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Businesses

BART Strike Provides Stark Contrast To Tech's Non-Union World 467

Posted by Soulskill
from the bofh-union-is-terrible-to-contemplate dept.
dcblogs writes "The strike by San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) workers this week is a clear and naked display of union power, something that's probably completely alien to tech professionals. Tech workers aren't organized in any significant way except through professional associations. They don't strike. But the tech industry is highly organized, and getting more so. Industry lobbying spending has been steadily rising, reaching $135 million last year, almost as much as the oil and gas industry. But in just one day of striking, BART workers have cost the local economy about $73 million in lost productivity due to delays in traffic and commuting. Software developers aren't likely to unionize. As with a lot of professionals, they view themselves as people with special skills, capable of individually bargaining for themselves, and believe they have enough power in the industry to get what they want, said Victor Devinatz, a professor of management and quantitative methods at Illinois State University College of Business. For unions to get off the ground with software workers, Devinatz said, 'They have to believe that collective action would be possible vehicle to get the kinds of things that they want and that they deserve.'"
Programming

Things That Scare the Bejeezus Out of Programmers 641

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-just-a-matter-of-code dept.
itwbennett writes "Software developers are, by and large, a cool and analytical bunch, but there are a handful of things that strike terror in their hearts. Phil Johnson scoured developer forums looking for an answer to the question: What's your biggest fear as a programmer? The answers clustered into 5 broad groups ranging from being forced to learn or use a specific technology to working for and with incompetents. What's your biggest fear?"
Programming

The Simian Army and the Antifragile Organization 66

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-it-ain't-broke-get-a-bigger-hammer dept.
CowboyRobot writes "ACM has an article about how Netflix conducts its resilience testing. Instead of the GameDays used by sites such as Amazon and Google, Netflix uses what they call The Simian Army, based on the philosophy that 'Resilience can be improved by increasing the frequency and variety of failure and evolving the system to deal better with each new-found failure, thereby increasing anti-fragility.' While GameDay exercises are like a fire-drill, with scheduled exercises where failure is manually introduced or simulated, the Simian Army relies on failure in the live environment induced by autonomous agents known as 'monkeys.' Chaos Monkey randomly terminates virtual instances in a production environment that are serving live customer traffic. Chaos Gorilla causes an entire Amazon Availability Zone to fail. And Chaos Kong will take down an entire region of zones. 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger' and Netflix hopes that by constantly protecting itself from internal onslaught, they will become increasingly 'anti-fragile — growing stronger from each successive stressor, disturbance, and failure.'"
Education

How Facial Analysis Software Could Help Struggling Students 90

Posted by samzenpus
from the turn-that-frown-upside-down dept.
moon_unit2 writes "Tech Review has a story on research showing that facial recognition software can accurately spot signs that programming students are struggling. NC State researchers tracked students learning java and used an open source facial-expression recognition engine to identify emotions such as frustration or confusion. The technique could be especially useful for Massive Open Online Courses — where many thousands of students are working remotely — but it could also help teachers identify students who need help in an ordinary classroom, experts say. That is, as long as those students don't object to being watched constantly by a camera."
The Almighty Buck

Clinkle Wants To Become Your Wallet 121

Posted by timothy
from the joint-checking-account dept.
vikingpower writes "Clinkle, a new mobile payments start-up, may or may not have succeeded where so many other efforts have fizzled by inventing a practical way to replace credit cards with smartphones. It's hard to say, though, since Clinkle won't say much about how its system works. Its website is, well ... slight. But a prominent group of Silicon Valley investors who do know what Clinkle is cooking up are acting as though it has achieved a breakthrough. On Thursday, Clinkle announced that it had raised $25 million in early financing from Accel Partners; Andreessen Horowitz; Intel; Intuit; Marc Benioff, the chief executive of Salesforce.com; Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal; and a long list of other investors with technology industry pedigrees. The Huffington Post has an article on Clinkle, or rather on Stanford students putting their degree on hold to go work at Clinkle. The Wall Street Journal [paywalled] mentions Clinkle having some 30-odd employees already."
Businesses

How Silicon Valley's Tech Reign Will End 395

Posted by timothy
from the reports-of-its-death-seem-premature dept.
theodp writes "Silicon Valley's stranglehold on West Coast innovation is in danger. The main problem? It's no fun to live in Silicon Valley. Technology is people, explains The Atlantic's Derek Thompson, and more people are choosing to live in cities. And Silicon Valley isn't like a city, it's like a suburb. 'What's happening now,' says author Bruce Katz, 'is workers want to be in Oakland and San Francisco.' So, how might Silicon Valley save itself? 'Silicon Valley is going to have to urbanize,' Katz said. '[There is a] migration out of Silicon Valley to places where people really want to live.'"
Programming

Ask Slashdot: How Will You Update Your Technical Skills Inventory This Summer? 208

