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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Books Everyone Should Read?

dcblogs Must read? Great read - yes (796 comments)

David Hackett Fisher's Paul Revere's Ride

about 8 months ago
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Drawings of Weapons Led To New Jersey Student's Arrest

dcblogs Re:I would not jump to conclusions.... (630 comments)

If this kid was acting crazy in high school in the 1970s, my generation, he would have been sent to the principals office and possibly suspended. If the drawings were any good, the principal might have encouraged the kid to think about mechanical engineering as a career path. But today, the cops are involved, the local newspaper does a story, and screwed up kid makes national news. That, I think, is part of the problem.

about a year ago
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27 Reported Killed In Connecticut Elementary School Shooting

dcblogs We will need police everywhere now (2987 comments)

Our culture is crashing. What is going on is just unimaginable.

about a year and a half ago
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Solar Panels For Every Home?

dcblogs Re:Don't forget housing and condo boards (735 comments)

Our condo board, which I'm on, would likely welcome solar panels on the roof. You should organize a few folks in your building, do the research, and volunteer to help prepare a complete proposal. What often happens, is some resident will have a why-aren't-we-doing-this brainstorm, and then leave it to the condo board to do the work. As far as satellite dishes go, I agree with you. Our board has legacy rules about them, but there's been no push by residents to change them. But if you try calling the condo board members names, I'm sure they'll change the rules.

about a year and a half ago
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Report Says Climate Change Already Evident, Emissions Gap Growing

dcblogs Re:I Disagree, It Is Important to Remind People (623 comments)

Offended? Plz. Hardly. IRepeating the same headline year after year about the same trend misinforms the public about the gravity of the problem. The problem, as you point out, is that people don't get the basics, so why compound the problem with lousy reporting?

about 2 years ago
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Report Says Climate Change Already Evident, Emissions Gap Growing

dcblogs Enough with the new 'record levels' of C02 (623 comments)

I love an alarmist, panic-in-the-streets, headless-man-found-in-topless-bar, headlines as much as the next guy, but the Keeling Curve has been hitting 'record levels' every year since the late 1950s.

about 2 years ago
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Dr. Richard Dawkins On Why Disagreeing With Religion Isn't Insulting

dcblogs Who is Dawkins? (1152 comments)

The existential questions that Dawkins wants to answer don't have answers. Life's beauty stems in part from its mysteries. A better, more informed writer on these matter is Karen Armstrong.

about 2 years ago
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Why WikiLeaks Is Worth Defending

dcblogs Re:We don't need Wikileaks (257 comments)

Who moderates this crap anyway? "Score 5 for, Insightful."

about 2 years ago
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Why WikiLeaks Is Worth Defending

dcblogs Re:We don't need Wikileaks (257 comments)

This is a canard. Oh the media's spineless, everything it publishes is spoonfed, etc. That's just garbage. The real problem is we too many people don't want to think critically anymore; who would rather whine than ask questions or participate. They outsource responsibility for civic engagement to other people. That's why they don't notice that there are many, many reporters who are committed to discovering the truth and who take risks to do so.

about 2 years ago
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Why WikiLeaks Is Worth Defending

dcblogs Re:childish swine (257 comments)

Feel free to compare the United States to any other nations they express a serious interest in from a military, economic, or overall political standpoint. Try living in both nations for five years apiece. Then report back on your findings, provided you have the spine to actually try this for yourself.

