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

Energy & Green Tech Jobs Manufacturing

Deloitte’s Chris Park: 3D Printing for Cleaner and Leaner U.S. Manufacturing

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Revitalizing manufacturing is essential to U.S. economic recovery, but it’s not clear yet how this new phase might look. One thing is certain: it won’t look anything thing like manufacturing did 15 or even 5 years ago. PARC CEO Stephen Hoover has spoken at Techonomy events about how innovations like 3D printing and crowdsourcing can drive a paradigm shift in manufacturing. But can a new American manufacturing approach also be eco-friendly? Techonomy spoke with Chris Park, a principal at Deloitte who helps clients with their environmental, social, and sustainability performance, about how next-generation manufacturing technology could reduce environmental impact and bring jobs back to the U.S.   More

Business Global Tech Government

Huawei, ZTE Banned From Selling to U.S. Government

The ongoing tiff between the U.S. and China over the security of Chinese telecoms equipment took a new twist last week when Washington largely forbid several government agencies from buying products from industry giants Huawei and ZTE. While Washington’s previous moves in the dispute have been controversial and often contrary to fair trade principles, this latest act looks more reasonable because it is limited to purchasing by a small number of government agencies. This ongoing clash began last October, when a Washington report said telecoms equipment from Huawei and ZTE, two of China’s most successful high-tech exporters, posed a national security risk.   More

Energy & Green Tech

Ford to Crowdsource Fuel-Efficiency App

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As part of a campaign to help drivers learn more about how to optimize their fuel usage, Ford announced its Personalized Fuel-Efficiency App Challenge at last week's New York International Auto Show. The app will address what Ford officials say is the number one concern among drivers. By creating a platform designed to share information through social media, Ford believes it can empower drivers to improve their personal fuel efficiency.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech Opinion

Alibaba Dips Toe in Developing Markets

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Finally there are some interesting news bits on e-commerce leader Alibaba that don’t involve its highly anticipated IPO, including a push into developing markets and a new tie-up with global payments giant MasterCard. Of the two bits, the former is more intriguing because it represents a major move for the company outside the Chinese-speaking world for its highly successful consumer-oriented e-commerce services. The latter tie-up is interesting because it involves a big name like MasterCard, even though actual details are scarce and probably won’t get worked out until some point in the future.   More

Security & Privacy

Seeking Consensus on Cyberdefense

The cyberattack that temporarily paralyzed the American Express website last week highlighted the escalating frequency and brazenness of strikes aimed at global financial institutions. In the past six months, similar attacks hit JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America, while another disabled computers at banks and television networks in South Korea. As predicted by Arthur W. Coviello at the Techonomy 2012 conference last November, the perpetrators of these attacks appear to be more focused on disruption than on fraud.   More

Techonomy 12 Security & Privacy Techonomy Events Video

Cyberwar: It’s a MAD MAD World

As society relies ever more on the Internet, cyberwar and its unpredictable consequences has become our 21st century bogeyman. And the country most responsible for letting this particular genie out of its bottle, as with another frightening weapon back in the 1940’s, appears to be the United States. Can there really be winners in a cyberwar?   More

Business Startup Culture

Josh Linkner on Why Entrepreneurs Should Be Street Fighters

Monument to Joe Louis in downtown Detroit (photo by Marsha Ericks)

Having built four startups from scratch and now investing full-time, you could say I’m in the business of entrepreneurship. But I don’t think that’s the right term anymore. At all. The word entrepreneur is borrowed from French and implies an aristocratic polish. It conjures up images of backroom deals with white men in three-piece suits, perhaps even wearing top hats, neatly manicured and coddled, issuing orders from afar to sweaty and tattered workers. But that just ain’t the way you win today.   More