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2014 Hour of Code: Do Ends Justify Disney Product Placement Means?

theodp Disney Sued Over Alleged No-Coder-Poaching Accord (125 comments)

Disney, DreamWorks Sued Over Alleged No-Poaching Accord: "Walt Disney Co., DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. and other film industry companies were sued in an antitrust case that may reflect a new wave of litigation applying traditional price-fixing claims to labor markets. Today's lawsuit accusing the California-based companies of colluding to not hire each other's software engineers , digital artists and animators comes as Apple Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corp. and Adobe Systems Inc. are trying to resolve similar claims after failing to win court approval of a proposed $324.5 million settlement with 64,000 of their technical workers."

4 days ago
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Walt Disney Presents: 'Frozen' Princesses to Star in 2014 Hour of Code

theodp WAPO: 'Frozen' might be everything that's wrong... (1 comments)

'Frozen' might be everything that's wrong with the U.S. economy: "The newer part, experts tell me, is the focus on toys for girls vs. toys for boys. Toy companies have concluded that they can appeal more powerfully to young customers if they appeal to them as boys or girls, rather than as kids. This is a really big trend, it's clearly a commercial success story, but there are some obvious concerns too."

about a week ago
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Education Chief Should Know About PLATO and the History of Online CS Education

theodp Re:$200? (134 comments)

To clarify, Professional Membership PLUS ACM Digital Library: $198 (USD)

about two weeks ago
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Education Chief Should Know About PLATO and the History of Online CS Education

theodp Re:$200? (134 comments)

You're right. The $200 was based on the suggestion to "supersize" the order up to a full $198 ACM membership, so more than one article could be read. It appears Duncan has the budget for it. :-)

about two weeks ago
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Education Chief Should Know About PLATO and the History of Online CS Education

theodp Correction: Duncan attended Harvard, not Yale (134 comments)

Oops...Duncan graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1987, after majoring in sociology.

about two weeks ago
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New Facebook Update Lets You Choose News Feed Content

theodp Reinventing the RSS Wheel (54 comments)

Facebook and Twitter owe a HUGE debt of gratitude to RSS.

about three weeks ago
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Facebook Wants You To Vote Tuesday

theodp Re:Lucky for Democrats (165 comments)

AARP membership: 37M. Facebook U.S. users: 150M.

about a month ago
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Facebook Wants You To Vote Tuesday

theodp Obama's Chief Scientist on Use of Facebook in 2012 (165 comments)

Interview with Rayid Ghani, Chief Scientist Obama 2012 Campaign: Q. How did you use facebook and other social networks as part of modeling? A. We used facebook for a few different purposes: We used facebook to reach young voters who were hard to reach using traditional channels such as phone, direct mail, and door-to-door canvassing. We built models using data from users who authorized our facebook app that allowed us to ask our supporters to contact their friends for specific reasons (voter registration, volunteering, going to vote, etc.). Our hypothesis was that getting their friends to ask them was more effective than us asking them directly by broadcasting on our facebook page. We also used facebook to determine people's interest and send them messages that were relevant to them and hence increase their likelihood of taking action.

about a month ago
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Solving the Mystery of Declining Female CS Enrollment

theodp Apple's Ellen Feis Ad: Worse Than Targeting Boys? (608 comments)

If you were trying to discourage girls from trying to program computers, you'd be hard-pressed to top Apple's famous Ellen Feis 'Switch' ad (2002 Slashdot discussion). Btw, by introducing 'The Computer for The Rest of Us' in 1984 without a viable hobbyist programming language, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates no doubt helped discourage both girls and boys from studying CS, even if BillG is trying to make amends now.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Codecademy: Google Bonus for Getting Kids to Code Excludes Asian/White Boys

theodp theodp writes  |  39 minutes ago

theodp (442580) writes "The Good News, according to a recently revised web page at Codecademy, is that Google will no longer only provide funding for teachers who convince high school girls to take a JavaScript course. The Bad News, however, is that under the revised deal described by Codecademy, Google will now provide public school teachers with bonus funding for getting all HS students to learn to code — except Asian and White boys. "Thanks to Google," reads Codecademy's new copy (old/new screenshots), "students like you at U.S. public high schools who complete this 12-hour JavaScript curriculum will receive a $100 DonorsChoose.org gift code to put toward awesome resources for your classroom. If your teacher helps 10 or more students from groups traditionally underrepresented in computer science (girls, or boys who identify as African American, Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native) complete the course, they’ll earn an additional $1,000 DonorsChoose.org classroom funding credit." To those who would ask, "Why is the bonus funding specifically geared for girls and students of color?," Codecademy points to Google's Diversity Page, suggesting that today's Asian/White boys are paying the price for Google's past hiring sins. Coincidentally the move comes as Harvard faces a new lawsuit filed on behalf of Asian-American applicants for engaging in racial "balancing." In a recent Talks at Google video, Google gave its employees an update on how Google.org is working behind the scenes on K-12 experiments with partners like Codecademy, DonorsChoose, Code.org, Equal Opportunity Schools, and CollegeBoard, including data mining kids' PSAT test scores to cherry pick students of high potential to help determine which under-served schools will get AP STEM funding."
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Tech Companies Stoking Fears of Talent Shortage to Get Cheaper Labor?

theodp theodp writes  |  3 days ago

theodp (442580) writes "Things subject to the Tinkerbell effect, explains Wikipedia, exist only so long as we believe in them. Need a real-life example? Well, while President Obama believed it was necessary to take executive action to expand the controversial OPT STEM visa work program (his wealthy dining companions are still hungry for something more), Businessweek is reporting that The Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist. “There’s no evidence of any way, shape, or form that there’s a shortage in the conventional sense,” says Hal Salzman, a professor of planning and public policy at Rutgers. So, why then would Tech Companies Stoke Fears of a Talent Shortage? “It seems pretty clear that the industry just wants lower-cost labor,” argues Dean Baker, the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. “We don’t dispute the fact at all that Facebook and Microsoft would like to have more, cheaper workers,” adds Daniel Kuehn, a research associate at the Urban Institute. “But that doesn’t constitute a shortage.” Asked what evidence existed of a labor shortage, a spokesperson for Facebook e-mailed a one-sentence statement: “We look forward to hearing more specifics about the President’s plan and how it will impact the skills gap that threatens the competitiveness of the tech sector.”"
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Back to School: Steve Ballmer's Guest Lecture at Harvard's CS50

theodp theodp writes  |  4 days ago

theodp (442580) writes "GeekWire looks at the 'game film' from ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's guest lecture at Harvard's CS50, in which Harvard alum Ballmer touched on a wide variety of topics, including the LA Clippers ("500 times less complicated than Microsoft"), how his career started at Microsoft (BillG convinced him to drop out of Stanford Business School), his views on Net Neutrality, his favorite products ("Surface Pro 3 in modern days and Windows 1.0 in historic days"), and his 15-year-old's biggest concern about Dad leaving Microsoft (no more early access to new Halo releases). Ballmer was fairly subdued in the lecture and Q&A, but couldn't resist cranking it up to 11 for a CS50 intro. Ballmer, who was an applied math and economics major at Harvard, was visiting his alma mater to drop off a $60 million check to beef up Harvard's Computer Science faculty."
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2014 Hour of Code: Do Ends Justify Disney Product Placement Means?

theodp theodp writes  |  4 days ago

theodp (442580) writes ""The purpose of product placement/product integration/branded entertainment," explains Disney in a job posting, "is to give a brand exposure outside of their traditional media buy." So, one imagines the folks in Disney Marketing must be thrilled that Disney Frozen princesses Anna and Elsa will be featured in the 'signature tutorial' for CSEdWeek's 2014 Hour of Code, which aims to introduce CS to 100 million schoolkids — including a sizable captive audience — in the weeks before Christmas. "Thanks to Disney Interactive," announced Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi, "Code.org’s signature tutorial for the 2014 Hour of Code features Disney Infinity versions of Disney’s 'Frozen' heroines Anna and Elsa!." Partovi adds, "The girl-power theme of the tutorial is a continuation of our efforts to expand diversity in computer science and broaden female participation in the field, starting with younger students." In the tutorial, reports the LA Times, "students will learn to write code to help Anna and Elsa draw snowflakes and snowmen, and perform magical 'ice craft.' Disney is also donating $100,000 to support Code.org’s efforts to bring computer science education to after-school programs nationwide.""
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Would She-Ra Have Been a Better Choice for CSEdWeek Than Disney's Anna and Elsa?

theodp theodp writes  |  5 days ago

theodp (442580) writes "While the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) emphasizes the importance of gender neutrality, this year's CSEdWeek will feature Disney Frozen princesses Anna and Elsa in Code.org's signature tutorial for the 2014 Hour of Code event, which aims to introduce CS to 100 million schoolkids. Code.org maintains that Anna and Elsa are princesses-for-all-genders, even though the Disney Store and Washington Post suggest otherwise. So, if you were picking a Princess to teach girls and boys to code, wouldn't She-Ra: Princess of Power (YouTube) have broader cross-gender appeal?"
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Walt Disney Presents: 'Frozen' Princesses to Star in 2014 Hour of Code

theodp theodp writes  |  about a week ago

theodp (442580) writes ""At the CSTA conference," reads a recent post on the Computer Science Teachers Association blog, "there are regular sessions on attracting women to the field, on ways to structure assignments to be gender neutral and/or racially sensitive." So, isn't that kind of at odds with the choice of Disney Frozen princesses Anna and Elsa to star in Code.org's signature tutorial for the 2014 Hour of Code, which aims to introduce CS to 100 million schoolkids? Au contraire, insisted Code.org, when asked by the Seattle Times if boys will be as enthused as girls about Anna and Elsa. "If you see all the sing-alongs and crazy Frozen-ness, it’s not only for girls," reassured a spokeswoman. Gender-targeted product lists at the Disney Store, on the other hand, seem to suggest otherwise."
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Obama's Immigration Order to Give Tech Industry Some, Leave 'Em Wanting More

theodp theodp writes  |  about a week ago

theodp (442580) writes ""The high-tech industry," reports the Washington Post's Nancy Scola, "will have at least two things to be happy about in President Obama's speech outlining executive actions he'll take on immigration. The president plans to grant the tech industry some, but not nearly all, of what it has been after in the immigration debate. The first is aimed at increasing the opportunity for foreign students and recent graduates from U.S. schools to work in high-tech jobs in the United States. And the second is aimed at making it easier for foreign-born entrepreneurs to set up shop in the United States. According to the White House, Obama will direct the Department of Homeland Security to help students in the so-called STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — by proposing, per a White House fact sheet released Thursday night, to 'expand and extend' the controversial Optional Practical Training program that now allows foreign-born STEM students and recent graduates remain in the United States for up to 29 months. The exact details of that expansion will be worked out by the Department of Homeland Security as it goes through a rulemaking process.""
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Are Disney Princesses the Answer to America's Tech-Talent Shortage?

theodp theodp writes  |  about a week ago

theodp (442580) writes "If you were waiting to see what some of the nation's wealthiest individuals and corporations would come up with to solve America's tech-talent shortage, wait no longer. "Thanks to Disney Interactive," writes CEO Hadi Partovi, "Code.org’s signature tutorial for the 2014 Hour of Code features Disney Infinity versions of Disney’s "Frozen" heroines Anna and Elsa!." Partovi adds, "The girl-power theme of the tutorial is a continuation of our efforts to expand diversity in computer science and broaden female participation in the field, starting with younger students." In the tutorial, reports the LA Times, students will learn to write code to help Anna and Elsa draw snowflakes and snowmen, and perform magical 'ice craft.' The new tutorial is part of an effort by Code.org and their tech company partners to introduce coding to 100 million students by the end of CS Education Week in December. The Seattle Times addressed the elephant in the room: Will boys be as enthused about Anna and Elsa? "If you see all the sing-alongs and crazy Frozen-ness, it’s not only for girls," reassured a Code.org spokeswoman, adding that "there's crossover appeal ... it’s cool that you can write your own program, see the art you make and the share it.""
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NYT: Privacy Concerns for ClassDojo, Other Tracking Apps for Schoolchildren

theodp theodp writes  |  about two weeks ago

theodp (442580) writes "The NY Times' Natasha Singer files a report on popular and controversial behavior tracking app ClassDojo, which teachers use to keep a running tally of each student’s score, award virtual badges for obedience, and to communicate with parents about their child’s progress. “I like it because you get rewarded for your good behavior — like a dog does when it gets a treat," was one third grader's testimonial. Some parents, teachers and privacy law scholars say ClassDojo (investors) — along with other unproven technologies that record sensitive information about students — is being adopted without sufficiently considering the ramifications for data privacy and fairness. "ClassDojo," writes Singer, "does not seek explicit parental consent for teachers to log detailed information about a child’s conduct. Although the app’s terms of service state that teachers who sign up guarantee that their schools have authorized them to do so, many teachers can download ClassDojo, and other free apps, without vetting by school supervisors. Neither the New York City nor Los Angeles school districts, for example, keep track of teachers independently using apps." A high school teacher interviewed for the article confessed to having not read ClassDojo’s policies on handling student data, saying: "I’m one of those people who, when the terms of service are 18 pages, I just click agree." And, if all this doesn't make you parents just a tad nervous, check out this response to the "Has anyone ran a data analysis on their CD data?" question posed to the Class Dojo Community: "I needed to analyze data in regards to a student being placed on ADHD medicine to see whether or not he made any improvements. I have also used it to determine any behavioral changes depending on if a student was with mom/dad for a custody review. I use dojo consistently, so I LOVE getting to use the data to evaluate and share with parents, or even administrators.""
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Three's a Crowd in Billionaires' Record-Breaking Code.org Crowdfunding Project

theodp theodp writes  |  about two weeks ago

theodp (442580) writes "Whether it's winning yacht races, assembling the best computer science faculty, or even dominating high school basketball, billionaires like to win. Which may help explain why three tech billionaires — Code.org backers (and FWD.us founders) Mark Zuckerberg, VC John Doerr, and Sean Parker — stepped up to the plate and helped out Code.org's once-anemic Hour of Code Indiegogo crowdfunding project with $500k donations. When matched by Code.org's largest donors (Bill Gates, Reid Hoffman and others), the three donations alone raised $3,000,000, enough to reach the organization's goal of becoming the most funded crowdfunding campaign ever on Indiegogo. On its campaign page, Code.org remarked that "to sustain our organization for the long haul, we need to engage parents and community members," which raises questions about how reliant the K-12 learn-to-code movement might be on the kindness of its wealthy corporate and individual donors. Code.org started shedding some light on its top donors a few months back, but contributor names are blank in the 2013 IRS 990 filing posted by the organization on its website, although GuideStar suggests the biggest contributors in 2013 were Microsoft ($3,149,411) and Code.org founders Hadi and Ali Partovi ($1,873,909 in Facebook stock). Coincidentally, in a Reddit AMA at Code.org's launch, CEO and Founder Hadi Partovi noted that his next-door-neighbor is Microsoft General Counsel and Code.org Board member Brad Smith, whose FWD.us bio notes is responsible for Microsoft's philanthropic work. Just months before Code.org and FWD.us emerged on the lobbying scene, Smith announced Microsoft's National Talent Strategy, which called for "an increase in developing the American STEM pipeline in exchange for these new [H-1B] visas and green cards," a wish that President Obama is expected to grant shortly via executive action."
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U.S. Education Chief Don't Know Much About Online CS Education History

