Microsoft bets on Apache Spark to power its big data and analytics services — TechCrunch

Microsoft today announced that it is making a serious commitment to the open source Apache Spark cluster computing framework. After dipping its toes into the Spark ecosystem last year, the company today launched a number of Spark-based services out of preview and announced that the on-premises version of R Server for Hadoop (which uses the increasingly popular open…

via Microsoft bets on Apache Spark to power its big data and analytics services — TechCrunch

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The FBI is working on a tattoo tracking system that has privacy groups up in arms — TechCrunch

According to research unearthed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the FBI has teamed with government scientists to work on a technology system designed to track tattoos. In 2014, the Imaging wing of the the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) created the Tattoo Recognition Technology with help from the FBI. Among the group’s earliest…

via The FBI is working on a tattoo tracking system that has privacy groups up in arms — TechCrunch

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Robots add real value when working with humans, not replacing them — TechCrunch

In the popular media, we talk a lot about robots stealing jobs. But when we stop speculating and actually look at the real world of work, the impact of advanced robotics is far more nuanced and complicated. Issues of jobs and income inequality fade away, for example — there aren’t remotely enough robots to affect…

via Robots add real value when working with humans, not replacing them — TechCrunch

Firefighting drone serves as a reminder to be careful with crowdfunding campaigns — TechCrunch

And then there’s this: an Indiegogo campaign for the world’s first firefighting drone. As a lover of both drones and crowdfunding campaigns, I nearly wet myself with excitement. But alas. The campaign, it turned out, is a great exercise in how a little bit of basic due diligence should advise you to step away from…

via Firefighting drone serves as a reminder to be careful with crowdfunding campaigns — TechCrunch

NASA makes it rain with $243M in contracts to institutions and small businesses — TechCrunch

NASA is spreading the dough around like a pastry chef. Today the agency announced $50 million in grants to nearly 300 different recipients, from small engineering firms to big-time research institutions. And then it truly shelled out, awarding a $193 million contract to Universities Space Research Association in Maryland. Read More

via NASA makes it rain with $243M in contracts to institutions and small businesses — TechCrunch

Google is getting rid of the physical debit cards linked to its Wallet payment service — TechCrunch

Google is bidding “smell ya later!” to its Wallet Card, the physical debit cards linked to Google Wallet accounts. In a blog post, the company said it plans to focus instead on the Google Wallet app, which relaunched last September with a new focus on online peer-to-peer payments. Read More

via Google is getting rid of the physical debit cards linked to its Wallet payment service — TechCrunch