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Businesses

Recession, Tech Kill Middle-Class Jobs 586

Posted by Soulskill
from the middle-class-jobs-had-it-coming dept.
Un pobre guey writes "'To understand the impact technology is having on middle-class jobs in developed countries, the AP analyzed employment data from 20 countries; tracked changes in hiring by industry, pay and task; compared job losses and gains during recessions and expansions over the past four decades; and interviewed economists, technology experts, robot manufacturers, software developers, entrepreneurs and people in the labor force who ranged from CEOs to the unemployed.' Their findings: Technology has consistently reduced the number of manufacturing jobs for 30 years; people with repetitive jobs have been easy to replace in the past, and task jugglers like managers and supervisors will be likely targets in the future; companies in the S&P 500 have expanded their business and increased profits, but reduced staffing, thanks to tech; and startups are launching much more easily these days. The response to the article includes the dutifully repeated bad-government-is-at-fault and don't-worry-it's-like-the-Industrial-Revolution memes. But what if this time it's different? What if delegating everything to machines is a radical and fundamental new change in the course of human history?"
The Almighty Buck

Tech Firms Keep Piles of 'Foreign Cash' In US 427

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the hanging-out-on-rusty's-yacht dept.
theodp writes "There's a funny thing about the estimated $1.7 trillion that American companies say they have indefinitely invested overseas,' reports the WSJ's Kate Linebaugh (reg. or the old Google trick). 'A lot of it is actually sitting right here at home.' And if tech companies like Google and Microsoft want to keep more than three-quarters of the cash owned by their foreign subsidiaries at U.S. banks, held in U.S. dollars or parked in U.S. government and corporate securities, Linebaugh explains, this money is still overseas in the eyes of the IRS and isn't taxed as long as it doesn't flow back to the U.S. parent company. Helping corporations avoid the need to tap their foreign-held cash are low interest rates at home, which have allowed U.S. companies to borrow cheaply. Oracle, for instance, raised $5 billion last year, paying an interest rate roughly two-thirds of a percentage point above the low post-crash Treasury yield, about 2.5% at the time (by contrast, grad students and parents pay 6.8%-7.9% for Federal student loans). Were the funds it manages to keep in the hands of its foreign subsidiaries brought home and subjected to U.S. income tax, Oracle estimated it could owe Uncle Sam about $6.3 billion."
Google

Steve Jobs Threatened Palm To Stop Poaching Employees 270

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the asymmetry-of-financial-resources dept.
An anonymous reader writes with more news about the no-poach agreements that seemed to plague tech companies. From the article: "Steve Jobs threatened patent litigation if Palm wouldn't agree to stop hiring Apple employees, says former Palm CEO Edward Colligan in a statement dated August 7th, 2012. The allegation is backed up by a trove of recently-released evidence that shows just how deeply Silicon Valley's no-hire agreements pervaded in the mid-2000s. Apple, Google, Intel, and others are the focus of a civil lawsuit into the 'gentleman's agreements,' in which affected employees are fighting for class action status and damages from resulting lost wages, potentially reaching into the hundreds of millions of dollars."
The Internet

Why You'll Pay For Netflix — Even If You Don't Subscribe To Netflix 292

Posted by Soulskill
from the enforced-infrastructure-enhancement dept.
Velcroman1 writes "At the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, Netflix announced Super HD, an immersive theatrical video format that looks more lifelike than any Web stream, even competing with Blu-Ray discs. But there's a costly catch. To watch the high-definition, 1080p movies when they debut later this year, you'll need a specific Internet Service Provider. Those on Cablevision or Google Fiber are in; those served by Time Warner or a host of smaller providers will be out of luck. But regardless of whether you subscribe to Netflix, you may end up paying for it, said Fred Campbell, a former FCC legal adviser who now heads The Communications Liberty & Innovation Project think tank. 'Instead of raising the price of its own service to cover the additional costs, Netflix wants to offload its additional costs onto all Internet consumers,' Campbell said. 'That's good for Netflix and bad for everyone else in the Internet economy.'"
Open Source

