When it rains, it pours inside Snap Maps, thanks to new World Effects

Snap Maps put you — or at least your Bitmoji — on the map. But Snapchat just launched an update that gives some flair to that world your avatar lives in. On Wednesday, June 20, Snap Inc. launched Weather and World Effects inside Snap Maps. The update brings animated weather corresponding with the actual forecast along with holiday-themed map looks and even a confetti cannon on your birthday.

The features help add more details to Snapchat’s location sharing feature — so don’t be fooled by that Snap that looks like your friend is having a great time when he’s actually caught in a downpour. The tools use the user’s location data to add animated details from the forecast to the map.

The new Weather effects bring a digitized version of the forecast in the area and animate that weather pattern over your Bitmoji’s head. The animations come when zoomed in on a specific Bitmoji on the map and include rain, sun, and snow.

The World Effects bring similar animations to the world your Bitmoji lives in, but may be less expected than the weather, Snap suggests. The feature changes the usual look of the Snap Map not for accuracy like that weather effect, but to recognize significant events or seasons. For example, Valentine’s Day may turn the usual map into a pink world that looks more like Candy Land than an actual map.

Both features are rolling out soon as the Snap Maps feature itself marks one year. The geotagged avatars and photos already have a mix of highs and lows in that short history, including users original reaction to privacy concerns over sharing a physical location inside an app most popular among younger generations. On the opposite side, placing photos on a map has offered a different perspective on current events that even some news stations have picked up on.

Snapchat isn’t celebrating a year of Snap Maps with any actual numbers on how many people use the feature, but according to Mashable, half of Snap Map users choose to share a location with friends. The update follows Snap Map’s move to the web using an embed tool, while the holiday-themed World Effects follow the platform’s geocaching Easter egg hunt earlier this year.

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Linux Skills Most Wanted: Open Source Jobs Report

The 2018 Open Source Technology Jobs Report shows rapid growth in the demand for open source technical talent, with Linux skills a must-have requirement for entry-level positions.

The seventh annual report from The Linux Foundation and Dice, released Wednesday, identifies Linux coding as the most sought-after open source skill. Linux-based container technology is a close second.

The report provides an overview of open source career trends, factors motivating professionals in the industry, and ways employers attract and retain qualified talent. As with the last two open source jobs reports, the focus this year is on all aspects of open source software and is not limited to Linux.

This year’s report features data from more than 750 hiring managers at corporations, small and medium businesses, and government organizations and staffing agencies across the globe. It is based on responses from more than 6,500 open source professionals worldwide.

Linux skills rank as the most sought-after skills in the 2018 report, with 80 percent of hiring managers looking for tech professionals with Linux expertise.

Linux is required knowledge for most entry-level open source careers, likely due to the strong popularity of cloud and container technologies, as well as DevOps practices, all of which typically are based on Linux, according to the report.

“Open source technology talent is in high demand, as Linux and other open source software dominates software development,” said Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin.

“I am encouraged that companies are recognizing more and more each day that open source technology is the way to advance their businesses,” he continued. “The Linux Foundation, our members and the open source ecosystem are focused on ensuring training and certification opportunities are highly accessible to everyone who wants to seek them out, and we are supporting the developer community and its growth in every possible way.”

Heightened Recruitment Efforts

There has been an increase in recruitment activities among companies and organizations that want to bolster open source technology talent, the report reveals.

Slightly more than half (55 percent) of the responding companies said they were offering additional training and certification opportunities for existing staff in order to fill skills gaps. That total is up from 47 percent in 2017 and only 34 percent in 2016.

Eighty-seven percent of hiring managers reported difficulty finding open source talent. Nearly half (48 percent) reported their organizations had begun to support open source projects by contributing code or other resources for the explicit reason of recruiting individuals with those software skills.

“Hiring skilled technology professionals remains a real pain point for employers, and our report shows newer skills like containers are growing in popularity, putting more pressure on organizations to find good talent to carry out necessary projects,” said Art Zeile, CEO of DHI Group, the parent company of Dice.

