Enterprise

NASA’s Curiosity rover team is exploring Mars from home

Redefining the meaning of remote operations

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People across the world are adapting to the work-from-home model due to the Coronavirus pandemic, including the team running NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover. Well, we can’t say they’ve shifted to working remotely since the rover is inherently designed to work remotely.

But the difference now is, instead of being run from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, it’s now decentralized and scientists are running it from their home.

On March 20, the rover’s operations were timelined while the entire team worked remotely. Two days later, the instructions they had sent to Mars executed as expected, resulting in Curiosity drilling a rock sample at a location called “Edinburgh.”

For many of us, driving is a herculean task. Now imagine, driving a robot on a completely different planet where the terrain is unknown and any mistake could cost hundreds of millions of dollars as well as years of research. The space agency has revealed how its team is managing the robot from a work-from-home model.

“We’re usually all in one room, sharing screens, images, and data,” said team lead Alicia Allbaugh. She further added “I probably monitor about 15 chat channels at all times,” she said. “You’re juggling more than you normally would.”

Previously tasks that were accomplished on high-end workstations are now being done on laptops and web services. They also shifted to simple red-blue 3-D glasses that work well for planning drives and arm movements instead of the specialized googles at the lab

Curiosity launched in November 2011 and landed on Mars in August 2012. It is part of the four rovers NASA has sent to reveal new discoveries on Mars since 1997.

Enterprise

Apple has been raided in South Korea

For alleged anti-market practices

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The troubles for Apple will continue. After spending a length of time fighting investigations all over the world for alleged anti-competition practices, the company’s offices in South Korea have been raided by authorities to further the investigation in the country.

Covered by Foss Patents (via MacRumors), the Korea Fair Trade Commission conducted a raid on the offices at the break of dawn. Authorities reportedly staged the raid after a developer complained of an unfair commission rate. According to the complaint, developers are paying more than 30 percent commission for having their apps on the App Store.

For a rougher breakdown, Apple still charges 30 percent. However, the commission includes VAT, which spikes the total fees paid above 30 percent. In contrast, Google’s 30 percent commission policy does not include VAT, which makes for a lower fee for developers.

With the number of apps on the App Store, Apple is making significant bank by skimming a bit more on commissions. That is, if the allegations prove true, of course. Right now, the company is still under investigation. But, if anything, a dawn raid isn’t a good sign for the iPhone maker.

Apple isn’t the only one in hot water, though. Google is also facing a similar controversy in South Korea. However, instead of the Korea Fair Trade Commission, the Kora Communications Commission is pushing for more parity between Google and Apple.

SEE ALSO: South Korea investigating Apple and Google for app payments

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Enterprise

Nintendo faces allegations of sexual misconduct

Company is investigating

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Working at Nintendo must be a dream for every child from the 90s. However, besides the naturally steep point of entry for prospective workers in gaming, everyone has to reckon with a pervasive problem plaguing the industry: It’s just not inclusive. Like other developers, Nintendo is investigating a flurry of sexual misconduct allegations coming to light recently.

A ‘frat house’

Earlier this week, Kotaku brought a series of cases to light straight from past Nintendo of America employees. One tester, whom the report names as Hannah, reveals a litany of inappropriate sexually charged comments. While some are focused externally, like discussing which Pokémon is the best to have sex with, some comments are more targeted, like saying that it’s “a shame” that Hannah is a lesbian.

Unfortunately, the problems for women in the company only start there. Other female workers have reported cases of stalking and unwanted sexual advances, including being asked what color their panties were during company events. One called the environment a “frat house” filled with men. Pay is likewise unequal, favoring more compensation towards men than women.

Reporting inappropriate conduct isn’t welcome, either. Workers have said that they were further mistreated after they spoke to higher-ups about their issues. Perpetrators have also threatened to have their victims fired if the latter reported it. Others have also been called “overly sensitive” if they said anything against the company.

Now, Nintendo of America isn’t the only one at fault. The company outsources a chunk of its workers, including the ones reporting the issues, from a contracting company called Aerotek, which has rebranded into Aston Carter. Nintendo and Carter are currently being investigated by the National Labor Relations Board for harassment.

What they’re doing

For their part, Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser (also via Kotaku) has stated that the company is internally investigating the claims. Previous, Nintendo has come out in support for those who reported the same type of misconduct in other companies like Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft. The entire industry is now in a reckoning.

SEE ALSO: Nintendo just bought its own animation studio

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Enterprise

South Korea investigating Apple and Google for app payments

In hot water

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Both Apple and Google are endlessly circulating in a maelstrom of controversy surrounding their respective app stores. Last year, app developers went up against the two giants for enforcing unfair payment systems against smaller developers. Since then, the issue has raged on. Now, South Korea is going after the two companies for the same problem.

As reported by Reuters, South Korean authorities, specifically the Korea Communications Commission, have decided to investigate Apple and Google for reportedly forcing developers into adopting payment systems inside App Store and Play Store.

Unfortunately, the report does not indicate what the companies exactly did to warrant an investigation. While one can easily cast it off as forcing the system unto others, it can also encompass a failure to meet the requirements on time. Google, for example, has stated that it has (and is still willing to) cooperate with authorities to resolve the issue.

Apple, on the other hand, has not commented on the issue.

Back in 2020, Fortnite, one of the most controversial instances of the issue, was expelled from the App Store and the Play Store for going against the margins demanded by Apple and Google. Since then, other apps, like Tinder, have also seesawed their way in and out of the issue.

SEE ALSO: Google is potentially banning Tinder from Play Store

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