Category Archives: computer industry

New Java 1.7 vulnerability

I found this in my email:

I will disable Java plugin in all browsers on my machines at work on Monday. is taking this seriously:

This could be used against Linux, Mac or Android, not just Windows, if anyone cared to try. They would not have access to root without further exploits, although popping up a window that looks like your Updater, or Microsoft’s, would catch some inexperienced Linux users.

Federal layoff-ment

In the last couple of weeks, I have heard from three people facing layoffs in the federal government. Two are employees. One is in a department that is going to lay off about 8 of 25 workers in the new fiscal year, because their budget went down that much. The second is in a smaller department with fewer layoffs. Apparently there are people calling from other departments because they are in the same boat, looking for a new department. None have official notice yet, as far as I know, but I expect that will arrive at the end of March.

Granted, the larger department might have lost some positions even if the new budget was not cutting jobs, but the message is clear: lots of departments are losing payroll next year.

My other caller was a contractor with a contract renewal at the end of February, expecting to renew until June or July, but the contract is “slow” coming back. Given the employee news, are the contractors likely to be renewed? Some would say yes, but I am not optimistic. I think the contractors will be hitting the streets real soon now, looking for private sector work.

The employees apparently have contracts that allow them some period of months looking for a job in another department before their pay ends. Some of these people will not look to the private sector for some time, so the flood of former government employees may not hit for months, may in fact be a trickle over a year or more. Yeah, that would be great!

Good luck to all those affected, including you and me.

Numeric-only date output? Fail!

Yesterday, I donated blood again.

They have been asking you questions on the computer for the last year or so.
Example: “Have you eaten any pogo sticks in the last 30 days (since 09/01/2012)?”
The accompanying voice asks without telling you what the date was a month ago, fortunately. It was enough of a distraction that they used a different reader or a different room when they added new questions; a computer generated voice would have been actually irritating.

So there was the date, to me it meant Sept 1, and my fast read of it ignored the year which would have made that a future date. The fact that I can’t read is hardly relevant here. 🙂 The real point is that they used numeric dates, which are always ambiguous.

Take this home and tell your friends:
Complain when computers don’t display or print dates with a 4 digit year and a text month that is at least 3 letters long. Maybe we can get a culture going that actually communicates clearly.

And please take any managers you know from Canadian Blood Services to CapCHI meetings on the third Tuesday of the month at The Code Factory. then buy them a beer afterwards at whatever pub we go to.

Have you ever filled out a date field  in DYM or MYD order? Shame on you! 🙂

My ugliest … business card … ever!

My ugliest business card ever

Q-bars on business cards take up too much space and are too ugly. However, allowing people to grab your info from your card into their smart phone’s contact info directly – that’s powerful!

If I keep it, it will soon move to the back.

Exar quietly kills off Neterion product line

Bert Hill covered the Exar/Neterion layoff story in the Ottawa Citizen.


Exar announcement

For those people who wanted to know about my layoff from Exar, they posted a press release.

Yet Another Disposition, A?


Got laid off today. With the whole team. First layoff for one of the guys. Insert philosophical discussion about the industry here, because I don’t have time.


StatsCan measures industries, not job types

Today I discovered that video game makers are not included in StatsCan’s “Computers and Telecommunications” industry category. I have been puzzled by recurring news stories about ‘high tech job losses in Ottawa’. It didn’t seem correct to me that Ottawa is down to 38,000 high tech jobs now versus 67,000 in 2007. That’s a whopping 43% drop in jobs. I’m not seeing this. It doesn’t make sense. People moving from one company to another, to different industries, sure, but not thousands of people either leaving Ottawa or unemployed for years.

Despite what the newspapers say, “Computers and Telecommunications” is not a complete measure of the number of high tech jobs in Ottawa. That’s only the jobs in one very narrow industry. If your employer does not create computers or telecommunications equipment, your high tech job is not counted in that report.

One of my co-workers at Exar used to work for a company that designs hearing aids in Ottawa. They create their own ASICs to do signal processing and other audio filtering and maybe Blue Tooth radio. What industry category was he in? Maybe it’s “Health Care”, but I am pretty sure it’s not “Computers and Telecommunications”.

How about web site developers and designers? I have no idea what category they are in. They might even be in this category, for all I know.

There  have been suggestions over the years that OCRI over-reports High Tech, by including those lawyers and accountants who mostly work with High Tech companies. Now I know that Stats Can is also providing information that is almost, but not quite, completely unlike  the “high tech jobs” category.

Has anyone here looked into the Stats Can information to see if it’s possible to piece together a better “high tech jobs” report?

Reg asks: is Acer the new Apple?

In Acer: Alive, and thirsty for Apple juice, “El Reg” suggests that Acer could be an everyman’s Apple.

I’m not the only person to wonder who will rise up if/when Microsoft and/or Apple stumble. The way I see it, Microsoft has been the gorilla for a long time, and at least some people are trying hard to go elsewhere – where there are fewer 0-day virus vulnerabilities. Some people think Apple may lose Steve Jobs to retirement or “other” in the next few years, but he is only 55. He could be around, creative, and in charge at Apple for 20 more years.

Acer has a plan to reach out to the 70% of the world’s population that doesn’t have computers. They expect tablets to sell well there: “We’re used to the PC having a couple of different form-factors,” he said. “I think we will see in the future a variety of form-factor devices, satisfying different needs. It’s going to be a very exciting world. And this is the world where we want to play.” (El Reg quote)

Bloomberg Businessweek says: (quote) The new tablet computers may appeal to price-sensitive consumers, Angela Hsiang, an analyst with KGI Securities Co. in Taipei, said by telephone. “The debut highlights Acer’s official entry into the tablet computer market,” said Hsiang, who rates the stock “outperform.” (end quote)

Acer even has a non-Microsoft OS plan: GianFranco Lanci, CEO and President of Acer, promises “different operating systems – not only one operating system,” running on a range of different processors, including Qualcomm and the nVidia Tegra system-on-a-chip. (El Reg quote)

I never thought of Acer this way before. They are just the company that provides the cheap monitors I can afford. Thanks El Reg. This may be a fun company to watch. Watch Acer watch Apple. Run, Acer, run!