Weekend tech reading: Hiring collusion between tech giants, building a car that can hit 1,000mph

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collusion, cartel, bloodhound ssc

Revealed: Apple and Google's wage-fixing cartel involved dozens more companies, over one million employees Back in January, I wrote about "The Techtopus" -- an illegal agreement between seven tech giants, including Apple, Google, and Intel, to suppress wages for tens of thousands of tech employees. The agreement prompted a Department of Justice investigation, resulting in a settlement in which the companies agreed to curb their restricting hiring deals. The same companies were then hit with a civil suit by employees affected by the agreements. This week, as the final summary judgement for the resulting class action suit looms, and several of the companies mentioned (Intuit, Pixar and Lucasfilm) scramble to settle out of court, Pando has obtained court documents... PandoDaily

AMD is exploring a very interesting, more-open Linux driver strategy This week I was out at the Game Developer's Conference not with a focus on games but to learn about some changes they AMD currently pursuing for their Linux driver model. If this new Linux driver model goes through, the Catalyst Linux driver will be more open, but it's not without some risk. Read more in this Phoronix exclusive story. On Thursday and Friday of this week I was at GDC 2014 with a primary focus of learning more about what AMD's doing to improve their Linux driver support in an age where more games are being ported to Linux... Phoronix (also, GOG announces Linux support)

Japan used to rule video games, so what happened? Everyone knows video games are big in Japan, but in recent years the question has been whether Japan's still big in video games. "Japan is over. We're done. Our game industry is finished," said Mega Man and Dead Rising creator Keiji Inafune at the Tokyo Game Show in 2009, and five years on there’s no doubt that the country has continued to lose the grip it once held on the gaming world. Whereas the biggest games in the PlayStation 2 era came from Japanese franchises like Final Fantasy and Resident Evil, the most recent console generation saw blockbuster development dominated by Western games... The Verge

The pointlessness of unplugging The fifth annual National Day of Unplugging took place earlier this month. The aim of the event, organized by the nonprofit Reboot, is “to help hyperconnected people of all backgrounds to embrace the ancient ritual of a day of rest.” From sundown on Friday, March 7th, until sundown on Saturday, March 8th, participants abstained from using technology, unplugging themselves from their phones and tablets, computers and televisions. Many submitted self-portraits to Reboot holding explanations of why they chose to unplug: "to be more connected," "to reset," "to spend more time with my family," "so my eye will stop twitching,"... The New Yorker

Web pioneer keeps faith, and cash, in Bitcoin Internet pioneer Marc Andreessen is doubling down on bitcoin amid turbulence in the virtual-currency world, in a bet that widespread adoption of the currency will fuel the growth of new businesses and technologies. Venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, where Mr. Andreessen is a co-founder and partner, has made about $50 million of investments in the area -- believed to be more than any other firm -- from a $1.5 billion fund, the firm says. The Palo Alto, Calif., firm plans to invest hundreds of millions of additional dollars over the next few years from other funds, people familiar with the firm say. The WSJ (also, Bitcoin software updated)

Bloodhound SSC: How do you build a car capable of 1,000mph? Human beings achieved many 'firsts' in the 20th century. We climbed the planet's highest mountains, dived its deepest undersea trench, flew over it faster than the speed of sound, and even escaped it altogether in order to visit the moon. Beyond visiting Mars, it may feel like there are no more milestones left to reach. Yet people are still trying to push the envelope, even if they have to travel a little farther to get there. Richard Noble is one such person. He's spearheading a project called Bloodhound SSC that will visit uncharted territory on its way to a new land speed record on the far side of 1,000mph. Ars Technica

Targeting Huawei: NSA spied on Chinese government and networking firm The American government conducted a major intelligence offensive against China, with targets including the Chinese government and networking company Huawei, according to documents from former NSA worker Edward Snowden that have been viewed by SPIEGEL. Among the American intelligence service's targets were former Chinese President Hu Jintao, the Chinese Trade Ministry, banks, as well as telecommunications companies. But the NSA made a special effort to target Huawei. Spiegel (also, the NSA's effort to hack sysadmins)

Qualcomm, up close and personal: How the new king of mobile will keep Intel at bay At Mobile World Congress, there were few companies with a swagger in their step. The rapid growth of the mobile market over the last few years has created just a handful of winners, and a lot of losers. Intel, after one too many failures in the smartphone arena, seemed almost bashful about its mobile efforts this year. Nokia, no longer the massive power house of mobile tech that it once was, hid behind a cutesy Finnish facade that was no doubt designed to discourage body blows from journalists. ExtremeTech

We need to talk about unplayed games You hear the comment quite often 'I’m not buying anything till I clear my backlog’ and ‘I bought that game then realized I already owned it’ and ‘I bought the first one but didn’t play it, might pick this up…' This is nuts. Gamers are being played, played like a fucking piano, every time you see the word SALE. This is a big psychology trick that is being used to siphon money from gamers, and it’s a bad thing, and if we can (and I think we probably can’t) we should stop it. Here is why I think using deep discounting to sell games to non-players is bad: Cliffski

Wireless companies fight for their futures The setting was ornate, the subject esoteric, but the implications huge. The crowd that filed last month into the wood-paneled room 226 in the Dirksen Senate Office Building included lawmakers, lobbyists, company executives, and a few mystery guests -- a roster that reflected the enormity of the issue at hand: nothing less than control of the growing wireless market and the hundreds of billions of dollars that go with it. Verizon and T-Mobile USA were out in force, as were some of the most powerful lobbyists in Washington, D.C. Public Integrity

The future of brain implants What would you give for a retinal chip that let you see in the dark or for a next-generation cochlear implant that let you hear any conversation in a noisy restaurant, no matter how loud? Or for a memory chip, wired directly into your brain's hippocampus, that gave you perfect recall of everything you read? Or for an implanted interface with the Internet that automatically translated a clearly articulated silent thought ("the French sun king") into an online search that digested the relevant Wikipedia page and projected a summary directly into your brain? The WSJ

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