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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 4 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 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 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 a year 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 a year 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 a year and a half 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 a year and a half 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 a year and a half 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 a year and a half 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 a year and a half 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 a year and a half 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.

about 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.

about 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 3 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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Southern California Edison prepares to ship IT jobs offshore

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  2 days 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.""
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An unnecessary path to tech: A Bachelor's degree

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  5 days 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."
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Offshore firms took 50% of H-1B visas in 2013

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about three weeks 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.""
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Gates warns of software replacing people; Greenspan says H-1Bs fix inequity

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about a month ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "Bill Gates and Alan Greenspan, in separate forums, offered outlooks and prescriptions for fixing jobs and income. Gates is concerned that graduates of U.S. secondary schools may not be able stay ahead of software automation. "These things are coming fast," said Gates, in an interview with the American Enterprise Institute "Twenty years from now labor demand for a lots of skill sets will be substantially lower, and I don't think people have that in their mental model." Meanwhile, former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan believes one way to attack income inequity is to raise the H-1B cap. If the program were expanded, income wouldn't necessarily go down much, but it would go down enough to make an impact. Income inequality is a relative concept, he argued. People who are absolutely at the top of the scale in 1925, for instance, would be getting food stamps today, said Greenspan. "You don't have to necessarily bring up the bottom if you bring the top down.""
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White House urges 'geeks' to get healthcare coverage, launch start-ups

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about a month ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "The White House is urging tech workers, or "geeks," to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, and said having the coverage will give them the "freedom and security" to start their own businesses. "There is strong evidence that when affordable healthcare isn't exclusively tied to employment, in more instances people choose to start their own companies," wrote White House CTO Todd Park in a post to launch its #GeeksGetCovered campaign.Bruce Bachenheimer, a professor of management at Pace University and director of its Entrepreneurship Lab, said the effort is part of a broader appeal by the White House to get younger and healthier people to sign-up for Obamacare, and is in the same vein as President Obama's recent appearance on Between Two Ferns,"
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White House official: China R&D investment now half of U.S.

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about a month and a half ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "President Barack Obama's fiscal 2015 budget plan would increase federal R&D spending by 1.2% over this year, if Congress approves. The Computing Research Association, in a blog post, called the budget request "underwhelming for science." John Holdren, White House senior adviser on science and technology policy, said that research spending on science and technology "is doing better than might have been expected" given budget constraints. But Holdren added that the U.S. is getting more R&D competition. "It is true that China, for example, has been increasing its investments at a very high rate and is now sitting at about half the investment of the United States," said Holdren. "That gap will narrow further if China continues to boost its investments in that way.""
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IBM workforce cuts raise questions about pact with New York

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 2 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "IBM is laying off U.S. employees this week as part of a $1B restructuring, and is apparently trying keep the exact number of cuts secret. The Alliance@IBM, the main source of layoff information at IBM, says the company has stopped including in its resource action documents, given to cut employees, the number of employees selected for a job cut. The union calls it a “disturbing development.” Meanwhile, two days prior to the layoffs, NY Gov. Cuomo announced that it reached a new minimum staffing level agreement with IBM to "maintain 3,100 high-tech jobs in the Hudson Valley and surrounding areas.” The governor’s office did not say how many IBM jobs are now there, but others put estimate it at around 7,000. Lee Conrad, a national coordinator for the Alliance, said the governor's announcement raises some questions for workers and the region. "Yes, you're trying to protect 3,100 jobs but what about the other 3,900 jobs?" The Alliance estimates that anywhere from 4,000 to 6,000 U.S. workers could be impacted by the latest round of layoffs. IBM says it has more than 3,000 open positions in the U.S., and says the cuts are part of a "rebalancing" as it shifts investments into new areas of technology, such as cognitive computing."
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California fights drought with data and psychology, yielding 5% usage reduction

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 2 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "California is facing its worst drought in more than 100 years, and one with no end in sight. But it is offering Silicon Valley opportunities. In one project, the East Bay Municipal Utility District in Oakland used customized usage reports developed by WaterSmart Software that report a customer's water use against average use for similar sized households. It uses a form of peer pressure to change behavior. A just concluded year-long pilot showed a 5% reduction in water usage. The utility said the reporting system could "go a long way" toward helping the state meet its goal of a reducing water usage by 20% per capita statewide. In other tech related activities, the organizer of a water-tech focused hackathon, Hack the Drought is hoping this effort leads to new water conserving approaches. Overall, water tech supporters are working to bring more investor attention to this market. Imagine H2O, a non-profit, holds annual water tech contests and then helps with access to venture funding. The effort is focused on "trying to address the market failure in the water sector," Scott Bryan, the chief operating officer of Imagine H2O."
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Personal history may thrust new Microsoft CEO into visa debate

