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The Week in Tech: Hostages in the U.S. and China Tech Cold War

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He declined to discuss the detained Canadians or Ms. Meng’s arrest.

In a way, Huawei is itself a hostage of larger conflicts. The company has built a globally respected brand. It has won customers by investing in research and development, providing attentive service — and driving its employees really, really hard. (I wrote this week about Huawei’s intense corporate culture.)

Yet to the company’s fiercest critics, Huawei is tarnished simply by being Chinese, and hence within arm’s reach of a government that conducts aggressive espionage against American companies and government agencies. For some people in Washington, it hardly matters that Huawei isn’t state-owned, or that the Chinese government has never asked it to spy on its behalf. The mere possibility is enough.

As part of this week’s visit to Huawei, we reporters were treated to a long presentation on the company’s processes for evaluating products for security risks. It was a barrage of details, earnestly presented, that I suspect would have zero chance of changing the mind of anyone in Washington about Huawei.

Here’s what else caught my eye this week:

■ My colleagues at The Times have produced another blockbuster article full of revelations about how user data is collected and shared by giant tech companies. Here are five takeaways.

■ The Wall Street Journal took a look at Apple’s near-total failure to win over smartphone buyers in a giant, fast-growing market: India. The iPhone is clinging to market share there of around 1 percent, and the company’s revenue in India is half of what executives once hoped for, according to The Journal’s sources. The country simply doesn’t have enough people who are willing to pay Apple prices.

■ Well, it was fun while it lasted. TikTok, the quirky short video app that is now a worldwide hit, has a Nazi problem, according to Motherboard. The app’s Chinese parent company, Bytedance, is no stranger to controversies about gnarly content on its platforms.

■ Finally, I urge you to read this profile of Donald E. Knuth, the legendary computer scientist who, for the past 50 years, has been writing “The Art of Computer Programming” — a multivolume, still-unspooling bible of its field.

Raymond Zhong is a reporter for The New York Times in China. Follow him on Twitter at @zhonggg

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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