Ordnance Survey Releases Mapping Tools

Slashdot - 2 hours 1 min ago
rHBa writes The BBC reports that the UK mapping organization Ordnance Survey has added 4 new products to its open data portfolio: OS Local, Names, Rivers and Roads. Perhaps the most interesting of the free data sets is OS Local which provides a base map to identify "hotspots" such as property pricing, insurance risk, and crime. The OS are not creating a new Google Maps-style service of their own but rather are providing their data for use by other third-party apps and online tools. They expect developers and designers to use the data to enhance their own products and improve the information people can access via the web.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Salesforce cancels Indiana events to protest anti-gay law (Arik Hesseldahl/Re/code)

TechMeme - 3 hours 13 min ago

Arik Hesseldahl / Re/code:
Salesforce cancels Indiana events to protest anti-gay law  — CEO Marc Benioff says he has canceled all his company's events in the state of Indiana after its governor signed into law a bill that makes it legal for individuals to use religious grounds as a defense when they are sued …

Categories: Technology

Robobug: Scientists Clad Bacterium With Graphene To Make a Working Cytobot

Slashdot - 4 hours 40 min ago
Zothecula writes By cladding a living cell with graphene quantum dots, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) claim to have created a nanoscale biomicrorobot (or cytobot) that responds electrically to changes in its environment. This work promises to lay the foundations for future generations of bio-derived nanobots, biomicrorobotic-mechanisms, and micromechanical actuation for a wide range of applications. "UIC researchers created an electromechanical device — a humidity sensor — on a bacterial spore. They call it NERD, for Nano-Electro-Robotic Device. The report is online at Scientific Reports, a Nature open access journal."

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Categories: Open Source, Technology

Instapaper 6.2 for iOS adds speed reading, ability to share text as an image via Twitter, more (Nate Hoffelder/Ink, Bits, & Pixels)

TechMeme - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 11:55pm

Nate Hoffelder / Ink, Bits, & Pixels:
Instapaper 6.2 for iOS adds speed reading, ability to share text as an image via Twitter, more  —  Instapaper Adds Speed Reading Option to its iPad App  —  No one has enough time to read all of the articles they come across in a given day, but Instapaper has a solution.

Categories: Technology

LG Watch Urbane LTE will be available in South Korea March 27 for $590 (Rich Edmonds/Android Central)

TechMeme - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 11:10pm

Rich Edmonds / Android Central:
LG Watch Urbane LTE will be available in South Korea March 27 for $590  —  LG Watch Urbane LTE to launch in South Korea on March 27  —  The LG Watch Urbane LTE is set to go on sale in South Korea on March 27.  Priced at 650,000 KRW ($590), the company will use its premium range of watches to compete directly with the Apple Watch.

Categories: Technology

Facebook's solar-powered Internet drone, dubbed Aquila, with a wingspan of a Boeing 737 to begin testing this summer (Deepa Seetharaman/Wall Street Journal)

TechMeme - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 10:25pm

Deepa Seetharaman / Wall Street Journal:
Facebook's solar-powered Internet drone, dubbed Aquila, with a wingspan of a Boeing 737 to begin testing this summer  —  Facebook, Moving Ahead with Drone, Plans Test This Summer  —  Facebook plans to test a version of its solar-powered drone this summer, a step in its efforts …

Categories: Technology

Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

Slashdot - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 10:06pm
Nerval's Lobster writes Millennial tech workers are entering the U.S. workforce at a comparable disadvantage to other tech workers throughout the industrialized world, according to study earlier this year from Educational Testing Services (PDF). How do U.S. millennials compare to their international peers, at least according to ETS? Those in the 90th percentile (i.e., the top-scoring) actually scored lower than top-scoring millennials in 15 of the 22 studied countries; low-scoring U.S. millennials ranked last (along with Italy and England/Northern Ireland). While some experts have blamed the nation's education system for the ultimate lack of STEM jobs, other studies have suggested that the problem isn't in the classroom; a 2014 report from the U.S. Census Bureau suggested that many of the people who earned STEM degrees didn't actually go into careers requiring them. In any case, the U.S. is clearly wrestling with an issue; how can it introduce more (qualified) STEM people into the market?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Tim Cook plans to donate most of his estimated $785M fortune to charity (Reuters)

TechMeme - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 9:40pm

Tim Cook plans to donate most of his estimated $785M fortune to charity  —  Apple's Tim Cook will give away all his money: Fortune  —  (Reuters) - Apple Inc (AAPL.O) Chief Executive Tim Cook is joining the roster of the very rich who are giving away their wealth.

Categories: Technology

On-demand food delivery service DoorDash raises $40M in a KPCB led Series B round (Liz Gannes/Re/code)

TechMeme - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 8:25pm

Liz Gannes / Re/code:
On-demand food delivery service DoorDash raises $40M in a KPCB led Series B round  —  DoorDash Raises $40 Million for On-Demand Delivery  —  In what we've called the instant gratification economy, a mess of on-demand delivery companies are now sorting themselves out.

