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Programming

Visual Studio vs. Eclipse: a Programmer's Comparison 543

Posted by timothy
from the nothing-beats-a-good-punchcard-maker dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Developer and editor Jeff Cogswell is back with a comparison of Eclipse and Visual Studio, picking through some common complaints about both platforms and comparing their respective features. 'First, let's talk about usability,' he writes, 'and let's be frank: Neither Eclipse nor Visual Studio is a model for sound usability.' That being said, as an open-source project, Eclipse wins some points for its customizability and compatibility with languages; it's more difficult to modify Visual Studio to meet some programmer needs, which has led to any number of abandoned projects over the years. Microsoft choosing to eliminate macros in recent versions of Visual Studio has also led to some programmer frustrations (and a need for external tools)."
Open Source

Github Finally Agrees Public Repos Should Have Explicit Licenses 120

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the largest-open-community-running-on-nonfree-platform dept.
WebMink writes "After strong criticism last year, Github has finally accepted the view that public repositories with no open source license are a bad thing. Self-described as the 'world's largest open source community,' a significant number of GitHub projects come with no rights whatsoever for you to use their code in an open source project. But from now on, creators of new repositories will have to pick from a small selection of OSI-approved licenses or explicitly opt for 'no license'. In Github's words, 'please note that opting out of open source licenses doesn't mean you're opting out of copyright law.'" A quick scan of their new choose a license site reveals at least a few flaws: they present simplicity, caring about patents, and sharing improvements with others as mutually exclusive points when they clearly are not (e.g. the Apache license and the GPLv3 both help with patent concerns, but only Apache is mentioned; and the MIT/X license is listed as the simple license when BSD-style is more prevalent). They also imply it is entirely optional to actually note your copyright in your files, when it is really bad practice not to unless you really want to make it impossible for people to understand the copyright history when e.g. merging your code into another project. Their list of licenses does provide a nice overview of the features of each, but regrettably encourages the use of the GPLv2 (without the "or later version" clause), listing the GPLv3 and all versions of the LGPL in league with seldom used licenses like the Perl Artistic license.
Linux

Kernel Dev Tells Linus Torvalds To Stop Using Abusive Language 1501

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the cool-to-hate dept.
darthcamaro writes "The Linux Kernel Development Mailing List can be a hostile place for anyone. Now Intel developer Sarah Sharp is taking a stand and she wants the LKML to become a more civil place. Quoting her first message: 'Seriously, guys? Is this what we need in order to get improve -stable? Linus Torvalds is advocating for physical intimidation and violence. Ingo Molnar and Linus are advocating for verbal abuse. ... Violence, whether it be physical intimidation, verbal threats or verbal abuse is not acceptable. Keep it professional on the mailing lists.'" The entire thread is worth a read, but Linus isn't buying it: "Because if you want me to 'act professional', I can tell you that I'm not interested. I'm sitting in my home office wearing a bathrobe. The same way I'm not going to start wearing ties, I'm *also* not going to buy into the fake politeness, the lying, the office politics and backstabbing, the passive aggressiveness, and the buzzwords. Because THAT is what 'acting professionally' results in: people resort to all kinds of really nasty things because they are forced to act out their normal urges in unnatural ways.' He also offered cookies in exchange for joining the dark side. An earlier reply by Linus further explains why he thinks it is OK to be mean: most of the time, he's only yelling at people who should know better (cultivating a crew of lead developers bound to him by Stockholm Syndrome?).
Oracle

Oracle To Stop Developing Sun Virtualization Technologies 145

Posted by samzenpus
from the end-of-the-line dept.
hypnosec writes "Oracle will soon be announcing its decision to stop development of Sun virtualization technologies including Sun Ray Software and Hardware, Oracle Virtual Desktop Client, and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) product lines. In an update to its support policies [Oracle support login required] for virtualization software and hardware, the database company has revealed that this decision is a result of its efforts to 'tightly align Oracle's future desktop virtualization portfolio investments with Oracle Corporation's overall core business strategy.'"
Cellphones

Former Sun Mobile JIT Engineers Take On Mobile JavaScript/HTML Performance 106

Posted by samzenpus
from the point-counterpoint dept.
First time accepted submitter digiti writes "In response to Drew Crawford's article about JavaScript performance, Shai Almog wrote a piece providing a different interpretation for the performance costs (summary: it's the DOM not the script). He then gives several examples of where mobile Java performs really well on memory constrained devices. Where do you stand in the debate?"
Cellphones

An Interesting Look At the Performance of JavaScript On Mobile Devices 157

Posted by timothy
from the down-in-the-weeds dept.
First time accepted submitter faffod writes "Coming from a background of console development, where memory management is a daily concern, I found it interesting that there was any doubt that memory management on a constrained system, like a mobile device, would be a concern. Drew Crawford took the time to document his thoughts, and though there is room for some bikesheding, overall it is spot on. Plus it taught me what bikeshedding means."
Businesses

The Middle East Beats the West In Female Tech Founders 156

Posted by timothy
from the domestic-relations dept.
PolygamousRanchKid writes with this except from the Economist: "Only 10% of internet entrepreneurs across the world are women, according to Startup Compass, a firm that tracks such things. Except in Amman and other Middle Eastern cities, it seems. There, the share of women entrepreneurs is said to average 35% — an estimate seemingly confirmed by the mix of the sexes at 'Mix'n'Mentor,' a recent gathering in the Jordanian capital organised by Wamda, an online publication for start-ups. Reasons abound, and they are not always positive, says Nina Curley, Wamda's editor. Although more than half of university graduates in many Middle Eastern countries (51% in Jordan) are women, the workforce is dominated by men (women provide only 21% of it overall, and a paltry 16% in Jordan). The internet, however, is a new space that is more meritocratic and not as heavily male. The technology also lets entrepreneurs work from home, making it easier to raise children."
Bug

Database Loophole Lets Legislators Avoid Photo Radar Tickets 165

Posted by timothy
from the public-choice-theory-at-play dept.
lemur3 writes "State legislators in Colorado have not been receiving speeding tickets due to inadequacies in the implementation of a DMV database. The current system ties plates to vehicles rather than to individuals, the special plates for legislators are issued to individuals. The result is that there is no entry in the database for the special plates when the automated photo radar system is triggered, this means nobody receives a citation. In one case a Colorado resident, who had vanity plates reading '33,' received the photo radar citations intended for Senator Mike Johnston representing district 33, whose vehicle was identified by a '33' on his special plate. Lt. Matt Murray of the Denver Police, speaking of the system commented, 'Our system works, the database works. What needs to happen is the state's database need to be complete.'"
Databases

Ask Slashdot: Learning DB the Right Way; Books, Tutorials, or What? 106

Posted by timothy
from the first-you'll-need-to-choose-a-safeword dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I have deep experience programming in many languages, and I've some exposure to SQL through PostgreSQL. My math goes so far as trig and algebra, with a little statistics. So far, I've learned enough to be dangerous: mostly via other people's code, experimenting, the PostgreSQL docs, etc. I've been successful using the DB in various ways, but I know I am missing a great deal (and probably doing it wrong, at that.) When DB articles come up on Slashdot, I don't recognize a good deal of the terminology. What is the best way for a technical person to learn SQL/DB work using PostgreSQL? Books? Tutorials? I should mention I don't have local access to a university or people with DB knowledge; have to do this on my own, so books or the Internet are pretty much my options."
Books

Are Amazon Vine Reviews of Technical Books a Joke? 126

Posted by timothy
from the you-should-try-the-craiglist-personals dept.
First time accepted submitter jasax writes "As an Amazon frequent buyer, I rely quite a lot on reviews of the books I want. However, some caution is in order: the (bad) quality of Amazon's reviews and reviewers under the Amazon Vine program has already been news in Slashdot. Today I was shocked by a practical result of that program. This second edition (published in 2012) of a very specialized system identification book has 12 reviews: the oldest (dated 2007) certainly targets the first edition. The remaining 11 reviews are all from 'Vine Reviewers' (VRs). All seem to be ignorant of what 'System Identification in the Frequency Domain' really is. None of the reviews is tagged with a 'Verified Amazon Purchase'; most (if not all) are 'small talk reviews' peppered with technical phrases cloning the publisher's book description, and some of the reviews are ridiculous, to say the least. If this sample of reviewing by VRs really is the norm, then the bottom line is that the Vine program is totally irrelevant and unreliable — at least for technical books."
Databases

Ask Slashdot: Is Postgres On Par With Oracle? 372

Posted by timothy
from the you-must-answer-in-the-form-of-a-satirical-query dept.
grahamsaa writes "I work at medium sized company that offers a number of products that rely fairly heavily on backend databases, some of which are hundreds of gigabytes and deal with hundreds or thousands of queries per second. Currently, we're using a mix of Postgres, Oracle, and MySQL, though we're working hard to move everything to Postgres. The products that are still on MySQL and Oracle were acquisitions, so we didn't get to choose the RDBMS at the time these products were designed. So far, we've been very happy with Postgres, but I know next to nothing about Oracle. It's expensive and has a long history of use in large enterprises, but I'm curious about what it offers that Postgres might not — I'm not saying this because I think that sticking with Oracle would be a good idea (because in our case, it probably isn't), but I'm curious as to how some companies justify the cost — especially considering that EnterpriseDB makes transitioning from Oracle to Postgres feasible (though not painless) in most cases. For those that use Oracle — is it worth the money? What's keeping you from switching?"
Firefox

Mozilla Launches Firefox OS Simulator 4.0 With Test Receipts 41

Posted by timothy
from the so-far-it's-just-anti-monopoly-money dept.
An anonymous reader writes "As promised, Mozilla today announced the release of Firefox OS Simulator 4.0 with a focus on developers who want to make money in the Firefox Marketplace. You can download the new version now for Windows, Mac, and Linux from Mozilla Add-Ons. First and foremost, the new simulator supports test receipts for paid apps: each app's dashboard features a drop-down menu where you can select a receipt type. Choosing one of these will have the simulator add-on downloading a test receipt from a Marketplace receipt service and reinstalling the app using it. This lets developers test receipt verification with whatever receipts types they may require (valid, invalid, and refunded)."
Java

Interviews: Ask James Gosling About Java and Ocean Exploring Robots 87

Posted by samzenpus
from the ask-away dept.
James Gosling is probably best known for creating the Java programming language while working at Sun Microsystems. Currently, he is the chief software architect at Liquid Robotics. Among other projects, Liquid Robotics makes the Wave Glider, an autonomous, environmentally powered marine robot. James has agreed to take a little time from the oceangoing robots and answer any questions you have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
Programming

No US College In Top 10 For ACM International Programming Contest 2013 199

Posted by samzenpus
from the we're-number-one-sometimes dept.
michaelmalak writes "The annual ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest finished up last week for 2013, but for the first time since its inception in the 1970s, no U.S. college placed in the top 10. Through 1989, a U.S. college won first place every year, but there hasn't been one in first place since 1997. The U.S. college that has won most frequently throughout the contest's history, Stanford, hasn't won since 1991. The 2013 top 10 consists entirely of colleges from Eastern Europe, East Asia, and India."
Cloud

Dropbox Wants To Replace Your Hard Disk 445

Posted by samzenpus
from the we-got-this dept.
Barence writes "Dropbox has kicked off its first developer conference with the stated goal of replacing the hard disk. 'We are replacing the hard drive,' said Dropbox CEO Drew Houston. 'I don't mean that you're going to unscrew your MacBook and find a Dropbox inside, but the spiritual successor to the hard drive is what we're launching.' The new Dropbox Platform includes tools for developers that will allow them to use Dropbox to sync app data between devices. The company's new APIs will also make it easier for app developers to include plugins that save to Dropbox, or choose files stored in the service for use within apps."
Programming

Why JavaScript On Mobile Is Slow 407

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-blame-the-schools dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Drew Crawford has a good write up of the current state of JavaScript in mobile development, and why the lack of explicit memory handling (and a design philosophy that ignores memory issues) leads to massive garbage collection overhead, which prevents HTML5/JS from being deployed for anything besides light duty mobile web development. Quoting: 'Here’s the point: memory management is hard on mobile. iOS has formed a culture around doing most things manually and trying to make the compiler do some of the easy parts. Android has formed a culture around improving a garbage collector that they try very hard not to use in practice. But either way, everybody spends a lot of time thinking about memory management when they write mobile applications. There’s just no substitute for thinking about memory. Like, a lot. When JavaScript people or Ruby people or Python people hear "garbage collector," they understand it to mean "silver bullet garbage collector." They mean "garbage collector that frees me from thinking about managing memory." But there’s no silver bullet on mobile devices. Everybody thinks about memory on mobile, whether they have a garbage collector or not. The only way to get "silver bullet" memory management is the same way we do it on the desktop–by having 10x more memory than your program really needs.'"
Government

The Pentagon's Seven Million Lines of Cobol 345

Posted by Soulskill
from the lords-of-cobol-hear-my-prayers dept.
MrMetlHed writes "A portion of this Reuters article about the Pentagon's inability to manage paying soldiers properly mentions that their payroll program has 'seven million lines of Cobol code that hasn't been updated.' It goes on to mention that the documentation has been lost, and no one really knows how to update it well. In trying to replace the program, the Pentagon spent a billion dollars and wasn't successful."
Businesses