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 2 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "The personal history of Satya Nadella, Microsoft's new CEO, may draw him into the immigration debate over visas. His background, born in Hyderabad, earning advanced degrees in the U.S., exemplifies the type of STEM expertise that Microsoft's cites for visa liberalization. Microsoft has long argued that U.S. schools do not produce enough computer science grads. Said Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, "We have imported people, in part, because when we started the 1980s, we didn't have the capacity in our higher education institutions to produce the degrees that would be needed to take these new jobs." But Microsoft's assertions of a skills shortage have long been disputed. "Microsoft's lobbyists and executives have played the leading role in misinforming the public and policymakers about how the H-1B and L-1 visa programs are used in practice," says Ron Hira, a public policy professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology. What is certain is that Indian community in Silicon Valley is "bursting with pride" over Microsoft's new CEO, reports the LA Times."
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Obama urges 'all-in' effort on tech innovation

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 3 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "President Barack Obama urged Congress to increase federal research funding or risk the U.S. technology lead to China and Europe. "This is an edge America cannot surrender," said Obama, in his State of the Union speech. The National Science Foundation budget bill approved this month by Congress set aside $7.1 billion, well below the president's request. The approved budget is only about 2.4% over FY 2012 spending, according to an analysis by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). When inflation if factored, it represents a real-dollar decline of 3% from 2012. Overall, defense R&D spending will decline by $8.4 billion, or 11.2%, from fiscal year 2012 levels, according to the AAAS. On the same day the Obama delivered his speech, the Pentagon was warning lawmakers, at a hearing, about China. "From the perspective of technological superiority, the Department of Defense is being challenged in ways I have not seen for many years," said Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense."
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Detroit wants its own high-tech visa

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 3 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "Detroit, a city in bankruptcy and dealing with a shrinking population, hopes to turn itself around with the help of 50,000 employment-based green cards. In exchange for the visa, an immigrant would be required to "live and work" in Detroit for an undetermined length of time. The visas would be made available under the EB-2 visa category, a visa for advanced degree professionals or those deemed with "exceptional ability" in the sciences, arts and business. The proposal was made by Michigan's governor, Rick Snyder. Daniel Costa, an immigration policy analyst at Economic Policy Institute, said Snyder would have more credibility on the issue if he were doing more to help workers in Detroit. In 2011, the state cut jobless benefits by six weeks to 20. "I also think the federal government should be offering people in the U.S. some money and land in Detroit if they'll move there," said Costa, or "just offer it to people across the country who have advanced degrees.""
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Amazon posted 16,100 IT jobs last year, tops in U.S.

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 3 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "The employer with the most IT job postings last year was Amazon.com, with 16,146 ads, exceeding most other IT firms by a wide margin, according to a report by trade group CompTIA using data from Burning Glass Technologies in Boston, which analyzes online job postings from approximately 32,000 jobs sites. The runners-up in 2013 U.S. job postings were Accenture, at 14,240 and Deloitte, at 13,077 job ads. Best Buy posted 10,725 IT job ads, ahead of IBM at 10,221. Best Buy's hiring was attributed to its computer support business."
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Electrical engineering lost 35,000 jobs last year

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 3 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "Despite an expanding use of electronics in products, the number of people working as electrical engineers in U.S. declined by 10.4% last year. The decline amounted to a loss of 35,000 jobs and increased the unemployment rate for electrical engineers from 3.4% in 2012 to 4.8% last year, an unusually high rate of job losses for this occupation. There are 300,000 people working as electrical engineers, according to U.S. Labor Department data analyzed by the IEEE-USA. In 2002, there were 385,000 electrical engineers in the U.S. Ron Hira, an assistant professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, called the electrical engineering employment trend "truly disturbing," and said, "just like America's manufacturing has been hollowed out by offshoring and globalization, it appears that electrical and electronics engineering is heading that way.""
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End of Moore's Law forcing radical innovation

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 3 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "With Moore's Law the technology industry has been coasting along on steady, predictable performance gains. But stability and predictability are also the ingredients of complacency and inertia. At this stage, Moore's Law may be more analogous to golden handcuffs than to innovation. With its end, systems makers and governments are being challenged to come up with new materials and architectures. The European Commission has written of a need for "radical innovation in many computing technologies." The U.S. National Science Foundation, in a recent budget request, said technologies such as carbon nantube digital circuits to molecular-based approaches including biologically inspired systems will likely be needed. The slowdown in Moore's Law, has already hit HPC and Marc Snir, director of the Mathematics and Computer Science Division at the Argonne National Laboratory, and a computer science professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, outlined, in a series of slides, the proplem of going below 7nm on chips, and the lack of alternative technologies."
Link to Original Source
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U.S. requirement for software dev certification raises questions

