Weekend news round-up: avoiding a ‘cyber Pearl Harbor’; confusion at Windows 8 launch?

22 Oct 2012

In our round-up of the top tech news coverage over the weekend, it has emerged that the White House is taking security matters into its own hands to share security resources with businesses and avoid sensitive targets like the power grid being hit by hackers; Microsoft is getting ready to launch Windows 8 to a confused public but it seems Google and Samsung want to spoil its party.

White House scrambles to avoid a ‘cyber Pearl Harbor’

In an interesting development, The Verge reported how the White House has decided to take the sensitive issue of cyber security into its own hands.

“The White House decided to take the issue of cyber security into its own hands after Congress failed to pass related legislation on its own earlier this year. The information network joins provisions from previous versions of the order, which would instruct the DHS to pinpoint likely infrastructure targets, as well as call for a government programme that would encourage companies to adopt their own safety standards. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has made it abundantly clear he feels the issue of cyber security is of utmost importance, saying last week that the US could be facing a ‘cyber Pearl Harbor’ if these concerns aren’t addressed. According to the AP, the White House declined to give a timeframe for when the order would be signed,” The Verge reported.

Has Microsoft prepared the market sufficiently for Windows 8?

CNET predicted a vast sense of confusion will hit the consumer PC market in the coming weeks as Windows 8 arrives. It points out the new OS does not only mean a generational leap from Windows 7 but the fact the new operating system will be accompanied by a vast array of different form factors, from tablets to ultrabooks and more, could be confusing for buyers.

“Windows 8 is a huge change, putting Windows on an array of devices and opening up choices many consumers simply haven’t had to ponder before,” lamented CNET’s Danny Sullivan.

“Choice can be good, but it can also be overwhelming. Sadly, Microsoft doesn’t seem to be making this easy.”

Google preparing a 10-inch Nexus tablet?

As if Windows 8 and the arrival of a new iPad mini from Apple this week aren’t enough to get your heart racing, it seems Google is preparing a 10-inch Nexus tablet.

According to The Next Web, Google is teaming up with Samsung to launch the new hi-res device later this week.

“Confirming leaks from various inventory systems and advertisements in both the US and the UK, Google will release a 32GB variant of the Nexus 7,” the Next Web reported.

“However, our source also tells us that there will be a second 32GB variant that will offer HSPA+ (3G) support, allowing users to take the tablet on their travels.”

Mark Zuckerberg’s advice to start-ups – stay flexible

TechCrunch reported on Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance at the Y Combinator Startup School last week where he revealed some inner truths about Facebook’s approach to innovation and the fact that when he started Facebook he didn’t know himself that it would become a business.

TechCrunch reported: “During his talk with YC founder Paul Graham, Zuckerberg also stressed that entrepreneurs need to give themselves the flexibility to follow what they learn, and what they love. Zuck told the crowd of young entrepreneurs and YC companies at Stanford that ‘I have this fear of getting locked into doing things that are not the most impactful things you can do.’

“That’s why he said ‘I never understood the idea of wanting to start a company before’ knowing what the company should accomplish. ‘I think people really undervalue the option value in flexibility.’

“Zuckerberg then advised would-be entrepreneurs to ‘Explore what you want to do before committing. Keep yourself flexible. You can definitely do that in the framework of a company, but you have to be weary of working at a company and getting locked in. You’re going to change what you do.’”

Facebook’s Joanna Shields to head up London’s Tech City

One of Facebook’s most senior executives in Europe, Joanna Shields, is to leave the social network to take up David Cameron’s project to create a competitor to California’s Silicon Valley in East London, The Telegraph reported.

“In a significant coup for Downing Street, Ms Shields will spearhead a push to bring greater foreign direct investment into the area around Shoreditch, which has seen investments from Google, Intel and Cisco,” the newspaper reported.

White House image via Shutterstock

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years