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Power Grids: The Huge Battery Market You Never Knew Existed

Joe_Dragon Build more nukes! (73 comments)

Build more nukes!

3 hours ago
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Dell's New Alienware Case Goes to Extremes To Prevent Overheating

Joe_Dragon Re:Ineffective advertising (143 comments)

but only 1 inside slot? with no choice for raid? also no E-sata

2 days ago
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Dell's New Alienware Case Goes to Extremes To Prevent Overheating

Joe_Dragon Re:Ineffective advertising (143 comments)

more functional this thing has room for 3 video cars and 5 HDD's maybe even SATA express.

mac pro 2 video cards that only fit in the mac pro. 1 pci-e SSD slot and no pci-e slots.

2 days ago
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Intel's Haswell-E Desktop CPU Debuts With Eight Cores, DDR4 Memory

Joe_Dragon Also why can't the DMI link be better in other cpu (171 comments)

Also why can't the DMI link be better in other cpu's

Why do have to now get an 6 core to use Hasswell-e to get more then 16 pci-e 3.0 + X4 pci-e 2.0 (DMI)

Most people may only need 1 Video card but with pci-e SSD's coming out more pci-e is needed.

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Best Games To Have In Your Collection?

Joe_Dragon Re:Pinball (377 comments)

typo

4 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Best Games To Have In Your Collection?

Joe_Dragon Re:Pinball (377 comments)

you forgot

RMF (Revenge From Mars Pinball)

TSPP (the simpsons pinball party)

LORT (lord of the rings)

Shadow

ACDC LE

Banzai Run

Batman (stern)

Big Bang Bar

Big Guns

Black Night 2000

Roller Games

CV (Cirqus Voltaire) With 2.0 Roms

Cactus Canyon with Continued mod

MM (medieval madness)

JP (Jurassic park)

Last action hero

DM (Demoltion Man) With the shear roms

IJ (Indiana Jones) (not the stern one)

JM (Johnny Mnemonic) Better then the movie

Jolly Park

Metallica LE

NGG (No good gofers)

Radical

Road show

Safe Cracker

Scared Stiff

Star Gate

Sopranos

Star Trek LE

Star Trek TNG

Addams Family gold

White Water

Xmen

and more

4 days ago
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Microsoft Dumps 1,500 Apps From Its Windows Store

Joe_Dragon ensure apps aren't confused = EA and others can (126 comments)

ensure apps aren't confused = EA and others can bully out other apps that are competitors to there own apps.

look at how bad simcity was now just thing how bad it can be for new apps / games to be the same way and they use the app store lock in to push out other competitors with better games / apps that do the same thing / are the same type of game.

4 days ago
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Fermilab Begins Testing Holographic Universe Theory

Joe_Dragon Re:Flip the switch (247 comments)

"Trying to cheat, eh? Now you die!"

5 days ago
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Comcast Tells Government That Its Data Caps Aren't Actually "Data Caps"

Joe_Dragon what about meter certification? (334 comments)

A lot of bandwidth meters seems to be off / charge overhead data / control data and even change for resend / people trying to hit your modem even if it is trued off.

5 days ago
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Comcast Tells Government That Its Data Caps Aren't Actually "Data Caps"

Joe_Dragon Re:Pre-emptive stance prior to 4K TV services (334 comments)

Comcast 4K?? they are way behind dish / directv and other cable co's right now as well being loaded with lot's of very old cable boxes still in use / and given out to new subs / people swapping out old failed boxes.

5 days ago
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Comcast Tells Government That Its Data Caps Aren't Actually "Data Caps"

Joe_Dragon Re:What's the max bandwidth of coax cable? (334 comments)

Comcast needs to move HD to MPEG 4 and that can free up a lot of room / add more HD and down the road get rid of SD channels that are also in HD and put the SD only stuff in MPEG 4 SD. Also maybe some SDV for the part time / overflow feeds.

There are some 1 GHz cable systems (not Comcast) Comcast still has some old 650mhz systems.

5 days ago

Submissions

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Paradox Announces Cities: Skylines

Joe_Dragon Joe_Dragon writes  |  about two weeks ago

Joe_Dragon (2206452) writes "COLOGNE, GERMANY — 14 August 2014 — Paradox Interactive revealed at Gamescom today an all-new city-building simulation game, Cities: Skylines, which will be coming to Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs in 2015.

Developed by Colossal Order, the simulation virtuosos behind the Cities in Motion series, Cities: Skylines pulls players out of the public transportation offices and grants them the power of true urban planning and development. From zoning to building, from utilities to beautification, and from taxation to outreach, players of Cities: Skylines will have total control in endless sandbox gameplay across massive maps – all with extensive built-in mod support."

Link to Original Source
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Family sues Uber for wrongful death

Joe_Dragon Joe_Dragon writes  |  about 7 months ago

Joe_Dragon (2206452) writes ""A San Francisco family that lost its six-year-old daughter, Sofia Liu, in a local traffic accident involving an Uber driver last month has now sued the smartphone-enabled black car firm for wrongful death.

On December 31, 2013, Syed Muzzafar was using the Uber app while he was driving but did not have anyone in his car at the time of the accident. Muzzafar was also named as a defendant in Monday’s civil suit.

Uber has previously argued that because Muzzafar "was not providing services on the Uber system during the time of the accident,” the company is not responsible. Andrew Noyes, an Uber spokesperson, declined further comment. He also did not respond to Ars’ question about whether the company’s attitude would be different had Muzzafar been driving an Uber passenger at the time.

Uber’s own terms of service attempt to absolve the company of all responsibility. This portion appears in all caps, unlike nearly all of the rest of the text.

        THE COMPANY DOES NOT PROVIDE TRANSPORTATION SERVICES, AND THE COMPANY IS NOT A TRANSPORTATION CARRIER. IT IS UP TO THE THIRD PARTY TRANSPORTATION PROVIDER, DRIVER, OR VEHICLE OPERATOR TO OFFER TRANSPORTATION SERVICES WHICH MAY BE SCHEDULED THROUGH USE OF THE APPLICATION OR SERVICE. THE COMPANY OFFERS INFORMATION AND A METHOD TO OBTAIN SUCH THIRD PARTY TRANSPORTATION SERVICES BUT DOES NOT AND DOES NOT INTEND TO PROVIDE TRANSPORTATION SERVICES OR ACT IN ANY WAY AS A TRANSPORTATION CARRIER AND HAS NO RESPONSIBILITY OR LIABILITY FOR ANY TRANSPORTATION SERVICES PROVIDED TO YOU BY SUCH THIRD PARTIES.

        . . .

        IN NO EVENT SHALL THE COMPANY AND/OR ITS LICENSORS BE LIABLE TO ANYONE FOR ANY INDIRECT, PUNITIVE, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, OR OTHER DAMAGES OF ANY TYPE OR KIND (INCLUDING PERSONAL INJURY, LOSS OF DATA, REVENUE, PROFITS, USE, OR OTHER ECONOMIC ADVANTAGE).

Being “hung out to dry”

Muzzafar, who is out on bail, is likely to face criminal charges, but the San Francisco district attorney has not yet filed those charges.

“[The civil suit] is the next step in this process,” Graham Archer, Muzzafar’s attorney, told Ars. “It was expected by everyone involved. It is the next step for the family on their road to recovering from this tragedy.”

Archer also pointed out that Muzzafar was an unemployed IT worker who had only been an Uber driver for a month at the time of the accident. He was using Uber as a way to make some interim income. Archer added that his client is a married father of four with a five-year-old child.

