March 21, 2013

Briefcase

From news service reports

Lower-wage workers pessimistic about prospects

While lower-wage American workers have accounted for the lion's share of the jobs created since the 2007-2009 Great Recession, a new survey shows they are also among the most pessimistic about their future career prospects, their job security and their finances.

The two-part Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey of both employers and employees found high levels of anxiety among those earning $35,000 annually or less. Many of these workers say they're worse off now than they were before or during the recession.

Seventy-two percent of employers at big companies and 58 percent at smaller ones say there is a "great deal" or "some" opportunity for worker advancement. But, asked the same question, 67 percent of low-wage workers said they saw "a little" or "no opportunity" to advance. 

Walmart tests program for checking out via smartphone

Walmart is expanding a test of a new checkout program that allows shoppers to scan items with their smartphones while they're in the aisles and then pay at self-checkout terminals.

The world's largest retailer launched what it calls its Scan & Go program late last year in about 70 stores in Atlanta and in the Bentonville, Ark., area, where the retailer is based.

The program works like this: Customers scan bar codes of products using the retailer's Scan & Go app downloaded onto Apple iPads, iPhones or iPod Touch devices. The app generates a code, which can be scanned at the self-checkout terminals. The app is only available for Apple devices, but Walmart says it has plans to eventually release versions for other platforms. 

FedEx's third-quarter profit down 31 percent

FedEx said Wednesday that third-quarter profit fell 31 percent as customers shifted to slower and less-expensive international air-shipping options, and it cut its forecast of full-year earnings.

The company says it will cut capacity to and from Asia starting next month and might retire some of its older airplanes.

Memphis-based FedEx Corp. said its net income fell to $361 million, or $1.13 per share, in the three months ended Feb. 28. That's down from $521 million, or $1.65 per share, a year earlier. 

HP develops glasses-free 3-D for mobile devices

Researchers at Hewlett-Packard Co. say they've developed a way to put glasses-free 3-D video on mobile devices with a wide enough viewing angle to allow viewers to see objects more fully just by tilting the screen.

Glasses-free 3-D in itself is not unique -- companies like MasterImage 3D and Stream TV have demonstrated the technology on tablets and flat-screen TVs.

But HP's researchers have found a way to make images viewable from angles up to 45 degrees from center in any direction. That means, for instance, that viewers can see a person's face with one ear blocked from view, but reveal it by swiveling the screen.

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