SAN FRANCISCO — Tomorrow UC San Francisco information technology employees will challenge UC Board of Regents’ plan to replace them with lower-paid workers from India. It is the first time a public university has ever offshored American IT work, undermining its own mission to prepare students for high-tech jobs.
WHAT: Workers speak out against offshoring at UC Board of Regents meeting
WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 26 at 9:30 a.m. PST
WHERE: UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center, Robertson Auditorium, 1675 Owens Street, San Francisco. Watch the Livestream here.
WHO: UCSF information technology employees, University Professional Technical Employees-CWA Local 9119, and community leaders
Seventy-nine workers in UCSF’s IT department will lose their middle-class, family-supporting jobs in February.
Last summer, the UC system partnered with HCL, a multinational contractor based in India, to manage IT infrastructure and networking-related services. The contract covers all 10 UC campuses, potentially endangering thousands more IT jobs, but UCSF is the first to test this scheme to slash salary costs.
Since then, HCL and UC have imported Indian workers to UCSF on H-1B visas, which are temporary work permits for “specialty occupations” requiring “highly specialized knowledge.” Congress originally created the visa program to help employers to fill talent gaps — not displace US workers. Yet UC is unscrupulously exploiting a loophole in the law, and adding insult to injury, requiring soon-to-be-laid-off UC employees to train their foreign replacements as a condition of their severance. Eventually, the H-1B visa replacements will depart too, returning to India to train large teams of workers who will do the work for even cheaper.
Members of University Professional Technical Employees-CWA Local 9119 have been mobilizing against the offshoring plan for several months, building public support for the IT workers and spotlighting the responsibilities of public institutions that receive taxpayer funding. Offshoring jeopardizes the privacy of medical center patients, students, faculty, and staff. Troublingly, both UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla and UC Berkeley Dean of Engineering S. Shankar Sastry sit on the board of HCL.
The Communications Workers of America represents 700,000 workers in private and public sector employment in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. CWA members work in telecommunications and information technology, the airline industry, news media, broadcast and cable television, education, health care and public service, law enforcement, manufacturing and other fields.
I’m a filmmaker, writer, iPhoneographer, i-Device videographer, and I won’t transition to the iPhone 7 or any device that doesn’t have an input jack that can be used for microphones. I doubt other such filmmakers will either. We have to have a way to get synchronized sound into the videos that we’re making. Bluetooth speakers are not really all that great and I don’t expect any Bluetooth microphones to be great either. Bluetooth also consumes a lot of power. It just isn’t a workable solution. Apple will likely lose a significant number of customers who make films and podcasts using iPods, iPads, and iPhones. I leave my iPad 4 connected to a tripod and a microphone constantly for quick access to creating video for reviews, news, and interviews. The new iPhones will have no such place in my repertoire.
The decision to remove the 3.5mm input jack is a very poorly conceived idea. I’m not sure that Apple really gained anything by doing so, except perhaps more revenue from their “Airpods.” Airpods are very expensive ($159.00) Bluetooth earbuds that will be easily lost or stolen. Apple does however, still supply a set of earbuds (Lightning connector) at no extra charge (A $30.00 value).
Filmmakers need to be able to connect a microphone and to connect earbuds or headphones to listen to sound. There are, of course, converter cables that one can use to allow 3.5mm access, but I haven’t tried one with an iPhone 7 yet to test how good they are. My daughter has an iPhone 7 and I will make that test soon and post when it’s complete. I have several 3.5mm jack microphones that I can use to test the cable. I purchased this adapter/converter to test, but haven’t had the time yet with her iPhone 7 to try it out.
I hope that some third party, perhaps via Kickstarter or Indiegogo, creates a good solution for iPhone 7s. I see projects like Tangerine not happening on this device and it’s unfortunate because the camera is so nice.
Note to filmmakers: You can still buy iPhone 5 and 6 models at reasonable prices, have great cameras, and have the 3.5mm jack at your disposal.
If I ever upgrade to something newer than my iPhone 5, I’m keeping the 5 for making films exclusively. The iPhone 5 has the right size, the 3.5mm jack, and I’ve invested enough in accessories to make keeping it a good idea. I wish it had more than 16GB of space or was upgradeable. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t give us the option.
Thanks Apple, for your inflexibility, non-upgradeability, and no 3.5mm jack.
I know I’m not the first person to ever review the Blue Snowball iCE microphone (Snowball), but I am a professional reviewer, podcaster, and videocaster, so I’m evaluating it from the point-of-view of someone who might shop for this microphone to create professional voice recordings.
I purchased this unit from Amazon, myself, so it is not a review unit supplied by Blue Microphones or a PR company. I bought it for use as a home recording unit, because I use my Blue Yeti microphone for creating professional SecurityNOW podcasts with Preston Smith. Originally, I purchased this one to be the SecurityNOW microphone and to leave my precious Yeti at home. However, the Snowball lacks certain features that I require for my professional podcasts. So, I’m reviewing it here to give you the highs and lows of it in case you’re considering it for your own work.
What I like:
The Snowball is small, light and well-built. The price is right at $44.99 and free shipping from Amazon. The Snowball dismantles into the ball, the small stand, and the USB cable for a fairly compact transport. The sound is very good for the price. The microphone and parts feel durable and should last until its $45 value has been fully extracted. I like the cardioid voice pickup pattern. It filters out a lot of the ambient background noise from behind the microphone and in other parts of a large room, focusing on your voice.
What I don’t like:
The Snowball has no features. It’s a microphone on a stand and that’s it. It has no volume knob or any other adjustment buttons, sliders, or switches. It’s on when you plug it in and off when you unplug it. There’s no mute feature on the microphone. The non-adjustable stand is small and three to four inches lower than optimal height. The stand attaches to the microphone with a non-standard screw size, so you can’t mount it to a tripod of any kind, though you can optionally purchase an adjustable microphone ‘arm’ for $18.