And the point of this is what?

about 2 years ago
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Why WikiLeaks Is Worth Defending

dcblogs We don't need Wikileaks (257 comments)

It's a reckless, amoral organization, that doesn't care who it hurts, doesn't care if it gets blood on its hand, and could care less about the fate of the people who supply its documents. What the world needs, and still has plenty of, are people of good moral character, who will fight for what's right, who will take stands, and who will take risks. I have way more respect for the three young women of Pussy Riot and what they have accomplished than anything Wikileaks has done.

about 2 years ago
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Is TV Over the 'Net Really Cheaper Than Cable?

dcblogs Re:Quality and quantity (285 comments)

Who cares about lower quality? The quality of the bandwidth will almost always exceed the quality of the crap on cable. And unless you have something like FIOS, you will get better picture quality with over the air broadcast. The HD is stunning compared to the compressed and degraded signal cable serves up.

about 2 years ago
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Senator Pushes For Tougher H-1B Enforcement

dcblogs Re:Article is wrong (262 comments)

The story is correct, but the Slashdot blurb confused the two. The Senate is considering a bill approved by the House to eliminate the per country caps on green cards. Sen. Grassley put a hold on that bill, but is attempting to work out a compromise. He will allow removal of the green cap limit in exchange for giving the Labor Dept. more power to conduct audits on H-1B use.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Camera For Getting Into Photography?

dcblogs Sony NEX either C-3 of N5 (569 comments)

The Sony NEX C-3 or N5 are mirrorless large sensor camera -- the sensors are as big as you'll find on many DSLRS -- in a compact body. It's menu system is designed to be simple. You can use it as a pure point-and-shoot and still get DSLR quality photos, but the camera has most of the same controls you'll find on DSLR. It has an interchangeable lens system and is 16 megapixels. (Megapixels do matter if you plan to make prints beyond 8x10s.). There's no through the lens viewer, but that doesn't bother me at all. I've been taking photos since the era of the Nikkormat and do not miss viewfinders.

more than 2 years ago
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Skynet Becomes Aware, Launches Nuclear Attack

dcblogs Skynet is yesterday (274 comments)

At least Skynet was self-aware, unlike our amazing network of coal fired plants and other carbon generating emissions that will slowly cook and flood the planet.

more than 3 years ago
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Pentagon Papers Ellsberg Supports Wikileaks

dcblogs Re:I can't believe anyone is surprised (464 comments)

No, the difference is that last year alone 72 journalists killed, according to the Committee to Protect Journalist, with 52 of them murdered. WikiLeaks isn't a journalistic organization; it's just a filter. Don't make the comparison.

more than 3 years ago
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Blockbuster Files For Bankruptcy

dcblogs Re:I'll miss them (390 comments)

They just closed the Bockbuster in my DC neighborhood. So, I bought a blu ray DVD player that supports Netflix, Amazon. I wish Blockbuster had closed a year ago.

more than 3 years ago
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DTV Transition - One Year Later

dcblogs Re:Worse Reception. (431 comments)

I now love my antenna. The hi-def reception is better than compressed meatloaf served up via Comcast's pipes. Monthly cost: $0. Priceless. If the antenna's not working for you, try a different one. Placement matters. Roof versus indoors. See how it's working for your neighbors.

more than 4 years ago
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Is Anyone Buying T-Mobile's Googlephone?

dcblogs Re:T-Mobile's network is useless (454 comments)

read the fine print in t-mobile's coverage map; If don't mind standing outdoors to make a call in many areas, coverage is pretty good.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Getting IT talent in government will take culture change, says Google engineer

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about two weeks ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "Mikey Dickerson, a site reliability engineer at Google, who was appointed Monday by the White House as the deputy federal CIO, will lead efforts to improve U.S. Websites. Dickerson, who worked on the Healthcare.gov rescue last year, said that one issue the government needs to fix is its culture. In describing his experience on the Healtcare.gov effort, he said the workplace was "not one that is optimized to get good work out of engineers." It was a shirt-and-tie environment, and while Dickerson said cultural issues may sound superficial, they are still real. "You don't have to think that the engineers are the creative snowflakes and rock stars that they think they are, you don't have to agree with any of that," Dickerson said, a recent conference presentation posted online. "I'm just telling you that's how they think of themselves, and if you want access to more of them, finding a way to deal with that helps a lot." Engineers want to make a difference, Dickerson said, and he has collected the names of more than 140 engineers who would be willing to take unpaid leave from their jobs to work on a meaningful project."
Link to Original Source
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HP gives OpenVMS new life and path to x86 port

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about three weeks ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "Hewlett-Packard has changed its direction on OpenVMS. Instead of pushing its users off the system, it has licensed OpenVMS to a new firm that plans to develop ports to the latest Itanium chips and is promising eventual support for x86 processors. Last year, HP put OpenVMS on the path to extinction. It said it would not validate the operating system to its latest hardware or produce new versions of it. The move to license the OpenVMS source code to a new entity, VMS Software Inc. (VSI), amounts to a reversal of that earlier decision. VSI plans to validate the operating system on Intel's Itanium eight-core Poulson chips by early 2015, as well as support for HP hardware running the upcoming "Kittson" chip. It will also develop an x86 port, although it isn't specifying a timeframe. And it plans to develop new versions of OpenVMS"
Link to Original Source
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French fight the death of OpenVMS

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about three weeks ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "An OpenVMS user group in France has posted an "open letter" to Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman urging her to reconsider HP's decision to begin pulling support for the operating system. The letter, written by OpenVMS consultant Gerard Calliet on behalf of user group HP-Interex France, explains the important role OpenVMS plays in running transportation systems, health services and even nuclear power plants in France. "These software products are the result of decades of precise programming, inscribed in precise coding imperative for such functional necessities," Calliet wrote. "A majority of them use functions specific to OpenVMS and still run on OpenVMS, as these custom features are hard to find elsewhere." The user group accuses HP of being unclear about its direction and creating confusion. In 2013, HP said it would not be validating OpenVMS on its latest Itanium-based systems."
Link to Original Source
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For half, STEM degrees in computers, math or stats lead to other jobs

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about a month ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "The Census Bureau reports that only 26% of people with any type of four-year STEM degree are working in a STEM field. For those with a degree specifically in computer, math or statistics, the figure is 49%, nearly the same for engineering degrees. What happens to the other STEM trained workers? The largest numbers are managers at non-STEM businesses (22.5%), or having careers in education (17.7%), business/finance (13.2%) and office support (11.5%). Some other data points: Among those with college degrees in computer-related occupations, men are paid more than women ($90,354 vs. $78,859 on average), and African American workers are more likely to be unemployed than white or Asian workers."
Link to Original Source
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U.S. Senator blasts Microsoft's H-1B push as it lays 18,000 off workers

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about a month ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "On the floor of U.S. Senate Thursday, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) delivered a scalding and sarcastic attack on the use of highly skilled foreign workers by U.S. corporations that was heavily aimed at Microsoft, a chief supporter of the practice. Sessions' speech began as a rebuttal to a recent New York Times op-ed column by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, investor Warren Buffett and Sheldon Adelson, a casino owner that has chastised Congress for failing to take action on immigration reform. But the senator's attack on "three of our greatest masters of the universe," and "super billionaires," was clearly primed by Microsoft's announcement, also on Thursday, that it was laying off 18,000 employees. "What did we see in the newspaper today?" said Sessions, "News from Microsoft. Was it that they are having to raise wages to try to get enough good, quality engineers to do the work? Are they expanding or are they hiring? No, that is not what the news was, unfortunately. Not at all.""
Link to Original Source
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Nearly 25 years ago, IBM helped save Macintosh

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about a month ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "Apple and IBM, which just announced partnership to bring iOS and cloud services to enterprises, have helped each other before. IBM played a key role in turning the Macintosh into a successful hardware platform at a point when it — and the company itself — were struggling. Nearly 25 years ago, IBM was a part of an alliance that gave Apple access to PowerPC chips for Macintosh systems that were competitive, if not better performing in some benchmarks, than the processors Intel was producing at the time for Windows PCs. In 1991, Apple was looking for a RISC-based processor to replace the Motorola 68K it had been using in its Macintosh line. "The PCs of the era were definitely outperforming the Macintoshes that were based on the 68K," he said. "Apple was definitely behind the power, performance curve," said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64. The PowerPC processor that emerged from that earlier pairing changed that. PowerPC processors were used in Macintoshes for more than a decade, until 2006, when Apple switched to Intel chips."
Link to Original Source
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Microsoft backs open source for the Internet of Things

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about a month and a half ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "Microsoft has joined a Linux Foundation effort to create an open platform for the Internet of Things. The AllSeen Alliance is an effort to standardize device communications. The code that it champions, called AllJoyn, was initially developed by Qualcomm but was subsequently made open source. Big vendors have been recruited to support it, and the AllSeen Alliance now includes LG, Panasonic, Sharp and Haier, among others. Its Xbox gaming platform is seen as a potential hub or control center for home devices. Microsoft's leadership in computing "and its significant Xbox business make it a potentially important contributor to the AllSeen ecosystem," said said Andy Castonguay, an analyst at Machina Research, a Reading, England-based research firm focusing on machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and the Internet of Things."
Link to Original Source
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If immigration reform is dead, so is raising the H-1B cap

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 2 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "In a speech Wednesday on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) declared immigration reform dead. He chastised and baited Republicans in Congress for blocking reform, and declared that winning the White House without the support of a growing Hispanic population will become mathematically impossible. "The Republican Presidential nominee, whoever he or she may be, will enter the race with an electoral college deficit they cannot make up," said Gutierrez. If he's right, and comprehensive immigration reform is indeed dead, then so too is the tech industry's effort to raise the cap on H-1B visas. Immigration reform advocates have successfully blocked any effort to take up the immigration issue in piecemeal fashion, lest business support for comprehensive reform peel away. Next year may create an entirely new set of problems for tech. If the Republicans take control of the Senate, the tech industry will face this obstacle: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee could become its next chairman. He has been a consistent critic of the H-1B program through the years. "The H-1B program is so popular that it's now replacing the U.S. labor force," said Grassley, at one point."
Link to Original Source
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U.S. wants to build 'Internet of Postal Things'

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 2 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "The U.S. Postal Service plans to spend up to $100,000 to investigate how it can utilize low cost sensors and related wireless technologies to improve the efficiency of its operations. The postal service already scans letters and parcels up to 11 times during processing, representing 1.7 trillion scans a year. It uses supercomputers to process that data. In theory, the postal service believes that everything it uses — mailboxes, vehicles, machines, or a letter carrier — could be equipped with a sensor to create what it terms the Internet of Postal Things. The Internet has not been kind to the postal service. Electronic delivery has upended the postal services business model. In 2003, it processed 49 billion pieces of single-piece first-class mail, but by 2013, that figured dropped to 22.6 billion pieces."
Link to Original Source
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Meet Diesel, a cute dog and organic robot

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 2 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "Diesel, a Labrador Retriever, appears to live in a perpetual state of glee. He is happy around people, loves attention and is unbothered by the electronics-packed vest he is wearing. The vest includes a microphone, camera, speakers, and motors that send vibrations, similar to that of a smartphone, to various parts of the dog's body. There's also an array of sensors that measure the dog's physiology: heart, respiration rates and muscle tension. The vest is also equipped with sensors that can detect gasses and radiation, and it has GPS and WiFi, to demonstrate its use in search and rescue. The technology and methods used to communicate with the dog, and send commands, is based on mathematical modeling by David Roberts, an assistant computer science professor at North Carolina State University. "Computers can take a lot of the human error out of the process of training and communicating with dogs," said Roberts. The system can help people understand their dog's behavior and emotional state, which can help reduce mistakes people make in training their pets."
Link to Original Source
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U.S. workers protested job losses by displaying American flags on cubicles

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 2 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "This is the story of an IT worker who was replaced by a worker on an H-1B visa, one of a number of visa holders, mostly from India, who took jobs at this U.S. company. For purposes of this story, the worker has been given initials — A.B. Before they lost their jobs, A.B.'s co-workers decided to made a subtle and symbolic protest over what was happening: As the H-1B visa workers gradually took over the offices once occupied by U.S. workers, one employee brought in a bunch of small American flags on sticks. The flags were displayed, cubicle after cubicle, much like way flags are hung on homes in a residential neighborhoods on the 4th of July. They were visible to anyone walking down the hall. "That was the only thing that we could do," A.B. said. "We felt that we were making a statement. But to be honest, I don't think the Indian workers fully understood what was going on.""
Link to Original Source
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A cellular network for gadgets set to arrive in San Francisco

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 3 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "The San Francisco Bay Area and south to San Jose will soon have what may be the nation's first dedicated Internet of Things network. Sigfox, is a France-based firm that has already deployed such technology in France, hopes the have the system installed by the end of September. Its network is designed for short m-to-m messages and uses a low data rate of 100 bits per second, which gives it very long range over the unlicensed industrial, scientific and medical (ISM), radio bands in the sub-GHz frequencies. Therefore, base stations antennas, depending on whether they are being deployed in an urban core or in rural area, can be spread apart at distances ranging from several miles to tens of miles, if not more. In its various markets, Sigfox seeks out a network provider partner and uses its sites and towers and backhaul, but puts in its own antennas. Sigfox's technology also means that wearable tech can be connected without a smartphone or proximity to a WiFi network. For instance, a GPS-enabled watch may keep track of your running, but the data isn't mapped until a user connects it to a mobile device or PC. But a GPS watch with a Sigfox radio included will be able to send location data via a network so someone can track your run from home. Potential system competitors include U.K.-based Nuel's Weightless technology, and the Japanese-developed Wide Area Ubiquitous Network (WAUN). Analyst believe U.S. firms long-range, low-bandwidth technologies in development as well."
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Computer science enrollments up 13%, but still below peak

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 3 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "Computer science undergrad enrollments increased 13% last year, the sixth straight year of increases, according to the Computing Research Association. This trend began after the Wall Street collapse in 2008. The number of computer science graduates earning degrees from Ph.D.-granting institutions reached a low of 8,021 in 2007, down from 14,185 in the 2003-2004 academic year. The number of bachelor degrees awarded in computer science last year at these schools was 12,503. The number of computer science graduates will continue to increase. Computer science enrollments rose by nearly 30% in the 2011-12 academic year, and they increased 23% the year before that."
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Embedded systems are a 'life form,' says In-Q-Tel's security chief

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 3 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "Dan Geer, the CISO of In-Q-Tel, says that embedded systems, microcontrollers, are "immortal" in the sense that they can continue to function for many years at an assigned task. "The longer lived these devices," said Geer, "the surer it will be that they will be hijacked within their lifetime." Embedded systems without a remote management interface "and thus out of reach, are a life form," and "as the purpose of life is to end, an embedded system without a remote management interface must be so designed to be certain to die no later than some fixed time.""
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White House sees 'real danger' China will soon take R&D lead

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 4 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "John Holdren, who heads the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, told a Senate committee Tuesday that China's R&D spending is growing by 20% to 25% a year, and will surpass U.S. R&D investment before 2022, an often-cited private sector estimate. The U.S., he said, is "in real danger" of being overtaken by China in R&D spending, he said. U.S R&D investments in 2011 was $429 billion, in that same year China spent $208 billion. President Obama, said Holdren, set a goal in 2009 of investing 3% of the nation's GDP in R&D, and the U.S. is near that level. But this analysis combines public and private sector R&D spending; when federal R&D spending is separated out, the picture is different. In a letter to the committee, MIT President Rafael Reif said that from the mid-1950s through the mid-1970s, federally-funded R&D averaged approximately 1.5% of GDP; by 2011, however, funding had fallen to 0.8% of GDP. "This declining benchmark should be a flashing yellow light for the nation," he wrote."
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An IT worker training his replacement writes: 'Emotionally, we are broken'

