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Posted by on in RE/Code

In many ways, this has been a hard year for Silicon Valley, which has had it relatively easy for the last decade. Despite the hypergrowth of its products, the rich valuations of its companies, its role as an engine for the U.S. economy and the celebrity status that its leaders now hold, the pressure for self-reflection about the kind of community being built here is increasing.

Consider the high-profile example of this year: The contentious gender discrimination trial pitting former partner Ellen Pao against the storied venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. It was a complex case, to be sure, with no clear heroes or villains, and one in which there were most definitely no clear-cut answers. But, while Pao lost, the fact that the trial happened in the first place sent reverberations through the tech sector and beyond.

Among the many questions raised by both men and women, who had some different perspectives:

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Ireland_cIreland became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by nationwide popular vote on Saturday.

Image: Peter Morrison/Associated Press

Same-sex marriages may become a reality in Ireland as soon as July, if plans unveiled on Monday go ahead.

Following thelandslide approval of marriage equality in a popular referendum last week, lawmakers are now working on the bill to formally legalize same-sex marriage with the aim of passing it before the planned July 16 summer recess, Irish Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said.

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Microsoft is officially confirming today that it’s bringing Cortana to iOS and Android. The software giant is planning to release separate apps for each mobile operating system to enable its digital assistant to run outside of Windows. Microsoft is only providing an early look at those apps today, but the company notes that you’ll be able to make the same queries and ask the same questions using Cortana across Windows, iOS, or Android. The Cortana companion will be available for Android in late June and iOS later this year.

While Cortana on iOS or Android won’t be as powerful as the Windows variant, due to various integrations, Microsoft is still providing notification support. You’ll get notifications for sports results, flights, and most of the Cortana features that currently exist in the Windows Phone and Windows 10 versions of the digital assistant. Microsoft’s Cortana cross-platform work is all part of a new phone companion experience for bringing services and features from Windows 10 to all smartphones. Microsoft’s phone companion will help Windows 10 PC owners find relevant apps on their Android, Windows, or iOS phones to make use of OneNote, OneDrive, and many other apps and services.

Cortana Android GIF Cortana Android GIF

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Posted by on in Tech Deals
$85.00
End Date: Wednesday Jun-24-2015 16:31:02 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $85.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
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The Windup Girl was a killer debut. Set in a post–global-warming-apocalypse Bangkok, Paolo Bacigalupi’s novel about biotech intrigue won science fiction’s biggest awards and cemented his reputation as the ultimate political, sophisticated genre writer. So for his next trick, Bacigalupi … started writing books for kids. They weren’t less serious than Windup Girl, but they definitely left at least some fans—OK, me—wishing Bacigalupi would get back to paying attention to, well, us. And now he has. Out today, The Water Knife centers on a vicious fight over water rights in a near-future, desiccated American Southwest. It’s just as apocalyptic as his first book, more political, and though it didn’t seem possible, angrier.

You write about a pretty grim future. Do you really think it’s going to happen?

If you read my books, we’re all going to shit. But it’s an interesting question, because there’s been a lot of conversation lately about how optimistic science fiction should be, about whether it’s a bad idea to write books about bad futures. I guess I feel I can leave the optimism to the marketing departments of major corporations. They’ve got that covered: “The future is fine. Just keep shopping.” All the definitions people want to put on you in terms of what kind of writer you are come with hidden meanings. If you’re writing science fiction, you’re writing rocket ships. If you write dystopian fiction it’s inequity where The Man must be fought. I think Margaret Atwood says she writes anticipation, which is a neat way to talk about it. I say I write extrapolations. I look at data points and ask what the world could look like.

