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+ - How Obama's Immigration Overhaul Will Affect Tech->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "President Obama’s plan to overhaul the nation’s immigration policies could not only save up to five million people from deportation, it will also affect the U.S. tech industry. Obama will rely on an executive action for immigration reform, rather than working with Congress. “I will make it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy,” Obama added in his Nov. 20 speech. On paper, his plan will streamline the ability of foreign entrepreneurs and STEM workers to obtain visas, although specifics went unannounced; spouses of certain visa holders, including at least a portion of those with an H-1B, will have the ability to obtain work permits. Obama’s plan will also expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which grants work permits and some legal protections to unauthorized immigrants who arrived in the United States as children. Under the new guidelines, unauthorized immigrants whose children are U.S. citizens, and who have lived in the country for at least five years, will also be protected. Those immigrants will need to pass criminal background checks and pay taxes. While Obama has taken steps to fix what he views as a broken system, he’s also shifted the debate on immigration to a whole new level. Expect tech firms across the nation to ponder the merits and drawbacks of his plan for quite some time to come."
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+ - Google Maps Crunches Data, Tells You When to Drive on Thanksgiving->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Whatever your plans for Thanksgiving, Google can offer some advice: try to avoid driving anywhere the day before. Analysts from the search-engine giant’s Google Maps division crunched traffic data from 21 U.S. cities over the past two years and found that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is by far the worst traffic day that week, with some notable exceptions. (In Honolulu, Providence, and San Francisco, the worst traffic is always on Saturday; in Boston, it’s Tuesday.) Unfortunately, Wednesday is often the only available travel day for many Americans—but Google thinks they can beat the worst of the traffic if they leave before 2 P.M. or after 7 P.M. on that day. Traffic on Thanksgiving itself is also light, according to the data. When it comes to driving back home, Sunday beats Saturday from a traffic perspective. According to Google Maps’ aggregated trends, Americans also seek out “ham shop,” “pie shop,” and “liquor store” on the day before Thanksgiving, as they rush to secure last-minute items."
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+ - Is a Moral Compass a Hinderance or a Help for Startups?->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "As an emerging company in a hotly contested space, Uber already had a reputation for playing hardball with competitors, even before reports leaked of one of its executives threatening to dig into the private lives of journalists. Faced with a vicious competitive landscape, Uber executives probably feel they have little choice but to plunge into multi-front battle. As the saying goes, when you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail; and when you’re a startup that thinks it's besieged from all sides by entities that seem determined to shut you down, sometimes your executives feel the need to take any measure in order to keep things going, even if those measures are ethically questionable. As more than one analyst has pointed out, Uber isn’t the first company in America to triumph through a combination of grit and ethically questionable tactics; but it’s also not the first to implode thanks to the latter. Is a moral compass (or at least the appearance of one) a hinderance or a help for startups?"
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+ - Uber Threatens to Do 'Opposition Research' on Journalists->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "A senior executive at Uber reportedly told a Buzzfeed reporter that the company "should consider hiring a team of opposition researchers to dig up dirt on its critics in the media — and specifically to spread details of the personal life of a female journalist who has criticized the company." As detailed by the executive, Uber would spend a million dollars on the effort, which would involve "four top opposition researchers and four journalists," and dig into personal lives and families. Uber has pushed back against the report, insisting that it's never done opposition research, but the idea of any company engaging in such practices seems more like something Nixon would have dreamed up at his worst than a strategy by a "disruptive" startup."
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+ - The New-ish Technologies That Will Alter Your Career->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Over at Dice, there’s a discussion of the technologies that could actually alter how you work (and what you work on) over the next few years, including 3D printing, embedded systems, and evolving Web APIs. Granted, predicting the future with any accuracy is a nigh-impossible feat, and a lot of nascent technologies come with an accompanying amount of hype. But given how these listed technologies have actually been around in one form or another for years, and don’t seem to be fading away, it seems likely that they’ll prove an increasing factor in how we live and work over the next decade and beyond. For those who have no interest in mastering aspects of the so-called “Internet of Things,” or other tech on this list, never fear: if the past two decades have taught us anything, it’s that lots of old hardware and software never truly goes away, either (hi, mainframes!)."
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+ - Android 5.0 'Lollipop' vs. iOS 8: More Similar Than Ever->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "With the debut of Android 5.0 (also known as Lollipop, in keeping with Google’s habit of naming each major OS upgrade after a dessert), it’s worth taking a moment to break down how the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system matches up against Apple’s iOS 8. After years of battle, the two are remarkably similar. So while nobody would ever confuse Android and iOS, both Google and Apple seem determined to go “flatter” (and more brightly colored) than ever. Whether or not you agree with their choices, they’re the cutting edge of mobile UX design. The perpetual tit-for-tat over features has reached a climax of sorts with Lollipop and iOS 8: both offer their own version of an NFC-powered e-wallet (Apple Pay vs. Google Wallet), a health app (Apple’s Health app vs. Google Fit), car-dashboard control (Android Auto vs. CarPlay), and home automation. That's not to say that the operating systems are mirror images of one another, but in terms of aesthetics and functionality, they'll be at near-parity for most users, albeit not those users who enjoy customizing Android and hate Apple's 'walled garden.'"
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+ - Linux, Java, Python Top List of Skills Employers Want for Cloud Build-Outs->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "'Cloud' is in the running for the most-hyped term of the decade. Hype aside, tech firms' desire to build Web-based platforms has created a burgeoning need for IT pros skilled in everything from Linux to security and Hadoop. A recent analysis of searches by hiring managers in the Dice resume database found that employers want pros adept in Linux, Java/J2EE, SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), Python, virtualization, and other skills. Many entries on this list hint at cloud-builders’ preferences for platforms and tools. Puppet, for example, is an open-source IT automation tool, created by Puppet Labs, that’s used by a growing number of universities and companies to manage system configurations. OpenStack is an IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) platform similarly relied upon by a number of firms. And efficient data storage and analysis wouldn’t be possible without Hadoop or all the tools that fall under the umbrella of 'Big Data.' Architects, engineers, developers, administrators, and analysts were the top positions sought by hiring managers in the context of 'cloud.' That’s unsurprising, in light of all the companies (big and small) devoting enormous resources to building out, managing, and tweaking their respective platforms. In tech-centric cities such as Seattle, the need for professionals skilled in cloud fundamentals has contributed to increased hiring."
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+ - Black IT Pros on (Lack of) Diversity in Tech->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "While pundits and analysts debate about diversity in Silicon Valley, one thing is very clear: Black Americans make up a very small percentage of tech workers. At Facebook, Google, and Yahoo, that number is a bit less than 2 percent of their respective U.S. workforces; at Apple, it’s closer to 7 percent. Many executives and pundits have argued that the educational pipeline remains one of the chief impediments to hiring a more diverse workforce, and that as long as universities aren’t recruiting a broader mix of students for STEM degrees, the corporate landscape will suffer accordingly. But black IT entrepreneurs and professionals tell Dice that the problem goes much deeper than simply widening the pipeline; they argue that racial bias, along with lingering impressions of what a 'techie' should look like, loom much larger than any pipeline issue. What do you think?"
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+ - Landfill copies of Atari's 'E.T.' End Up on eBay->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "In the early 1980s, Atari made what seemed like a slam-dunk bet: a game based on E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, one of the most beloved (and highest-grossing) films of all time. The company was so sure it had a hit in the making, in fact, that it manufactured millions of E.T. game cartridges, which flooded store shelves just in time for holiday shopping in December 1982. The game sold well at the outset, but it didn’t sell well enough: By early 1983, Atari still had 3.5 million unsold cartridges on its hands. Embarrassed by the failure, Atari dumped those cartridges into a city landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico. In 2003, Canadian entertainment company Fuel Industries received permission from Alamogordo’s town counsel to excavate the landfill for the long-lost cartridges. Now some of those cartridges have surfaced on eBay, selling for $50 and up; if you ever wanted to own a little slice of video-game history, now’s your chance."