theodp theodp writes  |  about two weeks ago

theodp (442580) writes "Writing in Vanity Fair, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan marvels that his kids can learn to code online at their own pace thanks to "free" lessons from Khan Academy, which Duncan credits for "changing the way my kids learn" (Duncan calls out his kids' grade school for not offering coding). The 50-year-old Duncan, who complained last December that he "didn't have the opportunity to learn computer skills" while growing up attending the Univ. of Chicago Lab Schools and Yale, may be surprised to learn that the University of Illinois was teaching kids how to program online in the '70s with its PLATO system, and it didn't look all that different from what Khan Academy came up with for his kids 40 years later (Roger Ebert remarked in his 2011 TED Talk that seeing Khan Academy gave him a flashback to the PLATO system he reported on in the '60s). So, does it matter if the nation's education chief — who presides over a budget that includes $69 billion in discretionary spending — is clueless about The Hidden History of Ed-Tech? Some think so. "We can't move forward," Hack Education's Audrey Watters writes, "til we reconcile where we've been before." So, if Duncan doesn't want to shell out $200 to read a 40-year-old academic paper on the subject (that's a different problem!) to bring himself up to speed, he presumably can check out the free offerings at Ed.gov. A 1975 paper on Interactive Systems for Education, for instance, notes that 650 students were learning programming on PLATO during the Spring '75 semester, not bad considering that Khan Academy is boasting that it "helped over 2000 girls learn to code" in 2014 (after luring their teachers with funding from a $1,000,000 Google Award). Even young techies might be impressed by the extent of PLATO's circa-1975 online CS offerings, from lessons on data structures and numerical analysis to compilers, including BASIC, PL/I, SNOBOL, APL, and even good-old COBOL."
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U.S. Education Chief's Khan Academy Aha Moment was Roger Ebert's Deja Vu

theodp theodp writes  |  about two weeks ago

theodp (442580) writes "Writing in Vanity Fair, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan reports that Khan Academy is "changing the way my kids learn" with its online lessons, including coding, which Duncan points out his pre-teen kids' school doesn't offer. Interestingly, while seeing Khan Academy seems to have been an aha moment for the nation's education chief, it was a deja vu moment for the late film critic Roger Ebert, who reported on computer-assisted instruction 50 years earlier. In his 2011 TED Talk, Ebert remarked, "When I heard the amazing talk by Salman Khan on Wednesday, about the Khan Academy website that teaches hundreds of subjects to students all over the world, I had a flashback. It was about 1960. As a local newspaper reporter still in high school, I was sent over to the computer lab of the University of Illinois to interview the creators of something called PLATO. The initials stood for Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations. This was a computer-assisted instruction system, which in those days ran on a computer named ILLIAC. The programmers said it could assist students in their learning." PLATO, Duncan may be surprised to learn, was teaching kids how to program online in the '70s, and it didn't look all that different from what Khan Academy came up with for his kids 40 years later. "There’s a fascinating and important history of education technology that is largely forgotten," explains Audrey Watters in The Hidden History of Ed-Tech. "We can't move forward," she adds, "til we reconcile where we've been before.""
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Duke: No Mercy for CS 201 Cheaters Who Don't Turn Selves In by Wednesday

theodp theodp writes  |  about two weeks ago

theodp (442580) writes "The Duke Chronicle published an e-mail reportedly sent to hundreds of Duke students who took Computer Science 201 (Data Structures & Algorithms) last spring, giving those who copied solutions to class problems until Nov. 12th to turn themselves in for cheating. "Students who have violated course policies but do not step forward by November 12, 2014," warns the e-mail, "will not be offered faculty-student resolution and will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct for disciplinary processes without any recommendation for leniency." Dis Gon B Gud, quips an animated GIF comment. The Chronicle adds that CS Prof Owen Astrachan, co-director of undergraduate studies, admitted that there is a fine line between collaboration and cheating in computer science — online and in person, although Astrachan made it clear in comments that "Students who copied code from the Internet are in violation of the community standard and course policies." Hey, let ye who is without copy-and-paste sin cast the first stone in the comments!"
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Google Takes Over Operations Of NASA Airfield