ap_bacigalupi_1_face Kyle HiltonBut as a result, your books, even the ones for kids, are very political. How do you write artfully but still with a message? Novelists want to be published and need a publisher to decide to print 20,000 copies. So you need to entertain on some level. I want to reach out and connect. Part of that is I want to make a living, sure, but if you’re going to be involved in an artistic project it should have some meaning. Without question, I have a certain agenda and a certain set of ideas that I want people to experience more deeply and viscerally because they’re highly abstract. I can play out a thought experiment through fiction, which is the only way we have to engage with people’s lives that aren’t our own. Here’s a version of our lives in the future. Theoretically you now have the opportunity to make different decisions and vote for different politicians. Climate change is a giant unforced error. We don’t have to be as dumb as we are. Sure, but you don’t have to be as detailed as you are about the politics of the apocalypse, either. In William Gibson’s latest book, The Peripheral, he doesn’t really detail the apocalypse at all. I haven’t read it yet, but a lot of apocalyptic literature doesn’t really engage seriously with what exactly went wrong, and that means means the books aren’t really telling us anything at all. When the nuclear disaster looks a lot like the biological disaster, which looks a lot like the zombie apocalypse, all it means is “now we must survive.” There will be bad dudes running around doing bad-dude stuff. You see the tropes and it looks like wank to me. It’s the one place where I kind of agree with Neal Stephenson when he asks why we write depressing futures. If every depressing future looks the same, no one is saying anything. It’s just an amusement park experience where we get to shoot people and feel justified. If I can see the same tropes again and again, that means nothing’s happening. Things can break! Right, but why? The whole point of writing a broken future is to say let’s not break it this way. Let’s not do this. When I was writing The Water Knife one of the things I wanted to do was model two different versions of a city. Las Vegas has said, the data doesn’t look good, let’s start planning. Phoenix says, maybe it won’t be as bad. And Phoenix is devastated. You don’t break the future just to have a thrill ride. I have the same problem with dystopias that don’t make sense. Why this dystopia? Why this police state? What does it mean? You’re talking about, like, The Hunger Games or Divergent. Well, the young adult category is particularly interesting to me in terms of science fiction and fantasy tropes. The readers who are becoming the writers are not necessarily coming in through the doors of bookstore-genre science fiction and fantasy, so it feels a lot like people are having to learn the skills of world-building all over again—like you’re reading science fiction from the 1940s or 1950s. Because they haven’t read a bunch of people who’ve already figured out the tools, those worlds tend to have big holes in them if you look closely. dfghfgtr But at the same time you have writers coming to SF from the more literary, MFA world of introspective high-class fiction. There’s a Theodore Sturgeon quote about 99 percent of everything being shit. That’s true of science fiction and literary fiction and Iowa Writers Workshop fiction and everything else. There are a few people doing really genuine, powerful work. You can tell pretty quickly whether someone picked up a trope because there’s a use for it or because, hey, zombies! In particular, the literary fiction writers using genre tropes is, more than anything else, an acknowledgment that most of what they do is played out. If you’ve strip-mined a territory, you send people into other territories to start a new mining operation. I don’t have a strong hope that genre will be taken seriously because of it—or watered down or messed up because of it, either. When I think about science fiction I’m thinking about toolsets that other genres don’t have. My biggest concern is that people mistake some of the trappings—the rocket ships and ray guns—as the toolset. You once told me that the difference between books for adults and YA was that YA had “less fucking.” Is that really it? My answer for that keeps changing. I paid much more attention to plot and pacing in YA, but I think there were skill sets I didn’t have, so when I wrote The Water Knife, it’s a significantly more pace-y, fast-moving book. I never had that control before. I was concerned that my hypothetically bored teen reader was one step away from the videogame console, and I wanted to hold onto him or her. But now I’m like, oh, yeah, peel it back and get to the heart. I feel like I picked up some discipline. The other difference, and this still holds true, is when I’m writing for teens I tend to want there to be a sense of hope in the stories, like there is a potential to seize hold of your own destiny. They tend to be slightly more empowered by their worlds, whereas adults I tend to think of as being in stasis because of decisions we’ve already made. There was a moment when I was writing Drowned Cities, which is YA, where the material dragged itself into a space I would have classified as adult—child soldiering and stuff. It’s the darkest book I’ve written. And it turns out kids love it. When I think about it, your books all seem to happen along the same messed up timeline. Is there a Bacigalupiverse? I deliberately say I’m not writing in the same universe because I don’t want the baggage. But yeah, there’s a package of obsessions that build a certain future. It’s always populated by politicians who refuse to lead, a citizenry that decided not to pay attention, and oops points—moments where we were sure things were going to be fine, and then they weren’t. Almost every one of the futures I have is not one that any of the characters would have chosen for themselves. They’re always like, goddamn, if we’d just done something different a little further back. That shows up again and again for me. I’m always a little melancholy. Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.
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While TravelersBox may sound like a fight club for paunchy, tired business executives who spend months on a plane per year, it’s actually a box that lets you turn your foreign currency – change mostly – into dollars and Euro and then sends the value right to your Paypal, Skype, or Starbucks account.

Founded by Tomer Zussman, Idan Deshe, and Dror Blumenthal, the company has raised $4.5 million from Global Blue, Yuval Tal, Zohar Gilon, Hagai Tal, and Ehud Levy, alongside Pitango Venture Capital and iAngels in order to expand into more airports where more TravelersBoxes will wait to munch your money.

The service takes in change and transfers it to PayPal accounts, Skype accounts, and Starbucks cards. Some of it can be sent to charity as well. There is no fee for the transfer.

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This Man Cannot Be Allowed to Decide the Fate of the Patriot Act

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear this week that, while the Senate is rapidly approaching recess, the Senate “will stay in [session] until a deal is struck to extend” the Patriot Act. McConnell has also introduced legislation for both long-term and short-term reauthorization of the Patriot Act’s expiring provisions. It seems that McConnell is trying to bully the entire Senate into passing short-term reauthorization, giving him more time to further weaken reform efforts.

A look at McConnell’s history makes this unblinking support of unconstitutional surveillance less surprising. But what is impressive is his commitment to supporting untenable positions. He acts as if the Snowden leaks, which helped expose just how out of control NSA spying is, as well as the recent Second Circuit decision holding that the NSA’s telephone records program was unlawful, never happened.

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The previous-generation Chevy Volt

The 2016 Chevy Volt promises to be a much better hybrid than its predecessor, with a lower price and better performance... and unfortunately for GM, that improvement might be hurting sales of the outgoing model. The Detroit Free Press reports that there were roughly 6,000 unsold 2015 Volts as of April, or more than twice the 2,779 that sold in the first four months of the year. Sales are down 46 percent versus the same period a year ago, and dealers appear willing to make some serious concessions to clinch a deal. While the 2015 Volt officially carries a $34,345 sticker price before tax credits, the TrueCar price guide shows that buyers are typically paying $30,607 -- quite the discount if you're looking for an extra-efficient ride.

The backlog isn't surprising, especially as there are signs that the market for eco-friendly transportation is shifting toward pure electric vehicles. However, GM had better hope that the 2016 Volt proves to be more popular. It needs that increased demand to help fund its electric powerplants and get its Bolt EV off the ground.

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samsung-galaxy-s6-edge-iron-man.jpgThe Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Iron Man Limited Edition smartphone. Samsung

Samsung has broken away from its White Pearl and Black Sapphire palette to bring Marvel superfans a sleek new version of its flagship Galaxy S6 Edge smartphone in racy shades of Iron Man red.

Launched in "celebration" of the recently-released Marvel blockbuster "Avengers: Age of Ultron," the Galaxy S6 Edge Iron Man Limited Edition takes its design cues from Tony Stark's armoured suit, with a metallic red body and gold accents around the buttons, the camera and the edge of the curved smartphone itself.

