Weekend takeaway: 10 tech stories you need to read right now

20 Mar 2015

Ten nuggets of knowledge to take away for the weekend, including Irishman aborts himself from Mars One mission, Google’s globetrotting balloons and ‘chocolate bar of IoT sensors.’

1. Mars One boots Joseph Roche from Mars programme for ‘breaching confidentiality’

Dr Joseph Roche is no longer in the running for the Mars One mission after the mission’s organisers confirmed he had been dropped from the shortlist for breaching confidentiality.

Roche had made the final shortlist of 100 after battling more than 200,000 other applicants who dreamed of going on a one-way trip to the red planet. The mission plans to establish a human colony on Mars with new humans arriving there every two years.

In recent days, the Irishman caused an online storm when he spoke out about his doubts about the viability of the project in an article on Medium.

2. Mars One CEO on the defensive, admits to significant delays

Following open criticism from Dr Joseph Roche about the Mars One mission, the project’s CEO Bas Lansdorp has come out in a stark defence of his team’s procedures.

3. Google’s globetrotting broadband balloons work with the wind

Rather than being hampered by the weather Google’s broadband balloons actually work in collaboration with the wind and a single balloon can serve broadband to locations at opposite ends of the world within days.

4. Despite the clouds, hundreds turn up for solar eclipse event (video)

After much anticipation, Europe stood still at 9.29am UTC to watch as the moon crossed in front of the path of the sun, but sadly most of those in Ireland would have just seen clouds.

5. Cher Wang takes reins as CEO of HTC

HTC chair and co-founder Cher Wang has been appointed by the board of directors to take over Peter Chou’s role as CEO effective immediately.

6. White House creates IT role for former Facebook engineer

A spokesperson for US President Barrack Obama has announced the hiring of one of Facebook’s engineering directors, David Recordon, to the newly-created role of director of White House information technology.

7. ‘Chocolate bar’ of IoT sensors wins €30,000 Code_n prize at CeBIT

Berlin start-up Relayr built a WunderBar of sensor technology to provide developers with easy access to internet of things (IoT) data, earning the company top honours among over 400 international competitors.

8. Uber cars now outnumber yellow cabs in New York

E-hailing app Uber has exerted such a grip on New York that the number of its cars on the road now outnumber the city’s iconic yellow cabs.

9. Amazon gets permission from FAA to start testing delivery drones in US

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the US has granted Amazon permission to start R&D on delivery drones that could potentially carry goods bought online to the doorstep of shoppers within an hour.

10. UPC reveals My Prime, an on-demand rival to Sky Go and Netflix (video)

Cable TV and broadband player UPC today in Dublin unveiled its new My Prime entertainment on-demand service that will allow users to watch content on any device.

Mars bar image via Shutterstock

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