#TrendingInTech weekly roundup

26 Feb 2012

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A roundup of the top trending news stories this week from Siliconrepublic

Irish businessman Shane O’Neill dies

Dublin native Shane O’Neill, the former head of Liberty Global’s content division Chellomedia, died in a London hospital on Saturday after a 15-month battle with the degenerative brain disease Creutzfeldt-Jakob. He was 50. O’Neill, who was based in London, stepped down from his roles as SVP and chief strategy officer, Liberty Global, and president of subsidiary Chellomedia Services Limited in December.

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iPhone 4 ‘antennagate’ lawsuit settlement reached

A class-action lawsuit made against Apple over issues with the antenna of the iPhone 4 has been resolved, which will see Apple give US purchasers of the iPhone 4 US$15 in cash or a bumper case. CNET reports that the settlement comes from 18 separate lawsuits combined into one, which claimed Apple was “misrepresenting and concealing material information” when it marketed and sold the iPhone 4, “particularly as it relates to the quality of the mobile phone antenna and reception and related software.”

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Google Latitude leaderboards to rival Foursquare?

Google’s latest update for Google Maps on Android now offers points when users check into locations with Latitude, allowing them to compete with others on a leaderboard, similar to Foursquare. AndroidWorld reports that the new leaderboard allows users to see where other people in their Google+ circles have checked into and look at the amount of points they have gained while doing so.

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WebElevate to reskill 140 job seekers

The Digital Skills Academy has announced a second WebElevate programme through the Higher Education Authority’s Springboard initiative, aiming to reskill 140 job seekers for the tech sector. WebElevate is an honours-degree level programme at the Digital Hub, with Dublin Institute of Technology as its awarding body. It aims to plug the digital skills gap while helping job seekers find work by training them in in-demand skills. It is free as part of the HEA’s Springboard initiative.

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Tech Start-up of the Week: Furious Tribe

Our featured tech start-up this week is Furious Tribe, a young Dublin-based digital start-up that has created a platform called Apptivate so businesses can build and customise their own apps. The company is also looking for new hires. In 2011, Furious Tribe sold €0.5m worth of Apptivate licences to companies around the world. And just recently it has integrated a new feature into the platform, which it hopes is going to be a game changer in terms of allowing people to have more control over the styling of their apps. 

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Mass Effect 3: Take Earth Back trailer boosts pre-launch hype

BioWare has added to the hype surrounding the delayed launch of Mass Effect 3 with the release of the Take Earth Back trailer. The trailer first aired on Sunday night and has since gone on to be a hit with YouTube followers, amassing more than 1m views and 30,000 shares on Facebook in less than 48 hours.

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12-year-old from Waterford is Europe’s youngest iOS app developer

Ireland has become a breeding ground for some of Europe’s youngest software development talent. Jordan Casey (12) from Waterford has become Europe’s youngest iOS app developer after launching his new game Alien Ball Vs Humans on the App Store – just months after Harry Moran from Cork became the world’s youngest Mac app developer.

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PayPal confirms 1,000 new jobs for Dundalk

Online payment service PayPal has confirmed it will create 1,000 jobs over the next four years at its new European Operations Centre in Dundalk, Co Louth.The new operations will open in July 2012. The Dundalk centre and PayPal’s current Blanchardstown site will be responsible for customer services, risk prevention, financial operations, merchant services and sales across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

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Eircom fibre rollout – plans to reach 1m homes in three years

Eircom this evening warned senior lenders that its earnings for the last six months are down on last year and behind target. It also revealed that its fibre broadband rollout commenced last month with plans to reach 1m homes in three years.The national incumbent operator in its report to senior lenders said that EBITDA for the six months ending in December was down significantly on the previous year’s results.

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BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 launched, includes native email client

RIM has released the BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 for its PlayBook tablet, which now introduces an integrated email client, contact and calendar apps with social integration.Many users complained about the lack of a native email client for the BlackBerry PlayBook, which RIM has addressed in this update. It includes a unified inbox which allows users to access email accounts, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter messages.

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Google Doodle applauds physicist Heinrich Rudolf Hertz

An animated Google Doodle is cutting a colourful dash on Google’s homepage today to celebrate what would have been the 155th birthday of Heinrich Rudolf Hertz, the physicist who clarified and expanded the electromagnetic theory of light, paving the way for the invention of the telegraph, radio, and, latterly, television.The electromagnetic theory had first been posited by the Scottish mathematician and physicist James Clerk Maxwell. It was Maxwell who demonstrated that electric and magnetic travel through space in the form of waves, and at the constant speed of light. Maxwell’s findings were published in A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field in 1865.

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NASA’s Hubble detects new ‘waterworld’ planet type

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has released captivating images of a new class of ‘waterworld’ extrasolar planet 40 light years from Earth that astronomers are calling GJ1214b.Apparently the planet, known as the ‘super-Earth’, is smaller than Uranus but larger than Earth. The scientists said it represents a new type of planet, like nothing seen in our solar system or any other planetary system known.