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An anonymous reader writes: Senior researcher Scott Lester at Context Information Security has shown how someone can easily monitor and record Bluetooth Low Energy signals transmitted by many mobile phones, fitness monitors, and iBeacons. The findings have raised concerns about the privacy and confidentiality wearable devices may provide. “Many people wearing fitness devices don’t realize that they are broadcasting constantly and that these broadcasts can often be attributed to a unique device,” said Scott says. “Using cheap hardware or a smartphone, it could be possible to identify and locate a particular device – that may belong to a celebrity, politician or senior business executive – within 100 meters in the open air. This information could be used for social engineering as part of a planned cyber attack or for physical crime by knowing peoples’ movements.” The researchers have even developed an Android app that scans, detects and logs wearable devices.
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Biebs

Image: Getty Images

It seems all Justin Beiber needed to hit the hearts of non-tween music fans was to bring a little '90s R&B to the party.

Last week, he threw us some car tunes with James Corden including a mod-twist on the classic Boyz II Men 1991 track "End of the Road." Now he has given us Boyz II Men hot flushes a second time, with a brilliant rendition of the 1994 sexually-charged tune, "I'll Make Love to You."

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No matter how hard they try, keyboards today aren’t the iconic, mechanical IBM Model M of the ’80s. Whereas most keyboards used to rely on buckling spring mechanisms and mechanical switches under every key, many modern keyboards have taken a more affordable route, introducing scissor switches and cheap membrane sheets to reduce keypress distance and optimize keystrokes. Somewhere along the way we lost the satisfying click and a few other things that was once the hallmark of the standard computer keyboard.

Yet, the aforementioned click belonging to mechanical keyboards is merely the beginning of the deprivation. Mechanical keyboards have been known to feature more durable designs and components far easier to maintain than their rubberized, membrane-equipped counterparts. Typos, the undeniable enemy of any affluent keyboardist, are also reduced using mechanical keyboards thanks to the tactile feedback they offer. Below are a few of our favorites, so you resurrect the thrilling keyboard sensations lost over the last decade.

CODE Keyboard ($150)

CODE keyboard 1

We’ve talked about the CODE keyboard before — and for good reason. Designed by software developer Jeff Atwood and Weyman Kwong of WASD Keyboard, the device revels in both design and functional simplicity. Its squared-off shell dons a jet-black appearance, with either 104 or 87 Helvetica-adorned keys depending on the model, and features the ability to press up six keys simultaneously in what the company refers to as “6-key USB rollover.” Adjustable LED backlighting illuminates the keys and steel backplate beneath in dark or dim settings.

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Welcome to the newest installment of our “Silicon Valley” Re/cap, where we connect HBO’s satire to the real world. Or, at least, Silicon Valley.

The last episode of HBO’s “Silicon Valley” ended on such a stinkin’ down note — with Pied Piper realizing that Endframe had fully stolen their algorithm — that I was worried sick about the boys all week. I should have had more faith. Richard is really coming into his own as a leader, and he met this challenge head-on.

Trouble is, he had to allow his ethics to slip a little to do so, and that’s a different kind of peril. Richard is a nice fella — the kind who uses “whom” appropriately — and it pained him to enter the world of porn, to accept information gained via questionable methods, to return the double-crossing that had been double-crossed upon him.

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Jony Ive, the man behind Apple's hardware and software design, is taking a step back from day-to-day operations. In a profile by Stephen Fry at The Telegraph, Apple has revealed that Ive is taking a new role as "chief design officer." Ive tells Fry that he's "still in charge" of the company's industrial design and user interface divisions, but the individual sections will be run by hardware designer Richard Howarth and UI designer Alan Dye, both longtime Apple employees. This change, he says, "frees me up from some of the administrative and management work."

9to5Mac has a little more detail; it's published an email from Tim Cook to the Apple staff. "Jony will remain responsible for all of our design, focusing entirely on current design projects, new ideas and future initiatives," it says in part. "On July 1, he will hand off his day-to-day managerial responsibilities of ID and UI to Richard Howarth, our new vice president of Industrial Design, and Alan Dye, our new vice president of User Interface Design."

