May 21

Verizon FiOS Goes Global With International TV Packages and 300 Minutes of International Calling at No Additional Cost

VZBRN-26005-040H-v5Get the international shows you want and connect with friends and family around the world with Verizon FiOS. As a part of a triple-play package, Verizon offers to its online customers a bundle of their favorite global TV programming, plus 300 minutes of international calling per month from their home to landline and wireless phones in more than 100 countries worldwide at no additional cost.

“Our individual cultures helped shape who we are, and for many of us staying connected to that culture is as important as keeping in touch with friends and family,” said Arturo Picicci, director of consumer marketing for Verizon. “These new options offer more choice and flexibility, while meeting the needs of our customers with free International calling and International TV programming.”

 And there are more perks, if you sign up for a two-year term agreement for a new FiOS triple-play bundle –Internet, TV(including Custom TV, Extreme HD and other bundles) and phone service—you will have the choice of a $300 Visa gift card; or 24 months of the Spanish Language TV Package; or both the World Plan 300 International calling plan for 12 months and one of the TV programming packages listed below, free of charge for 6 to 12 months, depending on the package selected:

* Spanish Language Package — 70-plus popular Spanish channels including WAPA America, Television Dominicana and BeIN Sports en español for 12 months.

* Portuguese Language Channels — RTPi and SIC International TV channels for 12 months.

* Italian Language Channels — RAI Italia and Mediaset TV channels for 12 months.

* Chinese Language Channels — Either the Mandarin TV package for 12 months or the Cantonese TVB package for six months.

* Hindi or Punjabi Language Channels — Either the Hindi TV package for six months or the Punjabi TV package for 12 months.

Subscribe to Verizon Fios triple-play package now and before June 8 and receive  a free DVR service for one year, in addition to international content and calling.

For more information see Verizon.com/international or by phone at 1.888.253.7604. For information in Spanish visit verizon.com/tumundo or call 1.800.503.5062

May 21

Deldelp Medina and Avion Ventures Look to Launch Latinas’ Technology Dreams and Change Silicon Valley By Robert Schoon, Latin Post

deldelp-medinaWhen Deldelp Medina talks about Silicon Valley, it’s like she’s talking about the neighborhood kids she grew up with. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Medina shares some of Silicon Valley’s quirks, appreciates its strengths, but also isn’t afraid to call it out on its failures, since she became acquainted with the center of the technology universe — before anyone knew it would become that.

Medina says it’s time for Silicon Valley to evolve beyond its origins to embrace a larger pool of talent, not only to better reflect the makeup of the country but also to make better products that cater to more diverse markets.

 

 
And she’s created a business, startup accelerator Avion Ventures, to help make that happen for Latinas, and for Silicon Valley as a whole.

 

“I was always that kid that really liked computers,” Medina said in an interview with Latin Post. “I was the only girl in my after school computer club, and I bought my first computer at the age of 15 or 16 for $600. … All my friends thought I was nuts because for that kind of money, you could’ve bought a used car then.”  

Medina grew up with an interest in technology at the right place and time. Right after high school in the early 90s, she worked at a bulletin board service company. This was pre-Internet: “You had to dial in,” she explained. “I learned HTML 1 two years later.”

At the time, Medina said, no one thought her nerdy interests were a career path, much less the nascent phases of a multibillion dollar industry, so Medina spent her time hacking, creating and playing — no doubt at the same time some of the future titans of technology were doing the same.

“This idea that this would become an industry in which people would become multimillionaires; that this would somehow change the world. … That was not the conversation we were having back then,” she explained. “Back then, we were just nerds, nerding out.”

Of course, that’s what happened, and the nerds — most of them white males — ended up at the helm of an extremely important piece of the 21st century American dream.

While so much has changed about the industry that grew up at the same time as Medina, the culture hasn’t. It’s still like the after-school computer club made up of nearly all boys.

As Silicon Valley blew up, so did the technology job market, explained Medina.

“But guess what? The numbers haven’t gotten better,” said Medina. “Opportunities definitely haven’t gotten better for people. … The barrier for entry has gotten higher. … If you don’t go to one of the top four schools, a lot of places won’t even look at you.”

The computer club, while becoming more powerful, has only become more insular. “I go into a room of tech CEOs, and I will often be the only woman, the only person of color, the only multilingual person. … And that’s just not a healthy ecosystem to continue.”

But Medina believes it won’t continue to be the case — not if she and her Latina-focused startup accelerator Avion Ventures have a say in it.

Medina built Avion Ventures, a startup accelerator built for Latina entrepreneurs.

Much like any other startup accelerator, Avion provides the resources, mentoring, business training and support to help entrepreneurs tune up their startups and find the right market for their products. The program, like other accelerators, culminates in a demo day in front of investors.

But Avion Ventures isn’t just any startup accelerator. It was designed with Latinas in mind, using feedback from prospective clients from the earliest stages of its development to address their specific needs.

One reason for Silicon Valley’s lack of diversity comes from the practical, structural barriers that face outsiders. As Dr. Angelica Perez-Litwin — a colleague of Medina’s whom we previously profiled for Marketplace – has mentioned before, the simple facts of scheduling and location precludes many Latinas from benefiting from startup programs.

