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Tech and business news from around the region. Roku releases SoundBridge add-ons

Palo Alto-based Roku released three new software applications for the SoundBridge network music player and SoundBridge Radio.

Roku SoundBridge 2.5 Software Upgrade is compatible with all four models of SoundBridge, SoundBridge Radio, and Pinnacle SoundBridge.

Roku Radio Snooper shows users the addresses of their favorite stations. It also checks stations for compatibility with SoundBridge, and provides one-button playback of the station on the SoundBridge and the ability to set the station as a SoundBridge preset with one button click.

Firefly Media Server is an open-source project that supports SoundBridge’s new Roku Server Protocol (RSP), a Roku proprietary method of streaming a user’s music library to their SoundBridge that maximizes integration between the music library and the SoundBridge.

IT worker confidence plunges

Worker confidence among IT professionals fell substantially in August, as the sector’s Hudson Employment Index dropped 9.4 points to 103.1 in August. Despite the decline, the latest reading is substantially higher than last August, when it registered 97.5. Based on responses from approximately 9,000 workers nationwide across all industries, the composite index rose one point to 102.9 in August.

The Hudson Index for IT workers also showed:

* After a record-high 21 percent of workers rated their finances as excellent in July, only 14 made that statement in August. There was also a five-point drop to 44 percent in the number of workers who said their financial situation was improving.

* Similarly, the number of workers expecting their employer to hire fell from a near record-high of 40 percent to 31 percent.

* While only one-quarter of the work force was concerned about job security in July, 28 percent shared that sentiment in August.

280 Group releases developer toolkit

The San Jose-based 280 Group, a Silicon Valley Product Marketing and Product Management consulting firm, is shipping the 280 Group Developer Program Toolkit.

Designed for companies that need to recruit, attract and manage developers to create applications for their software platforms, the Developer Program Toolkit provides a complete solution with everything they need. Included is a narrated online seminar, templates, guidelines and a Developer Program white paper.

Survey tracks outsourcing trends

Venice-based software developer and consultant Venice Consulting Group released a new survey measuring the sentiment of executives on the subject of IT offshore outsourcing.

The survey found that while companies believe outsourcing is here to stay, their preference is to have a client contact that is located in the US. Another finding that indicates a shift away from traditional outsourcing to countries such as India shows that an overwhelming majority–over 85 percent–prefer an offshore outsourcing partner in the same time zone.

Other major findings include:

* Despite all the talk of offshore outsourcing, the majority of respondents (66 percent) have not outsourced an IT project to an offshore firm suggesting further room for growth of the market

* Main drivers for outsourcing continue to be cost savings and lack of internal resources

* Mexico and Canada are the most preferred countries to outsource IT projects

* About two-thirds (67 percent) of respondents were highly or somewhat unlikely to outsource to India

* Database and Web site design led the way in the most likely projects to be outsourced

The survey was sent to over 89,000 executives of large and mid-sized companies, and focused specifically on sentiment regarding the outsourcing of IT projects to offshore firms.

FormFactor signs pact with Hynix

Livermore-based FormFactor Inc. signed a technology agreement with Hynix Semiconductor Inc. to provide the Korean-based memory manufacturer with advanced wafer probe cards using FormFactor’s proprietary test equipment extension technology, TRE test technology.

FormFactor estimates that by utilizing its TRE technology, Hynix will be able to increase the total test capacity of its existing test equipment by more than 75 percent.

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