NEW YORK (AP) — Thousands of female engineers, coders, self-described science nerds and other tech superstars joined a Twitter campaign this week to break down stereotypes about what engineers should look like.
As of Thursday afternoon, more than 75,000 people used the hashtag #ILookLikeAnEngineer to post photos of themselves and promote gender diversity in technology, according to analytics firm Topsy. The campaign started when Isis Anchalee, an engineer at tech startup OneLogin, got an avalanche of attention after her photo appeared in a recruitment ad for her company.
The ad features Anchalee, with long, wavy hair and glasses, smiling in a black T-shirt bearing her company logo. Many people could not believe that an attractive woman could also be an engineer at a tech company and assumed that the company had hired a model for its recruiting efforts.
"I didn't want or ask for any of this attention, but if I can use this to put a spotlight on gender issues in tech I consider that to be at least one win," she wrote in an essay on Medium. As such, she suggested people use #ILookLikeAnEngineer to post photos of themselves and redefine perceptions of what engineers should look like.
From the look of the photos, it's working. And it's not only women. Other traditionally underrepresented groups in tech, such as African-American men, have joined in too, as the campaign grows bigger each minute.
— Barbara Ortutay, AP Technology Writer
Facebook is launching its own live streaming service — with a catch: It's only for famous people.
The streaming tool, called Live, is part of Facebook's Mentions app, which lets celebrities, athletes, politicians and other public figures interact with fans. Facebook says Live lets public figures host question and answer sessions, make announcements or take their fans behind the scenes, all in real time.
Live comes amid the popularity of two live-streaming apps available to anyone, Meerkat and Twitter's Periscope. Facebook says it has been planning its service since last year, before Meerkat and Periscope launched.
The Live videos will be automatically published to the celebrity's Facebook page so they can be viewed on demand. The page's administrators can remove it, just like any other post. Although it's possible to save streams on Periscope and Meerkat to your phone, this isn't done automatically.
— Barbara Ortutay, AP Technology Writer
Blu-ray players capable of showing movies with super-crisp images will likely hit stores this holiday season.
Ultra HD Blu-ray players support four times as many pixels as existing Blu-ray players. The Blu-ray Disc Association will start licensing the technical specifications for such players starting Aug. 24.
Currently, content for Ultra HD TV sets, also known as 4K, are limited to certain streaming videos offered by Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and M-Go. IHS estimates that 42 million homes worldwide will have 4K TVs by the end of the year. In addition, some media players from manufacturers like Sony let you watch 4K video downloaded to it.
Spending on physical media has been falling, with U.S. packaged disc sales down 14 percent to $2.8 billion in the first half of the year, while subscription streaming revenue grew 25 percent to $2.4 billion, according to the Digital Entertainment Group, an industry consortium pairing Hollywood studios and manufacturers.
Panasonic demonstrated its Blu-ray player at the International CES gadget show in January and is expected to be among the manufacturers that'll have a model ready soon.
Expect bundles with 4K movie discs — though specific studios and bundle pricing haven't been announced yet.
Ultra HD Blu-ray discs will provide picture quality up to resolutions of 3,840-by-2,160 pixels (which is known as 4K).
They will also support high frame rates up to 60 frames per second for hyper-realistic motion and object-based surround sound, including the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X formats, though studios decide which movies get those upgrades on a case-by-case basis.
— Ryan Nakashima, AP Business Writer
The Federal Communications Commission has approved new rules designed to help people reach 911 and prepare for changes in home phone service as the old copper network that powers it gets replaced.
Companies such as AT&T and Verizon will have to let customers know when they're turning off the copper network so customers can figure out if they need to change services that depend on it, including home burglar alarms and medical monitoring systems. They'll give home customers at least three months' notice.
"Changing technology is not a rationale for stifling service or competition," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said during Thursday's meeting. "Changing technology does not change responsibility."
Another set of rules also mandates that when phone and cable companies sell Internet-based home phone systems that look and feel like an old-school phone, they must let customers know their limitations. That includes service going out when the power does, which can be dangerous in an emergency if someone needs to reach 911. Now home phone providers must sell backup batteries with at least eight hours of standby time. They will have to sell batteries that would last for 24 hours within three years.
Some consumer advocates are concerned that the batteries will be expensive for lower-income customers. Verizon sells an eight-hour backup battery for $40.
The rules are expected to go into effect in a few months.
The FCC also outlined procedures for next year's auction of "spectrum," the airwaves that let you make calls, use the Internet on your phone and carry broadcast TV signals. The government wants to shift some of these signals from broadcasters to wireless carriers as people spend more time on their smartphones and tablets.
If the auction works, broadcast TV stations — the ones you can watch for free with an antenna — could choose to give up their channels. Those broadcasters would receive a share of payments from wireless carriers like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint, with the rest going to the government.
— Tali Arbel, AP Technology Writer