ICYMI: 9 tech stories that will make you say, ‘Great Scott’!

21 Oct 2015

It’s Back to the Future Day today and, along with Irish students building a working electric DeLorean, there were several other major tech news stories today.

It’s been 30 years since the release of the legendary Back to the Future (BTTF) film starring Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd, but people’s obsession with the show has clearly not dissipated.

With Toyota finally releasing the Mirai hydrogen-powered car with much BTTF fanfare, every other the company under the sun – and even politicians – got in on the act, but in Ireland a small team achieved something rather impressive.

1. Belfast students unveil Electric DeLorean for Back to the Future Day

After rescuing a dilapidated DeLorean from a shed in Co Louth, a team of electrical engineers from Queen’s University in Belfast decided that the legendary Northern Irish car needed a new lease of life.

Effectively built from scratch, their electric DeLorean has turned the car from a gas guzzler to a clean and efficient mode of transport.

So, where can I get one?

2. Pivotal to create 130 jobs in Dublin and Cork in €100m investment

There was some good news for Dublin and Cork this morning as the Silicon Valley digital transformation player and brand shaper Pivotal announced it’s to create 130 new jobs in the two cities as part of a €100m investment over the next few years.

The move will see Pivotal expand its presence across EMEA and create a software innovation hub to help transform its traditional enterprise customers into modern software companies that can compete in the digital era.

3. Unconscious bias and bad branding can hurt employers’ recruitment prospects

Meanwhile, back in the real world, yesterday saw the launch of a Hays Talent Solutions report with Hays Ireland MD Richard Eardley identifying seven key components impacting recruitment, and where the pitfalls and opportunities lie.

The report has been described as a wake-up call for HR professionals who are facing the challenges of a changing market.

Where once it was sufficient to post a vacancy to a jobs board to source talent, new technology and a new kind of candidate have left some firms struggling to keep up.

4. We need to solve data privacy Rubik’s Cube – Microsoft

The rather undignified demise of Safe Harbour has created a void between the EU and US, with inevitable, impending investigations soon set for transatlantic IT companies. This is a Rubik’s Cube that needs solving, claims Microsoft.

5. Halloween asteroid to just miss Earth at a rather scary speed

Fear not, Earth people, an asteroid that’s due to whizz by Earth on 31 October will not kill us in a spooky catastrophe, but it is certainly going to get mighty close to our planet.

Only discovered earlier this month, the piece of space debris is 28-times the diameter of the Chelyabinsk meteor that exploded over Siberia in 2013, but will pass Earth at a distance of 500,000 km or what would be 1.3 lunar distances.

6. SanDisk to be taken over by Western Digital in $19bn deal

Western Digital are expected to announce the acquisition of the device and server storage giant SanDisk in a cash and stocks deal that is expected to cost the former $19bn.

Western Digital has said that, upon completion, the deal will likely add earnings in the first 12 months and will reach annual synergies of $500m within 18 months.

7. Facebook launches TechPrep, a minorities and women resource hub

To help underrepresented people in tech aim towards careers in programming, Facebook has launched TechPrep, a resource hub offering tutorials and aids to children and parents to help get them started.

While obviously applicable to any child looking to get into programming, Facebook is gearing TechPrep particularly towards children who have been, arguably, left behind or ignored to date in the tech industry.

8. We need to keep the web open and free, says Internet Association CEO (video)

In summing up the impact the internet has had in its over 30-year history, the CEO of the Internet Association Michael Beckerman said that there has been no greater driver of human and economic freedom than the internet.

9. Tap and vote as Twitter launches new polling tools

In the coming days, everyone on Twitter will be able to create polls and get fellow Twitter users to vote on any topic.

DeLorean image via Dave Lichterman/Flickr

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic