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The Yin and Yang of Hour of Code & Immigration Reform 220

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-this-job dept.
theodp writes "The weeklong Hour of Code kicks off tomorrow, with Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates doing their part to address a declared nationwide CS crisis by ostensibly teaching the nation's schoolchildren how to code. But a recent NY Times Op-Ed by economist Paul Collier criticizing Zuckerberg's FWD.us PAC as self-serving advocacy (echoing earlier criticism) serves as a reminder that Zuckerberg and Gates' Code.org and Hour of Code involvement is the Yin to their H-1B visa lobbying Yang. The two efforts have been inextricably linked together for Congress, if not for the public. And while Zuckerberg argues it's 'the right thing to do', Collier argues that there are also downsides to the tech giants' plans to shift more bright, young, enterprising people from the poorest countries to the richest. 'An open door for the talented would help Facebook's bottom line,' Collier concludes, 'but not the bottom billion.'"
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The Yin and Yang of Hour of Code & Immigration Reform

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 09, 2013 @12:15AM (#45636771)

    They just don't want to play American wages.

  • Re:Parasites (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 09, 2013 @12:24AM (#45636805)

    Wont train Americans (or anyone else) in IT, actively seeking to import labor again that someone else paid for their education

    It isnt their responsibility to train you, stop being such an entitlist cockbag.

    All the big tech companies should just leave America, with all the complaints that they are avoiding taxes and that they are just hiring offshore workers they would be better off setting up in another country anyway. In the global economy you need to give companies an incentive to stay and support your local economy. Why should they even stay in America?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 09, 2013 @01:15AM (#45636983)

    Actually up until the point of the gates foundation, Bill Gates was the ultimate Scrooge. He gae away not one penny, it wasn't until he was called out on that very fact that the Gates foudration was formed.

    Even much of the supposedly altruistic efforts also seem to have an angle:
    http://m.slashdot.org/story/171367

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/07/31/bill-gates-corporate-profit-vs-humanity.aspx

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Gates#Philanthropy

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 09, 2013 @02:09AM (#45637203)

    No, Okian is right. You and the some of the mods are probably too young to have remembered what MS did in the late '80s and '90s. They (along with Intel) controlled the PC platform, which was over 95 percent of the personal computing market (Apple was a marginal player back then), and MS made damn sure that

    1) operating system competitors were crushed - even OS/2, which Microsoft originally co-developed with IBM. Microsoft made PC manufacturers like Dell buy Windows licenses based on the number of PCs they shipped, regardless of whether they had Windows installed or not. Microsoft also made sure that Windows 3.x would only run on MS-DOS, and not DR-DOS from Digital Research, by deliberately introducing incompatibilities.

    2) PC application software competitors were crushed - Windows 3.x, although popular, was one of the most unstable operating environments that ever shipped in volume, although I supposed the Mac OS at the time probably gave it competition on that score. There were ridiculously low (often 64K) system-wide limits on several different kinds of resources, and if that resource were exhausted you'd get a blue screen. The COM-based OLE/ActiveX mechanism pitched by Microsoft as the biggest technical advance of the OS was poorly designed and incredibly hard to program. But the Microsoft Office developers worked closely with the Windows team and stayed on top of all the changes in the APIs and got the inside scoop on how to get the best performance and avoid some of the instabilities (I should mention there were thousands of system calls; Bill Gates himself acknowledged during the trial there were about 6000). Microsoft would make subtle changes in the kernel from release to release that would affect compatibility of applications, often timing changes to occur right after a competitor released their product (these were the days where application software was sold via shrink wrap and it was very costly to recall a product). TA guy named Andrew Shulman did some kernel-level hacking and wrote a couple books about this, one of which was called 'Undocumented Windows'.

    3) Microsoft came close to stealing IP from other companies, including Go - Jerry Kaplan gave Gates and Jeff Raikes a demo of his pen-operated tablet under an NDA, and discovered six months later that MS had started the Pen Windows project under the direction of Raikes - and Sybase (why do you think both companies sell a database product called SQL Server?).

