The Rise of the Robot Journalists

Posted In AI
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In mid-2014, Elon University and the Pew Internet Project released a survey of tech experts, who suggested pretty much en masse that robots will eventually take over many of the jobs currently performed by human beings, including factory work and many driving tasks. You can add “journalism” to that list, with some caveats. The Associated Press now relies on automated software from Automated Insights to generate thousands of articles per quarter, all of them focused on companies’ quarterly earnings reports.… continue…

Can Big Data Pick a Winning Startup?

Posted In Data
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Can you predict whether a startup will collapse or succeed? Wall Street and Silicon Valley would certainly like to think so. According to Wired, a handful of independent entrepreneurs and big companies are using data analytics to better forecast whether that hot startup will become the next Uber, or merely the next Pets.com. Click here for analytics jobs. Thomas Thurston, who runs a research firm called Growth Science, told the magazine that his algorithmic simulations accurately predict 88 percent of… continue…

Bill Gates Talks Regrets, Current Microsoft Project

Posted In Fun
Bill Gates
Earlier this week, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates took to Reddit for his third Ask Me Anything (AMA) with the site’s readers. As befitting one of the world’s most prominent philanthropists, he offered a hopeful vision of humanity’s future, while hinting at some projects he’s currently developing for Microsoft, where he still serves as an advisor. For Microsoft Windows-related jobs, click here. “There will be more progress in the next 30 years than ever,” he told the audience. “Even in the… continue…

Amazon WorkMail Seeks Business Email Crown

Posted In Working in Tech
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As if it didn’t have enough going on already, Amazon has decided to plunge into the corporate-email game. Amazon’s cloud-based WorkMail boasts all the features that corporate email users expect, including public folders, distribution lists, calendar sharing, Out-of-Office messages, and more; it works with Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and other popular browsers. Inboxes can store up to 50GB of messages and attachments, while individual messages can total up to 30MB. The platform costs $4 per month per seat, or $6 if… continue…

Should Employers Use Hackathons to Find Tech Pros?

Posted In Job Hunting
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Pop quiz: What’s the best way for employers to find suitable tech pros? A.) Post a job, sort through resumes, and interview candidates. B.) Host a hackathon, and interview those individuals who do well at it. Staffup Weekend is a startup (“it might evolve into a nonprofit, a shareholder corporation, or even a benefit corporation,” its website helpfully offers) devoted to a variation on Option B. It works like this: An employer presents a small project, which candidates tackle in… continue…

In the Mobile App Market, Few Get Mega-Rich

Posted In Mobile Development
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Apple paid out $10 billion to third-party developers last year, industry analyst Horace Dediu wrote in a much-circulated blog posting this month. Combined with Apple’s cut of developer revenues, that’s more than Hollywood earned from the U.S. box office in 2014 (according to Dediu). Whatever the comparison, it’s clear that the app market is huge, and rapidly growing as the years pass. But as Charles Perry pointed out on the corporate blog of app-builder Metakite Software, those developer revenues aren’t… continue…

Next Up for Oculus Rift: Movies

Posted In Fun
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For years, developers and early adopters have talked at length about Oculus Rift’s ability to immerse users in virtual-world games and even business applications. Now Oculus VR, the Facebook subsidiary that builds the Oculus Rift headset, is working on yet another angle: VR movies. The idea certainly makes sense, especially as virtual worlds become more realistic. The new Oculus Story Studio has already produced a five-minute film, “Lost,” directed by Pixar veteran Saschka Unseld. Story Studio must not only demonstrate… continue…

What Makes a Great Software Developer?

Posted In Working in Tech
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What does it take to become a great—or even just a good—software developer? According to developer Michael O. Church’s posting on Quora (later posted on LifeHacker), developers who want to compete in a highly competitive industry should be unafraid to learn on the job; manage their careers aggressively; recognize under- and over-performance (and avoid both); know the politics of software development (which he refers to as “CS666”); avoid fighting other people’s battles; and physically exercise as often as possible. Click… continue…

Stanford Will Teach You Apple’s Swift for Free

Posted In Programming
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Interested in building iOS apps with Apple’s new(ish) Swift programming language? Want to learn Swift for free? Stanford University’s School of Engineering now offers a set of lectures (available on iTunes) on Swift, covering everything from user-interface design and animation to networking and performance considerations. But this isn’t a beginners’ series: Prerequisites include C language and object-oriented programming experience “exceeding Programming Abstractions level” as well as “completion of Programming Paradigms.” (Fortunately, Programming Abstractions and Programming Paradigms are likewise available from… continue…

IBM Layoff Rumors Fly Fast and Furious

Posted In Job Hunting
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Rumors are flying fast and furious that IBM will lay off more than 100,000 workers sometime in the next few weeks. But news sources are reporting that the cuts will more likely be on the level of 10,000 jobs. The original report of mega-layoffs came from Robert X. Cringely, a self-described “Silicon Valley iconoclast,” who wrote in Forbes about an IBM reorganization codenamed Project Chrome. In Cringely’s telling, Project Chrome will result in the layoffs of 26 percent of IBM’s… continue…