Key Takeaways

There appears to be a disparity between the views of hiring managers and open source pros over the effectiveness of ongoing efforts to improve diversity. Only 52 percent of employees saw those efforts as effective, compared to 70 percent of employers, the report found.

Other findings:

  • Hiring open source talent was a priority for 83 percent of hiring managers, an increase from 76 percent in 2017.
  • Containers have been growing rapidly in popularity and importance, with 57 percent of hiring managers seeking container expertise, up from only 27 percent last year.
  • Hiring managers have been moving away from hiring outside consultants, increasingly opting to train existing employees on new open source technologies and help them gain certifications.
  • Many organizations have been getting involved in open source with the express purpose of attracting developers.

Effective Business Strategy

Demand for open source talent is high because more companies have begun embracing open source technologies for next-generation workloads and applications, said Ian McClarty, CEO of Phoenix Data Center.

Business leaders see open source as a way to rein in licensing costs, and technologist are enamored with new ways to deploy code and systems in a scale-out fashion, he suggested.

“The big push into cloud services and virtualization has also helped to drive adoption of open source technologies,” McClarty told LinuxInsider. “Developers want rapid systems to deploy in, and do not want to wait around for purchasing and logistics to take care of their needs.”

IT has changed from driving the bottom line to driving the top line for enterprises. Most new applications are developed and built using the DevOps model, according to Brajesh Goyal, vice president of engineering at Cavirin.

This movement was driven by new-generation companies such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter, he noted.

“In addition to changing the business landscape, these companies also built the next set of tools for big data, cloud, AI/machine learning and containers,” Goyal told LinuxInsider. “All of these technologies are mostly open source. [They] are now entering the scale of massive adoption across the business landscape and hence driving the need for open source talent.”

High Demand Is Contagious

Two of the leading reasons for open source’s growing popularity are its effectiveness in improving time to market and in developing base software.

“It is the way most new software is being built, particularly infrastructure software that is broadly applicable across many industries and use cases,” said Howard Green, vice president of marketing at Azul Systems.

People who work on open source projects on their own time typically are willing to give their creativity and their work to the community. Almost any business that plans to survive wants motivated, creative people.

“That includes people who are excited enough about what they do to work on their own open source projects and make their skills and ideas directly visible to their peers,” Green told LinuxInsider.

Demand for open source talent increases because open source has become the most relevant way of producing base software, noted Stefano Maffulli, director of community for Scality.

Open source powers everything, he pointed out.

“Software drives innovation, and the productivity of whole nations depends on it,” Maffulli told LinuxInsider. “According to a Black Duck report, 57 percent of proprietary codebase includes open source code, up from 36 percent last year. I expect that percentage to keep on rising.”

Hiring Insights

Companies and job candidates can take steps to benefit from the report findings. The key is to leverage their interest in open source.

“Companies can take advantage of this trend by being clear that they support open source technologies [and] use them,” noted Azul’s Green.

“Most newer open source technologies are not available via traditional certification means. The easiest way to get into the open source field is to get a virtual instance in one of the many public cloud companies that are out there — it isn’t just about the hyper scalers,” he said.

“There are excellent documentation and videos readily available for beginners. Most open source software has toasters available that are step-by-step guides on how to configure, install and test,” Green pointed out.

“Finding a small project to apply the knowledge gained is also critical,” he continued. “The ‘just do it’ mentality married with a small project will give someone the necessary foundation to open up a new career field in their daily operations, and value people who also work on their own projects and/or contribute to larger-scale projects.”

Very large enterprises and early-stage companies often hire people full-time, with their sole responsibility being to contribute to a high-value open source technology, Green said.

Job candidates can respond to this trend by walking the walk. They can do this by contributing to one or more open source projects they care about. Another strategy is to learn how to make the best use of today’s powerful open source technologies.

“In the case of applications ranging from databases to development tools to messaging stacks, understand the tradeoffs between specific open source offerings and their closed-source analogues,” advised Green.

Developers and engineers interested in working on open source projects and tools can enter the field by demonstrating value within an existing community. Or they can build open source products or tools of their own.

