Tech Sightings, April 22, 2014

Posted April 22nd, 2014 at 2:00 pm (UTC+0)
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Children Use Minecraft to Redesign the Real World

Block by Block, a partnership between the United Nations Human Settlements Program and Minecraft developer Mojang, is an initiative that allows young people to design and upgrade 300 public spaces by 2016. The program has yielded several pilot projects, the first of which is an informal settlement in Nairobi.

 The Future of Social Media Is Mobile Tribes

As Internet use moves away from the desktop and the laptop and more toward mobile, native platforms are becoming more advanced and user behaviors are constantly shifting. The effect of this content-heavy landscape on meaningful interactions has lead to the creation of Mobile Tribes.

A Bump in the Road Toward Remote-Controlled Humans

Zabosu, an ambitious attempt to offer humans that could be controlled as if by remote control, has put its Kickstarter campaign on hold after raising only $550 out of its $100,000 goal.

Apple Aims to Shrink Its Carbon Footprint With New Data Centers

Apple is close to achieving its goal of powering all of its facilities 100 percent on renewable energy. Its campuses and data centers are now using 94 percent renewable energy; and the number is rising. The company intends to extend this effort to its retail stores.

Apple Offers Free Recycling of Its Products Worldwide

The company says its retail stores will take back Apple products for “free, responsible recycling.” A company spokesman has also confirmed that the program would be available worldwide.

Google Challenges Nonprofits on Ideas to Use Glass

Google has asked nonprofit groups to come up with ideas on how they would use Google Glass eye wear in their work. Five charities that propose the best ideas by May 20 will get a free pair of glasses, a trip to Google for training and a $25,000 grant to turn their project to reality.

China Lifts Ban on Game Consoles

China has fully lifted its 14-year ban on selling video game consoles. While foreign console makers like Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo still have to find a way around the country’s censorship rules to exploit the huge Chinese market, they can now manufacture and sell consoles in Shanghai’s free trade zone.

Aida Akl
Aida Akl is a journalist working on VOA's English Webdesk. She has written on a wide range of topics, although her more recent contributions have focused on technology. She has covered both domestic and international events since the mid-1980s as a VOA reporter and international broadcaster.

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Whether you are in a big city or a small village – technology is in your hands, your pocket, your car, your home. It is everywhere. And everywhere, it is becoming us.

Techtonics looks at how technology intersects people’s lives, how it empowers them or traps them in a world increasingly obsessed with technological wonders even as privacy slips through its fingers. It aims to inform, discuss, and hopefully inspire.

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