"It appears that Uber is willing to hang out to dry both my client as well as the Liu family," said Archer. "If [Uber is] unwilling to cover one of their drivers while he’s logged into their system, it seems that that would be hanging him out to dry because he would be potentially liable civilly for the accident and the fact that he was logged into their system at the time could jeopardize his personal insurance coverage and would deny the Liu family the benefit of Uber’s stated insurance policy.”

The 18-page complaint points out that Uber knew, or should have known, that when drivers are using the Uber smartphone app, they would be in plain violation of California Vehicle Code 23123. That code states, “A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking and is used in that manner while driving.”

Further, the complaint alleges that Uber knew or should have known that Muzzafar and its other drivers were in violation of a related provision in the California Vehicle Code forbidding the use of an “electronic wireless communications device” while driving.

Beyond the claim of wrongful death, the family is also suing for negligence and product liability, as well as negligent hiring, retention, and training, among other allegations.""

Link to Original Source
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Google+ Invite Lands Man In Jail

Joe_Dragon Joe_Dragon writes  |  about 8 months ago

Joe_Dragon (2206452) writes "http://www.fastcompany.com/3024452/google-invite-lands-man-in-jail
"For some, Google+ notifications are nothing more than an annoyance--a pointless disturbance from what many see as a social network "ghost town." But for Thomas Gagnon, an alert apparently coming from his Google+ account was enough to land him in police custody."

now how much info will Google have to give up in discovery? and will they try to hide under some EULA / NDA?"

Link to Original Source
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Electric car owner charged and jailed with stealing 5 cents worth of juice

Joe_Dragon Joe_Dragon writes  |  about 9 months ago

Joe_Dragon (2206452) writes "http://www.11alive.com/news/article/314666/40/Electric-car-owner-charged-with-stealing-5-cents-worth-of-juice

CHAMBLEE, Ga. — One Saturday in November, Kaveh Kamooneh drove his Nissan Leaf to Chamblee Middle School, where his 11-year-old son was playing tennis.

Kamooneh had taken the liberty of charging the electric car with an exterior outlet at the school. Within minutes of plugging in the car, he says a Chamblee police officer appeared.

"He said that he was going to charge me with theft by taking because I was taking power, electricity from the school," Kamooneh said.

Kamooneh says he had charged his car for 20 minutes, drawing about a nickel's worth of juice. Don Francis of Clean Cities Atlanta, an electric vehicle advocacy group, says the estimate of 5 cents is accurate.

"I'm not sure how much electricity he stole," said Chamblee police Sergeant Ernesto Ford, but he added: It doesn't matter. "He broke the law. He stole something that wasn't his."

Sgt. Ford says the officer should have arrested Kamooneh on the spot. But he didn't. Instead, the officer filed a police report. Then 11 days passed, and two deputies showed up at his house in Decatur.

"They arrested me here at about eight o'clock at night," Kamooneh said.

Ford said he sought the arrest warrant after determining that school officials hadn't given Kamooneh permission to plug in his car. Ford said Chamblee Police did so without asking school officials if they wanted to prosecute the alleged theft of electricity. A DeKalb Schools spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

Records show Kamooneh spent more than 15 hours in the DeKalb County Jail for plugging his car into a school's electrical outlet.

Kamooneh acknowledges he hadn't asked permission first. "When I got there, there was nobody there. It was a Saturday morning," he said.

"A theft is a theft," Sgt. Ford said. When asked if he'd make the arrest again, he answered: "Absolutely."

                                                                                                              ----------------------------

A 11 days later? and what about people who plug in phones / laptops? Will we start hulling them off to jail as well? What about homeless people who may do this just to get into jail?

Also what about at the airport lot's of people plug in there and lot's of airports are city / local government owned will they track you down and use extradition to have you come back? put out an warrant?

This seems like overkill and that is having the cop come to your door (much less the jail part) when a letter / ticket works better."

Link to Original Source
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Senators: Too much focus on college degrees

Joe_Dragon Joe_Dragon writes  |  about a year ago

Joe_Dragon (2206452) writes "lawmakers across the political aisle are in agreement that Washington must help emphasize that jobs training can be just as valuable to young Americans as a college degree.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/07/ron-johnson-student-loan-college-degree-94327.html#ixzz2ZPilCwY8

The IT field needs more vocational / hands on learning and not CS for IT jobs like desktop / sysadmin jobs. That can take up to 6 years for a 4 year degrees with skill gaps."
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Will Your College Go Out of Business Before You Graduate?

Joe_Dragon Joe_Dragon writes  |  about a year ago

Joe_Dragon (2206452) writes "Well over all the full College system needs to be reworked.

Why does it need to be 2-4-6+ years?

Why can't there be a more open credits / badges system?

Why are do some schools get prickly at about outside classes / credits?

Why did some states have to pass law saying that colleges must take community college credits?

Why are places like ITT and devry part of the college system and not more on there own without them being forced to go under the gen edu / other college system rules."

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Pre-orders in Progress for Cities in Motion 2

Joe_Dragon Joe_Dragon writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Joe_Dragon (2206452) writes "NEW YORK — March 19, 2013 — Paradox Interactive, a publisher of games and owner of bus passes, announced today that pre-orders are now available for Cities in Motion 2, their forthcoming transit simulation and design game for PC and Mac. Players can pre-purchase the dynamic strategy title now from the game’s new website, located at www.citiesinmotion2.com. Cities in Motion 2 is scheduled to launch on April 2, 2013 for $19.99.

As a bonus for all pre-purchases of Cities in Motion 2, early adopters will receive the “Modern Collection” DLC which includes additional trolley buses, trams, and a boat for water lines. The Modern Collection also introduces a new stop type, which allows trams, buses, and trolleys to share the same stop and allow passengers to switch vehicles with ease, and therefore minimize congestion.

To purchase Cities in Motion 2, check out www.citiesinmotion2.com/buy

This has a lot of stuff that the new simcity was missing and at the much lower price."

Link to Original Source
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Is your college going out of business

Joe_Dragon Joe_Dragon writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Joe_Dragon (2206452) writes ""I've been getting a lot of questions from high school kids asking whether or not they should go to college. The answer is Yes.

College is where you find out about yourself. It's where you learn how to learn. It's where you get exposure to new ideas. For those into business, it's where you learn the languages of business, accounting, finance, marketing and sales.

The question is not whether or not you should go to school, the question for the class of 2014 is what is your college plan and what is the likelihood that the college or university you attend will still be in business by the time you want to graduate.

Still in business? Yep. When I look at the university and college systems around the country I see the newspaper industry.

The newspaper industry was once deemed indestructable. Then this thing called the internet came along and took away their classified business. The problem wasn't really that their classifieds disappeared. It was more that they had accumulated a ton of debt and had over invested in physical plant and assets that could not adapt to the new digital world.

When revenue fell, the debt was still there — as were all the big buildings they had purchased, all those presses they had bought and the declining-in-value acquisitions. But the debt accumulated to pay for them never went away.

They were stuck with no easy way out.

The exact same thing is happening to our 4 year schools. You can't go to a big state university and not see construction. Why ?

Why in the world are schools building new buildings? What is required in a business school classroom that is any different than the classroom for psychology or sociology or english or any other number of classes? A new library, seriously? What is worse is that schools are taking on debt to pay for this new construction.

Think about this from a business perspective. Schools are seeing state and federal funding decline, as they should. Why should taxpayers be paying for another building?

They are seeing their primary revenue source — tuition, once a number that was never really questioned — becoming a value decision by prospective students. As they should.