Indeed, noted Medina, in planning Avion’s timetable, “Originally, I was thinking 90 days, at one place, at one time. … That’s the definition of an accelerator. Anything else is not considered an accelerator,” by startup accelerator industry groups.

Avion doesn’t follow the standard schedule. Early on, Medina said, “I started calling up all these Latinas that I knew were building products, and were looking for help, and I said to them, ‘First question: Will you come to San Francisco for 90 days?’”

No. That was the overwhelming response Medina got. “I interviewed almost 100 women! And they all said no. None of them would come, not one of them!” she laughed.

But she also found out that many could only do the program if it lasted two weeks. “Two weeks is all I can get off of work,” Medina recounted from one of her interviewees. “The reality is that I’m making this on my weekends and after work.”

Eight weeks in total, the program starts with two weeks of intensive in-person training, followed by five weeks online, ending with one last week in person, followed by demo day. 

Feedback from Latinas also affected the types of support Avion offers its clients: Because San Francisco has become prohibitively expensive, for example, during those two weeks on location, Avion provides housing and meals for its startup class. Payment for Avion’s program is based on its graduates’ success. Avion gets 3 percent of the resulting company.

One more recent aspect of training that’s been incorporated into Avion’s startup program is personal coaching — preparing Latina entrepreneurs to have a dauntless mindset.

“I think you have to have a certain type of personality to do this,” said Medina on her job and entrepreneurship in general. “You have to have a certain tenacity to do this work, a certain fortitude. It is my job to be told no all the time … because when you are trying to create something out of nothing and bring something new into this world, people sometimes don’t get what you’re trying to do.”

But whether it’s through startups, working in IT, marketing, or any other position, Medina wants to see more Latinas in Silicon Valley.

“I think there should be more of us in general working in these positions… at every level,” said Medina.

“It’s going to change because it has no choice but to change.”

Avion is calling for applicants to its second round of Latina startups. The deadline is June 19th.

“Marketplace” is a @LatinPost feature profile series about Latino entrepreneurs who have successfully turned their ideas into thriving enterprises. From unsung startups to prominent businesses, we spotlight the dynamic men and women who founded them.

Read More http://www.latinpost.com

May 19

LISTA Guest Blogger: Omar Duque The Next Steve Jobs is in High School; and She’s Latina

Omar-Duque-240x300Right now the founder of what will become the greatest American company of the 21st century is sitting in her high school physics class. She’s Latina.

Her parents immigrated to the United States and she’ll be the first in her family to go to college. She’s entrepreneurial; a natural problem solver, but she’ll face many challenges on her way to success. Our country’s future depends on her capacity to succeed and we should all be racing to see how we can help her along her way.

By 2050, one-third of the U.S. population will be Hispanic. Whether these estimated 430 million people will together represent a thriving and accomplished community depends on our ability to invest in today’s youth.

BUILDING THE NEXT GENERATION OF HISPANIC BUSINESS LEADERS

That’s why the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and The Center for Hispanic Entrepreneurship have launched ENTERpreneur, an innovative entrepreneurship program that seeks to activate the talent and natural entrepreneurial inclination of Hispanic youth to build the next generation of Hispanic leaders to ENTER the business community.

We understand that education and entrepreneurship create a path to prosperity, while directly building wealth in our communities. We want to inspire our youth to think creatively, go to college and contribute to our nation’s economy.

ENTERpreneur’s inaugural cohort of 11 students from Chicago’s Cristo Rey Jesuit High School spent six weeks learning about the fundamentals of business development while fostering their own leadership skills and learning from accomplished, local business leaders. ENTERpreneur students also visited college campuses and have all committed to attending college upon graduation.

As we continue to operate and expand the ENTERpreneur program to youth throughout the city of Chicago, we need your support. Our success depends on dedicated partners and mentors that can provide capital, resources and knowledge to highly motivated, young entrepreneurs.

Join us as we build the next generation of Hispanic business leaders.

To learn more about ENTERpreneur and about The Center for Hispanic Entrepreneurship visit:www.hispaniccenter.biz

Omar Duque is the President and CEO of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC), the leading Hispanic business, networking, advocacy and development organization in Illinois.Follow Omar Duque on Twitter @duque_omar

May 06

Wireless Spectrum Belongs to ALL of Us not Just Dish by Jose A. Marquez-Leon

money-640x512Since when is Dish Networks considered a small business, according to the them they are entitled to a 25% bidding discount. Shame on you Charlie Ergen.

It must be the political campaign season.  A lot of politicians are talking about income inequality and crony capitalism.

These issues are certainly important and deserve the attention of our policymakers.  But where is the outrage when a big corporation rips off $3.3 BILLION worth of taxpayer funds, while abusing a program designed to support minority entrepreneurs?

Recently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) held auctions to license more wireless spectrum to meet the ever-increasing demands of American consumers hooked on their smartphones, tablets, TVs and other appliances that are all linked together wirelessly.

DISH Network, a company worth $34 billion and run by non-minority billionaires, formed a joint bidding agreement with two smaller companies, Northstar Wireless and SNR Wireless, to win over 700 licenses in the FCC auction.

Working in coordination, the small companies leveraged the deep pockets of DISH and engaged in unscrupulous behavior throughout the auctions to force out competing small businesses that bid on the same licenses.  As a result, this partnership won more licenses than any other bidder.

But here’s the shocking part.  DISH has now asked the FCC for a 25% bidding discount because they claim that their partners are defined as “very small businesses” under the FCC’s rules, qualified for such a subsidy.

If the FCC agrees and awards these bidding credits, DISH would only pay $10 billion for all of their licenses, instead of paying the full $13.3 billion they bid in the market.  That’s $3.3 billion that could be going to the U.S. Treasury that will instead pad the pockets of DISH’s owners.

When Congress allowed the FCC to auction off spectrum, they created a program to ensure that small or minority-owned businesses have an opportunity to participate as well.  The “designated entities” program is designed to give minorities a chance to get a foot in the door to the most robust and growing sector of the economy – the information and communications industries.

“TechLatino” Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA) is committed to supporting Latinos who work in the information sciences, new media, telecommunications, and technology sectors.  We strongly support the FCC’s designated entities program as long as it is implemented properly.

But the result of this most recent auction turns the well-intentioned program on its head.

In a recent article called,How Loopholes Turned Dish Network Into a ‘Very Small Business’,” the New York Times explained that, “Through sleight of hand and aggressive use of partners and loopholes, Dish turned itself into that very small business, distorting reality and creating an unfair advantage.”

We are pleased that Senator John Thune (R-SD),, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, is looking into this abhorrent situation, and we hope the FCC will not let the unjust enrichment stand.

Overturning this unfair result is one step towards addressing income inequality and combating crony capitalism.  And that’s always a great campaign promise.

Follow me on Twitter @lista1 

May 06

It’s Not Women Who are the Problem in Techlandia by Connie Guglielmo

She’s seen just about everything the industry can throw at a woman. That’s why she “couldn’t be more disappointed” by what’s going on in Silicon Valley and the technology industry today.

The former CEO of Autodesk and Yahoo, who’s served on the boards of Intel, Cisco Systems, BEA Systems and Network Appliance, earned her computer science degree in 1971, when women held few professional jobs in the United States. Only 9 percent of the country’s doctors and 4 percent of the nation’s lawyers and judges were women then. Women made up just 1 percent of all engineers in the US when Bartz graduated — and just 4 percent a decade later in 1981, according to the US Labor Department.

Well, you might say, women were just gearing up then. But by 2012, only 14 percent of engineers were women. Worse, almost 40 percent of women with engineering degrees either quit or don’t even enter the field, according to researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Why would educated, professional women exit an industry that has the highest starting salaries?

Some of those women say they’re bailing on tech companies because of the lack of family-friendly flexibility, lower salaries compared with their male colleagues and fewer opportunities for advancement. Still others blame the “bro-culture” at tech companies, referring to a kind of immature, frat-boy behavior.

“I got a computer science degree because I couldn’t have broken in back then if I didn’t have it,” says Bartz, who felt the barbs of sexual discrimination early in her career as the only woman professional among 300 men at 3Com.

 

carolbartz.jpg
Carol Bartz, former CEO of Autodesk and Yahoo, Bartz says women
need to work less, network more — and demand the credit they believe
they’re due. “You have to be your own best salesman.” Courtesy of Carol Bartz

But that was more than four decades ago.

“I had this fantasy that the young men growing up [after me] had more realistic views of their college friends and they would treat them better,” Bartz says, shaking her head. “But they’re just frat boys…I couldn’t be more disappointed.”

Things have to change. They can’t afford not to.

‘A red f*cking herring’

More diverse teams are more successful teams.

That’s a fact. Numerous studies show that teams with gender and race diversity get better results. A Lehman Brothers survey of 100 teams found that “gender balanced” teams were most likely to experiment, be creative, share knowledge and fulfill tasks, while a 2009 paper by Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques found that technical work teams with women were better at staying on schedule and had lower project costs.

McKinsey and Co., meanwhile, says diversity translates into dollars: companies that are more gender- and ethnically diverse perform better financially.

Yet women held just 14.3 percent of board seats at the top 100 tech companies by revenue in June 2013, according to a survey by executive recruitment firm Korn Ferry. Ten of those boards had no women directors in December of that year.

Entrepreneur and women’s advocate Rachel Sklar challenges tech companies to explain why.

“If you DON’T have diversity around your boardroom table, then what is wrong with you?” Sklar wrote in February on Medium. “What kind of ace business person identifies a major factor to improve the bottom line and then just ignores it?”

Many tech companies’ answer to that question: They can’t find enough qualified women with degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The thing is, as Sklar noted, that qualification isn’t a requirement for men.

John Chambers, a lawyer by training, is about to retire as head of networking gear maker Cisco Systems, a company so geeky its tech speak may make your eyes cross. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner got his degree in economics, as did Logan Green, co-founder and CEO of ride-sharing service Lyft. Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff studied business administration. Prominent tech investor Ron Conway, who was an early investor in Google and PayPal, earned his undergraduate degree in political science. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was a college dropout.

“It is a RED F*CKING HERRING to constantly blame Silicon Valley’s gender problem on a lack of female engineers,” Sklar wrote. “If Silicon Valley’s money people or fancy keynote founders or biz whizzes on the cover of Entrepreneur were all engineers crushing code 24/7, then fine. But that is not the case.”

Women make up more than half the US population, account for more than half of college graduates, and earn 40 percent of the MBAs awarded each year. Yet women comprise a much smaller percentage of the tech industry workforce, based on diversity reports released by more than 10 companies, from Apple to Google to Twitter.

At Apple, women hold just 20 percent of technical jobs, 35 percent of non-technical roles and 28 percent of leadership jobs. “We know we can do more,” CEO Tim Cook said after releasing the iPhone maker’s diversity data last year. At microblogging site Twitter, women account for 10 percent of the technical jobs, with just 21 percent in leadership positions. Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, said women fill just 29.1 percent of its workforce; only 16.6 percent in tech positions and 23 percent in leadership roles.

Those numbers don’t make the industry particularly friendly to women and reduce the number of high-profile executives who can serve as role models.

“The industry is still male dominated and it can be so aggressive and intimidating and almost feel like this club where you have to have a certain IQ or you’re not invited,” says Debbie Sterling, founder of GoldieBlox, which makes engineering toys and games for young girls. “Studies show that women don’t give themselves enough credit — they undervalue their ability and intellect while men overstate them. You can see why that culture can be off-putting for women.”

Why should tech companies care about attracting and retaining women? If the team diversity argument isn’t compelling enough, consider this: It costs companies $150,000 to $200,000 to replace just one employee in a technical role.

Perhaps that money could be used toward addressing the pay gap between men and women.

No meritocracy

Men in Silicon Valley earned up to 61 percent more than their female peers, according to data released by Joint Venture Silicon Valley in February.

That pay gap is bigger in Silicon Valley than in San Francisco or anywhere else in the country. Part of the explanation may be because there are more men engineers in those high-wage jobs. But that doesn’t explain the low number of women in tech companies’ non-tech, business roles.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella became the poster child for the issue last year when he said women should rely on “karma” instead of asking for raises and promoting themselves.

“That made me so mad,” says Catherine Courage, senior vice president of customer experience at Citrix Systems. “The last thing that drove my career is karma. It was defining my fate and not sitting around. I don’t believe in my heart of hearts that he would have given that advice to any man.”

Nadella, who was roundly criticized for his comments (at a conference celebrating women in tech, ironically) has instituted training programs at Microsoft to help raise awareness about the unconscious bias that can hinder women’s careers.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich is taking a different approach. The CEO of the world’s largest chipmaker said in January that he’s tied 2015 manager’s compensation to achieving diversity goals. Salesforce’s Benioff in April started reviewing the salaries of his 16,000 employees to ensure men and women are paid equally. “When I’m done, there will be no gap,” Benioff said.

And Ellen Pao, interim CEO of Reddit, told the Wall Street Journal in April that the media site has banned pay negotiations during its recruitment process. “Men negotiate harder than women do and sometimes women get penalized when they do negotiate,” said Pao after losing her high-profile gender discrimination suit against former employer, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

“We come up with an offer that we think is fair,” Pao said. “If you want more equity, we’ll let you swap a little bit of your cash salary for equity, but we aren’t going to reward people who are better negotiators with more compensation.”

Group think

Researchers have tried to determine if biological or neurological reasons explain why more girls and women don’t study STEM subjects. They haven’t found anything to prove girls are less interested in math and science than boys. What they have found is that parents often stop young girls from pursuing interests that society still considers too masculine.

“We know girls are discouraged early on,” says Caryl Rivers, co-author of “The New Soft War on Women: How the Myth of Female Ascendance is Hurting Women, Men — and Our Economy.” “As early as elementary school, girls and boys like math equally until the fourth and fifth grade. Then girls’ interests start taking a nosedive.”

 

Mari Benitez/CNET

Evidence includes research published by Psychological Science in 2001 showing parents were three times more likely to explain a museum’s science exhibit to their sons than to their daughters.

A 2002 study reported that parents believe their infant daughters are less bright, competent and skilled at math and spatial intelligence than their infant sons — even though girls, in general, perform better in school.

And The New York Times noted in January that parents are more than twice as likely to search “Is my son gifted?” in Google than “Is my daughter gifted?” — despite the fact that in the US, “girls are 11 percent more likely than boys to be in gifted programs.” What are parents more likely to search about their daughters? That would be, “Is my daughter overweight?” or “Is my daughter ugly?”

That bias continues through college. Biology, chemistry and physics professors at US universities consider female undergraduates less competent than male students with the same skills and accomplishments — and were less willing to mentor women or offer them research jobs, according to a 2012 report out of Yale University. Women who did get jobs were paid less.

Of puppet masters and finding a fix

What’s the tech industry supposed to do about all this?

Well for starters, adult supervision from VCs could put a much-needed end to frat boy behavior, says Janine Yancey, a labor attorney who served as Google’s outside counsel in the Internet company’s early days.

“Venture capital [firms] have an obligation to counsel and train their founders,” says Yancey, who now runs a startup that provides human resources and compliance training. “These companies are given millions and millions of dollars…and they’re allowed to make all sorts of really big, ridiculous decisions that impact society and impact their own careers.

“But venture capitalists pull the strings. They’re the puppet masters. Silicon Valley exists because of VCs. They’ve got the money to make it happen,” she adds. “With that power should come a huge responsibility.”

Aongus Hegarty, who is responsible for Dell’s business across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, has made diversity a personal crusade after finding just one woman on his 12-member leadership team when he took charge three years ago. Today there are five. His solution: get more men engaged in solving the problem.

“I put the whole issue of inclusion on our agenda as a standard item” at quarterly meetings, Hegarty says. “I [along with] members of our leadership team have to be more proactive.”

Bartz says women need to work less, network more — and demand the credit they believe they’re due. “You have to be your own best salesman.”

– CNET’s Lynn La contributed to this report.

This story is the first in Solving for XX, a CNET special report that looks beyond the tech industry’s toxic frat-boy culture and the tired debate about too few women earning STEM degrees. The CNET News team has spent the past few months investigating what people and companies are doing to effect real change — and the steps that still need to be taken. 

May 06

Big Data Professionals: Next Career Steps by Clara Piloto

Word Cloud "Big Data"As big data has evolved from buzzword to reliable business intelligence, from speculation to bedrock, professionals are finding themselves presented on a near daily basis with new concepts and tools to interpret data with which they have little to no experience. With exponentially expanding volumes of data and new applications, staying informed and ahead of the next headline is the “edge” many professionals need to succeed in the workplace.

Mobile technology, from smartphones to a slew of varying IoT applications, have filled the cracks in nearly every aspect of our personal and professional lives, resulting in larger data sets than ever before. It’s no surprise then that savvy companies are identifying a major opportunity in collecting and analyzing valuable data for insight into market trends, customer sentiment and more. The job of a data professional is resultantly evolving, and has become even more complex as new tools, methods and applications emerge.

Machine Learning

Machine learning methods, driving much of modern data analysis across engineering, sciences, and commercial applications, have seen tremendous growth of late. By constructing custom algorithms, data professionals are leveraging machine learning methods to interpret business data and make informed content recommendations, predict customer behavior, compliance, risk and more. New developments and advances in this methodology are continuously improving and changing the way data professionals analyze data.

While the machine learning method and others are immensely helpful, they require data professionals to be on the cutting edge of new advances and techniques in order to operate their functions fully– something many are turning to continuing education for.

Continuing education offers an incredible opportunity for professionals to stay on top of the latest advances in the industry while taking the next step in their careers. It gives professionals the chance to step outside of the demands of their daily routine, learn from leading minds in the industry and take back new and useful applications to establish in the workplace.

Here at MIT Professional Education, we see great value in offering technical professionals continuing education opportunities that are both accessible, and easily taken in conjunction with one’s busy work schedule. We’ve seen the greatest impact in offering data professionals industry-focused short classes (usually 1-5 days) during the summer through our Short Programs, in addition to a growing interest in global digital courses. During recent sessions of our first online course on big data, we reached record-high enrollment as the program drew over 7,000 professionals from over 3,000 organizations in 100 countries worldwide. After seeing such high enrollment numbers in our last three program offerings, we have no doubt continuing education will continue to play a significant role in empowering professionals to achieve their career goals and stay ahead of the pack.

It’s clear that the big data evolution has only begun to inform business intelligence, and is already having monumental impact. As corporations continue to amass data, the work of scientists, engineers and IT professionals will grow in importance. Our job is to identify and develop cutting edge learning experiences that will empower data professionals to fulfill their vital roles in the future of business.

Clara Piloto is director of global programs at MIT Professional Education.

May 05

Chairman Walton Addresses Chairman Wheeler

Greg_WaldenAt a House Communications Subcommittee, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler argued against special rules for his agency. Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) respectfully disagreed.

Walden said that the FCC cannot be run like “some venture capital firm.”

Here are Walden’s full remarks:

Good afternoon and welcome to the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology’s legislative hearing on three draft bills to improve transparency at the FCC.

Our subcommittee, often on a bipartisan basis, has worked to make the FCC a more transparent and accountable public body for many years and under various FCC chairmen. These bills, sponsored by my colleagues, continue those well-meaning efforts to make even powerful bureaucrats realize this is the public’s business that’s being conducted. The FCC is not some venture capital firm; the FCC is an independent agency that reports to Congress.

Commissioner O’Rielly, thank you for your well-reasoned and helpful testimony. I appreciate your insights, tone and suggestions. You seem to understand the proper role of the FCC and welcome the opportunity to improve how it functions so that it can better serve the public. I commend you for your views and your willingness to work with this committee. You have pointed out material problems at the FCC and offered constructive solutions. Thank you.

I wish I could say the same for your testimony Chairman Wheeler. If you really think that drafting, amending and adopting rules without giving the public an opportunity to see them before they are crammed down their throats is good process, then it’s no wonder the public has little faith in the agencies of government.

Under the current power structure at the FCC the Chairman has incredible authority—that none of the other commissioners has— because the Chairman alone controls access to FCC information, he or she can call in their own “validators” to get the inside track and become a well tuned chorus of support for their pet policies. “Friends of the Chairman” get special perks to weigh in and access information that the rest of the public doesn’t get to see, and that other commissioners can’t even discuss. Commissioner O’Rielly exposes this charade for what it is in his testimony. None of us on this committee would tolerate the insult to our First Amendment rights that the commissioners at the FCC must suffer at the hands of the Chairman.

Chairman Wheeler urges us to not make the FCC subject to its own special set of rules. This is a refrain I’ve heard from some of my colleagues who want to expand the Commission’s private discussions – a special rule that would only apply to the FCC – but oppose making the Commission’s actions more public.  If the Chairman would like to subject the FCC to the same rules as the other agencies of the Federal government, we can certainly make that happen.

Of course, that would mean the Chairman could no longer hand pick the agency’s inspector general or have the IG report to the Chairman. We’d have real independence in the IG’s office. And under the rules that other agencies follow we wouldn’t have this silly argument over producing cost-benefit analyses for rulemakings. The FCC would simply have to follow the law and produce them.    Trying to hide behind the skirt of the APA and pretend that the FCC is just another Federal agency insults this committee.

And I cannot help but respond to the nonsense that my colleagues’ legislation would somehow unduly burden the FCC by requiring it to link a document that already exists to its website. Such a requirement wasn’t considered a burden when the FCC forced broadcasters to scan their political files and make them available on the Internet. But now we’re supposed to believe that a similar requirement for an agency with 1,700 employees is a too much of a burden? Really?

The FCC loves to come up to Capitol Hill and tell us how they are special because they have a “public interest” mandate. That mandate is a double-edged sword, which means you are stuck with both the rights and the attendant obligations. I can’t for the life of me come up with a legitimate rationale for how it is in the public interest to operate in secret, specifically excluding the public from the rules you are considering.

My colleagues who wrote these measures and I are on the side of reforming the Washington bureaucracy. It is disappointing to see that you don’t share our commitment to better government, Chairman Wheeler. We believe the public deserves more access to the process. We believe the public is best served by an open, transparent and accountable government. And we will not stop in our cause and quest, even if that means taking on the entrenched and powerful. We have only just begun.


Read more at http://rbr.com/chairman-walton-addresses-chairman-wheeler/#ibviOVZUm5MXKo8C.99

May 05

Zuckerberg Expands Internet.org After Net Neutrality Uproar by ISSIE LAPOWSKY

zuckerberg-internet-orgMARK ZUCKERBERG SAYS he is no enemy of net neutrality, and to prove it, he’s making a few changes to Internet.org, a Facebook-led effort to bring internet services to the developing world.

In a Facebook post today, the Facebook founder announced that from now on, any developer can offer an app through Internet.org—as long as it meets certain guidelines.

The news comes just weeks after several Indian publishers accused Internet.org of running afoul of net neutrality, because the organization was working with mobile carriers to determine which websites qualify to be included on the central Internet.org app, which is available for free across the developing world. The publishers argued that by giving away free access to some websites and not all of them, Internet.org was creating an unequal internet.

At the time, Zuckerberg defended Internet.org’s approach. Now, however, it seems that the criticism may have struck a chord, inspiring him to tear down the walls that surround Internet.org.

“Today, we’re taking the next step with Internet.org by enabling anyone to build free basic internet services to help connect the world,” Zuckerberg wrote in his post. “We’ll make faster progress towards connecting everyone if we all work together and give people even greater choice of services.”

Part of the ‘Roadmap’

Now, according to an interview with Chris Daniels, Facebook’s vice president of product for Internet.org, developers can join Internet.org if they can adhere to certain guidelines. In addition to agreeing to some technical requirements, they must prove that their app inspires users to explore the internet beyond the basic free services, an obvious attempt to convert free users into paying users down the line. Developers must also create a simplified version of their app or service, so it will work in places with limited connectivity.

According to Daniels, this open structure was always part of Internet.org’s “long-term roadmap.” But, he says, the debate in India “certainly accelerated our plans.” Daniels says the backlash also gave the team perspective as to what people’s biggest issues with the platform were. “When we listened to the people spearheading the net neutrality debate, the primary things we heard were around consumer choice and making sure that any developer can join,” he said. “Today we have addressed those.”

4 Billion With No Voice

Of course, this isn’t a perfect response to net neutrality supporters who criticize Internet.org. It still creates a fundamentally different pricing structure among users. And it’s not likely to make mobile carriers very happy. After all, giving away more services for free will make it much harder to convert people to paying customers down the line.

But in a video explaining the change, Zuckerberg made it clear that when it comes to expanding internet access to those who have none, concessions like these must be made from all sides. Because, as he reminds us in the video, there are still far too many people in the world who don’t even have the basic tools to have this argument.

“We have to ask ourselves what kind of community do we want to be? Are we a community that values people and improving people’s lives above all else or are we a community that puts the intellectual purity of technology above people’s needs?” he asked. “As we’re having this debate, remember the people this affects most: the 4 billion unconnected have no voice on the internet. They can’t argue their side in the comments below or sign a petition for what they believe, so we decide our character and how we look out for them.”

May 05

A New Documentary Shows What Happens When There Aren’t Enough Women in Tech by Matt McCue

3045212-poster-p-1-code-documentary-director-interviewWhen film producer Robin Hauser Reynolds told her mother that she was making a documentary about the lack of female computer programmers, and her mother’s response was: Why does it matter who’s doing the coding, so long as the work gets done?

That’s an important question. Anyone who follows the tech press knows that women are underrepresented in computer science and technical jobs. As of the middle of last year, women held 18% or fewer of the tech positions at Pandora, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. And while some people find it self-evident that the tech industry should have a more equitable gender split, convincing the skeptics requires coming up with a good answer to Reynolds’ mother’s query.

Reynolds’ film, CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap, which is currently being screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, uncovers some pretty convincing ammunition.

To begin with, Reynolds zeros in the business case, highlighting instances where products intended to be unisex flopped because they were made by men, for men’s specifications. CODE recounts how early air bags failed to protect women because they didn’t take female anatomy into account, and how the first voice recognition software programs didn’t recognize female voices.

                          

In the film, Reynolds interviews Roz Ho, a VP at Ericsson, who used to be an executive at Microsoft. Hoz explains how, in the late 1990s, Microsoft spent $100,000 on market testing when it was adding a paperclip-shaped office assistant character to its Office products. The female test participants overwhelmingly felt that most of the assistant characters were too male, and 90% of the women panelists didn’t like the characters. When Hoz shared that sentiment with the dozen or so guys on the team, they collectively replied that they didn’t view it as a problem. “They were ready to throw away data because they could not see it for themselves,” says Hoz, who was the only female executive in those discussions.

You may remember how that ended: The products, which ended up shipping with 10 male characters and two female characters, were widely lampooned andparodied, most famously on Saturday Night Live.

The film also points out the ways that the male domination of programming can be a vicious cycle, driving away the few women who do make it in the front door. Reynolds interviewed web developer Julie Ann Horvath, the first female tech employee at GitHub, who left the company after two years due to sexism in the workplace.

“For the first five years of my career, I thought that this gender discrimination and the attitude toward women were just something I had to put up with because I was career oriented,” Horvath explains on camera. “Males tend to project their nerd girl fantasies onto any women that they can in this industry and it makes it hard for women to be seen as professionals. As soon as women get introduced into the environment, it’s like blood in the water.”

Within an hour of leaving GitHub in March 2014, people began anonymously posting crude comments online that attacked Horvath’s character. One person even sent her an anonymous Tweet saying they were going to rape her.

Reynolds, who previously directed Running for Jim, a 2013 documentary about a high school running coach battling Lou Gehrig’s disease, told Fortune that she decided to make CODE after learning that her daughter was one of just two women in her college computer science class.

The women she interviewed for the film just want a fair shot at success, says Reynolds. “There has to be a meritocracy, which a lot of women believe there isn’t in tech right now, especially in programming,” she says. “You have to make a woman feel she is not there to check off that status quo.”

The film does nod to companies that have worked to grow the number of women in their technology workforces. Etsy, for instance, has increased its female engineering staff from 3% of the department in 2011 to 31% in 2014.

GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving is an executive producer of the documentary. While the company is still struggling to ditch the sexist image earned by years of racy ads, Irving says he’s also focused on increasing the number of women who hold technical jobs at GoDaddy. According to Irving, 40% of the company’s 2015 programming interns are women, up from 14% last year.

Reynolds says she hopes CODE will to convince companies of the vital importance of creating a more gender-balanced tech workforce. That will require cutting through some old prejudices and stereotypes, which still exist at the highest levels of some tech companies, she says.

“In my first few informational interviews with company CEOs, I had three different men say to me, ‘This is about women in tech? I don’t really see it. I don’t think you have much to go on,’” says Reynolds.

Read More: http://fortune.com/2015/04/24/women-tech-documentary/

 

May 04

Chambers to Step Down as Cisco CEO, Replaced by Robbins.

John ChambersJohn Chambers’ 20-year tenure will end in July, and Chuck Robbins will take over a company at the center of rapid changes occurring in the data center.

John Chambers, who in his two decades as CEO of Cisco Systems has seen the company become the dominant player in a fast-changing network infrastructure space, will step down from his position in July and will be replaced by Chuck Robbins, currently senior vice president of worldwide operations at the company.

Cisco’s board of directors made the announcement May 4, saying Chambers, who took over as CEO in 1995, will resign from the post July 26, though he will become executive chairman and continue to serve as chairman of the board. Robbins joined the board May 1.

Chambers will leave a company he joined in 1991 before assuming the CEO duties four years later. During his tenure, Chambers has overseen an annual growth of Cisco revenues from $1.2 billion to about $48 billion.

The change in leadership, which has been talked about for several years, comes at a time of transition for both Cisco and the data center world it plays in. The company, which has made billions of dollars over the years selling expensive and complex data center systems such as switches and routers, is now having to contend with new technologies like software-defined networking (SDN) and network-functions virtualization (NFV), which some analysts say threaten the company’s financial bottom line.

Those technologies—which essentially remove the network control plane and move networking tasks such as load balancing, routing and firewalls into software—also have given life to original design manufacturers and the commodity white-box systems they make. It’s a challenge that Chambers has dismissed, famously saying in February that the company’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) initiative is dominating the SDN market and that bare-metal switches pose no threat.
“We are pulling away from our competitors and leading in both the SDN thought leadership and customer implementations,” he said. “The market has recognized the benefit of ACI as compared to PowerPoint concepts of aspirational competitors. … We are converging networking, applications [and] security with scale for our ACI platform, and we are doing it with the speed and the scale that no one else is coming close to it. We are seeing no unusual competition in the market, no unusual competition with white-label or white-box [vendors], nor will we in the future.”The change in CEOs also comes as Cisco is looking to grow beyond its networking roots to become an enterprise IT solutions and services provider, offering everything from the Unified Computing System (UCS) converged infrastructure solution to a broad data and network security portfolio. However, Chambers and other company executives have said that the network will be the foundation of the modern data center, and that Cisco’s expertise in that area gives it an advantage.

robbinsIn regard to Robbins—who joined Cisco in 1997—Chambers gave a nod to the rapid change happening in the industry and said that the company has “selected a very strong leader at a time when Cisco is in a very strong position. Today’s pace of change is exponential. Every company, city and country is becoming digital, navigating disruptive markets, and Cisco’s role in the digital transformation has never been more important. Our next CEO needs to thrive in a highly dynamic environment, to be capable of accelerating what is working very well for Cisco, and disrupting what needs to change. Chuck is unique in his ability to translate vision and strategy into world-class execution, bringing together teams and ecosystems to drive results.”

For his part, Robbins said he “joined Cisco 17 years ago because I wanted to be a part of a company where I believed the possibilities were limitless. Today, I am even more convinced that Cisco is that company. Over the past 20 years, John Chambers’ vision and leadership have built Cisco into one of the most important companies in the world; a company fiercely committed to delivering for its customers, shareholders, partners, and employees. The opportunity that lies ahead for Cisco is enormous, and the ability to lead this next chapter is deeply humbling and incredibly exhilarating.”

Despite Cisco’s dominance in the networking space—where is owns about 60 percent market share—and its growing data center business, there are challenges for the company. A growing group of top-tier vendors—such as Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Juniper Networks, Huawei Technologies and Avaya—continue to chip away at Cisco’s lead. At the same time, new competitors are emerging in such areas as SDN and NFV, including VMware, with its NSX SDN platform.Network virtualization also has given rise to a host of smaller vendors, such as Big Switch Networks, that are gaining traction in the networking space, and driving rivals like Dell, HP and Juniper to adopt a strategy around what Gartner analysts call “brite boxes”—branded networking gear that can run third-party operating systems and software.

And while Chambers may swat aside ideas that white-box makers represent a threat to his company, industry analysts are finding that ODMs are making inroads into all segments of the market, from servers and storage to networking. Infonetics Research analysts in March found that bare-metal switches—hardware that is not locked into a specific operating system or other software—accounted for 11 percent of the data center ports shipped last year, and that number will grow to almost 25 percent by 2019.

“Up till now, bare-metal switching has been attractive mainly to the large cloud service providers (CSPs) like Google and Amazon, who provide their own switch software integrated into data center orchestration and management platforms,” Cliff Grossner, research director for data center, cloud and SDN at Infonetics, said in a statement.”But with vendors such as Dell and HP jumping into the mix with branded bare-metal switches, adoption of bare-metal switching is going to accelerate as tier 2 CSPs and large enterprises endeavor to achieve the nimbleness demonstrated by Google.”

Still, Chambers is confident in Cisco’s direction. In February, he noted that during the last three months of 2014, sales of Cisco network switches grew 11 percent over the same period a year earlier. More specifically, revenues for its Nexus 3000 and Nexus 9000 switches—the foundation for ACI—increased 350 percent, while the number of customers for the Nexus 9000 switches and ACI jumped from 580 earlier last year to 1,700 in the final months of 2014. Cisco has shipped more than 1 million Nexus 9000 installed ports, and the number of customers of the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) grew past 300 since the technology was released in July 2014.
“The market has recognized the benefit of ACI as compared to PowerPoint concepts of aspirational competitors,” Chambers said at the time. “ACI and APIC will become the cornerstone of the next generation of networking architectures for many years, much like the UCS has become in the data center.” 
Read More: http://www.eweek.com/networking/chambers-to-step-down-as-cisco-ceo-replaced-by-robbins.html

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