Matt’s Favorites: ESD Job Fair, SIM Seeks Charities, A Web Bill Of Rights, And More

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ESD HQ

So here we are at another Friday… and hopefully it’s all melting! While you dodge the drips amid late winter sunshine, check out these tasty tech tidbits…

* My pals at the Engineering Society of Detroit will hold their spring job fair April 7. More than 20 companies with hundreds of local job openings will be available for individuals with all types of engineering and IT-related skills and background levels. Space is still available for hiring companies to exhibit at the job fair. The event runs from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. Participating employers include DTE Energy, Denso International America, Consumers Energy, Link Engineering Company, Valeo, Magna Powertrain, and many others. Jobs open include positions in architecutre, biomedical sciences, programming, transportation, manufacturing, biofuels, energy, and chemical, civil, computer, design, electrical, environmental, aerospace and mechanical engineering. Full-time, part-time and co-op positions will be offered. Detailed information about exhibiting, including cost and logistics can be found at http://www.esd.org. The fair is free to ESD members, $15 to nonmembers if registered by March 28 and $20 thereafter. Registration includes a one-year membership to ESD. (Offer good for new first time members only.) For more information about the job fair or to exhibit, visit http://www.esd.org or call Della Cassia at (248) 353-0735, ext. 112 or dcassia@esd.org.

* The Society for Information Management Detroit Chapter is now accepting applications to support technology-related charitable and educational projects for 2014. The chapter has provided $40,000 in grants to eight charitable programs in the two years since the philanthropy program was formalized. In 2013, chapter membership supported multiple programs with hundreds of volunteer hours for projects such as Judson Center, Michigan Council of Women in Technology’s Camp Infinity, Oakland Family Services and Ann Arbor Give Camp. Grants may be given up to $5,000 for each project, plus volunteer service hours. Interested organizations can download an application for support online at http://sdrv.ms/1lJa0HY or contact SIM Detroit at community@simdetroit.org. The 22-member SIM Detroit Philanthropy Committee is chaired by Stephen Pickett, senior vice president and CIO of Penske Corp. Established in 1968, SIM has nearly 5,000 members, including CIOs, senior IT executives, prominent academicians, consultants, and other IT leaders. SIM Detroit is comprised of more than 160 senior IT executives, prominent academicians, selected consultants and other IT thought leaders who come together to share and enhance their rich intellectual capital for the benefit of its members and their organizations. The chapter hosts monthly educational and networking seminars, and holds a variety of special events throughout the year. More at http://www.simdetroit.org.

* The University of Michigan will host “Lessons from Youngstown — Planning For A Smaller, Greener City” Wednesday, March 19 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the UM Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy Annenberg Auditorium, 1120 Weill Hall, 735 S. State St., Ann Arbor. In 2005, Youngstown, Ohio, released its innovative “2010 Plan,” which accepted that Youngstown would not grow yet could still become a better, smaller city. A decade out, what have we learned? June Thomas and Margaret Dewar, UM urban and regional planning professors and co-editors of The City After Abandonment, will moderate the panel discussion. Panelists include Hunter Morrison, one of the planners who led “Youngstown 2010″ and is now executive director of the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium; Ian Beniston, deputy director of the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp.; and John Russo, visiting research fellow at Virginia Tech’s Metropolitan Institute and co-author of “Steeltown.” For more information, visit http://www.fordschool.umich.edu/events/calendar/1624.

* IT consultants C/D/H will host a seminar, “It’s 2014: Does it make sense to still be hosting email?” on April 23 at 1500 Woodward Ave., Detroit, and April 24 at its Grand Rapids office, 15 Ionia Ave. SW. Both events run from 1 to 4 p.m., with a social reception to follow. The price of the event is $20. Are you still hosting email? Are you ready to leave behind maintenance, upgrade and patch costs? Do you want to be fully protected, with built-in anti-virus and anti-spam? Would you like employees to access email, calendars, and contacts from any device or web browser? Attend this session for answers to these questions and more. More at this link.

* The MidMichigan Innovation Center will host Robert Fish, better known to coffee lovers as Biggby Bob, CEO co-founder of Lansing-based Biggby Coffee, in an Innovators Showcase event Tuesday, March 18 from noon to 1 p.m. The MMIC is at 2007 Austin St. in Midland. Fish worked his way through Michigan State University at restaurant jobs, graduating in 1989 from MSU’s hospitality school. He opened his first restaurant a Flap Jack Shack, in 1991. He sold the restaurant two years later and did some traveling before founding what today is Biggby in 1995. The program is $10, which includes lunch. Register at http://www.mmic.us/events. For more information call (989) 839-2333.

* The Altair Partner Alliance has added Italy-based Seac02, developer of the real time rendering and augmented reality software LinceoVR, to the program. LinceoVR’s is the allliance’s first rendering tool. It renders 3D models in real time, bringing them to life with state-of-the-art tracking for augmented reality technologies. This capability enables users to share 3D models in new digital media through both virtual and augmented realities. LinceoVR can create customized on- and off-line scenarios, helping users present products in new and interactive ways. The results turn existing content into a nearly tangible product within an interactive experience. LinceoVR is extremely versatile, with applications in processes from engineering to design and marketing. Automotive and consumer goods producers and retailers can take advantage of LinceoVR to deliver persuasive arguments for product concept design, along with marketing and sales applications. LinceoVR can be also used in the packaging design phase for visual decision-making support. It is an impressive tool to present projects interactively to colleagues, partners and clients in the architecture industry. LinceoVR possesses many integrations and compatibilities with Microsoft Kinect to help create its augmented realities, along with numerous trackers, such as marker tracking and natural feature tracking. In addition to realtime rendering, the software is capable of background subtraction and substitution — for example, through a green screen — plus video recording, custom overlays and many other features. It includes such environment variables as reflections, backgrounds, materials, effects and sounds, all within a 360-degree rotation navigation system available on any axis and a camera path editor and player. Available for the past 13 years, Altair’s unit-based licensing system allows HyperWorks users customizable access to a growing portfolio of applications, optimizing their return on investment by making more than 20 in-house-developed applications available by use of a single pool of recyclable HyperWorks units. Altair also has offered the opportunity for third-party companies to run their own applications under this unit-based system, a collaboration now known as the Altair Partner Alliance. Any of the partner programs can be accessed using the same leased HWUs they are already using to run HyperWorks. This makes more than 60 additional applications available at no incremental cost or long-term commitment. The introductory webinar for Seac02 is taking place on April 3 at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Eastern time. HyperWorks users can learn more about the company and download LinceoVR at http://www.altairalliance.com/seac02.

* Nicolas Barthelemy has been elected to the Board of directors of Ann Arbor-based IROA Technologies. Prior to joining IROA’s board, Barthelemy served nine years at Life Technologies, in various executive-level business and operations positions, including serving as president of the $850 million Cell Systems Division and finally Chief Commercial Officer. Prior to joining Life Technologies, Barthelemy held a series leadership positions with increasing responsibilities in Biogen Idec’s commercial and manufacturing organizations. His career began with at Merck, Inc., where he held technical positions in both the pharmaceutical and vaccine divisions. IROA Technologies LLC develops analytical tools to simplify the measurement of metabolites for multiple applications including general research, diagnostics, toxicology, agriculture, and bioprocess. IROA Biochemical Quantitation kits provide labeling reagents, the ClusterFinder software package for data analysis and access to the IROA Portal for advanced statistical analysis.

And now the national and global news, courtesy of CBS, CNet’s News.com and elsewhere…

* The British inventor of the World Wide Web wants a digital bill of rights to protect Internet users from surveillance. Speaking on the 25th anniversary of his creation, Tim Berners-Lee says he hopes to spark a global conversation about the need to defend principles that have made the Web successful. He told the Guardian newspaper that the Web was under increasing attack by governments and corporate interests. He said the system needed an online Magna Carta, or foundation of rules, to protect its openness and neutrality. Berners-Lee said in a statement Wednesday he believes the Web should be “accessible to all, from any device, and one that empowers all of us to achieve our dignity, rights and potential as humans.”

* In endangered species news, good news has come in threes at the London Zoo. The zoo said Thursday that 5-year-old Sumatran tiger Melati has given birth to triplets, a little more than a year after the endangered tiger lost a 3-week-old cub. London Zoo said the three cubs – whose sexes are not yet known – all arrived within an hour of each other early on Feb. 3. The cubs’ first moments have been captured on hidden cameras and zookeepers are monitoring the three around the clock.