Unless your parents are wealthy or you quality for a full ride or something close, the days of picking a school because that is the school you always wanted to go to are gone.

The class of 2014 and beyond now has to prepare a college value plan. What classes are you going to take online that enable you to get the most credits for the least cost. What classes are you going to take at a local, low-cost school so you can get additional credits at the lowest cost.

Then, with your freshman and sophomore classes out of the way, you can start to figure out which school you would like to transfer to, or two years from now, which online classes you can take that challenge you and prepare you for the areas you want to focus on. If you have the personal discipline you may be able to avoid ever having to step on a campus and graduating with a good degree and, miracle of miracles, no debt.

For the smart student who cares about getting their money's worth from college, the days of one school for four years are over. The days of taking on big debt (to the tune of $1 TRILLION as I write this) are gone. Going to a four-year school is supposed to be the foundation from which you create a future, not the transaction that crushes everything you had hoped to do because you have more debt than you could possibly pay off in 10 years. It makes no sense.

Which in turn means that four-year schools that refuse to LOWER their tuition are going to see their enrollment numbers decline. It just doesn't make sense to pay top dollar for Introduction to Accounting , Pyschology 101, etc.

Of course, the big schools are going to argue this all day long. They want and need your money. They want to tell you how beautiful their campus is. The social aspects of going away to college. The amazing professors they have. The opportunities they create. The access to alumni and sports. All were great arguments in 2001 when tuitions were still somewhat reasonable. They no longer hold water.

So back to the economics of four-year schools. Before you go to college, or send your child to a four-year school you better check their balance sheet. How much debt does the school have? How many administrators making more than $200,000 do they have? How much are they spending on building new buildings — none of which add value to your child's education, but as enrollments decline will force the school to increase their tuition and nail you with other costs. They just create a debtor university that risks going out of business.

There will be colleges and universities that fail, declare bankruptcy or have to re-capitalize much like the newspaper industry has and long before the class of 2018 graduates.

The smart high school grad no longer just picks a school, borrows money and wings it. Your future depends on your ability to assemble an educational plan that gets you on your path of knowledge and discovery without putting you at risk of attending a school that is doomed to fail , and/or saddling you with a debt heavy balance sheet that prevents you from taking the chances, searching for the opportunities or just being a fuck up for a while. We each take our own path, but nothing shortcuts the dreams of a 22 year old more than oweing a shitload of money.

Now is the time to figure it out and avoid the mess schools are creating for themselves and for those who take the old school way to college graduation."

why so much push for 4 year schools over time that will just become 5-6-7-8+ year plans we don't need that much time pure class room as well filler and fluff classes to pad stuff out.

The idea of additional credits at the lowest cost is a nice but some schools make you retake there classes some times just for the cash or you have to jump though hoops to move the credits.

We need to get out of the older system and have some kind of badges systems."

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Do we need information technology whistleblower laws?

Joe_Dragon Joe_Dragon writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Joe_Dragon (2206452) writes "after seeing the Ahmed Al-Khabez story and even stuff like some facing unauthorized access changes for reporting e-mail of people that worked at place that made voteing software / hardware talking about ways to fix the vote."
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My View: Predictions for the next decades of education

Joe_Dragon Joe_Dragon writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Joe_Dragon (2206452) writes "My View: Predictions for the next decades of education

Courtesy Mark HinesBy David Houle, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: David Houle is a futurist and author of the blog Evolution Shift. He is the author of “The Shift Age”, "Shift Ed: A Call to Action for Transforming K-12 Education" and "Entering the Shift Age." He has been a contributor to Oprah.com. Houle is futurist-in- residence at the Ringling College of Art + Design in Sarasota, Florida.

(CNN) — When people find out that I am a futurist, they ask me what that means. In speaking and writing, I act as a catalyst to get people, the market and the world to think about the future, then facilitate a conversation about it.

There’s one area that’s desperately in need of that conversation: education.

In the next decade, there will be more transformation at all levels of education than in any 10-, 20-, or perhaps 50-year period in history. Generational forces at play will accelerate these changes. The aging baby boomers — who I call the “bridge generation,” as they have bridged education from the middle of the 20th century to now — are retiring in ever increasing numbers. They have held on to the legacy thinking about education, remembering how they were taught. Their retirement opens up the discussion about transformation.

At the same time, we have the rising digital natives as the students of tomorrow. This generation, born since 1997, is the first that was likely to grow up with a computer in the house, high-speed Internet, parents with cell phones and often a touch screen app phone as their first phone. They are the first generation of the 21th century with no memory of the 20th. They are the first generation born into the information-overloaded world; for them, that’s simply the way it is. The digital natives are different than prior generations and need new models for education.

Let’s take a quick look for all levels of education to see what some major transformations will be:

Preschool

A child born in 2009 is one of the younger digital natives. In upper-middle class households, they are the first children for whom all content can be found on screens. They are using touch screen and other interactive computing devices starting as early as 2, and therefore walk into the first day of preschool or nursery school with a level of digital skills. This will spark greater use of digital devices and interactive learning at this first level of education. Classrooms will increasingly have interactive touch screen devices.

Neuroscience is in a golden age. We have discovered more about the working of the brain and for the sake of this level of education the development of a child’s brain in the past 20 years than in all time prior. It will become clear that, to the degree that we can bring this knowledge into pre-K education, we can more fully develop the minds and learning of young children.

K-12 education

The elevation and integration of digital interactivity is soaring in K-12 education. School districts are setting up cloud computing to provide always-available information for always-connected education communities. Schools that used to make students turn off cellular devices during the school day are allowing them to remain on and become an integral part of the classroom education. If all of the world’s knowledge and information are just a few keystrokes away, why make the classroom the only unconnected place students experience?

My View: Flipped classrooms give every child a chance to succeed

Self-directed learning — the interaction of the student with learning courses on a computer — will accelerate education and provide more students with the opportunity to learn at a challenging pace. Connectivity will bring the world ever more into the classroom and will allow for the grammar school and the high school to be more involved in the local community and the larger global community.

Higher education

Higher education is approaching bubble status. The costs have risen rapidly, beyond the ability of most families to pay. Debt is being taken on at unprecedented levels and in an economic climate that is not providing the high-paying jobs necessary for that debt to be retired. At the same time, employers complain of a skills gap: the inability to hire employees with the skills needed to perform these new technologically demanding jobs.

Given these challenges, I can see three major changes coming to higher education during the next decade:

First, there will be a dual level of degree granted. The traditional path, costing more than $100,000 with four years of being on campus, will continue. The nontraditional one, perhaps initially a certificate rather than degree program, will cost perhaps $10,000 to $20,000 and will rely on the taking of video and online courses and the passing of exams. This will allow the student a financially viable choice, the university with a new revenue stream and the employer with a comparative choice for hiring. It will also open up higher education to a vastly greater number of people, young and old.

Second, this comparative choice will drive the educational institutions to increase efficiency, adaptability and relevancy to the standard degree. The university model is centuries old and in need of transformation. This is about to happen.

Third, the two-year associate degree from a community college will become more exalted. This will provide trained job applicants who are less worried about being educated and more concerned with up-to-date training that will provide immediate employment. Everyone does not need or should go to college. The 14-year education will become more respected as our society becomes ever more technologically based.

We’re already beginning to see some of these changes, in the rise of MOOCs — massive open online courses — and the integration of tablet technology and cloud computing in the classroom.

In the past two years, I have met dozens of superintendents who are creating fundamental change at the local level. Such local leadership will increase dramatically in the coming year, while, in higher ed, the consumption of high quality MOOCs will double.

