juicegg writes "TechCrunch contributor Klint Finley writes that developers have shunned unions because traditional workplace demands like higher pay are not important to us while traditional unions are incapable of advocating for what developers care about most while at work: autonomy and self-management. Is this how most developers feel? What about overtime, benefits, conditions for contractors and outsourcing concerns? Are there any issues big enough to get developers and techies to make collective demands or is it not worth the risk? Do existing unions offer advantages or is it better to start from scratch?"
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A while ago you had the chance to ask Bruce Perens about how open source has changed in the past 15 years, what's happening now, and what's to come. Bruce has been busy traveling, but he's found some free time and sent in his answers. Read below to see what he has to say.
An anonymous reader writes "The state-by-state election outcome probabilities today on Nate Silver's 538 imply a 97.7% probability for Obama to win 270 or more electoral college votes this coming Tuesday. A site that allows anyone but U.S. citizens vote seems to indicate that the rest of the world hopes these numbers are accurate. "
An anonymous reader writes "In a surprising blow to the movement to create free textbooks online, an upstart company called Flat World Knowledge is dumping its freemium model. The upstart publisher had made its textbooks free online and charged for print versions or related study guides, but company officials now say that isn't bringing in enough money to work long-term."
angry tapir writes "Japan's Sharp, a major supplier of LCD displays to Apple and other manufacturers, has warned that it may not survive if it can't turn around its business. The Osaka-based manufacturer said there is "material doubt" about its ability to continue operating in its earnings report filed Thursday. Sharp added, however, that it still believes it can cut costs and secure enough credit to survive. Its IGZO technology for mobile displays is likely to be a key element of its business strategy."
Late Tuesday, both the 2012 U.S. election (the popular vote at least) and the 2012 campaign season should be over. Tonight, though, whatever your ability or plans to vote are (see the current poll for a peek at what other readers claim about their intentions), you've got the chance to see one more presidential debate, to be moderated by Ralph Nader, and featuring third-party presidential contenders Gary Johnson (Libertarian), Jill Stein (Green), Virgil Goode (Constitution) and Rock Anderson (Justice). Yes, the same ones featured in another debate a few weeks back. (We promise, this is the last debate of this go-round.) If you're voting (or would, if you could) for other than the Democratic or Republican parties' candidates this year, what drives that decision?
You may have noticed that retailers like Amazon are charging tax, in compliance with state laws, on not just the price of goods, but on the "shipping and handling" fees they charge. An anonymous reader writes "By coincidence I noticed this myself the other night, and ended up ordering something from a supplier in Arizona, rather than Amazon, to avoid the sales tax. Now here is an article about it in the Los Angeles Times."
New submitter dryriver writes with this snippet from the BBC: "Apple paid only $713m (£445m) Tax in the year to 29 September on foreign pre-tax profits of $36.8bn (£23.0bn), a remarkably low rate of 1.9%. Apple channels much of its business in Europe through a subsidiary in the Republic of Ireland, which has lower corporation tax than Britain. But even Ireland charges 12.5%, compared with Britain's 24%. Apple is the latest company to be identified as paying low rates of overseas tax, following Starbucks, Facebook and Google in recent weeks. It has not been suggested that any of their tax avoidance schemes are illegal. Many multinational companies manage to pay substantially below the official corporation tax rates by using tax havens such as the Caribbean islands."
Several outlets are reporting, based on screenshots posted by Android Police that Google is (or "may be" — CNet calls the report "loosely sourced") about to introduce a lower-tech variant on its smartphone-based Google Wallet payment system. Instead of transferring payment information from an NFC-equipped phone, this would mean a physical payment card (like a conventional plastic credit or debit card), but one linked via Google's databanks to the user's existing bank or credit accounts. Upsides: less to carry, a simple way to suspend or cancel service on them (should the card be lost or stolen), and doesn't require you to carry your phone to make a credit or debit transaction — handy, since NFC readers are still thin on the ground. Downside: while perhaps no worse than putting the same information on your phone, it's one more step toward giving a third party all of your personal information in one place. A card that fits in a wallet probably makes a lot of sense: I live in a city with at least three pay-by-phone options in trials or fully available (CitiBank, Isis, and Google Wallet), but I can't buy ice cream or coffee with them yet. And there's no reason a card-shaped token couldn't use mag-stripes and NFC, too.
First time accepted submitter danbuter writes "In probably the most poorly thought-out reaction to allowing people displaced by Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey [to take part in the 2012 presidential election], residents will be allowed to vote by email. Of course, this will be completely secure and work perfectly!" Writes user Beryllium Sphere: "There's no mention of any protocol that might possibly make this acceptable. Perhaps the worst thing that could happen would be if it appears to work OK and gains acceptance." I know someone they should consult first.
