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Ah April first, the day that the entire country tries to prank each other in real life as well as on the internet. The biggest names in tech have decided to join in on the fun as well. Microsoft, Google, Bing, and The Pirate Bay have all released "stories" this morning that no one could possibly take serious.
First up, Google tells us that Youtube will be shutting down and that the entire site has been a "contest" to see who could upload the best video on the internet. Google has also revamped Gmail to better align itself with Windows Blue. Called Gmail Blue, the new user interface is... well... very blue...
Not to be out done, Microsoft has released word that it feels that Bing should be more Google like and has switched its main page to reflect those feelings. In addition to all of these shocking breaking news stories, The Pirate Bay has just announced that it has aligned itself with the US Government and has agreed to take down all of its torrents. This announcement is the direct result of a server move from North Korea to a "Nuclear Proof" data center in the US.
Namie, a Japanese town near the Fukushima nuclear power plant, was forced to evacuate all of its 21,000 residents in 2011 when an earthquake and tsunami struck the region, which caused the nuclear fuel to melt down. Recently Google was asked to conduct a street view photo session of the city by the city's mayor.
"By photographing the town and making those photographs publicly available, we can show the townspeople the condition of the streets," Tamotsu Baba said earlier this month. "In addition, I want to show the world the true state of Namie." Google took on the challenge and today has posted those images.
In a guest post on Google's blog Baba said:
Ever since the March disaster, the rest of the world has been moving forward, and many places in Japan have started recovering. But in Namie-machi time stands still. With the lingering nuclear hazard, we have only been able to do cursory work for two whole years. We would greatly appreciate it if you viewed this Street View imagery to understand the current state of Namie-machi and the tremendous gravity of the situation.
This week the US government passed into effect laws that would restrict government agencies from purchasing IT equipment from Chinese manufacturers without first being fully assessed for cyber security.
The provision, a part of a larger spending bill, was signed by President Obama and forces NASA, The Department of Commerce and the Department of Justice to seek and receive formal approval from federal law enforcement agencies, before purchasing any technology systems from China.
The law is designed to further prevent future cyber-attacks on the US by Chinese hackers or at least make it harder to do so. Reuters however feels that the law will do nothing more than further strain the already stretched relationship between Washington and Beijing.
Here I am, going on about my night, when our GPU Editor Shane Baxtor messages me on Facebook alerting me to the latest breaking news - what mouse North Korean leader Kim Jong-un uses, and if you didn't know - it's the Logitech Trackman Marble.
The photo has floated onto the Internet as Kim Jong-un was inspecting the "latest combat and technical equipments" on a metal box with the help of a bunch of aides at all sides, rocking the Logitech Trackman Marble of all things. This picture definitely looks like the North Korean leader is rocking some seriously slick next-gen technology.
I mean, it's a consumer keyboard and mouse - so if he isn't a tech savvy person (which I'm sure he's not) then there's probably some HP desktop machine inside of that green monstrosity which his aides have cleverly skinned with a theme from Windows XP. North Korea have been saying they have nuclear missiles that could strike the US, but I'm sure it might be a little hard to aim with that Logitech Trackman Marble, dear leader.
Occasionally an interviewer manages to get under the skin of a person they are interviewing. Often times it makes for a great interview. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop was being interviewed on Finnish TV--video embedded below--and the interviewer continually asked about the Lumia 928. Elop managed to dodge those questions and get away with tossing the interviewer's iPhone.
During the interview, Elop calls the fact that the interviewer has an iPhone "embarrassing" and then tosses it away. The interviewer continues to pester him about the Lumia 928, though Elop was interested in sharing the Lumia 620. Watch the video and enjoy a CEO tossing an interviewer's iPhone.
The Australian Financial Review released a report this morning in which BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins slams Apple over "lack of innovation." With a market cap that is less than Apple's quarterly profits, Heins claims are making some industry insiders laugh.