Ive, who joined Apple over two decades ago, helped shape the look of the company's most distinctive products, including the iMac, iPod, and iPhone. In 2012, he was given responsibility over software as well as hardware design, and he headed work on iOS 7, a flat, brightly-colored take on iOS that appeared in 2013. Currently, his role is senior vice president of design. In his new capacity, he tells Fry, he'll travel more and pay more attention to, among other things, Apple's retail stores. Apple, meanwhile, will be revealing its latest slate of projects at WWDC, which starts on June 8th in San Francisco.

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Apple’s Jony Ive, the design genius often credited for Apple’s innovative and unique industrial design language over the past couple of decades, has taken on a new role at the company: Chief Design Officer. The new role elevates him above his previous SVP status, and also installs Richard Howarth as the new head of Industrial Design, and Alan Dye as head of User Interface.

Ive’s new role should actually give him more time to actually design, the newly minted C-level executive told the Telegraph. He’s shedding some administrative and management duties to his two new lieutenants, he told the newspaper, and will instead be in charge of both UI and ID, as well as take direct control over retail store design around the world.

In a book detailing Ive’s life and work at Apple, Leander Kahney has noted that the British designer has sometimes been uncomfortable with the administrative side of business, and instead prefers to focus on the craft of the actual design process. Ive also notably remains off-stage during Apple’s signature press events, and instead often narrates passionate paeans the company offers during the show in the form of video on the process of designing the products announced by other execs at the events.

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Breaking

Longtime Apple designer Jony Ive has been promoted from SVP of Design to a new position called Chief Design Officer, which will see the star designer relinquish day-to-day oversight of industrial design and user interface operations to take on a wider array of projects.

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Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive (center), flanked by head of User Interface Alan Dye (left) and Industrial Design chief Richard Howarth. | Source: The Telegrah

Revealed by The Telegraph on Monday, Ive will retain leadership of all hardware and UI design initiatives under his new roll as Chief Design Officer. His exact duties have yet to be detailed, but it appears the new position involves an expanded focus into construction projects, specifically Apple's Campus 2 and upcoming Apple Stores.

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A variety of technologies, LTE in particular, is making CDMA obsolete in many parts of Africa, bringing faster mobile communication to people throughout the region.

This month, Orange, which operates LTE networks in Mauritius and Botswana, said it is moving its Kenyan subscribers off CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) and that it will launch five LTE networks in Africa this year. CDMA can no longer favorably compete with 3G and LTE, CEO Vincent Lobry said in February.

On its part, Telecom Namibia shut down all its CDMA sites on March 31 after moving its customers to faster HSPA+ and LTE networks. It said it wanted to repurpose spectrum and offer mobile voice, data, and video services over a more modern platform.

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Posted by on in InfoGraphics

Did you know that Americans spend about 1.4 billion dollars on Memorial Day weekend. Amazing isn't it. To me it is a day to express our thanks to the service men and women that serve on the front-line to protect our freedom so we can spend that cash. But exactly what is the history of this day where Americans spend boatloads of cash.

Today's infographic will explain our glorious history of this holiday. Enjoy.

 

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A Whimpering Ending for the NSA's Illegal Dragnet Spying Program

The National Security Agency’s controversial bulk phone data collection program is winding down with a weird whimper following an especially bilious round of legislative squabbling.

The NSA began the multi-day process to shut down its dragnet phone collection after Congress didn’t reauthorize the Patriot Act, which was used as legal justification for the mass surveillance program. “That process has begun,” an administration official told the Los Angeles Times
on Saturday.

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lenovo yoga

From our valued partner Lenovo comes this exceptional laptop ultra-book called the Yoga. Buy Now

Besides running Techlick I manage a independent software company as an engineer. This ultra-book is just great - the performance is top, the design is unique, it is light and very impressive ultra-book, which I personally use on a very professional level. Plus I find that many people use Lenovo products in the corporate companies worldwide. I haven't seen any competition for this ultra-book lately that could be deemed as competition.

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