andy1307 writes: According to Politico and The Wall Street Journal, the White House on Tuesday plans to announce a set of executive actions President Barack Obama will take that are aimed at reining in certain patent-holding firms, known as "patent trolls" to their detractors, amid concerns that the firms are abusing the patent system and disrupting competition. The plan includes five executive actions and seven legislative recommendations. They include requiring patent holders and applicants to disclose who really owns and controls the patent, changing how fees are awarded to the prevailing parties in patent litigation and protecting consumers with better protections against being sued for patent infringement.
andy1307 writes: The New York Times has an article on why the iPhone is not made in the US.
When Barack Obama joined Silicon Valley’s top luminaries for dinner in California last February, each guest was asked to come with a question for the president. But as Steven P. Jobs of Apple spoke, President Obama interrupted with an inquiry of his own: what would it take to make iPhones in the United States? Mr. Jobs’s reply was unambiguous. “Those jobs aren’t coming back,” he said, according to another dinner guest.
Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option. One former executive described how the company relied upon a Chinese factory to revamp iPhone manufacturing just weeks before the device was due on shelves. Apple had redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. New screens began arriving at the plant near midnight.
A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day. “We sell iPhones in over a hundred countries,” a current Apple executive said. “We don’t have an obligation to solve America’s problems. Our only obligation is making the best product possible.”
andy1307 writes: According to this article in the Wall Street Journal(paywall), Apple Inc. plans to begin mass producing a new iPhone by the end of 2010 that would allow Verizon Wireless to sell the smartphone early next year, said people briefed by Apple. Separately, Apple is also developing a new iPhone model, said people briefed on the matter. One person familiar with the new iPhone plan said the fifth-generation iPhone will be a different form factor from those that are currently available
andy1307 writes: According to this article in the New York Times, Google's Andriod OS has helped Verizon make significant gains in the smartphone race with AT&T. Despite the pull of the iPhone, Verizon has managed to steadily increase its share of the smartphone market, to 26 percent in May, from 20 percent in late 2008. In the same period, AT&T’s market share slipped to 40 percent, from around 45 percent(Those numbers do not take into account the impact of the popular iPhone 4, released last month). In big cities, AT&T’s network has buckled under the data-heavy demands of the iPhone, frustrating customers. Verizon has managed to avoid similar problems while working with Google, Apple’s latest nemesis, to offer several strong rivals to the iPhone that use the Android operating system from Google. When the phone proved to be a hit, Verizon appeared to be left out of the race for versatile phones running programs from third-party developers. Verizon was also not particularly friendly with Google, whose participation in an auction of precious wireless spectrum angered Verizon executives. Verizon has since collaborated closely with Google to develop six phones running Android, helping to give Google’s mobile operating system 13 percent of the smartphone market in the United States. In contrast, Apple has a 24 percent share.
andy1307 writes: The New York Times has an article in the business section about the inability of US manufacturers to find workers with the right skills. During the recession, domestic manufacturers appear to have accelerated the long-term move toward greater automation, laying off more of their lowest-skilled workers and replacing them with cheaper labor abroad. Now they are looking to hire people who can operate sophisticated computerized machinery, follow complex blueprints and demonstrate higher math proficiency than was previously required of the typical assembly line worker.
Makers of innovative products like advanced medical devices and wind turbines are among those growing quickly and looking to hire, and they too need higher skills.
Supervisors at Ben Venue Laboratories, a contract drug maker for pharmaceutical companies, have reviewed 3,600 job applications this year and found only 47 people to hire at $13 to $15 an hour, or about $31,000 a year. All candidates at Ben Venue must pass a basic skills test showing they can read and understand math at a ninth-grade level. A significant portion of recent applicants failed. In a survey last year of 779 industrial companies by the National Association of Manufacturers, the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte, the accounting and consulting firm, 32 percent of companies reported “moderate to serious” skills shortages. Sixty-three percent of life science companies, and 45 percent of energy firms cited such shortages.
