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+ - Silicon Valley Unionization Starts From The Bottom Up->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "Unionization has long been resisted in Silicon Valley, both by management and by tech workers for whom high pay is an acceptable tradeoff for long hours and job instability. But as employees beyond programmers are pulled into the tech industry's orbit, Silicon Valley may have to reckon with workers with different ideas. For instance, the drivers who shuttle Facebook employees to and from the company's campus are now represented by the Teamsters, and just won a pay increase from $18 to $24.50 an hour."
Link to Original Source

+ - Adware Privdog worse than Superfish

Submitted by Presto Vivace
Presto Vivace (882157) writes "Comodo ships Adware Privdog worse than Superfish

tl;dr There is an adware called Privdog that gets shipped with software from Comodo. It totally breaks HTTPS security.

From Naked Capitalism's summary:

So here we have the CEO of a Certificate Authority (CA), Comodo, who is also the CEO of Privdog, whose product subverts the certificate authority system. Oh, and Comodo ships that very product with its software. These bottom feeders make Bill Gates look like St. Francis of Assisi. How deep does the rot in the software industry go, anyhow?

I am beginning to believe that Richard Stallman is right, living in freedom means using free and open software."

+ - IT'S NOT RACE, IT'S NOT SEX, the tech world's real discrimination problem is age->

Submitted by bricko
bricko (1052210) writes "IT’S NOT RACE, IT’S NOT SEX, the tech world’s real discrimination problem is age.

The Tech Industry’s Darkest Secret: It’s All About Age
They don’t prepare you for this in college or admit it in job interviews. The harsh reality is that if you are middle-aged, write computer code for a living, and earn a six-figure salary, you’re headed for the unemployment lines. Your market value declines as you age and it becomes harder and harder to get a job.

What the tech industry often forgets is that with age comes wisdom. Older workers are usually better at following direction, mentoring, and leading. They tend to be more pragmatic and loyal, and to know the importance of being team players. And ego and arrogance usually fade with age."

Link to Original Source

+ - Gadgets that spy on us

Submitted by Presto Vivace
Presto Vivace (882157) writes "It’s not just Samsung TVs — lots of other gadgets are spying on you

But Samsung’s televisions are far from the only seeing-and-listening devices coming into our lives. If we’re going to freak out about a Samsung TV that listens in on our living rooms, we should also be panicking about a number of other emergent gadgets that capture voice and visual data in many of the same ways. ... .... Samsung’s competitor, the LG Smart TV, has basically the same phrase about voice capture in its privacy policy: “Please be aware that if your spoken word includes personal or other sensitive information, such information will be among the Voice Information captured through your use of voice recognition features.”

It isn't just TVs, Microsoft's xBox Kinect, Amazon Echo, GM's Onstar, Chevrolet’s MyLink and PDRs, Google's Waze, and Hello's Sense all have snooping capabilities. Welcome to the world of Stasi Tech."

+ - What Intel's $300 million diversity pledge really means->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Intel’s Rosalind Hudnell responsible for implementing the company’s much-publicized $300 million initiative to bring more women and under-represented minorities into its workforce by 2020. But even with Intel’s renewed commitment to diversity, the company’s workforce will still be just about 32 percent women in five years, Hudnell estimated. Here's a rough breakdown of how the money will be spent: The funds will be applied over five years to change hiring practices, retool human resources, fund companies run by minorities and women, and promote STEM education in high schools."
Link to Original Source

+ - Technology that empowers citizens

Submitted by Presto Vivace
Presto Vivace (882157) writes "A System Changing Technology: Interactive Voter Choice System

The Interactive Voter Choice System (IVCS) enables voters to insert a new layer of voter-controlled online voting blocs, political parties, and electoral coalitions (BPCs) into electoral and legislative processes that can build electoral bases large enough to win elections.

Since the system will run on a single computer platform accessible by any voter via the reinventdemocracy.net website, it enables voters to autonomously create and manage their BPCs online — in most cases without having to first pass or reverse any laws, regulations or rules governing electoral and legislative processes.

A Step by Step View

Voters create personal accounts and profiles on reinventdemocracy.net and use IVCS agenda setting tools and databases to set individual legislative agendas. Voters connect with like-minded voters across the political and ideological spectrum on reinventdemocracy.net with similar agendas. Like-minded voters with similar agendas join forces to build online voting blocs, political parties and electoral coalitions (BPCs), and negotiate and vote on common agendas using the IVCS voting utility.
BPCs surmount partisan differences and legislative deadlocks by setting transpartisan legislative agendas that cross political and ideological lines. BPCs nominate transpartisan slates of candidates and build winning transpartisan electoral bases larger than the electoral base of any single political party, enabling their candidates to run for office without needing special interest campaign contributions to build a winning electoral base.
BPCs use IVCS outreach tools to recruit new members, merge BPCs to increase their electoral strength, and plan and implement get-out-the-vote campaigns to vote their candidates into office.
BPCs use their agendas to provide legislative mandates to their elected representatives and oversee their legislative actions.
BPCs pressure elected representatives to enact their agendas by signing online petitions, holding online referendums and conducting online straw recall votes using the IVCS voting utility.
BPCs evaluate and compare their agendas to their representatives' legislative track records in deciding whether to support them in the next election or run candidates to defeat them.

