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Businesses

Ask Slashdot: Tech Manufacturers With Better Labor Practices? 375

Posted by samzenpus
from the best-of-the-worst dept.
First time accepted submitter srs5694 writes "In light of the recent flood of stories about abysmal labor practices at Foxconn and other Chinese factories that produce most of the tech products we consume, the question arises: Who makes motherboards, plug-in cards, cell phones, and other devices WITHOUT relying on labor practices that are just one rung above slave labor? If I want to buy a new tech gadget, from whom can I buy it without ethical qualms?"
Medicine

Scientists Study How Little Exercise You Need 437

Posted by samzenpus
from the i'm-tired dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Millions of Americans don't engage in much exercise, if they complete any at all and asked why, a majority of respondents, in survey after survey, say, 'I don't have time.' Now Gretchen Reynolds reports that instead of wondering just how much exercise people really need in order to gain health and fitness, a group of scientists in Canada are turning that issue on its head and asking, how little exercise do we need to maintain fitness and the answer appears to be, a lot less than most of us think — provided we're willing to work a bit. Most people have heard of intervals, or repeated, short, sharp bursts of strenuous activity, interspersed with rest periods. Almost all competitive athletes strategically employ a session or two of interval training every week to improve their speed and endurance. Researchers have developed a version of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that involves one minute of strenuous effort, at about 90 percent of a person's maximum heart rate (which most of us can estimate, very roughly, by subtracting our age from 220), followed by one minute of easy recovery. The effort and recovery are repeated 10 times, for a total of 20 minutes and the interval training is performed twice a week. Despite the small time commitment of this modified HIIT program, after several weeks of practicing it, both the unfit volunteers and the cardiac patients showed significant improvements in their health and fitness. 'A growing body of evidence demonstrates that high-intensity interval training can serve as an effective alternate to traditional endurance-based training, inducing similar or even superior physiological adaptations in healthy individuals and diseased populations, at least when compared on a matched-work basis.'"
Music

Sony Raises Price of Whitney Houston's Music 30 Minutes After Death 507

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-not-right-but-it's-okay dept.
First time accepted submitter M.Nunez writes "Just 30 minutes after Whitney Houston died, Sony Music raised the price of Houston's greatest hits album, 'Ultimate Collection,' on iTunes and Amazon. Many technologists, including chairman of the NY Tech Meetup Andrew Rasiej, suggests that Sony should be boycotted for the move. In a tweet, Rasiej wrote, 'Geez Sony raised price on Whitney Houston's music 30 min after death was announced. #FAIL...We should boycott Sony.'"
Open Source

Why Open APIs Fall Far Short of Open Source 163

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-due-credit dept.
itwbennett writes "451 Group analyst Jay Lyman opined in a LinuxInsider column that because of open APIs, 'non-open source software is often open enough.' Not so, says ITworld blogger Brian Proffitt. Sure, open APIs are an easy way for a small developer to 'plug into a big software ecosystem,' but it's a trap. 'If open APIs are the only connector to a software project, the destiny of that code lies solely in the hands of the owners,' says Proffitt. 'Which means that anyone connecting into the application will have to deal with the changes imposed from the top down.'"
Electronic Frontier Foundation

EFF Launching 'Patent Fail' Campaign 72

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-patent-for-you dept.
netbuzz writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has long been at the forefront of fighting software patent abuse with its Patent Busting Project, is launching a new initiative called 'Patent Fail: In Defense of Innovation.' EFF staff attorney Julie Samuels tells Network World: 'The project has three components: educating individuals about the problems with the current patent system, providing individuals with resources to deal with patent issues, and then exploring what the system should be in the long-term.'"
Science

Brain Implants Can Detect What Patients Hear 75

Posted by samzenpus
from the grandma,-what-big-electrodes-you-have dept.
kkleiner writes "A group of 15 patients suffering from either epileptic seizures or brain tumors volunteered to allow scientists to insert electrodes into their brains. After neurosurgeons cut a hole in their skulls, the research team placed 256 electrodes over the part of the brain that processes auditory signals called the temporal lobe. The scientists then played words, one at a time, to the patients while recording brain activity in the temporal lobe. A computer was able to reconstruct the original word 80 to 90 percent of the time."
Microsoft

Hotmail's Spam Filter: The Best In the Business? 182

Posted by samzenpus
from the let-the-flaming-begin dept.
Barence writes "Microsoft claims an "independent" report proves it has the best spam protection in the industry — an argument deconstructed by PC Pro. 'Our own internal metrics, customer feedback, and even a recent third-party report confirms that no mail service offers better protection than Hotmail,' Microsoft's Dick Craddock wrote in a Windows Live blog post earlier this week."
HP

Buy an Elite HP PC, Get Your Own Support Staffer 155

Posted by samzenpus
from the personal-touch dept.
jfruh writes "HP reversed its decision to spin off its PC business, but it's still left with the question of how to make money in a commodity business selling standard-issue machines manufactured overseas. One idea they're contemplating: improved customer service. If you buy an HP 'Elite' PC and have problems, you won't have to phone into a tech support call center where an entry-level drone reads off a script and tells you to reboot the machine; you'll have access to a specific support tech who will work with you as long as you own the computer."
Biotech

