Apple and many other tech companies have offered benefits to same-sex couples (and sometimes made them a sticking point) for quite some time now, but Google is taking its position of inclusion for sexual minorities outside the company itself; the company has announced an international campaign to promote legal marriage equality for same-sex couples, called "Legalize Love." According to CNN's version of the story, while this represents Google's policies overall, the campaign will at first "focus on countries like Singapore, where certain homosexual activities are illegal, and Poland, which has no legal recognition of same-sex couples." dot429 quotes Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe of Google, speaking in London Saturday at a summit where the initiative was announced: "We want our employees who are gay or lesbian or transgender to have the same experience outside the office as they do in the office. It is obviously a very ambitious piece of work." Also at CNET.
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benfrog writes "A company called Per Vices has introduced software-defined radio gear that Ars Technica is comparing to the Apple I. Why? Because software radio can broadcast and receive nearly any radio signal on nearly any frequency at the same time, and thus could 'revolutionize wireless.' The Per Vices Phi is one of the first devices aimed at the mass hobbyist market to take advantage of this technology."
Dr. Ramsey Faragher graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2004 with a first-class degree in Experimental and Theoretical Physics. He then completed a PhD in 2007 at Cambridge in Opportunistic Radio Positioning under the direction of Dr. Peter Duffett-Smith, a world expert in this field. He is now a Principal Scientist at the BAE Systems Advanced Technology Centre specializing in positioning, navigation, sensor fusion and remote sensing technologies in the land, air, sea and space domains. We recently covered his NAVSOP project, an advanced positioning system that exploits existing transmissions such as Wi-Fi, TV, radio and mobile phone signals, to calculate the user’s location to within a few meters. Dr. Faragher has graciously agreed to answer any questions you may have about NAVSOP, the future of GPS, or what a theoretical physicist puts on his business card. Ask as many questions as you like, but please confine your questions to one per post.
zacharye writes "Microsoft has a long and storied history of leadership in the tech industry, and the company has driven innovation for decades. In recent years, however, Microsoft has fallen behind the times in several key industries; the company's mobile position has deteriorated and left it with a low single-digit market share, and Microsoft won't launch Windows RT, its response to Apple's three-year-old iPad, until later this year. In a recent piece titled 'Microsoft’s Lost Decade,' Vanity Fair contributor Kurt Eichenwald analyzes the company’s 'astonishingly foolish management decisions' and picks apart moves made during the Steve Ballmer era."
redletterdave writes "It appears that Google is no longer alone in exploring the realm of wearable tech solutions. Apple was granted a patent on Thursday in relation to 'peripheral treatment for head-mounted displays.' While Google Glass places a piece of smartglass right above the user's eye, Apple's solution uses two peripheral lights to show two different images to each eye 'to create an enhanced viewing experience for the user.' Apple's patent also attempts to address the biggest problems with head-mounted displays (HMDs), particularly tunnel vision and motion sickness."
Google is retiring the iGoogle page, but on a much shorter time scale, Apple is shutting down an iService of its own: the cloud-storage site iWork.com (linked to Apple's office apps suite iWork) is slated to go offline at the end of this month. Says the article, over at SlashCloud: "As of that date, 'you will no longer be able to access your documents on the iWork.com site or view them on the Web,' reads Apple’s note on the matter, followed by a recommendation that anyone with documents on iWork download them to the desktop." Both of these announcements remind me why I covet local storage for documents and the ability to set my own GUI prefs.
sl4shd0rk writes "Among the much ballyhooed tech at Google I/O last week was the Google Nexus Q. Google made an effort to proudly point out the device was "Made in the USA" and even had it stamped on the back of it. A tear-down at ifixit.com however, reveals the guts of the thing are mostly manufactured overseas at the expected locations (China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, et al). Wired also posted a tear-down in which they reveal a die-casting shop in Wisconsin is the source of the zinc housing, but certainly not the entire device as some news sources reported. It's great that Google decided to utilize the struggling U.S. manufacturing sector for this, but claiming the device is USA made, and being blatantly vague about its origins is quite misleading." How struggling the U.S. manufacturing sector is depends on who you ask and how you measure, remember.
eldavojohn writes "A report by China Securities Journal claims that China is now stockpiling rare earths although it has not indicated when this stockpiling started. Many WTO members have complained about China's tightening restrictions on exports of rare earths while China maintains that such restrictions are an attempt to clean up its environmental problems. A WTO special conference scheduled for July 10th will hopefully decide if China's restrictions are unfair trade practices or if the US, the EU and Japan are merely upset that they can't export their pollution and receive rare earths at low prices. Last year, China granted its mining companies the right to export 30,200 tons but in actuality only 18,600 tons were shipped out of country."
