By msmash from Slashdot's how-it-all-went-down department
Amazon's explanation last week that it was closing Quidsi because the unit was unprofitable didn't sound much like Jeff Bezos. The Amazon founder is famous for operating retail businesses at such slim margins that rivals can't compete. Quidsi employees had another reason to be surprised. From a report: As recently as late 2016, at Quidsi's quarterly all-hands meeting in Jersey City, NJ, executives from Amazon headquarters in Seattle spoke to the unit's 250-plus workers and affirmed the parent company's commitment to Quidsi's business, according to multiple people who were in attendance. One of the executives to present was John Boumphrey, Amazon's vice president who oversees baby products, and the direct boss of Quidsi CEO Emilie Arel Scott, said the sources, who asked not to be named because the meeting was confidential. Yet last Wednesday, with the first quarter coming to a close, employees were informed that Amazon was shutting Quidsi down and laying off hundreds of workers, ostensibly because the division was unable to make a profit. The diapers, toiletries, beauty products and pet care items sold by the various Quidsi brands would all be available on Amazon.com, the company said. [...] In the fourth quarter of 2015, Amazon started redirecting inventory from Quidsi's three fulfillment centers -- in Nevada, Kansas and Pennsylvania -- to Amazon's own massive network of warehouses, sources said. That process continued throughout 2016 and is still underway, two people told us. Quidsi's facilities were running out of capacity.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department
Renting is already fraught with pain, from annual rent hikes to extortionate lettings fees. But if a new service called Rentberry takes off, it could be about to get a lot worse. From a report: Rentberry has been operating in test cities and angering affordable housing advocates since 2016. But with its new expansion into 1,000 cities in the United States, the rental bidding website is about to piss off a lot more people. Alex Lubinksy, founder of Rentberry, seems to be pursuingan image that's closer to Uber's vilified Travis Kalanick than the do-gooder model of Elon Musk. Lubinsky courts the controversy that surrounds his startup and is known to include negative press when communicating his vision to reporters. But one big difference with Rentberry will be that if it takes off and becomes the new standard for renting apartments, most of its customers won't be able to run a #deleteRentberry campaign because landlords will have the control. The website essentially functions as a cross between CraigsList and eBay. A landlord lists a rental space and potential tenants bid against one another to claim the lease. Tenants' personal information is available to the landlord. The landlord then makes their final decision by weighing what the best offer is along with which bidder seems like they'd be the best tenant. For now, Rentberry charges users a $25 fee, but in the future, it plans to charge 25 percent of the difference between the asking price and the agreed upon rent. Whoever received the better deal pays the fee -- every month.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's get-that-thing-off-my-face department
Drones are stirring up public annoyance in the U.K. as the number of complaints to police are said to have soared twelvefold over the past two years -- including allegations of snooping neighbors, burglary "scoping" exercises, prison smuggling and near-misses with aircraft. From a report: Last year incidents rose to 3,456 (about 10 a day), almost tripling the 2015 figure of 1,237. In 2014, the number of incidents was only 283, indicating that the commercial success of the devices has brought with it a growing public nuisance. The findings were a result of a freedom of information request submitted by the Press Association to show the number of incidents logged by police around the country between 2014 and 2016. Their timely release follows several reports of near-misses with passenger planes and drones, and the arrest of Daniel Kelly, 27, last year, who became the first person in the U.K. to be jailed for smuggling items into prisons. But the actual total of cases is thought to be much higher, as not all police forces were able to submit data on the drone cases.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's inside-cheap-deals department
Aggregators like Expedia have made us lazy -- and we may be missing out on the best deals. From a report on Backchannel: Most of us rely on metasearch engines, like Priceline, Expedia, or Travelocity, which typically use dozens (sometimes as many as 200) of online travel agents, called OTAs, and aggregators to find the best deals. (A metasearch engine and an aggregator are interchangeable terms -- they both scour other sites and compile data under one roof. An OTA is an actual travel agency that actually does the booking and is the lone site responsible for everything you buy through them.) We rely on these sites because we assume they have the secret sauce -- the most powerful search engines, tweaked by superstar programmers armed with the most sophisticated algorithms -- to guide us to the cheapest options. With a single search, you can feel assured that you are paying a rock bottom price. Over time, however, the convention has flipped. As competition among the sites heated up, the hard-to-believe cheap fares required some filtering. A too-good-to-be-true fare ($99 to Europe from California) usually came with a catch (the $400, indirect, ticket home). And as the business models that on which these aggregators rely are getting tighter, the deals are getting worse. How can you be certain you're getting the lowest quote? The short answer is, you can't.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's cutting-reliance department
