Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Cyber Monday Sale Extended! Courses ranging from coding to project management - all eLearning deals 20% off with coupon code "CYBERMONDAY20". ×

Mozilla May Separate Itself From Thunderbird Email Client ( 264

An anonymous reader writes: A company-wide memo distributed throughout the Mozilla Foundation by chairperson Mitchell Baker argues that the organization should disentangle itself from the Thunderbird email client in order to focus on Firefox. She said, "Today Thunderbird developers spend much of their time responding to changes made in core Mozilla systems and technologies. At the same time, build, Firefox, and platform engineers continue to pay a tax to support Thunderbird." Both projects are wasting time helping each other, and those demands are only going to get worse. She says many within Mozilla want to see it support community-managed projects without doing the bulk of the work on it, and perhaps Thunderbird could be one of those projects. Baker stresses that no decisions have been made yet — they're starting the conversation early to keep the community involved in what happens to Thunderbird.

VW Officials Knew Since Last Year of Misleading Fuel Economy Claims ( 176

It's not just CO2 levels that Volkswagen manipulated; according to a wire story, Volkswagen officials knew at least a year ago that some of the company's officially-reported fuel-efficiency claims were overstated. From the linked article: Volkswagen's top executives knew a year ago that some of the company's cars were markedly less fuel efficient than had been officially stated, Sunday paper Bild am Sonntag reported, without specifying its sources. ... Months after becoming aware of excessive fuel consumption, former Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn decided this spring to pull one model off the market where the discrepancy was particularly pronounced, the Polo TDI BlueMotion, the paper cited sources close to Winterkorn as saying.

Ethics: A Good Reason To Sit Further Away From Your Boss ( 83

schwit1 writes to point out an interesting finding about ethics in the workplace, but one that might not surprise anyone in the vast majority of workplaces: namely, that sitting far from your boss has some important advantages when it comes to stopping the spread of unethical behavior; ethics are a chief focus of researcher Gijs van Houwelingen . The research, published in the Journal of Management, sought to find out "how spatial distance between higher and lower management" affects the spread of behaviour and fair procedures in the work place.

"Distance is a very useful tool that can be used to stop negative behaviours from spreading through an organization,... It creates the freedom to make up your own mind."


Pressure From Uber Forces London Taxis To Finally Accept Cards ( 114

An anonymous reader writes: Following a public consultation that compared the service unfavorably with Uber, London's 21,000 black cabs will finally accept card payment from October of 2016, with a possible option to pay via PayPal. London Mayor Boris Johnson continues to support and defend the legendarily expensive and iconic taxi service, saying 'This move will boost business for cabbies and bring the trade into the 21st century by enabling quicker and more convenient journeys for customers'. Most Londoners feel that the move should have been made in the 1980s, and the consultation report indicates that Uber's increasing share of London fares has forced the innovation.

Why Car Salesmen Don't Want To Sell Electric Cars 481 writes: Matt Richtel writes in the NYT that one big reason there are only about 330,000 electric vehicles on the road is that car dealers show little enthusiasm for putting consumers into electric cars. Industry insiders say that electric vehicles do not offer dealers the same profits as gas-powered cars, they take more time to sell because of the explaining required, and electric vehicles may require less maintenance, undermining the biggest source of dealer profits — their service departments. Some electric car buyers have said they felt as if they were the ones doing the selling. Chelsea Dell made an appointment to test-drive a used Volt but when she arrived, she said, a salesman told her that the car hadn't been washed, and that he had instead readied a less expensive, gas-powered car. "I was ready to pull the trigger, and they were trying to muscle me into a Chevy Sonic," says Dell. "The thing I was baffled at was that the Volt was a lot more expensive." Marc Deutsch, Nissan's business development manager for electric vehicles says some salespeople just can't rationalize the time it takes to sell the cars. A salesperson "can sell two gas burners in less than it takes to sell a Leaf," Deutsch says. "It's a lot of work for a little pay."