    4) When Netscape made the then-novel decision to release their browser (Navigator) as a free download for a trial period, Microsoft decided to "cut off their air supply" (their words) by releasing Internet Explorer (a browser they purchased from a company called Spyglass after Navigator's release) as part of Windows. Not just as an app that happened to ship with Windows, but as a necessary PART OF WINDOWS - as they claimed themselves, they were unable to satisfy European regulator's demands that they allow manufacturers to ship with Netscape instead of IE. The best they could do, MS told them, would be to allow OEMs to ship with both browsers if they chose.

    Gates was a robber baron in the mode of Rockefeller and Carnegie, whose biographies I'm sure he read. And he followed their example of turning to philanthropy later in life.

  • by king neckbeard (1801738) on Monday December 09, 2013 @02:28AM (#45637257)
    MS had already engaged in some serious antitrust behavior circa 1990, before they were anywhere near the behemoth they are today.

    what a load of crap, Windows may not have been the most secure system but against the horrible burden of IBM and the infancy and general lack of usability of GNU/Linux, Windows was the obvious choice and a choice made by people who were indeed free to choose. To this day some people would rather pretend they were completely helpless and at the mercy of big bad Microsoft than admit they made a poor choice.

    Have you considered that the lack of viable competition might have been the result of robust set of anti-competitive practices? Also, by grossly oversimplifying things like you did, you forget that things weren't all that simple. MS was strong-arming OEMs if they dared to install competing OS's or browsers, and they ignored standards in IE while actively breaking compatibility of plugins.

  • by csumpi (2258986) on Monday December 09, 2013 @03:04AM (#45637353)
    OK, I'll bite No way you go 10 years unemployed as a software engineer in the US. Unless:

    a. you are lazy
    b. you are incompetent
    c. you printed the website you have in your sig on your resume

    But most likely, it's just all BS.
  • by spmkk (528421) on Monday December 09, 2013 @03:45AM (#45637503)

    ...Microsoft decided to "cut off their air supply" (their words) by releasing Internet Explorer (a browser they purchased from a company called Spyglass after Navigator's release) as part of Windows. Not just as an app that happened to ship with Windows, but as a necessary PART OF WINDOWS...

    The skeeziest part of that deal actually wasn't Microsoft's attack on Netscape - it was their raw screwing of Spyglass. For those who don't remember this history, Microsoft licensed Mosaic (which they re-branded as Internet Explorer) from Spyglass for a minimal quarterly licensing fee plus a cut of the revenue from every copy of the browser that they sold. They then proceeded to give the browser away for free** with every copy of Windows, thereby not owing Spyglass any of the commission. Spyglass threatened legal action but apparently never took any, opting to settle for an $8M payout [wikipedia.org] for a piece of technology that made Microsoft hundreds of billions.

    ** I never understood why Spyglass didn't sue Microsoft on the basis that (by Microsoft's own declaration, as AC pointed out) Internet Explorer was an integral part of Windows, and thus some share of the sales revenue for every copy of Windows was de facto revenue from the sale of Internet Explorer. Maybe someone more familiar with the back-story can fill in this blank?

  • by Xest (935314) on Monday December 09, 2013 @11:41AM (#45639797)

    He's not making fun of him for having religious beliefs, he's making fun of him for being completely oblivious to the fact that maybe he's unemployable because he's suffering delusions.

    It's one thing to believe in some god, I think most people have no problem with that. It's not my cup of tea, but each to there own. However, it's a whole other thing to believe he speaks to you. That requires you to hear voices in your head. That requires you to be actually clinically insane.

    People who are clinically insane tend not to be the best workers.

    You'd have had a point if you'd instead talked about the fact we shouldn't joke about people who have mental health issues, then you'd be right.

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