"Apple did a fantastic job in bringing touch devices to market ... They did a fantastic job with the user interface, they are a design icon. There is a reason why they were so successful, and we actually have to admit this and respect that."
Heins went on to say that BlackBerry has surpassed Apple in innovation with the new BlackBerry 10 and that Apple has stood virtually still and has just rehashed the same old technology it released in 2007 with the first iPhone.
"History repeats itself again I guess ... the rate of innovation is so high in our industry that if you don't innovate at that speed you can be replaced pretty quickly. The user interface on the iPhone, with all due respect for what this invention was all about is now five years old... The point is that you can never stand still. It is true for us as well. Launching BB10 just put us on the starting grid of the wider mobile computing grand prix, and now we need to win it."
Every year Glassdoor.com releases its Top 50 CEO list which is compiled from the results of a survey that hundreds of thousands of employees from all industries across the country complete. The recently released 2013 list saw some major changes in who is considered the best boss.
Last year Apple's CEO Tim Cook topped the list as Best CEO in America, but his reign was not to be repeated as Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg moved up the list by 14 spots to claim the throne. If you are wondering, Tim Cook fell 18 positions being beaten out by Google's Larry page who sits at the number 11 spot, and Amazon's Jeff Bezos who ranks number 16.
The rankings are based on who has the highest approval ranking among the companies employees. Other noteworthy names on the list are Quallcomm's Paul Jacobs at position 8, NVIDIA's Jen-Hsun Huang who is sitting at number 15, Intel's Paul Otellini who resides at 21, Bloomberg's cheif Dan Doctoroff at number 34, and Dell's founder Michael Dell who comes in at number 48.
The European Parliament has passed a proposal that effectively bans all porn within European Union member states. This was considered a major blow to the online porn industry, but after some wording was removed, it seems that internet porn is safe for now.
Members of the European Parliament removed wording from the porn ban section, essentially limiting the ban to advertising and print media, which appears to leave internet porn in the free and clear. This removal took place at the last minute as the original proposal called for the ban of "all forms of pornography in the media."
Speculators are suggesting that online porn was removed from the proposal because it would effectively place the burden of policing the internet onto the shoulders of the ISPs. Whether you are an online porn aficionado or not, this move to remove the ban of online pornography can only be seen as the right one as internet censorship in any form is never a good thing. In the long run, will only cause more harm than good.
Most digital based currencies come and go, but it seems that Bitcoin may just stick around for a while. As of this morning, a single Bitcoin is worth about $48, which equates to a 250 percent rise in value since January.
250 percent growth in two months in any financial market is unprecedented, and is sure to make some people very wealthy if they can figure out how to convert those digital dollars into physical assets. In just one year the humble Bitcoin has risen 800 percent or a whopping 54,900 percent since its launch back in 2011.
No solid reason for the massive growth has been pinpointed at the moment, with speculators stating that it is due to high profile sites like Reddit who now accept donations in the digital currency. Others say that it is a matter of investors trying to capitalize on the fast paced growth Bitcoin has seen.
The FAA has said that they are investigating a pilot's claim that he saw a drone flying over Brooklyn in New York. The pilot claims to have seen the drone while on final approach to John F Kennedy Airport. Over the radio, he can be heard saying, "We saw a drone, a drone aircraft."
"The FAA is investigating a report...he saw a small, unmanned or remote-controlled aircraft while on final approach to Runway 31 Right. The sighting was approximately four to five miles west of the airport at an altitude of approximately 1,500 feet," FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said in a statement.
Other aircraft in the area was warned of the drone sighting, but two other pilots said that they did not see the drone. The FAA is working on new rules to allow unmanned aircraft to be flown in US airspace. Generally only governments and public entities, such as police departments, are allowed to operate them. Even they must apply for permission first.
It will be interesting to see if anything comes from this investigation. A drone doesn't really have any business being over a busy area like Brooklyn, so if the FAA confirms the claim, the most important aspect will be figuring out who was in control of the drone.