“The great thing about open source is that quality of the design and the code is visible,” noted Green. “It is a living CV. Open source contributions and developers are by their nature visible, verifiable and stand on their own.”

Schooling and Professionalism Count

Technical schools need to start teaching social skills to engineers, suggested Scality’s Muffulli.

The old stereotype of the lone open source coder in the basement is not accurate anymore, he said. With so much code and documentation being developed in the open, across cultural boundaries, developers cannot avoid human interactions.

“In my job, a lot of effort is spent explaining how to craft comments to a pull request that is not offensive and can lead to actual progress. It should not be surprising, but candidates that are pleasant human beings have a better chance of being hired,” Muffulli observed.

Presentation skills are important to new developers, he added. “Be ready to show equally good code, well-done documentation, and social interactions on platforms like mailing lists, GitHub, forums and the like. [Candidates] need to demonstrate that they can develop and solve issues in a collaborative environment.”

No Ordinary Path

Most newer open source technologies are not available via traditional certification means, according to Phoenix Data Center’s McClarty.

The easiest way to get into the open source field is to get a virtual instance in one of the many public cloud companies, he suggested.

For job candidates, it’s a no-brainer: Learn open source software, said Kaj Arno, chief evangelist at MariaDB.

“Document your usage through certification — and if you are into developing open source infrastructure software yourself, start by writing contributions to existing open source software,” he advised.

“Almost all of our developers started out that way,” Arno told LinuxInsider.

The key is to learn, certify and develop by contributing. Then decide whether a career in open source means a career in developing applications that are based on open source, or a career in developing open source software, he suggested. “Those are two different things, albeit related.”


Jack M. Germain has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His main areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open source technologies. He has written numerous reviews of Linux distros and other open source software.
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Intel CEO Brian Krzanich resigns over a past interoffice affair

insecure intel exploits ceo
Intel CEO, Brian Krzanich Intel

Intel said on Thursday that Brian Krzanich stepped down as the company’s CEO and is no longer on the board of directors. The reason for the immediate departure is a “consensual” relationship with an employee, violating Intel’s policy of keeping your hands to yourself. Filling his shoes for the interim will be chief financial officer Robert Swan. 

“Intel was recently informed that Mr. Krzanich had a past consensual relationship with an Intel employee,” the company said. “An ongoing investigation by internal and external counsel has confirmed a violation of Intel’s non-fraternization policy, which applies to all managers. Given the expectation that all employees will respect Intel’s values and adhere to the company’s code of conduct, the board has accepted Mr. Krzanich’s resignation.” 

While the board hires an executive search firm to find a proper replacement, Swan will take the Intel wheel by working closely with the senior leadership team to manage operations. His past experience includes serving as CEO of Webvan Group Inc., nine years as CFO at eBay, CFO of Electronic Data Systems, and more. His current CFO role at Intel — aside from filling Krzanich’s shoes — includes leading the company’s global finance, IT, and corporate strategy organizations. 

Intel’s board says it has “a robust succession planning process in place” and will seek out a new, permanent CEO from candidates within and outside the company. 

Krzanich, 58, joined Intel as an engineer in 1982. By January 2012, he moved to the role of chief operating officer and helped bring Intel’s products to China. Then in May 2013 he was promoted once again to the role of CEO where he led the company on different paths outside its main processor focus, such as wearables, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing. 

Krzanich came under fire earlier this year for dumping around $11 million worth of Intel stock prior to revealing the Spectre and Meltdown flaws in its processors. He made the sale in November as Intel and manufacturers worked to create patches before the problems were publicly exposed. Defending Krzanich, Intel indicated the sale was unrelated to the Spectre and Meltdown announcement despite share value taking a hit after Krzanich revealed the flaws. 

The sudden resignation is surprising and likely a jolt to the company. Non-fraternization policies are common in businesses, as employers dictate that you can’t mix business with pleasure. But Krzanich’s resignation is a prime example that even the CEO of a company can’t avoid a non-fraternization policy — at least, not at Intel. Speculation indicates that Intel’s board didn’t look the other way due to not wanting additional drama outside the ongoing Spectre/Meltdown fiasco. 

