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Microsoft Blames Layoffs For Drop In Female Employees (cio.com) 179

itwbennett writes: This year, women made up 26.8 percent of Microsoft's total workforce, down from 29 percent in 2014, the company reported Monday. In a blog post discussing the numbers, Gwen Houston, Microsoft's general manager of diversity and inclusion, pointed the finger at the thousands of layoffs the company made to restructure its phone hardware business: 'The workforce reductions resulting from the restructure of our phone hardware business ... impacted factory and production facilities outside the U.S. that produce handsets and hardware, and a higher percentage of those jobs were held by women,' she said.

Submission + - Bring back MST3K Kickstarter Hits $2 Million Goal (lawrenceperson.com)

Nova Express writes: In a follow-up to the previous Slashdot story about the Bring Back Mystery Science Theater 3000 kickstarter, they have already hit their $2 million goal with 25 days left, which means they'll produce at least three new episodes. Now we'll see if they can make their $5.5 million stretch goal and produce a full 12 episodes.

Explosions and Multiple Shootings In Paris, Possible Hostages (cnn.com) 965

An anonymous reader writes: Multiple sources are reporting that at least 18 people are dead across three shootings in central Paris. The Associated Press reports as many as 26, as of this writing. Some victims were at a restaurant, while others were at a nearby theater. Early reports indicate there may be a hostage situation with more people at that theater. Police have also confirmed an explosion at a bar near Stade de France stadium, where a football match was underway between France and Germany. There are reports of other explosions heard at the stadium as well, but no details yet. "The attack comes as France has heightened security measures ahead of a major global climate conference that starts in two weeks, out of fear of violent protests and potential terrorist attacks." The attacks occurred not far from where the Charlie Hebdo shooting happened in January. "French news media reported that Kalashnikov rifles had been involved in the shootings — a favored weapon of militants who have attacked targets in France — and that many rounds had been fired."
Social Networks

Israel 'To Review' Top Appointment After Facebook Controversy (bbc.com) 351

HughPickens.com writes: BBC reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will "review" the appointment of his new communications director, Ran Baratz, over comments Baratz made on Facebook accusing President Obama of anti-Semitism and describing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as having a "mental age" of no more than 12. U.S. state department spokesman John Kirby said Mr. Baratz's Facebook posts were "troubling and offensive." "Insults, certainly, aimed at individuals doesn't do anything to help advance and deepen the relationship. We learn in kindergarten about name-calling, and it's simply not a polite thing to do," Kirby said. The Facebook posts emerged shortly after Netanyahu announced the appointment of philosophy lecturer Mr. Baratz as his chief spokesman. In March, Baratz described President Obama's criticism of Netanyahu's opposition to the Iran nuclear deal as "the modern face of anti-Semitism in Western and liberal countries."

Netanyahu quickly distanced himself from the comments but indicated the appointment remained valid. "I have just read Dr Ran Baratz's posts on the internet, including those relating to the president of the state of Israel, the president of the United States and other public figures in Israel and the United States," Netanyahu said in a statement. "Those posts are totally unacceptable and in no way reflect my positions or the policies of the government of Israel. Dr. Baratz has apologized and has asked to meet me to clarify the matter following my return to Israel." Baratz, in a Facebook post Thursday night, apologized for "the hurtful remarks" and for not informing the prime minister of them. Baratz said the posts "were written frivolously and sometimes humorously, in a tone suited to the social networks and a private individual." Baratz added, "It is very clear to me that in an official post one has to behave and express oneself differently."


Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline (washingtonpost.com) 369

An anonymous reader writes: The Keystone XL pipeline controversy is finally coming to a close. On Friday, President Obama denied a construction permit for the pipeline, ending a seven-year political fight. Obama said, "America's now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change. And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership. And that's the biggest risk we face — not acting." Secretary of State John Kerry added, "The reality is that this decision could not be made solely on the numbers — jobs that would be created, dirty fuel that would be transported here, or carbon pollution that would ultimately be unleashed. The United States cannot ask other nations to make tough choices to address climate change if we are unwilling to make them ourselves." The decision comes as no surprise to the oil industry, and they've been busily working on other ways to transport the oil. "U.S. imports of oil from Canada hit a record high of 3.4 million barrels a day in August, up from just under 2 million barrels a day in 2008, the year the pipeline was proposed."

Submission + - Rubio Says H1-B Visas Need Reforms, But His H1-B Bill Doesn't Reform Them (nationalreview.com)

Nova Express writes: At the most recent Republican Presidential debate, Florida Senator Marco Rubio said the H1-B visa program is badly in need of reform. One tiny problem: Sen. Rubio’s own H1-B bill doesn't implement any of the reforms demanded by Presidential Candidate Rubio. "It does not require recruitment of American workers. It does not require employers to 'pay more than you would pay someone else'...Rubio’s bill would provide Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and his comrades a huge increase in the supply of lower-cost foreign guest workers so they can undercut and replace American workers.” Indeed, Rubio's bill "would triple the number of H1-B foreign workers admitted."