The only accessory that I know of for the Snowball is the Ringer, which is a shock mount for $43.00 on Amazon. The shock mount gives you more options for placement, like the adjustable arm, plus it dampens sounds from bumps and other movements. Frankly, the Snowball should be used with a Pop Filter to filter out the “pops” you hear when speaking close to the microphone, which you really have to do with the Snowball to capture good sound quality.
The optimal distance from the microphone is probably three to four inches, depending on your voice quality and volume.
Here is a sample of raw audio from the Blue Snowball iCE.
However, if you spend $45.00 for the Snowball, $43.00 for the shock mount, and $10.00 for the pop filter, you’d be better off buying the Blue Yeti USB microphone for $100.00. It’s a much superior microphone and you’ll like it a lot better.
Overall, the Snowball is a decent microphone. I can’t say that I’d purchase another one, but for $45.00, it’s OK. I think my money would have been better spent on a different microphone that has options, better sound, and a more convenient or adjustable stand. If you’re wanting a microphone for some light podcasting, Skype, or test recording of some type, this microphone is certainly good enough. If you have any aspirations of doing anything long-term, professional, or something with an adjustable stand or even a volume knob, don’t buy this one.
Recommendation: Don’t buy it unless you really like having no options and a mediocre microphone. Opt instead for the Blue Yeti.
Spiceworks launched a new report today –Future of IT: Hype vs. Reality – that examines organizations’ adoptions plans of emerging technology like IoT, AI, VR, and 3D printers and the expected impact in the workplace.
The survey results show that among these emerging technologies, IT pros expect IoT devices and AI technology to have the biggest impact in the workplace. They don’t expect mass adoption to take off for VR and 3D printers, but some industries have significantly higher adoption rates than the industry average.
- Artificial intelligence
o Apple Siri is most commonly used in the workplace, but Cortana expected to overtake Siri in next 12 months
o Over next 5 years, 60% of companies plan to adopt machine learning; 72% plan to deploy business analytics with AI; 32% plan to deploy self-learning robots
- Internet of things
o As with AI, security is the top concern with IoT in the workplace
o Healthcare industry has highest adoption rate for IoT at 28% with an additional 50 percent planning to adopt it
- Virtual reality
o Only 7% of companies use VR and 13% plan to adopt it; Construction/engineering industry has highest planned adoption rate at 27%
o Cost is biggest barrier to adoption; security/privacy is the least concern
o IT pros surveyed named Oculus the most innovative leader in VR
- 3D printers
o Only 11% of companies use 3D printers and 22% plan to adopt them; Education industry has highest current adoption rate at 45%
o As with VR, cost is biggest barrier to adoption and security is least concern
This report, like all reports from Spiceworks, is excellent and accurate. There’s a lot of hype around virtual reality (VR) tech and it will have some adoption in universities and in specialty businesses, but for most of us, don’t invest too heavily in anything VR-related. Most businesses don’t need VR and those that do, already have it in some form.
One point I disagree on, and it’s not uncommon for me to do so, is artificial intelligence (AI). For the past many* years, I have thought that AI would be the one technology that really surpassed all the others in terms of adoption, especially for voice-controlled applications, like Siri, Alexa, and Cortana. I’ve waited for 20 years for a decent voice-recognition program so that I don’t have to type, but can just dictate. Yes, I know about Dragon, and it’s pretty good. But I want something that’s truly ready for prime time.
For me, voice recognition is the first step in AI. Once you have voice recognition, then you can create programs to respond to commands and to perform complex functions. I need for it to be better than my R2D2 robot and the current state of Siri, Alexa, and Cortana. There are a lot of applications for voice recognition, but we just haven’t tapped into them yet.
Overall, this is a very thorough report. I like the visual statistics and the comparisons. I think that you’ll find it enlightening. Use the Comments section to tell me how closely these statistics come to your reality.
*many – A bunch. More than I’m going to tell you about.
IK Multimedia announces and ships iRig Nano Amp – the versatile micro amp with a built-in iOS interface
December 8, 2016 – IK Multimedia once again redefines a product category for guitarists with the newly released iRig Nano Amp – the versatile micro amp with a built-in iOS interface. iRig Nano Amp gives players both a standalone portable guitar amplifier PLUS an interface that lets them plug their guitar into an iPhone or iPad and use AmpliTube for iOS to access an unlimited and inspirational world of guitar tones on the go. iRig Nano Amp is available now from IK Multimedia and music and electronics retailers around the world.
The first micro amp and interface for mobile guitarists
Dual Mode Operation – AMP/DEVICE
Drive a cab
Under the hood
An expandable universe of tone
For more information on iRig Nano Amp, please visit: www.irignanoamp.com
To see iRig Nano Amp in action, watch the video: www.irignanoamp.com/video
December 6, 2016 – IK Multimedia, a leading manufacturer of hardware, accessories, apps and software for iPhone, iPad and Mac, is pleased to announce the availability of the new iKlip Grip Pro – the professional quality 4-in-1 tripod and handle for capturing professional photos and video on the go with any iPhone or compact action video camera. iKlip Grip Pro lets users securely hold their iPhones while using the stand as a compact tabletop tripod, a video handle, a monopod or as a standard tripod adapter. iKlip Grip Pro features an integrated, all-in-one compact design that provides the highest level of convenience for capturing media on the go.
Ultimate Control and stability for the best shots
Pivoting 360° Positioning
Pricing and availability
For more information, please visit:
Find iKlip Grip Pro at an Apple Store near you: