• Red Hat announces DevNation conference

RALEIGH – Open source software company Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) will hold a cross-technology open source application development conference in San Francisco this spring.

DevNation, scheduled for April 13 to 16, will offer technical sessions, labs, expert panels, hackerfests and “birds-of-a-feather discussions” on a range of topics. Featured speakers include Chris Aniszczyk, head of open source at Twitter; Mike Minkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation; Jeremy Edberg, reliability architect at Netflix;James Strachan, creator of the Groovy programming language and Apache Camel, and co-founder of the ActiveMQ and ServiceMix open source projects; and
Gavin King, founder of the Hibernate and Seam open source frameworks and current Ceylon programming language project lead.
For more information, go to http://www.devnation.org.

  • Facebook to add new ‘trending section’

NEW YORK – In a move that echoes Twitter, Facebook is adding a feature to its service that lets users know the topics of discussion that are trending among the site’s 1.2 billion users, whether it’s the death of a world leader or the Oscars.

Users in the U.S., U.K., India, Canada and Australia will begin seeing a list of trending topics on the right side of their Facebook pages in coming weeks. It will be available in more countries later on.
Trending topics won’t be available on the mobile version of Facebook, but the company said it is testing the feature in its app for smartphones and tablet computers.

Facebook, which signaled last year that it would introduce trending topics at some point, said Thursday that the topics people see will be tailored to the user’s interests and location. On Thursday afternoon, two users saw topics that included the Academy Awards, American Idol and Republican Sen. David Vitter from Louisiana.

Unlike Twitter, which simply lists topics, Facebook’s trending section explains why a particular topic is trending. In this case, the 2014 Academy Award nominations were announced, American Idol named new judges and promised a new attitude and Vitter introduced a bill that would require people show photo IDs to make purchases with food stamps.

  • Apple CEO tells China mobile users ‘great things’ coming

BEIJING -– Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook promised China Mobile Ltd.’s 763 million subscribers “great things” after customers in Beijing asked him whether the iPhone maker was developing devices with larger displays.

Cook was at China Mobile’s headquarters store as the world’s largest carrier started selling the iPhone, concluding six years of negotiations with Apple. As Cook handed out autographed iPhones with carrier Chairman Xi Guohua, people asked him about bigger screens and the use of flexible displays.

“We never talk about future things,” Cook said. “We have great things we are working on but we want to keep them secret. That way you will be so much happier when you see it.”

Apple is hoping to tap the carrier’s users to climb from fifth place in China’s smartphone market behind Samsung Electronics Co. and three domestic makers, including Lenovo. China Mobile is betting the device will help attract high-end users to its new fourth-generation wireless network that began service last month.

  • Calif. woman cleared in Google Glass driving case

SAN DIEGO – A San Diego traffic court has thrown out a citation against a woman who was cited for driving while wearing the Google Glass computer-in-eyeglass device.

Commissioner John Blair ruled Thursday that Cecilia Abadie was not guilty because the code she was cited for requires proof that the device was in operation.

Blair found there was no proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Abadie is believed to be the first motorist cited for wearing Google Glass while driving. She was also found not guilty of speeding.

  • Islet Sciences elects pharma industry veteran to board

RALEIGH – Drug developer Islet Sciences, Inc. (OTCBB: ISLT) has elected Dr. Eric Barnett, executive vice president at Piedmont Pharmaceuticals, to its board of directors.

Barnett’s experience spans work as a life-science executive, medical doctor and chartered accountant. At Piedmont Pharmaceuticals, Barnett is responsible for business development and marketing. He has also worked at GlaxoSmithKline and at the predecessor company to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Islet is developing technologies to diagnose and treat patients suffering from metabolic diseases.

“Dr. Barnett has deep experience in the life sciences industry and brings to Islet a multi-dimensional perspective as both a medical doctor and chartered accountant,” Islet CEO James Green said. “As a medical professional with finance and business development experience, I expect Eric to make an immediate positive impact and I look forward to working with him as we continue to pursue our mission of translating great science into positive outcomes.”

  • Synergy Core completes SDN Global acquisition

CHARLOTTE – IT infrastructure and cloud technologies company Synergy Core has completed its purchase of SDN Global.

Privately-held Synergy Core was formed in 2010. The Charlotte company provides IT infrastructure and a broad range of mobility applications and workforce automation.

Synergy Core said the SDB acquisition pairs the infrastructure and operations of SDN Global with the enterprise applications of Synergy Core, enabling organizations to leverage multiple global satellite and terrestrial network delivery channels from a single provider while also gaining the capabilities and efficiencies from cloud-based applications.

Larry Jones, remaining founder of SDN Global has been named CEO and is now co-owner of the based satellite services company joined by co-owner James P. Burke of McKinney, Texas.

  • Sprint restores  ‘Easy Pay’ program

NEW YORK – Sprint is restoring the ability for customers to upgrade phones more quickly.

Sprint Corp.’s “Easy Pay” requires customers to pay the full price of the old phone before getting a new one with installment payments. The customer could then sell the old phone for cash. Programs offered by AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile take back the phone and waive remaining payments.

Easy Pay replaces Sprint’s “One Up,” which was more like rival upgrade programs. That was discontinued last week when Sprint introduced a “Framily” plan, which lets friends and relatives pool accounts for savings, while keeping individual billing and data allotments.

One Up required 12 monthly payments for the phone before an upgrade. Easy Pay requires full payment for the phone, but that can be done right away.