Diggester writes that a group of researchers from Universiteit Maastricht's Faculty of Psychology & Neuroscience Department of Neurocognition "have invented a system that translates thoughts into letters. This really is an incredible breakthrough for any type of handicap, from serious motor impairment to debilitating speech. The system has been in real-world testing and is an extraordinary success. The patients are set up to look at a screen of the alphabet, thinking about each letter for a period of time; they should be able to think-type in real time. While it is not near the speed of actual typing, it is the only program of its kind and can only get better." "Of its kind" being relative, reader cylonlover writes "Tech startup Neurovigil announced last April that Stephen Hawking was testing the potential of its iBrain device to allow the astrophysicist to communicate through brainwaves alone. Next week Professor Hawking and iBrain inventor, Dr Philip Low from Stanford University, present their findings at the Francis Crick Memorial Conference in Cambridge, England. In anticipation, Gizmag spoke to Dr Low about the potential applications of the iBrain."
theodp writes "In the provocatively titled Microsoft's Downfall: Inside the Executive E-mails and Cannibalistic Culture That Felled a Tech Giant, Vanity Fair offers a teaser for a story that will appear in its August issue on Microsoft's Lost Decade, which promises an unprecedented view of life inside Microsoft during the reign of Steve Ballmer. 'Every current and former Microsoft employee I interviewed — every one — cited stack ranking as the most destructive process inside of Microsoft, something that drove out untold numbers of employees,' contributing editor Karl Eichenwald writes. 'If you were on a team of 10 people, you walked in the first day knowing that, no matter how good everyone was, 2 people were going to get a great review, 7 were going to get mediocre reviews, and 1 was going to get a terrible review,' says a former software developer. 'It leads to employees focusing on competing with each other rather than competing with other companies.' Also discussed is the company's loyalty to Windows and Office, which induced a myopia that repeatedly kept Microsoft from jumping on emerging technologies like e-readers and other technology that was effective for consumers. Having seen an advance copy of the full piece, GeekWire offers its take on what it calls an 'epic, accurate and not entirely fair' tale."
nk497 writes "The FBI is set to pull the plug on DNSChanger servers on Monday, leaving as many as 300,000 PCs with the wrong DNS settings, unable to easily connect to websites — although that's a big improvement from the 4m computers that would have been cut off had the authorities pulled the plug when arresting the alleged cybercriminals last year. The date has been pushed back once already to allow people more time to sort out their infected PCs, but experts say it's better to cut off infected machines than leave them be. 'Cutting them off would force them to get ahold of tech support and reveal to them that they've been running a vulnerable machine that's been compromised,' said F-Secure's Sean Sullivan. 'They never learn to patch up the machine, so it's vulnerable to other threats as well. The longer these things sit there, the more time there is for something else to infect.'"
New submitter WickedLilMonkies writes "In a stretch of the meaning of 'free speech' that defies the most liberal interpretation, Verizon defends throttling your data speed." In its continuing case to strike down the FCC net neutrality regulations, Verizon is arguing that Congress has not authorized the FCC to implement such regulations, and therefore the FCC is overstepping its regulatory bounds, but (from the article): "Verizon believes that even if Congress had authorized network neutrality regulations, those regulations would be unconstitutional under the First Amendment. 'Broadband networks are the modern-day microphone by which their owners [e.g. Verizon] engage in First Amendment speech,' Verizon writes." They are also arguing that "... the rules violate the Fifth Amendment's protections for private property rights. Verizon argues that the rules amount to 'government compulsion to turn over [network owners'] private property for use by others without compensation.'"
An anonymous reader tips a story about comments from Ford Motor Company showing how confident they are in the autonomous car technology currently in development. They say self-driving cars will be here within just five years, and that the tech to do so is available already. They also think these cars will dramatically affect the flow of traffic. Quoting: "Ford makes this projection, based on simulator studies: If one in four cars has Traffic Jam Assist or similar self-driving technologies, travel times are reduced by 37.5% and delays are reduced by 20%. In other words, if the freeway part of your rush hour commute takes 60 minutes, it will drop to 38. That’s because adaptive cruise control (ACC) is better at pacing the car ahead without continual brake, speed-up, brake cycles. Here’s how it works: Stop-and-go ACC keeps pace with the car ahead, using a look-ahead radar and mirror-mounted camera. Lane keep assist keeps the car centered, also taking advantage of the camera in the mirror. Electric power steering is better for remote control than mechanical power steering; it can be guided by the Traffic Jam Assist black box. Sonar units — for blind spot detection and cross traffic alerts (cars crossing behind when backing) — monitor traffic to the side. Combine all those and you have a car that’s smart enough to guide itself during predictable, low-speed conditions."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Tech writer David Strom starts a discussion about how you should go about securing virtual machines for your organization. 'The need to protect physical infrastructure is well known at this point: most enterprises would balk at a network without any firewalls, intrusion prevention devices or anti-virus scanners. Yet these devices aren’t as well deployed in the virtual context. ... Take firewalls, for example. The traditional firewalls from Checkpoint or Juniper aren’t designed to inspect and filter the vast amount of traffic originating from a hypervisor running, say, ten virtualized servers. Because VMs can start, stop, and move from hypervisor to hypervisor at the click of a button, protective features have to be able to handle these movements and activities with ease and not set off all sorts of alarms within an IT department.' He goes through the main functional areas that need protection, and points out that many vendors make it difficult to price out a given security plan."
coondoggie writes "Want to run a successful high-tech company? Don't drop out of college. The myth of the brilliant Ivy League student who starts a business in his dorm room, drops out of school, and goes on to run a successful high-tech start-up for many decades to come is essentially just that: a myth. Despite a few high-profile exceptions — such as Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates — the vast majority of CEOs running successful U.S. high-tech firms have college degrees, and more than half have at least one graduate degree."