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eBay Sales Patterns Show That the Maker Movement is Still Growing (Video)

Slashdot - Wed, 08/04/2015 - 10:55pm
Meet Aron Hsaio. He works for Terapeak, a company that tracks sales through online venues such as eBay and Amazon in order to help merchants decide what to sell -- and how. The five 'maker' categories Terapeak tracks (drones, robotics, Arduino, Raspberry Pi and 3D printing) outsold Star Trek-related merchandise by a huge amount, namely $33 million to $4.3 million, during a recent 90 day study period. Star Wars merchandise did better at $29.4 million, but still... And as another comparison, Aron says that all Apple laptops combined, new and used, sold $48.4 million, so the DIY hobbyist movement still has a ways to go before it catches up with Apple laptops -- but seems to be heading steadily in that direction. Drones are the hottest hobbyist thing going right now, Aron says, but all five of the hobbyist/tinkerer' categories Terapeak tracks are growing steadily at a rate of up to 70% year over year, with drones leading the way and robotics trailing (but still growing). It's good to see people taking an interest in making things for themselves. If you remember (or have heard of) the Homebrew Computer Club, you have an idea of what tinkerers and hobbyists can produce if given even a tiny bit of encouragement. And it's good to see that the DIY mindset is not only still alive, but growing -- even if it seems to be moving away from traditional hobby tinkering (cars; radios) toward concepts (drones; robotics) that weren't considered mass market 'homebrew' possibilities even a few years ago.

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The Key To Interviewing At Google

Slashdot - Wed, 08/04/2015 - 10:30pm
Nerval's Lobster writes Wired has an excerpt from a new book of Google-centric workplace advice, written by Laszlo Bock, the search-engine giant's head of "People Operations" (re: Human Resources). In an interesting twist, Bock kicks off the excerpt by describing the brainteaser questions that Google is famous for tossing at job candidates as "useless," before suggesting that some hiring managers at the company might still use them. ("Sorry about that," he offered.) Rather than ask candidates to calculate the number of golf balls that can fit inside a 747 (or why manhole covers are round), Google now runs its candidates through a battery of work-sample tests and structured interviews, which its own research and data-crunching suggest is best at finding the most successful candidates. Google also relies on a tool (known as qDroid), which automates some of the process—the interviewer can simply input which job the candidate is interviewing for, and receive a guide with optimized interview questions. It was only a matter of time before people got sick of questions like, "Why are manhole covers round?"

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Netflix fail proves copper NBN leaves Australia utterly 4Ked

El Reg - Wed, 08/04/2015 - 10:14pm
The rest of the world is accelerating, while we hesitate and are lost

I ran into my friend Tom the other day. He’s worked at the intersection of media and technology pretty much from the beginning. When there’s a launch of a new media tech that promises to change the world, Tom’s always in the front row, taking notes.…

Phone App That Watches Your Driving Habits Leads To Privacy Concerns

Slashdot - Wed, 08/04/2015 - 10:10pm
Toshito writes Desjardins Insurance has launched a smartphone app that tracks driver behaviour in return for the promise of substantial savings on car insurance. Two years ago, Desjardins began offering a telematic device that plugs into a vehicle's diagnostic port, to track acceleration, hard braking and the time of day you were driving, for instance. Now, there's no plug-in device required. With Desjardins's new Ajusto app, all you need is your smartphone. But this comes with great concerns over privacy, and problems have been reported where the device was logging data when the user was riding a bus instead of driving his own car.

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Microsoft goes cloud KERR-AZY, chops Windows Server to bits

El Reg - Wed, 08/04/2015 - 9:54pm
Hacked-down Nano Server goes great with Hyper-V containers, says Redmond

Updated  Microsoft has taken wraps off its latest tools for the modern data center, including a new application container tech for Windows and a micro-sized version of Windows Server that's tailored for cloud deployments.…

AT&T Call Centers Sold Mobile Customer Information To Criminals

Slashdot - Wed, 08/04/2015 - 9:27pm
itwbennett writes Employees at three call centers in Mexico, Colombia and the Philippines sold hundreds of thousands of AT&T customer records, including names and Social Security numbers, to criminals who attempted to use the customer information to unlock stolen mobile phones, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission said. AT&T has agreed to pay a $25 million civil penalty, which is the largest related to a data breach and customer privacy in the FCC's history.

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In the time it takes you to watch <i>The Hangover</i>, AT&amp;T will pay a $25m fine for privacy scandal

El Reg - Wed, 08/04/2015 - 9:26pm
How much are your personal records worth? About $89

AT&T will pay a $25m fine after crooked staff leaked subscribers' personal records to criminals flogging stolen cellphones.…

Organic Molecules Found Circling Nearby Star

Slashdot - Wed, 08/04/2015 - 8:44pm
sciencehabit writes Astronomers have detected chemical precursors of building blocks of life in the large disk of dust and gas whirling around a young nearby star. These complex organic molecules, two forms of cyanide and one chemically related compound, likely formed after the protoplanetary disk collapsed, the researchers say. The same chemicals are found in roughly similar proportions in comets circling our sun, which may have brought them to Earth billions of years ago. "We know that the solar system isn't unique in its number of planets or abundance of water," says Karin Öberg, an astrochemist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "Now we know that we're not unique in organic chemistry. From a life in the universe point of view, this is great news."

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Using Office 365 at work? It's dangerous to go alone! Take this...

El Reg - Wed, 08/04/2015 - 8:37pm
Microsoft touts new weapon to fend off Exchange email exploiters

Microsoft is adding some security tools, dubbed Advanced Threat Protection, to Office 365 for its business and government subscribers.…

Patent Case Could Shift Power Balance In Tech Industry

Slashdot - Wed, 08/04/2015 - 8:02pm
An anonymous reader writes A lawsuit between Apple and Google could drastically change the power balance between patent holders and device makers. "The dispute centers on so-called standard-essential patents, which cover technology that is included in industry-wide technology standards. Since others have to use the technology if they want their own products to meet an industry standard, the companies that submit their patents for approval by standards bodies are required to license them out on 'reasonable and non-discriminatory',(paywalled) or RAND, terms." If Apple wins, the understanding of what fees are RAND may decrease by at least an order of magnitude.

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