From a report on AnandTech: In a bombshell of a press release issued this morning, Imagination has announced that Apple has informed their long-time GPU partner that they will be winding down their use of Imagination's IP. Specifically, Apple expects that they will no longer be using Imagination's IP in 15 to 24 months. Furthermore the GPU design that replaces Imagination's designs will be, according to Imagination, "a separate, independent graphics design." In other words, Apple is developing their own GPU, and when that is ready, they will be dropping Imagination's GPU designs entirely. This alone would be big news, however the story doesn't stop there. As Apple's long-time GPU partner and the provider for the basis of all of Apple's SoCs going back to the very first iPhone, Imagination is also making a case to investors (and the public) that while Apple may be dropping Imagination's GPU designs for a custom design, that Apple can't develop a new GPU in isolation -- that any GPU developed by the company would still infringe on some of Imagination's IP. As a result the company is continuing to sit down with Apple and discuss alternative licensing arrangements, with the intent of defending their IP rights.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's especially-if-they-work-at-Google department
21,000 developers were surveyed for this year's annual survey by VisionMobile -- and for the first time, they were asked about their salaries. An anonymous reader quotes Linux.com:
[S]killed cloud and backend developers, as well as those who work in emerging technologies including Internet of Things, machine learning and augmented/virtual reality can make more money than frontend web and mobile developers whose skills have become more commoditized... The top 10 percent of salary earners in AR who live in North America earn a median salary of $219,000, compared with $169,000 for the top earning 10 percent of backend developers, according to the report... New, unskilled developers interested in emerging tech will have a harder time finding work, and earn less than their counterparts in more commoditized areas, due both to their lack of experience and fewer companies hiring in the early market. Along with skill level and software sector, developer salaries also vary widely by where they live in the world. A web developer in North America earns a median income of $73,600 USD per year, compared with the same developer in Western Europe whose median income is $35,400 USD. Web developers in South Asia earn $11,700 in South Asia while those in Eastern Europe earn $20,800 per year.
For developers who want to move up in the world, VisionMobile suggests "Invest in your skills. Do difficult work. Improve your English. Look for opportunities internationally. Go for it. You deserve it!"Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's offline-media department
"A decade ago, Hollywood writers brought the entertainment industry to a standstill when they walked off the job for three months in a dispute over pay for movies and TV shows distributed online," writes the Los Angeles Times. But they're reporting that it may happen again, with the Writers Guild of America now seeking a strike authorization vote from its members.
Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon have transformed Hollywood and contributed to an unprecedented number of quality series being produced -- a phenomenon often described as the new Golden Age of TV. But times haven't been golden for many writers for whom more is now less. Shorter seasons are the new norm, with many series consisting of 10 or fewer episodes on cable and streaming -- less than half the length of traditional seasons on network shows. That has put writers in a financial crunch since many have exclusivity clauses that prevent them from working on multiple shows per season...
"It's getting more and more difficult to make a living as a writer," said John Bowman, a TV writer-producer, and former head of the WGA negotiating committee. Studios are equally dug in as more customers cut the cable cord in favor of streaming options. They're also grappling with a dramatic fall-off in once-lucrative DVD sales and a flattening of attendance at the multiplex. They are releasing fewer titles a year, meaning fewer opportunities for screenwriters... Complicating matters is a lack of transparency. Streaming services operate on subscription models and don't release viewer data, making it difficult to devise a formula for residuals (fees for reruns).
< article continued at Slashdot's offline-media department
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's asking-about-emulation department
I have been told that Linux can run Windows software using Wine or perhaps a VM. What happens if that Windows software is a GPU-computing application -- accessing the GPU through HLSL/GLSL/CUDA/OpenCL or similar interfaces?
Can Wine or other solutions run that software at a decent speed under Linux? Or is GPU-computing software written for the Windows platform unsuitable for use -- emulated or otherwise -- under Linux?
This sounds like one of those cases where there's a theoretical answer and then your own real-world experiences. So leave your best answers in the comments. Can Linux run a GPU-computing application that's written for Windows?Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's elite-ectro-cranial-stimulation department
Five different Navy SEAL units are testing "transcranial electrical stimulation," reports Military.com, with one command's spokesperson saying the early results "show promising signs... we are encouraged to continue and are moving forward with our studies." The device's manufacturer says the number of devices being tested is "in the double digits," and believes the "neuro-priming" device could improve shooting performance, adding "it's kind of all about just training a little bit smarter." schwit1 quotes their report:
Transcranial electrical stimulation was one of the technologies touted by then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter in July 2016 as part of his Defense Innovation Unit (Experimental) initiative. Since then, multiple SEAL units have begun actively testing the effectiveness of the technology, officials with Naval Special Warfare Command told Military.com... At a conference near Washington, D.C., in February, the commander of all Navy special operations units made an unusual request to industry: Develop and demonstrate technologies that offer "cognitive enhancement" capabilities to boost his elite forces' mental and physical performance. "We plan on using that in mission enhancement," Rear Admiral Tim Szymanski said.
Admiral Szymanski says experiments found that operators monitoring screens reportedly maintained peak performance for 20 hours -- rather than experience the usual drop-off in concentration after 20 minutes.Read Replies (0)