The year 2013 will bring about the first steps in a transformation that, by 2020, will leave education at all levels profoundly different from it is today.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of David Houle."

Link to Original Source
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Skills Gap? Employers and Colleges Point Fingers at Each Other

Joe_Dragon Joe_Dragon writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Joe_Dragon (2206452) writes "For much of the first decade of the new millennium, Samuel J. Palmisano and A.G. Lafley led two of the biggest names in American business: IBM and Procter & Gamble. By the time they were named chief executive officers, the two iconic companies were in need of the makeovers the two leaders eventually helped engineer. The two men have something else in common as well: They graduated from college with degrees in the liberal arts.

Palmisano and Lafley both credit their undergraduate education for their accomplishments. As chief executives, and now in retirement, they often talk about the inherent importance of the liberal arts to a successful workplace where creativity, problem solving, flexibility, and teamwork are paramount.

With the liberal arts "you get to exercise your whole brain," says Lafley, who graduated with a history degree from Hamilton College. "Inductively reasoning in the science courses, deductively reasoning in some of the philosophy and humanities courses, abductively reasoning in design. You understand inquiry. You understand advocacy."

Palmisano maintains that college graduates need a "deep skill" in some academic subject, but that depth in one area needs to be supplemented with other knowledge. "If you're deep in math and science or engineering, you've got to balance it with the humanities because you have to work in these multicultural global environments in the broadest sense of diversity. All religions. All cultures. All languages," says Palmisano, who majored in behavioral social sciences at Johns Hopkins University.

In survey after survey, employers seem to agree that the skill they most want in future workers is adaptability. Those who hire complain that they often find today's college graduates lacking in interpersonal skills, problem solving, effective written and oral communication skills, teamwork, and the ability to think critically and analytically. Employers say that future workplaces need those skills as well as degree holders who can come up with novel solutions to problems and better sort through information to filter out the most critical pieces.

So which college majors best arm students with those skills? That question has touched off heated discussions between those who advocate for the content of a practical major and others who think that the skills of a liberal-arts major are the best insurance in rapidly changing fields.

Employers are almost evenly split on the issue. In one survey, 45 percent of hiring managers said they preferred that students get an education that specifically prepares them for the workplace; 55 percent favored a broad-based education.

"Ideally, you want to do both," Richard Arum tells me. Arum is a co-author of Academically Adrift, the 2011 book that found that almost half of students failed to improve their critical-thinking skills in the first two years of college.

Arum says the field of study matters less than how much you work in the major. For instance, mathematics and science majors don't write or read much for their classes, but they show gains in critical thinking because they spend the most hours studying. "It doesn't matter what these students focus on," Arum says, "as long as they focus on it in a rigorous way."

It is easy for Palmisano and Lafley to advocate hiring people with liberal-arts degrees. IBM and Proctor & Gamble are well known for their training programs. Take smart college graduates, put them through apprenticeships, and of course it doesn't really matter what they majored in.

But most companies are not like IBM and Proctor & Gamble. Corporate training has largely disappeared, along with the recruiters whose job it was to locate the best candidates for those programs, argues Peter Cappelli, a professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and author of Why Good People Can't Get Jobs (click on the link to get a free e-book copy this week).

Cappelli tells me that while corporate CEOs might say they favor applicants with a broad education at the foundation, those leaders are largely removed from the hiring process. The people on the front lines of hiring these days are lower-level managers who want jobs filled by people who can do the work immediately.

"This plays on the prejudices of the hiring manager," he says. "If they think they need someone with a master's degree, they'll ask for that. If they think it will take too long to train a liberal-arts graduate, they will toss those applications aside. All without evidence of what's really needed to do the job."

Those who hire also receive their initial pool of candidates through a screening process that has largely been taken out of human hands with automated software that scans applications and resumés for certain keywords. "They can't imagine the job skills or experiences you don't program into them," including nontechnical degrees, Cappelli says.

It's unlikely that the technology used in hiring will be jettisoned anytime soon, so what can be done?

First, employers who overrely on such technology and then complain they can't find qualified people to fill jobs should take a page from how some of the most admired companies hire and realize that they are passing over potentially skilled employees when they cut corners.

Second, colleges need to better prepare students for the transition from school to work. It's not just courses on figuring out how to get a job or manage a career, but real work experiences need to be created for students through co-ops or postgraduate internships where they can apply their knowledge and continue to learn.

Third, we need to bring back the idea of the apprenticeship, especially in manufacturing. Cappelli notes in his book that, for 12 million manufacturing jobs in the United States now, there are only 18,000 apprentices. Apprenticeships would take some of the pressure off the squeezed community-college systems in many states and reduce the loan burden for students. Apprenticeships would also help employers who complain about the lack of skilled labor and the coming wave of retirements in manufacturing.

And finally, at the four-year level, we need stronger connections between colleges and employers. Right now, employers see themselves as detached consumers of what colleges produce, and academics are sometimes hostile to the notion that they are simply training students for jobs.

One small example of what could be done comes from Minnesota, where CEOs and college leaders — including Brian C. Rosenberg, president of Macalester College (a liberal-arts institution) — have teamed up to figure out how to better align academic programs with work-force needs.

At the University of Pennsylvania, Cappelli notes that the best students, regardless of major, mostly go on to work at investment banks and consulting firms because they recruit heavily and have intensive training programs (of course, the pay is a big attraction too).

One could argue that those two industries provide important services but not much value to expand the economy for the future. But just imagine if more companies provided the training that the banks and consultants do. Perhaps then we'd have fewer people worrying about the demise of the liberal arts."

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Innovative Harper College manufacturing program spreading statewide

Joe_Dragon Joe_Dragon writes  |  about 2 years ago

Joe_Dragon (2206452) writes ""The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded $12.9 million in federal funding to expand Harper College’s new Advanced Manufacturing program to schools across Illinois, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said Thursday.

The Palatine community college, in collaboration with regional manufacturers, launched its Advanced Manufacturing program this semester to help replenish the pipeline of skilled workers. A recent Manufacturing Institute report found that U.S. companies can’t fill an estimated 600,000 positions in the advanced manufacturing sector.
Related articles
Romney hails Harper, business partnership in Elk Grove Harper College manufacturing program leaders in D.C. Manufacturing making slow resurgence in the suburbs Harper officially announces Advanced Manufacturing program Harper, manufacturers team to replenish pipeline of skilled workers

“Harper Community College’s Advanced Manufacturing Degree and Training Program is a great example of an innovative partnership that is putting people back to work, filling critical shortages at growing businesses and manufacturers, and spurring local economic development,” Durbin said in a statement. “I was pleased to welcome the program’s representatives to Washington earlier this year to hear them share their experience and discuss how to apply their successful practices to other communities, which is exactly what this funding will allow them to do.”

Harper President Ken Ender said the college was among 54 institutions selected for the Department of Labor’s $2 billion Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant, a four-year initiative to support partnerships between community colleges and employers.

Harper’s program offers industry-endorsed skills certificates and paid internships with local manufacturers. It’s also designed to encourage younger students to consider a manufacturing career by offering college credit to high school students.

Harper, which will receive about $600,000 for program support, will act as the lead institution and manage the distribution of funds. Each school will offer the same advanced manufacturing degree at identical tuition rates, though the certification specialties may vary.

Some money will be used to purchase a mobile lab to introduce elementary school students to manufacturing, as well as develop a statewide job placement system. There’s also an accountability factor, as Harper must analyze the grant’s effectiveness.

