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+ - Pink Slips at Disney. But First, Training Foreign Replacements.->

operator_error writes: The employees who kept the data systems humming in the vast Walt Disney fantasy fief did not suspect trouble when they were suddenly summoned to meetings with their boss.

“I just couldn’t believe they could fly people in to sit at our desks and take over our jobs exactly,” said one former worker, an American in his 40s who remains unemployed since his last day at Disney on Jan. 30. “It was so humiliating to train somebody else to take over your job. I still can’t grasp it.”

But the layoffs at Disney and at other companies, including the Southern California Edison power utility, are raising new questions about how businesses and outsourcing companies are using the temporary visas, known as H-1B, to place immigrants in technology jobs in the United States. These visas are at the center of a fierce debate in Congress over whether they complement American workers or displace them.

Disney “made the difficult decision to eliminate certain positions, including yours,” as a result of “the transition of your work to a managed service provider,” said a contract presented to employees on the day the layoffs were announced. It offered a “stay bonus” of 10 percent of severance pay if they remained for 90 days. But the bonus was contingent on “the continued satisfactory performance of your job duties.” For many, that involved training a replacement. Young immigrants from India took the seats at their computer stations.

“The first 30 days was all capturing what I did,” said the American in his 40s, who worked 10 years at Disney. “The next 30 days, they worked side by side with me, and the last 30 days, they took over my job completely.” To receive his severance bonus, he said, “I had to make sure they were doing my job correctly.”

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+ - Lt. Uhura Hospitalised in LA After Stroke

WheezyJoe writes: The Register tells us that Nichelle Nichols, who played the lovely Lt. Uhura, communications officer of the original starship Enterprise (original series and animated series), has been hospitalized after a mild stroke. She is reported to have undergone a CAT scan and MRI, and was awake and eating as of Thursday evening. Nichols has shown minor signs of loss of mobility but otherwise no signs of paralysis.

+ - Bank Of England Accidentally E-mails Top-Secret Brexit Plan to the Guardian->

schwit1 writes: The first rule of "Project Bookend" is that you don't talk about "Project Bookend."

In retrospect, maybe the first rule should have been "you don't accidentally e-mail 'Project Bookend' to a news agency", because as the Guardian reports, one of its editors opened his inbox and was surprised to find a message from the BOE's Head of Press Jeremy Harrison outlining the UK financial market equivalent of the Manhattan project.

Project Bookend is a secret (or 'was' a secret) initiative undertaken by the BOE to study what the fallout might be from a potential 'Brexit', but if anyone asked what Sir Jon Cunliffe and a few senior staffers were up to, they were instructed to say that they were busy investigating "a broad range of European economic issues."

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+ - 25 Years today - Windows 3.0 1 1

An anonymous reader writes: Windows 3.0 was launched on 22 May 1990 — I know, coz I was there as a SDE on the team. I still have, um, several of the shrink-wrapped boxes of the product — with either 3.5 inch and 5.25 floppies rattling around inside them — complete with their distintive 'I witnessed the event' sticker!

It was a big deal for me, and I still consider Win 3 as *the* most significant Windows' release, and I wonder what other /.ers think — looking back on Win 3?

+ - Firefox for iOS Beta coming to iPhone and iPad very soon->

BrianFagioli writes: Mozilla initially refused to cave to Apple and release a neutered version without its own Gecko engine. Last year, however, Mozilla announced that it was bringing a version of the browser to the mobile operating system by saying, "we need to be where our users are so we're going to get Firefox on iOS". While I am still dismayed that browser will not use the Gecko engine on iOS, I've come to accept it as a necessity for Firefox to survive. Today, Mozilla announces that the project is still on track and a beta is on the way soon.
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+ - Congress Seeks to Quash Patent Trolls->

walterbyrd writes: The process is moving quickly. The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to vote on the bill by the end of the month, readying it for a final Senate vote this summer, and the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee is likely to vote this week on a similar measure. That gives observers optimism that Congress will finally enact patent-troll legislation after a failed effort last year. “The Senate version really does seem to be hitting some sort of sweet spot,” says Arti Rai, co-director of the Duke Law Center for Innovation Policy in Durham, North Carolina.
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+ - What's the best dumb phone?

An anonymous reader writes: For those of us who don't need or want a smartphone, what would be the best dumb phone around? Do you have a preference over flip or candy bar ones? What about ones that have FM radio? Do any of you still use dumb phones in this smart phone era?

+ - Neural implants let paralyzed man take a drink->

mpicpp writes: Erik Sorto was shot in the back 13 years ago and paralyzed from the neck down. Yet recently the father of two lifted a bottle of beer to his lips and gave himself a drink, even though he can’t move his arms or legs.