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 4 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "There’s an IT professional who, at this moment, is training offshore replacements, the people who are taking over the work. This IT pro is also a good writer, and has penned a short explanation about what life is now like: “As Americans, we maintain our pride and dignity as we are forced to train our H-1B replacements. We struggle with the reality of having no jobs, but yet we train our replacements without prejudice and hold our heads up high because we are ingrained with a work ethic to do our very best.""
Link to Original Source
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Master of analytics program admission rates falling to single digits

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 4 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "The 75 students in the 2014 Master of Science in Analytics class at North Carolina State University received, in total, 246 job offers from 55 employers, valued at $22.5 million in salaries and bonuses, which is 24% higher than last year's combined offers. But the problem ahead is admissions. There may not be enough master’s programs in analytics to meet demand. NC State has received nearly 800 applications for 85 seats. Its acceptance rate is now at 12.5%. Northwestern University's Master of Science in Analytics received 600 applications for 30 openings its September class. That's an acceptance rate of 6%"
Link to Original Source
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Southern California Edison prepares to ship IT jobs offshore

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 4 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "Southern California Edison is preparing to offshore IT jobs, the second major U.S. utility in the last year to do so. It will be cutting its staff, but it hasn’t said by how much. The utility is using at least two offshore outsourcing firms, according to government records. SCE’s management culture may be particularly primed for firing its IT workers. Following a workplace shooting in SCE’s IT offices in 2011, the utility conducted an independent audit of its organizational and management culture. One observation in this report, which was completed a year later, was that "employees perceive managers to be more concerned about how they 'look' from above, and less concerned about how they are viewed by their subordinates. This fosters an unhealthy culture and climate by sending a message to employees that it is more important to focus on how things look from the top than how they actually are down below.""
Link to Original Source
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An unnecessary path to tech: A Bachelor's degree

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 4 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "A study of New York City's tech workforce found that 44% of jobs in the city's "tech ecosystem," or 128,000 jobs, "are accessible" to people without a Bachelor's degree. This eco-system includes both tech specific jobs and those jobs supported by tech. For instance, a technology specific job that doesn't require a Bachelor's degree might be a computer user support specialist, earning $28.80 an hour, according to this study. Tech industry jobs that do not require a four-year degree and may only need on-the-job training include customer services representatives, at $18.50 an hour, telecom line installer, $37.60 an hour, and sales representatives, $33.60 an hour. The study did not look at "who is actually sitting in those jobs and whether people are under-employed," said Kate Wittels, a director at HR&A Advisors, a real-estate and economic-development consulting firm, and report author.. Many people in the "accessible" non-degree jobs may indeed have degrees. For instance. About 75% of the 25 employees who work at New York Computer Help in Manhattan have a Bachelor's degree. Of those with Bachelor's degrees, about half have IT-related degrees."
Link to Original Source
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Offshore firms took 50% of H-1B visas in 2013

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 5 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "The U.S. today (April 1) began accepting H-1B visa applications for the next fiscal year, with heavy demand expected. The visas will likely all be claimed by end of this week, and a major share of the H-1B visas will go to firms that use visa holders to displace U.S. workers. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data is very clear about who are the largest users of H-1B visas: Offshore outsourcing firms.The IT services firms among the top 20 H-1B users accounted for a little more than 50% of the annual base visa cap of 65,000. This is for initial visas approved in the 2013 fiscal year, not renewals. "The offshore outsourcing firms are once again getting the majority of the visas," said Ron Hira, a public policy professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. "The program continues to promote the offshoring of high-wage American jobs.""
Link to Original Source

Journals

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dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  more than 5 years ago I am a reporter at Computerworld. I also run a blog about blogs in Washington DC, dcblogs.com And someday I may return to a place I really love, Guam, but today it exist only as a blog for me, guamblog.com

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