? All Tech Radio Episode 358
 all tech radio show
  • Google Inc. is making its largest round of layoffs ever as it announced plans to cut about 4,000 jobs at Motorola Mobility just three months after buying the struggling cellphone pioneer. The move isn't surprising given years of plummeting sales at Motorola, but it signals that Google doesn't intend to drag Motorola along as a money-losing venture. Google's stock rose $16.67, or 2.6 percent, to $658.67 in afternoon trading Monday following the announcement. The reductions represent about 20 percent of Motorola Mobility's 20,000 employees and 7 percent of Google's overall work force. Google says two-third of the job cuts will take place outside of the U.S.
  • Apple was so upset about how closely Samsung's product copied the iPhone that Steve Jobs himself had once confronted them about it. Although we don't know how the gist of the conversation, it was likely pretty heated. Apple is getting closer to a decision in a US courtroom over the fate of their lawsuit suing Samsung for copying many different functions of Apple's products.
  • Apple's patent licensing director Boris Teksler testified that the company licensed a series of patents to Microsoft, but failed to reach a licensing agreement with Samsung despite reaching out to the company in October of 2010. Among the few companies to license Apple's patents were Microsoft, but "there was no right with respect to these design patents [for Microsoft] to build clones of any type," Teksler testified, noting that the agreement prohibited Microsoft from building devices using iPhone and iPad designs. That "no clone" agreement might help explain why Microsoft partnered with Palm and then Nokia rather than seeking to acquire them, in its efforts to gain traction for Wiindows Mobile and then Windows Phone 7. That decision has not only ruffled the feathers of Microsoft's hardware partners, but may also create issues with Apple's "no clone" restrictions within the two companies' cross-patent licensing agreement.
  • In what could be seen as a response to the positive reaction that Google's $200 Nexus 7 has garnered, Barnes & Noble has just cut down the prices on all three of its Android-based, seven-inch Nook Tablets. The 16 and 8GB models have been respectively reduced to $199 (from $249) and $179 (from $199), while the Nook Color is priced 20 bones cheaper than before at $149. This may also be their way of clearing out the old versions before the new Microsoft Barnes and Noble based tablets come out later this year.
  • IBM may be interested in purchasing the servers and software that runs the Blackberry operating system. An unnamed source said IBM has been in talks with RIM about this. However, it's possible that nothing may happen until Blackberry 10 comes out in the next several months to see if RIM can stay viable without a sale. The stock price went up after the rumor was announced.
  • The computer aboard the Mars Curiosity rover seems like the 1990's. It has a 200 mhz processor compared to the gigahertz processors of today, and only 256 MBs of RAM. Today's computers usually come with 4 GBs or around 15 times more than Curiosity. There is 2 GBs of hard drive space compared to the average computer having around 1 TB, or 500 times more. The main difference is it can handle more than 1 million times the amount of radiation needed to kill a human and is impervious to bit flips and other problems our computers on Earth are vulnerable to. Plus it was made in America and not in China's Foxconn factory.
  • In a new campaign that starts Monday, Google is cracking down on copyright violators that show up in its search results. But at least one site that hosts a mother lode of pirated material won't see much of a change: Google's own YouTube. As part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, copyright holders can request that Google take down search links to URLs that point to pirated material. Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) is adjusting its search algorithm to factor in the number of take-down requests it receives. "Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in our results," Amit Singhal, Google's head of engineering, said in a blog post.
  • Dell spends $2.7 million per year to protect founder Michael Dell's family, but tweets and blogs from the billionaire's kids describing where they are and what they're doing don't make the job any easier. An Instagram account linked to the Twitter postings of Dell's daughter, Alexa, 18, divulged where she was shopping and where she stayed on a recent trip to New York. Alongside that, her tweets detailed GPS information that could track her exact location; she even tweeted the location of her high school graduation dinner, which her family attended.
  • Windows 8 will be key to game publisher Electronic Arts' (NASDAQ:EA) strategy according to Chief Operating Officer Peter Moore. While Windows Phone OS has struggled to gain market share, Windows 8 will offer a more elegant environment for both smartphones (Windows Phone 8) and tablets with ARM architecture (Windows 8 RT). More importantly, DirectX is the building block for game development. This allows developers to streamline their work across multiple platforms (key to success in the next generation of gaming), and allows Microsoft more synergy between its PC, Windows Phone, and Xbox divisions. Less labor, less coding, more exposure.
  • It sounds like something from the film Minority Report: a CCTV surveillance system that recognises people from their face or walk and analyses whether they might be about to commit a terrorist or criminal act. But Trapwire is real and, according to documents released online by WikiLeaks last week, is being used in a number of countries to try to monitor people and threats. Founded by former CIA agents, Trapwire uses data from a network of CCTV systems and numberplate readers to figure out the threat level in huge numbers of locations. That means security officials can "focus on the highest priorities first, taking a proactive and collaborative approach to defence against attacks," say its creators. The documents outlining Trapwire's existence and its deployment in the US were apparently obtained in a hack of computer systems belonging to the intelligence company Stratfor at the end of last year. Documents from the US department of homeland security show that it paid $832,000 to deploy Trapwire in Washington DC and Seattle. Stratfor describes Trapwire as "a unique, predictive software system designed to detect patterns of pre-attack surveillance and logistical planning", and cites the Washington DC police chief mentioning it during a Senate committee hearing. It serves "a wide range of law enforcement personnel and public and private security officials domestically and internationally", Stratfor says.

email from listeners:

  • Dave from Portland asks "I recently moved from an iPhone to an Android phone. Some of the apps I used on Apple are not available on Android. What can I do?"