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Outfoxing outsourcing

There’s more to watch for on the offshore horizon as outsourcing traffic increases and involves multiple countries. Companies intent on saving bucks need no longer fix their gaze solely on India in search of information technology professionals. Russia, Vietnam, and China, for example, have equally impressive pools of talented and motivated techies, and they’re extremely eager to negotiate affordable contracts with offshore companies.

What’s to become of those left scrambling? Computer science wages continue to decrease for many professionals (U.S. computing wages dropped 11 percent between 2002 and 2003). And, by the end of next year, one-tenth of U.S. tech jobs will be overseas. Even now, a number of American professionals, with no other options other than to walk away from their already vulnerable positions, have accepted the uncomfortable task of training long-term replacement workers. Great for the financial report, horrible for morale.

A beacon of light for those willing to ship out: Countries such as India continue to face a serious shortage of middle- and senior-level managers for their IT teams. Hopefully it won’t be long before other offshore countries are looking beyond their borders for a few manager types. Your current resume, along with some business and language classes, might be able to get you a transfer into the global community.





Australia pushes for less spam

Australians really don’t care for their spam. The Australian Communications Authority (ACA) recently declared plans to ban e-mail spam, as well as unsolicited cellphone advertisements.

Later this year, e-mail offenders will receive aggressive unsolicited mail of their own: fines, infringement notices, and injunctions. Advertisers sending unsolicited text messages to cellphones could be hit with fines up to $6.5 million.

They’ll be needing more than a little help from their friends, however. The ACA can only hunt down spam originating in Australia. Currently that’s estimated at a paltry half percent of the current daily serving of spam that Aussies choke down. The Australian government must rely on those countries producing the remaining 99.5 percent to collaborate with Australia (and each other).


See Eric Allman’s “Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, the FTC and Spam” on page 62 of this issue.



There’s a bug in my lunchbox!

Ever think you’d see your kid go to school with a computerized vest or cyberpack that weighs less than a bag lunch?

This autumn the Boston public school district will distribute seven wearable computers to students with physical or learning challenges. XyberKids Pack, manufactured by Xybernaut, includes speakers, a CD player, voice-activated software, and a wrist keyboard with glove. Elementary and high school students are also using these packs in pilot studies in Ohio; Brooklyn, New York; and Florida.

It’s enough to make you want to go back to school all over again.

Don’t expect XyberKids Packs to displace most childrens’ trusty Scooby-Doo lunchboxes anytime soon, however: These “smart” backpacks cost approximately $3,500 a pop—more if you want to be able to track your kid via GPS, or up the battery power to make it through after-school activities.






Originally published in Queue vol. 1, no. 6
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