Ask Slashdot: Development Requirements Change But Deadlines Do Not? 221

Posted by Soulskill
from the anonymous-emails-and-heavy-drinking dept.
cyclomedia writes "Over a number of years my company has managed to slowly shift from a free-for-all (pick a developer at random and get them to do what you want) to something resembling Agile development with weekly builds. But we still have to deal with constant incoming feature changes and requests that are expected to be included in this week's package. The upshot is that builds are usually late, not properly tested and developers get the flak when things go wrong. I suspect the answer is political, but how do we make things better? One idea I had was that every time a new request comes in — no matter how small — the build gets pushed back by 24 or even 48 hours. I'd love to hear your ideas or success stories. (Unfortunately, quitting is not an option)"
Businesses

India To Overtake US On Number of Developers By 2017 157

Posted by Soulskill
from the america-projected-to-maintain-lead-in-professional-Whopper-eaters dept.
dcblogs writes "There are about 18.2 million software developers worldwide, a number that is due to rise to 26.4 million by 2019, a 45% increase, says Evans Data Corp. in its latest Global Developer Population and Demographic Study. Today, the U.S. leads the world in software developers, with about 3.6 million. India has about 2.75 million. But by 2018, India will have 5.2 million developers, a nearly 90% increase, versus 4.5 million in the U.S., a 25% increase though that period, Evans Data projects. India's software development growth rate is attributed, in part, to its population size, 1.2 billion, and relative youth, with about half the population under 25 years of age. Rapid economic growth is fueling interest in development. India's services firms hire, in many cases, thousands of new employees each quarter. Consequently, IT and software work is seen as clear path to the middle class for many of the nation's young. For instance, in one quarter this year, Tata Consultancy Services added more than 17,000 employees, gross, bringing its total headcount to 263,600. In the same quarter of 2010, the company had about 150,000 workers."
Bug

Study Finds Bug Bounty Programs Extremely Cost-Effective 95

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the open-sores-hates-jerbs dept.
itwbennett writes "U.C. Berkeley researchers have determined that crowdsourcing bug-finding is a far better investment than hiring employees to do the job. Here's the math: Over the last three years, Google has paid $580,000 and Mozilla has paid $570,000 for bugs found in their Chrome and Firefox browsers — and hundreds of vulnerabilities have been fixed. Compare that to the average annual cost of a single North American developer (about $100,000, plus 50% overhead), 'we see that the cost of either of these VRPs (vulnerability reward programs) is comparable to the cost of just one member of the browser security team,' the researchers wrote (PDF). And the crowdsourcing also uncovered more bugs than a single full-time developer could find."
Programming

Ask Slashdot: Node.js vs. JEE/C/C++/.NET In the Enterprise? 304

Posted by Soulskill
from the go-with-the-trendy-option dept.
theshowmecanuck writes "I'm working at a small- to medium-sized company that creates software for mobile devices, but came from a 'large enterprise' world before. I see node.js being used increasingly in smaller companies (including ours) or in web/mobile related software. Meanwhile we see languages like Java/JEE, C/C++, and .NET continue to be used for medium-to-large enterprise corporate software. Compared to the status quo in the enterprise (JEE/C/C++/.NET ... and yes, maybe even COBOL) maybe Slashdotters can chime in on how they see Node.js in this role. I'm thinking of things like complexity of business logic (dependencies, workflows, linear processes, etc), transaction support (for processes in general and database support), messaging services, etc. Also, what is the state of Node.js in terms of paradigms like application containers, where much of the 'plumbing' is already set up for you (one of the main benefits of JEE application containers)? But there is also the question of maintainability, deployment, and ongoing operations. What say you, Slashdot?"
Education

Deus Ex Creator On How a Video-Game Academy Could Fix the Industry 132

Posted by timothy
from the horns-trying-to-hook-'em dept.
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.'""
The Almighty Buck

The Dangers of Beating Your Kickstarter Goal 168

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the feature-creep dept.
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."
Books

Book Review: Programming PHP 3rd Edition 155

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
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.
Businesses

Silicon Valley In 2013 Resembles Logan's Run In 2274 432

Posted by Soulskill
from the think-of-it-as-365-vacation-days-a-year dept.
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."
Programming

Modeling How Programmers Read Code 115

Posted by Soulskill
from the read,-comprehend,-complain-about-the-dunce-who-wrote-it dept.
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.'"
Oracle

Oracle Quietly Switches BerkeleyDB To AGPL 219

Posted by Soulskill
from the changing-licenses-loudly-is-just-rude dept.
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."
Programming

Who Will Teach U.S. Kids To Code? Rupert Murdoch 138

Posted by Soulskill
from the ted-nugent-unavailable dept.
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."
Programming

Harlan: a Language That Simplifies GPU Programming 195

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-wonder-if-it's-short-and-angry dept.
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.
Android

Digia Releases Qt 5.1 With Preliminary Support For Android and iOS 86

Posted by timothy
from the file-formats-matter-more-than-os dept.
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.'"
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.'"

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