The IT curriculum in England's schools will be scrapped from September under government proposals to end "dull and demotivating" IT teaching.
Education secretary Michael Gove said the existing IT curriculum has not prepared children for the digital workplace. "Millions have left school over the past decade without even the basics they need for a decent job," he said.
As well as failing to meet the needs of business, Gove said the current IT curriculum's focus on office IT skills has "bored" students and resulted in a decline in the number of students choosing to study IT-related subjects.
"The best degrees in computer science are among the most rigorous and respected qualifications in the world... and prepare students for immensely rewarding careers and world-changing innovations. But you'd never know that from the current ICT curriculum," he said at the BETT show for education technology taking place today in London. Read more...
One company you'll be familiar with, and the other less so, yet both were successful pioneers in the personal computing revolution of the 1980s and both were founded by ferociously talented geeks.
The first is Microsoft, co-founded by Bill Gates, who capitalised on his initial success in operating systems with MS-DOS and Windows by striking gold with Word and Excel.
The other? Computer Concepts, a British software start-up that found fortune by allying itself to names that are now computing legends: the BBC Micro, Acorn Archimedes and Atari ST. Computer Concepts was founded by a technology whiz kid called Charles Moir. He built his first program, a word processor called Wordwise, for the BBC Micro while living at home with his parents.
At its peak, Computer Concepts was the largest developer for the Archimedes and the BBC Micro, which last month celebrated its 30th anniversary. Read more...
Ground control systems at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, which commands the killer unmanned aircraft, became infected with a virus last September. In a statement at the time the Air Force dismissed the electronic nasty as a nuisance and said it posed no threat to the operation of Reaper drones, but the intrusion was nonetheless treated seriously.
"The ground system is separate from the flight control system Air Force pilots use to fly the aircraft remotely; the ability of the pilots to safely fly these aircraft remained secure throughout the incident," it said.
The discovery of the virus was nonetheless hugely embarrassing for the Air Force. The credential-stealing malware, first reported by Wired, made its way from a portable hard drive onto ground systems, which control the drones' weapons and surveillance functions. Portable disks are used to load map updates and transfer mission videos from one computer to another, Defense News added. Read more...
Another year and another shake-up is coming to Microsoft. A restructuring of the team responsible for how Redmond is perceived and sells itself will be announced in the next 30 days, Bloomberg reports.
"Hundreds" of staffers in Microsoft's Central Marketing Group (CMG) may find themselves on the business end of an axe wielded by marketing chief Chris Capossela.
Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg notes:
Changes may include shifting some of the more technical marketing workers to engineering groups, cutting employees who don't have needed skills or whose work is duplicated by other workers, and revamping how marketing groups are organized and where they fit into the rest of the company.
Microsoft, as you'd expect, has refused to comment on the story.
Change is an annual process at Microsoft. Among notable movements in the last decade:
- Steve Ballmer named chief executive in January 2000.
- Eight years later, the platform and services kingdom belonging to Jim Allchin is broken in two in the wake of the Windows Vista debacle.
- In 2010, Microsoft shakes up its server and tools business to turn its Windows Azure cloud into a rain-maker while also protecting the Windows Server biz.
The explanation for this latest change is standard boilerplate: to help Microsoft respond to the competition. In this case that includes Apple, Google and Amazon. In the S&T 2010 rejigger it was VMware, Oracle, Linux, Apache, MySQL and Perl, PHP and Python (LAMP). Read more...
Cashing in on the ultrabook excitement at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Lenovo has rolled out four of its own slimmed-down models, including one geared specifically for the enterprise.
Lenovo, which released its first ultrabook -- the U300S -- last October, worked on filling out its ultrabook offerings here at CES this week.
On Monday, Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo's chairman and CEO, unveiled the IdeaPad Yoga, the company's hybrid ultrabook that can be flipped around to look like a tablet computer. Lenovo followed that news by releasing three more ultrabooks: the IdeaPad U310, a 13-in. ultrabook, the IdeaPad U410, a 14-in machine, and for enterprises, the ThinkPad T430U. Read more...