Categories: Technology

Win Or Lose, Discrimination Suit Is Having an Effect On Silicon Valley

Slashdot - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 8:25pm
SpzToid sends word that the Ellen Pao vs. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers discrimination case wrapped up yesterday. No matter what the outcome turns out to be, it has already effected how business is being done in Silicon Valley. "'Even before there's a verdict in this case, and regardless of what the verdict is, people in Silicon Valley are now talking,' said Kelly Dermody, managing partner at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, who chairs the San Francisco law firm's employment practice group. 'People are second-guessing and questioning whether there are exclusionary practices [and] everyday subtle acts of exclusion that collectively limit women's ability to succeed or even to compete for the best opportunities. And that's an incredibly positive impact.' Women in tech have long complained about an uneven playing field — lower pay for equal work, being passed over for promotions and a hostile 'brogrammer' culture — and have waited for a catalyst to finally overhaul the status quo. This trial — pitting a disgruntled, multimillionaire former junior partner against a powerful Menlo Park, Calif., venture capital firm — was far from the open-and-shut case that many women had hoped for. More gender discrimination suits against big tech firms are expected to follow; some already have, including lawsuits against Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

GAO Denied Access To Webb Telescope Workers By Northrop Grumman

Slashdot - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 7:44pm
schwit1 writes In a report as well as at House hearings today the GAO reported that Northrop Grumman has denied them one-on-one access to workers building the James Webb Space Telescope. "The interviews, part of a running series of GAO audits of the NASA flagship observatory, which is billions of dollars overbudget and years behind schedule, were intended to identify potential future trouble spots, according to a GAO official. But Northrop Grumman Aerospace, which along with NASA says the $9 billion project is back on track, cited concerns that the employees, 30 in all, would be intimidated by the process." To give Northrop Grumman the benefit of the doubt, these interviews were a somewhat unusual request. Then again, if all was well why would they resist? Note too that the quote above says the cost of the telescope project is now $9 billion. If the project was "back on track" as the agency and Northrop Grumman claim, then why has the budget suddenly increased by another billion?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

SEC filing shows Google's new CFO Roth Porat will receive $5M sign-on bonus, $65M restricted stock, $650K annual salary (Jessica Guynn/USA Today)

TechMeme - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 7:30pm

Jessica Guynn / USA Today:
SEC filing shows Google's new CFO Roth Porat will receive $5M sign-on bonus, $65M restricted stock, $650K annual salary  —  Google's new CFO Ruth Porat negotiates sweet pay package  —  Google's new CFO Ruth Porat has negotiated a sweet pay package (Associated Press)

Categories: Technology

PayPal To Pay $7.7 Million For Sanctions Violations

Slashdot - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 7:03pm
jfruh writes PayPal may not be a bank, but it's still legally required to follow regulations on transferring money — but the company has admitted to a number of violations, including allowing transfers to an individual specifically sanctioned by the U.S. State Department for helping proliferate nuclear weapons. From Ars: "On Wednesday afternoon, PayPal reached a settlement with the US Treasury Department, agreeing that it would pay $7.7 million for allegedly processing payments to people in countries under sanction as well as to a man the US has listed as involved in the nuclear weapons black market. The company neither confirmed nor denied the allegations, but it voluntarily handed over its transaction data to the US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

What Happens When Apple Buys a Company You Depend On

Wired - Top Stories - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 6:49pm

Acquisitions can leave companies that depended on the software that was just gobble up out of luck. And when startups suffer, so does innovation.

The post What Happens When Apple Buys a Company You Depend On appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Sources: Magic Is Raising $12M From Sequoia At A $40M Valuation (Jordan Crook/TechCrunch)

TechMeme - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 6:37pm

Jordan Crook / TechCrunch:
Sources: Magic Is Raising $12M From Sequoia At A $40M Valuation  —  Magic, an SMS-based on-demand delivery service that started as a YC company's weekend project, is raising $12 million in Series A funding led by Sequoia, according to sources.  Sources also say that the company …

Categories: Technology

Why Facebook Messenger Is A Platform—And WhatsApp Isn’t

ReadWriteWeb - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 6:35pm

WhatsApp doesn’t want to be a platform. Co-founder Brian Acton, on a panel Wednesday at Facebook’s F8 developer conference, made that very clear. Unlike its sibling service Messenger, which has started courting outside developers and businesses, all that matters to WhatsApp is that the service remain stable, simple and unfettered for its worldwide audience of 100 million monthly active users.

That matters to parent company Facebook too, but likely for different reasons.

See also: Looks Like Facebook Messenger Is Pulling Up To The Platform

WhatsApp—which sold to the social network last year for $19 billion dollars—offers an interesting counterpoint to Facebook's big Messenger push. Because with less redundancy between the two, the company could essentially own a decent chunk of the world’s conversations. 

The Network Effect

Imagine what it’s like using some of the most robust, dynamic mobile applications available today—complete with the sort of images, animated GIFs, music and videos that will assault Facebook’s Messenger app soon enough. Now imagine running that on a slow cellular Edge network straight out of 1995.