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100 Irish firms to attend largest Irish Silicon Valley event yet

The ITLG/Irish Times Innovation Awards and Summit that will take place 12-13 March looks set to be the biggest Irish business event yet to take place in Silicon Valley with over 100 Irish companies from North and South mingling with some of the top technology companies, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs."We may end up with 800 possibly 1,000 attendees," explained ITLG president and co-founder John Hartnett. "Our previous largest attendance here in the Valley was closer to 400 people."

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Dalkey funeral for Shane O’Neill on 27 February

A funeral for Irish businessman Shane O’Neill, the former head of Liberty Global’s content division Chellomedia, will take place on 27 February in Dalkey, Co Dublin.O’Neill, who was based in London, died in the city on Saturday after a 15-month battle with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a degenerative brain disease. He was 50.

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Google to sell US$250-US$600 HUD glasses by year’s end?

Google is reportedly bringing out Android-based heads-up display (HUD) glasses that will have augmented reality capability and will stream information from the web to the glasses’ lenses.All eyes (no pun intended) will be on Google’s presentation by executive chairman Eric Schmidt at next week’s Mobile World Congress where they may be unveiled for the first time.

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84pc of IT employers would hire graduates from conversion courses

More than half (52pc) of employers in Ireland are struggling to hire IT staff and 84pc say they would be open to hiring a person with a non-IT background who has completed a conversion course, new research from Hays reveals.The survey’s results must concentrate the minds of thousands of out-of-work graduates who may be eligible for conversion courses. At present, there are 5,000 job vacancies in the IT sector in Ireland alone and it emerged recently that IDA Ireland could have brought in an additional 13,000 IT jobs had the skills been available.

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Irishman to spearhead Twitter’s global advertising drive

Twitter’s global advertising expansion will be driven by a former Google executive named Stephen McIntyre, it has emerged. McIntyre will direct the global ads expansion from Twitter’s new international HQ in Dublin.It emerged today that Twitter has headhunted two high-profile Google executives. According to All Things Digital, the microblogging site has hired McIntyre as director of online sales and operations and Shailesh Rao as VP of international revenue. Twitter last night surpassed 500m subscribers.

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A day at the dojo – inside the CoderDojo revolution (video)

Siliconrepublic.com editor John Kennedy spent a Saturday afternoon at a CoderDojo in Dublin. This remarkable movement, just months old, has led to hundreds of kids writing software code and is about to be replicated globally.As I lumbered with camera equipment across Pearse Street in Dublin on my way to the Science Gallery, an interesting spectacle emerged before my eyes. Parents with laptop bags escorting their kids who had their own little laptop bags walked hurriedly into the gallery. It was cute, and there were a lot of them.

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Microsoft named best large company to work for in Ireland

Microsoft has been listed as the best large company to work for in Ireland for the fourth year in a row, with Google coming second and EMC Information Systems coming fourth, according to the Great Place to Work study.The study was part of The Great Place to Work Awards, which conducts a comprehensive study of Ireland’s workplace culture, highlighting organisations that create and maintain an environment of trust in the workplace.

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Ireland is world’s largest net exporter of pharmaceuticals

Exports from Ireland’s pharmaceutical sector are now valued at €55m and account for 50pc of total exports from the country. The sector faces some challenges, however, such as the skills gap, high costs and global over capacity.The Minister of State for Small Business John Perry revealed the latest findings about Ireland’s pharma sector this morning at a seminar held by the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association.

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The five minute CIO: Mojtaba Akbari

Welcome to a new series of exclusive interviews on Siliconrepublic.com, where we learn the thoughts of Ireland’s IT leaders on tech trends and strategy. This week we talk to Mojtaba Akbari, who is head of IT at the K Club.Host of the 2006 Ryder Cup, the K Club in Straffan, Co Kildare, is also home to a 69-room and suite AA Five Red Star hotel, spa, swimming pool and health club, two full championship golf courses with a clubhouse, along with 197 private residences, all set upon a 550-acre site of woodland, lakes and grassland.

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UPC in exclusive deal with RTÉ to host new digital TV channels

UPC has reached a deal with RTÉ to be the only pay-TV provider to be carrying RTÉ’s new digital channels, including RTÉ HD, RTÉ +1, RTÉ Junior and later in the summer RTÉ News Now. UPC Ireland chief executive Dana Strong told Siliconrepublic.com that UPC will begin broadcasting the new RTÉ channels in April on its cable TV network.

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Samsung sells 20m Galaxy S II phones in 10 months

Samsung has managed to sell 20m units of its flagship phone – the Galaxy S II – 10 months after it first released the handset.The Android smartphone first launched in April 2011 and was released in Ireland at the end of May. The phone proved to be popular and sold 5m units by July and 10m units by October.

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YouPorn breach – hackers get away with 6,400 user names/passwords

YouPorn, which is one of the top 100 most-visited websites in the world, has been attacked by hackers who exposed the user names and passwords of some 6,400 users.It is understood that a third-party chat service caused the breach.

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3V brings out new pre-pay youth card

Irish electronic payments provider 3V has just launched a pre-pay youth card that’s aiming to be a type of money management service for teens, as parents can control and monitor how the card is used. 3V said it launched the chip-and-pin card after consulting with child protection groups in Ireland and the UK.

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