Golem.de writes: The vice-mayor of Munich Josef Schmid wants a group of experts to analyse the use of Linux in the municipality. According to Schmid, there have been multiple complaints about the lack of interoperability with other city and government administrations. There have also been doubts that the city is lowering costs by using FOSS. Munichs project Limux was started ten years ago. The city wanted to reduce its budget by switching to Linux and FOSS intead of upgrading to newer versions of Microsoft's Windows and Office products. At the end of last year almost all of the 15000 workstations in the municipality were using OSS.
theodp writes: "Put simply," wrote HR Chief Laszlo Bock as Google disclosed diversity data for the first time ever, "Google is not where we want to be when it comes to diversity, and it’s hard to address these kinds of challenges if you’re not prepared to discuss them openly, and with the facts." [Got that, Facebook?]. With only 2% of Google employees black and 30% women, observes Valleywag, "no wonder the corporation, consistently voted the one of the best places you can work, has 'always been reluctant to publish numbers' showing who has been locked out." Brian Dear looks further into the disclosed numbers, including the EEO-1 report, and notes that Google's so-called diversity disclosure makes no mention of age. "To my surprise," writes Dear, "the EEO-1 document only talks about gender and race. So I called the EEOC to ask, 'what about age?' The woman at the EEOC who answered the phone told me, 'We just collect it for race and gender, we don't do age.' How convenient for Google."
SmartAboutThings writes: Microsoft today said it will make Windows free of charge for phones and tablets with screens smaller than nine inches, a move designed to help boost the company's market share. Microsoft didn't say what version or type of Windows is covered under this new policy— but most likely we're talking about a new Windows version. "Windows for Internet of Things" or "Windows on Devices" could be its name, as we've seen information on a "Windows on Devices" website offering a short glimpse this new version. Besides smartphones and smaller tablets, this new Windows version will also become available for IoT devices and other wearable gadgetry.
electronic convict writes: Named after an AI character in Halo, Microsoft's new 'personal assistant' Cortana aims to take on Siri and Google Now. This background story from The Verge explains how Cortana kept her name (narrowly avoiding something awful like 'Microsoft Personal Digital Assistant Home Premium,' why she keeps a 'notebook' of everything she knows about a Windows Phone user, and just how strong her ties to Halo are (they're surprisingly deep).
waderoush writes: Despite legitimate concerns over sky-high rents, Ellis Act evictions, Google Bus traffic, and the like, the San Francisco Bay Area is perhaps the most prosperous, comfortable, enlightened, stimulating, and generative place to live in Western history. For satisfying parallels, you'd have to look to a place like Florence and a time like the Renaissance, argues an Xconomy essay entitled From Cosimo to Cosmos: The Medici Effect in Culture and Technology. Today's coder-kings are working to reinvent economic structures in much the same way Renaissance painters, poets, architects, and scientists were trying to extend the framework they'd inherited from classical Greece and Rome. And in the role of the Medici family, long Florence's most powerful rulers and art patrons, we have people like Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook, and Seth MacFarlane. Wait, what — Seth MacFarlane? Yes, the reboot of Carl Sagan's Cosmos starring Neil deGrasse Tyson (itself a tribute to the rise of science) wouldn't have happened without the involvement of a California media mogul. It's true that Silicon Valley can feel like Dante's Inferno if you're stuck in traffic on 101, or working 70-hour weeks as a code monkey at a doomed startup. But 'It would be unthinking, and ungrateful, to overlook the surplus we’re reaping from the tech boom,' the essay argues.
SchrodingerZ writes: Microsoft today unveiled its newest piece of technology; The Surface Tablet, a tablet computer meant to challenge the popular Ipad computers created by Apple. The company showed off a tablet that is about the same weight and thickness as an iPad, with a 10.6-inch screen. "The device has a built-in “kickstand” that allows it to be propped up for watching movies, and a thin detachable cover that will serve double duty as a keyboard." The tablet will run a version of Microsoft 8 with the intention of companion hardware being used for innovations on the product. The presentation of the new tablet was to the way in which Apple traditionally opens a new product; giving the media only a few days notice and withholding the exact location of the announcement until only hours before presenting. The announcement thus far has not affected Microsoft stock.