'Oh my god – Mark Zuckerberg wants to meet me'
'The Swiss have got no great interest in working with Apple'
QuoTW This was the week when we discovered that all you have to do to earn thousands of dollars a month is be an IT wunderkind that catches the eye of one of Silicon Valley’s many tech boy emperors.
In a bid to secure the best possible talent, it appears that US tycoons are now drafting ‘em in young, wafting huge salaries and perks at them to get them signed up to the job, the lifestyle, the very heartbeat of their incubatory little tech startup.
Facebook, that bastion of the fresh-faced, has just hired 17-year-old Michael Sayman to code for the network, after flying him out to Menlo Park HQ to meet its founder in person. The youth gushed:
When I got the e-mail saying – oh my god – Mark Zuckerberg wants to meet you, I had to make sure nobody was playing a prank on me. It was just incredible to be able to meet him.
Sayman has been helping to support his family since the age of 13, when he first started coding mobile apps. At Facebook, he’ll pocket around $6,213 a month on top of free accommodation, food and coding classes. But the lucky chap isn’t the only intern in tech that takes home a sizeable wad of shiny new dollars every month. Computer services firm Palantir offers its interns over $7,000 a month, while VMWare is forking over an average $6,966. Firms like Twitter, Microsoft, LinkedIn and eBay are all parting with numbers in the same region, outbidding traditional old wealthy sector firms like ExxonMobil, which pays a mere $5,972. Ah to be young again…
Wearables were another piece of news that kept popping up this week, first at Apple, where rumours of the iWatch just won’t die. Apart from running an expertly leaky ship, the fruity firm will not, of course, admit that they’re making an iWatch, but the signs are all there. This week, the company hired a sales and retail veep away from Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer – a fairly clear indication that Cupertino is thinking wearably.
Group head of LVMH, which owns TAG Heuer, Jean-Claude Bivet told CNBC he forgave Patrick Pruniaux for making the move:
If it had been a direct competitor, I would have felt a bit betrayed, but if he goes to Apple I think it is a great experience for him.
While luxury goods analyst Mario Ortelli said he reckoned that hiring away employees was the only way Apple would get a stamp of Swiss-made shininess on its iWatch:
The Swiss have got no great interest in working with Apple – if you are a luxury producer and you cooperate with Apple, you have got a dilution. They do not want to create a device like the iPhone, the iPhone is designed in California and assembled in China – so they don't want to dilute the value of the Swiss name.
Google, on the other hand, already has a number of wearables on the shelves through its Android ecosystem, including Android Wear. But all is not going well with the product, which has only been on the shelves for two days. Early adopters are reporting that the devices are refusing to install paid apps, a bug that’s being blamed on Play Store encryption. Android Police reported:
It seems the Android Wear install process runs into a road block with paid apps because it doesn't know how to extract the file of the encrypted apk. Since the installer fails to recognise the payload, it assumes there is nothing to install and silently aborts.
Meanwhile, researchers over at Avast have found that a factory reset on an Android phone is not enough to get rid of any risqué selfies you might have kicking about on your mobe. In just 20 second-hand devices, infosec bods saw 1,000 nudie pics from a pool of 40,000 images still discoverable.
Avast warned that these images, combined with location info from the EXIF data, Facebook profile debris, Google searches and job applications also found on the devices could have given would-be crims a pool of info for targeted attacks and financial fraud. Avast mobile head John McColgan said:
Put all of these pieces together to complete the puzzle and you have a clear picture of who the former smart phone owner was.
Stalkers, enemies, and thieves can abuse personal data to stalk, blackmail and steal people’s identities. They can use this information to watch people’s every move, exploit their strange fetishes, open credit cards in their name, or even continue what they started by further selling their personal information online.
In the US this week, Amazon has vowed not to give in to the Federal Trade Commission’s punitive fine for in-app purchases. Apple already had to pay up for settings that allowed pesky little scamps to burn their way through their parent’s credit cards buying power-ups and decorative armour on freemium games and the FTC is now pursuing Amazon for the same thing.
But the mega etailer is having none of it, arguing that its situation is totally different to Apple’s and it does give refunds for unwanted charges. Andrew DeVore, associate general counsel, said:
It's an understatement to say that this is deeply disappointing. The commission's unwillingness to depart from the precedent it set with Apple despite our very different facts leaves us no choice but to defend our approach in court.
Speaking of court, Microsoft has settled its lawsuit with Vitalwerks, owner of the No-IP dynamic DNS service that the firm crippled last week. In an effort to root out malware, Redmond got a temporary restraining order against the service to take down subdomains used by malware. When it came to Vitalwerks, though, Microsoft failed to correctly identify legitimate No-IP users’ DNS lookups, leaving many with borked systems.
The two firms have now agreed to a confidential settlement and the domains seized by Microsoft have been handed back. The company said:
Microsoft identified malware that had escaped Vitalwerks’ detection. Upon notification and review of the evidence, Vitalwerks took immediate corrective action allowing Microsoft to identify victims of this malware. The parties have agreed to permanently disable Vitalwerks subdomains used to control the malware.
In the process of redirecting traffic to its servers for malware detection, Microsoft acknowledges that a number of Vitalwerks customers were impacted by service outages as a result of a technical error. Microsoft regrets any inconvenience these customers may have experienced.
In spaaace news, Buzz Aldrin, the second man to set foot on the Moon, gave some of his valuable time to Redditors this week in an ask-me-anything session (AMA) that saw him speak once again about glimpsing a UFO during his journey to our lunar rock. Sadly, he still isn’t feeling too confident that the unidentified object was extraterrestrial in any way, he was just throwing a bone to ET-lovers out there. He explained:
I observed a light out the window that appeared to be moving alongside us. There were many explanations of what that could be, other than another spacecraft from another country or another world - it was either the rocket we had separated from, or the 4 panels that moved away when we extracted the lander from the rocket and we were nose to nose with the two spacecraft. So in the close vicinity, moving away, were 4 panels. And I feel absolutely convinced that we were looking at the Sun reflected off of one of these panels. Which one? I don't know. So technically, the definition could be 'unidentified'.
Because he didn’t talk about seeing anything until an interview a few years after the Moon landing, he set the conspiracy theorists wild with speculation about a cover-up:
The UFO people in the United States were very, very angry with me, that I had not given them the information. It was not an alien. Extraordinary observations require extraordinary evidence. That's what Carl Sagan said. There may be aliens in our Milky Way galaxy, and there are billions of other galaxies. The probability is almost CERTAIN that there is life somewhere in space. It was not that remarkable, that special, that unusual, that life here on Earth evolved gradually, slowly, to where we are today.
And finally, we'll leave the last word to Tory MP for the Harlow constituency Robert Halfon, who - during a discussion about politicos' IT needs at the Palace of Westminster - offered up this glorious gem:
May I suggest to my honourable Friend that honourable members consider using Google, which is completely free, and Google Docs for saving documents, and then we do not need to spend thousands of pounds on things such as Microsoft 365?