“On behalf of our manufacturing and community college partners, we are very pleased to be awarded this grant which will help train workers for 21st century jobs throughout Illinois,” Ender said. “These aren’t stereotypical factories anymore. It’s high-tech manufacturing using state-of-the-art equipment that requires good math and computer skills as well as critical thinking. We believe our fast track curriculum combined with paid internships will help provide manufacturers with the workers they need in order to grow and thrive in a global economy.”

The program will expand to about 20 community colleges, including College of Lake County, College of DuPage, Oakton Community College, Elgin Community College, McHenry County College, Triton College and Waubonsee Community College."

Now something like is needed for more jobs like jobs in the IT field that need on the job learning and not just years of pure class room with a big skills gap."

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college is no place for remedial education

Joe_Dragon Joe_Dragon writes  |  about 2 years ago

Joe_Dragon (2206452) writes ""More than 2 million U.S. college students this fall will be spending a good bit of their time reviewing what they were supposed to learn in high school or even earlier. They are taking “remedial” education courses.

A recent study issued by ACT Inc., a testing organization measuring “college readiness,” found that less than one-third of graduating high-school seniors met benchmark standards for science, and a majority failed to meet them for math. Even in English and reading, a large minority of students were below a level that would mostly earn a grade of C or better in college- level work.

The results are depressing. In science, most students don’t come close (within three points) of meeting the ACT benchmark standards. Yes, it is often pointed out, some population groups are less prepared than others: Only 5 percent of black students meet all four ACT criteria. But for white students, for every high-school graduate who meets the benchmarks, there are two who don’t. The student at least partially unprepared for college is the rule, not the exception.

To deal with the dismal preparation of many high-school students, colleges expand “remedial” courses in subjects such as math and English. The problem is that these courses do a bad job of correcting these deficiencies, even if you don’t believe that test scores are the most reliable way to determine college readiness.
Broken System

Complete College America, a group promoting better college academic success rates, concluded in a recent study that “remediation is a broken system.”

It is a big broken system. Most students entering community colleges are enrolled in at least one remedial course, while at four-year schools about a fifth of all students are. The study estimates that fewer than 10 percent of those entering remedial courses at community (two-year) colleges graduate within three years, and almost 65 percent of those at four-year institutions have no degree within six years (compared with about 44 percent for students not taking remedial courses). At a typical university, the people who teach the remedial courses most likely aren’t star professors known for their ability to make complex concepts clear; more often they’re lowly paid adjunct instructors or graduate students.

What to do? We know that high-school education in the U.S. is subpar by international standards, and that several decades of reform efforts have had only modest effects. Public education needs more competition and choice, and barriers to change — such as outmoded teaching seniority rules and nonmerit compensation structures — need to be removed. Coordination between those who determine high-school curriculums and college faculty who know what students need to be well-prepared is often nonexistent.

The challenge is to force colleges to face their own responsibility. Administrators will note that remedial college classes have existed for as long as there has been higher education in the U.S. But they should be ashamed of their role in protecting these failed programs for decades. One remedial education professor called it “a silent contract of fraud.”

Complete College America favors ditching most remedial courses and putting subpar students into regular classes — but with “just in time” tutoring that helps students master the relatively advanced materials taught in college survey courses. This approach may not work, but testing its effectiveness is worthwhile.
Dropout Costs

The bigger problem is that colleges admit students unlikely to succeed in the first place. Taking in subpar students leads to a “dumbing-down” of the curriculum for everyone. That may be why studies (such as “Academically Adrift” by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa) found little evidence that students were learning a whole lot or mastering critical-thinking skills in their college years.

U.S. colleges should not take hundreds of thousands of ill- prepared students and put them through ineffective remedial- education programs only to see them fail to graduate while running up significant college-loan debt. Instead, they should be encouraged — through the tightening of federal loan policies and other accountability incentives — to become more selective in their admission practices and reject students who show on tests, such as the ACT readiness exams, that they are not ready for college work.

Many of these academically marginal students might excel in non-college-degree vocational programs that teach skills in relatively high-demand jobs, which pay reasonably well. In today’s economy, why is a bachelor’s degree in marketing more valuable than training in high-tech manufacturing?

If the desire to give everyone a shot at the American dream trumps all of these arguments, however, at least consider outsourcing remedial teaching. There are for-profit companies that have provided supplemental learning to high-school students for years. Tie part of their compensation to college-performance improvements shown by the students in their programs.

Colleges aren’t geared to teaching secondary education to marginal students. This work should be handled by specialists with some track record. The young people stuck in this dysfunctional system deserve better than what they are getting.

(Richard Vedder directs the Center for College Affordability and Productivity and teaches economics at Ohio University. The opinions expressed are his own.)

Read more opinion online from Bloomberg View. Subscribe to receive a daily e-mail highlighting new View editorials, columns and op-ed articles.

Today’s highlights: the editors on a bolder plan to revive the housing market and on Somalia’s new president; Margaret Carlson on Republican efforts to suppress the vote; Clive Crook on why Germany’s currency nostalgia is off the mark; Peter Orszag on the money wasted in health care; Amity Shlaes on why Hoover haunts Romney but not Ryan.

To contact the writer of this article: Richard Vedder at vedder@ohio.edu.

To contact the editor responsible for this article: Katy Roberts at kroberts29@bloomberg.net. "

The IT field needs non-college-degree vocational programs

Even places like MIT doesn't train people to do most of the day to day IT work and even some stuff like database work or data center work. Well they may teach more of high level theory stuff with skill gaps at the lower levels that you need to know to do IT work. And it comes with the full load of well rounded filler and fluff.

The tech schools do tech needed skills but it they can fall under the that's nice but it's not college trap and the ones that do offer degrees seem to get a bad rap.
That may be from them be jammed in to the degree system.

We also have places like tribeca flashpoint that are good but are only 2 years places so then you have the issues of people with the needed skills but they don't have a 4 year degree so they may not be able to get a job say running master control at a tv channel as they don't have a BA / BS in communications.

So why have people who are not cut out for college but can learn all the needed skills and more in half the time but some how some one with alot more book learning and a big real work skills gap is a better fit for the job?"

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Harvard: Dozens of students may have cheated

Joe_Dragon Joe_Dragon writes  |  about 2 years ago

Joe_Dragon (2206452) writes ""Harvard: Dozens of students may have cheated
By JAY LINDSAY | Associated Press – 12 hrs ago

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        People are led on a tour group at the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. Dozens of Harvard University students are being investigated for cheating after school officials discovered evidence they may have wrongly shared answers or plagiarized on a final exam. Harvard officials on Thursday didn't release the class subject, the students' names, or specifically how many are being investigated. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)Enlarge Photo

        Associated Press/Elise Amendola — People are led on a tour group at the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. Dozens of Harvard University students are being investigated more

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        Pedestrians walk through a gate on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. Dozens of Harvard University students are being investigated for cheating after school officials discovered evidence they may have wrongly shared answers or plagiarized on a final exam. Harvard officials on Thursday didn't release the class subject, the students' names, or specifically how many are being investigated. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)Enlarge Photo

        Pedestrians walk through a gate
        People sit on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. Dozens of Harvard University students are being investigated for cheating after school officials discovered evidence they may have wrongly shared answers or plagiarized on a final exam. Harvard officials on Thursday didn't release the class subject, the students' names, or specifically how many are being investigated. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)Enlarge Photo

        People sit on the campus of Harvard

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Harvard University is investigating whether dozens of undergraduate students cheated on a take-home exam last spring.

School officials said they discovered students may have shared answers or plagiarized on a final exam. They declined to release the name of the class, the students' names or the exact number being investigated, citing privacy laws.

