head of the NSA says Edward Snowden is ‘probably not’ a spy, Marc Andreessen still thinks he is a 'Textbook Traitor.'

-          Secret Service want a Sarcasm Scanner for the web, while German spies want more money to compete with the NSA.

-          The EFF says the NSA has been destroying evidence of spying, Google has a sense of humour over encryption, the Guardian has made it easier to be the next Snowden, and Microsoft still want some kind of reforms.

-          China is pushing the ‘don’t trust Western Tech firms’ message hard and calls for 'severe punishment.'

-          It’s been a full year since the NSA story broke. To celebrate there was another online protest called Reset The Net.

-          Ed Snowden hit back at the NSA’s release - the one concerned email they could find.

-          Where Ed will be residing by Christmas is still up the air. His lawyers assume his stay in Russia will be extended, but he may end up in Brazil, and sadly US people generally aren’t fans. 

Dyson Glass

Google Glass may be getting all the attention, but we learned this week that Vaccum-cleaner makers Dyson were prototyping their own smart glass tech back in 2001. Named the Dyson Halo, it featured full colour AR, applications, projected interactive keyboards and text-to-speech technology. You can only imagine the synergy it would have had with an internet-connect Dyson hoover today.

Meanwhile the actual Google Glass is still suffering. The same week the company announces fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg will help the device lose its geeky connotations, a geek in Germany writes a script that can boot off any Glass devices on your network. It’s name? Glasshole.sh.

And if you want a taste of what kind of wearable tech companies without Google’s budget can create, check out the SimEye.

Kindle Oaths

Swearing an oath on a book has some gravitas about it. Even if you don’t dig the bible, it can still be compelling to swear the whole truth upon it. Can the same really be said of an e-Reader? Former Microsoft employee Suzi LeVine thought so, when sworn in as a US ambassador (to Lichtenstein and Switzerland) she instead made her oath upon a Kindle showing the 19th Amendment. How very techy.

In some other Tech/Politics news, the internet-centric Pirate Party didn’t do too badly in the recent EU elections. Although they lost both of the Swedish seats they won in the 2009 elections, they gained one in Germany. Shame about the Pirate Bay founder getting arrested and not being able to celebrate.

Google’s 12,000+

Turns out people don’t like being on the internet. Google might not be happy about it, and no one really knows how far the EU’s ruling will stretch, but over 12,000 people asked for Google to forget them on the first day. Another 10,000-odd a day are adding their names, and according to the WSJ the figure stood at over 40,000 on Tuesday.

Meanwhile Samsung has finally revealed its first ‘We don’t need Google or Android’ phone, also known as the Samsung Z, the company’s first Tizen OS smartphone. No Google engineers have reported their knees shaking in fear.

Last week we told you about diversity in Google, and the fact it didn’t really have any. Well a startup called Entelo did some data searching on other tech companies to see how they measure up. They combed social media-based data points, including CVs posted to LinkedIn, to estimate a company’s current demographic mix, and found that Google wasn’t much worse than a lot of other tech companies. AirBnB scored the highest, with an estimated 37% female workforce, while Box only had 28%.

M&A

No word on Tech bubbles and whether or not they’ve exploded, but there’s been plenty of M&A stuff going on. Facebook has bought Pryte, ARM bought Duolog, Acquia acquired TruCentric, Dropbox now own Droptalk, Twitter has swallowed up Namo Media, Nokia [the bit Microsoft didn’t buy] has netted Mesaplexx, Cloudera has taken on Gazzang, Flipkart snapped up Myntra, Intralinks acquired docTrackr, and KPMG has acquired IT consultancy Safira

And for some reason an African IT firm called Morvest has diversified into bedding after it bought mattress maker Simmons.

Font Twitter, Font it Straight to Hell

Last week we reported on Google’s new logo, which featured two letters moving one pixel down and to the left. This week the internet was rocked after Twitter changed its main font from Helvetica Neue to Gotham Narrow SSm. Now I don’t care. And I’m sure you don’t. But some people really do. And that’s not ok.

50 cent, or 0.000759 BTC

So the rapper 50 Cent has a new album out that you can buy in Bitcoin. Now I’m not saying that’s a direct reason why the currency’s value is starting to recover after prices plummeted, just merely pointing out the correlation

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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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