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+ - Tech People Making $100k a Year on the Rise, Again->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Last month, a report suggested that Austin has the highest salaries for tech workers (after factoring in the cost of living), followed by Atlanta, Denver, Boston, and Silicon Valley. Now, a new report (yes, from Dice, because it gathers this sort of data from tech workers) suggests that more tech people are earning six figures a year than ever. Some 32 percent of full-time tech pros took home more than $100,000 in 2013, according to the findings, up from 30 percent in 2012 and 26 percent in 2011. For contractors, the data is even better: In 2013, a staggering 54 percent of them earned more than $100,000 a year, up from 51 percent the previous year and 50 percent in 2011. How far that money goes depends on where you live, of course, but it does seem like a growing number of the world's tech workers are earning a significant amount of cash."
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+ - Reinventing the Axe->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "The axe has been with us for thousands of years, with its design changing very little during that time. After all, how much can you really alter a basic blade-and-handle? Well, Finnish inventor Heikki Karna has tried to change it a whole lot, with a new, oddly-shaped axe that he claims is a whole lot safer because it transfers a percentage of downward force into rotational energy, cutting down on deflections. "The Vipukirves [as the axe is called] still has a sharpened blade at the end, but it has a projection coming off the side that shifts the center of gravity away from the middle. At the point of impact, the edge is driven into the wood and slows down, but the kinetic energy contained in the 1.9 kilogram axe head continues down and to the side (because of the odd center of gravity)," is how Geek.com describes the design. "The rotational energy actually pushes the wood apart like a lever." The question is, will everyone pick up on this new way of doing things?"
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+ - How Nest and FitBit Might Spy on You For Cash->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Forbes offers up a comforting little story about how Nest and FitBit are planning on turning user data in a multi-billion-dollar business. "Smart-thermostat maker Nest Labs (which is being acquired by Google for $3.2 billion) has quietly built a side business managing the energy consumption of a slice of its customers on behalf of electric companies," reads the article. "In wearables, health tracker Fitbit is selling companies the tracking bracelets and analytics services to better manage their health care budgets, and its rival Jawbone may be preparing to do the same." As many a wit has said over the years: If you're not paying, you're the product. But if Forbes is right, wearable-electronics companies may have discovered a sweeter deal: paying customers on one side, and companies paying for those customers' data on the other. Will most consumers actually care, though?"
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+ - A Bid to Take 3D Printing Mainstream->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Can 3D printing go truly mainstream? Startup M3D is betting on it, having launched a Kickstarter campaign to create what it terms the first truly consumer 3D printer, built around proprietary auto-leveling and auto-calibration technology that (it claims) will allow the device to run in an efficient, easy-to-use way for quite some time. According to The Verge, the device is space-efficient, quiet, and sips power: "One of the main obstacles between 3D printers and consumers has been clunky, unintuitive software. Here too, M3D promises improvements, having designed an app that’s 'as interactive and enjoyable as a game' with a minimalist and touch-friendly interface." Do you think 3D printing can capture a massive audience, or will it remain niche for the foreseeable future?"
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+ - Amazon's Fire TV: Is It Worth Game Developers' Time?->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Amazon is serious about conquering the living room: the online retailer has launched Fire TV, a set-top box that not only allows viewers to stream content, but also play games. That streaming-and-gaming capability makes Amazon a threat to Apple, which rumors suggest is hard at work on an Apple TV capable of doing the same things. In addition, Fire TV puts the screws to other streaming hardware, including Roku and Google’s Chromecast, as well as smaller game consoles such as Ouya (a $99, Android-based device). Much of Amazon’s competitive muscle comes from its willingness to sell hardware for cheap (the Fire TV retails for $99) on the expectation that owners will use it to stream and download digital content from Amazon, including television shows and apps. Those developers who’ve developed Android games have an advantage when it comes to migrating software to Amazon’s new platform. “Porting You Don’t Know Jack was really like developing for Android, with the exception of the store and the new controller library,” Jackbox Games Designer/Director Steve Heinrich told Gamasutra after the Fire TV announcement. “The store itself is the same as the Kindle version, which we’ve used many times now, and the way the controller works is very close to what we did for Ouya.” While Fire TV could represent yet another opportunity for game developers looking to make a buck, it also raises a pressing question: with so many platforms out there (iOS, PC, etc.), how's an indie developer or smaller firm supposed to allocate time and resources to best advantage?"
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+ - For App Developers, It's Time for a Reality Check->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "A new article in the Harvard Business Review does its best to punch a small hole in the startup-hype balloon. “Encouraging kids to blow off schoolwork to write apps, or skip college to become entrepreneurs, is like advising them to take their college money and invest it in PowerBall,” Jerry Davis, Wilbur K. Pierpont professor of management at the Ross School of Business and the editor of Administrative Science Quarterly, wrote in that column. “A few may win big; many or most will end up living with their moms.” Whether or not the unfortunate developer ends up back in the childhood bedroom, it's true that, with millions of apps available across all mobile platforms, it's increasingly difficult for independent developers to stand out. Compounding the problem is the fact that some of the hottest companies out there for developers and programmers Compounding the problem is the fact that some of the hottest companies out there for developers and programmers don’t have nearly enough job openings to absorb the flood of graduates from the world’s universities. So what's a developer to do? Continue to plow forward, with adjusted expectations: the prospect of becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg is just too tantalizing for many people to pass up, even if the chances of wild success are smaller than anyone rational would like to admit."
