Graphics

Renderman Gets Blender Integration 31 31

jones_supa writes: Now that Renderman has been available for free for non-commercial use for a while, there has been many requests for integration with Blender. An initiative spearheaded by Pixar now presents the first Blender to Renderman plugin. With the release of PRMan 20, a small group of developers headed by Brian Savery of Pixar have been working on support for using Renderman and Blender together. The plugin is still in early alpha but has had many great developments in the last few weeks. The source code is available in GitHub.
Communications

Facebook Finally Ends XMPP Support For 3rd Party Chat 63 63

New submitter AcquaCow writes: Facebook has been pushing their Messenger app to all devices, requiring it for chatting with friends and family. It was announced last year that they would be ending their chat API and that the service would end on April 30, 2015. April passed, so did May, but the service remained functional. Finally, as of July 7th, 2015 it has not been possible to connect to chat.facebook.com. This doesn't seem to be an outage at this point. Looks like we have to wait for 3rd party messenger apps to adopt support for Facebook's Platform API v2 to allow new connectivity.
Perl

Larry Wall On Perl 6, Language Design, and Getting Kids To Code 133 133

M-Saunders writes: Perl 6 has been a long time in the making, but Larry Wall, the language's chief developer, now says it should arrive in time for Christmas. In this interview with Linux Voice, Wall explains why Perl 6 took so long, and describes how his background in linguistics influenced the design of the language. He also discusses ways to get kids interested in coding, and notes that Python has done a better job so far in this respect.
Open Source

Virtual Reality Tech and Openness 25 25

An anonymous reader writes: An article written by Kyle Orland looks at how the nascent virtual reality industry will handle openness — in terms of standards, platforms, source code, and development. "Whether any single VR platform is 'open' or not, though, may be moot if developers have to juggle countless slightly different development standards for countless slightly different VR platforms. In a way, making a PC game that only works on the Oculus Rift is as ridiculous as making a PC game that only works on Dell monitors." Right now, the major players in VR tech are using different approaches. Oculus is distributing a closed-license SDK. Valve is setting up a more open platform that lets multiple manufacturers build devices for it. The downside is that it doesn't seem to work as well, particular with Oculus hardware. Oculus founder Palmer Luckey says standards are going to take time and cooperation. Of course, that tune may change when devices start hitting the market.
Programming

MUMPS, the Programming Language For Healthcare 166 166

citadrianne writes: An ICU patient is monitored and assessed according to 12 different variables. These include such measurements as body temperature, heart rate, blood oxygenation, blood pH, and others. Together, they're used to formulate a quantitative answer to the question, "How bad is it, doc?" Many of these physiological signs are measured in real-time via electrodes and like a billion different varieties of catheter. Add to it barrages of lab tests done multiple times per day per patient and the need for 20 or so clinicians (per patient) to have access to all of this data, and the result is very a deep data problem. Multiply that data problem by hundreds of thousands of patients.

This is the fundamental problem that the programming language MUMPS (sometimes called just "M"), or the Massachusetts General Hospital Utility Multi-Programming System, aims to solve. To its proponents, MUMPS allows for a one of a kind synthesis of programming and database management, while to to its detractors, it's a bizarre anachronism with little connection to the evolution and innovation taking place elsewhere in programming. Probably to most people that do things with computers, MUMPS/M is poorly understood, at best, and more likely to be completely unknown.
Microsoft

For Microsoft, Windows 10 Charity Begins At Home 74 74

theodp writes: "We're investing $10 million in organizations that are upgrading the world," Microsoft announced on in its new Upgrade Your World website, which was created in conjunction with the Windows 10 launch. "We've identified nine global nonprofits, and we'd like your help choosing the 10th." The missions of the selected nonprofits include fighting global poverty, preventing children living with HIV from needlessly dying, increasing access to quality education for children in the developing world, conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends, and ensuring that all kindergartners learn 'computer science.' To paraphrase Sesame Street, can you guess which cause is not like the others? If you guessed Code.org, which wants CS made a "core" K-12 subject in U.S. schools, you're right! Coincidentally, Code.org's biggest donors include Microsoft ($3M+), Ballmer Family Giving ($3M+), and Bill Gates ($1M+). And Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi, who once reported to Satya Nadella, is coincidentally a sometimes jogging partner of Steve Ballmer, as well as the next-door neighbor of Microsoft General Counsel and Code.org Board member Brad Smith, whose FWD.us bio notes is responsible for Microsoft's philanthropic work. Code.org emerged on the scene shortly after Smith suggested that action on Microsoft's 'two-pronged' National Talent Strategy to increase K-12 CS education and the number of H-1B visas could be galvanized by 'producing a crisis'.
Programming

