Mozilla has long considered itself a champion of the free and open Web, and plans to walk the walk as much as it talks the talk. The company's latest and best foot forward in that direction: Lightbeam for Firefox.
This Firefox add-on shows, graphically, how the sites you visit interact with other sites -- and how tracking information may be gathered in the process, often from multiple sites at once without your knowledge.
Many of us know casually that browsing a given site also means interacting invisibly with a whole slew of other sites. Facebook, for instance: there's barely a site that doesn't invoke code from Facebook's servers for the sake of the Like button, Comment forms, and so on. Lightbeam aims to make it clearer how all that works. Read more...
News this week that Twitter's senior vice president of engineering, Christopher Fry, raked in $10.3 million last year confirmed what many already knew: Silicon Valley is an economic bubble where the competition to hire in-demand engineers is greatly inflating some pay packages. However, the high salaries awarded to many in the tech industry comes at the price of worsening inequality in the Bay Area.
In its first public financial statement in preparation for an IPO, Twitter revealed that Fry's package consisted of a $145,513 salary and $100,000 bonus, with the bulk of compensation coming from stock awards. His payday ranked just behind that of Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, at $11.5 million. Read more...
The outbound exec of Wikipedia's tin-rattling nonprofit has admitted the organisation wastes public donations – and says procedures should be fundamentally changed to avoid corruption and self-interest.
In a candid statement, Sue Gardner, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, says she wants the worker bees rewarded – the editors who spend hours of unpaid time on Wikipedia – instead of the local chapters of bureaucrats who receive the money today.
"I wonder whether it might make more sense for the movement to focus a larger amount of spending on direct financial support for individuals working in the projects," she wrote.
Gardner was instrumental in raising Wikipedia's warchest and WMF's staffing. In 2011/12 - the last year for which figures are available - the Foundation raised $38.4m, up from $5m in 2007/08. Read more...
With its apps, sensors and devices, Nike is increasingly becoming a technology company.
It has developed running apps for Apple and Android devices, and Kinect training video games for Microsoft's Xbox. The company needs app developers, and like many companies, it has turned to offshore outsourcers for help.
But Nike found that offshore outsourcer developers don't understand some of the products that Nike is trying to produce.
The idea of wearable technology, having your active life recorded in one place, "didn't make sense to the people doing the work," said Christopher Davis, engineering director at Nike+ Running. The developers "didn't fit into the Nike culture."
This culture problem, as it is known in offshore outsourcing circles, was impeding Nike's agile development work, so the company shifted gears. It hired a small onshore developer, Catalyst IT Services, which has development centers in Baltimore Md., and Beaverton, Ore. Read more...
Apple's iOS mobile platform and the iPhones that run it are gaining smartphone market share in the U.S., according to a newly released report -- reversing the gains made in recent years by chief competitor Android. But the data does not necessarily mean iPhones and iOS will soon dominate the rest of the world, too.
ComScore's August market share report, based on user surveys and monitoring of Web traffic sources, has Apple ranked as the top smartphone manufacturer in the U.S., based on number of subscribers. Apple was followed by Samsung, HTC, and Motorola in number of smartphone subscribers.
The iOS platform, meanwhile, had a 40.7 percent market share -- an increase of 1.5 percent over ComScore's May report, when Apple's mobile operating system had a 39.2 percent market share. Apple still trailed Google's Android platform, which had a 51.6 percent share, but iOS's gain from May was countered by Android's loss of 0.8 percentage points in the same period. Read more...
Microsoft has asked HTC to install Windows Phone as a user-selectable option on its Android handsets, according to a recent report.
The news comes from Bloomberg, which has been chatting to the omniscient "people familiar", who reckon Redmond was prepared to sacrifice its licence fee if HTC would include the OS as an option on its flagship hardware.
Microsoft is struggling to match the breadth of Google's offering and needs to work hard to convince the world that Windows Phone isn't just a Nokia thing.
HTC launched its last Windows Phone in June, and is expected to have another Redmond-mobe-OS-running handset on the shelves later this year, but it’s the Android-based HTC One which remains HTC's flagship. It's also the kind of kit which Microsoft execs would like to see running Windows Phone. Read more...
BlackBerry has reportedly asked Cisco, Google, SAP, Intel, LG and Samsung separately to consider buying all or parts of its embattled company.
According to a Reuters report citing unnamed sources, BlackBerry has asked each of the six companies for preliminary expressions of interest by early this week.
Potential buyers would be most interested in BlackBerry's patents and its secure network -- not its smartphone business, the sources said.
If BlackBerry finds any takers from among the six companies, it would come in addition to the preliminary deal the company already has with Fairfax Financial Holdings. Fairfax wants to take BlackBerry private for $4.7 billion. Read more...
Windows 8 powered almost 10% of all devices running Microsoft's OSes last month, even as its uptake pace slowed, according to analytics company Net Applications today.
Meanwhile, Windows XP's decline continued as customers, prodded by the upcoming April 2014 support deadline, again ditched the veteran operating system in droves.
