Ex-Microsoft CEO helps Harvard double its computer science department

Ex-Microsoft CEO helps Harvard double is computer science department

Steve Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft, has made a massive gift to his alma mater, Harvard, that will enable the renowned university to double its computer science faculty by adding a dozen new professors. Ballmer tells The Harvard Crimson that he hopes the donation will help Harvard’s computer science department compete with its peers at MIT, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, and perhaps even Berkeley.

“Whether it’s biology, history, public policy, or medicine, the ability to help people get more done through computer science is an area where Harvard has the resources and the perspective across those disciplines to be a leader,” Ballmer said, adding that computer science “is the operating system for innovation at Harvard.”

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Microsoft will announce its acquisition of the creators of Minecraft on Monday

Microsoft will announce its acquisition of the creators of Minecraft on Monday

A rumor began going around the internet a few days ago that Microsoft was discussing an acquisition of Mojang, the company behind the wildly popular Minecraft. New reports suggest that the surprise $2.5 billion deal will be officially announced by Microsoft on Monday.

There are numerous reasons why Microsoft would be interesting in securing the rights to Minecraft, but some analysts and developers believe that the biggest reason for the acquisition could be related to Windows Phone, and how Microsoft could use the popular game to expand its Windows Phone business.

Minecraft is insanely popular, having garnered over 100 million players across all platforms, a significant chunk of which are on iOS and Android. Minecraft is, as of yet, not available on Windows Phone, but should Microsoft acquire Mojang, that will undoubtedly change.

“We don’t view this acquisition as a signal of Microsoft’s intent to double down on Xbox but consider it an attempt to better address mobile on a cross-platform basis,” says Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund.

While that certainly isn’t the sole reason that Microsoft could be interested in Minecraft, the company could potentially opt to create a version for Windows and Windows Phone that has additional features and benefits over those on iOS and Android.

Read more about the story at Reuters.


Game Makers could make greener consoles, but don’t

Greener ConsolesGreenpeace.org has uncovered disturbing information about Nintentdo, Xbox, and Sony Playstation. Their consoles and accessories contain materials that can be hazardous to people and to the environment. According to Greenpeace, there are greener alternatives available to make truly eco-friendly consoles, but they are currently not using these.

The dangers do not stop when the consoles are no longer used. E-Waste, or Electronic Waste, is potentially a greater problem as it is more likely to become an issue during the manufacturing or disposal process.

ArsTechnica took a look at the findings and had mixed feelings. While there is definitely evidence that the manufacturers should get together and share techniques to produce greener consoles, the popular blog still showed less urgency in the matter than does Greenpeace. [Read more…]