Microsoft executives earlier this week hinted at lowered expectations for Windows revenues in the fourth quarter of 2011, citing data from research firms that point to a stall in PC shipments at the end of the year.
On Tuesday, a pair of Microsoft executives referred to contractions in PC sales in the fourth quarter during briefings held at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). As Microsoft regularly notes in its calls with financial analysts, revenue from the Windows group is tightly tied to sales of new PCs.
"If you look at third parties, they were kind of, call it, mid-single digit expectations [of growth] for the PC market, if you go back to October," Bill Koefoed, Microsoft's general manager of investor relations, said Tuesday at an event hosted by JP Morgan. "IDC and Gartner and some others kind of lowered that.... I think they were kind of at minus 1 as they updated the PC market forecast in December."
Koefoed, who attributed part of the decline in PC sales growth to floods in Thailand, which limited supplies of hard disk drives, anticipated even more of a drop. Read more...
IBM announced Thursday that after five years of work, its researchers have been able to reduce from about one million to 12 the number of atoms required to create a bit of data.
The breakthrough may someday allow data storage hardware manufacturers to produce products with capacities that are orders of magnitude greater than today's hard disk and flash drives.
"Looking at this conservatively ... instead of 1TB on a device you'd have 100TB to 150TB. Instead of being able to store all your songs on a drive, you'd be able to have all your videos on the device," said Andreas Heinrich, IBM Research Staff Member and lead investigator on this project.
Today, storage devices use ferromagnetic materials where the spin of atoms are aligned or in the same direction.
The IBM researchers used an unconventional form of magnetism called antiferromagnetism, where atoms spin in opposite directions, allowing scientists to create an experimental atomic-scale magnet memory that is at least 100 times denser than today's hard disk drives and solid-state memory chips. Read more...
The long-standing and persistent accusation that Google unfairly uses its search engine to promote its other online services is once again in the spotlight, triggered by new social search functionality the company is rolling out this week that more tightly links its search engine with its Google+ social networking site.
The complaints have come from different quarters, including competitors and industry experts, and have focused on various arguments, but at bottom all charge Google with using its dominant search engine to deliberately boost Google+'s popularity, by giving Google+ pages and profiles an artificially prominent position in result pages.
One of the strongest arguments made so far comes from search engine expert Danny Sullivan, who described on Wednesday in his technology news site Search Engine Land how Google is now suggesting Google+ business pages that companies and public figures have set up on the site in a way that makes the Google+ pages much more prominent than similar pages these public figures and organizations have set up on competing social media sites. Read more...
Sales of personal computers slowed in the last three months of 2011, thanks to a sluggish economy, scarce hard drives, and the proliferation of other device types such as tablets, according to a report released today by IDC.
Overall, worldwide PC shipments totaled 92.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, down 0.1 percent compared with the same quarter in 2010, when 92.8 million computers were shipped. For all of 2011, about 352.4 million PCs were shipped, a 1.6 percent increase over 2010, when almost 346.8 million PCs were shipped. The U.S. was particularly hard hit: Sales dropped nearly 5 percent from 2010, from 75 million units to 71 million units. Sales in Europe and Japan also slowed, though sales improved in China. Read more...
With Intel finally breaking into the burgeoning smartphone market, analysts say the company is moving to defend its turf -- and possibly even its future stability -- against an encroaching competitor.
On Tuesday, Intel CEO Paul Otellini told an audience at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) here that the company has inked deals to provide its upcoming Atom chips to both Motorola and Lenovo for their smartphones. Intel has been virtually shut out of the lucrative smartphone arena, so this is a big step forward for the chipmaker.
It's also a major defensive move against ARM chips, which have dominated the smartphone chip market. And with more and more users depending on their smartphones for a lot of their computing needs, the PC market -- an Intel strong point -- has suffered as well. Read more...