The resignation arrives as longtime Intel partner Microsoft cozies up with Qualcomm with “always connected” Windows 10 PCs. These devices rely on Windows on ARM powered by Qualcomm’s mobile-centric Snapdragon chips. They include 4G LTE connectivity for a constant internet connection and a battery promising more than 20 hours on a single charge. 

Editors’ Recommendations

Supreme Court rules that states can collect internet sales tax on online retail purchases

The US Supreme Court has overturned a tax-related ruling from 1992, freeing state and local governments to collect billions in internet sales tax, as reported by Bloomberg. The 1992 ruling from Quill v. North Dakota, focused on mail-order and catalog purchases, requiring that a business must have a physical presence within a state in order for the state to collect sales tax.

The 5-4 vote overturned this ruling, citing companies like Newegg, Wayfair, and Overstock in the Supreme Court decision, stating that “each easily meets the minimum sales or transactions requirement of the Act, but none collects South Dakota sales tax.” Amazon began voluntarily collecting taxes in the 45 states that require it last year, but only on items from its own inventory, meaning sellers on Amazon Marketplace may be impacted by this ruling.

Writing for the court, Justice Anthony Kennedy said the 1992 decision was “unsound” and obsolete in the e-commerce era. As a result of this new ruling, internet retailers can be requited to collect sales tax in states where they have no physical presence. Estimates say that this broader taxing power will now let state and local governments reap an additional $8 billion to $23 billion a year in revenue.

The challenge to overturn Quill v. North Dakota was brought to the Supreme Court by South Dakota. South Dakota passed a law two years ago demanding that all retailers that, on an annual basis, have more than $100,000 in annual sales or engage in 200 or more separate transactions, pay a 4.5 percent tax on all sales, “as if the seller had a physical presence in the State.” The state government then filed suit to have the case heard by higher courts, and the Supreme Court agreed to hear the argument earlier this year.

Fb Messenger auto-translation chips at US/Mexico language wall

Facebook’s been criticized for tearing America apart, but now it will try to help us forge bonds with our neighbors to the south. Facebook Messenger will now offer optional auto-translation of English to Spanish and vice-versa for all users in the United States and Mexico.

The feature could facilitate cross-border and cross-language friendships, business, and discussion that might show people in the two countries that deep down we’re all just human. It could be especially powerful for US companies looking to use Messenger for conversational commerce without having to self-translate everything.

Facebook tells me “we were pleased with the results” following a test using AI to translate the language pair in Messenger for US Facebook Marketplace users in April.

Now when users receive a message that is different from their default language, Messenger’s AI assistant M will ask if they want it translated. All future messages will in that thead will be auto-translated unless a user turns it off. Facebook plans to bring the feature to more language pairs and countries soon.

A Facebook spokesperson tells me “The goal with this launch is really to enable people to communicate with people they wouldn’t have been able to otherwise, in a way that is natural and seamless.”

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Starting in 2011, Facebook began offering translation technology for News Feed posts and comments. For years it relied on Microsoft Bing’s translation technology, but Facebook switched to its own stack in mid-2016. By then it was translating 2 billion pieces of text a day for 800 million users.

Conversational translation is a lot tougher than social media posts, though. When we chat with friends, it’s more colloquial and full of slang. We’re also usually typing in more a hurry and can be less accurate. But if Facebook can reliably figure out what we’re saying, Messenger could become the modern day Babel Fish.

Microsoft and Nintendo release Minecraft trailer focused on cross-play

In the world of gaming, cross-compatibility between platforms has always bene a bit of a white whale. While most players hope for it, console makers and game publishers haven’t always been so willing. Until recently.

Microsoft, Nintendo and PC game makers have started making games more cross-compatible. Most notably, the companies have made Fortnite Battle Royale, the biggest game of the year, cross-compatible on the Switch, Xbox, iOS, and PC. Yes, there is a big name missing from that list.

