Ethan Baron

Recent and archived articles by Ethan Baron

10 May 2019 | 11:00 AM

Silicon Valley ‘hackathon’: US coders target deadly California wildfires

Silicon Valley is not going to stop the next California inferno with computer code, but a small army of software developers got together in Fremont, California, recently to brainstorm new technology to cut the losses.

Outside of Pulga, California, on the North Fork of the Feather River, the Camp fire rages on Nov 11, 2018. IBM’s Call for Code Hackathon for California Wildfires drew some 200 developers for a team-based contest to create applications to assist communities ravaged by fire. — Los Angeles Times/TNS
24 Apr 2019 | 9:00 AM

Google walkout leaders claim the firm retaliated against them: report

Two women who helped organise a massive global walkout from Google offices last year over the firm’s handling of reported sexual misconduct allege they’re now being punished for their activism, according to a new report.

Two of the seven protest organisers have written an internal memo claiming Google has moved against them in response to their activism, according to the report. — TNS
18 Mar 2019 | 12:00 PM

Lawsuit takes aim at US tech firm’s ‘bro culture’ and alleged man-splaining

A Bay Area high-tech camera firm has been accused of creating a hostile "bro culture" in a lawsuit by a former employee that contains a laundry list of allegations women point to as causes of gender disparity in Silicon Valley's tech industry.

As the #MeToo movement against male misconduct gathers force in Silicon Valley, women are beginning to direct criticism less at the "pipeline" that feeds young women into the tech industry, and more at conditions within companies that can make it harder for females than for males to succeed. — Reuters
18 Jan 2019 | 12:00 PM

Government can’t force people to unlock phones using facial recognition, fingerprints: US federal judge

A federal judge in Oakland ruled that law enforcement agencies cannot force people to use biometric features such as facial-recognition to unlock their phones and other devices in a case that highlights the fight between Big Tech and law enforcement over users' privacy.

The US government can't force citizens to use any biometric features to unlock devices, Westmore ruled. — Dreamstime/TNS
21 Sep 2018 | 9:30 AM

‘Googley’ does not mean ‘young’, Google claims in age-bias lawsuit

Googlers are supposed to be Googley, but what exactly that means has become a key point of contention as the tech giant seeks to gut an age-discrimination lawsuit against the company.

Google argued that an expert hired by the plaintiffs produced a report that contradicted the allegation that “Googley” means “young”. — TNS
10 Sep 2018 | 9:00 AM

Apple’s secretive self-driving car programme suffers first reported crash

The first rule in Apple's self-driving car program called “Project Titan” is you don't talk about Project Titan. But thanks to California regulations, if a company's autonomous vehicle gets in a crash on a public road in this state, the company must talk about it in a report to the DMV.

Among autonomous vehicle accidents reported to the DMV, rear-enders are common, and industry observers have noted these crashes appear to be caused frequently by the robot cars driving in a more hesitant fashion than vehicles driven by humans. — Dreamstime/TNS
4 Sep 2018 | 9:30 AM

Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple ‘censored’ conservative content, US$1bil lawsuit claims

As US President Donald Trump goes to war against Silicon Valley technology firms over what he believes is a left-wing bias against conservatives, a right-wing group has launched a lawsuit targeting this region's tech giants and accusing them of a conspiracy.

6 Aug 2018 | 9:30 AM

He hugged Tim Cook, bought the iPhone X, then was homeless by the roadside, asking for a job

David Casarez came west to Silicon Valley with his life in a van and startup dreams in his eyes. Within months, the web developer and would-be entrepreneur was hugging Apple CEO Tim Cook and interviewing at the legendary tech firm.

Casarez was the first in line to buy the new iPhone X at the Apple store in Palo Alto, California. He made a very powerful connection when Cook wrapped his arms around Casarez in a congratulatory hug. Soon, Casarez was invited for an interview at Apple's campus. But the job, he said, went to someone already working for the company. — Bay Area News Group/TNS
27 Jul 2018 | 11:30 AM

Amazon looks to floating warehouses in the sky for drone deliveries

Amazon is looking to push its supply chain into the heavens as it goes full steam ahead on drone deliveries.

A sketch of Amazon’s patented “aerial fulfilment centre”, a blimp-borne warehouse in the sky. — US Patent and Trademark Office/TNS
20 Jul 2018 | 7:30 AM

Amazon gets flak from Little People over ‘dwarf-tossing’ robot patent

To this country's people of unusually small stature, dwarf tossing is an insult and, according to Little People of America, “objectifies the entire dwarf community”.

A patent sketch, using a dwarf figurine as an example, of Amazon's robotic system for moving warehouse goods. Upon being informed about the Amazon patent, the Little People were not amused. — US Patent and Trademark Office/TNS