300k Organic Farmers To Sue Monsanto For Seed Patent Claims 617

Posted by samzenpus
from the corn-is-mine dept.
microphage writes "Monsanto went after hundreds of farmers for infringing on their patented seed after audits revealed that their farms had contained their product — as a result of routine pollination by animals and acts of nature. Unable to afford a proper defense, competing small farms have been bought out by the company in droves. As a result, Monsanto saw their profits increase by the hundreds of millions over the last few years as a result. Between 1997 and 2010, Monsanto tackled 144 organic farms with lawsuits and investigated roughly 500 plantations annually during that span with a so-called 'seed police.'"
Role Playing (Games)

Jeff Grubb On the Life of a Game Designer 23

Posted by samzenpus
from the thanks-for-all-the-pretend-time dept.
First time accepted submitter Synchis writes "Fantasy Author Thomas A. Knight continues his 29-day blogfest today by posting a special interview with Author and Game Designer Jeff Grubb. Jeff has been involved in projects ranging from the original D&D Unearthed Arcana and Monster Manual II, to more recent games such as Guild Wars Nightfall, and is also the author of various novels set in DragonLance, Forgotten Realms, Magic: The Gathering, Warcraft, StarCraft and the Guild Wars shared universes."
Open Source

The Unspoken Rules of Open Source Hardware 64

Posted by samzenpus
from the actions-speak-louder-than-words dept.
ptorrone writes "MAKE Magazine's article talks about some of the {unspoken} rules most/all the open-source hardware community seems to follow. Why? Because the core group of people who've been doing what is collectively called 'open source hardware' know each other — they're friends, they overlap and compete in some ways, but they all work towards a common goal: sharing their works to make the world a better place and to stand on each others shoulders and not each others toes : ) There will be some folks who agree strongly with what they've outlined as 'unspoken rules,' others, will completely disagree with many points too. That's great, it's time we start this conversation!"
Patents

Apple Seeks Court Permission To Sue Kodak For Patent Infringement 193

Posted by samzenpus
from the picking-through-the-bones dept.
First time accepted submitter yankexpat writes "The patent battles in the mobile communications space have taken another turn, as Apple has asked a court for permission to sue the bankrupt Kodak for patent infringement. From the article: 'Apple Inc. asked a bankruptcy judge for permission to sue Eastman Kodak Co. over allegations it’s infringing patents that Apple says cover technologies used in printers, digital cameras and digital picture frames. Apple said in a filing yesterday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York that it intends to file a complaint against Kodak at the International Trade Commission and a corresponding suit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan based on patent-infringement claims. The suit will seek an order blocking Kodak’s infringement, according to the filing.'"
Medicine

Doctors "Fire" Vaccine Refusers 1271

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-vaccine-neigh-keeps-the-doctor-away dept.
phantomfive writes "In a study of Connecticut pediatricians published last year, some 30% of 133 doctors said they had asked a family to leave their practice for vaccine refusal. Pediatricians are getting tired of families avoiding vaccines, which puts their children at higher risk of disease. From the article: 'Pediatricians fed up with parents who refuse to vaccinate their children out of concern it can cause autism or other problems increasingly are "firing" such families from their practices, raising questions about a doctor's responsibility to these patients. Medical associations don't recommend such patient bans, but the practice appears to be growing, according to vaccine researchers.'"
China

Foxconn's Other Dirty Secret: the World's Largest "Internship" Program 183

Posted by samzenpus
from the apprentice-slave dept.
pigrabbitbear writes "In light of a series of reports that have emerged over the years, one of many dark stories of suicide now points at one of the lesser-known but more unsavory aspects of Foxconn's much-criticized labor practices: with the help of schools and government officials, the company runs a massive internship program built not on voluntary education but on 'compelled' factory work for teenage students. According to Ross Perlin, author of Intern Nation."
AT&T

AT&T On Data Throttling: Blame Yourselves 406

Posted by samzenpus
from the reap-what-you-sow dept.
zacharye writes in with a story about Senior EVP of AT&T technology and network operations John Donovan's blog post detailing why customers with unlimited smartphone plans are getting throttled. "In an effort to justify its policies surrounding data service throttling for subscribers with unlimited smartphone data plans, AT&T on Tuesday issued a brief report regarding data usage on its nationwide wireless network. Senior EVP of AT&T technology and network operations John Donovan wrote on a company blog that data traffic on AT&T's network has grown a staggering 20,000% over the past five years. Usage has doubled between 2010 and 2011 according to the executive, due in large part to the proliferation of smartphones. AT&T sold more smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2011 than in any other quarter in its history. And because its smartphone subscribers use so much data, AT&T seems to suggest it has no choice but to put measures such as data throttling in place."

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