The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Thursday, June 18
- 18 June, 2015 21:40
Microsoft hands control of devices to Windows boss Myerson, pushes Elop overboard
Stephen Elop is leaving Microsoft for a second time, as CEO Satya Nadella hands control of the devices division he ran to Windows chief Terry Myerson, Computerworld reports. Elop previously left Microsoft to run Nokia, rejoining his former employer when it bought Nokia's smartphone business. Myerson will now run the combined "Windows and Devices Group," making him one of his own best customers.
Uber goes to court in California to deny a driver employee rights
Uber is fighting a ruling by the California Labor Commission that one of its drivers is an employee, not a contractor as the company claims. The sharing economy stalwart has so far proven reluctant to share in the cost of its drivers' health insurance: Having to do so could disrupt its cost structure.
Not so fast: AT&T faces $100 million fine from FCC for limiting 'unlimited' data plans
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission thinks AT&T's "unlimited" data plan for 4G users has too many limitations. The FCC plans to fine the telecom company $100 million for not clearly explaining to customers that download speeds would slow drastically after they reached a monthly data allowance of around 5GB. AT&T is hitting back, saying its policy has been very clear. It has 30 days to respond in writing to the FCC's charges, after which the commission will adjudicate the complaint and determine a final fine.
Even slower: Verizon leaves New Yorkers waiting for fiber connections
No more waiting for downloads was one of the promises Verizon made when it offered New Yorkers access to its Fios fiber-based Internet service. Another promise was that it would run the fiber past every dwelling in New York by the end of 2014. But a city audit report due for publication Thursday found that 30,000 customers had been waiting more than a year for Verizon to activate their connections, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Fresh headache for Ellen Pao: a $276K legal bill
As if Ellen Pao didn't have enough of a headache from bumping into the glass ceiling she said held her back at Kleiner Perkins, now she must pay the VC firm's $276,000 legal bill for fighting her sex discrimination lawsuit, a San Francisco judge ruled Wednesday. The judge has yet to determine who should pay the company's expert witnesses: Kleiner Perkins wants $1 million to cover their costs, says the Wall Street Journal.
Humanoid robot expresses emotions, plans for world domination
Pepper, the humanoid robot developed by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, has developed the capacity to show simulated emotions -- and a taste for world domination. On Thursday SoftBank showed off the robot's new Emotion Engine, a software system that can help it recognize emotions in humans and develop its own artificial feelings. The company also announced that Foxconn and Alibaba will each invest $118 million in its robotics subsidiary, to help develop and sell the technology globally.
Nest's home monitoring products are becoming more observant, more communicative
When the robots invade, they'll already have spies in thousands of homes. Google subsidiary Nest Labs expanded its home monitoring product range on Wednesday, adding a more sophisticated smoke detector, a software upgrade to its smart thermostat that now displays smoke warnings on-screen, and a new connected camera that will start shooting automatically if a fire is detected. TechHive has the details.
Microsoft's been in the malware protection business for a while; now it wants to protect us from bad air, with an app that can forecast air pollution up to two days ahead.
One long thing
Artist Michael Mandiberg's exhibition "From Aaaaa! to ZZZap!" is all about turning the clock back to when encyclopedias filled bookshelves, not hard disks. He's worked with the Wikimedia Foundation and on-demand printer Lulu.com to offer a paper version of Wikipedia -- all 7,600 volumes of it. His gallery show is a piece of performance art, built around the slow process of uploading the page layouts to Lulu.com's site. The New York Times tells the story.