Posted by Soulskill
from the underwater-basketweaving-using-node.js dept.
Proudrooster writes "As technologists, developers, and programmers it is essential to keep moving forward as technology advances so that we do not find ourselves pigeonholed, irrelevant, or worse, unemployed. If you had to choose a new technology skill to add to your personal inventory this summer, what would it be and why? Also, where would you look for the best online training (iTunesU, Lynda.com)? The technologies that immediately jump out as useful to me are HTML5, XCODE, and AJAX. How about you?"
Oracle

Larry Ellison and Marc Benioff Suddenly Playing Nice, Weirding Everyone Out 27

Posted by Soulskill
from the why-aren't-mommy-and-daddy-fighting dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Once upon a time, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison took what seemed like inordinate amounts of pleasure in firing off verbal broadsides at each other. In 2011, for example, Ellison referred to Salesforce as 'the roach motel of clouds' and 'a very bad security model.' But Benioff's given as good as he's gotten, swiping at Oracle's early cloud efforts as 'cloud in a box' and 'just another server.' But oh, how things change: Ellison and Benioff have revealed that their firms would come together in a joint effort. They were on their best behavior during a conference call this week. 'The Oracle database has been a key part of Salesforce's infrastructure from the very beginning of our company 14 years ago,' Benioff told Ellison at one point, according to a transcript posted on ZDNet. 'Absolutely the best decision we ever made was to go with Oracle.' Why the sudden reversal? Simply put, after years of sticking with a hardware-and-software model, Oracle now has cloud religion. For Salesforce, the benefits are a little murkier, but some analysts think that Salesforce will be able to leverage Oracle's name to gain a heightened profile with businesses. But can Benioff and Ellison continue to play nice?"
Businesses

Immigration Bill Passes the Senate, Includes More H-1B Visas 274

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-word-on-more-h-1b-mastercards dept.
An anonymous reader writes "While the landmark immigration bill (full text PDF), which recently passed the U.S. Senate, is being hailed as bringing crucial reforms that will vastly improve the state of immigration in this country, there is a provision in it that is seeing relatively little discussion: section 4101, a 'market-based' increase in the amount of H-1B visas for skilled workers. 'The pitched arguments of both sides, which are likely to resurface in the House when it takes up its version of an immigration overhaul, cloud a complicated reality. There is little empirical evidence to suggest that foreign engineers displace American engineers as a whole. If anything, one recent study suggests, the growth of immigrant workers in American companies helps younger American technical workers — more of them are hired and at higher-paying jobs — but has no noticeable consequences, good or bad, on older workers.'"
Programming

Node.js and MongoDB Turning JavaScript Into a Full-Stack Language 354

Posted by timothy
from the but-does-it-come-with-a-web-browser dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "For all its warts and headaches, JavaScript has emerged as the lingua franca of the modern Web, arguably second in adoption only to HTML itself, which obviously is just a markup standard rather than a full-fledged programming language. It's effectively impossible to launch a sophisticated Web project without making extensive use of JavaScript and AJAX dynamic loading. That's precisely why recent projects that move JavaScript beyond its usual boring domain of defining in-browser interactivity are so interesting — because it's already dominant, and growing even more so. Writer and software developer Vijith Assar argues that Node.js and MongoDB are turning JavaScript into a full-stack language. 'In the grand scheme, Node and Mongo are still quite new; for the most part, ace JavaScript developers who can write brilliant code on both sides of the request transaction have yet to emerge,' he suggests. 'But if and when they do, the things they build could be jaw-dropping.'"
Programming

Dr. Dobb's Calls BS On Obsession With Simple Code 381

Posted by timothy
from the my-dear-watson-this-isn't-perl dept.
theodp writes "Over at Dr. Dobb's, Editor-in-Chief Andrew Binstock has a nice rant on The Misplaced Obsession with Simplicity. 'Any idiot can write complex code,' goes the old maxim, 'the true art is writing simple code.' Right, Andrew? Wrong (mostly). Binstock explains, 'It's not true that any idiot can write complex code. Complex code is difficult, often very difficult, to write. It's entirely true that it's more difficult to maintain, too. But that's the nature of complexity. Some things are intensely difficult to express in code and they require complexity, simply because they're not inherently simple.' After citing the complex-but-necessarily-so code of Al Aho and sometimes-misguided reverence for cyclomatic complexity limits to help make his point, Binstock concludes, 'My view of simplicity is unemotional and free of idolatry because I define it with respect to complexity, rather than the other way around: Simplicity is the quality of code that is no more complex than required to express the underlying complexity. In this way, simple code can be intensely complex. There is no inherent good/bad dichotomy.'"
Cloud