That’s precisely the patience-stretching scenario Acton imagines all the time, and it serves as a guiding principle for his work with the service.

In that regard, WhatsApp’s moves seem obvious. It became popular because it was built on some key fundamentals—namely no-fuss messaging that’s reliable, works in different languages and on as many gadgets as possible. Adding the complexity of outside integrations to the mix would only complicate things for a widespread service that has to work over a variety of networks all over the world—some of which can only muster rudimentary connectivity. 

KPCB's Mary Meeker and WhatsApp's Brian Acton

“The world is a very diverse place,” Acton told panel moderator and analyst Mary Meeker, "and networks can have any number of configurations and problems that impede or get in the way with messaging.” One of those problems, for a globally available texting service, is dealing with systems and networks in emerging markets—a key area for tech companies, including Facebook.

With Acton’s motto being “simplicity, simplicity, simplicity,” he can leave the complexities of media messaging to sibling services Instagram and Messenger.

The Big Picture

On Wednesday, an audience member asked when WhatsApp would release APIs (application programming interfaces) to let developers tie their apps to the texting service. Acton had bad news for him: "The answer I have is ‘not today’,” he said, later elaborating that APIs are not even on the road map for the foreseeable future.

But that’s not to say WhatsApp will stagnate. "This year, we’re focusing on voice, [and] we’re focusing on the Web product,” he said. "David [Marcus] is really championing the APIs.”

If WhatsApp leaves Messenger to handle Facebook's platform ambitions, that likely suits the parent company just fine. 

From left: Brian Acton (WhatsApp), Mike Krieger (Instagram) and David Marcus (Messenger)

Messenger—Facebook’s other, homegrown messaging service—just unveiled a plethora of developer tools covering embedded videos, embedded posts, app linking and more. Marcus wants to give partners and other app makers the "opportunity to build on these platforms,” he said. And not just once, but often. 

“You want to build an app that will be there to stay," he said, "and you want to build creative tools that people will want to use repeatedly.” 

Some of those people will actually be businesses. Messenger looks intent on pushing its new vision of customer service that replaces logging into websites, punching through automated phone menus or waiting on hold, with chat threads. People could buy products, see their transaction info or receipts, shipping details, individualized promotions and other customer relations messages, all in a Messenger window. 

For now, Messenger doesn’t support cross-border transactions, so it's currently confined to the U.S. But consider it a first step in Facebook's larger ambitions. 

The two messaging services look like perfect foils for each other. While WhatsApp handles the fundamentals—making sure that anyone anywhere, regardless of phone or network, can use its service—Messenger can take on the more complex messaging tasks to satisfy users and companies on advanced networks. Between that and all the sharing that Facebook itself naturally manages, the company could have its fingerprints on an awful lot of conversations all over the world. 

"Build better" may be one of Facebook's F8 slogans, but it's the other one that suddenly has some extra context now: "This is only the beginning." When it comes to messaging, it certainly seems like it. 

Photos by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite

Categories: Technology

Microsoft buys Office collaboration tool maker LiveLoop: Sources (Mary Jo Foley/ZDNet)

TechMeme - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 6:30pm

Mary Jo Foley / ZDNet:
Microsoft buys Office collaboration tool maker LiveLoop: Sources  —  Summary:Microsoft has bought another productivity company.  This time it's LiveLoop, a vendor of collaboration plug-ins and tools for Microsoft Office.  —  Microsoft has purchased San Francisco-based LiveLoop for an undisclosed amount, according to sources.

Categories: Technology

Australia Passes Mandatory Data Retention Law

Slashdot - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 6:20pm
Bismillah writes Opposition from the Green Party and independent members of parliament wasn't enough to stop the ruling conservative Liberal-National coalition from passing Australia's new law that will force telcos and ISPs to store customer metadata for at least two years. Journalists' metadata is not exempted from the retention law, but requires a warrant to access. The metadata of everyone else can be accessed by unspecified government agencies without a warrant however.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Dragonflies: Masters of Air and Water

Wired - Top Stories - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 5:50pm

A new book on dragonflies showcases photos of these flying predators.

The post Dragonflies: Masters of Air and Water appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Micron and Intel Announce 3D NAND Flash Co-Development To Push SSDs Past 10TB

Slashdot - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 5:38pm
MojoKid writes Both Micron and Intel noted in a release today that traditional planar NAND flash memory is reaching a dead-end, and as such, have been working together on 3D memory technology that could open the floodgates for high densities and faster speeds. Not all 3D memory is alike, however. This joint development effort resulted in a "floating gate cell" being used, something not uncommon for standard flash, but a first for 3D. Ultimately, this 3D NAND is composed of flash cells stacked 32 high, resulting in 256Gb MLC and 384Gb TLC die that fit inside of a standard package. That gives us 48GB per die, and up to 750GB in a single package. Other benefits include faster performance, reduced cost, and technologies that help extend the life of the memory.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology