iFive: Iran’s Cash for Karzai, Digg Downsizes, South Africa’s Solar Farm, Apple and Unisys, 100,000 Android Apps

Have yourself an innovative Tuesday.


1. As Iran starts loading up its first nuclear reactor with fuel today, the U.S. government has started to voice its unease about President Ahmedinejad’s cash parcels to his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai. In the New York Times George Gavrilis speculates on what the cash is used for.


2. Graveyard jokes abound over the future of Digg this morning. Yesterday CEO Matt Williams announced that he was going to have to lay off 37% of staff–or 25 jobs–and told Mashable that the site was in “startup mode.” One of the more high-profile victims is Chief Revenue Officer Chas Edwards, who is off to a startup, and other tech firms are looking at the victims of the cutbacks with interest. Jay Adelson, the firm’s previous CEO, told a conference yesterday that he had no regrets about not selling the site, which still fetches 20 million unique visitors per month. Meanwhile, a savvy Digg fan downloaded a trove of data and thinks he’s discovered a conspiracy of sorts: “someone has created
dozens of accounts, in order to make sure that Digg’s publishing
partners get front pages on the site, so that those sites get Digg
referrals.” Isn’t that exactly what Digg’s advertising platform was built to do? Watch for more predictions about Digg’s future today.

3. South Africa has unveiled plans for the world’s largest solar power plant, reports The Guardian. When built, the 9,000 hectare site will be able to supply 10% of the country’s energy needs, lessening the country’s dependence on fossil fuels–at present, most of its electricity comes from coal-powered stations. However, as one in six South African households are without electricity, the real battle lies in bringing electricity to those lacking it.

4. Is this what Steve Jobs and President Obama talked about at their meeting last week? According to BusinessWeek, Apple has enlisted the services of Unisys in an attempt to up its sales to businesses and U.S. government agencies. Meanwhile, iPhone users may be interested to know that a bug in iOS 4.1 allows anyone with the know-how access to their keyboard and contacts even when the phone is locked.

5. Google has confirmed that the number of apps in Android Market has hit six figures. At 100,000, it’s still way behind Apple’s App Store total, which stands at 300,000, but big robots from little androids grow. And speaking of little androids, Samsung Mobile is launching a new device on Nov. 8 that, as well as rocking Android, has no less than two OLED screens. Woah! What does this mean?

About the author

My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S