Microsoft this week announced plans to donate more than $1 million in grant money to the two schools at the Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez Learning Center in Los Angeles. The grant will enable the schools to equip their campuses with state-of-the-art technology and includes a $50,000 cash donation for ongoing technical support, teacher and student training, curriculum, and mentoring opportunities for students to learn about new careers, Microsoft said.
"We believe students can do amazing things when they have access to the right technology, tools and training that will help them build 21st-century skills to prepare them to be college- and career-ready," said Anthony Salcito, vice president of Worldwide Education, Microsoft Corp. "It is our hope that we can inspire the next generation of leaders to see the opportunity to compete for better jobs and improve their economic status by pursuing interests and careers in science, technology, engineering and math."
Both schools will have access to new software for all 420 computers on campus, including Windows 7, Office 2010, Microsoft Math, and Microsoft Publisher. In addition, the grant will provide new hardware such as seven new laptops for teachers, and three Smart Boards and seven Mimeo equipment packages, to create 10 new SMART classrooms.
Earlier this week. Gates and Buffett announced that 40 signers, including no less than 30 billionaires and other wealthy families, have signed on to the Giving Pledge, a program whose members have agreed to give away at least half of their fortunes. When you're talking about a group of millionaires and billionaires, that's a lot of green.
We know, we know, Bill Gates isn't really part of the tech circle anymore, or at least not in the thick of things like he once was. But c'mon, no matter what your opinion of Microsoft, you have to hand it to Gates for his charity work and the truckloads of cash he's raised for philanthropy. And assuming you're a paying Windows customer (or Office or any other products Microsoft offers), you deserve a bit of kudos on this one as well.
All in all, not a bad start for a program that's less than two months old.
We’ve heard of penny-pinching, but this is ridiculous. Given the option to – if they so desired – spend exactly one penny on six fantastic DRM-free indie games, 25% of downloaders still chose to pirate the bundle. The Wolfire Games blog explained:
“How do people pirate the bundle? When I say this bundle is DRM-free -- I really mean DRM-free. Not only do the games themselves have no copy protection (not even a simple serial number check), but the Humble Indie Bundle website has limited copy protection. That means there are no download limits, everything is reachable on the command-line with 'wget', you can resume downloads, and do anything else you would expect to be able to do with a personal download link.”
Here’s the kicker, though: the proceeds earned from the bundle are split between indie game devs and charities. Granted, Wolfire’s speculation that some groups of gamers opted to make one big donation and then distribute the games among their friends might be right on the money, but that doesn’t mean every mega-miser out there’s off the hook.
Fortunately for your guilty conscience, there’s still time to set things right. As of publishing time, the Humble Indie Bundle still had 12 hours of life left in it, which is plenty of time for you to fork over whatever amount you want for World of Goo, Aquaria, Gish, Lugaru, Samorost 2, and Penumbra: Overture. Plus, you’ll be helping sick kids! Karmatically speaking, that’s like earning one “Get out of Murder Free” card. (Unless it's used on a child.) What’s not to like?
Bill Gates is a many-faceted man. On one hand, his full-time job these days is to run a charitable foundation that provides vaccinations to poor children. On the other hand, he is still the Chairman and largest stock holder in Microsoft. There are times when he is called upon to comment on the tech industry and we see the old Billy Boy shine through.
In a recent chat with the New York Times, Gates commented on Google’s place in the business. When asked if Google was a monopoly Bill responded, “I wouldn’t call anyone a monopolist.” He went on to explain that Google was just in the club of “hyper-successful” companies that include Microsoft, IBM, and AT&T.
Gates seem unconcerned with Google’s huge lead in the search market. He stressed confidence in those working to increase Bing market share. As for Google’s recent confrontation with China, Gates affirmed his resounding indifference. “They’ve done nothing and gotten a lot of credit for it,” Gates said. To the founder and former CEO of Microsoft, Google has a lot to ground to make up before they’ll get his respect. He said in closing, “Now, if Google ever chooses to pull out of the United States, then I’d give them credit.” We’re sure Bill would love that.
Spreading word using the social web can be as simple as lighting a skyrocket’s posterior for a social-web veteran. Charity Water, a nonprofit focused on providing clean drinking water to people in developing countries, has devised a brilliant fundraising campaign using Twitter.
Today, more than 200 cities worldwide are going to witness Twestivals, which are basically volunteer-organized fundraisers. As is obvious from the epithet itself, Twestivals have been conceived to tap the viral potential of Twitter. Every Twestival “will bring together Twitter communities for an evening of fun and to raise money and awareness for Charity: Water.” The concept is expected to catch on with other nonprofits as well.
Those of you who can’t attend the event can catch the action live or pre-recorded on the internet. Also, there are several other ways you can donate to help secure clean drinking water - a basic necessity of life - for few of the 1.1 billion humans who reckon it’s a luxury.