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Simulators Take the Humans Out of Hiring
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '12 at 05:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's use-the-konami-code department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Ken Gaebler discusses a new way of hiring called 'employment simulations,' which are gaining popularity among high-tech firms that are seeking data from prospective employees that you can't get from sit-down interviews. In a typical employment simulation, candidates participate in online 'video games' that leverage simulation software to determine how well candidates perform in actual job situations. 'There are no questions about your former work experience and office habits. There's simply a computer game. If you win, you get the job. If you lose, game over.' As one example, call centers are very amenable to simulations because the work environment (a series of computer programs and databases) is relatively easy to replicate and the tasks that make up job performance are easy to measure (data entry speed and accuracy, customer service, multitasking, etc). Other employment simulation programs have been written for healthcare, insurance, retail sales, financial services, hospitality and travel, manufacturing and automotive, and telecom and utilities. But skeptics say employment simulators and other computer-based hiring models have some drawbacks. 'Like any technology, the effectiveness of employment simulations is limited to the quality of the software and its accessibility to users,' says Gaebler."

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Google Pulls Support For CDMA Devices
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '12 at 02:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's who-needs-cdma-anyway department:
An anonymous reader writes "Google has just made some interesting changes to their developer pages. As of today, all of the documentation, source code, and firmware images pertaining to CDMA Android devices (including the Verizon Galaxy Nexus) have been removed. A statement from Google explains that the proprietary software required to make these devices fully functional got in the way of Android's open source nature, so CDMA devices are no longer supported as developer hardware. What does this mean for the Galaxy Nexus, which is only available as CDMA in the U.S.?"

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Finding Lost Recording From the 1880s
Posted by News Fetcher on February 04 '12 at 11:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's riaa-already-sued-for-piracy department:
An anonymous reader writes "The NY Times recently ran a story on the discovery of a cache of wax cylinder records, recorded in Europe in the 1880s, of Otto von Bismarck, Helmuth von Moltke, and various musicians. 'In June 1889, Edison sent Wangemann to Europe, initially to ensure that the phonograph at the Paris World’s Fair remained in working order. After Paris, Wangemann toured his native Germany, recording musical artists and often visiting the homes of prominent members of society who were fascinated with the talking machine. Until now, the only available recording from Wangemann’s European trip has been a well-known and well-worn cylinder of Brahms playing an excerpt from his first Hungarian Dance. That recording is so damaged "that many listeners can scarcely discern the sound of a piano, which has in turn tarnished the reputations of both Wangemann and the Edison phonograph of the late 1880s," Dr. Feaster said. "These newly unearthed examples vindicate both."'"

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India Turns Down American Fighter Jets, Buys From France
Posted by News Fetcher on February 04 '12 at 08:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's don't-want-our-freedom-jets department:
An anonymous reader writes "While America had offered the F-16, F-18 and now the stealth F-35 fighter, India picked for its new multi-role attack jet a low cost, older French plane. Why? For one, it's cheaper, and two, if American/Indian relations go bad, can they get the parts and equipment to keep the planes in the air? It seems prudence beat out the latest in technology."

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New Hampshire Passes 'Open Source Bill'
Posted by News Fetcher on February 04 '12 at 05:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's congratulations-bill department:
Plugh writes "In a victory for transparency and openness in government, and saving tax dollars, New Hampshire has passed HB418. State agencies are now required by law to consider open source software when acquiring software, and to promote the use of open data formats."

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Text Message Brands Quebec Man a Terror Suspect
Posted by News Fetcher on February 04 '12 at 04:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's rooting-for-the-habs-will-do-that department:
An anonymous reader writes "Saad Allami likely never expected that a simple text message of encouragement would have turned his life upside down. But as seen in a similar case of absurd overreaction by authorities, a simple text message is all it takes to have yourself branded as a terrorist. From the article: 'The Quebec man says he was arrested by provincial police while picking up his seven-year-old son at school. A team of police officers stormed into his home, telling his wife she was married to a terrorist. And his work colleagues were detained for hours at the U.S. border because of their connection to him.'"

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Apple Overturns Motorola's German iPad and iPhone Sales Bans
Posted by News Fetcher on February 04 '12 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's german-courts-love-patent-drama department:
SpuriousLogic sends this excerpt from a BBC article detailing the suspension of a sales ban on certain Apple products in Germany:
"Motorola Mobility had forced Apple to remove several iPad and iPhone models from its online store [yesterday] after enforcing a patent infringement court ruling delivered in December. An appeals court lifted the ban after Apple made a new license payment offer. However, Germany-based users may still face the loss of their push email iCloud service after a separate ruling. 'A suspension like this is available only against a bond, but Apple is almost drowning in cash and obviously won't have had a problem with obtaining and posting a bond.' ... A statement from Apple said: 'All iPad and iPhone models will be back on sale through Apple's online store in Germany shortly.'"
Reader DJRumpy points out that Motorola is seeking royalties of 2.25% for Apple's wireless devices in exchange for a license to use Motorola's patents.

