eldavojohn writes: According to the BBC, one Verizon worker took outsourcing to a new level and just decided to pay one fifth of his six digit salary to a Chinese firm to do his job for him. Apparently, by giving his VPN credentials to the Chinese worker(s) replacing himself and sending his physical RSA token to them by way of Fedex, he tripped Verizon's security checks and was discovered by his superiors. What's interesting is that they found "hundreds" of invoices to the firm in Shenyang and suspect this man of being hired across multiple businesses to employ "his" telecommuting software language expertise. From the article, 'The software developer, in his 40s, is thought to have spent his workdays surfing the web, watching cat videos on YouTube and browsing Reddit and eBay.' Everyone can relax, there was no mention of Slashdot.
eldavojohn writes: Gartner's released a report on Worldwide numbers of 2012 3Q phone sales and the staggering results posted from Android have caused people like IW's Eric Zeman to call for sanity. Keep in mind these are worldwide numbers which might be less surprising when you realize that the biggest growth market of them all is China who is more than 90% Android. It's time to face the facts and realize that Android now owns 73% of the worldwide smartphone market. While developers bicker over which platform is best for development and earnings, the people of the world may be making the choice based on just how inexpensive an Android smartphone can be. This same time last year, Gartner reported Android at 52.5% of market share and it now sits at 72.4% market share with over 122 million units sold worldwide. Only Q4 reports will tell if Android's momentum will finally begin to slow to save some chance of competition in the smartphone ecosystem or if the Quickening will be complete.
eldavojohn writes: The New York Review of Books has an article penned by Steven Weinberg lamenting the future of physics, cosmology and this era of "big science" in which we find ourselves. A quote from Goldhaber sums up the problem nicely, 'The first to disintegrate a nucleus was Rutherford, and there is a picture of him holding the apparatus in his lap. I then always remember the later picture when one of the famous cyclotrons was built at Berkeley, and all of the people were sitting in the lap of the cyclotron.' The article is lengthy with a history of big physics projects (most painfully perhaps the SSC) but Weinberg's message ultimately comes across as pessimism laced with fatalism — easily understandable given his experiences with government funding. Unfortunately he notes, 'Big science has the special problem that it can’t easily be scaled down. It does no good to build an accelerator tunnel that only goes halfway around the circle.' Apparently this article mirrors his talk given in January at the American Astronomical Society. If not our government, will anyone fund these immense projects or will physics slowly grind to a halt due to fiscal constraints?
eldavojohn writes: The editors of Infection and Immunity are sending a warning signal about modern science. Two editorials (1 and 2) published in the journal have given other biomedical researchers pause to ask if modern science is dysfunctional. Readers familiar with the state of academia may not be surprised but the claims have been presented today to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) that level the following allegations: "Incentives have evolved over the decades to encourage some behaviors that are detrimental to good science" and "The surest ticket to getting a grant or job is getting published in a high profile journal, this is an unhealthy belief that can lead a scientist to engage in sensationalism and sometimes even dishonest behavior to salvage their career." The data to back up such slanderous claims? "In the past decade the number of retraction notices for scientific journals has increased more than 10-fold while the number of journals articles published has only increased by 44%." At least a few of such retractions have been covered here.
eldavojohn writes: Almost two months ago three individuals were charged with selling the designs of Apple's latest tablet to Maita Electronics for 200,000 yuan (about $30,857.60 USD). They have now been sentenced in Shenzhen City: 'Xiao Chengsong, the legal agent of Maita Electronics, to 18 months in prison and fined him 150,000 yuan ($23,000) for buying the design from two Foxconn workers... Foxconn employee Lin Kecheng, was sentenced to 14 months and fined 100,000 yuan, while another worker identified as Hou Pengna was given a two-year sentence suspended for one year and fined 30,000 yuan. All three were convicted of the crime of violating commercial secrets.'
eldavojohn writes: In his latest blog post, Dev Gualtieri recalls a time when US industrial research and publishing papers was part of his professional life. Aside from the plug for the book Science Mart and its get-off-my-lawn-edness, Gualtieri cites his own personal anecdote on the decline of US industrial research. Companies like Bell used to employ the minds of people like Shannon and Turing while producing groundbreaking papers and researching new technologies. The blog notes that its easier for today's company to justify investing large amounts of cash in legal fees and lawyers than white papers and researchers. The accusation is that today's "Marketplace for Ideas" actually is just making us stupider (by outsourcing research) as opposed to many claims that it is inherently efficient. The commercialization of scientific research as a commodity starting in the 1980s has left our country inept and lazy on the global market as companies simply buy out the small guys who come up with original ideas or litigate them into oblivion instead of doing their own research and development. Gualtieri's sentiments echo Andrew Odlyzko in 1995 who conducted research in the once prestigious Bell and AT&T Labs. Is industrial research all but dead in the United States? Has anyone here been recently published in a journal after doing research in their company's environment?
eldavojohn writes: By way of Patently O with a bit of context at Ars, news is spreading of Apple's acquisition of over two hundred of Freescale's patents and patent applications. To clarify from the article, 'To be clear, the assignment records available only indicate that Apple received an “assignment of assignors interest.” Thus, it is unclear from the information now available whether (1) Apple obtained full title to the patents and (2) whether Apple purchased the rights or obtained them through some other type of transaction. However, a cash purchase is likely because Apple has a large multi-billion-dollar cash surplus while Freescale has a large multi-billion-dollar debt that has come due. The patents were previously mortgaged and a release of the security interest has not yet been recorded.' Is it possible that a large exchange of cash has occurred betwixt the two? Keep in mind that Apple has a lot of arrows going to and from it in the smartphone lawsuit quagmire that erupted in March of 2010.
eldavojohn writes: Lionhead, the developer of Fable III, told Eurogamer that used games are worse than piracy. Mike West, the lead combat designer for the latest Fable said, 'For us it's probably a no-lose even with piracy as it is. But, as I say, second-hand sales cost us more in the long-run than piracy these days.' So downloading a game is bad but apparently stopping by a second hand store to pick up a licensed physical copy of the game ends up hurting them even more.
eldavojohn writes: Riding the tail of Apple's 30% announcement, Google's Eric Schmidt has announced One Pass, a new method for users to pay for content. The BBC is reporting that Google is taking a 10% cut. One Pass will work on Google sites and on phones and tablets as the announcement notes: 'Readers who purchase from a One Pass publisher can access their content on tablets, smartphones and websites using a single sign-on with an email and password. Importantly, the service helps publishers authenticate existing subscribers so that readers don't have to re-subscribe in order to access their content on new devices.' This is to be handled through Google Checkout.