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Barbie’s: I Can Be a Computer Engineer’ book, which was released in 2013, has been slammed for being one of the most sexist and demoralizing representations of how women can excel in computer science.

Novelist and screenwriter Pamela Ribbon, reviewed the content of the book, found the book at a friend’s house and was dismayed to see how out of touch the content was from reality.

In the book, which is ostensibly aimed at young girls with the goal of interesting them in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) careers, Barbie wants to be a computer engineer, but requires the help of two male friends to solve her computer problems.

Barbie, who is working on a game idea to teach girls about computers using puppies, tells her sister Skipper in the book that she is only creating the design ideas because she’ll need Steven’s and Brian’s help to “turn it into a real game!”

Barbie, who is working on a game idea to teach girls about computers using puppies, tells her sister Skipper in the book that she is only creating the design ideas because she’ll need Steven’s and Brian’s help to “turn it into a real game!”

The plot thickens when a virus infects Barbie’s computer, Barbie’s female computer science teacher instructs her how to backup and repair an infected computer (a good skill), but to actually get that done she needs Steven and Brian’s help.

The book, published by Random House, received withering comments online as female programmers, engineers and pop stars, who freelance as InfoSec experts, all chimed in with their criticism and “suggestions” to fix the text of the book

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Facebook shuttle bus drivers voted Wednesday to unionize hoping for better pay and working conditions, a move that experts say could lead other service workers in Silicon Valley to unionize.Drivers with Facebook’s shuttle bus contractor, Loop Transportation, voted 43-28 to join the Teamsters Local 853. Facebook drivers have complained for months about how their $18-an-hour wage and split shifts make surviving in one of the nation’s most expensive regions a daily struggle.

Many drivers say they have to sleep in their cars or at Loop’s shuttle yard in the hours between bringing Facebook employees to work each morning and then picking them up in the afternoon.

That the average Facebook software engineer makes almost $120,000 year, according to Glassdoor.com

San Jose State University sociology professor Scott Myers-Lipton said he thinks the joining of a union by the 84 full- and part-time drivers could signal to other lower-wage workers that union representation may be a way to narrow the income gap in the Valley.

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New York City’s Franchise and Concession Review Committee (FCRC) has finalized its proposal for ad-subsidized Wi-Fi terminals, which it hopes to blanket the city with”LinkNYC”. These “phone booths of the future” is expected to replace the city’s aging payphone network.

The terminals themselves are pretty impressive.  They offer:

  • Free phone calls to anywhere in the U.S.
  • Easy access to 311/911
  • An embedded touchscreen tablet with information on the city, sites, and directions (powered by Google Inc.’s (GOOG) Android OS)
  • Wireless device charging stations (free chargin)
  • Gigabit Wi-Fi internet (free)
  • Link NYC

The city also boasts that the terminals will create a number of construction jobs. Construction could begin as early as 2015, if voters approve of the plan at a public hearing that will be held shortly.  If approved, the first terminals would be active by the end of 2015.

LinkNYC artist render (1 of 4)

In the longer run, New York City hopes to cover the five burroughs with a whopping 10,000 of the stations.  That would help it meet is revenue goals ad-wise, and would create 750 long term jobs (650 in support/maintenance, 100-150 in advertising and manufacturing).

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New York City has partnered with Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM), Control Group (an NYC startup), Titan360 (a digital advertising agency), and JMC Capital Partners subsidiary Comark Corp.  Together Qualcomm, the Control Group, and Comark will look to engineer and manufacture the terminals, while Titan360 will work to get the ball roling on the ad sales side.

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The project could become a billion dollar a huge waste for the city, if it is not very carefully managed.

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Facebook At Work Coming Soon

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Facebook is reportedly working on a new version to make your working hours more productive.The new service called “Facebook at Work” will allow employees to have work-friendly chats, connect with business partners, document collaboration and increase storage facilities.The enterprise-friendly version of its service will also take on LinkedIn that currently has 90 mn active monthly users.It is not known exactly when the professional site will launch, but it will be free initially.

Facebook employees use Facebook for everything: they use it instead of email, as their group chat room, to collaborate on documents, to IM, to share news. Sources close to the company tell us a few other companies are in a pilot mode, testing a version of Facebook at their companies that mimics how Facebook employees uses it internally.For example, if someone at Facebook notices something on campus that needs to be fixed, they post a photo of the broken thing to the facilities management group.

In fact, through such photos, the maintenance crew noticed that employees were always cutting across a certain section of grass. So they put a brick path in.The key to a Facebook At Work service will be how much Facebook lets people separate their  work identities from their personal Facebook selves.

 

 

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VUE

Sony has announced via press release, a cloud-based television streaming service, PlayStation Vue, for PlayStation consoles and other devices. PlayStation Vue will launch with a package of 75 channels per market, which includes local broadcast networks and cable channels. On-demand content will also be made available, with the previous three days of programming available at all times and allow viewers to save episodes of shows to the cloud for up to 28 days.

Sony has made deals to secure content from networks like CBS, MTV, Comedy Central, Fox, NBC as well as their subsidiaries. Currently, there no deals with ABC or Disney.

The list includes

  • CBS – At launch, PlayStation®Vue will offer the live linear signal from CBS Television Network’s owned-and-operated TV stations in select leading markets in addition to on-demand prime-time programming. 
  • Discovery Communications – Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery, Science, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Family Channel and 11 more brands. 
  • Fox – Fox Networks Group’s portfolio of national entertainment programming services, including – FX, FXX, FXM, National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD. Additionally FOX Sports’ national and regional programming services – FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2, BTN, Fox’s regional sports networks, including YES Network and Prime Ticket. The agreement also covers Fox’s owned and operated television stations.  
  • NBCUniversal – All local offerings from NBC, Telemundo and regional sports networks as well as Bravo, CNBC, E!, NBCSN, Oxygen, Sprout, Syfy, USA Network and more. 
  • Scripps Networks Interactive – HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, DIY Network and Cooking Channel. 
  • Viacom – BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, PALLADIA, Spike, VH1 and more. 
  • The PlayStation Vue service will launch for PS4 and PS3 console users in an invite-only beta this month first in New York, then Chicago and then Philadelphia and Los Angeles. In order to qualify for an invite, users need to be subscribed to PlayStation Plus. The service will also become available on iPad shortly after and then later on Sony and non-Sony devices.

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Officials in McAllen, Texas transformed their local Walmart it into the largest single-floor public library in America

According to a report from research firm PSFK, a Minneapolis design group handled the creation of McAllen Public Library, which is in 124,500-square feet of space in McAllen, Texas making the new library the largest single-story location in the U.S. The library won the International Interior Design Association’s 2012 Library Interior Design Competition, according to weburbanist.com.

The library has separate areas for teens, six computer labs for teens, 16 meeting spaces, 14 study rooms, 64 computer labs for the general public, 10 computer labs for children, an auditorium, art gallery, used bookstore and a café.

PSFK reported that the new library had a 23 percent spike in new members in the first month it was open.

After stripping out the old walls and ceiling, the developers opted for a very modern feel for the space.The library now boasts 16 public meeting spaces, 14 public study rooms, 64 computer labs, 10 children's computer labs, and 2 genealogy computer labs.Of course there is also a cafe, a used book store, an auditorium, and self check-out stations.The library now boasts 16 public meeting spaces, 14 public study rooms, 64 computer labs, 10 children's computer labs, and 2 genealogy computer labs.Even the grounds look amazing. This has to be the coolest public library ever.

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