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LibreOffice Developer Community Increasingly Robust
Posted by News Fetcher on February 04 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-could-almost-call-it-jolly department:
New submitter someWebGeek writes "LibreOffice, the community-driven fork of OpenOffice, appears to have a very healthy and growing group of code contributors. The Document Foundation has published new stats that portray the climbing rates of developer involvement both in terms of numbers of people and numbers of code commits. One of the most encouraging aspects, as noted by Ryan Paul in an article at Ars, is that non-corporate code contributions by independent volunteers constitute the largest slice of the latest commit-pie."

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Canada's Massive Public Traffic Surveillance System
Posted by News Fetcher on February 04 '12 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's but-they're-really-polite-about-it department:
New submitter cqwww writes "A small magazine in Victoria, BC just uncovered a massive public traffic surveillance system deployed in Canada. Here's a quote from the article: 'Normally, area police manually key in plate numbers to check suspicious cars in the databases of the Canadian Police Information Center and ICBC. With [Automatic License Plate Recognition], for $27,000, a police cruiser is mounted with two cameras and software that can read license plates on both passing and stationary cars. According to the vendors, thousands of plates can be read hourly with 95-98 percent accuracy. ... In August 2011, VicPD Information and Privacy Manager Debra Taylor called me to explain that, even though VicPD had the ALPR system in one of their cruisers, the [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] ran the system, and I should contact them for any information. "We actually don’t have a program," Taylor said. "We don’t have any documents per se." ... A month later, Taylor handed over 600 pages. ... [The claim they kept no documents] was apparently only in reference to digital information. VicPD had kept 500 pages of written, hard-copy logs of every ALPR hit they’d ever seen.'"

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German Government Endorses Chrome As Most Secure Browser
Posted by News Fetcher on February 04 '12 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's taking-the-browser-war-across-the-pond department:
New submitter beta2 writes "Several articles are noting that the German IT security agency BSI is endorsing Google Chrome browser: 'BSI ticked off Chrome's anti-exploit sandbox technology, which isolates the browser from the operating system and the rest of the computer; its silent update mechanism and Chrome's habit of bundling Adobe Flash, as its reasons for the recommendation. ... BSI also recommended Adobe Reader X — the version of the popular PDF reader that, like Chrome, relies on a sandbox to protect users from exploits — and urged citizens to use Windows' Auto Update feature to keep their PCs abreast of all OS security fixes. To update applications, BSI gave a nod to Secunia's Personal Software Inspector, a free utility that scan a computer for outdated software and point users to appropriate downloads.'"

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Milky Way Magnetic Fields Charted
Posted by News Fetcher on February 04 '12 at 11:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's apparently-we-can-do-that department:
eldavojohn writes "Using radio telescope data, scientists from around the world have plotted the Milky Way Galaxy's magnetic field in the form of Faraday Depth. From the article, 'For 150 years, scientists have measured cosmic magnetic field by observing the Faraday effect. They know that when polarized light passes though a magnetized medium, the plane of polarization turns. This concept is called Faraday rotation. The strength and direction of the magnetic field governs the amount of rotation that occurs. So scientists observe the rotation to investigate the magnetic fields' properties. Radio astronomers study the polarized light from distant radio source, passing through the Milky Way on the way to Earth, in order to measure our Galaxy's magnetic field. By measuring the polarization of the light sources at different frequencies, researchers can determine the amount of Faraday rotation.' In the future, radio telescope technologies like LOFAR, eVLA, ASKAP, MeerKAT and the SKA hope to provide enhanced Faraday rotation data so scientists can better understand turbulence in galactic gas and these galactic magnetic field structures."

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New Book Helps You Start Contributing To Open Source
Posted by News Fetcher on February 04 '12 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sending-experience-downstream department:
jrepin writes "This new book Open Advice is the answer to: 'What would you have liked to know when you started contributing?' 42 prominent free and open source software contributors give insights into the many different talents it takes to make a successful software project; coding, of course, but also design, translation, marketing and other skills. They are here to give you a head start if you are new. And if you have been contributing for a while already, they are here to give you some insight into other areas and projects."

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$100,000 Prize: Prove Quantum Computers Impossible
Posted by News Fetcher on February 04 '12 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's simultaneously-yes-and-no department:
mikejuk writes "Quantum computing is currently a major area of research — but is this all a waste of effort? Now Scott Aaronson, a well-known MIT computer scientist, has offered a prize of $100,000 for any proof that quantum computers are impossible: 'I'm now offering a US$100,000 award for a demonstration, convincing to me, that scalable quantum computing is impossible in the physical world.' Notice the two important conditions — 'physical world' and 'scalable.' The proof doesn't have to rule out tiny 'toy' quantum computers, only those that could do any useful work."