theodp theodp writes  |  about two weeks ago

theodp (442580) writes ""After years of using Moffett Field as the home and launch pad for the private jets of Google’s founders," writes TechCrunch's Ryan Lawler, "the company has agreed to a deal in which it will lease the airfield from NASA for the next 60 years. As part of the lease, Google will take over operations of the airfield while the U.S. government retains ownership of the land." In its press release, NASA explained, "We are making strides to reduce our footprint here on Earth" with the $1.16B lease, which is expected to reduce the government agency’s maintenance and operation costs by $6.3 million annually."
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Google "Evicted" the Berlin Wall from Property it Bought

theodp theodp writes  |  about three weeks ago

theodp (442580) writes "Sunday marks the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, which Google commemorates in today's Doodle. "Seeking inspiration for this doodle," notes the Google Doodle Team, "we took a short bike ride from our Mountain View, California headquarters to our local public library to study an actual piece of the Berlin Wall" (the Berlin Wall segments are featured in the Doodle). Interestingly, the post doesn't mention Google's connection to how the two sections of the Berlin Wall wound up at the library. After Google bought the Bayside Business Plaza in 2012, where the 12-foot-tall remnants had been kept for decades by German-born businessman Frank Golzen before his death, it reportedly gave the Golzen family until summer 2013 to get the Berlin Wall off its lawn. "Although the donating family has until next summer to remove the installation from the current location," reads a 2012 City of Mountain View Staff Report, "their preference (and the preference of the new owner of the property) is to remove it sooner." A recommendation to relocate the seven ton concrete slabs to remote Charleston Park, adjacent to the Googleplex, was nixed by the City Council, who voted instead to move the Berlin Wall sections to its current home in front of a downtown public library."
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Codecademy's ReSkillUSA: Gestation Period for New Developers is 3 Months

theodp theodp writes  |  about three weeks ago

theodp (442580) writes "TechCrunch reports that Codecademy has teamed up with online and offline coding schools to create ReskillUSA. "3 months," explains ReskillUSA's website, is "how long it takes a dedicated beginner to learn the skills to qualify for computing and web development jobs" (hey, it worked for Sears in the '70s!). Techcrunch's Anthony Ha explains,"By teaming up with other organizations, Codecademy is also hoping to convince employers that completing one of those programs is a meaningful qualification for a job, and that you don’t necessarily need a bachelor’s degree in computer science." In his Medium post, Codecademy CEO Zach Sims calls on "students learning for the jobs of the future or employers interested in hiring a diverse and skilled workforce – to join us. The future of our economy depends on it." So, will companies like Codecademy booster and diversity-challenged Google bite?"
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Amazon Unclear on Diversity

theodp theodp writes  |  about three weeks ago

theodp (442580) writes "Late to the table on disclosing workforce demographics, Amazon posted a diversity report to its website on Halloween, revealing that its global work force is 63% male and 37% female, while in the U.S., its work force is 60% white, 15% black, 13% Asian and 9% Hispanic. More lacking in granular detail than the less-than-transparent diversity data provided by its tech peers, Rainbow PUSH said Amazon's numbers were not as good as they appeared, and criticized the company for a lack of candor. "Their general work force data released by Amazon seems intentionally deceptive, as the company did not include the race or gender breakout of their technical work force," PUSH said in a statement. "The broad assumption is that a high percentage of their black and Latino employees work in their warehouses." Following the lead of other tech companies, Diversity at Amazon suggests the e-tailer's undisclosed-but-presumed lack of tech diversity could be blamed on "female students and students of color [who] are opting out of technology and engineering" as early as middle school and high school. Taking a page from Google's playbook, Amazon pointed to its involvement with the Anita Borg Institute, Code.org, Girls Who Code, and the National Center for Women & Information Technology as ways the company's addressing tech diversity deficiencies."
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Amazon's Halloween Diversity Disclosure Pretty Scary Stuff