Mr. Sorto, 34, picked up his drink with a robotic arm controlled by his thoughts. Two silicon chips in his brain read his intentions and channeled them via wires to the prosthetic arm on a nearby table. The team that developed the experimental implant, led by researchers at the California Institute of Technology, reported their work Thursday in the journal Science.

“That was amazing,” Mr. Sorto said. “I was waiting for that for 13 years, to drink a beer by myself.”

Mr. Sorto’s neural implant is the latest in a series of prosthetic devices that promise one day to restore smooth, almost natural movement to those who have lost the use of their limbs through disease or injury, by tapping directly into the signals generated by the brain.

For years, laboratories at Brown University, Duke University and Caltech, among others, have experimented with brain-controlled prosthetics. Those devices include wireless implants able to relay rudimentary mental commands, mind-controlled robotic leg braces, and sensors that add a sense of touch to robotic hands. In 2012, University of Pittsburgh researchers demonstrated a brain implant that allowed a paralyzed woman to feed herself a chocolate bar using a robot arm.

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+ - How Java Changed Programming Forever

snydeq writes: With Java hitting its 20th anniversary this week, Elliotte Rusty Harold discusses how the language changed the art and business of programming, turning on a generation of coders. 'Java’s core strength was that it was built to be a practical tool for getting work done. It popularized good ideas from earlier languages by repackaging them in a format that was familiar to the average C coder, though (unlike C++ and Objective-C) Java was not a strict superset of C. Indeed it was precisely this willingness to not only add but also remove features that made Java so much simpler and easier to learn than other object-oriented C descendants.'

+ - Student photographer threatened with suspension for sports photos->

sandbagger writes: Anthony Mazur is a senior at Flower Mound High School in Texas who photographed school sports games and other events. Naturally he posted them on line. A few days ago he was summoned to the principal's office and threatened with a suspension and 'reporting to the IRS' if he didn't take those 4000 photos down. Reportedly, the principle's rationale was that the school has copyright on the images and not him.
Link to Original Source

+ - Army develops blast-proof wallpaper->

An anonymous reader writes: U.S. army engineers are developing a new blast-proof wallpaper prototype that they claim could help protect soldiers from the impact of an explosion and flying debris. The lightweight adhesive fabric is lined with ballistic Kevlar fibers embedded in flexible polymer film. Nick Boone, a research mechanical engineer at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said that the rolls of paper could be easily transported by military troops and used to quickly line the walls in temporary buildings. Without the wallpaper, a wall that is hit will “rubblize,” said Boone, hurling shards of rock and mortar at the soldiers inside. However when the blast occurs with the wallpaper installed, he explained that the fabric acts as a “catcher's net,” and is able to contain the flying rubble and prevent debris from injuring soldiers.
Link to Original Source

+ - Two thirds of public sector workers keep quiet on major security breaches->

An anonymous reader writes: A cybersecurity survey conducted by British IT and telecom firm Daisy Group has revealed that almost two thirds of public sector employees would not report a serious data breach that they thought would cause problems in the workplace. The research, which was based on a study involving 2,000 public sector staff, also discovered that many workers held a negligent attitude toward sufficient password protection. It found that respondents were willing to sidestep corporate security policies to ease their work life. The survey showed that 64% of employees in the public sector would keep quiet about major security breaches, and that 5% had disabled password protection features on a laptop, mobile or other mobile devices. 20% confirmed that they do not regularly update their passwords, while a further 8% answered that they used ‘simple’ passwords that could be easily guessed. Daisy Group’s product director of cloud services Graham Harris explained that the survey served to highlight the importance of staff awareness and involvement in effective IT security management.
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+ - Google Offers Cheap Cloud Computing For Low-Priority Tasks->

jfruh writes: Much of the history of computing products and services involves getting people desperate for better performance and faster results to pay a premium to get what they want. But Google has a new beta service that's going in the other direction — offering cheap cloud computing services for customers who don't mind waiting. Jobs like data analytics, genomics, and simulation and modeling can require lots of computational power, but they can run periodically, can be interrupted, and can even keep going if one or more nodes they're using goes offline.
Link to Original Source

+ - NASA gives away over 1000 of its tool to the public->

ganjadude writes: Once again NASA is giving back to the people. They just recently released over 1000 of the tools that it uses to the people in its second annual Software Catalog.
From the article :

The program tools are organized into 15 separate categories, which range in scope from aeronautics and propulsion, to system testing and handling, according to the catalog.
For example, the Vehicle Sketch Pad, or OpenVSP, is a tool NASA uses to design aircrafts by way of geometry modeling.

so go have a look and see what kind of use you can get from these tools
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