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President By Day, High-Tech Headhunter By Night
Posted by News Fetcher on February 04 '12 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's fixing-the-economy-one-engineer-at-a-time department:
theodp writes "The White House is following up on an offer made by President Barack Obama this week to help find a job for an unemployed semiconductor engineer in Texas. The offer was made during a live online town hall after the ex-TI engineer's wife questioned the government's policy concerning H-1B visa workers. Obama asked for EE Darin Wedel's resume and said he would 'forward it to some of these companies that are telling me they can't find enough engineers in this field.' While grateful, patent-holder Wedel said the president's view on the job prospects for engineers in his field 'is definitely not what's happening in the real world.' Duke adjunct professor Vivek Wadhwa offered his frank take on 40-year-old Wedel's predicament: 'The No. 1 issue in the tech world is as people get older, they generally become more expensive. So if you're an employer who can hire a worker fresh out of college who is making $60,000 versus an older worker who is making $150,000, and the younger worker has skills that are fresher, who would you hire?' Coincidentally, Texas Instruments sought President Obama's help in reducing restrictions on the hiring of younger foreign workers in 2009, the same year it laid off Wedel."

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You Will Never Kill Piracy
Posted by News Fetcher on February 04 '12 at 06:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's go-ask-louis-ck-how-to-do-things department:
scottbomb writes "This is perhaps the best op-ed I've read about the whole SOPA/PIPA controversy. The author challenges Hollywood to re-think their entire business model. It will undoubtedly fall on deaf ears, for now. But sooner or later, they will have no choice but to adapt. From the article: 'Now that the SOPA and PIPA fights have died down, and Hollywood prepares their next salvo against internet freedom with ACTA and PCIP, it's worth pausing to consider how the war on piracy could actually be won. It can't, is the short answer, and one these companies do not want to hear as they put their fingers in their ears and start yelling.'"

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New Mobile Plan Pools Data On Unlimited Devices
Posted by News Fetcher on February 04 '12 at 05:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's new-avenue-for-family-strife department:
Hugh Pickens writes "PC Magazine reports that Ting, a new reseller of Sprint's voice, 3G and WiMax services, has a new approach to mobile pricing that lets customers buy minutes, messages, and data separately, and allows households to pool them to an unlimited number of phones and data devices on one account. 'Household data plans are the next step for consumers, mainly because people are adding more connected screens and devices to their lifestyle,' writes Kevin Tofel. 'And different household members have different data needs; some use a little while others consume gobs of gigabytes. Why not average out the usage across multiple devices?' Both AT&T and Verizon have hinted at offering shared data plans in the future, but the devil's in the details, says Tofel. 'My hope is that family data plans come soon, to all carriers, just like we have for family voice and messaging plans.'"

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The Destruction of Iraq's Once-Great Universities
Posted by News Fetcher on February 04 '12 at 02:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's long-term-casualties department:
Harperdog writes "Hugh Gusterson has written a devastating article about what has happened to Iraq's once great university system, and puts most of the blame for its total collapse on the U.S. Quoting: 'While American troops guarded the Ministries of Oil and the Interior but ignored cultural heritage sites, looters ransacked the universities. For example, the entire library collections at the University of Baghdad's College of Arts and at the University of Basra were destroyed. The Washington Post's Rajiv Chandresekara described the scene at Mustansiriya University in 2003: "By April 12, the campus of yellow-brick buildings and grassy courtyards was stripped of its books, computers, lab equipment and desks. Even electrical wiring was pulled from the walls. What was not stolen was set ablaze, sending dark smoke billowing over the capital that day."'"

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World's Largest Virtual Optical Telescope Created
Posted by News Fetcher on February 04 '12 at 12:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's very-very-large-telescope department:
erice writes "Astronomers in Chile linked four telescopes together to form a single virtual mirror 130 meters in diameter. Previous efforts had linked two telescopes but this is the first time that all four had been linked. 'The process that links separate telescopes together is known as interferometry. In this mode, the VLT becomes the biggest ground-based optical telescope on earth. Besides creating a gigantic virtual mirror, interferometry also greatly improves the telescope's spatial resolution and zooming capabilities.'"

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Facebook On Collision Course With New EU Privacy Laws
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '12 at 11:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's ramming-speed department:
An anonymous reader writes "Facebook and other U.S. internet companies are faced with a new EU data protection regime, the Christian Science Monitor reports. U.S. concepts of free expression and commerce will battle European support for privacy and state legislation. 'Companies must understand that if they want access to 500 million consumers in the EU, then they have to comply. This is not an option,' said a spokesman for the EU Justice Commissioner."

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Researchers Feel Pressure To Cite Superfluous Papers
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '12 at 09:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's academia-nuts department:
ananyo writes "One in five academics in a variety of social science and business fields say they have been asked to pad their papers with superfluous references in order to get published. The figures, from a survey published in the journal Science (abstract), also suggest that journal editors strategically target junior faculty, who in turn were more willing to acquiesce. The controversial practice is not new: those studying publication ethics have for many years noted that some editors encourage extra references in order to boost a journal's impact factor (a measure of the average number of citations an article in the journal receives over two years). But the survey is the first to try to quantify what it calls 'coercive citation,' and shows that this is 'uncomfortably common.' Perhaps the most striking finding of the survey was that although 86% of the respondents said that coercion was inappropriate, and 81% thought it damaged a journal's prestige, 57% said they would add superfluous citations to a paper before submitting it to a journal known to coerce. However, figures from Thomson Reuters suggest that social-science journals tend to have more self-citations than basic-science journals."

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