An anonymous reader writes "Apple today posted its second Samsung apology to its UK website, complying with requests by the UK Court of Appeal to say its original apology was inaccurate and link to a new statement. As users on Hacker News and Reddit point out, however, Apple modified its website recently to ensure the message is never displayed without visitors having to scroll down to the bottom first."
snydeq writes "Facebook has said that it will soon open source Prism, an internal project that supports geographically distributed Hadoop data stores, thereby removing the limits on Hadoop's capacity to crunch data. 'The problem is that Hadoop must confine data to one physical data center location. Although Hadoop is a batch processing system, it's tightly coupled, and it will not tolerate more than a few milliseconds delay among servers in a Hadoop cluster. With Prism, a logical abstraction layer is added so that a Hadoop cluster can run across multiple data centers, effectively removing limits on capacity.'"
hessian writes "Scholars who study the role of media in society say no long-term studies have been done that adequately show how and if student attention span has changed because of the use of digital technology. But there is mounting indirect evidence that constant use of technology can affect behavior, particularly in developing brains, because of heavy stimulation and rapid shifts in attention."
An anonymous reader writes "Erik Voorhees blogs for bitinstant.com: 'On Oct 29, 2012, the European Central Bank (ECB) released an official (and very nicely prepared) report called "Virtual Currency Schemes (PDF)." The 55-page report looks at several facets of what virtual currencies are, how they're being used, and what they can do. As it happens, the term "Bitcoin" appears 183 times. In fact, roughly a quarter of the whole report is specifically dedicated to Bitcoin and it's probably a safe assumption that Bitcoin's growth over the past year was the catalyst for producing this study in the first place. The report from the ECB concludes, in part: Virtual currencies fall within central banks' responsibility due to their characteristics, and Virtual currencies could have a "negative impact on the reputation of central banks."' Could this be the first step toward regulation of the digital currency?"
An anonymous reader writes "Security firm Kaspersky has released its latest IT Threat Evolution report. There were some interesting findings in the report, as always, but the most interesting thing that stuck out was all the way at the bottom: 'Microsoft products no longer feature among the Top 10 products with vulnerabilities. This is because the automatic updates mechanism has now been well developed in recent versions of Windows OS.'"
Nerval's Lobster writes "Open source is no longer relegated to the discount software vendor that serves cash-strapped startups. In enterprise software development these days, open source is not only immensely valuable, but increasingly crucial to stay competitive in releasing high quality software at regular intervals in a world where technology is changing so fast and every edge matters. Today, rolling your own logging package instead of using something like log4j is as silly as trying to build your own web server instead of using Apache httpd was 10 years ago. Still, there are other components like guava that are less well known, but are currently making a name for themselves as libraries that can take the solution you are building to the next level of sophistication and quality. Just knowing they exist — and knowing where they fit — can help you design and build better software at a lower cost. In addition to conducting a traditional build versus buy analysis, it's critical to think about the maintenance and support story surrounding an open source package. This article lists some things to consider and questions to ponder."
theshowmecanuck writes with this snippet from Canada's National Post: "Days after the remote B.C. archipelago of Haida Gwaii emerged virtually unscathed from Canada's second-strongest earthquake, locals discovered that the shifting earth had mysteriously switched off a centuries-old hot spring considered sacred by the Haida. ... A Parks Canada inspection party set out to investigate and stepped ashore to find that the island's three main hot spring pools, which once bubbled with water as warm as 77 Celsius, were bone dry. "Not even a small puddle," said Mr. Gladstone. Surrounding rocks, once warm to the touch, were cold." The earthquake measured 7.7 on the Richter scale."
An anonymous reader writes "Four years after discovering that militants were tapping into drone video feeds, the U.S. military still hasn't secured the transmissions of more than half of its fleet of Predator and Reaper drones, Danger Room has learned. The majority of the aircraft still broadcast their classified video streams 'in the clear' — without encryption. With a minimal amount of equipment and know-how, militants can see what America's drones see."
First time accepted submitter lukpac writes "We have an old (ancient) Unisys server in production that hosts a legacy system and are attempting to virtualize it. Unfortunately we don't have a generic UnixWare (2.1.2) installation CD, just a Unisys-specific one, and given the recent unpleasantness (see Groklaw for details), SCO isn't much of an option. We're not looking at pirating it (as above, we do still have the Unisys-specific media), but do need a generic copy of UnixWare. What options, if any, are available?"
New submitter Shotgun writes "I heard on the radio that there were some issues with voting machines in Greensboro, NC (my hometown), and the story said the machines just needed "recalibration". Which made me ask, "WTF? Why does a machine for choosing between one of a few choices need 'calibration'?" This story seems to explain the issue."