The undergraduate class had a minimum of 250 students and possible cheating was discovered in roughly half the take-home exams, university officials said Thursday.

"These allegations, if proven, represent totally unacceptable behavior that betrays the trust upon which intellectual inquiry at Harvard depends," President Drew Faust said.

A Harvard spokesman said he knows of no incidents in recent memory of possible cheating at the university on this scale.

Each student whose work is in question has been called to appear before a subcommittee of the Harvard College Administrative Board, which reviews issues of academic integrity, said Jay M. Harris, dean of undergraduate education. He emphasized that none of the allegations has been proven and said there's no evidence of widespread cheating at Harvard.

"The facts that are before us are that we have a problem in this one course," Harris said. "I hope that doesn't sound overly naive, I don't want to be naive, but this is what we have. The rest would be speculation.

"Looking at the students we have and the work that they do, I would be loathe to say this is something that represents Harvard students generally."

[Related: Yale president Levin stepping down after 20 years]

The spring course included undergraduates at all class levels, Harris said. A teaching assistant noticed some possible problems on the tests, including evidence that students collaborated on answers or used the same long, identical strings of words. The exam had clear instructions that no collaboration was allowed, Harris said.

The assistant notified the professor, who referred the case in May to the administrative board. After interviewing some students, the board found what Harris characterized as "cause for concern."

Depending on the offense, the punishments range from an admonition, a sort of warning for a first offense, to being forced to withdraw from Harvard for a year. It wasn't immediately clear what sanctions any student who has graduated may face.

[Related: Paterno family adjusts to new era at Penn State]

There's no timeline for when the investigation will be finished, Harris said.

Michael Zimmet, a freshman from Aspen, Colo., said news of the investigation was surprising.

"You think of Harvard as somewhere where people are academically honest and interested in their course work," he said.

Tiffany Fonseca, a sophomore from Boston, said she didn't know the details of what happened, but that it was easy to see how students could talk to each other about a take-home test.

"I'm kind of shocked, but I'm not," she said.

In response to the allegations, a Harvard committee led by Harris will present recommendations on how to enforce faculty-wide expectations of academic honesty.

Teresa Fishman of the International Center for Academic Integrity at Clemson University said it is not surprising that Harvard isn't immune to possible cheating. She said 20 years of data shows that a quarter to a third of students across all levels of collegiate education admit cheating on tests."

"The facts that are before us are that we have a problem in this one course,"

Now is there a issues with the class like say the test covers stuff that is not covered in class room?
Is it a filler class??

I once had this professor who teached a "Filler Art history class"

and we said he had student or students who would have papers that where like art is great. But for the final they turned in a paper copied from online website about how art theft in the middle ages affected prices of art."

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'The Status Quo Is Not Working'

Joe_Dragon Joe_Dragon writes  |  about 2 years ago

Joe_Dragon (2206452) writes "‘The Status Quo Is Not Working’

August 28, 2012, 9:55 pm

By Michael Stratford

Tampa, Fla.— Republican delegates here formally approved on Tuesday a party platform that outlines several policy goals affecting higher education, including calls for expanding alternatives to traditional colleges, increasing private-sector participation in student loans, and combating liberal bias at public institutions.

“The status quo is not working” when it comes to dealing with the rising cost of college, the document says, lending support to new learning systems that compete with traditional four-year colleges.

Those alternative programs include “community colleges and technical institutions, private training schools, online universities, life-long learning, and work-based learning in the private sector.”

In addition, students and their families ought to be armed with better information about colleges—such as degree-completion rates, loan-repayment rates, and future earnings—to make choices about their higher education, the document says.

The platform says that “federal student aid is on an unsustainable path” and appears to support an end to the federal direct-loan program.

“The federal government should not be in the business of originating student loans,” the document says. “However, it should serve as an insurance guarantor for the private sector as they offer loans to students.”

That return to a bank-based lending program, which Congress ended in 2010, is also a component of Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s education plan. Both Mr. Romney’s education position paper and the Republican platform call for increased private-sector participation in financing higher education.

Republicans also expressed concern about a liberal “ideological bias” that is “deeply entrenched within the current university system.”

At public institutions, trustees “have a responsibility to the public to ensure that their enormous investment is not abused for political indoctrination,” the platform says. It urges state officials to “ensure that our public colleges and universities be places of learning and the exchange of ideas, not zones of intellectual intolerance favoring the Left.”

In 2008, the Republican platform included similar language that decried the “leftist dogmatism that dominates” many college campuses.
This entry was posted in Conventions and tagged higher education, mitt romney, republican national convention, republican party, republican platform. Bookmark the permalink."

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Too little critical thinking in college

Joe_Dragon Joe_Dragon writes  |  about 2 years ago

Joe_Dragon (2206452) writes "Has college become too easy?
March 25, 2012|Clarence Page

                  64

You can lead a student to knowledge, according to an old academic saying, but you can't make him or her think.

I recently wrote about the possibility of testing and certification for what I called a "college-level GED." Like the current GED test for high school equivalency, it would award certification to bright, hardworking job applicants who want to show potential employers how much they know, even though they never graduated from college.

I heard from a number of readers who supported the idea. Some were eager to take the test now, if they could. But the most thoughtful question I received went like this: What about the "critical thinking" skills that we traditionally expect campus academic life to teach and encourage?

I agree. Critical thinking is the brain's investigative reporter. It questions assumptions and requires more than the memory to pass most standardized tests.

But we do have tests for that. For example, the Collegiate Learning Assessment, launched in 2000, gives a 90-minute essay test to freshmen and seniors that aims to measure gains in critical thinking and communication skills.

However, recent studies of CLA results reveal another major problem, not so much in the testing of critical thinking as in how little critical thinking is being taught.

One new book, "Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses," by sociologists Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, questions whether a large chunk of today's college students are learning much on campus that they didn't already know.

Following CLA results and other data for 2,300 students at 24 public and private colleges, Arum, of New York University, and Roksa, of the University of Virginia, startled the academic world with their finding that 36 percent of students made no significant learning gains in critical thinking and communication skills from their freshman to senior years.

That tends to confirm what reader Jerre Levy, a retired University of Chicago professor of psychology, wrote: "I wish with all my heart that a college degree implied that the person holding that degree was capable of critical thinking. However, this is, sadly, not true."

Among the jaw-dropping examples Levy related in her email to me and a later phone call was a senior who reacted with memorable resentment to a two-week take-home assignment to critically evaluate a scientific journal article.

The professor specifically requested a hard-eyed assessment of strengths and weaknesses in the article's sources, methods and conclusions. She did not, repeat, not want students simply to summarize the contents. She stipulated that last part in capital letters.

Yet when the students returned their papers, she recalled, one offered nothing but what Levy said she didn't want: "a content summary, without a single evaluative statement." When the student complained about her zero grade, Levy explained the goose egg. The student argued back indignantly, "But that would have required THINKING!"

It was the winter quarter of her senior year, the young woman explained, and she could memorize as much as any professor gave her and earn As and Bs but, until this course, she had "never been required to think!"

"If students can get a degree from the University of Chicago without having either the will or capacity to think," Levy said, "then it is certainly true of less selective universities and colleges."

Ohio University's Richard Vedder, my former economics professor who gave me the collegiate GED test idea, is even more blunt in his assessment of today's academia: "Universities are becoming more like country clubs," he said, with climbing walls, indoor tracks and other luxuries that give students "something else to do with their free time besides drink and have sex."

Vedder, who divides his time between teaching, researching as an adjunct scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute and directing the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, blames grade inflation and other perverse incentives, like too much free time.

