PCWorld - The number of IT jobs being posted to online job boards is shrinking as CIOs institute hiring freezes, former financial services giants eviscerate their IT staffs, and a steady stream of technology companies announce layoffs.
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Tom Silver, the SVP and CMO of Dice.com, an online job board geared toward IT pros in their mid-20s to mid-40s, says that the number of IT jobs advertised on his site had been holding steady at between 85,000 and 90,000 jobs until the September-October time frame, when the number of ads for IT jobs dipped significantly. "We've seen a drop of roughly 20 percent versus where we were last year," he says. "We're now around 70,000 jobs on the site."
PCWorld - So you decided to take the smart-phone plunge in 2008 and pick up an iPhone 3G or a T-Mobile G1, based on Google's Android. That's great. But consider yourself warned: You might soon feel a bit of buyer's remorse. Why? Next year's crop of cell phones is right around the corner, and these shiny new models may have you wishing you had held out a little longer before signing a multiyear contract with a wireless carrier and snapping up a new handset.
What can you expect in 2009? You can look forward to smart phones that sport razor-sharp displays, lightning-fast processing speeds, and built-in videoconferencing capabilities, as well as phones with cameras that have the potential to put your point-and-shoot to shame.
I wouldn't bet my iPod that absolutely all of the phones in this slide show will be available in 2009. Most will, but some may never make it. I selected only the phones I think have the best chance of surfacing in the United States in 2009. Read on for a peek at what's on the way.
PCWorld - If you have from $13 to $80 to spend on your favorite tech geek, we've got ideas in the categories of fitness, music, travel, cool tools, unusual gift cards, and more. Let's go shopping. Tis the season to be jolly and to find interesting gifts for your tech-minded friends and family. I set myself a budget of up to $80 per gift (fortunately, only one product here costs that much; most are a lot less) and scoured the Internet to find fun uses for your precious dollars.
I came up with new ways to charge mobile devices, use digital photos, and cool and pamper a hot laptop; I also found gift cards with fun technologies built in, and much more.
Engadget - No, you're not looking at some high-precision, multimeter-laden kegerator; the above is a picture from a recent AMD event in which things apparently got a little out of hand. The company started by talking up its upcoming Dragon platform (Phenom II X4, Radeon 4800 graphics, and 7-series chipset), took a few moments to discuss how its new 45nm chips will use 30-50 percent less power than their predecessors, and then threw all notions of sensibility out the window in an attempt to see just how fast the darned things could go. A Phenom II X4 managed 4GHz with air-cooling, 4.4GHz with a refrigerated setup, and finally a "stable" 5GHz on liquid nitrogen. That's mighty fast, but will the chips be quick enough to tackle Intel's mighty Core i7 when stripped of their fancy-pants cooling appendages? We'll see when they ship early next year.
Engadget - Need another reason to live in America's other bastion of social liberalism and homelessness? How about a $1 billion electric vehicle re-charging infrastructure in the Bay Area? Palo Alto's Better Place is finally bringing its ambitious, city-wide electrical grid and battery exchange service home after staking plans to do the same in Israel, Denmark, and Australia. The plan just endorsed by the San Jose, Oakland, and San Francisco Mayors (without coughing up any money), is expected to result in 250,000 charging ports (for topping off charges), 200 battery-swap stations (for trips over 100 miles), and a driver service center by 2012 -- network planing and permitting will begin in 2009 with infrastructure deployment set to kickoff in 2010. Here's how it works, customers will receive a discounted price on electric vehicles when they subscribe to drive a certain number of miles -- Better Place will own the batteries. Besides clearing the way of government bureaucracy, the mayors have agreed to offer incentives for companies that install the plug-in stations. Now get this, Better Place expects to lure electric vehicles from the usual suspects like Toyota, Renault-Nissan, and GM in addition to, get this, Tesla Motors. Oh yes. Almost makes us want to hug an Upper Haight, teenage, poser hippie. Almost.
Engadget - Could you tell a few auto shows were going on in California? In case you've somehow overlooked it, a number of automakers are showing off some swank new in-car connectivity options, and Dodge is striving to elicit even more fluids from your saliva glands by showing off the Dodge EV. We initially heard about this mythical automobile back in September, and now the very Viper-inspired whip is wowing onlookers in LA. The all-electric plug-in boasts mid-mounted batteries, a 268-horsepower engine, a 150-mile range and a 0 to 60 time of under five seconds. Have a peek at what you'll be attempting to finance "as early as 2010" down in the read link.
PCWorld - Valuable mission data gathered by NASA's Apollo missions to the moon 40 years ago looks like it may be recovered thanks to a donation of an ancient IBM tape drive by a Sydney computer society.
The Apollo 11, 12, and 14 missions to the moon in the late 1960s and early 1970s gathered valuable data on moon dust for NASA, using 'dust detectors' that were invented by Perth physicist Brian O'Brien, according to ABC News in Australia.
This information on moon dust was apparently beamed back to earth and recorded onto 173 data tapes, stored at both NASA and Sydney University.
Dr O'Brien published preliminary findings on the data, but after a lack of interest from the scientific community, the tapes on moon dust were placed into storage in the 1970s.
PCWorld - Two industry watchers this week revised their estimates of worldwide semiconductor revenue this year, with one even predicting a year-over-year decline.
ISuppli Corp. Wednesday said it is projecting that 2008 semiconductor sales will decline by 2% to US$266.6 billion this year from about $272 billion in 2007. Just last month, iSuppli had predicted that 2008 semiconductor sales would grow by 3.5% over last year.
And Tuesday, the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics issued a report predicting that the global semiconductor market will grow by 2.5% and hit $261.9 billion in 2008. That's down from the 3.2% growth the trade association reported last year.
PCWorld - BlackBerry fans who've been yearning for a touch-based handset à la iPhone now have one, but the BlackBerry Storm--which Verizon Wireless plans to start selling Friday for $250 with a two-year contract--might not be the smart phone of their dreams.
The decision by Research in Motion to differentiate the Storm by giving its capacitive touch screen a mechanical component (the entire screen functions as a button for confirming selections or initiating actions) turns out to be more confusing than helpful. Ultimately, the Storm's touch interface feels like a failed experiment.
Techdirt - This probably won't come as a big surprise to most folks, but Sen. Byron Dorgan, has made it clear that he intends to reintroduce net neutrality legislation early next year. While the issue of net neutrality used to not be a partisan issue, somehow it became one a few years ago, with many Democrats lining up in favor of net neutrality regulations, and many Republicans against them. President-elect Obama's platform included network neutrality legislation, and with more Democrats being elected to both the House and Senate, it's no surprise that such a bill would quickly find its way to being introduced.
While we're strong supporters of keeping the internet's end-to-end principles intact, that doesn't necessarily mean legislation is the best way to do it. Once again, we'd urge anyone supporting the legislation to at least carefully read Tim Lee's paper on the subject. Yes, it's important to keep the internet working under these principles, and yes many internet providers would like to start double charging some providers for traffic, but this particular piece of legislation may not be the best answer -- and could, in fact, create more problems.