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Google's Laszlo Bock admits biz is "miles" from workforce diversity

Google has admitted in a blog post that its entire workforce suffers from a clear lack of gender and racial diversity.


Senior vice president of People Operations at Google, Laszlo Bock, penned a blog post - in which he says Google is the first to admit it's "miles" from where the company wants to be in terms of diversity.


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In the opening paragraph, Bock says the company has generally been reluctant to disclose official figures on the diversity of its workforce. And it's not difficult to see why from a PR point of view - the official numbers in a new report break down the workforce by gender and ethnicity. Just 30 percent of Google are women, while 61 percent are of a white ethnicity, and 30 percent Asian, leaving just ten percent who are "two or more races," Hispanic, Black or "other" all together.


Bock says for Google's part, it is working with "historically black colleges and universities to elevate coursework and attendance in computer science," and that since 2010 it has donated "40 million to organizations working to bring computer science education to women and girls."


"We're the first to admit that Google is miles from where we want to be," Bock writes, adding that "being totally clear about the extent of the problem is a really important part of the solution."

Truck driver pulled over for Skyping on busy UK motorway

A truck driver was caught in the middle of a Skype conversation while on one of the UK's busiest motorways.


The driver was reported by a member of the public, who was subsequently stopped by police near Heathrow airport. A 35 year old man, whose vehicle had French number plates, was given a £500 fine.


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The police officer who stopped the driver could do nothing but send him on his way - to appear in court at a later date.


"We have no power to seize the vehicle and the roadside deposit negated the need to arrest the driver," said officer Dan Pascoe. "Once he had paid the fine he was allowed on his way. He was also reported for summons to appear in court at a later date and if he does not appear then he will not get his deposit back."

Transport for London intervenes in smartphone taxi service dispute

Transport For London (TFL), the British capital's transport authority, is requesting clarity from the UK's High Court on the legality of online, smartphone taxi services like Uber.


Drivers of London's iconic 'black cabs' are planning to stage a protest in a few weeks in response to Uber. Some cited concerns are over the licensing of drivers, safety concerns and how the service may be taking market share from London's many traditional taxis.


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But the contention from TFL seems to be that according to UK law, only 'black cabs' are allowed to have 'taximeters' installed - devices that monitor how far you travel and time spent in the car to deduce how much the passenger pays. But TfL is now requesting the High Court explore if a smartphone's inbuilt GPS, used by services like Uber, counts as its own kind of taximeter.


TfL said in a statement: "Given the level of concern among the trade, and the fact that some of the legislation in this area is unclear and able to be interpreted in various ways, TfL is to invite the High Court to give a binding determination on this issue."

China plans month-long assault on "rumor"-spreading WeChat users

China's government is to begin an online campaign to "eliminate malpractice" on instant messaging services, such as the popular WeChat, according to state media.


Xinhua reported on an official statement from China's State Internet Information Office (SIIO), which claimed the 800-million-user strong WeChat is being used for more nefarious activities than messaging alone. The month-long campaign is set to target public IM accounts which can "spread information on a large scale and mobilize followers," the statement said.


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Over the month, the SIOO says it will target, in particular, users spreading rumors and information relating to violence, terrorism, and pornography - as well as people using IM for fraud. But Xinhua does not get more specific than that.


Some of the largest IM companies in China have agreed to cooperate with authorities, including WeChat, Momo, Mi Talk and Yixin.

Continue reading 'China plans month-long assault on "rumor"-spreading WeChat users' (full post)

China plans on fighting smog by taking millions of cars off the road

Facing frequent criticisms about the borderline absurd level of smog pollution in the country, the emerging mega-economy of China is planning to remove millions of old vehicles from its roads in an attempt to go a little more green.


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China has developed at an incredibly rapid rate but a side effect to this has been reams of billowing smog, making the air quality in some areas almost unlivable and affecting the quality of natural resources. The plan, announced Monday, will see 5.3 million vehicles that fail to meet fuel standards taken off the road. Up to 330,000 Beijing cars and 660,000 in in Hebei province will also be sent to the scrapheap.


The State Council admitted the country had mis-stepped on its efforts to quell pollution over recent years, and this lofty plan will be an attempt at blunting some of the damage. Total cars on roads will be limited to 5.6 million for this year - and capped at 6 million for 2017. It's unclear right now how China will carry out the sweeping reforms, but the Beijing government has previously offered cash subsidies to drivers who took the initiative on bringing in their own vehicles, Reuters reports.