Sony has yet to budge, forcing PS4 players inside of a walled garden. Obviously, players have been outraged.

But today, Microsoft and Nintendo are seemingly putting salt in the wound with a new trailer for Minecraft.

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Rather than focusing on the game, the trailer’s entire thesis is centered around the fact that it offers cross-play between Xbox and the Switch. In the video, you can see a Switch player and an Xbox player gaming together in the wonderful world of Minecraft.

The tag line at the end reads “Better Together.”

Long story short, cross play is happening in the gaming world. Finally. Whether or not Sony chooses to catch up is anyone’s guess.

Humble Bundle is offering a ‘pay what you want’ deal on cybersecurity software and it’s for a good cause

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.
Save big on cybersecurity software via Humble Bundle.
Save big on cybersecurity software via Humble Bundle.

Image: pexel

With the sheer amount of hackers and scammers out there on the internet just waiting to gobble up your precious information, you might consider getting web software that will help you better navigate your browsing experience on your desktop and mobile devices. The good people at Humble Bundle are offering new users like you a complete cybersecurity bundle for as little as $1.

What’s in the Humble Bundle you might ask? You get five pieces of software that work together, so you can surf the interwebs better and more securely. Let’s run them down:

Dashlane

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Having trouble remembering passwords for all your various services and accounts, like Gmail, Netflix, Twitter, and Amazon? Dashlane can help generate unlimited and unique passwords every time you log in. Now you just have to remember one password for everything you do on the internet and Dashlane will do the rest.

Private Internet Access VPN

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While it’s great to enjoy the spoils of public WiFi at cafés, libraries, and airports, these spots don’t always have the most secure connections to the internet. Private Internet Access is a VPN service that makes it more secure to visit websites from anywhere in the world. With Private Internet Access, you can rest assured that your private information will remain private, even in public.

SpiderOak One Backup 

Have you ever accidentally deleted the perfect photo of your family and felt terrible because you didn’t back it up? SpiderOak One Backup is a backup service that protects your important files and photos against data loss and “ransomware.” SpiderOak One Backup syncs across all your devices and even archives each and every historical version and deleted files without restrictions.

AdGuard Premium 

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Are you sick of annoying ads and pop-ups? Are you concerned that companies are following your every move and moment on the internet? AdGuard Premium can help you battle against trackers and spyware that want to know your private information to sell you more ads. AdGuard Premium blocks all ads, hides your IP address, and blocks third-parties from tracking you with browser cookies that follow you everywhere online.

ProtonMail 

You also get a $25 credit from ProtonMail, the world’s largest encrypted email service. Send and receive encrypted emails from any device and know that your personal information and messages will remain private from end-to-end.

Here’s the best part: Your purchase of this Humble Bundle can go to support the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an international non-profit digital rights group, or any charity of your choice. It’s pretty much a win-win for everyone. You get great software to keep your internet information and data private and you can help a non-profit organization that helps people at the same time.

Altogether this is a software bundle that retails for $583, but this Humble Bundle ideal s only for $15, or just name your price for as little as $1. The more you increase your price, the more you can upgrade the bundle. What’s the catch? The deal is a limited-time offer and is only good for 12 days. Deep discounts like this can’t last forever, so act now!

Assistant’s Continued Conversation feature lets you drop all the ‘Hey, Googles’

how to set up your google home device

We first learned that Google would be bringing a Continued Conversation feature to Assistant at Google I/O, when the tech giant unveiled a whole host of exciting new features that would make the smart helper more useful than ever. And now, Continued Conversation has been launched, and promises to make your interactions with Assistant more natural. In essence, it allows you to chat with the A.I. tool without constantly starting your sentences with “Hey Google.” After all, it’s not how you would speak to a fellow human, so Google thinks it’s not how you should speak to Assistant either.

“For the Google Assistant to have a natural conversation, it should be able to understand when it’s being spoken to and should be capable of responding to several requests during an interaction,” Google noted in an announcement. So rather than saying “Hey Google” multiple times, you now only have to say it once — from then on out, if you ask follow-up questions, you can just ask them as though you were asking anyone else.

