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Tech News 2Night 58
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Tonight! Mozilla's CEO is out, Turkey lifts its Twitter ban, the US creates a secret Cuban Twitter, and Google could get into mobile phone service...
Tech News 2Night is Next!
This is Tech News 2Night Episode 58, for April 3, 2014
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I'm Sarah Lane, Let's get right to the Tech Feed!
After Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich's support of California’s anti-gay marriage law Proposition 8 sparked a Mozilla employee protest and a call by the dating site OkCupid to boycott Firefox., the company announced via blog post today that Eich is resigning as CEO of for-profit Mozilla Corporation and also from the board of the nonprofit foundation which owns it. In interviews earlier this week, Eich repeated that he would not step down from the job, despite backlash over a $1,000 donation he made in 2008 in support of the ballot measure to ban gay marriage. Mozilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker says there's not another leading candidate for the CEO role yet.
Turkey has lifted a two-week-old ban on Twitter that began march 21st, after the constitutional court ruled the block breached freedom of expression, an official in Prime Minister Tayyip ERdowan's office confirmed to Reuters, though YouTube remains offline in the country, which the telecommunications authority blocked one week after blocking Twitter. Legal challenges against the YouTube ban are pending.
A twitter-like social network built in Cuba as an effort to destabilize the Castro government and spread information among Cubans by the U.S. government was reported by the AP this morning. The text-message based network called ZunZuneo began with “non-controversial” content to subscribers but gradually introduced political content to more than 40,000 Cubans who signed up. But ZunZuneo was created by the U.S. Agency for International Development, which typically manages international aid. USAID spokesman Matt Herrick tells the AP "In hostile environments, we often take steps to protect the partners we’re working with on the ground. This is not unique to Cuba.” Herrick also says the Cuban network was deemed legal by congressional investigators last year, and that it was not a covert operation.
Twitter-owned Vine launched a private video messaging system today, offering users a way to communicate with each other outside of Vine video comments. Vine messages, known as VMs, can also be sent to anyone not already using Vine via SMS and email. Vine messages are one-on-one, but you can send a VM to multiple people "to start several separate conversations at once," the company says. Along with videos, Vine messages also let you send text-based messages to friends.
9to5 Mac reports a bug in Apple's iOS 7 that allows someone to bypass a security measure in the Find My iPhone app that requires an Apple ID password attached to a corresponding iCloud account to be entered to turn off iPhone tracking in the event the device is stolen. Tapping both “delete account” and then switching to disable Find My iPhone at the same time in the iCloud settings panel starts the process, then when prompted for a password, restarting the phone and removing the account in iCloud settings will allow a full reset. Until Apple issues a fix, turning on a passcode on your phone prevents access to iCloud settings.
Apple appears to have acquired an automatic speech recognition technology company called Novauris Technologies, which grew out of Dragon Systems R&D U.K. Ltd., the British research subsidiary of Dragon Systems, a well-known voice dictation pioneer. The acquisition apparently took place last year, but had not been announced. At Apple as of last fall, the team is now working on improving Siri, the speech-based virtual assistant technology that comes pre-installed on Apple’s mobile devices. Novauris had been developing its own large-vocabulary, automatic speech recognition technology for access to information stored locally on mobile devices or remotely on servers, which they had patented and licensed to major corporations worldwide. Apple is facing competition from speech-based technology like Google Now, and Microsoft's just-announced Cortana virtual assistant.
Coming up, Oculus Rift at the movies? We'll tell you when it might become a reality (virtual reality, that is)
and up Next is Jon Fingas from Engadget to talk about Google getting into the moblie phone service and some new features Gmail is experimenting with. But first..
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Jon Fingas Associate Editor, Engadget
You wrote the story today "Google reportedly wants to offer mobile phone service in Fiber areas"
-Why would Google want to do this? What are their plans?
-How would they go about making it happen? What kind of carriers would they partner with or would they go it alone?
Another article you wrote today was "Gmail's mobile app may soon let you snooze and pin messages"
-Tell us about the new features Gmail is reportedly experimenting with.
-These are not third party apps, rather built into Gmail, right?
[Kicker!] Well, Virtual reality is the future - that is, if you ask Facebook, which recently announced it's acquiring virtual reality tech company Oculus VR...but is VR the future of film? TechHive reports on two California startups - one called Jaunt that just announced it raised nearly $7 million to produce VR films and has a VR-ready camera, and Condition One, that showed off its film Zero Point, a documentary on the medium of virtual reality as well as a vehicle for the company’s technology. So, how do you make a viewer’s look at something without actual camera direction, or camera angles? Does the audience to move around a space? The theater experience may get a lot more immersive, if companies like Jaunt and Condition One can figure it out.
Finally, A quick calendar item - Apple today announced that it will hold its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) June 2 through June 6 at San Francisco’s Moscone West.
[good bye] That's it for this edition of Tech News 2Night.
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Don't miss our morning news program, Tech News Today, tomorrow and every weekday at 10am Pacific, 1 pm Eastern. I'm Sarah Lane, thanks for watching.