Jobs Learning

Big Data Era Creates Demand for New Breed of Scientist

(Image via Shutterstock)

With mountains of Big Data piling up, it's no surprise that the need for Big Data scientists is also increasing, and that universities are responding to the need with new training programs. The University of Washington, which offers a Big Data Ph.D., is one of several programs featured in a story today by New York Times tech reporter Claire Cain Miller.   More

Cities Global Tech

Alibaba, Baidu Invest in Chinese Taxi Apps

Shanghai taxi image via Shutterstock

The rapid rise of location-based services (LBS) on the Internet is spawning a new generation of start-up companies, with taxi finders one of the latest to join the trend. Such apps use GPS technology to create services that rely on a person’s location, such as helping that person to find nearby restaurants or shops. Just this week a friend was telling me about one such new LBS to help frustrated consumers find taxis, and now we’re reading about two other companies that are moving onto the investor radar with their own new tie-ups.   More

Learning

Startup Helps Teachers Keep Tabs on Digital Reading

Anyone who can remember cramming last minute for an exam or skipping whole chapters of assigned reading in the classroom may soon be part of a long-gone era. With the growing popularity of the flipped classroom and greater integration of technology into the curriculum, teachers are discovering a whole new set of tools to help monitor student progress. At Texas A&M University, for instance, educators no longer have to wonder about which students are sidestepping textbook readings—they already know.   More

Business

Slumping PC Sales Signal Rise of Mobile Computing

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Consumers may be going mobile more rapidly than just about anyone in the computing industry could have predicted. Two new reports show sales of desktop and laptop machines dropping sharply in the first quarter of 2013. First-quarter shipments of PCs were down 14 percent worldwide from the same period last year, according to International Data Corp., with Gartner Inc. tallying an 11 percent decline. The numbers may vary, but the consensus is clear: more and more consumers are flocking to mobile computing.   More

Manufacturing

GE-Quirky Deal Opens Tech Patents to Almost Everybody

Quirky's Ben Kaufman (center) announces the partnership, with Mark Little (left) and Beth Comstock of GE.

Independent inventors of consumer products are about to get access to the resources of a $245 billion industrial technology business. In a partnership with the Manhattan-based product-development startup Quirky, GE will open up a trove of more than 30,000 patents and technologies to Quirky’s crowdsourced collaborators. The goal is to create a co-branded line of app-enabled, connected devices that leverage industrial-grade technologies for use in the home in applications such as health, security, water, and air.   More

Business Opinion

Ted Leonsis: Top 13 Trends for 2013

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The Great Wayne Gretzky once said, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it’s been.” He was talking about hockey, but in reality it’s relevant in almost all facets of life. 2012 was an eventful year full of ups and downs. The domestic housing market took an upward turn, but international events and budget issues in D.C. pulled us back as we entered 2013. Looking at my crystal ball, there are a number of trends I see happening for the rest of the year. I predict the economy will show signs of improvement with investors eager to deploy capital, but this may be the Year of Fallen Angels—overfunded, overvalued, overhyped companies are going to struggle to raise the additional capital they need.   More

Business

The Editors at Bookish Want to Help You Read

"Digital Book" image via Shutterstock

A new book website aims to provide a counterweight to Amazon’s growing dominance in books, by focusing on recommendations—the linking, liking, and embedding experience that drives so much online culture these days. Bookish.com launched in February, backed by three major publishers: Hachette Book Group, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster. Given its genesis as the brainchild of industry giants, it's a little bit like Hulu for books—an effort to regain some control in an era of content gone wild.   More

Global Tech Opinion

Chinese Media Take Aim at Microsoft

A new attack on software giant Microsoft by an English-language Chinese broadcaster looks like a relatively minor affair and would probably not even qualify as news in most Western markets. But this is China, where all media are owned by the state and often support each other by speaking with a single voice. That means this new criticism by China National Radio could be just the opening shot against the world’s largest software maker, similar to an ambush faced by rival Apple just weeks ago.   More

Business Manufacturing

Next Trick for Laser Printers: Manufacturing Electronics

World’s first laser printer, Xerox PARC's Dover-Alto, circa 1976.

Since Xerox researchers revolutionized putting ink on paper with the invention of the laser printer in 1969, the technology has been applied to "printing" DNA as well as 3D structures. Now the approach has a promising future in electronics manufacturing, with "ink" made from tiny fragments of silicon chips. New York Times reporter John Markoff describes in today’s Science Times how a new technique developed at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center will print computing power onto a flexible surface.   More

Learning

Education Technology Flips for “Flipped” Classrooms

Classroom image via Shutterstock

Although the flipped classroom concept has been around for a while now, only in the past two years has it become one of the most talked-about trends in education technology. Flipped classrooms let students view teacher-created multimedia lectures on their own time, freeing up classroom sessions for active learning with greater teacher engagement. With the growing dissatisfaction with what many agree is our antiquated education model, the flipped classroom concept has gained popularity nationwide. Some tout it as a revolution in education.   More