The feature is rolling out today, June 21, on Google Home, Google Home Mini, and Google Home Max. You’ll be able to turn on Continued Conversations by going to Settings, then Preferences, and then toggling on the Continued Conversation option.

Once you’ve activated the feature, then when you ask Assistant something (which does still need to be cued by saying, “Hey Google,”) you can keep the rhythm going by asking a follow-up, setting a reminder, or adding something to your shopping list. Once you’re finished with your conversation, simply say “thank you” or “stop.” Or, Google says, Assistant will end the conversation herself “once [she] detects that you’re no longer talking to the Assistant.” With the new setting, Assistant should stay active long enough for you to say everything you need to say at once (plus, you can also now give Assistant multiple commands — up to three, to be exact). Google notes that Assistant will stay active for eight seconds tops if it does not detect any speech. The LED lights at the top of your Google Home device will stay illuminated while the helper is listening.

So moving forward, your interactions with Google could look something like this: “Hey Google, what’s the weather today?” … “And what about tomorrow?” … “Can you add a rain jacket to my shopping list” … “And remind me to bring an umbrella tomorrow morning” … “Thank you!”

Editors’ Recommendations

Bag Week 2018: The Nomadic NF-02 keeps everything in its right place

Nomadic, a Japanese brand sold by JetPens in the US, makes some of my favorite bags and backpacks . The Wise Walker Toto was an amazing little bag and I’ve always enjoyed the size, materials, and design. The $89 Nomadic NF-02 is no different.

The best thing about this 15×7 inch backpack is the compact size and internal pouches. The Nomadic can hold multiple pens, notebooks, and accessories, all stuck in their own little cubbies, and you can fit a laptop and a few books in the main compartment. This is, to be clear, not a “school” backpack. It’s quite compact and I doubt it would be very comfortable with a much more than a pair of textbooks and a heavier laptop. It’s definitely a great travel sack, however, and excellent for the trip from home to the office.

The bag comes in a few colors including turquoise and navy and there is a small hidden pouch for important papers and passports. There is a reflective strip on the body and it is water repellent so it will keep your gear dry.

Again, my favorite part of this bag are the multiple little pockets and spaces. It’s an organizer’s dream and features so many little spots to hide pens and other gear that it could also make an excellent tourist pack. It is small enough for easy transport but holds almost anything you can throw at it.

Nomadic is a solid backpack. It’s small, light, and still holds up to abuse. I’m a big fan of the entire Nomadic line and it’s great to see this piece available in the US. It’s well worth a look if you’re looking for a compact carrier for your laptop, accessories, and notebooks.

bag week 2018

Nintendo and Microsoft team up to promote cross-play, while Sony remains silent

The Nintendo Switch version of Minecraft is getting a big update today, bringing the Bedrock Engine to Nintendo’s portable console. The update enables cross-play with PC, Xbox One, and smartphones — but notably not the PlayStation 4. Sony is blocking cross-play for Fortnite, Rocket League, and Minecraft so PS4 players can’t play against Xbox One or Nintendo Switch owners. Meanwhile, Nintendo and Microsoft are partnering to utilize cross-play as a marketing weapon today.

The Minecraft cross-play trailer specifically focuses on the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch being able to play together. It also includes the rare sight of an Xbox One controller in a Switch commercial. If that’s not enough of a partnership, the ad even encourages players to create, explore, and survive together in Minecraft on Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.

It’s clear that Nintendo and Microsoft have signed a marketing deal to highlight cross-play for Minecraft, a game that Microsoft publishes itself. It’s unusual to see such a partnership between console rivals, and it once again leaves Sony as the odd one out that’s refusing to enable cross-play between consoles and staying silent.

Fortnite fans still aren’t happy that Sony is effectively holding their accounts hostage over its cross-play block, and the company has only issued a weak response to the controversy. It’s clear that Microsoft and Nintendo see the advantages of cross-play, and they’re more than happy to use it as marketing leverage.