andy1307 writes: The New York times has an article on the overuse of PowerPoint by the US military high command. The article leads with an incredibly complex slide describing the US strategy in Afghanistan. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the leader of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, was shown a PowerPoint slide in Kabul last summer that was meant to portray the complexity of American military strategy, but looked more like a bowl of spaghetti. Like an insurgency, PowerPoint has crept into the daily lives of military commanders and reached the level of near obsession. The amount of time expended on PowerPoint, the Microsoft presentation program of computer-generated charts, graphs and bullet points, has made it a running joke in the Pentagon and in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Not every one in the higher echelons is as enamored with Powerpoint. “PowerPoint makes us stupid,” Gen. James N. Mattis of the Marine Corps, the Joint Forces commander, said this month at a military conference in North Carolina. PowerPoint "ties up junior officers — referred to as PowerPoint Rangers — in the daily preparation of slides, be it for a Joint Staff meeting in Washington or for a platoon leader’s pre-mission combat briefing in a remote pocket of Afghanistan. "
andy1307 writes: Hewlett-Packard scientists on Thursday will report advances demonstrating significant progress in the design of memristors, or memory resistors. The researchers previously reported in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that they had devised a new method for storing and retrieving information from a vast three-dimensional array of memristors. The scheme could potentially free designers to stack thousands of switches on top of one another in a high-rise fashion, permitting a new class of ultra-dense computing devices even after two-dimensional scaling reaches fundamental limits.
andy1307 writes: According to this article in the New York Times, In what appears to be a coordinated assault, the e-mail accounts of at least a dozen rights activists, academics and journalists who cover China have been compromised by unknown intruders. The infiltrations, which involved Yahoo e-mail accounts, appeared to be aimed at people who write about China and Taiwan, rendering their accounts inaccessible, according to those who were affected. In the case of this reporter, hackers altered e-mail settings so that all correspondence was surreptitiously forwarded to another e-mail address. The victims of the most recent intrusions included a law professor in the United States, an analyst who writes about China’s security apparatus and several print journalists based in Beijing and Taipei, the capital of Taiwan.
andy1307 writes: According to the New York Times, "Apple said on Tuesday that it had filed lawsuits against HTC, the Taiwan-based phone maker, accusing it of infringing on 20 Apple patents tied to the iPhone. The suits, filed with the office of the United States International Trade Commission and the United States District Court in Delaware, say HTC violated patents covering the phone’s user interface, internal architecture and hardware.". The article goes on to say that Google isn't mentioned in the suit.
andy1307 writes: Normally slashdot wouldn't be the place for "Allie the escort answers your questions" type blog posts. But this escort is different. She is the "Allie" featured in the great book Superfreakonomics. In this NYT freakonomics blog post, Allie answers questions from readers, including the question "What was your occupation before you became a call girl? What made you go into this line of work?". Turns out, Allie was a programmer before she became an escort. Why the switch? In her words, "At that time, the reason I gave up my programming job was the free time. I was caring for a family member with a serious illness — the free time and money was a huge benefit."
andy1307 writes: According to the New York Times, "The United States has begun talks with Russia and a United Nations arms control committee about strengthening Internet security and limiting military use of cyberspace. American and Russian officials have different interpretations of the talks so far, but the mere fact that the United States is participating represents a significant policy shift after years of rejecting Russia’s overtures. Officials familiar with the talks said the Obama administration realized that more nations were developing cyberweapons and that a new approach was needed to blunt an international arms race. While the Russians have continued to focus on treaties that may restrict weapons development, the United States is hoping to use the talks to increase international cooperation in opposing Internet crime. Strengthening defenses against Internet criminals would also strengthen defenses against any military-directed cyberattacks, the United States maintains.
andy1307 writes: According to the New York Times, whitehouse.gov has switched to Drupal. In an example of how little mainstream media understands FOSS, the article headline from the AP is "White House Opens Web Site Programming to Public ". From the article "It will be a much faster way to change the programming behind the Web site. When the model was owned solely by the government, federal contractors would have to work through the reams of code to troubleshoot it or upgrade it. Now, it can be done in the matter of days and free to taxpayers."