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+ - Tech Recruiters Defend 'Blacklists,' Lack of Feedback, Screening Techniques->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Remember when executives at Apple, Google, and other firms “fixed” the market for highly skilled tech workers by agreeing not to steal each other’s employees? That little incident made a lot of people think about the true modus operandi of corporate and third-party tech recruiters. Dice sat down with some of those recruiters, who talked about everything from "no poaching" tactics to the "blacklist" that exists for candidates who make boneheaded mistakes in interviews. The bottom line? Recruiters seem to pass the blame for some of the industry's most egregious errors on "junior recruiters and agencies," while insisting that their goal in life is to get you a job. How does that align with your experience?"
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+ - How Apple Watch Is Really a Regression in Watchmaking-> 1

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Apple design chief Jony Ive has spent the past several weeks talking up how the Apple Watch is an evolution on many of the principles that guided the evolution of timepieces over the past several hundred years. But the need to recharge the device on a nightly basis, now confirmed by Apple CEO Tim Cook, is a throwback to ye olden days, when a lady or gentleman needed to keep winding her or his pocket-watch in order to keep it running. Watch batteries were supposed to bring “winding” to a decisive end, except for that subset of people who insist on carrying around a mechanical timepiece. But with Apple Watch’s requirement that the user constantly monitor its energy, what’s old is new again. Will millions of people really want to charge and fuss with their watch at least once a day?"
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+ - The Company That Tried to Pay Tech Workers $1.21 Per Hour->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "What’s the minimum that some companies are trying to pay workers in Silicon Valley? If you guessed “the required minimum wage for the state of California,” you’d be wrong: Electronics for Imaging Inc. paid eight Indian technicians $1.21 per hour, for as many as 122 working hours per week, with no overtime. The company claimed that the low salary was “unintentional,” and that it originally paid the IT workers what they earned as their regular salary in Bangalore. The Associated Press quoted Michael Eastwood, a Department of Labor assistant district director, as saying that the situation was 'worse than anything that I ever saw in any of those Los Angeles sweatshops.' Electronics for Imaging will need to pay more than $43,000 in penalties and back wages, which shouldn’t be much of a problem, considering the company expects to pull in just under $800 million in revenue for its fiscal year 2014."
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+ - Here's Why Apple Rejected Your iOS App->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Everybody knows that Apple runs a tight ship when it comes to approving iOS apps for its App Store, rejecting software because it features porn, allows gambling, installs types of executable code, etc. But Apple also denies apps for some pretty esoteric reasons, many of which are only just coming to light. Want to have an App that uses GPS to automatically control a real-world aircraft or automobile? Sorry, that’s not allowed, presumably because Apple doesn’t want iOS to serve as a drone controller. (Imagine the liability issues.) Also, apps that report your location to emergency services are forbidden, as well as any that misspell Apple product names (“iTunz” will never make it through, no matter how much you beg). Even if Apple's not sharing the exact reason why it just rejected your app from its store (what the heck does "Not enough lasting value" mean?), you can check out Apple's own page on the top reasons for iOS app rejections."
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+ - Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Every company needs employees who can analyze information effectively, discarding what's unnecessary and digging down into what's actually useful. But employers are getting a little bit worried that U.S. schools aren't teaching students the necessary critical-thinking skills to actually succeed once they hit the open marketplace. The Wall Street Journal talked with several companies about how they judge critical-thinking skills, a few of which ask candidates to submit to written tests to judge their problem-solving abilities. But that sidesteps the larger question: do schools need to shift their focus onto different teaching methods (i.e., downplaying the need for students to memorize lots of information), or is our educational pipeline just fine, thank you very much?"
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+ - The 'Traditional' Database Administrator Is Doomed->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Traditionally, database administrators (also known as DBAs) have been at the center of the data-management universe: There was always a need to have someone optimize the performance of applications by making sure data was well structured. But with the rise of Hadoop and other Big Data platforms, there’s no longer a premium on structure. In fact, many programmers are choosing to write their applications to Hadoop or other classes of so-called NoSQL databases to specifically eliminate the need to rely on having a DBA. That's not to say the "classic" DBA is going away, as there will always be transaction-processing applications invoking structured data; but even there, the rise of NoSQL alternatives such as Apache Cassandra is changing the way processing is done. Database administrators are going to need to evolve to meet this brave new world — but what else is new?"
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