XX in Tech
A freelance coder was eating lunch in downtown Toronto yesterday when she claimed she overheard some IBM executives casually discussing why they don’t hire women. Like any sensible tech professional who supports gender equality, self-proclaimed feminist activist Lyndsay Kirkham live-tweeted the entire alleged affair.
A new kooky world record has been set, and no, it doesn’t have anything to do with online Secret Santa.
This National Geographic Kids magazine cover, created by IBM, now holds the Guinness record for the world’s smallest magazine cover, Engadget reports. The tiny panda-filled picture measures 11 x 14 micrometers; in other words, it’s 2,000 times smaller than a grain of salt.
If you were hoping to get rich off of being one of the first to build apps for Google Glass, think again: Google has prohibited developers from using ads or charging for apps. We’re betting Google wants to keep that potential ad revenue all to itself. [The Verge]
Sources tell Bloomberg Twitter is seeking a deal with Viacom and Comcast that would allow it to host clips (as well as ads alongside those clips) on the site. Can’t you at least verify @Jack’s parents first? [Bloomberg]
Binge-watching shows is about to get a whole lot easier: Netflix is finally ditching Microsoft Silverlight in favor of HTML5 video. [The Verge]
IBM execs are headed to Washington to try to convince politicians to pass CISPA. Paging Alexis Ohanian! [Hillicon Valley]
Cory Booker’s Waywire startup has finally launched in beta. [PandoDaily]
Speaking at TED, Sergey Brin called the smartphone user experience “emasculating,” on the basis that “You’re standing around and just rubbing this featureless piece of glass.” Maybe Google that word when you get home, Sergey. [CNET]
Could perennial concerns about cancer keep Google Glass from realizing its full potential as a wearable communication device? [Quartz]
Groupon didn’t do so hot in Q4, causing a big drop in the company’s stock in after-hours trading. “The forecast is underwhelming,” said one analyst. No kidding. [Reuters]
Time Warner Cable is pretty sure you don’t even want gigabit Internet. Because when you think “attentive to customer desires,” you think Time Warner Cable. [Verge]
I.B.M. is still figuring out money-making uses for the supercomputer Watson. Besides all the big data applications, he apparently makes a mean croissant. [New York Times]
Pinterest completed a $200 million funding round that values the company at $2.5 billion. Valiant Capital Management is said to have led the round, with previous investors Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners and FirstMark Capital also participating. [AllThingsD]
IBM is making a push into mobile, and plans to provide customers with software, data and security services on mobile devices. [NYT]
Calling all youth correspondents: the social network Pheed is said to be gaining in popularity, especially with teens. [Forbes]
Facebook isn’t the only tech company to catch heat for using stock option deductions to avoid paying corporate taxes. The Center for Tax Justice says LinkedIn has used the deduction to avoid paying federal taxes for the last three years. [New York Post]
Eduardo Saverin talked about life after the Facebook, the challenges faces the social media company he helped found, and his decision to move to Singapore. “No, I did not rescind my citizenship for tax purposes,” is what he says. [WSJ]
The Future Will See You Now
Today Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered his final State of the City address. Amid wisecracks about the Knowles-Carter family (you might know Barclays Center part owner Shawn Carter “by what he’s been called since the Super Bowl: Beyoncé’s husband”), Hizzoner had plenty to say about the city’s tech sector. Hey, he can’t let President Obama totally blow up his spot.
Below, a few of the big shout-outs:
The Future Will See You Now
Did IBM learn nothing from the Urban Dictionary fiasco? The AP reports that the company is now sending Watson to college–specifically, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where the supercomputer will be studying up on both English and mathematics.
God knows what kinds of terrible habits and filthy language he’ll pick up there!
In order to pass the Turing Test, a computer must display both emotional and intellectual behavior that’s almost indistinguishable from that of humans. IBM’s most famous supercomputer, Watson, is close, but first he must emulate one of humanity’s finer inventions: crazy Internet slang. YOLO!
The FTC reportedly won’t announce its decision regarding its antitrust investigation until 2013, rather than this week as was originally planned. Hey, might as well not ruin anyone’s holiday over this. [Bloomberg]
If you read this, you’ll never rent a computer for anything ever again. [Ars Technica]
Prominent techies like Fred Wilson are backing Bloomberg’s demand for a gun safety plan. [A VC]
The U.K. now has a special crime unit focused wholly on copyright violators, which means this classic IT Crowd episode is actually coming true. [The Verge]
IBM is pretty sure computers will have “touch, taste, sight, sound and smell” within five years. In related news, IBM is about to learn you can’t teach good taste. [Washington Post]
Sometimes it just feels so right to be wrong. Sometimes, the lure of easy money is too much for a good man to resist, and the thrill alone of carrying off an illicit scheme is reward enough for the risks involved.
Or something along those lines.
Take the case of David J. Weishaus and Thomas C. Conradt, former stockbrokers charged with insider trading by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara today. According to the indictment, in 2009 Mssrs. Weishaus and Conradt got wind—from a friend of a friend who was working on the deal—that IBM was getting ready to buy a maker of data modeling software called SPSS Inc. at a substantial premium.