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The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Another Wave of H-1Bs on the Way (businessweek.com)

UHE writes: 'With visas set to max out quickly again, tech companies want more. Amid rising joblessness, does America need more skilled foreign workers?

U.S. unemployment may be a concern, but tech companies are telling Congress they need more skilled workers from overseas. With the Apr. 1 application deadline for H-1B specialty worker visas looming, tech giants like Microsoft (MSFT), Oracle (ORCL), and Google (GOOG) are stepping up efforts to raise the cap on the number of visa workers they can have access to each year. Microsoft's Bill Gates argued in Congress (BusinessWeek.com, 3/12/08) for the second straight year that there's a severe shortfall in U.S. science and engineering talent, and predicted that for the fifth straight year the cap for worker visas would be reached in only one day. Days later, bills to aggressively raise the visa cap reached the House floor. With concerns about a recession growing, the call for more visas has provoked an outcry from U.S. tech worker advocate groups and other longstanding critics of the H-1B program. They say issuing more visas would dampen U.S. workers' wages by bringing in cheaper workers, and facilitate outsourcing as trained workers return to their home countries '

We deal with stagnant wages, jobs getting outsourced, funds for education drying up (and no free/subsidized higher education like some other countries), sky-high student loans, ridiculous hiring requirements ("You need 20 years of Java!"), high competition due to the glut of unemployed workers, and rampant ageism in IT, and we're importing yet more workers. The cost of living is rising apace, yet to even think about competing with people who are willing to work for a fraction of what US workers are, we have to be willing to work for peanuts ourselves. Is there something wrong with this picture? Full Story


Submission + - DBA vs. Programming Professions

Anonymous writes: "I am currently employed as a Sr. IT Help Desk Support Technician but have the opportunity to move up in the company to either an Entry Level DBA (Oracle) or Entry Level Programmer (PeopleSoft). I have spoken with people on both sides of the fence in regards to which position to pursue, but unfortunatly, their opinions are rather biased. My understanding is that Oracle DBA's are sought after but that it's a hard area of the industry to get into. I've been told that the programming position is more of a stepping stone to becomming a DBA. I'm just not sure which position to pursue. I don't have a degree or any certs (though I am working towards each of those, and the company is willing to provide all training for either position), and the positions that I'm being offered are based strictly on my my current experience in IT. I have done some limited scripting in my current job, but have a strong desire to learn more. Basically, I'm just looking to find out some information about what the job outlook/stability is for both areas."
PlayStation (Games)

Submission + - Sony Replaces 80GB PS3 With 80GB PS3 (playstation.com)

_xeno_ writes: "Starting in early February, the $500 80GB PS3 bundle started disappearing from stores, prompting speculation that it was due for replacement. Sony has finally announced the new $500 PS3 bundle: an 80GB PS3. It's not completely the same, though: it will come with the Dual Shock 3 controller, returning rumble support to the PlayStation consoles. It will also be bundled with Metal Gear Solid 4, which is scheduled to be released mid-June along with this new bundle. Sony has yet to confirm that this 80GB PS3 will support any form of PlayStation 2 backwards compatibility, although with any other company it would be a safe bet that it would maintain the previous 80GB's software backwards compatibility. The linked article also gives the release date for the Dual Shock 3 controller in the US (April 15th at $55) and information on a God of War: Chains of Olympus red PSP bundle."
The Courts

Submission + - RIAA "expert witness" exposed (blogspot.com)

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "Prof. Johan Pouwelse of Delft University — one of the world's foremost experts on the science of P2P file sharing and the very same Prof. Pouwelse who stopped the RIAA's Netherlands counterpart in its tracks back in 2005 — has submitted an expert witness report characterizing the work of the RIAA's expert, Dr. Doug Jacobson, as "borderline incompetence". The report (pdf), filed in UMG v. Lindor, pointed out, among other things, that the steps needed to be taken in a copyright infringement investigation were not taken, that Jacobson's work lacked "in-depth analysis" and "proper scientific scrutiny", that Jacobson's reports were "factually erroneous", and that they were contradicted by his own deposition testimony. This is the first expert witness report of which we are aware since the Free Software Foundation announced that it would be coming to the aid of RIAA defendants."

Feed Engadget: PlayStation 3 leapfrogs Xbox 360 in January US console sales (engadget.com)

Filed under: Gaming

Hmmph. Would you look at that? Nary a fortnight after EA proclaimed that Sony's PlayStation 3 would best the Xbox 360 in sales during 2008, said prophecy is already starting to come true. Granted, we're only talking one month so far, but according to new US sales data from NPD Group, Microsoft's console actually slipped to third in the numbers race. Unsurprisingly, Nintendo's darling took home the gold (again) with 274,000 units sold in January, while the PS3 slipped in just 5,000 units below with 269,000. As for Redmond, it only moved 230,000 units last month, but spokesman David Dennis boldly stated that the firm believes its third-place finish to be "an anomaly." Considering that the Grim Reaper is well on its way to claiming the life of the 360s HD DVD add-on while Sony relishes the decision to cram BD drives within the PS3, we're not so sure these figures won't become a trend.

[Via TGDaily, ]

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PlayStation (Games)

Submission + - PS3 Projected Eventual Console Wars Winner (news.com)

PHPNerd writes: "A report from a well known market research firm has placed predictions based on current market evidence and trends that the PS3 will outstrip all competitors and nay-sayers to be the leading next-gen console by 2011. From the CNET article: "The research firm predicted that by the end of 2011, the PS3 could have sold 38.4 million units, while the Wii might be in second place at 37.7 million." But the writer on CNET goes on to say that "Of course, three-year forecasts have about as much chance of being right in electronics as predictions of who will win the World Series in three years.""

Feed Engadget: EA bets PS3 will best Xbox 360 sales in 2008 (engadget.com)

Filed under: Gaming

Hold onto your lunch, we're looking at quite the turnaround in fortunes for the PS3 if EA's sales predictions for 2008 hold true. With a hot new SKU on the shelves, an unlikely Halo killer, strong market share in Europe and that profitability milestone crossed, the PS3 is looking at its best shot at greatness since it landed. At least EA and Sony seem to think so. Sony has been naturally bullish about its latest "10 year life cycle" console, but now EA is jumping on board, predicting the box will sell between 9.5 million and 11.5 million units this year, compared to 6 million to 8 million for Microsoft's Xbox 360. Most of that margin is expected to be found in Europe, to the tune of 5 million or so over the 360. Of course, there's one more factor here: EA predicts between 12 million and 14 million in Wii sales -- better luck next time, guys.

[Via Joystiq]

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Submission + - EMI Cuts RIAA Funding (gizmodo.com)

eldavojohn writes: "Good news everybody! EMI doesn't like the direction the RIAA is heading it's cutting funding to the Fourth Reich. From the article, "Say goodbye to the RIAA, for its days are numbered. EMI, one of the "big four" record labels that feeds $132.3 million every year to trade groups such as the RIAA and IFPI, has decided that its money could be better spent elsewhere. It's reportedly considering cutting its funding towards the trade groups significantly, which would make it a lot harder for the RIAA to sue people, invade people's privacy and generally be huge dicks.""

Submission + - criminal investigation and encryption (msn.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The federal government is asking a U.S. District Court in Vermont to order a man to type a password that would unlock files on his computer, despite his claim that doing so would constitute self-incrimination.

Submission + - Grid computing with Silverlight (codeproject.com)

serutan writes: "An very detailed article on CodeProject explains how to set up a grid computer using Silverlight. Pretty cool from a coding point of view, but the author's casual mention of zomb- er, "volunteers" is somewhat disturbing. Does installing Silverlight imply consent to being part of someone's grid? fta: "Unlike other distributed computing projects, Legion allows users to participate by simply viewing a webpage. The shift to cloud computing, and web based application, may have fostered a growing reluctance in users to download and install applications... Users prefer not to install software. It's a hassle. Legion, on the other hand allows us to bring new 'volunteers' to our grid by means of providing enticing content... It relies solely on the Silverlight CLR in the user's browser.""

Submission + - Google Throws Lead Paint on Movie Download Market 6

An anonymous reader writes: As promised Google shut down its video store Wednesday — and its DRM made sure all movie files purchased from the store ceased to funtion. This has sparked a firestorm of negative commentary from the Digerati who see it as pure theft. Cory Doctorow called it "...a giant, flaming middle finger, sent by Google and the studios to the customers who were trusting (as in dumb) enough to buy DRM videos". John Dvorak called it "old bait-and-switch tactics" where vendors make promises, but build-in the ability to reneg on those promises if they choose to do so later. Both Dvorak and Doctorow call for the judicial system to step in, but MP3 Newswire says that the abuse to consumer trust will do more damage to the paid download market than anything the courts could inflict. "As a consumer, if you purchase a digital movie file online only to have it unexpectedly repossessed you will probably think twice before ever buying any such download again. If you do consider it again it certainly won't be for the same price as before. Experience made these downloads worth far less to you. So what are feature film downloads that can be revoked at any time worth in the market place? To some Google Video customers the value of a movie download dropped all the way down to zero."
XBox (Games)

Submission + - DVD size limiting Unreal Tournament 3 on Xbox 360 (gamepro.com)

powerlord writes: DVD's size may be starting to show its limits. Mark Rein, President of Epic (creators of "Gears of War"), was quoted as saying, "We'll compress some things. But you know, we may have fewer maps on the 360 version... Blu-Ray has definitely given us a lot of legroom," while speaking at the Edinburgh Interactive Festival.

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The trouble with opportunity is that it always comes disguised as hard work. -- Herbert V. Prochnow