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Do You Know Cobol? If So, There Might Be a Job for You.

Despite its advanced age, Cobol is still the most prevalent programming language in the financial-services industry world-wide. Software programmed in Cobol powers millions of banking transactions every day and underpins critical computer mainframes. WSJ: And Cobol isn't going away anytime soon. Banks and other companies have come to the uncomfortable realization that ripping out old mainframes is pricey and complicated. Transitioning to new systems is likely to take years, and besides, a lot of the older tech works just fine. The problem is that Cobol isn't popular with new programmers. So, with a generation of Cobol specialists retiring, there is a continuing hunt to find a new generation of programmers to service this technology. In Texas, Mr. Hinshaw's (an anecdote in the story) company, the Cobol Cowboys, a group of mostly older programmers, is training U.S. military veterans in the programming language. Accenture is coaching hundreds of Cobol programmers every year in India and the Philippines to work at banks. In Malaysia, one consultancy that provides engineers versed in Cobol for its clients, iTAc MSC Outsourcing, has adopted the slogan "Keeping the Dinosaurs Alive." A host of companies offer online courses in Cobol in places like South Africa, India and Bangladesh. Developing economies are key technology-outsourcing centers for banks. Further reading: Major Banks and Parts of Federal Gov't Still Rely On COBOL, Now Scrambling To Find IT 'Cowboys' To Keep Things Afloat.

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Internet Society Partners with Facebook To Expand Internet Connectivity in Africa

The Internet Society, a global non-profit organization dedicated to the open development, evolution and use of the Internet, today announced that it is partnering with Facebook to develop Internet Exchange Points (IXP) throughout Africa. From a press release: An Internet Exchange Point is where multiple local and international networks, ISPs and content providers interconnect their networks together to efficiently exchange Internet traffic through an arrangement commonly referred to as Peering. Currently, 42% of countries in Africa lack IXPs, which means that most of their domestic Internet traffic is exchanged through points outside their respective country, usually through satellite or submarine fiber across multiple international hubs to reach their destination. This can result in poor end-user experiences and discourages hosting content locally, which are some of the key factors towards the development of the local Internet ecosystem. Peering at IXPs helps keep domestic Internet traffic local by offloading traffic from relatively expensive international links onto more affordable local links. As a result, ISPs are able to offer improved Internet experiences for end-users and spur interest in hosting content locally. The Internet Society and Facebook will collaborate in promoting IXP infrastructure development, training and community engagement with the objective of increasing the number of IXPs and supporting the expansion of existing IXPs to meet the growing demand in Africa. Studies have shown that Internet users throughout Africa benefit from Peering as it enables faster, more affordable and reliable access to content.

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Trump Administration Asks For Public Input on Data Privacy

The federal government wants to know the best way to protect your privacy online. On Tuesday, the Department of Commerce released a request for public comments as it outlined the Trump administration's approach to consumer data privacy. A report adds: In the proposal, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, a branch under the Commerce Department, recommended privacy regulations focused on giving users control over how their data is used by tech companies. The proposal comes a day before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation is set to hold a hearing on consumer privacy, with companies like Apple, Google and Amazon testifying. The Commerce Department found public concern with how personal information has been used by tech companies and is taking a "risk-based flexibility" approach for privacy regulations. "The administration takes these concerns seriously and believes that users should be able to benefit from dynamic uses of their information, while still expecting organizations will appropriately minimize risks to users' privacy," the department wrote in the document.

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A Nuclear Startup Will Fold After Failing To Deliver Reactors That Run on Spent Fuel

Transatomic Power, an MIT spinout that drew wide attention and millions in funding, is shutting down almost two years after the firm backtracked on bold claims for its design of a molten-salt reactor. From a report: The company, founded in 2011, plans to announce later today that it's winding down. Transatomic had claimed its technology could generate electricity 75 times more efficiently than conventional light-water reactors, and run on their spent nuclear fuel. But in a white paper published in late 2016, it backed off the latter claim entirely and revised the 75 times figure to "more than twice," a development first reported by MIT Technology Review. Those downgrades forced the company to redesign its system. That delayed plans to develop a demonstration reactor, pushing the company behind rival upstarts like TerraPower and Terrestrial Energy, says Leslie Dewan, the company's cofounder and chief executive. The longer timeline and reduced performance advantage made it harder to raise the necessary additional funding, which was around $15 million. "We weren't able to scale up the company rapidly enough to build a reactor in a reasonable time frame," Dewan says.

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Qualcomm Accuses Apple of Stealing Trade Secrets and Giving Them To Intel

Mark Wilson writes: Chip-maker Qualcomm has today accused Apple of stealing trade secrets and sharing them with Intel. The company alleges that Apple wanted Intel to be able to improve its own chips so it could move away from using Qualcomm's. Qualcomm and Apple are already engaged in a legal battle, and with its latest accusations, the chip-maker wants the court to amend its existing lawsuit against the company. Apple stands accused of engaging in a 'multi-year campaign of sloppy, inappropriate and deceitful conduct'. In the new filings, Qualcomm says that upon Apple's request it allowed the iPhone maker deep access to its software and tools, but with strict limits on how those products could be used. It said, "Indeed, it is now apparent Apple engaged in a years-long campaign of false promises, stealth and subterfuge designed to steal Qualcomm's confidential information and trade secrets for the purpose of improving the performance of lower-quality modem chipsets, with the ultimate goal of eliminating Qualcomm's Apple-based business."

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