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Submission + - Prof crowdfunds the creation of a free college textbook (

farrellj writes: College professor Dr. Brendan Myers is crowdfunding the creation of a free textbook on critical thinking for the class he teaches. He is not impressed with the cost of college textbooks.

“Two years ago, a few students in my class told me they didn’t buy the textbook for my critical thinking class,” said Brendan Myers, a philosophy professor at Gatineau’s Heritage College CEGEP, “because they had to choose between the book and eating that month.”

His Kickstarter campaign has been remarkably successful so far, who would have thought such a text would be so popular! There is a huge potential for this type of initiative in creating free text books by crowdfunding their initial production. The academic textbook market is a closed one, and attempts like this and others discussed here on Slashdot can dramatically reduce the high cost of college texts.


Submission + - Are Microsoft to blame for "hidden" malware costs (

malvert writes: Even the most ardent Windows fan can’t really argue with the fact that their favourite OS has a significantly greater number of malware threats against it than any free software OS will have. The popular reason given for this is the high proportion of Windows boxes makes for a tempting target for the people behind the malware. This is a reasonable argument but it cannot be taken as the only defence here.

If the number of installs is proportional to the number of threats, why have we not seen even a small increase in the number of malware threats against free OS? After all the number of Internet-facing GNU/Linux and *BSD machines around now measures considerably higher than the number for say five years ago. Even allowing for the fact that the percentage of desktop machines using a free OS may not have increased (and I don’t believe that’s a valid argument anyway), the actual number of machines is likely to have increased. Yet we do not see malware writers increasingly targetting free OS users.

When your chosen platform forces you to instruct users to do things in an entirely counter-intuitive way, you need to change your platform

The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Dell to close it's call center in Ottawa, Canada

farrellj writes: "Well, after closing it's Edmonton, Alberta call center last year, Dell announced today it will also close it's Ottawa, Ontario call center. Five hundred techs were layed off immediately, and the remainder will be let go by mid-summer. This comes after building a new Ottawa facility adjacent to the existing building and promises of hiring 1,500 last year. It all unraveled toward the end of 2007 with the decision to close the Edmonton facility, and then the cancellation of the Ottawa expansion. CBC has coverage here, and the Globe & Mail here."

Submission + - What are you willing to consent to, to land a job? 3

Pooch writes: I'm a network and systems administrator with more than two decades of experience under my belt. I've worked for Fortune-100 companies, a few startups, and started my own company which has since gone public. Recently, after a quick phone screen, I arranged a day-long job interview with a Big! Internet Company. They seemed very interested in me, I was very interested in the job, everything seemed like a great fit, and I have no doubt I could have brought a lot to the table. Just prior to the interview, however, I was presented with a background check consent form that I was required to sign before things could move beyond the interview stage. The consent form said they wanted to investigate things that "[...] may include my educational history, employment history, social security trace, driving records, consumer credit information, and civil and criminal court records." They further required that "I authorize without reservation any party or agency contacted by [Big! Internet Company] to furnish the above-mentioned information." And, my consent was to be in force from the time I signed the form until I left the company. Of all the companies I have worked for, none have required such a broad spectrum of information. Somewhat invasive, IMHO. Needless to say, I balked at the request (even though most of the information might be publicly available). The recruiter admitted that for my position they wouldn't need most of the requested information but when I asked her to clarify what they actually did need for my position she said it didn't matter because they wouldn't create consent forms specific to various positions and that I would have to sign the broad consent form. The net result was that I didn't sign the consent form and I didn't interview with them. I'm a very private person and I have nothing to hide, but I also don't want employers (or others) poking their nose so very far into my private life. And yeah, I understand the obvious need for some of the information. Also, this was not a company that I absolutely had to work for ... perhaps if it had been I might have been a bit more willing to "give it up", but it wasn't. My question for Slashdot readers: what are you willing to give up to work for a company, any company? What are you willing to give up to work for a company that you really really really want to work for?

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