theodp theodp writes  |  about a month ago

theodp (442580) writes "Late to the table on disclosing its workforce demographics, Amazon quietly posted its take on a diversity disclosure report to the web on Halloween, which the NY Times reports Rainbow Push found to be pretty scary stuff. Even more lacking in granular detail than the obfuscated diversity data provided by its peers, Rainbow PUSH said Amazon's numbers were not as good as they appeared, and criticized the company for a lack of candor. "Their general work force data released by Amazon seems intentionally deceptive, as the company did not include the race or gender breakout of their technical work force," the organization said in a statement. "The broad assumption is that a high percentage of their black and Latino employees work in their warehouses." Like other tech companies, Amazon placed the blame for its (undisclosed) lack of tech diversity on "female students and students of color [who] are opting out of technology and engineering" as early as middle school and high school. Taking a page out of Google's playbook, Amazon pointed to its involvement with the Anita Borg Institute, Code.org, Girls Who Code, and the National Center for Women & Information Technology as ways it's addressing tech's Where's-Wenda problem."
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At $199, Will The Windows 8.1 HP Stream 11 Make People Forget About Chromebooks?

theodp theodp writes  |  about a month ago

theodp (442580) writes "With an 11.6" screen, Windows 8.1, and free Office 365 for a year, the $199.99 solid-state HP Stream 11 laptop is positioned to make people think twice about Chromebooks (add $30 for the HP Stream 13). But will it? "The HP Stream 11 is clearly both inexpensive and a great value," writes Paul Thurrott. "At just $200, it's cheap, of course. But it also features a solid-feeling construction, a bright and fun form factor, a surprisingly high-quality typing experience and a wonderful screen. This isn't a bargain bin throwaway. The Stream 11 is something special." The HP Stream Family also includes the HP Stream 7, a $99.99 Windows 8.1 Tablet that includes the Office 365 deal. By the way, at the other end of the price spectrum, HP has introduced the Sprout, which Fast Company calls a bold and weird PC that's bursting at the seams with new ideas, from 3-D scanning to augmented reality."
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Facebook Wants You to Vote Tuesday

theodp theodp writes  |  about a month ago

theodp (442580) writes "Six years in the making, Facebook's get-out-the-vote tool — a high-profile button that proclaims "I'm Voting" or "I'm a Voter" — will on Tuesday give many of the social network's more than 150 million American users a gentle but effective nudge to vote. "If past research is any guide," writes Micah L. Sifry in Mother Jones, "up to a few million more people will head to the polls partly because their Facebook friends encouraged them. Yet the process by which Facebook has developed this tool — what the firm calls the 'voter megaphone' — has not been very transparent, raising questions about its use and Facebook's ability to influence elections. Moreover, while Facebook has been developing and promoting this tool, it has also been quietly conducting experiments on how the company's actions can affect the voting behavior of its users." Sifry adds, "There may be another reason for Facebook's lack of transparency regarding its voting promotion experiments: politics. Facebook officials likely do not want Republicans on Capitol Hill to realize that their voter megaphone isn't a neutral get-out-the-vote mechanism. It's not that Facebook uses this tool to remind only users who identify themselves as Democrats to vote — though the company certainly has the technical means to do so. But the Facebook user base tilts Democratic." So, it's probably worth mentioning again that Facebook caught flack last summer for deliberately experimenting on users' emotions without their consent. And just last June, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us PAC put out a call for "pissed off Data Scientists" to data mine critical legislative districts and "growth hack" ways to motivate "registered voters who are registered Republicans who we think are likely to support immigration reform.""

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