Continue reading 'China plans on fighting smog by taking millions of cars off the road' (full post)

Google may plan to bring ads to Nest products and other devices soon

It's no secret that Google makes the majority of its revenue from advertising, but it looks like desktop and mobile ads may not be enough for the tech giant. Today a new report from the Wall Street Journal is suggesting that Google is looking into displaying ads on other platforms such as Nest thermostats and more.


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Google has reportedly began the process of approving advertising streams on more than just PCs and mobile devices. The fling suggest that Google would like to see ads appearing on "refrigerators, car dashboards, thermostats, glasses, and watches, to name just a few possibilities." Google went on to say that:


"Our expectation is that users will be using our services and viewing our ads on an increasingly wide diversity of devices in the future."


With Google's acquisition of Nest, it seems to be more than half way there already.

Unmanned areial vehicles now banned from all national parks

As multi-rotor aircraft and First Person Viewing RC flying becomes more popular, more rules and restrictions are being applied to the hobby. This morning the US National Parks Service issued a statement that clarified its stance on unmanned aerial vehicles within its parks boarders. The National Parks Service says that all unmanned aerial vehicles (AKA: Drones) are banned from use inside any national park's boundaries.


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"Drones can be extremely noisy, and can impact the natural soundscape. Drones can also impact the wilderness experience for other visitors creating an environment that is not conducive to wilderness travel," the Park Service said in a statement. "The use of drones also interferes with emergency rescue operations and can cause confusion and distraction for rescue personnel and other parties involved in the rescue operation. Additionally, drones can have negative impacts on wildlife nearby the area of use, especially sensitive nesting peregrine falcons on cliff walls."

Continue reading 'Unmanned areial vehicles now banned from all national parks' (full post)

Happy 45th birthday to our friends over at AMD

Forty-five years ago, a group of former executives from the then industry leader, Fairchild Semiconductor, broke ground on a company that would eventually become the second largest chip maker in the world. I am of course talking about Advanced Micro Devices or more commonly known as AMD. AMD's founding members include: Jerry Sanders III, Ed Turney, John Carey, Sven Simonsen, Jack Gifford and three members from Gifford's team, Frank Botte, Jim Giles, and Larry Stenger.


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Today AMD is a massive powerhouse in the tech world and is responsible for many of the PCs that you are reading this story on. For many others, AMD is the fuel behind the intense gaming session they had last night, and even the reason so many got into custom PCs in the first place. My first custom built PC was based around an affordable AMD processor, and without such consumer-focused company, I may not be here today writing this article. So from the bottom of my heart, and everyone here at TweakTown, Happy Birthday AMD!

Kevin Rose targeted by crazy anti-tech protesters in San Francisco

Ex Digg Nation host and Revision 3 founder, Kevin Rose, became a target of a very odd movement in San Francisco over the weekend. Rose says that anti-tech protesters gathered outside of his home in San Francisco and chanted phrases such as "Kevin Rose is a Parasite." The protesters targeted Rose because he is one of the partners at Google Ventures, and they claim that the booming tech industry is causing San Francisco to become affordable for anyone but the rich.


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Rose first posted the incident on Twitter, where he posted an image of the flyer that the group calling themselves "The Counterforce" handed out to his neighbors. "As a partner venture capitalist at Google Ventures, Kevin directs the flow of capital from Google into the tech startup bubble that is destroying San Francisco. The start-ups that he funds bring the swarms of young entrepreneurs that have ravaged the landscapes of San Francisco and Oakland," the pamphlet read.

Continue reading 'Kevin Rose targeted by crazy anti-tech protesters in San Francisco' (full post)

Google halts its sales of Nest due to unintentional deactivation issue

Google has suspended its sales of Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm due to a flaw where it can be disabled unintentionally.


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Nest CEO Tony Fadell said in the company website,"During recent laboratory testing of the Nest Protect smoke alarm, we observed a unique combination of circumstances that caused us to question whether the Nest Wave could be unintentionally activated. This could delay an alarm going off if there was a real fire."


The devices are equipped with a feature called 'Next Wave' where you can disable by simply standing under the device and wave. However it was found out that there is a strong possibility of accidental deactivation because of this feature.

Continue reading 'Google halts its sales of Nest due to unintentional deactivation issue' (full post)

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