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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 10 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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."

more than 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.

more than 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?

more than 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.

more than 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.

more than 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 4 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.

about 6 years ago

Submissions

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If Ebola's a problem here, just imagine it in India

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  yesterday

dcblogs (1096431) writes "As the U.S. has discovered, it just takes a few cases of Ebola to turn things upside down. Months into the outbreak in West Africa, federal and state officials are still fighting over quarantine policies and travel bans, and reacting in disruptive fashion to the threat. But an Ebola outbreak in India, for instance, could create problems in the U.S. because of its role as a major IT services provider. "Ebola cases showing up in urban India area would be a nightmare," said Andrew Schroeder, director of research and analysis for Direct Relief, a nonprofit that provides medical assistance to areas in need of help. Dense populations, living in slums with poor sanitation and inadequate medical help, would complicate an Ebola fight. Everest Group, an outsourcing research firm said, that in India, IT organizations often make bus transportation available to team members, and it’s easy to imagine an Ebola-related scenario in which bus transportation is shut down. Working from home may not be an option, since lack of connectivity and security concerns "often make working remotely from homes not possible," said Marvin Newell, a partner at Everest. Craig Wright, a partner at outsourcing consulting firm Pace Harmon, said that a valid response to any such Ebola outbreak would be similar to a tsunami, "where access to facilities and resources within a region may be denied for an extended period of time.""
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Inexplicably, Feds set to destroy H-1B records

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  2 days ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "In a notice posted last week, the U.S. Department of Labor said that records used for labor certification, whether in paper or electronic, "are temporary records and subject to destruction" after five years, under a new policy. There was no explanation for the change, and it is perplexing to researchers. The records under threat are called Labor Condition Applications (LCA), which identify the H-1B employer, worksite, the prevailing wage, and the wage paid to the worker. "Throwing information away is anathema to the pursuit of knowledge and akin to willful stupidity or, worse, defacing Buddhist statues," said Lindsay Lowell, director of policy studies at the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University. "It undermines our ability to evaluate what the government does and, in today's world, retaining electronic records like the LCA is next to costless," he said. The cost of storage can't be an issue for the government's $80 billion IT budget: A full year's worth of LCA data is less than 1GB."
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Automation arrives at restaurants, but not because of minimum wage hikes

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about a week ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "McDonald's this week told financial analysts of its plans to install self-ordering kiosks and mobile ordering at its restaurants. This news prompted the Wall Street Journal to editorialize, in " Minimum Wage Backfire ," that while it may be true for McDonald's to say that its tech plans will improve customer experience, the move is also "a convenient way...to justify a reduction in the chain's global workforce." Minimum wage increase advocates, the Journal argued, are speeding along an automation backlash. But banks have long relied on ATMs, and grocery stores, including Walmart, have deployed self-service checkouts. In contrast, McDonald's hasn't changed its basic system of taking orders since its founding in the 1950s, said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, a research group focused on the restaurant industry. While mobile, kiosks and table ordering systems may help reduce labor costs, the automated self-serve technology is seen as an essential. It will take the stress out of ordering (lines) at fast food restaurants, and the wait for checks at more casual restaurants. It also helps with upselling and membership to loyalty programs. People who can order a drink refill off a tablet, instead of waving down waitstaff, may be more inclined to do so. Moreover, analysts say younger customers want self-service options."
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IBM's chip business sale to UAE investor firm to get U.S. security review

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about a week ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "IBM is an officially sanctioned trusted supplier to the U.S. Defense Dept., and the transfer of its semiconductor manufacturing to GlobalFoundries, a U.S.-based firm owned by investors in Abu Dhabi, will get U.S. scrutiny. Retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. John Adams, who authored a report last year for an industry group about U.S. supply chain vulnerabilities and national security, said regulators will have to look closely. "I don't want cast aspersions unnecessarily on Abu Dubai — but they're not Canada," said Adams "I think that the news that we may be selling part of our supply chain for semiconductors to a foreign investor is actually bad news.""
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Property forfeiture used H-1B cases; feds target 'gorgeous contemporary'

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about two weeks ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "In an H-1B fraud case in Texas, the U.S. is using forfeiture laws to try and extract a heavy price from the defendants. The government's complaint list of the items it's seeking through forfeiture. It includes a large, spacious house in Frisco, Texas, with a home movie theater, gym, large windows and soaring ceilings on a palm tree landscaped property. It's described in a real estate video as "gorgeous." The government has used forfeiture laws in other H-1B cases. In 2011, it sent one man to prison for six months and imposed nearly $300,000 in forfeiture penalties in a New Jersey H-1B fraud case. In August, a California man forfeited $100,000 arising out of his H-1B visa fraud scheme."
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In 2001 the tech industry employed 6.5 million, today it's at 6.3 million

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about two weeks ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "In 2001, the tech industry employed 6.5 million people. That year remains the tech industry's employment peak. Tech industry employment reached 6.3 million in the first half of this year, a gain of 118,800 jobs, up 1.9% compared to the first half of 2013. That's below the 3.7% growth rate overall for private-sector employers, according to new data from TechAmerica Foundation."
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Society is hostile to science, tech, says VC Peter Thiel

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about three weeks ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal, billionaire investor and author, says "we live in a financial, capitalistic age, we do not live in a scientific or technological age. We live in a period were people generally dislike science and technology. Our culture dislikes it, our government dislikes it. The easiest way to see "how hostile our society is to technology" is to look at Hollywood. Movies "all show technology that doesn't work, that ... kills people, that it is bad for the world," said Thiel. He argues that corporations and the U.S. government are failing at complex planning."
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Former Infosys recruiter says he was told not to hire U.S. workers

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about three weeks ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "A lawsuit by four IT workers alleging that outsourcing firm Infosys favored hiring Indian workers over U.S. workers now includes an account from a former Infosys recruiter about the alleged practice. It includes accounts by Samuel Marrero, who worked in Infosys's talent acquisition unit from 2011 until May 2013, of meetings with executives at the India-based IT services firm. Marrero and other recruiters "frequently complained" to higher-ups at Infosys during these weekly calls that many of the highly qualified American candidates they had presented were being rejected in favor of Indian prospects. In response to one of these complaints, Infosys' global enterprise lead allegedly said, "Americans don't know shit," according to the lawsuit. Infosys has denied allegations that it discriminates."
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One in three jobs will be taken by software or robots by 2025, says Gartner

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about three weeks ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "Gartner predicts one in three jobs will be converted to software, robots and smart machines by 2025," said Peter Sondergaard, Gartner's research director at its big Orlando conference. "New digital businesses require less labor; machines will make sense of data faster than humans can," he said. Smart machines are an emerging "super class" of technologies that perform a wide variety of work, both the physical and the intellectual kind. Machines, for instance, have been grading multiple choice test for years, but now they are grading essays and unstructured text. This cognitive capability in software will extend to other areas, including financial analysis, medical diagnostics and data analytic jobs of all sorts, says Gartner. "Knowledge work will be automated.""
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Patent issued for biometric pressure grip mouse

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about a month ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "Defense contractor Raytheon has received a patent for mouse that has a biometric pressure grip. It believes the pressure grip, as a form of authentication, will be particularly hard to defeat because it works from a neurological pattern versus a physical pattern, such as a facial scan. "It's not just how much pressure you exert on the mouse itself, but it's also the x-y coordinates of your position," said Glenn Kaufman said, a cybersecurity engineer, about his invention. The approach was inspired by similar pressure grips used in smart guns."
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Supercomputing upgrade produces high-resolution storm forecasts

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about a month ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "A supercomputer upgrade is paying off for the U.S. National Weather Service, with new high-resolution models that will offer better insight into severe weather. This improvement in modeling detail is a result of a supercomputer upgrade in the summer of 2013. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which runs the weather service, put into production two new IBM supercomputers, each 213 teraflops, running Linux on Intel processors. These systems replaced 74-teraflop, four-year old systems. More computing power means systems can run more mathematics, and increase the resolution or detail on the maps from 8 miles to 2 miles."
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U.S. may be falling behind in cyber-physical system research

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about a month ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "The White House has identified cyber-physical system research and development as a “national priority” that could boost U.S. productivity. But federal spending is telling a different story. A major source of research dollars is the National Science Foundation (NSF). It will fund more than $40 million in cyber-physical systems research in the 2014 fiscal year, which ended Tuesday. This amounts to about 0.5% of the approximately $7 billion the U.S. spends on basic research through this agency. It has spent, in total, $200 million in this area since 2009. Separately, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which is deeply involved in standards and data formats, is running its cyber-physical program on $4.3 million. A NIST report found that the European Union “is already investing $343 million per year for 10 years to pursue ‘world leadership’ through advanced strategic research and technology development related to CPS" (cyber-physical systems). That includes $199 million in public funds and $144 million in private funds"
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Scotland independence seen as 'cataclysmic'

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about a month and a half ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "Scotland is not a major high-tech employment center, but it has good universities and entrepreneurial energy. About 70,000 people work in tech out of a total workforce of about 2.5 million, or about 3%. By contrast, financial services accounts for about 15% of employment in Scotland. But passions are high. "Honest, I've never been so scared in my life," said Euan Mackenzie about the prospect of separating from the U.K. He runs a 16-employee start-up, 1partCarbon, in Edinburgh, a platform that builds medical systems. "For tech start-ups, funding will be tougher to find and more expensive, there will be no local banks, access to EU markets and the freedom of movement will be curtailed," said Mackenzie. "As someone who enjoys risk and new opportunities, my company will remain in Scotland and make the best of whichever side prevails on Thursday, but the effect of independence on tech start-ups and the whole Scottish economy will be cataclysmic," he said."
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New data center protects against solar storm and nuclear EMPs

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about a month and a half ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "In Boyers, Pa., a recently opened 2,000-sq.-ft. data center has been purpose-built to protect against an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), either generated by a solar storm or a nuclear event. The company that built the facility isn't disclosing exactly how the data center was constructed or what materials were used. But broadly, it did say that the structure has an inner skin and an outer skin that use a combination of thicknesses and metals to provide EMP protection. Betting against an EMP event is a gamble. In 1859, the so-called Carrington solar storm lit the night skies and disrupted the only telegraph communications. William Murtagh, program coordinator at U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center, said there is ongoing concern that the earth may see an solar storm that could impact electronics on the ground. "We're concerned that can happen," A 2012 solar storm, that missed the earth, "was very powerful, and some have suggested it would have been on par with a Carrington-level event." One researcher put the odds of a catastrophic solar storm by 2020 as one in eight."
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Laid off from job, man builds tweeting toilet

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about a month and a half ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "With parts from an electric motor, a few household items, an open-source hardware board running Linux, and some coding, Thomas Ruecker, built a connected toilet that Tweets with each flush. The first reaction to the Twitter feed at @iotoilets may be a chuckle. But the idea behind this and what it illustrates is serious. It tracks water usage, offers a warning about the future of privacy in the Internet of Things, and may say something about the modern job hunt. Ruecker built his device on a recent long weekend after he was laid off as an open source evangelist at a technology firm undergoing "rightsizing," as he put it. He lives in Finland."
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In Napa quake, power surges led to PC damage

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 2 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "Sunday's 6.0 earthquake in Napa County, Calif. caused power surges that may have led to much of the damage to computers in homes and small businesses, according to computer technicians in Napa. "Things have been dramatically, physically damaged from electricity surges," Dylan Williams, general manager of Valley Tech Solutions in Napa. "That's primarily what I'm seeing all over the place." Chris Rohrer, a repair tech and software developer at Computer Engineering Group in Napa, said that 75% of the firm's computer repairs involve power surges. "The main issue has been the fact that a lot of computers weren't plugged into the proper surge protector," said Rohrer."
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Getting IT talent in government will take culture change, says Google engineer

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 3 months 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."
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HP gives OpenVMS new life and path to x86 port

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 3 months 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"
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French fight the death of OpenVMS

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 3 months 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."
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For half, STEM degrees in computers, math or stats lead to other jobs

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 3 months 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

Journals

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dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  more than 6 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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