"

+ - Breaking into Smart TV surveillance my be deemed a felony->

Submitted by eedwardsjr
eedwardsjr (1327857) writes "Smart TV providers may try to use the DCMA to label anti-surveillance actions a felony. From the article.

Samsung’s privacy policy raised concerns with privacy activists who spotlighted the warning: “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.” Now there are concerns that tinkering with the software by tech-savvy customers may run afoul of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

"

Link to Original Source

+ - IRS warns of downtime risk as Congress makes cuts-> 1

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "Successive budget cuts by Congress are forcing the Internal Revenue Service to delay system modernization and improve its ability to prevent fraud. In telling of the problems ahead, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen almost sounded desperate in a recent memo to employees. The IRS is heavily dependent on technology, and the impact of the budget reduction to IT this year was put at $200 million. It will mean delays in replacing "aging IT systems" and "increasing the risk of downtime," Koskinen said. A new system to protect against ID theft will be delayed, and other IT cost-efficiency efforts curbed.The budget cuts have been so deep IRS employees are being warned of a possible shutdown for two days before this fiscal year ends in October. It would be a forced furlough for agency workers. The IRS employed 84,189 last year, down from 86,400 in 2013. When attrition is considered, the IRS says it lost between 16,000 and 17,000 employees since 2010. The agency has also been hit with a hiring freeze, and appears to be hiring very few people in IT compared to other agencies."
Link to Original Source

+ - Bacteria discovered that both eats and excretes pure electrons

Submitted by Presto Vivace
Presto Vivace (882157) writes "Biologists discover electric bacteria that eat pure electrons rather than sugar, redefining the tenacity of life

Some intrepid biologists at the University of Southern California (USC) have discovered bacteria that survives on nothing but electricity — rather than food, they eat and excrete pure electrons. These bacteria yet again prove the almost miraculous tenacity of life — but, from a technology standpoint, they might also prove to be useful in enabling the creation of self-powered nanoscale devices that clean up pollution. Some of these bacteria also have the curious ability to form into ‘biocables,’ microbial nanowires that are centimeters long and conduct electricity as well as copper wires — a capability that might one day be tapped to build long, self-assembling subsurface networks for human use.

"

+ - Illinois Says Rule-Breaking Students Must Give Teachers Their Facebook Passwords->

Submitted by derekmead
derekmead (2466858) writes "School districts in Illinois are telling parents that a new law may require school officials to demand the social media passwords of students if they are suspected in cyberbullying cases or are otherwise suspected of breaking school rules.

The law (PDF), which went into effect on January 1, defines cyberbullying and makes harassment on Facebook, Twitter, or via other digital means a violation of the state's school code, even if the bullying happens outside of school hours.

A letter sent out to parents in the Triad Community Unit School District #2, a district located just over the Missouri-Illinois line near St. Louis, that was obtained by Motherboard says that school officials can demand students give them their passwords."

Link to Original Source

+ - Gender and tenure diversity in GitHub teams relate to higher productivity.->

Submitted by Bogdan Vasilescu
Bogdan Vasilescu (3989455) writes "Diversity in teams is a double-edged sword. Increased team diversity results in more varied backgrounds and ideas, providing the team with access to broader information, enhanced creativity, adaptability, and problem solving skills. However, due to greater perceived differences in values, norms, and communication styles in more diverse teams, members become more likely to engage in stereotyping, cliquishness, and conflict.

In a recent study, researchers from University of California, Davis and Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands have analyzed the effects of gender and tenure diversity on productivity and turnover for more than 23,000 open-source projects on GitHub. Using regression modeling, they showed that after controlling for team size and other confounds (such as a project's age, development model, or amount of social activity), both gender and tenure diversity are positive and significant predictors of productivity, together explaining a small but significant fraction of the data variability. On an economic and societal scale, these findings suggest that added investments in educational and professional training efforts and outreach for female programmers will likely result in added overall value.

The paper describing the results (preprint here http://bvasiles.github.io/pape...) will be presented at the prestigious ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, in Seoul, South Korea, in April 2015."

Link to Original Source

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