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 4 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "U.S. government contracts often require bidders to have achieved some level of Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) level. CMMI arose some 25 years ago via the backing of the Department of Defense and the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. It operated as a federally funded research and development center until a year ago, when CMMI's product responsibility was shifted to a private, profit-making LLC, the CMMI Institute. The Institute is now owned by Carnegie Mellon. Given that the CMMI Institute is now a self-supporting firm, any requirement that companies be certified by it — and spend the money needed to do so — raises a natural question. "Why is the government mandating that you support a for-profit company?" said Henry Friedman, the CEO of IR Technologies, a company that develops logistics defense related software and uses CMMI. The value of a certification is subject to debate. To what extent does a CMMI certification determine a successful project outcome? CGI Federal, the lead contractor at Healthcare.gov, is a veritable black belt in software development. In 2012, it achieved the highest possible Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) level for development certification, only the 10th company in the U.S. to do so."
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2013: An ominous year for warnings and predictions

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 4 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "This year may be remembered for its striking number of reports and warning of calamitous events. The National Intelligence Council released its Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds report that included a number of dire possibilities ahead, including the prospect of a catastrophic solar storm, on par with the 1859 Carrington Event. Historical records suggest a return period of 50 years for a repeat of the Quebec-level storm that knocked out the power for 6 million in 1989, and 150 years for very extreme storms, such as the Carrington Event, according to Lloyd's, in a report this year. Scientists at the Idaho National Laboratory recently demonstrated in tests that "geomagnetic disturbances have the power to disrupt and possibly destroy electrical transformers, the backbone of our nation's utility grid." This was also the year the average daily level of CO2 reached a concentration above 400 parts per million. In a recent National Academies report this year, "Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises," scientists recommend creation of a global early warning system to alert mankind to abrupt climate changes. A recent paper in Nature, Abrupt rise of new machine ecology beyond human response time, said financial trading systems are driving transaction times down to the speed of light, and "the quickest that someone can notice potential danger and physically react, is approximately 1 second.""
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Percentage of self-employed IT workers increasing

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 4 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "The tech industry is seeing a shift toward a more independent, contingent IT workforce. About 18% of all IT workers today are self-employed, according to an analysis by Emergent Research, a firm focused on small businesses trends. This independent IT workforce is growing at the rate of about 7% per year, which is faster than the overall growth rate for independent workers generally, at 5.5%. A separate analysis by research firm Computer Economics finds a similar trend. This year, contract workers make up 15% of a typical large organization's IT staff at the median. This is up from a median of just 6% in 2011, said Longwell. The last time there was a similar increase in contract workers was in 1998, during the dot.com boom and the run-up to Y2K remediation efforts."
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One in four cloud providers will be gone by 2015

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 4 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "Cloud adopters face serious risk in the next two years because of the strong possibility that their provider will be acquired or forced out of business, according to Gartner.The research firm is predicting a major consolidation in cloud services and estimates that about 25% of the top 100 IT service providers in the infrastructure space won't be around by 2015. "One in four vendors will be gone for whatever reason — acquisition, bankruptcy," said William Maurer, a Gartner analyst. Most of the time, the changes will come through acquisition. There is pressure on providers to cut costs, but Maurer is advising enterprise users to be gentle with their vendors. "You need to make to make sure that your service providers are successful," said Maurer. "Give them a chance to make a reasonable return on their investments, give them a chance to make some money.""
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Goldman Sachs, with 10,000 tech workers, embraces open computing

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 4 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "Goldman Sachs, a major player in one of the most risk adverse industries, embraces commodity approaches, open systems and platforms, and ultimately perhaps, the public cloud. Goldman Sachs has 36,000 employees. About 10,000 of those — more than 25% of the workforce — work, effectively, in technology. Of those tech workers, about 6,000 are developers. The investment bank's systems utilize, in total, about 500,000 compute cores. It believes commodity systems offer better protection against risk. Commodity systems allow for rapid change, said Donald Duet, global co-chief operating officer of the Goldman Sachs technology division. "Having more agility, having more ability to make changes rapidly, having more ability to move quickly, is a great risk mitigator," he said."
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In three years, nearly 45% of all the servers will ship to cloud providers

dcblogs dcblogs writes  |  about 4 months ago

dcblogs (1096431) writes "IDC expects that anywhere from 25% to 30% of all the servers shipped next year will be delivered to cloud services providers. In three years, 2017, nearly 45% of all the servers leaving manufacturers will be bought by cloud providers. The shift is slowing the purchase of server sales to enterprise IT. The increased use of SaaS is a major reason for the market shift, but so is virtualization to increase server capacity. Data center consolidations are eliminating servers as well, along with the purchase of denser servers capable of handling larger loads. The increased use of cloud-based providers is roiling the server market, and is expected to help send server revenue down 3.5% this year, according to IDC."
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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