Review: Oracle Database 12c 147

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-it-out dept.
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Riyaj Shamsudeen offers an in-depth look at Oracle Database 12c, which he calls a 'true cloud database,' bringing a new level of efficiency and ease to database consolidation. 'In development for roughly four years, Oracle Database 12c introduces so many important new capabilities in so many areas — database consolidation, query optimization, performance tuning, high availability, partitioning, backup and recovery — that even a lengthy review has to cut corners. Nevertheless, in addition to covering the big ticket items, I'll give a number of the lesser enhancements their due,' writes Riyaj Shamsudeen. 'Having worked with the beta for many months, I can tell you that the quality of software is also impressive, starting with a smooth RAC cluster installation. As with any new software release, I did encounter a few minor bugs. Hopefully these have been resolved in the production release that arrived yesterday.'"
Databases

Monty Suggests a Business-Friendly License That Trends Open 43

Posted by timothy
from the give-yourself-a-head-start dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Want to gain some of the benefits of open source software development but not sure how to finance it? According to Monty Widenius, creator of MySQL and MariaDB, one solution could be the 'business source' license. While 'open source friendly' rather than open source, Monty blogged, it is intended to offer a viable alternative for companies that want to 'do development and compete with closed source companies on similar economic terms.' Business source starts out with similar benefits as an OSD-compliant license: the source code is visible and can be used freely by all but a small segment that has to pay (the developing company chooses the segment). Then, after a few years, the license automatically changes to an open source license. Monty recently explained the details of business source, and gave a sample license. (Oh, and not to worry, he notes – MariaDB is and will remain GPL.)"
Businesses

Ask Slashdot: Getting Hired As a Self-Taught Old Guy? 472

Posted by Soulskill
from the young-stunt-double-for-the-interview dept.
StonyCreekBare writes "How can an autodidact get past the jobs screening process? I have a long track record of success, despite limited formal education. Despite many accomplishments, published papers, and more, I cannot seem to get past the canned hiring process and actually get before a hiring manager. Traditional hiring processes seem to revolve around the education and degrees one holds, not one's track record and accomplishments. Now as an older tech-worker I seem to encounter a double barrier by being gray-haired as well. All prospective employers seem to see is a gray-haired old guy with no formal degrees. The jobs always seem to go to the younger guys with impressive degrees, despite a total lack of accomplishment. How can an accomplished, if gray-haired, self-educated techie get a foot in the door?"
Programming

Join COBOL's Next Generation 276

Posted by timothy
from the enjoy-your-tab-diet-beverage-too dept.
jfruh writes "COBOL, it's finally becoming clear, isn't going away any time soon; there are far too many business-criticial applications written in it that work perfectly well for that to happen. This reality could be a career boon for IT staff. Need to learn the ins and outs of COBOL? Your employer may well pay for your training. Just getting started in IT? COBOL can provide a niche that gets you a first job."
IBM

Perspectives On the Latest IBM Layoffs 135

Posted by timothy
from the still-biggish-blue dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After IBM reported disappointing Q1 earnings in March, to nobody's surprise, layoffs (RAs or 'Resource Actions' in IBM parlance) were announced two months later; June 12 seemed to be when most of the pink slips were handed out. While this is hardly a novel occurrence at IBM, this time the RA'd employee water cooler page is now open for everyone's inspection, and Cringely let loose with some predictable I-told-you-so's about financially oriented IBM senior management. Dan Burger at IT Jungle has a more numbers-oriented take on the latest round of layoffs."
Books

Book Review: Puppet 3 Beginner's Guide 81

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
sagecreek writes "If you are in charge of a small network with just a few servers, you may still be doing configuration management primarily by hand. And you may take particular pride in maintaining that 'artisan' role. After all, it's mostly up to you to set up new users and their machines, fix current problems, manage the servers and their software, create databases and their user accounts, and try to keep the network and user configurations as uniform as possible despite running several different brands--and vintages--of hardware and software. However, warns infrastructure consultant John Arundel, '[b]eyond ten or so servers, there simply isn't a choice. You can't manage an infrastructure like this by hand. If you're using a cloud computing architecture, where servers are created and destroyed minute-by-minute in response to changing demand, the artisan approach to server crafting just won't work.' In his new book, Puppet 3 Beginner's Guide, Arundel emphasizes: 'Manual configuration management is tedious and repetitive, it's error-prone, and it doesn't scale well. Puppet is a tool for automating this process.'" Read below for the rest of sagecreek's review.
Programming

The Security Risks of HTML5 Development 275

Posted by samzenpus
from the protect-ya-neck dept.
CowboyRobot writes "Local storage is a big change from HTML of the past, where browsers could only use cookies to store small bits of information, such as session tokens, for managing identity. HTML5 changes this with sessionStorage, localStorage, and client-side databases to allow developers to store vast amounts of data in the browser that is all accessible from JavaScript. An attacker could retrieve this data or manipulate the data, which would then get used again later by the application and may be uploaded back to the server to attack others, as well. Another risk comes from using 3rd-party code. Until HTML5, JavaScript was limited to requesting resources from the domain from which it was loaded, but with the addition of cross-origin resource sharing (CORS), this has been changed to allow JavaScript to request resources from different domains. This offers increased functionality but requires strict usage policies or risks being abused."
Microsoft

Oracle and Microsoft To Announce Cloud Partnership Monday 82

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-go-together-like-peanut-butter-and-jellyfish dept.
symbolset writes "While some might liken the deal to the Empire joining up with the Trade Federation, there may be some interesting outcomes for this one. On Monday Microsoft and Oracle are expected to announce a 'cloud" partnership'. Although the two companies often seem to be at odds, two of their founders — Bill Gates and Larry Ellison — are partners in charity in the 'giving pledge.' Is this the beginning of a beautiful friendship? 'Oracle is battling an image not of growing up, but of growing old. On Thursday the company announced lower than expected earnings, which it ascribed to a tough economy overseas. Cloud-based software grew well, but remains a small part of its overall revenue. The company also said it would raise its dividend and announced a big stock buyback, behaviors usually undertaken by tech companies when they begin to grow more slowly.'"
PHP

PHP 5.5.0 Released 219

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
New submitter irventu writes "The long-awaited PHP 5.5.0 has finally been released, bringing many new features and integrating Zend's recently open-sourced OPcache. With the new Laravel PHP framework winning RoRs and CodeIgnitor converts by the thousands, Google recently announcing support for PHP in its App Engine and the current PHP renaissance is well underway. This is great news for the web's most popular scripting language." The full list of new features is available at the Change Log, and the source code is at the download page.
Firefox

Foxconn Betting Big On Firefox OS 94

Posted by timothy
from the ok-but-where's-the-ice-weasel-phone? dept.
jfruh writes "Foxconn is firmly identified in the public mind as the company that manufactures iPhones and iPads. But the company is looking to forge its own identity, and sees Firefox OS as the means to do so. To that end, Foxconn is hiring thousands of developers to help work on the open source phone OS and Foxconn's own suite of cloud services."
Java

Java 6 EOL'd By Oracle 115

Posted by timothy
from the this-too-shall-pass dept.
Tmack writes "Not completely unexpected, Java6 has reached EOL. This tidbit shows up in Oracle's Java6 FAQ page, recommending everyone update to Java7: 'Oracle no longer posts updates of Java SE 6 to its public download sites. All Java 6 releases up to and including 6u45 have been moved to the Java Archive on the Oracle Technology Network, where they will remain available but not receive further updates. Oracle recommends that users migrate to Java 7 in order to continue receiving public updates and security enhancements.' Apple just pushed its update 16 which is Java6u51, likely to be one of their last Java6 updates."
Open Source

Are You Sure This Is the Source Code? 311

Posted by timothy
from the not-as-simple-as-md5-sum dept.
oever writes "Software freedom is an interesting concept, but being able to study the source code is useless unless you are certain that the binary you are running corresponds to the alleged source code. It should be possible to recreate the exact binary from the source code. A simple analysis shows that this is very hard in practice, severely limiting the whole point of running free software."
United Kingdom

Fixing Over a Decade of Missing Computer Programming Education In the UK 117

Posted by samzenpus
from the we-don't-need-no-education-well-maybe-we-do dept.
For around a decade programming was not part of the computer curriculum in the U.K.. Through a lot of hard work from advocates and the industry this will soon change, but a large skills gap still exists. Tim Gurney is just one of many working on closing that gap. His Coding in Schools initiative aims to "work with schools and students and inspire the next generation of computer programmers and software engineers by creating and spearheading schools based programming clubs." I recently sat down with Tim to talk about who's working on the problem and what yet needs to be done. Read below to see what he's doing to change the state of things.
Programming

Java API and Microsoft's .NET API: a Comparison 319

Posted by Soulskill
from the similar-and-yet-not dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Previously, developer Jeff Cogswell focused on the respective performances of C# and Java. Now he's looking at yet another aspect of the languages: the runtime libraries—what exactly the libraries are, how they are called, and what features the languages provide for calling into them. Examining the official Java API (now owned by Oracle) and the official .NET API owned by Microsoft, he finds both pretty complete and pretty much a 'tie' with regard to ease-of-use and functionality, especially since Java version 7 release 6 allows for automatic resource management. Read on and see if you agree."
Security

Millions At Risk From Critical Vulnerabilities From WordPress Plugins 145

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the just-use-ur-web dept.
First time accepted submitter dougkfresh writes "Checkmarx's research lab identified that more than 20% of the 50 most popular WordPress plugins are vulnerable to common Web attacks, such as SQL Injection. Furthermore, a concentrated research into e-commerce plugins revealed that 7 out of the 10 most popular e-commerce plugins contain vulnerabilities. This is the first time that such a comprehensive survey was prepared to test the state of security of the leading plugins." It does seem that Wordpress continues to be a particularly perilous piece of software to run. When popularity and unsafe languages collide.
Software

