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Summer 2017’s best paying internships

(TECH NEWS) Of the top 10 internships for Summer 2017, eight of them are tech companies. Check out this list and start making summer plans if you haven’t already.

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social security benefits

Students rejoice

College students, recent grads, and those looking to transition into new career paths often rely on internships to explore, get their feet wet, and build their resumes.

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Personally, I believe internships are most important for that exploration part – they’re understood to be temporary, and the best ones are designed such that both the company and the intern gain what they’re looking for – fresh perspectives, able bodies, new skills, etc.

Internships are not created equally

Unfortunately, the vast majority of internships are underpaid, or even completely unpaid. I’ve personally had to turn down internship opportunities because I couldn’t afford to work for free, and if I hadn’t been lucky enough to earn a (very small) grant from my university, I wouldn’t have been able to work at the publishing internship that set me on my current career path, and earned me some great friends along the way.

While I read and evaluated manuscripts and learned about agency life, surviving on what amounted to much less than minimum wage through a grant, my partner, who had yet to earn his undergrad degree, lived it up with an internship at a big finance organization in New York, earning six times what I did. Granted, he was doing highly skilled work as a software engineer. But is he really six times as skilled as I am?

That’s a tough ratio to swallow.

The origins and reasons behind unpaid and underpaid internships are complicated and longstanding, but some of it is obvious: in the tech industry, money is often readily available; in other industries, not so much.

No short straws here

Glassdoor recently released a new list of the top 25 internships, by median monthly salary, and it isn’t exactly full of surprises. The top ten reads like a who’s who of tech and e-commerce:

10. Google: $6,000
9. VMware: $6,080
8. Yahoo: $6,080
7. Yelp: $6,400
6. Bloomberg: $6,400
5. Apple: $6,400
4. Amazon: $6,400
3. Salesforce: $6,450
2. Microsoft: $7,100
1. Facebook: $8,000

A couple of reminders should accompany this list. First, many of these crazy high-paying internships take place in super high cost of living cities like New York and San Francisco. Not only can rent be laughably expensive, but you can also expect to pay more for everything from food, to parking, to a gym membership.

However, many of these internships don’t pay you only with exorbitant salary. They often offer free housing, transportation, and even meals on workdays. They also come with perks like onsite gyms and fitness classes, and open kitchens with snacks and drinks galore.

Techie students pay attention

So if you’ve got the skills and you want to make a ridiculous amount of money before you’ve even graduated from college, these are the places to focus your techie attention.

It’s worth noting, though, that smaller organizations, though they may offer less in the way of monetary compensation, often offer more in terms of a complete internship experience.

You may have access to people and perspectives within the company that you wouldn’t even meet at a behemoth like Google or Facebook, and you may also have more flexibility to work on what interests you, rather than what your team of interns has been assigned to do.

Either way, you’re bound to get a lot out of the right internship, so if your summer plans are still up in the air, consider spending a few months at a company you admire, learning everything you can.

#Interns

Staff Writer, Natalie Bradford earned her B.A. in English from Cornell University and spends a lot of time convincing herself not to bake MORE brownies. She enjoys cats, cocktails, and good films - preferably together. She is currently working on a collection of short stories.

Tech News

Foster communication from the search bar with Google business messaging

(TECH NEWS) Google added business messaging options on Google Maps and Google Search to make it easier for businesses and customers to have communication.

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Google search bar open to communication with businesses.

Connecting with and understanding your customers is important in keeping your business thriving. So, to help streamline that communication, Google is adding business messaging options to the Google Maps app and Google Search.

To start using this, your business will first need to be verified by Google. If you haven’t verified your business yet, you can get more information on how to do so here. If you’re already verified, you simply need to turn messaging on from your Business Profile.

Once it’s on, customers will see a “Message” button on your Business Profile, and they will be able to message you at any time. From the business messages section in the “Updates” tab on Google Maps, you can start replying to customers. Also, via the Customers menu on your Business Profile, you’ll soon be able to see your messages straight from Google Search.

Google said, “When people look for information online, they want to find the answers to their questions quickly. This is especially true for people browsing nearby businesses. Business Profiles help merchants share information like how late you’re open and what safety measures are in place. But sometimes people are looking for answers to more niche questions such as: ‘Do you make gluten-free cakes?’ or ‘Is there covered parking?’”

To help make it easier for customers to ask their questions, Google isn’t making customers head back to your Business Profile to click the “Message” button every time they have a question. In addition to that button, customers can initiate a conversation with your business on any post you’ve created. Also, when a customer’s call goes unanswered, they will be prompted to send you a message.

And, besides making communication easier, Google will soon be “rolling out more metrics to give you a deeper understanding of how customers discover your Business Profile.” You’ll be able to see Insights on what queries customers used to find your business. You’ll be able to tell whether they saw your business on Google Maps or Search, and if it was on a computer or mobile device.