Jared Allen says that service is crucial to dealer profits and that dealers didn't want to push consumers into electric cars that might make them less inclined to return for service. Maybe that helps explains the experience of Robert Kast, who last year leased a Volkswagen e-Golf from a local dealer. He said the salesman offered him a $15-per-month maintenance package that included service for oil changes, belt repair and water pumps. "I said: 'You know it doesn't have any of those things,'" Mr. Kast recalled. He said the salesman excused himself to go confirm this with his manager. Of the whole experience, Mr. Kast, 61, said: "I knew a whole lot more about the car than anyone in the building." "Until selling a plug-in electric car is as quick and easy as selling any other vehicle that nets the dealer the same profit, many dealers will avoid them, for very logical and understandable reasons," says John Voelker. "That means that the appropriate question should be directed to makers of electric cars: What are you doing to make selling electric cars as profitable and painless for your dealers as selling gasoline or diesel vehicles?"

Survey: Tech Pros Ignoring Work-Life Balance Is a Myth ( 242

Nerval's Lobster writes: Are tech professionals really willing to live on energy drinks, and sleep on office couches, in order to get the job done? For many, the answer is "no." In response to a new Dice survey (Dice link, obviously), only 5 percent of employees at technology companies said that work-life balance wasn't a top priority for them. Contrast that with nearly 45 percent of respondents who said they wanted more of a work-life balance, even if their current position made that difficult. More than 27 percent of those surveyed also characterized work-life balance in the tech industry as a "myth." It seems that, despite all those companies talking publicly about wanting to give employees a better work-life balance (complete with on-site gyms and unlimited vacation time and... stuff...), it's not really working out for a lot of people. (And that's something that people have been calling out for some time.)

Video Being Effective and Having Fun at Your Company's Trade Show Booth (video) 20

No, working your company's trade show or conference booth isn't your job. But sooner or later, an awful lot of people (including me) get tagged for booth duty whether we want it or not. Fine. At least we can learn a little about how to do it well, which is why Andy Saks, of Spark Presentations, is offering us some useful tips on how to do well at trade shoms and conferences.

While Andy's focus is on corporate displays and presentations, everything he says also applies to FOSS projects that exhibit at anything from regional Linux conferences to multinational expos like OSCON and LINUXCON. And one last thought before we turn this over to Andy, who we recorded from Skype at an extremely low frame rate to make this a narrated slide show (with accompanying transcript, as usual): If you're working in a typical corporation, trade shows are often your best way to meet your own company's executives, espcially at casual after-show gatherings. You might also meet execs from other companies and be open to conversations about changing jobs, but this is not something you want to talk about with your bosses or their bosses, but is best kept quiet until or unless you have a firm offer in hand.

Why Free Services From Telecoms Can Be a Problem On the Internet 89 writes: T-Mobile said last week that it would let customers watch as many movies as they wanted on services like Netflix and HBO as well as all other kinds of video, without having it count against their monthly data plans. But the NYT editorializes that there are real concerns about whether such promotions could give telecommunications companies the ability to influence what services people use on the Internet, benefiting some businesses and hurting others. Earlier this year, the FCC adopted net neutrality rules to make sure that companies like T-Mobile, Verizon and Comcast did not seek to push users toward some types of Internet services or content — like video — and not others. The rules, which telecom companies are trying to overturn in court, forbid phone and cable companies to accept money from Internet businesses like Amazon to deliver their videos to customers ahead of data from other companies. The rules, however, do not explicitly prevent telecom companies from coming up with "zero rating" plans like the one T-Mobile announced that use them treat, or rate, some content as free.

"Everybody likes free stuff, but the problem with such plans is that they allow phone and cable companies to steer their users to certain types of content. As a result, customers are less likely to visit websites that are not part of the free package." T-Mobile has said that its zero-rating plan, called Binge On, is good for consumers and for Internet businesses because it does not charge companies to be part of its free service. "Binge On is certainly better than plans in which websites pay telecom companies to be included," concludes The Times. "But it is not yet clear whether these free plans will inappropriately distort how consumers use the Internet."

Beats Music To Shut Down November 30 ( 61

UnknowingFool writes: After November 30, Beats Music subscriptions will be cancelled and no longer work, according to Apple. Subscribers can use Apple Music, which has many of the same features. This shutdown was not unexpected when Apple purchased Beats last year for $3 billion, as Apple has a history of buying companies for various reasons other the products. Many former companies have been absorbed into Apple in one form or another in this manner: the technology of Fingerworks peripherals was the start of multi-touch for iPhones; PA Semi and Intrinsity personnel were the core of Apple's internal chip design teams; and AuthenTec made biometric technology that became the backbone of Touch ID.

BadBarcode Attack Forces Host System To Carry Out Commands ( 79

msm1267 writes: Researchers at this week's PacSec 2015 conference in Tokyo demonstrated how they were able to inject special control characters into a barcode, so that a barcode reader will 'press' host system hotkeys, and activate a particular function. The attacks, called BadBarcode, can be used against any keyboard wedge barcode scanner that supports ASCII control characters--many do. An attacker than then use control commands to open or save files, launch a browser or execute commands. Here are the presentation slides.
United Kingdom

Bank of England's Andy Haldane Warns Smart Machines Could Take 15M UK Jobs ( 291

New submitter Colin Robotenomics writes In an important new paper based on a speech at the trade union congress in London, Andy Haldane Chief Economist at the Bank of England and Executive Director of Monetary Analysis and Statistics has examined the history of technological unemployment and has given a thorough review of the literature and implications for public policy. The media will likely focus on the number of jobs that can be displaced and not necessarily Haldane's points on new jobs being created – both of which are highly important as is 'skilling-up'. His report reads in part: "...Taking the probabilities of automation, and multiplying them by the numbers employed, gives a broad brush estimate of the number of jobs potentially automatable. For the UK, that would suggest up to 15 million jobs could be at risk of automation. In the US, the corresponding figure would be 80 million jobs."

How Rocket League Brought Psyonix Back From the Brink ( 33

An anonymous reader writes: Rocket League has proved to be the surprise hit of the year, but a new interview with Dave Hagewood, CEO of developer Psyonix reveals that it almost didn't happen at all. After the failure of PS3 predecessor Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars, the team were forced to work on the multiplayer game in between contracts, and when one fell through late last year, it looked like the end for Rocket League. The studio gambled that the concept would take off this time, and it did — now the studio has to fend off offers from movie studios who want to feature their iconic cars in the game. Hagewood also hints that news of the Xbox One version fans have been clamouring for is coming, and soon: "We're looking at all kinds of platforms and there may be some announcements coming up at some point – hopefully before the end of the year."

How GoDaddy's Quest For Respect Led To an Improbable Partnership With MIT ( 38

harrymcc writes: GoDaddy, the world's biggest domain registrar, remains most famous for its tacky Super Bowl ads and controversial founder, Bob Parsons. But in recent years, the company was sold, hired a CEO from Microsoft and Yahoo, and has made a major effort to reinvent itself as a serious, uncontroversial, technologically-savvy outfit. And now it's partnered with MIT's Media Lab in an ambitious experiment--which I wrote about over at Fast Company--involving placing sensors around downtown Boston to collect big data that could help the small businesses which line the city's streets.

HP Is Now Two Companies. How Did It Get Here? ( 198

New submitter joshroberts3388 writes: If Hollywood wanted a script about the inexorable decline of a corporate icon, it might look to Hewlett-Packard for inspiration. Once one of Silicon Valley's most respected companies, HP officially split itself in two on Sunday, betting that the smaller parts will be nimbler and more able to reverse four years of declining sales. HP fell victim to huge shifts in the computer industry that also forced Dell to go private and have knocked IBM on its heels. Pressure from investors compelled it to act. But there are dramatic twists in HP's story, including scandals, a revolving door for CEOs and one of the most ill-fated mergers in tech history, that make HP more than a victim of changing times.
The Military

US Tech Giants Increasingly Partner With Military-Connected Chinese Companies 100

theodp writes: The New York Times reports that analysts and officials in the American military community are increasingly examining a recent trend among U.S. tech companies of forming new partnerships with Chinese firms that have ties to the Chinese military. Critics are concerned that the growing number of such deals could inadvertently improve the fundamental technology capabilities of the Chinese military — or worse, harm United States national security. "One Chinese technology company receives crucial technical guidance from a former People's Liberation Army rear admiral," notes the Times. "Another company developed the electronics on China's first atomic bomb. A third sells technology to China's air-to-air missile research academy. Their ties to the Chinese military run deep, and they all have something else in common: Each Chinese company counts one of America's tech giants — IBM, Cisco Systems or Microsoft — as a partner." A blurring of the lines among many companies that supply military and commercial technology makes it difficult to know what cooperation might result in technology ultimately being used by China's military. "The Chinese companies are required to do the best for their government. American companies say they are only answerable to their shareholders," said James McGregor of the consulting firm Apco Worldwide. "So who is looking out for the United States?"

A rock store eventually closed down; they were taking too much for granite.