Subversion 1.8 Released But Will You Still Use Git? 378

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the darcs-for-life dept.
darthcamaro writes "Remember back in the day when we all used CVS? Then we moved to SVN (subversion) but in the last three yrs or so everyone and their brother seems to have moved to Git, right? Well truth is Subversion is still going strong and just released version 1.8. While Git is still faster for some things, Greg Stein, the former chair of the Apache Software Foundation, figures SVN is better than Git at lots of things. From the article: '"With Subversion, you can have a 1T repository and check out just a small portion of it, The developers don't need full copies," Stein explained. "Git shops typically have many, smaller repositories, while svn shops typically have a single repository, which eases administration, backup, etc."'" Major new features of 1.8 include switching to a new metadata storage engine by default instead of using Berkeley DB, first-class renames (instead of the CVS-era holdover of deleting and recreating with a new name) which will make merges involving renamed files saner, and a slightly simplified branch merging interface.
Digital

PDP-11 Still Working In Nuclear Plants - For 37 More Years 336

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the great-architectures-live-forever dept.
Taco Cowboy writes "Most of the younger /. readers never heard of the PDP-11, while we geezers have to retrieve bits and pieces of our affairs with PDP-11 from the vast warehouse inside our memory lanes." From the article: "HP might have nuked OpenVMS, but its parent, PDP-11, is still spry and powering GE nuclear power-plant robots and will do for another 37 years. That's right: PDP-11 assembler programmers are hard to find, but the nuclear industry is planning on keeping them until 2050 — long enough for a couple of generations of programmers to come and go." Not sure about the OpenVMS vs PDP comparison, but it's still amusing that a PDP might outlast all of the VAX machines.
Programming

Lobster, a New Game Programming Language, Now Available As Open Source 153

Posted by Soulskill
from the hello-world dept.
Aardappel writes "Lobster is a new programming language targeting game programming specifically, building on top of OpenGL, SDL 2 and FreeType. The language looks superficially similar to Python, but is its own blend of fun features. It's open source (ZLIB license) and available on GitHub."
Programming

Revisiting Amdahl's Law 54

Posted by Soulskill
from the looking-for-new-loopholes dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A German computer scientist is taking a fresh look at the 46-year old Amdahl's law, which took a first look at limitations in parallel computing with respect to serial computing. The fresh look considers software development models as a way to overcome parallel computing limitations. 'DEEP keeps the code parts of a simulation that can only be parallelized up to a concurrency of p = L on a Cluster Computer equipped with fast general purpose processors. The highly parallelizable parts of the simulation are run on a massively parallel Booster-system with a concurrency of p = H, H >> L. The booster is equipped with many-core Xeon Phi processors and connected by a 3D-torus network of sub-microsecond latency based on EXTOLL technology. The DEEP system software allows to dynamically distribute the tasks to the most appropriate parts of the hardware in order to achieve highest computational efficiency.' Amdahl's law has been revisited many times, most notably by John Gustafson."
GNU is Not Unix

MySQL Man Pages Silently Relicensed Away From GPL 243

Posted by Soulskill
from the gimme-it!-it's-mine! dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The MariaDB blog is reporting a small change to the license covering the man pages to MySQL. Until recently, the governing license was GPLv2. Now the license reads, 'This software and related documentation are provided under a license agreement containing restrictions on use and disclosure and are protected by intellectual property laws. Except as expressly permitted in your license agreement or allowed by law, you may not use, copy, reproduce, translate, broadcast, modify, license, transmit, distribute, exhibit, perform, publish, or display any part, in any form, or by any means. Reverse engineering, disassembly, or decompilation of this software, unless required by law for interoperability, is prohibited.'"
Open Source

Ask Slashdot: How To Start Reading Other's Code? 254

Posted by timothy
from the first-hire-some-polish-mathematicians dept.
BorgeStrand writes "I'm reviving an open source project and need to read up on a lot of existing code written by others. What are your tricks for quickly getting to grips with code written by others? The project is written in C++ using several APIs which are unknown to me. I know embedded C pretty well, so both the syntax, the APIs and the general functionality are things I wish to explore before I can contribute to the project."
Businesses

NY and SF Mayors Announce Joint Tech Summits 27

Posted by timothy
from the guiding-hand-of-the-state dept.
First time accepted submitter Clarklteveno writes "New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his San Francisco counterpart, Ed Lee, said at a news conference Friday that they are sponsoring a pair of technology summits over the next year. The mayors said the 'digital cities' summits — one in New York in September and another in San Francisco early next year — will seek to find ways to use technology to solve problems the cities face. The mayors made the announcement after touring the office of San Francisco-based mobile payment company Square with co-founder Jack Dorsey, who also helped found Twitter. Bloomberg pointed to power outages and dangerous winds and flooding from Hurricane Sandy as examples of issues the summits would seek to address."
Oracle

Larry Ellison Rejuvenating Hawaii's Sixth-Largest Island (Which He Owns) 297

Posted by Soulskill
from the go-big-or-go-home dept.
McGruber writes "In June of 2012, we discussed news that Larry Ellison, co-founder and chief executive of Oracle, purchased the Hawaiian island Lanai for $300 million. Ellison now owns nearly everything on the island, including many of the candy-colored plantation-style homes and apartments, one of the two grocery stores, the two Four Seasons hotels and golf courses, the community center and pool, water company, movie theater, half the roads and some 88,000 acres of land. (2% of the island is owned by the government or by longtime Lanai families.) Now Ellison is attempting to win over the island's small, but wary, local population, one whose economic future is heavily dependent on his decisions. He and his team have met with experts in desalination and solar energy to change the way water and electricity are generated, collected, stored and delivered on the island. They are refurbishing residential housing intended for workers (Mr. Ellison's Lanai Resorts owns and manages 400 of the more than 1,500 housing units on the island). They've tackled infrastructure, such as lengthening airport runways and paving county roads. And to improve access to Lanai, Mr. Ellison bought Island Air earlier this year and is closing a deal to buy another airline."
Databases

Transgendered Folks Encountering Document/Database ID Hassles 814

Posted by Soulskill
from the flipping-bits dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Most of us hear the equivalent of 'let me bring up your record' several times a week or month when dealing with businesses and government agencies; sometimes there's a problem, but clerks are accustomed to dealing with changes in street address, phone numbers, company affiliation, and even personal names (after marriage). But what about gender? Transgendered folks are encountering embarrassing moments when they have to explain that their gender has changed from 'M' to 'F' or vice versa. While there are many issues involved in discrimination against transgendered individuals, I have to confess that the first thing that came to my mind was the impact on database design and maintenance."
Mozilla

POTI, Creators of the Songbird Media Player, Call It Quits 67

Posted by timothy
from the but-you-can-reuse-bits-of-it dept.
ilikenwf writes "Pioneers of the Inevitable has announced on their blog that they will be folding on June 28. Started in 2007, the company went on to create the Songbird Desktop and mobile players, as well as the Songbird.me Facebook app. Their legacy lives on in Nightingale, an open source fork of the Songbird Desktop player that runs on Linux, Windows and Mac. No word yet on whether or not their currently closed source code will be opened up or not, but their contributions to the world of open source software are appreciated, and won't be forgotten."
Programming

Ask Slashdot: Self-Hosting Git Repositories? 165

Posted by timothy
from the that-sounds-recursive dept.
mpol writes "We're all aware of PRISM and the NSA deals with software houses. Just today it was in the news that even Microsoft gives zero-day exploits to the NSA, who use them to prepare themselves, but also use the exploits to break into other systems. At my company we use Git with some private repositories. It's easy to draw the conclusion that git-hosting in the cloud, like Github or Bitbucket, will lead to sharing the sourcecode with the NSA. Self-hosting our Git repositories seems like a good and safe idea then. The question then becomes which software to use. It should be Open Source and under a Free License, that's for sure. Software like GitLab and GNU Savane seem good candidates. What other options are there, and how do they stack up against each other? What experience do people have with them?"
Databases

A Database of Brains 25

Posted by Soulskill
from the quickly-DDOSed-by-zombie-botnet dept.
aarondubrow writes "Researchers recently created OpenfMRI, a web-based, supercomputer-powered tool that makes it easier for researchers to process, share, compare and rapidly analyze fMRI brain scans from many different studies. Applying supercomputing to the fMRI analysis allows researchers to conduct larger studies, test more hypotheses, and accommodate the growing spatial and time resolution of brain scans. The ultimate goal is to collect enough brain data to develop a bottom-up understanding of brain function."
Red Hat Software

Red Hat Ditches MySQL, Switches To MariaDB 203

Posted by Soulskill
from the market-share-sinking dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Red Hat will switch the default database in its enterprise distribution, RHEL, from MySQL to MariaDB, when version 7 is released. MySQL's first employee in Australia, Arjen Lentz, said Fedora and OpenSuSE were community driven, whereas RHEL's switch to MariaDB was a corporate decision with far-reaching implications. 'I presume there is not much love lost between Red Hat and Oracle (particularly since the "Oracle Linux" stuff started) but I'm pretty sure this move won't make Oracle any happier,' said Lentz, who now runs his own consultancy, Open Query, from Queensland. 'Thus it's a serious move in political terms.' He said that in practical terms, MariaDB should now get much more of a public footprint with people (people knowing about MariaDB and it being a/the replacement for MySQL), and direct acceptance both by individual users and corporates."
Perl

Learn About the FRDCSA 'Weak AI' Project (Video) 52

Posted by Roblimo
from the let-us-run-your-life-for-you dept.
Today's interviewee, Andrew Dougherty, has a Web page that says he is "...an autodidact mathematician and computer scientist specializing in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Algorithmic Information Theory (AIT). He is the founder of the FRDCSA (Formalized Research Database: Cluster Study & Apply) project, a practical attempt at weak AI aimed primarily at collecting and interrelating existing software with theoretical motivation from AIT. He has made over 90 open source applications, 400 (unofficial) Debian GNU/Linux packages and 800 Perl5 modules (see http://frdcsa.org/frdcsa)." Tim Lord says Andrew's project "brings together a lot of AI algorithms, collects large sets of data for those algorithms to chew on, and writes software to do things like ... guide your whole life." As you might guess, Andrew occupies a pretty far edge of the eccentric programmer world, as you'll see from this video (and transcript). He calls himself "a serious Stallmanite" (his word), and has chosen the GPL for his software in the hopes that it will therefore help the greatest number of people. (Speaking of help, he's looking for interesting data sets and various "life rules" that can be integrated with his planning software, and one of the reasons he presented at the recent YAPC::NA was to solicit help in putting his hundreds of Perl modules onto CPAN.)
The Almighty Buck

The $200,000 Software Developer 473

Posted by timothy
from the of-course-those-are-the-blackmail-rates dept.
itwbennett writes "You can make a decent living as a software developer, and if you were lucky enough to get hired at a pre-IPO tech phenom, you can even get rich at it. But set your sights above the average and below Scrooge McDuck and you won't find many developers in that salary range. In fact, the number of developers earning $200,000 and above is under 10%, writes blogger Phil Johnson who looked at salary data from Glassdoor, Salary.com and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. How does your salary rate? What's your advice for earning the big bucks?"
IT

Ask Slashdot: What To Do With New Free Time? 299

Posted by timothy
from the when-you're-finished-gloating-at-least dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After 25 years of doing IT (started as a PC technician and stayed on technical of IT work through out my career) I've been moved to a position of doing only on call work (but paid as if it is a normal 9-5 job). This leaves me with a lot of free time... As someone who's used to working 12+ hours a day + the odd night/weekend on call, I'm scared I'll lose my mind with all the new free time I'll have. Any suggestions (beyond develop hobbies, spend time with family) on how to deal with all the new free time?"
Java

Oracle Reinstates Free Time Zone Updates For Java 7 61

Posted by timothy
from the mistakes-were-made dept.
twofishy writes "The internet has been buzzing this week with the news that Oracle has ceased to provide free time zone updates outside of the standard JDK release cycle. However, at the end of yesterday the firm appeared to have a change of heart. 'We never intended for a support contract to be required to keep JDK 7 up to date. TZUpdater was made unavailable on March 8 as part of the End of Public Updates for JDK 6, and as soon as we learned that this affected JDK 7 users we initiated the process of making it available for JDK 7 again.'"
Ruby

The Rails Girls Are Coming to a City Near You (Video) 162

Posted by Roblimo
from the programming-not-trains dept.
So far, the Rails Girls have groups in cities ranging from Warsaw to Wellington, with U.S. gatherings in Washington D.C., Charlotte NC, San Francisco CA, and... let's make it easy: Here's a map. OMG! They're everywhere! Actually, mostly Europe, being as they started in Finland, same as the Leningrad Cowboys and a popular computer operating system. But they're spreading like mad. Would you believe the reason one of the two founders originally got interested in Ruby on Rails was because she wanted to make a fan page for American politician Al Gore? Our interviewee, Magda (from Rails Girls Warsaw), swears this is true. She also tells us about their upcoming Washington D.C. workshop on June 13th, 2013, in conjunction with the June 14-15 RubyNation event. Sounds like fun, doesn't it. Maybe you need more of this kind of fun where you live, eh? If there isn't a Rails Girls group near you, maybe you should start one and help more women and girls get into programming. This is the Rails Girls' goal. Any particular ages? Not really. And their workshops are all free of charge: "You just need to be excited!"
Apple

Apple Shows Off New iOS 7, Mac OS X At WWDC 607

Posted by samzenpus
from the round-up dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off his company's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco with a short video emphasizing the importance of design, particularly that which evokes some sort of emotional connection such as love or delight. But that sentimental bit aside, this WWDC was all business: huge numbers of developers attend this annual event, packing sessions designed to help give their apps an edge in Apple's crowded online marketplace (some 50 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store, Cook told the audience during his keynote). Apple also uses its WWDC to unveil new products or services, attracting sizable interest from the tech press.

This time around, the company introduced Mac OS X 'Mavericks,' which includes 'Finder Tabs' (which allow the user to deploy multiple tabs within a Finder window—great for organization, in theory) and document tags (for easier searching). Macs will now support multiple displays, including HDTVs, with the ability to tweak elements between screens; Apple claims the operating system will also interact with the CPU in a more efficient manner.

On top of that, Apple rolled out some new hardware: an upgraded MacBook Air with faster graphics, better battery life (9 hours for the 11-inch edition, while the 13-inch version can draw 12 hours' worth of power). Apple has decided to jump into the cloud-productivity space with iWork for iCloud, which makes the company's iWork portfolio (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) browser-based; this is a clear response to Office 365 and Google Docs.

And finally, the executives onstage turned back to iOS, which (according to Apple) powers some 600 million devices around the world. This version involves more than a few tweaks: from a redesigned 'Slide to Unlock' at the bottom of the screen, to the bottom-up control panel that slides over the home-screen, to the 'flat' (as predicted) icons and an interface that adjusts as the phone is tilted, this is a total redesign. As a software designer, Ive is clearly a huge fan of basic shapes—circles and squares— and layering translucent elements atop one another."
Programming

Ask Slashdot: What To Do When Another Dev Steals Your Work and Adds Their Name? 480

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-due-credit dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I have had an interesting situation arise where I built some web apps for a client about 2 years ago. I have no longer been working with the client and a new developer has taken over purely for maintenance work. Currently I have been looking for new work and have used the said apps as part of my portfolio. During one interview I was informed that I not telling the truth about building the apps and I was then shown the source of a few JS files. It seems the new developer had put a copyright header on them, removed my name as the author and put his own. Now this is grey territory as it the client who owns the source, not the contracting developer. It put me on my back foot and I had to start explaining to interviewers that the developer stole the work and branded it. I feel it makes me look like a fool, having to defend my position in an interview with a possible client and I feel I had lost the chance of directing the outcome of the interview. I have cut the apps from my portfolio, however they are some of my best work and a real testament to my skills. I decided to cut my loss and move on, I am not looking for a fight or any unnecessary heartache. So what you do in my situation?"
Education

MIT President Tells Grads To 'Hack the World' 86

Posted by timothy
from the but-gently dept.
theodp writes "On Friday, MIT President L. Rafael Reif exhorted grads to 'hack the world until you make the world a little more like MIT'. A rather ironic choice of words, since 'hack the world' is precisely what others said Aaron Swartz was trying to do in his fateful run-in with MIT. President Reif presumably received an 'Incomplete' this semester for the promised time-is-of-the-essence review of MIT's involvement in the events that preceded Swartz's suicide last January. By the way, it wasn't so long ago that 2013 commencement speaker Drew Houston and Aaron Swartz were both welcome speakers at MIT."
Oracle

Oracle Discontinues Free Java Time Zone Updates 405

Posted by timothy
from the now-you-won't-know-when-you-are dept.
New submitter Noel Trout writes "For a long time in the Java world, there has been a free tool called the 'tzupdater' or Time Zone Updater released as a free download first by Sun and then Oracle. This tool can be used to apply a patch to the Java runtime so that time zone information is correct. This is necessary since some time zones in the world are not static and change more frequently than one might think; in general time zone updates can be released maybe 4-6 times a year. The source information backing the Java timezone API comes from the open source Olson timezone database that is also used by many operating systems. For certain types of applications, you can understand that these updates are mission critical. For example, my company operates in the private aviation sector so we need to be able to display the correct local time at airports around the world. So, the interesting part is that Oracle has now decided to only release these updates if you have a Java SE support contract. Being Oracle, such licenses are far from cheap. In my opinion, this is a pretty serious change in stance for Oracle and amounts to killing free Java for certain types of applications, at least if you care about accuracy. We are talking about the core API class java.util.TimeZone. This begs the question, can you call an API free if you have to pay for it to return accurate information? What is the point of such an API? Should the community not expect that core Java classes are fully functional and accurate? I believe it is also a pretty bad move for Java adoption for these types of applications. If my company as a startup 10 years ago would have been presented with such a license fee, we almost certainly could not have chosen Java as our platform as we could not afford it."
United Kingdom

BBC Clock Inaccurate - 100 Days To Fix? 487

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-tricky-clock dept.
mikejuk writes "The BBC home page has just lost its clock because the BBC Trust upheld a complaint that it was inaccurate. The clock would show the current time on the machine it was being viewed on and not an accurate time as determined by the BBC. However, the BBC have responded to the accusations of inaccuracy by simply removing the clock stating that it would take 100 staffing days to fix. It further says: 'Given the technical complexities of implementing an alternative central clock, and the fact that most users already have a clock on their computer screen, the BBC has taken the decision to remove the clock from the Homepage in an upcoming update.' They added, '...the system required to do this "would dramatically slow down the loading of the BBC homepage", something which he said was "an issue of great importance to the site's users". Secondly, if the site moved to a format in which users across the world accessed the same homepage, irrespective of whichever country they were in, it would be "impossible to offer a single zonally-accurate clock."'"

"Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward" -- William E. Davidsen

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