That would be just another reason for us Americans to develop more innovative alternatives to college, like alternative GED-style certifications of what individuals actually know and how eagerly they will learn, not just how many classes they have taken.

It's worth thinking about.

Clarence Page, a member of the Tribune's editorial board, blogs at chicagotribune.com/pagespage.

cpage@tribune.com

Twitter @cptime"

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A GED For college?

Joe_Dragon Joe_Dragon writes  |  about 2 years ago

Joe_Dragon (2206452) writes "A GED
For college?
Grads with degrees are filling traditionally blue-collar jobs
March 11, 2012|Clarence Page

                  25

Could millions of college dropouts get a second chance through a GED-style equivalent of a college diploma? In today's age of blue-collar blues and online education, the idea of college-equivalency exams doesn't sound so outlandish anymore.

These are the new realities: The high school diploma is not the gateway to the middle class that it used to be. Amid new corporate efficiencies and the migration of high-paying, low-skilled jobs overseas since the 1950s, growing numbers of college graduates are occupying jobs like postal worker or restaurant manager that used to be filled by high school grads.

The results are new pressures on blue-collar families and the sort of class tensions voiced by presidential candidate Rick Santorum with his recent verbal jab ("What a snob!") at President Barack Obama's push for more college attendance. In fact, Obama, like Santorum, also has been a major cheerleader for community colleges and trade schools. He did not say college was something everyone should do; rather, he said it is "an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford."

Yet, give Santorum his due. He touched on a reality that deserves more public discussion: College isn't for everyone. Some very bright students thrive better while learning a hands-on trade, for example, than they do in a classroom. Others simply can't afford the time or tuition of college because of their personal circumstances.

As a result, the percentage of college graduates who come from households in the bottom fourth of income earners — as I did — has declined to only 7.2 percent from 12 percent in 1970, according to Ohio University economics professor Richard Vedder, who also is director of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for College Affordability and Productivity.

Santorum's remarks while campaigning in Michigan moved me to call Vedder, whom I have known since he tried to put some economics knowledge into my noggin when I was one of his students many years ago.

Author of the 2004 book "Going Broke by Degree: Why College Costs Too Much," Vedder sees a disconnect between the cost of college and the needs of the job market. He has found as many as one out of three college graduates today to be in jobs that historically were filled by people with less education.

"These are jobs that do not require higher-level learning skills, critical thinking skills, or writing skills or anything of that nature," he said in a telephone interview.

At the same time, we see cheaper alternatives to college like online education growing to the point where we see Internet Age stories like online student Kayla Heard. The Union, Wash., 16-year-old graduated last year from Washington State University with a 3.7 grade-point average in social sciences without ever stepping on campus, except to pick up her diploma.

Let's go a step further, says Vedder.

"As college costs rise," he said, "people are asking: Aren't there cheaper ways of certifying competence and skills to employers?"

People typically believe there are no good substitutes for college. But if prospective employees can certify to potential employers that they are as bright, knowledgeable, good at communicating and eager to learn as a better-than-average college graduate, they can present themselves as a bargain — willing to accept wages that are higher than normal high-school-graduate standards but low compared to most college-graduate salaries.

Vedder is encouraged by recent agreements between the Education Testing Service, which operates the famed SAT test for the College Board, and the Council for Aid to Education to provide competency test materials to students online through StraighterLine, an online education firm. The challenge is to persuade college-accreditation organizations and the business community that collegiate certification can be as reliable as the 70-year-old GED, which certifies high school equivalencies.

There are challenges, of course. College-level testing would have to be more than a multiple-choice list. It would have to be a fair judge of critical thinking, among other factors, and it would have to pass muster regarding suspected racial or gender bias. But these challenges are not unbeatable. At a time when economic success is increasingly defined by educational achievement beyond high school, future generations need as many alternatives as we can offer.

Clarence Page, a member of the Tribune's editorial board, blogs at chicagotribune.com/pagespage

cpage@tribune.com

Twitter @cptime"

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Black Hat hacker gains access to 4 million hotel rooms with Arduino microcontrol

Joe_Dragon Joe_Dragon writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Joe_Dragon (2206452) writes ""Black Hat hacker gains access to 4 million hotel rooms with Arduino microcontroller

        By Sebastian Anthony on July 25, 2012 at 7:00 am
        5 Comments

Cody Brocious opens an Onity hotel lock with an Arduino microcontroller
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Bad news: With less than $50 of off-the-shelf hardware and a little bit of programming, it’s possible for a hacker to gain instant, untraceable access to millions of key card-protected hotel rooms.

This hack was demonstrated by Cody Brocious, a Mozilla software developer, at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas. At risk are four million hotel rooms secured by Onity programmable key card locks. According to Brocious, who should be scolded for not disclosing the hack to Onity before going public, there is no easy fix: There isn’t a firmware upgrade — if hotels want to secure their guests, every single lock will have to be changed.

The hack in its entirety is detailed on Brocious’s website, but in short: At the base of every Onity lock is a small barrel-type DC power socket (just like on your old-school Nokia phone). This socket is used to charge up the lock’s battery, and to program the lock with a the hotel’s “sitecode” — a 32-bit key that identifies the hotel. By plugging an Arduino microcontroller into the DC socket, Brocious found that he could simply read this 32-bit key out of the lock’s memory. No authentication is required — and the key is stored in the same memory location on every Onity lock.

ArduinoThe best bit: By playing this 32-bit code back to the lock it opens. According to Brocious, it takes just 200 milliseconds to read the sitecode and open the lock. “I plug it in, power it up, and the lock opens,” Brocious says. His current implementation doesn’t work with every lock, and he doesn’t intend to take his work any further, but his slides and research paper make it very clear that Onity locks, rather ironically, lack even the most basic security.

I wish I could say that Brocious spent months on this hack, painstakingly reverse-engineering the Onity lock protocol, but the truth is far more depressing. “With how stupidly simple this is, it wouldn’t surprise me if a thousand other people have found this same vulnerability and sold it to other governments,” says Brocious, in an interview with Forbes. “An intern at the NSA could find this in five minutes.”

That is how he justifies his public disclosure of the vulnerability: If security agencies and private militias already have access to millions of hotel rooms, then this is Brocious’s way of forcing Onity to clean up its act. By informing the public, it also means that we can seek out other methods of securing our rooms — such as chain- or dead-locks on the inside of the room.

As for how Onity justifies such a stupendously disgusting lack of security, who knows. Generally, as far as managerial types go, securing a system seems like a frivolous expense — until someone hacks you. In non-high-tech circles, hacks like this are par for the course — usually, a company doesn’t hire a security specialist until after its first high-profile hack. For a company that is tasked with securing millions of humans every night, though, it would’ve been nice if Onity had shown slightly more foresight."

Now there should be a harder way to get to the ports even having them under a screwed in panel or use a custom port that only the lock maker and hotel have. can make it harder and take more time to brake in."

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US judge rules Netflix subject to disability act

Joe_Dragon Joe_Dragon writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Joe_Dragon (2206452) writes "A federal judge in Springfield has ruled that Netflix and other online providers that serve the public are subject to federal disabilities laws, a decision that could require TV shows and movies streamed over the Internet to include captions for the deaf or other accommodations.

On Tuesday, US District Judge Michael Ponsor rejected Netflix’s argument that it is exempt from the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA. He declined to dismiss an ADA lawsuit against Netflix for failing to provide captions on much of the content it streams to subscribers.

Web-based businesses did not exist when the disabilities act was enacted in 1990, the judge wrote, but the US Congress intended the law to adapt to changes in technology, and it should apply to websites.