ELIoT, Distributed Programming For the Internet of Things 91 91

descubes writes: ELIoT (Extensible Language for the Internet of Things) is a new programming language designed to facilitate distributed programming. A code sample with less than 20 lines of code looks like a single program, but really runs on three different computers to collect temperature measurements and report when they differ. ELIoT transforms a simple sensor API into a rich, remotely-programmable API, giving your application the opportunity to optimize energy usage and minimize network traffic.

Using fewer resources than Bash, and capable of serving hundreds of clients easily on a Raspberry Pi, ELIoT transparently sends program fragments around, but also the data they need to function, e.g. variable values or function definitions. This is possible because, like in Lisp, programs are data. ELIoT has no keywords, and program constructs such as loops or if-then-else are defined in the library rather than in the language. This makes the language very flexible and extensible, so that you can adapt it to the needs of your application.

The project is still very young (published last week), and is looking for talented developers interested in distributed programming, programming languages or language design.
Security

First Java 0-Day In 2 Years Exploited By Pawn Storm Hackers 122 122

An anonymous reader writes with Help Net Security's report that a new zero-day vulnerability in Java is being exploited, quoting from which: The flaw was spotted by Trend Micro researchers, who are closely monitoring a targeted attack campaign mounted by the economic and political cyber-espionage operation Pawn Storm. The existence of the flaw was discovered by finding suspicious URLs that hosted the exploit. The exploit allows attackers to execute arbitrary code on target systems with default Java settings. Until a patch is made, disabling Java is the recommended course of action.
Education

CSTA: Google Surveying Educators On Unconscious Biases of Students, Parents 173 173

theodp writes: According to a Computer Science Teachers Association tweet, Google is reportedly asking educators to assess the unconscious bias of students and their parents for the search giant. "We are in the early stages of learning how unconscious bias plays out in schools, and who would benefit most from bias busting materials," begins the linked-to 5-page Google Form, which sports a ub-edu@google.com email address, but lists no contact name. "This survey should take 15 minutes to complete, and your responses are confidential, meaning that your feedback will not be attributed to you and the data will only be used in aggregate form." The form asks educators to "list the names of organizations, tools, and resources that you have used to combat unconscious bias," which is defined as "the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner." A sample question: "Who do you think would benefit most from unconscious bias training at your school (or program)? Rank the following people in order (1=would most benefit to 5=would benefit least) training: Student, Parent (or guardian), Teacher (or educator), Guidance counselor, Principal." Google deflected criticism for its lack of women techies in the past by blaming parents' unconscious biases for not steering their girls to study computer science, suggesting an intervention was needed. "Outreach programs," advised Google, "should include a parent education component, so that parents learn how to actively encourage their daughters."
Oracle

Oracle Bullies Enterprise Clients Into Cloud Purchases, Consultant Claims 184 184

An anonymous reader writes: A consultant claims that Oracle has adopted the widespread use of 'breach notices' this year to force existing enterprise customers to adopt its newly-bolstered range of cloud services, or else be told to stop using all Oracle software within thirty days. Speaking to Business Insider, the unnamed source described the tactic as a 'nuclear option' which is now practically the default when the need to add services or users to an existing contract triggers an 'audit' by Oracle. An ex-Oracle contract negotiator who now works in the ever-expanding business niche of 'Oracle contract negotiation' commented 'Internally, the water cooler gossip there is that they've never seen this kind of aggression before. Oracle has really dialed it up. Customers are buying cloud services to make the Oracle issue go away, not because they have any intention of using cloud services.'
Open Source

