Google's philanthropic offshoot Google.org has donated $20 million across 30 non-profit organizations to further develop technology that will help the disabled. Its generosity follows the results of its Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities, which launched last year with the aim of seeking great technological ideas from different organizations, all seeking to improve the lives of the disabled.
The grant winners -- The Center for Discovery and Perkins School for the Blind among them -- will develop technology that can convert regular wheelchairs into power wheelchairs for increased independence and freedom, assist the blind in finding their way around better with an app, more readily treat children with clubfoot (rotated feet), and help those with difficulty communicating verbally or with text do so better with a specialized keyboard, among other things.
First a Microsoft VP resigned and joined another company and now an Apple designer has done the same. Danny Coster, who joined the company in 1993 and has contributed to many major projects since (likely including the pivotal Bondi Blue Mac pictured here), has left for the position of Vice President at GoPro.
The Apple industrial design group has been tightly knit since its inception with not one shake-up on record, so this move is more than the usual coming and going. Longtime member Richard Howarth will take up Coster's position.
Coster recently expressed a desire to spend more time with family and friends, noting the high pressure that comes with working at Apple, so this is likely the reason for the change.
Microsoft Vice President, OEM Technical Sales Chris Cocks has resigned from his position to take the helm at gaming company Wizards of the Coast, where he now serves as President, replacing Greg Leeds. Cocks previously worked at Procter & Gamble, Xbox, MSN, and Leapfrog.
Wizards is best known for its Magic: The Gathering (MTG) and Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) properties. The former is gaining a particular lot of attention with this move, as Wizards has already confirmed a "new digital platform" for MTG (presumably replacing the current MTG Online client), and has posted job ads for Magic Digital asking for developers with Unity experience, so it looks like the new client will be built with the excellent Unity engine (which powers the ever-popular Hearthstone). In turn, this means it's likely to finally make it to mobile and Mac, as Unity is cross-platform.
There are a lot of people who are still paying $7.99 per month for the standard Netflix offering, but the company will be charging $9.99 per month starting next week.
For $9.99 you'll receive concurrent streaming options as well as HD playback. If you don't care about multiple people using your Netflix connection, you can opt out of the upgrade, and continue forging on with the $7.99 per month plan.
Users that will be hit with the change will be emailed soon, allowing them time to opt out of the change - or allow it to happen. Will you be changing? Or are you happy with the $7.99 pricing?
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders -- sounding off on corporate America in an interview with the New York Daily News -- had some frank words for Apple this week. While he doesn't believe the company is destructive on the scale of JPMorgan and General Electric, he does take issue with a couple of its key practices.
"No, Apple is not destroying the fabric of America," he explains. "But I do wish they'd be manufacturing some of their devices, here, in the United States rather than in China. And I do wish that they would not be trying to avoid paying their fair share of taxes."
On the bright side, Apple is environmentally friendly and will get even moreso later this month when it makes the switch from plastic bags to recycled paper ones.
Starting April 15, Apple retail outlets will be moving away from their well-liked plastic drawstring bags to new paper bags made out of 80 percent recycled materials, according to a note sent to retail employees. The note also instructs employees to give out the old bags until they're all gone and to ask customers if they want a bag or not, in order to potentially further cut down on waste.
Apple VP of environment, policy, and social initiatives Lisa Jackson last month discussed environmental efforts at the company's press event, noting 93 percent of its operations around the globe are powered by renewable energy, and that its new robot 'Liam' can disassemble iPhones for recycling. As well, Jackson declared all of Apple's packaging would eventually be paper.
After stating his new album The Life of Pablo would be exclusive to Jay-Z's Tidal service, Kanye West has changed his mind and signed contracts with Spotify and Apple Music. The album is available on both services now.
Just earlier today it was reported Jay-Z has sued the original owners of Tidal for misrepresenting subscriber figures. Between that and the news with West, this hasn't been the smoothest of his business ventures. We've reached out for comment from him and will update this story should we hear back.
Tidal current sits at 3 million subscribers, good for 27 million behind Spotify and 8 million behind Apple Music.
While Warner Bros. might not be enjoying the best critical reception to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the movie has just smashed through the $500 million barrier - only five days after its release.
Batman v Superman pulled in $12.2 million on Tuesday domestically, taking in another $20.7 million overseas. This kicks the global total of BvS to $501.9 million, thanks to it opening in virtually every major foreign territory, including China - the world's second-largest market for movies.
Have you seen Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice yet? What did you think?
Netflix has some of the best TV shows around, with original series like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black - but did you know their original content creation has increased by 185% per year? That's impressive.
According to data published by AllFlicks, which has mined Netflix's online catalog and cross referenced it with Wikipedia's list of Netflix original programming - Cordcutting.com created a chart that shows the sharp rise in original content from Netflix. From Q1 2012 to Q2 2016, Netflix added 111 original series and films, an impressive feat to say the least.
We see a quarterly growth rate of 34.22%, and an average annual growth rate of an astonishing 185.41%. The future growth rate should be higher, with Netflix announcing it will spend a huge $6 billion on original content in 2016 alone.
Smart home company Nest hasn't been doing well. Last year, it brought in about $340 million in revenue, according to three sources familiar with the matter. It's no small figure, but it's still below expectations, keeping in mind Google purchased the company for $3.2 billion in 2014, and that its initial budget was said to be $500 million annually.
This puts Nest in a difficult position, as its allocated budget is said to expire at the end of 2016. Whatever happens, it will be known before long whether now-parent company Alphabet chooses to soldier on or part ways.
As for why the company has struggled, some might say the high price tag is difficult to justify (Nest's thermostat is $250, and most home want more than one).