To Open Source Obama's Get-Out-the-Vote Code Or Not? 356

Posted by Soulskill
from the changelogs-we-can-believe-in dept.
An anonymous reader writes "There's a battle brewing amongst Obama's election team. The political folks want to keep the get out the vote code closed source so republicans never get access to it, but the programmers want it open sourced so it can be improved upon. 'In this sense, the decision to mothball the tech would be a violation of the developers’ ethical principles. But the argument is about more than whether putting the tech back in the hands of the public is the right thing to do. "The biggest issue we saw with all of the commercial election software we used was that it’s only updated every four years," says Ryan. It was these outdated options that convinced team Obama to build all the campaign tech in-house. If the code OFA built was put on ice at the DNC until 2016, it would become effectively worthless. "None of that will be useful in four years, technology moves too fast," said Ryan. "But if our work was open and people were forking it and improving it all the time, then it keeps up with changes as we go."'"
Image

Three Low-Tech Hacks for Phones and Tablets 286

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-super-thin-phone-doubles-as-a-terrible-bookmark dept.
Bennett Haselton writes "Here are three hacks that I adopted in the last few weeks, each of which solved a minor problem that I had lived with for so long that I no longer thought of it as a problem — until a solution came along, which was like a small weight off my shoulders. None of these hacks will help impress anyone with your technical prowess; I'm just putting them here because they made my life easier." Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.
Bug

You've Got 25 Years Until UNIX Time Overflows 492

Posted by timothy
from the start-packing dept.
CowboyRobot writes "In 25 years, an odd thing will happen to some of the no doubt very large number of computing devices in our world: an old, well-known and well-understood bug will cause their calculation of time to fail. The problem springs from the use of a 32-bit signed integer to store a time value, as a number of seconds since 00:00:00 UTC on Thursday, 1 January 1970, a practice begun in early UNIX systems with the standard C library data structure time_t. On January 19, 2038, at 03:14:08 UTC that integer will overflow. It's not difficult to come up with cases where the problem could be real today. Imagine a mortgage amortization program projecting payments out into the future for a 30-year mortgage. Or imagine those phony programs politicians use to project government expenditures, or demographic software, and so on. It's too early for panic, but those of us in the early parts of their careers will be the ones who have to deal with the problem."
Music

Survey Suggests P2P Users Buy More Music 186

Posted by samzenpus
from the those-who-listen-also-buy dept.
elashish14 writes "A new survey commissioned by Google suggests that music listeners who utilize P2P filesharing services buy 30% more music than non-sharers. The survey also probed users' opinions on enforcement practices. Users were strongly against either throttling or disconnecting users' internet services, but the majority suggested also that search engines should block access. 52% of Americans also said that downloading infringing content should be a punishable offense."
Medicine

Researchers Explain Why Flu Comes In the Winter 129

Posted by samzenpus
from the cold-in-the-cold dept.
First time accepted submitter ggrocca writes "Using human mucus as a testbed for how well influenza virus thrives in different humidity conditions, researchers at Virginia Tech found that the virus survived best if humidity is below 50%, a typical indoor situation during the winter in temperate climates due to artificial heating. The virus begins to find itself at home again only when humidity reaches almost 100%. Unsurprisingly, the latter finding explains flu spikes during rainy season in tropical climates. Full paper on PLOS ONE."
Microsoft

Microsoft Going Its Own Way On Audio/Video Specification 215

Posted by Soulskill
from the you're-not-the-boss-of-me dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Several groups are currently working on specifications for plugin-free, real-time audio and video communication. The World Wide Web Consortium has one called WebRTC, rudimentary support for which is found in Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Back in August, Microsoft announced its own specification, CU-RTC-Web, because it thought WebRTC wasn't worthwhile. W3C carried out a vote to choose between the two specs, which came out strongly in favor of WebRTC. Microsoft went ahead anyway, and it has now published a prototype for the proposed specification. 'So what's Microsoft playing at, persevering with its own spec in spite of its rejection by the WebRTC group? The company's argument is twofold. First, WebRTC simply isn't complete yet, and Microsoft believes that working on its proposal can shed light on how to solve certain problems such as handling changes in network bandwidth or keeping cellular and Wi-Fi connections open in parallel to allow easy failover from one to the other. Even if Redmond's spec isn't adopted wholesale, portions of it may still be useful. Second, the company believes that WebRTC may not be as close to real standardization as its proponents might argue.'"
Cloud

