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Submission + - Outsourced IT workers ask Sen. Feinstein for help, get form letter in return (

dcblogs writes: A University of California IT employee whose job is being outsourced to India recently wrote Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) for help. Feinstein's office sent back a letter addressing manufacturing job losses, not IT, and offered the worker no assistance. "I am being asked to do knowledge transfer to a foreigner so they can take over my job in February of 2017," the employee, wrote in part. The employee is part of a group of 50 IT workers and another 30 contractors facing layoffs after the university hired an offshore outsourcing firm. The firm, India-based HCL, won a contract to manage infrastructure services. Since the layoffs became public, the school has posted Labor Condition Applications (LCA) notices — as required by federal law when H-1B workers are being placed. UCSF employees have seen these notices and made some available to Computerworld. They show that the jobs posted are for programmer analyst II and network administrator IV. For the existing UCSF employees, the notices were disheartening. "Many of us can easily fill the job. We are training them to replace us," said one employee who requested anonymity because he is still employed by the university.

Submission + - Chinese Hackers Control Tesla Model S From Miles Away

Trailrunner7 writes: Modern vehicles are stuffed with computers, which is nice, but the downside is they're vulnerable to the kind of attacks that have plagued conventional PCs for years. Researchers Chris Valasek and Charlie Miller demonstrated this several times over the last couple of years, and now a team of researchers from Keen Security Lab has picked up the baton. The Keen Lab team researched the software systems on Tesla vehicles and found methods to remotely unlock the doors, open the sunroof, and even apply the brakes from 12 miles away.

The Keen researchers have reported the vulnerabilities to Tesla Motors and the company is in the process of fixing them and will issue a software update soon.

Comment Why.... (Score 1) 83

Why do we announce things of this nature? Wouldn't it be more in our interest to just keep this sorta thing like in an "Area 51" type logic. Sure we have the capability, sure we may or may not use it. I don't think we should just say, we are going to do more of it, so you other countries that may be our enemy now or in the future, get your shit together and raise your defense against energy weaponry.

Submission + - The Machines Are Coming writes: Zeynep Tufekci writes in an op-ed at the NYT that machines can now process regular spoken language and not only recognize human faces, but also read their expressions. Machines can classify personality types, and have started being able to carry out conversations with appropriate emotional tenor. Machines are getting better than humans at figuring out who to hire, who’s in a mood to pay a little more for that sweater, and who needs a coupon to nudge them toward a sale. It turns out that most of what we think of as expertise, knowledge and intuition is being deconstructed and recreated as an algorithmic competency, fueled by big data. "Machines aren’t used because they perform some tasks that much better than humans, but because, in many cases, they do a “good enough” job while also being cheaper, more predictable and easier to control than quirky, pesky humans," writes Tufekci. "Technology in the workplace is as much about power and control as it is about productivity and efficiency."

According to Tufekci technology is being used in many workplaces: to reduce the power of humans, and employers’ dependency on them, whether by replacing, displacing or surveilling them. Optimists insist that we’ve been here before, during the Industrial Revolution, when machinery replaced manual labor, and all we need is a little more education and better skills but Tufekci says that one historical example is no guarantee of future events. "Confronting the threat posed by machines, and the way in which the great data harvest has made them ever more able to compete with human workers, must be about our priorities," concludes Tufekci. "This problem is not us versus the machines, but between us, as humans, and how we value one another."

Submission + - Chromebooks replaced Windows laptops for these in-home pediatric nurses ( 1

mattydread23 writes: Here's another example of Google chipping away at Microsoft's dominance. This pediatric home care company went Google and swapped out old Windows laptops for Chromebooks. The nurses love them: They're lighter, with longer battery life, and overall easier to use. The IT department loves them too, since they have lower maintenance costs. Look for this scenario to be repeated millions of times in the next year — chipping away at Microsoft's enterprise dominance, bit by bit.

Comment Re:What drugs and what protections from failure? (Score 1) 439

It will probably be in single pill form - i.e. you can't take half of it unless you are seriously trying to screw yourself or the system.

There are commercials on the radio, and they say it could be upwards of 100 pills. I know it's a political add, but there might and I say MIGHT be some truth to it being more than 1 pill.


Submission + - App Can Prevent Users from Texting While Driving

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Scientific American reports that while laws prohibit texting while driving in many states, many people still find it impossible to resist. Now researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) are studying how software on a cell phone could analyze keystrokes to determine when that phone’s user is distracted while composing and sending text messages and combined with GPS and other data, determine when a texter is behind the wheel and shut off texting functions automatically. Such a feature could take the form of a mobile app for any phone—independent of the manufacturer, operating system and wireless service provider. The researchers programmed a cell phone to log keystroke dynamics using a common operating system as a means of determining if an individual was texting while driving, in particular, “keystroke entropy,” (pdf) when keys are struck at irregular intervals, as an indicator that the test subjects’ attention is divided between texting and driving. “The things that we are measuring, the data never needs to leave the person’s phone,” says Mike Watkins, developer of the algorithm. “But as a parent, you could require your child to have something like this on their cellphone as a way to protect them. Employers could use it as a way to mitigate their liability for accidents on work time. Even insurance companies could use it.”"

Submission + - Siri Is The New Clippy

theodp writes: In perhaps the unkindest cut of all to Apple, TechCrunch's Alexia Tsotsis likens Siri to Clippy. 'Despite whatever Samuel L. Jackson says,' writes Tsotsis, 'Siri in its current incarnation simply doesn’t work. In fact, it’s actually starting to remind us of Microsoft’s Mr.Clippy, that cloying MS Office "assistant" that would pop up upon start and say stuff like, "It looks like you’re writing a letter, can I help you?" Tsotsis adds: 'What bugs people the most about these ill-thought-out products is that they’re like that annoying person at work who’s always all, "Can I do anything to help?" when they can’t actually do anything, don’t know shit, and are actually neglecting their real job while they take the time to ask you that question.' Ouch.

Submission + - NSA Director Says Cybercrime is 'Greatest Transfer of Wealth in History' (

Trailrunner7 writes: The general in charge of the National Security Agency on Monday said the lack of national cybersecurity leglislation is costing us big and amounting to what he believes is "the greatest transfer of wealth in history."

U.S. Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander urged politicians to stop stalling on approving a much-needed cybersecurity law — of which various versions currently are circulating in Congress. At the same time, he implored private companies to better cooperate with government agencies, many of whom remain mum because of privacy concerns.

"We can do the protection of civil liberties and privacy and cybersecurity as a nation. Not only that we can, but I believe it's something that we must do," Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander told an audience at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.

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