Watson Joins Cancer Fight; Tech Diversity; Linux Malware, Patch Tuesday

Posted May 6th, 2015 at 2:04 pm (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

How IBM Watson Will Change the Fight Against Cancer

IBM has announced a new Watson Genomics initiative that will allow clinicians to use the supercomputer’s data-crunching capabilities to sequence the genomes of cancerous tumors and then access relevant medical and treatment data to make appropriate recommendations to their patients. IBM’s Watson is an artificially intelligent computer system that can answer questions posed in natural language and has access to millions of pages of stored content.

One of the World’s Smallest Countries Just Banned Facebook

Nauru, a small island nation in Micronesia in the Central Pacific, has officially banned Facebook. According to ABC Australia, refugee advocates and opposition leaders have slammed the move as an act of “dictatorship.”

Google Will Spend $150 Million This Year to Diversify Workforce

Data released by Google last year revealed that almost all of the company’s workforce is male, white or Asian. To remedy the situation, Google is pouring $150 million into programs intended to increase the number of women and Black and Hispanic employees.

He Codes, He Live-Streams, He’s 11

New Orleans fifth grader Harrison Brammell is obsessed with coding. He finishes his homework between classes so he can have time for coding when he gets home – and he live-streams his coding sessions so others can help him find the errors. Harrison is 11-years-old. He’s already developing a game and planning to learn a host of other coding languages, including Objective-C, Swift (iOS), C, C++, C#, HTML and CSS.

Google Searches on Mobile Devices Top PCs for First Time

Google announced that more people are using smartphones, rather than personal computers, to sift through its search engine in the U.S. and other parts of the world. The development underscores the dramatic change in online behavior since 2007.

Mumblehard Malware Mugs Linux Servers

Researchers at Internet security firm Eset have discovered a malware strain called “Linux/Mumblehard” that has been lurking for the past five years. The malware targets Linux and BSD servers and contains a backdoor and a spamming daemon.

Death of Patch Tuesday Puts Users Last

Microsoft announced Monday that it plans to end its monthly Windows updates, also known as Patch Tuesday. The announcement signals a move to a 24/7 update system that interrupts users for updates whether they like it or not. Writer John C. Dvorak argues that these forced updates will invariably disrupt third-party software and send the wrong message that Microsoft does not care about its users.

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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