The complaint was filed by the National Association of the Deaf, the Western Massachusetts Association of the Deaf and Hearing Impaired, and Lee Nettles, a staffer at the Stavros Center for Independent Living in Springfield.

Nettles said Netflix discriminates against the hearing-impaired, forcing them to to avoid its streaming service and pay for more expensive DVD rentals to ensure the movies and TV shows they rent are equipped with captions. “It has to be equal accessibility to all people using it,” he said. “It has to be 100 percent equality.”

Ponsor’s decision cleared the way for the lawsuit to proceed. “In a society in which business is increasingly conducted online, excluding businesses that sell services through the Internet from the ADA would ‘run afoul of the purposes of the ADA,’” he wrote.

“Online is a place,” said Wendy Parmet, professor of law at Northeastern University and a specialist on disability law. “Virtual spaces are spaces.”

Netflix said it would not comment on an ongoing legal matter. The company can appeal the ruling.

Under Ponsor’s reading of the law, all Internet businesses must add features that make their sites usable by people with disabilities, said Peter Blanck, professor of law at Syracuse University and a disability rights advocate. “The law requires that there is full and equal enjoyment of services offered by a commercial entity,” Blanck said.

Ponsor did not rule on the merits of the case itself, which must now be argued in court. But in refusing to dismiss it, he backed the concept that Internet-based businesses must make themselves as accessible to people with disabilities as brick-and-mortar companies.

The ADA is a designed to give equal rights to people with disabilities. It prompted wide-ranging changes in workplaces and public structures, from the construction of wheelchair-accessible ramps to a ban on employer discrimination against disabled workers.
Arlene Mayerson, directing attorney of the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, a California advocacy group that is working on the Netflix case, said the court ruling was “making sure the ADA stays relevant by moving it into the 21st century.”

But the high cost of adding accessibility features to all online entertainment services could pose an undue burden on Internet companies and lead to reduced choices for consumers, said Walter Olson, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington.

“This forces Netflix to serve markets that it currently doesn’t find profitable to serve,” said Olson, and could prompt online video companies to refrain from stocking obscure and unusual films, to avoid the expense of adding subtitles to movies that few customers will want to see.

The Caption Center at Boston public television station WGBH has subtitled thousands of films and TV shows, according to Larry Goldberg, WGBH’s director of media access. Goldberg said it costs $400 to $800 to add captions to a movie from scratch.

On the other hand, many movies shown on Netflix have already been captioned by the film studios. Adding captions to the Internet streaming version of a film or TV program could cost Netflix $200 or less, said Goldberg.

But the implications of the judge’s decision go beyond captioning. For example, WGBH also pioneered the concept of descriptive video — a supplemental soundtrack which is used to describe on-screen action for the sight-impaired and another example of the kind of feature websites could eventually be required to offer.

The current case against Netflix does not mention descriptive video, but Steven Rothstein, president of the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, thinks that the law should mandate that online enterprises serve the blind as well as the deaf. “They’re under no obligation to provide movies to people who are blind today,” said Rothstein. “They should be.”

Syracuse professor Blanck said that making websites more accessible to people with disabilities will actually help businesses, by giving them access to millions of new customers. “I think this is a matter of corporate survival,” he said.

But he said that Tuesday’s ruling settles nothing. “Different jurisdictions have taken a different approach to this question,” he said, citing a California federal court ruling that the disabilities act applied only to online companies that also had physical locations.

“This case is almost certainly not the last word,” said Northeastern’s Wendy Parmet. “I think it’s likely at some point that this issue will get to the Supreme Court.”"

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Software Screening Rejects Qualified Job Seekers

Joe_Dragon Joe_Dragon writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Joe_Dragon (2206452) writes ""In an essay in this newspaper last fall, Peter Cappelli, a professor of management and human resources at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, challenged the oft-heard complaint from employers that they can't find good workers with the right skills. "The real culprits are the employers themselves," he asserted.

"It is part of a long-term trend," he adds in an interview, "and the recession caused employers to be able to be pickier, to get even more specific in the skills they think they can find outside the company and to cut back on training."

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Not surprisingly, his essay drew a lot of response. What did surprise Mr. Cappelli—as he describes in a book, "Why Good People Can't Get Jobs," to be published in June—was the frequency of complaints about the hiring process itself, particularly the now-ubiquitous use of software to screen applicants.

A Philadelphia-area human-resources executive told Mr. Cappelli that he applied anonymously for a job in his own company as an experiment. He didn't make it through the screening process.

Therein lies a problem.

The job market is more than a professional concern for Mr. Cappelli. His son, now 25 years old, graduated in 2010 with a degree in classics from St. John's College and couldn't find a job. Told that health care was hiring, he enrolled at New Orleans's Delgado Community College and got a certificate in phlebotomy, learning how to draw patients' blood. However, he discovered that work experience was essential to land a job. Also, many potential employers were consolidating two medical-related occupations into one, so a phlebotomy certificate alone wasn't enough. He is still looking.

For the entire U.S. economy, a lot rides on correctly diagnosing today's job market. If the chief problem is one of too many workers and not enough jobs, then today's unemployment is treatable and there's a case for more fiscal and monetary policy to stimulate demand, or at least for deferring fiscal austerity. But if the problem is chiefly a mismatch between skills employers need and those the jobless have, then more fiscal and monetary medicine won't do much good. That kind of unemployment is treatable only in the long run—with better education and training.

Mr. Cappelli leans toward the first view but argues that there's more to this. "For every story about an employer who can't find qualified applicants, there's a counterbalancing tale about an employer with ridiculous hiring requirements," he says. In many companies, software has replaced recruiters, he writes, so "applicants rarely talk to anyone, even by email, during the hiring process."

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University of Pennsylvania

Peter Cappelli

As in other parts of the economy, software has its benefits. It makes applying for a job easier. One doesn't have to trudge down to the HR office to fill out forms. It has broadened the pool of applicants from which employers can choose. It saves money.

But at a time of widespread unemployment, the volume of applications is swamping HR departments, many of which have been downsized to cut costs. That has led employers to further automate hiring—and to become incredibly specific about experience and skills they seek. Screening software weeds out anyone whose application lacks particular key words.

With so much talent looking for work, why not get what you really need? Here's why: Managers pile up so many requirements that they make it nearly impossible to find anyone who fits.

Neal Grunstra, president of Mindbank Consulting Group, a temporary-staffing company, calls this "looking for a unicorn." Mr. Cappelli's favorite email came from a company that drew 25,000 applicants for a standard engineering position only to have the HR department say not one was qualified. One job seeker said "he had been told he was perfect for a given position—except for the fact that his previous job title didn't match that of the vacancy," a title unique to the prospective employer.

As anyone who has applied for a job lately knows, the trick is parroting all the words in the job description but not just copying and pasting the text, which leads the software to discard the application. It's a whole new skill: Clearing the software hurdle is as important as being able to do the job.

Much of what is broken in the U.S. job market will take a lot of work and time to fix. The current approach to training needs repair, for instance.

But some fixes are easier. Employers could, as Mr. Cappelli puts it, "back off the strict requirement that applicants need to have previously done precisely the tasks needed for the vacant job" and "see if they could do the same with some training or ramp-up time." And employers could insist that vendors redo the software so it isn't so picky and flags for personal consideration—rather than discards—an applicant who doesn't quite fit the specifics but might be able to do the job.

Write to David Wessel at capital@wsj.com"

I think there needs to be more vocational learning out side of the collage box / mind set."

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