Our tech coverage this week was bookended by stories about women. We started with a look back at the forgotten females who pioneered computer programming and ended with the controversy about a certain tech CEO’s insensitive remarks on women asking for raises. Oh, and Hewlett-Packard called it splitsville.
Coding Women: This was by far our most-retweeted story this week — and for good reason. NPR’s Laura Sydell, reporting on Walter Isaacson’s new book, The Innovators, focused on the often-forgotten women who were among the earliest visionaries in tech. They included August Ada, who had a computer language named after her; Jean Jennings Bartik, a mathematician who created programs for the ENIAC, the first electronic general-purpose computer; and Grace Hopper, who found a way to use words instead of numbers to program. Isaacson also discussed his history of technology with Dave Davies on Fresh Air.
Too Much Screen Time: Manoush Zomorodi, host of WNYC’s New Tech City, notes that people who work in the tech industry often regulate their children’s screen time. “They put very strict limits on the very gadgets and software that they spend their days developing,” she says.
The Big Conversation
Asking For It: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella really put his foot in it when he seemed to suggest that maybe women don’t need to ask for a raise — that they should have “faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along.” He quickly acknowledged his gaffe and admitted on Twitter that he was “inarticulate” in making the remark (which ironically came at a conference celebrating women in computing). As NPR’s Samantha Raphelson reported, the controversy renewed questions about the tech industry’s male-dominated culture.
Privacy Vs. Security: Apple and Google’s decision to use their mobile operating systems to encrypt smartphone data (even the companies themselves won’t be able to access it) is drawing applause from privacy advocates. But FBI and other law enforcement officials are warning that the feature will end up helping criminals. NPR’s Brian Naylor covered the debate.
Self-driving cars you can buy are perhaps decades off, but Elon Musk isn’t waiting for autonomy on the road. The Tesla chief announced that his company’s cars will begin offering an assisted-driving mode that will keep you in your lane, read speed limit signs and automatically detect obstacles.
The Washington Post: Cyberattacks trigger talk of ‘hacking back’
With so many cyberattacks hitting major retailers and banks, companies might be tempted to reach out and hit hackers with a bit of their own medicine. But there’s at least one thing wrong with that strategy: It’s illegal.
The New York Times: Hashtags in Titles Is a #Trend That Can Backfire
The world of marketing is becoming littered with hashtags and selfies. But experts on what’s really cool say companies hoping to be hip that way are trying too hard.