* An environmental protection group and labor rights group are trying to pressure Apple (AAPL) into abandoning two hazardous chemicals used to make iPhones.  Green America and China Labor Watch launched their campaign Wednesday to protect the health of factory workers assembling the devices in China. The groups unveiled an online petition protesting the use of benzene and n-hexane in the production of iPhones. Benzene is a carcinogen that can cause leukemia if not handled properly and n-hexane has been linked to nerve damage.

* Here’s a look at some of the wearable technology on display at the South by Southwest tech conference in Austin, Texas. Where it was 64 freakin’ degrees Thursday.

* Yahoo (YHOO) is cribbing from Yelp’s (YELP) online reviews of local merchants to soup up its search engine. Ratings and excerpts from Yelp’s merchant reviews began to appear in Yahoo’s search results on Wednesday. Financial terms of the partnership weren’t disclosed.

* The creator of the ultra-popular but no-longer-available Flappy Bird is finally telling his story. Dong Nguyen, a 28-year-old programmer from Vietnam, explains in a Rolling Stone profile that he created the game because he wanted something like the Nintendo games that he grew up playing.

* When it comes to new gadgets, you start getting old really young. When faced with a strange new gizmo, preschoolers figured out how it worked more quickly than college students did, a new study shows. The likely reason, according to the researchers, is that very young children may be less fixed than adults in their ideas about cause and effect.

* Amazon’s Prime premium service just got a little more expensive. For the first time, the online retailing giant will raise the membership fee for Prime, hiking it by $20 to $99 a year. Amazon Student Prime will rise $10 to $49 a year. Prime members will pay the higher fee when their accounts come up for renewal.

* Picture a 3D virtual representation of your living room, one you can fly over in a top-down view and even move through with the fluidity of a first-person video game. Now imagine having the ability to tinker with that space: Change the paint on your walls, drop in a new couch to see how it fits with the existing furniture, or perform accurate measurements of the room, all on a computer screen. That’s Matterport’s vision for the future of 3D modeling, and it extends beyond home renovation.

* Well, that didn’t take long. Less than 24 hours after legendary rocker Neil Young launched a Kickstarter page for his long-talked-about Pono music service, the campaign surpassed its goal of $800,000. As of this writing, the PonoMusic Kickstarter campaign has $2.5 million in pledges from nearly 7,500 backers.

* Some Starbucks customers will be able to order their favorite venti mocha double-shot no-whip before they even reach the counter. In an interview with Bloomberg published late Wednesday, Starbucks chief digital officer Adam Brotman said that the coffee chain is “actively working” on mobile ordering.

* Google Capital might just have the Midas Touch. Renaissance Learning announced on Thursday that private equity firm Hellman & Friedman has acquired it for $1.1 billion, The New York Times reported. Just last month, Renaissance Learning raised $40 million from Google Capital, the search giant’s latest venture-capital arm. The investment was based on a $1 billion valuation.

* Animals around the world could be scared away from power cables because these give off UV flashes invisible to humans, scientists have said. The findings, published in the journal Conservation Biology, claimed habitats and migration could be disrupted.

* The director of the U.S. government office that monitors scientific misconduct in biomedical research has resigned after 2 years out of frustration with the “remarkably dysfunctional” federal bureaucracy. David Wright, director of the Office of Research Integrity (ORI), writes in a scathing resignation letter obtained by ScienceInsider that the huge amount of time he spent trying to get things done made much of his time at ORI “the very worst job I have ever had.”

* NASA’s baseline budget for the year beginning Oct. 1 pulls the plug on the 10-year-old Mars rover Opportunity, newly released details of the agency’s fiscal 2015 spending plan show. The plan, which requires Congressional approval, also anticipates ending the orbiting Mars Odyssey mission on Sept. 30, 2016. ‘There are pressures all over the place,’ NASA’s planetary science division director Jim Green said during an advisory council committee teleconference call on Wednesday.

* Reasons to keep your developers happy, besides just periodically being a decent human being: Researchers in Italy have found that happier programmers (or, more specifically, computer science students at a university) were significantly more likely to score higher on a problem solving assessment. The researchers first measured the emotional states of study participants using a measure devised by psychologists called the Scale of Positive and Negative Experience Affect Balance (SPANE-B) score. They then tested participants’ creativity (ability to write creative photo captions) and problem-solving ability (playing the Tower of London game). The results: happiness didn’t affect creativity, but did improve problem-solving ability.

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