Cities

How Government Helped Turn Portland Entrepreneurial

View of Portland via Shutterstock

In 1973, Oregon Governor Tom McCall established growth management legislation that has profoundly affected the evolution of Portland, its largest city. Now Portland is a boiling pot of collaboration, innovation, and entrepreneurship, nestled in a backdrop of lush green. This picture could have looked much different if the city’s urban renewal and economic development agency, Portland Development Commission (PDC), hadn’t pushed entrepreneurialism. After Portland adopted plans to contain urban sprawl, the government used taxpayer dollars to make existing infrastructure more efficient, livable, and business friendly.   More

Business Startup Culture

It May Be Easier to Start Businesses Than You Think

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My friend Loic Le Meur writes an ebullient explanation for LinkedIn of the many ways you can advance a business without agonizing over it. His main message is not to agonize, but rather just do it. Company ideas come when you least expect them; the best ideas don't flow from workaholism; mistakes are part of the package; starting before you're ready is routine; and focusing on how much money you'll make is counterproductive.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

How Shining Light in the Brain Could Control Addiction

image: B.Chen/NIDA

Imaging studies of cocaine addicts’ brains typically show low activity patterns in the region that is key to impulse control, the prefrontal cortex. The same goes for rodents that have been turned into cokeheads in the lab. Whether the use of the drug itself further compromises impulse control, leading to compulsive use in spite of life-threatening effects, still isn’t clear. But a team of neuroscientists reports in Nature this week that, at least in rats, there is a way to wipe away the addictive behavior with optogenetics.   More

Business

Is Facebook Home More Than Just a Souped-Up App?

The day after Facebook's big announcement about its new Home interface for Android phones, Techonomy CEO David Kirkpatrick fielded questions on Yahoo! Finance about the implications of Facebook's latest play for the mobile market. An essential component of the app, said Kirkpatrick, is that it surfaces SMS and messaging as the top layer of the user experience, demonstrating Facebook's insight into how people are communicating. Are users ready for this new level of interactivity on their mobile phones? Maybe not all American users, said Kirkpatrick, but Facebook is looking abroad to places like Indonesia, South Africa, Brazil, and India, where Facebook is "growing like crazy."   More

Security & Privacy

With Mobile the Future, How Does a Company Stay Secure?

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A PC, Mac, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, and Nexus 7 all sit on Sam Curry’s desk one afternoon while he works from home. Though not everyone has access to such a range of mobile devices, this lineup offers a glimpse at the diversity of devices people now use to work. Curry is CTO of Identity and Data Protection at RSA, a firm specializing in information security. During a phone call last week, he said that all the devices on his desk provide connectivity for his work at RSA, each with its own unique set of capabilities and limitations.   More

Business

Why Zuckerberg Beamed as He Announced Facebook Home for Android

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I've never seen Mark Zuckerberg beaming throughout an entire press announcement, as he did today at the launch of the new Facebook phone software. It shows that he believes the so-called "Facebook Home" for Android means Facebook has nailed an important piece in its evolution toward becoming central to the communications systems for all the people of the planet. That is, after all, his goal, as it has been since roughly late 2004. You can tell he has confidence that Facebook has made good decisions about what we need in a new interface for interacting with phones, and that he's certain of the quality of the engineering and design thinking behind the product.   More

Business

Kirkpatrick: Facebook Wants to Be There When You Turn Your Phone On

Techonomy CEO David Kirkpatrick appeared on Bloomberg TV yesterday to comment on Facebook's ambitions to amplify its presence in the mobile market. Kirkpatrick dispelled rumors that Facebook intends to launch a new phone, but said the company has plans to release a layer of software that will appear on the home screens of specific HTC smartphones. According to Kirkpatrick, this represents "the beginning of a whole series of Facebook initiatives in mobile that will probably lead ultimately to a lot more people having a home Facebook screen when they turn on their phone all over the world."   More

Opinion

Who Says the Internet Isn’t Making Life Better?

A standard trope these days is that we in the middle class have been slogging through a couple of decades of woe. Wages are stagnant. Our standard of living isn’t improving. The grand forces of our time—the Internet and globalization—are failing to better our lives, and may be making things worse. The numbers prove it. But here’s the problem: the traditional numbers used by the government and economists measure the wrong stuff for the twenty-first century.   More

Arts & Culture Bio & Life Sciences

Cancer Genetics Goes Indie: Decoding Annie Parker Premieres

Helen Hunt as geneticist Mary Claire King (courtesy of Dorado Media)

One thing was clear at last night’s New York premiere of Decoding Annie Parker, a movie about a woman with breast cancer: the film is a labor of love made by people who believe the dramatized true story they tell is important. No major studios were involved, and though it has a top-shelf cast (including Helen Hunt, Bradley Whitford, Rashida Jones, and Aaron Paul), the actors agreed to work for a fraction of their usual fees. When Annie Parker opens in select theaters this summer, it will be because a group of writers, donors, and cancer advocates were committed to sharing the lessons of Annie’s story.   More

Jobs Learning

Girls Who Code Aims to Bridge Tech-Sector Gender Gap

Girls Who Code is a Manhattan-based nonprofit aimed at teaching high school girls software programming, public speaking, product development, and other skills that prepare them to launch careers in the tech sector. It's one of a number of recent initiatives designed to encourage young women to set their sights on jobs in the often male-dominated world of tech. Programs like Hackbright Academy, Girl Develop It, Black Girls Code, and Girls Teaching Girls Code seek to bridge the gender gap in tech by offering hands-on computer science instruction for students on the verge of making decisions about their future studies.   More