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Businesses

Submission + - Why Moore's Law, not mobility, is killing the PC (networkworld.com)

concealment writes: "After watching my mother-in-law happily troll Facebook and sling emails on her nearly ten-year-old Pentium 4 computer, however, an even more insidious possibility slipped into my head.

Did CPU performance reach a "good enough" level for mainstream users some years back? Are older computers still potent enough to complete an average Joe's everyday tasks, reducing the incentive to upgrade?

"It used to be you had to replace your PC every few years or you were way behind. If you didn't, you couldn't even run the latest software," says Linley Gwennap, the principal analyst at the Linley Group, a research firm that focuses on semiconductors and processors. "Now you can hold onto your PC five, six, seven years with no problem. Yeah, it might be a little slow, but not enough to really show up [in everyday use].""

Businesses

Submission + - How 'Indie' Capitalism Will Replace Our Stagnant Economic System (wired.com)

concealment writes: "We’re beginning to see evidence of what I call Indie Capitalism. My use of the word “indie” is deliberate. “Indie” reflects an economy that is independent of the prevailing orthodoxies of economic theory and big business. It shares many of the distributive and social structures of the independent music scene, which shuns big promoters and labels. And as happens with many bands, so many of today’s successful creative endeavors began as local phenomena before branching out to new locations and networks.

Indie Capitalism is bolstered by a single, simple fact: New companies (those less than five years old) have been responsible for all the net new jobs in the United States for the past three decades. We celebrate the entrepreneur (including those within corporations who behave like entrepreneurs) because we value the entrepreneur’s creativity. It is that creativity that we need to make central to our economy and to our economic thinking."

Businesses

Submission + - Amazon's Merchandising of Its Search Results Doesn't Violate Trademark Law (forbes.com)

concealment writes: "Many of us have had the experience of going to Amazon to buy one thing but checking out with a huge shopping cart of items that we didn’t initially seek—or even know were available. Amazon’s merchandising often benefits Amazon’s customers, but trademark owners who lose sales to their competition due to it aren’t as thrilled. Fortunately for Amazon, a California federal court recently upheld Amazon’s merchandising practices in its internal search results."
Businesses

Submission + - http://www.cio.com/article/728362/House_Immigration_Hearing_Targets_High_Skilled (cio.com)

concealment writes: "In contrast, two separate bipartisan groups in the U.S. Senate are working on broader immigration issues, including tech-specific reforms. One of their proposals would increase the H-1B visa cap to as high as 300,000 a year. Goodlatte said it was "instructive to note" that only about 12% of legal immigrants to the U.S. are picked on the basis of education and skills, while some other countries, including Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada, "select over 60% of their immigrants on this basis." The hearing was well attended by lawmakers."
Businesses

Submission + - As Music Streaming Grows, Royalties Slow to a Trickle (nytimes.com) 1

concealment writes: "From 78 r.p.m. records to the age of iTunes, artists’ record royalties have been counted as a percentage of a sale price. On a 99-cent download, a typical artist may earn 7 to 10 cents after deductions for the retailer, the record company and the songwriter, music executives say. One industry joke calls the flow of these royalties a “river of nickels.”

In the new economics of streaming music, however, the river of nickels looks more like a torrent of micropennies."

Businesses

Submission + - Canadian Game Developer Fired After Spoofing Call-Center Workplace (cio.com)

concealment writes: "An independent game developer recently got fired from his day job at the Canadian Revenue Agency after releasing a satirical depiction of his apparently aggravating and unfulfilling call-center job.

Entitled "I get this call every day," David Gallant's point-and-click "adventure" game highlights the dubious satisfaction of dealing with thoughtless, abrasive people on the phone every day.

Gallant has not confirmed that the game is the reason for his dismissal due to legal concerns. However, the site also notes that he has realized a not-inconsiderable silver lining from the loss of his job: Sales of "I get this call every day" have skyrocketed."

Businesses

Submission + - The Often Overlooked but Invaluable Benefits of Mentorship (forbes.com)

concealment writes: The value of a mentor can be doubly undervalued by many people – especially younger professionals and junior executives. We learn a great deal about management principles and practices in school. Leadership, though more popularly discussed in school now, is still more often learned outside of school. The value of a mentor who can help cultivate leadership skills one-on-one in real-time, reduce the anxiety in taking big steps, and focus leaders on achieving their goals – is huge. Many times it’s the first few years out of school that can shape the career path of an MBA, and that is determined by whether they create or are given an opportunity to demonstrate their leadership skill.
Businesses

Submission + - Silicon Valley's dirty secret - age bias (reuters.com)

concealment writes: "Of the 18,335 employment cases filed in 2010 with California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing, one-fifth cited age. That puts age below retaliation as a discrimination claim, but above racial discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual orientation.

Nationally, retaliation is also the most frequently cited discrimination claim, according to the federal Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. But age comes much lower down on the national list, below race, sex, and disability.

The federal agency says age is cited in 26 percent of total complaints in California, compared to 22 percent in New York and 21 percent in Texas. Among large states, Illinois had the highest ratio of age-related complaints, at 37 percent."

Advertising

Submission + - Social Media Has A Black Friday (wsj.com)

concealment writes: "Given the amount of attention paid by brands and retailers to building up their buzz on social platforms, consumers don’t seem to clicking through and buying much: just 0.34% of all online sales on Black Friday came from referrals from social networks like Facebook FB -0.86%, Twitter and YouTube"
Businesses

Submission + - Revealed: Google's manual for its unseen humans who rate the web (theregister.co.uk)

concealment writes: "Technology? Yes, but also toiling home-workers

Exclusive It's widely believed that Google search results are produced entirely by computer algorithms — in large part because Google would like this to be widely believed. But in fact a little-known group of home-worker humans plays a large part in the Google process. The way these raters go about their work has always been a mystery. Now, The Register has seen a copy of the guidelines Google issues to them."

Businesses

Submission + - Why Microsoft Says the Patent System Is Peachy Keen (wired.com)

concealment writes: "In some cases, Microsoft will take calls from outside outfits interested in licensing its patents. RIM or Apple, say, will phone and ask to license Microsoft’s ActiveSync technology, a means of synchronizing email, contacts, and calendar entries across phones and other devices. “That’s a pretty friendly set of discussions,” Kaefer says.

But as he puts it, Microsoft will also “pro-actively” drive licensing deals. “We will go out and look for areas where we see a lot people who are probably using our technology in one form or another,” he says, “and we kinda ask ourselves whether it has risen to a level that we care about and we want to have some conversations.” Basically, this involves a Microsoft lawyer like Kaefer trying to convince lawyers at other companies that their technology infringes on Microsoft patents — and that they should pay to license those patents. According to Kaefer, these discussions can spans months — or even years."

Businesses

Submission + - The downfall of Facebook (readwrite.com) 1

concealment writes: "I’ve heard anecdotally about a huge brand that was complaining recently because it has spent four years building a following of millions of people, promoting its Facebook presence (and, by implication, Facebook itself) on expensive television ads — and now Facebook has flipped a switch and, overnight, their reach dropped by 40%.

You might argue that Facebook has an integrity problem. What it has done here is a classic bait-and-switch maneuver, one where you change the rules after you get everybody into the tent. It’s the kind of thing you expect from a used-car dealer, not a big publicly traded company.

(Note to Editors: a prior article on this topic, by the same author, was posted yesterday. However, this is an interesting followup that suggests the downfall of Facebook is at hand.)"

Businesses

Submission + - How Walmart is going all out with mobile (cnet.com)

concealment writes: "Walmart will use you location to provide you with an app designed specifically for that store. Head to another Walmart and your app will work for that store. It has useful features: You can make a list by speaking into the phone. You can search a product by typing in a name — tissues, say, or light bulbs — and the app will show you what aisle to go to. It has an interactive map. It lets you scan items as you shop, so you can go quickly through self-checkout. And it shows you promotions specific to that store.

  Perhaps most importantly, the app lets you easily buy an item online that you don't find in the store. So if you're shopping for a pink bike, and the store you're in only has it in blue, you can tap on the app and instantly order the pink bike.

The result: Two weeks after Walmart launched "in-store mode" with its app, roughly 60 percent of its shoppers opted to use it. Moreover, about 12 percent of Walmart's online sales are now coming from customers who are inside a store and using "in-store mode." All of Walmart's 4,000 U.S. stores have an "in-store app.""

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