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Point-of-Sale Industry Technology Blog

Our Passion is Focused on the Advancement of Payment Processing and Point-of-Sale Technology

The Modernization Of Computer Science Education

Most people, especially in Silicon Valley, are aware that there aren’t enough engineers graduating from college today. By 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor projects that there will be 1.4 million computer science (CS) jobs available, but only enough graduates to fill 30 percent of these jobs. What’s perhaps even more troubling, but frequently overlooked, is that the engineers who are graduating today often don’t have the level of real-world skills in CS they need to meet the requirements of open positions. Why? Put simply, being a CS student is very different from being a real-life software engineer.

The courses available to most CS students teach important software development practices, but because they’re designed around the typical classroom model of education, there are many aspects of the profession that they can’t convey to students. Unlike in the classroom, real-world software development projects are larger (in timeline and size) than the ones students encounter in class. One must also gain an understanding of some pretty substantial pre-existing code bases in order to be productive. What’s more, in the real-world, project management and interpersonal relationships can have as much impact on software design as technical issues, and systems are ultimately evaluated by user satisfaction rather than technical merit.

The best solution to this problem is to combine the valuable foundation of university CS education with the practicality of real-world work by connecting students to the open-source community.

Working on open source puts CS students at the heart of the software industry. Open source enables everyone involved to work in development and create new infrastructure and designs without being forced to start from scratch. And unlike in school, where a project might just be theoretical, or relevant only in context of the class, an open-source contribution makes immediate impact on the ecosystem.

Making it easier for students to be active contributors to the open-source community is key to preparing them for professional work and helping them to realize sooner the impact they can have on the world.

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Automated Coupon Delivery Service For Small Businesses

Culminating what the executive team at the automated customer service management service provider FiveStars calls three years of development work, the company is launching its latest feature — AutoPilot.

The new product FiveStars is selling automates the distribution of coupons and discounts based on a customers’ previous purchasing behavior at a store.

The new feature rolls up and replaces different services that FiveStars used to offer with a single bundled service that retailers use to communicate with customers’ mobile devices via SMS, location-based, geo-targeted push notifications, and email.

For instance, the store can send alerts or special discounts based on events in a customer’s life, like setting foot in the store, celebrating a birthday, follow up recommendations to specific purchases, or even a coupon if a customer hasn’t frequented a shop for a certain period of time.

The company boasts that it currently is responsible for 1.2 store check-ins per month through its platform for vendors, a rate that’s four times as high as retailers derive from Facebook check-ins.

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July 2014 - This Month we Celebrate 5 years of Ongoing Business

It has been an exciting road we have traveled, at times it felt like a roller-coaster.  Finally after 5 years we are riding on a smoothly paved road.  There is something about that 5 year mark that tends to be magical in business; we were taught this when we first launched and feel fortunate that we made it to stability.  Thank you to all of our customers!

The Supreme Court And Your Software Patents

The Supreme Court recently issued its long-awaited opinion in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l, known more affectionately in many circles as the Supreme Court case deciding whether software is patentable. Although the Supreme Court did not tackle that broader question in its June 19 opinion, it did address whether CLS Corp. should be allowed to patent the concept of mitigating settlement risk implemented in software. And the Supreme Court’s analysis of that issue should have important implications for anyone with interests in software patents.

Alice Corp. owns several patents related to computerized schemes for mitigating “settlement risk” – i.e. the risk that only one party to an agreed-upon financial exchange will satisfy its obligation. Although the practice of risk mitigation had existed long before Alice Corp. sought to patent the software version of doing so, Alice Corp. argued to the Supreme Court that it should be able to patent the process of implementing risk mitigation so long as a computer implemented that process.

The Supreme Court disagreed. It has long been recognized that “abstract ideas” are not patentable. Although difficult to ascertain the line between a patentable software invention and an un-patentable abstract idea, the Supreme Court provided the software industry with guidance. When analyzing whether a software patent relates to nothing more than an impermissible abstract idea, the Supreme Court says that you should look at a patents’ claim, i.e. the part of the patent that defines the metes and bounds of the invention.

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