Sen. Durbin calls Abbott Labs’ IT layoffs ‘harsh and insensitive’

Abbott Labs, a global healthcare company, is laying off about 180 IT employees after inking an agreement with Wipro, a major India-based IT services firm, to take over some IT services. The employees were told about the planned cuts on Feb. 22; their last day will be April 22.

The workers are expecting to train their replacements, possibly workers on H-1B and other temporary visas.

Abbott is based in Illinois, which is also the home of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat who has been a long-time advocate for H-1B reforms and a co-sponsor of legislation with another visa reformer, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

In a letter Monday to Abbott CEO Miles White, Durbin implored him “to reconsider this plan and retain these U.S. workers.”

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from Computerworld News http://www.computerworld.com/article/3039353/it-careers/sen-durbin-calls-abbott-labs-it-layoffs-harsh-and-insensitive.html#tk.rss_news

Google: Self-driving car followed ‘the spirit of the road’ before accident

Google today said it has learned a lot from the Feb. 14 accident involving one of its autonomous vehicles (AVs) — especially about driving on busy arteries like the one where the incident took place.

The accident happened on Valentine’s Day on El Camino Real, a wide boulevard consisting of three lanes in each direction that runs through Google’s hometown of Mountain View, Calif.

According to a DMV accident report, the Lexus RX450h SUV controlled by Google’s AV technology moved into the center of the right-hand lane and was struck by a city bus that was traveling about 15mph.

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from Computerworld News http://www.computerworld.com/article/3039301/car-tech/google-self-driving-car-followed-the-spirit-of-the-road-before-accident.html#tk.rss_news

N.Y. prosecutor wants Apple to turn back security clock to 2013

A New York prosecutor tomorrow plans to urge Congress to write legislation that would require Apple to roll back iPhone security to the model of 2013’s iOS 7, according to prepared testimony published today.

Cyrus Vance Jr., the District Attorney for New York County, will testify before the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow as one of three witnesses at a hearing to discuss encryption. The others include Bruce Sewell, Apple’s general counsel, and Susan Landau, a professor of cybersecurity policy at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass.

The hearing will be closely watched, as both Apple and the federal government — the latter in the form of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) — have suggested Congress discuss the long-term implications of last week’s court order that would compel Apple to assist the FBI in gaining entry to an iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook.

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from Computerworld News http://www.computerworld.com/article/3039010/apple-ios/ny-prosecutor-wants-apple-to-turn-back-security-clock-to-2013.html#tk.rss_news

Google’s self-driving car has caused its first accident

A Lexus SUV being controlled by Google’s autonomous vehicle (AV) technology has crashed into the side of a bus, marking what may be the first accident caused by the self-driving technology while it was in full autonomous mode.

The accident, first reported by freelance writer Mark Harris, showed up on an accident report filed with the California DMV on Feb. 23.

The collision — involving an RX450h SUV and a public bus in Mountain View, Calif. — took place on Feb. 14. The Lexus was in “autonomous mode” while traveling about two miles per hour in the right-hand lane as it approached an intersection and signaled for a right hand turn. Sandbags surrounding a storm drain caused the vehicle to move left, into the center lane.

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from Computerworld News http://www.computerworld.com/article/3039236/car-tech/googles-self-driving-car-has-caused-its-first-accident.html#tk.rss_news

An open-source alternative to Android Wear OS for smartwatches emerges

Can the Android Wear and Tizen operating systems on smartwatches be challenged? French computer science student Florent Revest believes so.

Revest has developed AsteroidOS, a flavor of Linux for smartwatches, still in early beta. It has been tested on LG’s smartwatches and a port is underway to Asus’ Zenwatch 1.

AsteroidOS has basic smartwatch features like a calculator, calendar, stopwatch and heart-rate monitor. Asteroid 1.0 could be ready for three to four smartwatches later this year, Revest said.

Like PCs and mobile devices, smartwatches usually come with an OS installed. Installing another OS like AsteroidOS could break a watch’s warranty. Just as with mobile devices, installing a new OS on a smartwatch can be risky. Users have to be technically skilled or they could render devices nonfunctional.

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from Computerworld News http://www.computerworld.com/article/3039292/wearables/an-open-source-alternative-to-android-wear-os-for-smartwatches-emerges.html#tk.rss_news

IBM to buy Resilient Systems, bringing security guru Bruce Schneier on board

IBM will acquire Resilient Systems, it announced Monday, and along with the company, it will gain a big name in the security world: Bruce Schneier.

Resilient makes an incident-response platform that automates and orchestrates the processes for dealing with cyber incidents such as breaches and lost devices, and enabling companies to respond more quickly. The acquisition will give IBM Security the industry’s first integrated end-to-end platform combining analytics, forensics, vulnerability management and incident response, the company said.

IBM intends to bring Resilient’s full staff of roughly 100 on board once the acquisition is completed, including cryptographer and security guru Bruce Schneier, Resilient’s CTO.

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from Computerworld News http://www.computerworld.com/article/3039004/security/ibm-to-buy-resilient-systems-bringing-security-guru-bruce-schneier-on-board.html#tk.rss_news

Smart city tech shows complex connections between data and sensors

BARCELONA — At Mobile World Congress, hundreds of companies showed off new smart city technologies, some that are just in the start-up phase while others are being implemented in select cities.

One concept further along in deployment is a smart parking meter made by Paris-based Parkeon that’s in use in 12,000 locations, ranging from New York City to beaches in Australia. Parkeon showed a deluxe meter that takes credit cards and includes a display that can offer news. In Sydney, for instance, the parking meter provides tips on surfing conditions off the Australian coast.

During MWC, Parkeon and Sierra Wireless announced that Sierra Wireless AirPrime HL Series embedded modules will be used to enable cellular connections to the smart city parking meters, running on 2G, 3G and 4G technologies.

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from Computerworld News http://www.computerworld.com/article/3039218/internet-of-things/smart-city-tech-shows-complex-connections-between-data-and-sensors.html#tk.rss_news