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+ - Did Facebook Buy Oculus to Counter Google Glass?->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "In a statement soon after Facebook announced the acquisition of Oculus Rift, CEO Mark Zuckerberg suggested that the bulky Oculus headset had the potential to transform VR into the "most social platform ever." Whatever his reasons for shelling out $2 billion for the company, it's clear that Facebook is now a player in the augmented-reality space, which Google is also exploring in its own way. Yes, Google Glass serves a different function—overlaying maps and text over the wearer’s view of the real world, rather than immersing people in a virtual environment—but the potential customer base for both devices is basically the same, and now Google has some real competition if it wants to transform Glass into some sort of gaming device. And despite some blowback from Markus Persson, it's likely that developers will continue to explore Oculus as a gaming platform, Facebook or no. Zuckerberg might be talking a good game about virtual realities far into the future (does he have to pay to promote his own posts on Facebook? Joke.), but this acquisition was likely a short-term play, as well."
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+ - Microsoft's Satya Nadella Prepping for Public Debut->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "When Microsoft appointed Satya Nadella as its new CEO in February, analysts and pundits immediately began to debate over what sort of leader he’ll turn out to be, and whether he’ll attempt to radically remake the company in his own image. Some answers to those questions are expected to emerge this week, when Nadella makes his public debut at a March 27 event in San Francisco. He’ll likely follow that up with an equally high-profile appearance at Microsoft’s BUILD conference next month. It seems likely that Microsoft will use the March 27 event to launch Office for iPad, but other details remain under wraps. What sort of CEO do you think Nadella will be?"
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+ - Google Android Studio vs. Eclipse: Which Fits Your Needs?->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Google’s Android Studio is a development tool for Android based on the IntelliJ IDEA platform, one that managed to attract a lot of hype when it rolled out in mid-2013. Roughly a year later, the platform is still in “early access preview,” and work on it is ongoing. Eclipse, on the other hand, is the granddaddy of IDEs; although it doesn’t offer native Android support, it does have some nice tools to help you build Android applications—one such tool is the Google Plugin for Eclipse, made by Google. Developer and editor Jeff Cogswell compares Eclipse and its Google-made Google Plugin with Google’s own Android Studio, developed with the help of the people who make IntelliJ IDEA. His verdict? Eclipse is beginning to show its age, especially when it comes to Android development, while Android Studio offers some noted benefits. "Android Studio is still in preview mode, without an official release, even if that preview is in pretty fine shape—its status certainly shouldn’t prevent you from using it, at least in my opinion," he writes. Do you agree?"
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+ - Lit Motors, Danny Kim, and Changing How Americans Drive->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "In early March, Lit Motors founder Danny Kim hit the road to meet investors. The Portland native needed to keep the momentum growing for his small firm, which builds the two-wheeled C-1. His modest lab, located in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood, could accommodate another 12 employees—but he needed the money to fund them, and to build a manufacturing facility that could turn his prototype ideas into a reality. Like Elon Musk and other manufacturing savants, Kim is someone who enjoys the challenge of building things—whether it’s eyeglasses, chairs, or motor vehicles from scratch. He’s spent the past five years re-thinking modern transportation, and using those insights to design prototypes of two-wheeled, motor-driven vehicles that can self-balance with a dancer’s grace, thanks to an integrated software platform and a patented gyroscopic system. In a wide-ranging conversation with Slashdot, Kim discussed his plans for manufacturing the C-1, as well as the challenges in convincing consumers to try out a new kind of vehicle. "Seventy-two percent of commuters drive alone, so it just made sense to cut the car in half," he said, explaining the decision to go with two wheels instead of four. "You have to think about this two-wheeled car as a robot because of its stability. It purely uses our AI/stability algorithm so it can balance and you don’t have to. We had to develop our own firmware for our own dynamic system. It is code heavy.""
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+ - Microsoft Dumping License Fees for Windows Phone?->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "For years, Microsoft remained adamant about its licensing fees for Windows Phone: if a smartphone manufacturer wanted to include the software on its devices, it would need to pay Microsoft a certain amount per unit. That was a logical strategy for Microsoft, which became a very big company thanks to licensing fees for Windows and other platforms. Unlike some of those other products, however, Windows Phone has struggled for adoption in its marketplace, which is dominated by Apple and Google. In response, suggests the Times of India, Microsoft may have dumped licensing fees for two Indian smartphone makers, Karbonn and Lava (Xolo). Microsoft’s biggest rival, Google, gives its Android mobile operating system away for free, a maneuver that helped it gain spectacular market-share in a relatively short amount of time. If Microsoft pursues a similar strategy in different markets, it could encourage more smartphone manufacturers to produce Windows Phone devices, which could increase the platform’s market-share—but there are no guarantees that scenario will actually play out. The smartphone market is increasingly saturated, and Microsoft’s opponents have no intention of allowing Windows Phone to gain any ground."
