Nerval's Lobster writes "In the fall of 2014, 20 promising video game developers will begin a yearlong (and free) program at the University of Texas at Austin, where they will study under some of the gaming industry's most successful executives. 'The idea is to get the best of the best of the best, run them through a Navy Seals boot camp of sorts and not force them to worry about "how do I pay the rent and buy groceries,"' said program leader Warren Spector, who is responsible for creating well-known games such as Deus Ex. 'Fingers crossed, when we start delivering graduates who can contribute in major ways to the development of future games, that philanthropy will continue.' In a wide-ranging interview, Spector also talked about how his future students will be graduating into an industry in which 'every business model is broken, which is either terrifying or an opportunity depending on how you look at it.' Focus groups, analysis of historical trends, and aggregated game review scores may be comforting to number crunchers, but the majority of game projects still end up as commercial failures. Spector ultimately believes the people who actually make the games are going to make better decisions than the number crunchers. 'We've got to be looking forward and any time you start bringing data into it, you're not," Spector said. "I pitched a Lego construction game in 1989, and guess what: Minecraft is basically a Lego construction game. But at the time I was told "no, that won't work." I pitched a western game and the response was "westerns don't sell." And then Red Dead Redemption came out. Stuff doesn't sell until someone makes one that sells, and no amount of data can reveal what new thing is going to sell. The metrics and data guys, and the publishing guys will never come up with the next big thing.'""
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jfruh writes "In March of 2012 legendary game designers Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert ran a Kickstarter to design a new adventure game, asked for $400,000, and came away with more than $3.3 million. Their promised delivery date was October 2012. Now it's July 2013, and the project still needs cash, which they plan to raise by selling an 'early release' version on Steam in January 2014. One possible lesson: radically overshooting your crowdfunding goal can cause you to wildly expand your ambitions, leading to a project that can't be tamed."
Michael Ross writes "As a hugely popular scripting language with an 18-year history, PHP has been the topic of countless computer language books. One of the most comprehensive offerings has been Programming PHP, published by O'Reilly Media. The first edition appeared in March 2002, and was written by Rasmus Lerdorf (the original developer of PHP) and Kevin Tatroe. A second edition was released in May 2006, and saw the addition of another co-author, Peter MacIntyre. With the many changes to the language during the past seven years, the book has again been updated, to cover all of the major new features made available in version 5 of PHP." Keep reading for the rest of Michael's review.
theodp writes "The 1976 science fiction film Logan's Run depicts a dystopian future society where life must end at the age of 30. So, it's a world that kind of resembles today's Silicon Valley, where the NY Times reports that the median age of workers is 29 years old at Google and 28 years old at Facebook. The report that technology workers are young — really young — comes on the heels of other presumably-unrelated stories that Silicon Valley execs can't find enough skilled workers and no one would fund Doug Engelbart in the last four decades of his life. On the bright side, at least old techies don't die in Silicon Valley — they just can't get hired."
An anonymous reader writes "Following up on an experiment from December, Michael Hansen has recorded video of programmers of varying skill levels as the read and evaluate short programs written in Python. An eye tracker checks 300 times per second to show what they look at as they mentally digest the script. You can see some interesting differences between experts and beginners: 'First, Eric's eye movements are precise and directed from the beginning. He quickly finds the first print statement and jumps back to comprehend the between function. The novice, on the other hand, spends time skimming the whole program first before tackling the first print. This is in line with expectations, of course, but it's cool to see it come out in the data. Another thing that stands out is the pronounced effect of learning in both videos. As Eric pointed out, it appears that he "compiled" the between function in his head, since his second encounter with it doesn't require a lengthy stop back at the definition. The novice received an inline version of the same program, where the functions were not present. Nevertheless, we can see a sharp transition in reading style around 1:30 when the pattern has been recognized.'"
WebMink writes "A discussion in the Debian community reveals that last month Oracle quietly disclosed a change for the embedded BerkeleyDB database from the quirky Sleepycat License to the Affero General Public License (AGPL) in future versions. AGPL is only compatible with GPLv3 and treats web deployment as a trigger to license compliance, so developers using BerkeleyDB will need to check their code is still legally licensed. Even if they had made the switch in the interests of advancing software freedom it would be questionable to force so many developers into a new license compatibility crisis. But it seems likely their only motivation is to scare more people into buying proprietary licenses. Oracle are well within their rights, but developers are likely to treat this as a betrayal. As a poster in the Debian thread says, "Oracle move just sent the Berkeley DB to oblivion" because there are some great alternatives, like OpenLDAP's LMDB."
theodp writes "For all of their handwaving at Code.org about U.S. kids not being taught Computer Science, tech execs from Microsoft, Google, and Facebook seem more focused lately on Plan B of their 'two-pronged' National Talent Strategy. So, who's going to teach your children CompSci? Enter friend-of-the-Gates-Foundation Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch's Amplify Education is launching an AP Computer Science MOOC this fall (Java will be covered), taught by an experienced AP CS high school teacher (video). An added option, called MOOC Local, will provide additional resources to schools with students in the CS MOOC. MOOC Local will eventually cost $200 per student, but is free for the first year."
hypnosec writes "Harlan – a declarative programming language that simplifies development of applications running on GPU has been released by a researcher at Indiana University. Erik Holk released his work publicly after working on it for two years. Harlan's syntax is based on Scheme – a dialect of LISP programming language. The language aims to help developers make productive and efficient use of GPUs by enabling them to carry out their actual work while it takes care of the routine GPU programming tasks. The language has been designed to support GPU programming and it works much closer to the hardware." Also worth a mention is Haskell's GPipe interface to programmable GPUs.
An anonymous reader writes "Finnish software and services firm Digia, which bought Qt from Nokia back in August, has released version 5.1 of the cross-platform application framework. Among the changes are 'significant improvements' to Qt Quick and preliminary support for Android and iOS. The latter means Qt on Android and iOS are both considered Technology Previews, letting developers start building for the two mobile operating systems and porting apps from other platforms by reusing the same code base. Although most of the Qt functionality and tool integration is already in place to start developing mobile apps, Digia promises complete ports to Android and iOS will come with the release of Qt 5.2 'later this year.'"
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.'"
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?"
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.'"
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."
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."
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.'"
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?"
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?"
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.'"
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.'"
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.'"
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.)"
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?"
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."
simonstl writes "The IRS wasn't after just the Tea Party, Progressives, or Medical Marijuana: Open Source Software was a regular on IRS watch lists from 2010 to 2012. Did they think it was a for-profit scam, or did they just not understand the approach?"
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."
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.
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.'"
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.
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."
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."
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."
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.'"
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
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?"
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."
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."
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.)