Calculating the Truck-Factor of Popular Open Source Projects 79 79

An anonymous reader writes: The Truck Factor describes the minimal number of developers that have to be hit by a truck (or quit) before a project is incapacitated. Wikipedia defines it as a "measurement of the concentration of information in individual team members. A high truck factor means that many individuals know enough to carry on and the project could still succeed even in very adverse events." The term is also known by bus factor/number. In this article, the authors calculate the truck factor for 133 popular GitHub applications. Spoiler, but unsurprising: Linux ranks near the top (meaning that it's highly resilient).
The Almighty Buck

Is the Amazon-Led Economic Boom Wrecking Seattle? 410 410

reifman writes: Seattleites are struggling with massive traffic, rising housing costs and declining diversity. Amazon's building and acquiring enough office space to triple its local headcount by 2020. Facebook, Google and many other tech companies are now expanding here as well — it's the San Franciscoization of Seattle. Downtown is filled with 75 cranes — some blocks look like mining towns. Amazon's hired so many white males that King County is now the whitest in the nation and hate crimes against gays have shot up in a formerly LGBTQ neighborhood. Politicians can't agree on reforming impact fees and taxes to address these issues." An interesting piece of recent advice from a long time Amazonian to the company's interns: avoid full-time employment there.
Education

Well-Played: Microsoft Parlays NSF Video 'Remake' Into National CS K-12 Crisis 69 69

theodp writes: K–12 computer science and information technology teachers head to Grapevine, TX this week for the 2015 CSTA Conference. A glance at the draft agenda shows a remarkable number of presenters employed by or tied to two-year-old Code.org, the tech-bankrolled nonprofit that coincidentally sprung up together with Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us PAC just months after Microsoft called for the creation of a national K-12 CS and tech immigration crisis to advance its agenda. Code.org's shaping of the nation's CS K-12 education began with the release of its tech-billionaire and celebrity-studded, slickly-produced What Most Schools Don't Teach video, which went viral on YouTube after being promoted by politicians, Facebook, Google, and a Microsoft-sponsored theatrical release, sparking a groundswell of interest in expanding K-12 CS education, succeeding where a similarly-themed-and-messaged but decidedly-amateurish National Science Foundation video of real-but-little-known computer scientists failed just months earlier (YouTube Doubler comparison). (More, below.)
Software

Ask Slashdot: How Should Devs Deal With Trademark Trolls? 99 99

An anonymous reader writes: I'll start off by admitting that trademark infringement wasn't something that was on my mind when I released my first application. Like many other developers I was concentrating on functionality, errors, and getting the thing published. I did a cursory Google search and search of the app stores to make sure no other apps were using the same name, but that's about the extent of my efforts to avoid trademark infringement. After all, I'm spending hundreds of hours of my own time to make an app that I'm giving away with the hopes to make some ad money or sell paid versions down the road. Hiring a lawyer for advice and help didn't seem like a reasonable expenditure since I'm pretty sure my income per hour of coding was under $1 for the first year or two. Besides, it's something I do on the side because I enjoy coding, not for my main source of income.

My first app was published in early 2010. I followed up with a paid version, then a couple other small apps that perform functions I wanted on my phone. I continue to maintain my apps and offer bug fixes, user support, and the occasional feature request. My income isn't tremendous, but it's steady. Nothing to brag about, but also not something I'd willingly give up.

Earlier this year I got a notice from Google that someone had submitted a takedown request for one of my applications based on a trademark infringement claim."
(Read on below for the rest of the story, and the question.)
Programming

13% of CompSci Grads Have Starting Salaries Over $100K 264 264

itwbennett writes: That was one of the findings of a survey of 50,000 U.S. college students and recent graduates by Looksharp, a marketplace for internships and entry-level jobs. For general findings across all majors, check out the State of College Hiring Report 2015. But the company shared some more computer science-specific findings with Phil Johnson. Among them: "Of all majors, students studying in CS had the highest average starting salary, $66,161." And, what's more, they know the value of their degree: "On average, they expected a starting salary of $68,120, slightly above the actual average starting salary of $66,161."