Comment Re:Another attempt at manipulating the open market (Score 1) 229

Oh, and that is a somewhat difficult skill set to find.

I have it, and guess what? I contract out for pre-sales work all the time. Enterprise B2B people are just drooling over people who can do this. No wonder the talent isn't available to the big companies.

If they are smart, they do what I'm doing, and that is leverage that ability to understand new and old tech, create visions, back them with a strategic business alignment and value, and then help the salesperson pitch that to the execs for new sales.

(take the CIO out to lunch for bonus points)

Comment Something stinks here... (Score 1) 229

Isn't the CIO the generalist who is able to articulate how the business can succeed with technology?

Ok then, get after it. Your new people and old people all have perspective. Get off your arse, talk to them, make some choices and go and sell that to management or prioritize the budget.

Delegating the budget is just fine, but even that needs a basic review. I understand how it is in very large enterprises, but I also understand companies of that size can afford to hire several CIO types too. Not all techs can be business minded, young or old. That's a specific skill set, and as a tech generalist, they would and should be expected to get what they need from the hard core techs, who will gladly give it to them too.

For smaller companies, if they even have a CIO type position, the generalist there needs to do the work to understand what the strategy actually is and what it means.

Comment When there are fewer initial options, people... (Score 1) 270

...grok programming more quickly and easily.

This all comes down to what one has to know in order to attempt some programming. BASIC requires one know very little to get something useful done. They try the PRINT statement, and that's cool. GOTO, INPUT, strings, numbers, basic math follow.

From there, you can do pretty useful programs!

EXCEL works a similar way. You see what cells do, then you find things like autosum, then you put a little bit of math in a cell, and suddenly, you can make some really useful spreadsheets. I know people with about that level of knowledge modeling businesses to great success. It's not the most advanced use of EXCEL, but it works fine, they can change it, they get the benefit of some automation and can communicate advanced ideas to others with relative ease.

Way back in the day, before EXCEL, I had used BASIC to compute a whole pile of useful manufacturing related things. Saved me a ton of time, and I sold those and some CAD system programs to get a reasonable PC. All development was done on some 8088 clunker from a thrifty store. (yes, it ran the CAD system, having exactly the minimum requirements listed on the box)

The CAD system had a BASIC like language built in. Was cake to do this. I did know something about programming, but I also was able to teach others how to make useful programs on just little nubs of knowledge. Some of them advanced, getting into IT, systems, etc... while others just used the programs they made and were happy about it.

Indeed! The print is too small.

Best use case for new programmers, is to maximize utility while minimizing knowledge dependencies. They don't need much to get the spark. Once they get it, as they progress, they will want out of whatever little environment they started in. The ones who really have aptitude will get out and do just fine. For many others, they will just use the thing and be happy, or move on and not care so much.

We really should give everybody a go. Find out who is who.

Think of this like public speaking. We make everybody do it, or most everybody. Most people experience an ordinary, "I can do this" outcome. Some of us find out it's not for us, and still others find out they are great somehow. We lose out if we don't run everyone through.

Comment Re:Price tags are the greatest innovation of retai (Score 1) 439

Negotiation is fundamental to our economic system, and life in general when you consider negotiation not relating to money. I mean it's fair enough that you feel your own time is better spent on more important things which you're probably very good at, but it's not correct to say that negotiation in general is a waste of time and energy. The cost of all the expensive equipment and materials you use in your professional life has been negotiated. Had it not been negotiated by someone within your organisation, you would have fewer resources with which to do your job with; and it's not a particularly nice attitude to have toward your colleagues that are working to support you in your profession.
The Internet

SXSW Cancels Panels On Harassment Due To Harassment (sxsw.com) 618

New submitter rMortyH writes: Two panels on online harassment in gaming scheduled for the upcoming South by Southwest festival have been cancelled due to online harassment and threats. According to a statement from SXSW Director Hugh Forrest, "... in the seven days since announcing these two sessions, SXSW has received numerous threats of on-site violence related to this programming. ... If people can not agree, disagree and embrace new ways of thinking in a safe and secure place that is free of online and offline harassment, then this marketplace of ideas is inevitably compromised."

Comment Screw the "Community Activists" (Score 1) 151

If your local greenies object to data centers (low danger/high pay modern infrastructure), I'm sure that Texas would love to have that business.

If "community activists" want to drive high-paying jobs away, there's no shortage of locales with competent regulatory regimes that are happy to welcome new data center construction with open arms.

Comment Re:Who cares about the kid? (Score 1) 621

Were you replying to me? I'm confused by your assertions, but I'll remake mine in hopes that things will be a bit more clear. The police and school CANNOT release the records to THE PUBLIC. That's you and I. I am implying that the President of the United States, who has direct access to information from all kinds of law enforcement officials, may have some knowledge of the records or is advised by someone who has authority to review them. I could be wrong, but it certainly seems plausible. Assuming he has some level of access to them, would he assert something contradictory to them? That seems unlikely. That is all I intended to say.

Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious animal on earth.