Kim Dotcom's 'Mega' Storage Site Arrives 314

Posted by Soulskill
from the raid-helicopters-on-their-way dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After months of hype riding the coattails of the MegaUpload controversy, Kim Dotcom's new cloud storage site, Mega, is finally going live. After being available to early adopters briefly, it's now open to the public with 50GB of free storage and end-to-end encryption. Several outlets have posted early hands-on reports for the service, including Ars Technica and The Next Web. In an interview, Dotcom spoke about how Mega's encryption scheme benefits both the users and the company: 'The Mega business plan will be a distributed model, with hundreds of companies large and small, around the world, hosting files. A hosting company can be huge or it can own just two or three servers Dotcom says—just as long as it's located outside the U.S. "Each file will be kept with at least two different hosters, [in] at least two different locations," said Dotcom. "That's a great added benefit for us because you can work with the smallest, most unreliable [hosting] companies. It doesn't matter because they can't do anything with that data." More than 1000 hosts answered a request for expressions of interest on the Mega home page. Dotcom says several hundred will be active partners within months.' On top of that, the way it's designed will protect Mega from legal problems: 'It's all about the plausible deniability. Mega doesn't know what you're uploading. ... Mega isn't so much securing your files for you as it is securing itself from your files. If Mega just takes down all the DMCAed links, it will have a 100 percent copyrighted material takedown record as far as its own knowledge is concerned. It literally can't know about cases that aren't actively pointed out to it, complete with file decryption keys.'"
GNOME

SolusOS Forks Gnome 3 Fallback Mode 162

Posted by Soulskill
from the will-now-attempt-to-fall-forward-or-to-the-side dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Linux distribution SolusOS has forked the GNOME 3 'fallback mode' that the GNOME Project decided to scrap with the upcoming 3.8 GNOME release. According to SolusOS, the fork, named Consort, can 'maintain an experience virtually identical to GNOME 2, but vastly improve it with no need for hardware acceleration such as with GNOME Shell or Cinnamon.' It 'will bring back all the old features, such as right click-interaction on the panel, GNOME 2 applet support, creating desktop launchers, etc' and 'allow Python GNOME 2 applets to run natively on consort-panel.'"
Apple

iPod Engineer Tony Fadell On the Unique Nature of Apple's Design Process 193

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-am-so-great dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Often referred to as the godfather of the iPod, former Apple executive and current Nest CEO Tony Fadell played an instrumental part in Apple's resurgence. Recently, Fadell opined on what makes Apple's design process different from the rest of the pack. Fadell explained that a key and yet often overlooked, difference between Apple and other tech companies is that Apple ships 99% of the products that pass certain internal milestones. By way of contrast, during Fadell's tenure at Philips — where he was charged with overseeing the company's audio strategy — the iPod guru noted that Philips would axe 9 projects out of 10, even if a particular product was about to ship."
Transportation

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Grounded In US and EU 301

Posted by timothy
from the michael-crichton-did-it dept.
Some Bitch writes "Following previous stories that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration was to review the safety of the Boeing 787 and that Japan had already grounded their fleet, the FAA has issued an airworthiness directive which has been endorsed around the world with the fleets of all eight airlines flying the 787 now grounded. EADS (the parent company of Airbus) shares were up 3.9% at close of business." General Electric's call for more sifting of more data from more sensors might have some resonance right now within Boeing.
Privacy

FBI Responds To ACLU GPS Tracking Complaint 146

Posted by samzenpus
from the for-your-eyes-only dept.
Nerdolicious writes "Ars Technica reports that the ACLU has received a response from the FBI after a formal legal complaint was filed to release documents related to warrantless GPS tracking data. But, as you can see from the two memos the ACLU posted to its website, they have unsurprisingly been redacted to uselessness, consisting almost entirely of large black blocks covering full pages."

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.

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