Weekend news round-up: Train to America, Microsoft’s new Surface Mini

12 May 2014

In our round-up of the weekend’s tech news, China is working on an undersea train that would link its cities with America via the Bering Sea, a US student creates a 3D make-up printer, and Microsoft is prepping to launch its Surface Mini this month.

Train to America

China is reportedly considering building a high-speed bullet train that will connect it via an undersea route with North America, Quartz reported.

“China already has the world’s longest high-speed rail network. And the country aims to more than double the amount of high-speed railway by 2015 from the existing 10,000 km (6,000 miles) to 19,000 km—and eventually 25,000km by 2020. Officials want to build everything from an undersea railway tunnel from the Chinese shore to Taiwan—twice the length of the Channel Tunnel between France and Britain—to 1,776 km of high-speed rail through isolated deserts in the west of the country.

“In that context, it almost seems feasible that China would be considering a recently discussed project—13,000 km of high-speed railway that crosses from China to Russia and North America that includes a 200-km tunnel under the Bering strait.”

Irish global recruiters have the edge

Forbes reported at the weekend how Irish tech start-up Sonru is giving global recruiters the edge in terms of using video technology to hire talent.

“Its disruptive technology enables clients to invite candidates based anywhere in the world to complete automated video interviews using their PC or apple device. Recruiters enter their interview questions, set the deadline and invite candidates by email to log in and record their responses at a time that suits them.

“This one-way or automated video interviewing has already attracted the likes of Volvo, Nestlé, CERN, Boston Scientific, EA Games and eBay and is becoming mainstream with many milk round companies who are using it as the next stage of the recruitment process, post application receipt.”

You couldn’t make this up

A 3D printer that could destroy the cosmetics industry? Yep that’s coming. The Huffington Post reported at the weekend on Grace Choi, a Harvard business school graduate who has debuted her new 3D printer that not only prints makeup, but does it in any colour you could possibly want.

“Simply by grabbing the color code from a photo and hooking the small device up to your computer, you have an endless supply of lipsticks and eyeshadows in any shade.

“Choi demonstrated how the printer works at a tech conference, and we have to admit, we’re pretty excited to get our hands on one. She plans on selling them for $300 each, but when you think about all the $10 eyeshadows you’ve purchased over the years, and the fact that you may never need to visit a Sephora again … it’s a not such a huge price to pay.”

Microsoft planning a new Surface Mini?

DesignTrend reported at the weekend that Microsoft is preparing to unveil its new Surface Mini at an event in New York on 20 May.

“Microsoft is keeping the invitations minimal for the event where they will allow media outlets to catch a glimpse of a smaller Surface tablet that will compete with Apple’s iPad Mini, Samsung Galaxy Tab, and Google’s Nexus 7.

“Rumored at seven to eight inches, the Surface has been in the works for more than a year. The product that they will unveil on May 20 may be powered by a qualcomm processor and Windows RT.”

Google planning stunning overhaul of Gmail design

The Next Web reported on a new visual overhaul of Gmail’s web interface that appears to be in the wild.

“The leaked images show a radically simpler inbox with less clutter and a big focus on email itself. These leaked desktop designs also match up with a previous leak of mobile Gmail’s new interface.

“A hamburger menu on the top left hides labels to reduce visual overhaul and a new button on the lower right reveals a menu that offers actions the user can perform, such as composing email or setting a reminder.

“Stars appear to have been renamed ‘pins’ and the inbox also appears to allow the user to ‘snooze’ an email for reminder later, just like in Mailbox.”

Chinese bullet train image via Shutterstock

Stay informed – get daily updates on the latest happenings in technology directly to your inbox

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