iFive: Yahoo Brain Drain, Dell Ditches RIM, Kinect Hacking, Clive Sinclair’s New EV, Foxconn Death

Thankfully it’s Friday, and around the globe some people’s final work day is well underway while you’ve been dozing. Here’s the early news:

Lots of engines in the news today–as this is published, NASA techs are busy fueling up the Space Shuttle Discovery ready for its engines to burn one last time. And Quantas’ boss is grumbling in the media about a possible “design flaw” with the A380 engines that resulted in yesterday’s emergency. Expect to see more about both in the news later.


1. More Yahoo execs are fleeing the coup: This time it’s CIO Michael Kirwan. He’s a veteran of VeriSign and several big-name banks, and his teams were responsible for keeping Yahoo’s infrastructure ticking over and fraud-free 24/7. Will Yahoo grind to a halt? Nope. But it’s a sign that the recent severe brain drain hasn’t stopped flowing yet.

2. Poor RIM–it can’t catch a break. Rival smartphone maker Dell is ditching over 25,000 corporate BlackBerrys to replace them with own-brand Win 7 (and ultimately Android) smartphones. The move will save Dell about 25% of its mobile comms costs, but it’s also about direct competition as Dell’s unashamedly admitted.

3. Calls are sounding to produce back-engineered open-source drivers to let Microsoft’s new Kinect toy do far more than gaming. Adafruit Industries is offering a $2,000 bonus to the first coder who can, but MS is already rattling its saber, mentioning “law enforcement” and “tampering.” Is it legal to hack a Kinect? Remember the old “jailbreaking your iPhone is illegal” fuss?

4. Forget the fuss about EVs: U.K. genius Sir Clive Sinclair tried to sell an electric tricycle 25 years ago–the C5. It famously flopped, damned as unsafe and “weird.” But Clive’s at it again: He has a new EV en route dubbed X1. It won’t break the sound barrier, but it does have an acrylic hood and a roll-cage.

5. Another worker at Apple’s Chinese manufacturer Foxconn has “plunged to his death” in a suicide bid–a headline you’ll see lots of today, along with mention of the 14-odd suicides at the firm this year. It’s tragic, but take the news with a pinch of salt: China’s national suicide rate is higher than Foxconn’s.

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