“We’ve continued to invest in new ways to make it easier for you to bolster your presence on Google. With these updated features, we hope you have more of the tools and information you need to connect with customers and grow your business in today’s ever-changing environment,“ Google said.

Easing the pain between business and customer is always a plus. What do you think about Google’s new messaging options?

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Tech News

Tired of transcribing screenshots? Put this Chrome extension to work

(TECH NEWS) This new Chrome extension takes out the tedium of transcribing all your necessary screenshots into your writing and does it for you.

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Logo for Docsumo, a transcribing Google Chrome extension

My favorite part of being a writer is getting to interview people from various walks of life. My least favorite part of being a writer is transcribing those interviews.

Slightly easier, but still annoying, is transcribing information from a screenshot, photo file or PDF. Sometimes you have to get this information in a rush and retyping all of it slows you down.

Docsumo is making that process into a breeze. The tool allows for users to grab text from a screenshot for easy copy and paste.

So how does it work? First, it has to be downloaded as a Google Chrome extension. Once it’s part of the browser’s extension, it can be put to work.

A video on Docsumo’s website demonstrates the easy transcribing process. The developer does a Google image search for a shipping label as they need to quickly copy and paste an address. When the necessary label pops up, they click the Docsumo tool that allows them to drag and select the part of the label they want to transcribe (the movement of the mouse is similar to taking a screenshot on a Mac computer).

Then, the text that they’ve highlighted is transcribed into a box where it can be copied and pasted. Simple!

In addition to copy and paste, users can extract, edit, and share data. After that, all of the related information is removed from Docsumo’s server. Examples of when this tool is useful include: Invoices, bank statements, insurance documents, bills, and tax forms.

The tool is made possible through Optimal Character Recognition (OCR) which, according to Ducsumo’s developers, is something that comes in handy in many situations.

“Organizations often receive crucial information and data in image form of documents. These images can be a photo of a document, scanned document, a scene-photo, or subtitle text superimposed on an image. The real challenge for the operation team is to be able to extract information and data from these photos. It can take hours to manually pull out this data and assemble it in a structured way for record-keeping and processing. This process is hugely error-prone too.

OCR technology comes to rescue in this situation.

Optical character recognition or optical character reader (OCR) is the electronic or mechanical conversion of images of typed, handwritten or printed text into machine-encoded text. This technology is suitable for photos of text-heavy documents and printed paper data records such as passports, invoices, bank statements, receipts, business cards, and identity verification documents. OCR technology is the way of digitizing printed texts so that they can be electronically edited, searched, and stored more compactly.”

In a world where pen-to-paper has slowly been fading away, Docsumo is here to give it another push further away.

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Tech News

Scoring productivity: Is this Microsoft tool creepy or helpful?

(TECH NEWS) Microsoft launched a new tool that helps monitor user data, but it’s not a work monitoring tool – it’s trying to judge productivity.

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Black and white data screens monitoring productivity.

Just recently into the work from home movement, Microsoft launched their new tool, “Productivity Score”. According to Microsoft, this tool helps organizations understand how well they are functioning, how technology affects their productivity, and how they can get the most out of their Microsoft 365 purchase.

But to do all of this, the tool will keep track of how each employee is using Microsoft products. For instance, the tool will monitor how often video or screen sharing is enabled during meetings by employees.

It will keep a metric of how employees are communicating. It will show if employees are sending out emails through Outlook, sending out messages through Teams, or posting on Yammer. It will also keep track of which Microsoft tools are being used more and on which platforms.

So, Microsoft’s new tool is a scary work surveillance tool, right? According to Microsoft, it isn’t. In a blog post, Microsoft 365’s corporate Vice President Jared Spataro said, “Productivity Score is not a work monitoring tool. Productivity Score is about discovering new ways of working, providing your people with great collaboration, and technology experiences.”

Spataro says the tool “focuses on actionable insights” so people and teams can use Office 365 tools to be more productive, collaborative, and help make work improvements. And, while this all sounds good, privacy advocates aren’t too thrilled about this.

Microsoft says it is “committed to privacy as a fundamental element of Productivity Score.” To maintain privacy and trust, the tool does aggregate user data over a 28-day period. And, there are controls to anonymize user information, or completely remove it. However, by default individual-level monitoring is always on, and only admins can make any of these changes. Employees can’t do anything about securing their privacy.

So, user data privacy is still a large issue on the table, but privacy advocates can breathe a sigh of relief. Yesterday, they got a response from Microsoft they can smile about. In another blog post, Spataro responded to the controversy. “No one in the organization will be able to use Productivity Score to access data about how an individual user is using apps and services in Microsoft 365,” he said.

Although Productivity Score will still aggregate data over a 28-day period, it will not do so from an individual employee level. It will do it from an organizational one as a whole. Also, the company is making it clearer that the tool is a “measure of organizational adoption of technology—and not individual user behavior.”

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