Tag: Compaq

Winsome Carly aims for president

0227-carly-fiorina-630x420The former maker of expensive printer ink, Carly Fiorina, has announced she is running for president.

Fiorina, as the CEO of HP, was once one of the most powerful women in American business. Her presidential run suggests that she is an underdog and the bottom of polls of the dozen or so Republican hopefuls and has never held public office.

Fiorina is at the bottom of a Reuters online poll of actual and possible Republican White House candidates, with less than a percent support.

She is positioning herself as a Washington outsider with real-life experience earned through years in the corporate world.

In her HP days she negotiated the merger of HP with Compaq and made the outfit one of the largest hardware makers in the world. It cost her job too. While the deal was ultimately seen as a success, ultimately it was what did HP in as PC sales plummeted.

Fiorina, 60 seems to be hoping to win votes by running down Hilary Clinton claiming that the former first lady and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, belong to an out of touch political elite.

“She reminds people that there is a huge disconnect between that political class and the hopes and concerns of hard-working Americans everywhere,” she told reporters on a conference call.

Still things are not going well. On the first day of her campaign when a critic took over a website with her name in it to highlight job losses at HP.

Visitors to the carlyfiorina.org site saw the message, “Carly Fiorina failed to register this domain. So I’m using it to tell you how many people she laid off at Hewlett-Packard.”

The site showed “sad-face” emoticons to symbolize what it said were 30,000 job losses at the company. Fiorina’s real campaign web site, www.carlyforpresident.com, featured a video from her about the presidential bid and other messages.

Google is ageist, claims law suit

RODRIGUEZ 12A US court has heard how Google discriminates against older workers and the average age of its workers is  just 29 years old

The case is being bought against Google by Robert Heath, a software engineer, who was 60 when he applied in 2011 for a job at Google.

According to ComputerWorld he wasn’t hired despite having “highly-pertinent qualifications and experience,” and being deemed by a Google recruiter as a “great candidate,” according to Heath’s lawsuit.

In a statement, Google’s response to the lawsuit was: “We believe that the facts will show that this case is without merit and we intend to defend ourselves vigorously.”

Heath’s case is about some pretty specific age data. Between 2007 and 2013, Google’s workforce grew from 9,500 to more than 28,000 employees, “yet as of 2013, its employees’ median age was 29 years old,” the lawsuit claims.

In other companies the median age of nearly 43 for all US workers who are computer programmers, according to the lawsuit.

Heath was contacted by a recruiter with Google’s engineering staff. The company was looking for candidates with experience in C/C++ and Java. “After reviewing your experience, I thought you would be a great candidate to come work at Google and add value,” wrote the Google recruiter to Heath.

But a phone interview did not go well as Heath and the interviewer had difficulty understanding each other. One part of the interview involved writing a short program to find the answer to a problem posed by the interviewer. Heath accomplished the task and offered to share it via Google Docs or email, but, instead, the interviewer required Heath “to read the program coding over the phone”.

Heath was not offered the job.

Heath, who lives in Boynton Beach, Fla., has a bachelor’s degree in computer science, and has worked for IBM, Compaq and General Dynamics. He also has a master certification in Java, which he achieved with a certification test score “higher than 96% of all previous test takers,” according to the lawsuit.

HP joins Latin America trend to sell laptops to retirees

If you read some North American financial pundits, Latin America is full of evil leftist tyrants. But down in Argentina, HP and the country’s pensioners might disagree, as some of them are buying PCs thanks to a government PC loans programme.

While those in the developed world have access to pensions in a stronger currency and cheaper local prices for technology, retirees and pensioners in South America usually don’t have either.

That’s why the government down in Argentina and its public pensions system has enacted a loans programme through one of the government-owned banks to finance computer purchases by pensioners, with a low interest rate and long payment plans.

Of course there is still an age-related digital divide, but those that do know about computers are already taking advantage of it.

Take this scribbler’s old man as an example: an IT veteran who started back in the days of punched cards, he has just replaced his 2004 Sony VAIO with a snappy new dual core laptop sporting two gigs of RAM, which he bought with one of these government loans.

The programme, as implemented through the public bank allows pensioners to choose among three computer brands: Exo – a local manufacturer, Olivetti and HP. Of the three, HP seems to be offering the widest range of options, with multiple AMD and Intel powered laptops, and also all-in-one desktops.

These loans cover computers up to 1280 quid, in 40 monthly instalments and with free delivery nationwide. The monthly payments are automagically deducted from the pensioner’s monthly pay cheque. To put this scheme in perspective, the private sector only offers up to two-year financing -24 monthly payments – in very rare instances, with one-year financing being the most common.

So overall it’s a big deal to make the grey haired surfers happy. What seems to be lacking, though, is some ways to train the untrained in these “new” technologies.

In the case of this scribbler’s old man, he chose a Compaq C778LA, a model which HP originally introduced in mid-2009 and which HP has since updated with a 300GB hard drive. It sports two gigs of RAM, Intel X1300 integrated graphics, and Vista as its OS – quickly replaced with Win 7, also known as “Vista 7”.

 

In Blighty

 Different countries have different approaches to help their often cash-strapped generation. Britain adds IT education, for instance.

Libraries across the UK have been offering basic computer courses and there’s been training efforts like the Bee’s “First Click” programme. Other private volunteer efforts also target pensioners and help get them computer-savvy. According to reports, keeping in touch with relatives abroad and “keeping up with the grandchildren” are two of the main motivators for retirees to get to grips with ‘puters.

Another government programme in England is the sponsoring of “Online Centres” which target “those with low or zero IT skills” and provide everyone a chance to use computers and access the Internet. According to the programme description, there’s more than six thousand “online centres” across England housed in community centres, churches, schools and libraries with experienced staff available to give as much help as each person needs.

 

In Oz

Down under, the government in Western Australia offers retirees – actually anyone over the age of 60 – the “Seniors Card” which provides not only utilities discounts and cheaper transport benefits but also lower prices when purchasing a computer. 

Another solution is provided by WorkVentures Connect IT, an Aussie not-for-profit which offers “quality refurbished PCs” at cheap prices to any senior who receives payment from Centrelink (pension or health care card).

 

Conclusion

Leaving aside what the Beeb described ten years ago as the one in five pensioners who “do not see what they could use computers for”, it’s nice to see governments across the world taking into account the needs of the grey-haired web surfers. A mix of generous financing terms for wider access to computers – like Argentina’s programme that uses the funds on the State pension system that previously went to the private stock markets casino, often invested outside the country – plus easy access to training like England’s programmes surely seems to be the way to go. And surely it beats wasting tax payer wonga to reward the fat cats at the likes of Goldman Sachs with bailouts.