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It’s been a busy week in the world of tech. Of course, the biggest smartphone launch of the year may have had something to do with the fact that most of the headlines included the words ‘Apple’ or ‘leak’, but in other parts of the web, life went on. Memes were generated, Gangnam Style exceeded 163-million views, and journalists hit ‘publish’ on thousands of stories. Here are our picks for the best of the week.
It’s not just us — Wired’s Mat Honan also thinks the iPhone 5 is less than life-changing and may even be (gasp) “boring”. But it is also one of the best phones on the market. Huh? Honan argues that the massive expectations placed on Apple have skewed our view of the freshly announced iPhone 5: it has become associated with ‘revolutionary’ products, so an update on an already brilliant device has become a let-down. Unless Apple is challenged or advancements in technology are so great that its design needs to change, it’s only necessary for it to make minor alterations to its best-selling device.
The mysterious collective in Guy Fawkes masks is known for its mass-scale hacks in protest against everything from censorship to anti-piracy campaigns: but who are they and how do they operate? Carole Cadwalladr tracks down former members of LulzSec to find out more about how and why they became involved in the movement, and how the FBI managed to arrest the group’s 19-year-old alleged PR guru Jake Davis.
Hovering at just under one-billion monthly active users, it’s been said that Facebook’s dramatic growth can’t continue for much longer: it’ll run out of people on the planet with an internet connection. Fortunately for Zuck and co, there is a large untapped country called China which has the largest mobile phone market in the world and more than 500-million internet users. But it’s constrained by a government that blocks access to Facebook. In addition to that, the social media space in China is already pretty crowded — so if Facebook doesn’t make a move soon, its window of opportunity could be filled by weibos and ambitious startups.
The Financial Times takes the father of the web to lunch — and over an iced tea and pita, he shares what he thinks about how his ‘child’ has grown and adds his voice to the debate about the merits of an open web verses more closed ecosystems. He also touches on his latest project, the global web index, the development of mobile in Africa and what on earth he was typing away on that computer during the Olympic opening ceremony.
Have you ever dreamed about working for gaming and software distribution company Valve? This feature on the company’s unconventional way of doing business (it doesn’t believe in job titles or ‘management’) and its latest projects may make you want to send in your CV. From its decision to let its employees decide what they’d like to work on (instead of assigning them to a group) to its new augmented reality gaming goggles, the creator of Half Life and Steam is definitely not your average corporate.
A slick elevator pitch and an innovative idea could get you far — perhaps even the opportunity to pitch for a spot at Y Combinator. The seed funding program and startup accelerator is where DropBox, AirBnB and OMGPOP got their foot in the door, but as it has become more popular, it has become more difficult to make it through the selection process. This extract from his upcoming book The launch pad: inside Y Combinator, Silicon Valley’s most exclusive school for startups, Randall Stross explores the history of the investment group and why having a good team is more important than having a good idea.