Stories for Jul. 15, 2014
In Brief

Looking to get your hands on a Project Ara prototype? Google has opened up applications for its Ara developer’s program — but be warned, it won’t be easy to get one of the first modular phone prototypes available outside of Mountain View. According to an email sent on Monday to Ara developers informing them of the application page, Google will “prioritize requests based on technical experience and the strength of your module concept.” The first batch of dev boards, with three board options, will ship in late July. If you’d like to be in that group, you’ll need to get your application in by Wednesday. For non-developers, Google is aiming for a early 2015 commercial release.

 

 

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In Brief

British democracy

The UK Data Retention and Investigation Powers (DRIP) Bill, which is being fast-tracked through the legislative process, cleared the first stage in the House of Commons by 498 votes to 31 after a sparsely-attended “debate” (pictured). As previously reported, DRIP expands the authorities’ surveillance powers so that foreign web communications service providers can be forced to hand over user information – despite the assurances of the U.K. government that it only maintains the “status quo”. Lawyers and web law experts (and Edward Snowden) strongly oppose it. DRIP, which all major parties agreed to support before the public got to see it late last week, now goes for a second reading in the evening, then the House of Lords on Wednesday.

Hadoop-elephant_rgb

The ability to deploy Hadoop clusters in the public cloud, on premises or in appliance form should be a critical requirement for your Hadoop distribution selection. And rolling out Hadoop clusters on both the Linux and Windows operating systems will be another important criterion for a great many enterprise customers. Tune in on July 17 to learn more. Read more »

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In Brief

Photo by Mr. Vi/Thinkstock

Photo by Mr. Vi/Thinkstock

Kosta Grammatis, who believes broadband is a fundamental human right that should be available to everyone, has a new startup and business model. The startup, Oluvus, buys bandwidth from an undisclosed telco and then offers free mobile phone service to the U.S. The hope is that people will shell out for extra services and fund broadband services for other parts of the world. The model reminds me of Toms Shoes, where each purchased pair of shoes pays for a pair for a needy child. Whether or not Grammatis succeeds, the Wired article detailing his efforts and failures is worth a read.

Stories for Jul. 14, 2014
In Brief

Star Trek LCARS Android Wear

That didn’t take too long: Star Trek fans with Android Wear smartwatches can already download and install a free watchface based on the fictional LCARS computer interface of the U.S.S. Enterprise from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Daniele Bonaldo created and uploaded the “Starwatch” app to Google Play on Monday night, announcing the custom design on his Google+ page. The watch face displays the time, date and — just for kicks — the Unix Epoch, which is the total number of seconds (not counting leap seconds, of course!) since 0:00:00 Coordinated Universal Time on January 1, 1970.

In Brief

Now for sale at Amazon, Radioshack and Staples, 3D printers are getting less and less difficult to find. Home Depot became the latest retailer to offer 3D printers today when it began selling MakerBots online and in 12 stores nationwide. The store is selling three printer models, plus MakerBot’s 3D scanner and filament. The 12 stores are located in California, Illinois and New York. “Imagine a world where you can 3D print replacement parts and use 3D printing as an integral part of design and building work,” MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis said in a release.

In Brief

San Francisco-based IoT startup Aether Things is delaying the shipping date of its Cone connected loudspeaker. The Cone, which is supposed to learn from your listening habits and automatically mix music based on past preferences, was scheduled to ship by July 15. On Monday, the company informed prospective buyers via email that it won’t meet that deadline: “We’ve come across some delays in finalizing Cone, which means we are unfortunately postponing the ship date. We’re very sorry to have to extend the wait,” the email reads, without providing an estimate for a new shipping date.

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