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+ - Is It Worth Creating a 'Bill of Rights' For the World Wide Web?->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, believes that the online world needs a ‘Bill of Rights’ to help protect users. “Are we going to continue on the road and just allow the governments to do more and more and more control—more and more surveillance?” he said in an interview with the BBC. “Or are we going to set up a bunch of values? Are we going to set up something like a Magna Carta for the world wide web and say, actually, now it’s so important, so much part of our lives, that it becomes on a level with human rights?” Berners-Lee insists that the World Wide Web remain a “neutral” medium, one in which users push back against government attempts at increased surveillance. The Web We Want campaign, administered by his World Wide Web Foundation, has pushed public education about the benefits of the open Web. But would governments actually obey an online ‘Bill of Rights’? That’s an open question, and the signs aren’t encouraging: If Edward Snowden’s leaks about the extent of the National Security Agency’s online surveillance demonstrated anything, it’s that government entities will go to extreme lengths to monitor millions of people. What sort of framework could prevent that?"
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+ - Volkswagen Chairman: Cars Must Not Become 'Data Monsters'->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "While automakers from Tokyo to Detroit rush to sprinkle their respective vehicles with all sorts of sensors and screens, the chairman of Volkswagen Group has warned about the limits of data analytics for automobiles. 'The car must not become a data monster,' Martin Winterkorn told an audience at the CeBit trade show in Germany, according to Re/code. 'I clearly say yes to Big Data, yes to greater security and convenience, but no to paternalism and Big Brother.' At the same time, Winterkorn endorsed a closer relationship between tech companies such as IBM and the auto industry, and highlighted Volkswagen’s experiments with autonomous driving—both of which will necessarily infuse automakers (and his company in particular) with more data-driven processes. The question is which policies from which entities will ultimately dictate how that data is used. Winterkorn isn’t the first individual to voice concerns about how automakers (and their partners) store and analyze all that vehicle data. At this January’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, a Ford executive drew considerable controversy by suggesting that Ford collects detailed information on how customers use its vehicles. 'We know everyone who breaks the law, we know when you’re doing it. We have GPS in your car, so we know what you’re doing. By the way, we don’t supply that data to anyone,' Jim Farley, Ford’s global vice president of marketing and sales, told show attendees. Farley later attempted to clarify his statement to Business Insider, but that didn’t stop a fierce debate over vehicle monitoring—and certainly hasn’t stopped automakers and tech companies from collaborating over more ways to integrate data-centric features to vehicles."
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+ - SXSW: Edward Snowden Swipes at NSA->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "In a Google Hangout with an auditorium full of South by Southwest attendees, government whistleblower (and former NSA employee) Edward Snowden suggested that encrypted communication should become more ubiquitous and easier to use for the majority of Internet denizens. “The way we interact with [encrypted email and communications] is not good,” he said from somewhere within Russia, where he resides under the conditions of a one-year asylum. “It needs to be out there, it needs to happen automatically, it needs to happen seamlessly.” For his part, Snowden still believes that companies should store user data that contributes directly to their respective business: “It’s not that you can’t collect any data, you should only collect the data and hold it as long as necessary for the operation of the business.” He also couldn’t resist some choice swipes at his former employer, accusing high-ranking intelligence officials Michael Hayden and Keith Alexander of harming the world’s cyber-security—and by extension, United States national security—by emphasizing offensive operations over the defense of communications. “America has more to lose than anyone else when every attack succeeds,” Snowden said. “When you are the one country that has sort of a vault that’s more full than anyone else’s, it makes no sense to be attacking all day.”"
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+ - Should Newsweek Have Outed Satoshi Nakamoto's Personal Details?->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Newsweek’s Leah McGrath Goodman spent months tracking down the mysterious founder of Bitcoin, “Satoshi Nakamoto,” a name that everybody seemed to believe was a pseudonym for either a single individual or a shadowy collective of programmers. If Satoshi Nakamoto, former government contractor and model-train enthusiast, is actually “Satoshi Nakamoto,” Bitcoin founder, then he’s sitting atop hundreds of millions of dollars in crypto-currency. Does the article's exhaustive listing of Nakamoto's personal details place his security at risk? Many in the Bitcoin community think so, and poured onto the Web to express that opinion. The Newsweek article has raised some interesting questions about the need for thorough journalism versus peoples' right to privacy. For example, should Goodman have posted an image of Nakamoto's house and car, even though information about both would probably be relatively simple to find online, anyway?"
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