Windows 8's user share of all computing devices running Windows, a tally that includes Windows 8.1, the update slated to ship in two weeks, jumped to 9.8% in September, Net Applications said. The 1.4-point gain was down from the record one-month increase set in August, but nearly double the OS's 12-month average.
The August-September surge of Windows 8 may have been driven by sharp back-to-school sales of touch-based notebooks, which accounted for a quarter of all sales from June 30 through Sept. 7, the NPD Group said last week. Read more...
Northeast Utilities in Connecticut Tuesday confirmed that it plans to turn over part of its IT operations to two India-based outsourcing firms, despite a recent push by state lawmakers to keep it from doing so.
NU says it employs some 400 IT workers, and "will retain about half of those employees" after turning some operations over to outsourcers Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services, two of India's largest IT firms.
Today's announcement makes official what had already been suspected -- the company had told its IT workers weeks ago that it was considering outsourcing tech work.
The utility, which operates New England's largest energy delivery system, today said it is "working with strategic business partners to help conduct the rest of the work - the majority of which will still be conducted locally."
NU said it expects that 40 of its affected IT employees will be rehired by the outsourcers "and will still work at NU facilities."
U.S. Dept. of Labor filings indicate that Infosys has been bringing foreign H-1B workers to an NU job site for the last two years. Read more...
Google is closing in on a deal with competition officials in the European Commission which stops far short of formal sanctions, after the EU's antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia said today that he was negotiating a settlement agreement with the ad giant.
Almunia's office is working on "the precise drafting of the proposed commitment text" with Google over the next few weeks.
The commissioner told the European Parliament this morning that he had concluded that the ad giant's revised offer of concessions on its search biz had "more appropriately” addressed "the need for any commitments to be able to cover future developments". Read more...
SSNDOB, the Russian hacker group that over the course of many months stole massive amounts of personal data from firms like LexisNexis and Dun & Bradstreet, apparently also infiltrated the servers of the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), according to security researcher Brian Krebs.
Last week, Krebs reported how SSNDOB broke into a number of business data brokers and set up botnets to look up customers' personal data, which it then sold via its own Web portal.
On Tuesday Krebs followed up that story with more details about how SSNDOB exploited unpatched server software to perform a similar digital ransacking on the NW3C, which Krebs describes as "a congressionally-funded non-profit organization that provides training, investigative support and research to agencies and entities involved in the prevention, investigation and prosecution of cybercrime." Read more...
The arrival of Obamacare may make it easier for some employees to quit their full-time jobs to launch tech start-ups, work as a freelance consultant or pursue some other solo career path.
The insurance that's available for sign-up beginning Tuesday on the state health exchanges doesn't exclude people with pre-existing conditions or penalize them with high rates.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that anywhere from 19% to 50% of non-elderly Americans have some type of pre-existing condition. For older American, between 55 and 64 years of age, that figure may be as high as 86%.
Moreover, should you get sick, under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, you won't face possible loss of your health insurance or a rate spike. Read more...
Intel has signed a deal to acquire Sensory Networks, a provider of software pattern matching technology for network security applications.
Chris Kraeuter, a spokesman at the chip maker, said he could confirm that Intel has signed an agreement to acquire Sensory Networks, but couldn't comment on the deal terms. Some reports said Intel paid about US$20 million for the company.
Sensory Networks, with headquarters in Mountain View, California, also has a research and development office in Sydney, Australia. Read more...
BlackBerry this weekend defended its ability to continue serving enterprise customers with smartphones and secure mobile management software, responding to a Gartner report recommending that its corporate clients stop using the Canadian vendor's products.
"We remain steadfast in our mission to deliver the most secure and powerful mobile management solutions and smartphones to our customers," BlackBerry said in a statement emailed to Computerworld on Saturday.
The BlackBerry statement called the conclusions by Gartner analysts in the report "purely speculative."
In the eight-page report released on Friday, Gartner urged its enterprise clients to find alternatives to BlackBerry smartphones and BlackBerry Enterprise Service servers within six months. Read more...
Current Ford Motor CEO Alan Mulally has moved into second place behind former Nokia chief Stephen Elop in the betting pool as the next Microsoft CEO, according to an Irish bookmaker.
As of Monday, PaddyPower had Elop at odds of 4-to-11 in a listing of potential CEO replacements for outgoing chief Steve Ballmer, meaning someone would have to bet $110 for the chance to take away $40 in profit.
Mulally, whose name resurfaced last week as a serious candidate for the job, was at 3-to-1 odds, good enough for second on PaddyPower's chart: Wagering $100 on Mulally would, if he were named chief executive, return a profit of $300.
Kara Swisher of the AllThingsD blog, an offshoot of the Wall Street Journal, said on Friday that "sources close to the situation" reported Mulally, 68, had gone to the front of the line of potential CEOs.
Mulally has been the president and CEO of Ford Motor for seven years, and had been widely credited with guiding the automobile maker through the 2008-2009 industry crisis when the other two of the Big Three -- General Motors and Chrysler -- went bankrupt and required government bailouts to survive. Read more...