New submitter angel115 points out this article on the widespread fraud committed in India against many thousands of those seeking visas to work in the U.S. Many Indian techies rely on the services of visa brokers (or people who claim to be), and end up burned by the transaction. From the article: "Some are lucky enough to get a visa — only to find that the promised job in the US doesn’t materialize. Then the visa holders are forced to return to India after spending thousands of dollars just surviving. ... No official figures are available for the number of frauds in India, but an unclassified document released by Wikileaks showed that in 2009, US consular officials cited H-1B scams as one of the two most common fraud categories in India." Another interesting detail: As part of a U.S. government investigation, "Officers investigated 150 companies in the city and discovered that 77 percent 'turned out to be fraudulent or highly suspect.' ... Officials uncovered a scheme where Hyderabadis were claiming to work for made-up companies in Pune so the Mumbai consulate would be less suspicious about their applications. 'The Hyderabadis claimed that they had opened shell companies in Bangalore because "everyone knows Hyderabad has fraud and Bangalore is reputable,” according to the internal communiqué [later published by Wikileaks]."
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Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Chris Parnin has an interesting read about an international team of scientists lead by Dr. Janet Siegmund using brain imaging with fMRI to understand the programmer's mind and to compare and contrast different cognitive tasks used in programming by analyzing differences in brain locations that are activated by different tasks. One recent debate illuminated by their studies is recent legislation that considers offering foreign-language credits for students learning programming languages. There have been many strong reactions across the software-developer community. Some developers consider the effort laudable but misguided and proclaim programming is not at all like human language and is much closer to mathematics. Siegmund observed 17 participants inside an fMRI scanner while they were comprehending short source-code snippets and found a clear, distinct activation pattern of five brain regions, which are related to language processing, working memory, and attention. The programmers in the study recruited parts of the brain typically associated with language processing and verbal oriented processing (ventral lateral prefrontal cortex). At least for the simple code snippets presented, programmers could use existing language regions of the brain to understand code without requiring more complex mental models to be constructed and manipulated." (Read on for more.)
An anonymous reader writes "On Friday, Chrome 33 was shipped out the everyone on the stable channel. Among other things, it removes the developer flag to disable the "Instant Extended API", which powers an updated New Tab page. The new New Tab page receieved a large amount of backlash from users, particularly due to strange behavior when Google wasn't set as the default search engine. It also moves the apps section to a separate page and puts the button to reopen recently closed tabs in the Chrome menu. With the option to disable this change removed, there has been tremendous backlash on Google Chrome's official forum. The official suggestion from Google as well as OMG! Chrome is to try some New Tab page changing extensions, such as Replace New Tab, Modern New Tab Page, or iChrome."
New submitter robertchin writes "Michael Barr recently testified in the Bookout v. Toyota Motor Corp lawsuit that the likely cause of unintentional acceleration in the Toyota Camry may have been caused by a stack overflow. Due to recursion overwriting critical data past the end of the stack and into the real time operating system memory area, the throttle was left in an open state and the process that controlled the throttle was terminated. How can users protect themselves from sometimes life endangering software bugs?"
SirLurksAlot writes "News is beginning to circulate on Twitter and various sites that Jim Weirich, the creator of Rake, has passed away at the age of 58. He was an active developer (his last commit in the last 24 hours) and has made many contributions to the Ruby community over the years, as well as being a prolific speaker and teacher. He had a great sense of humor and was beloved by many. He will be greatly missed."
Nerval's Lobster writes "A recent article on Reactive Programming, which suggested that five lines of Reactive could solve a problem that required 500 lines using Java or 200 lines using triggers, led many readers to question (passionately) whether Reactive enables you to address not just typical problems, but complex ones as well. In a follow-up column, Espresso Logic CTO Val Huber argues that, while it certainly can't solve all use cases, Reactive Programming is very capable of addressing many complex problems, and can address all other scenarios via a transparent integration with procedural languages. He shows how Reactive can handle complexity using two different scenarios: a classically complicated database application (a bill of materials price rollup) and procedural integration (to address external systems such as email and transactions not limited by a database update). Take a look at his work; do you agree?"
An anonymous reader writes "One of Android's biggest draws is its roots in open source. It enables a broad range of device manufacturers to work from the same code base, and provides app developers with more insight into the platform they're building on. But openness isn't a binary condition — there are many shades of gray. While Android is technically very open, from a practical standpoint it's much more difficult for device makers to distance themselves from Google, if that's their preference. 'Phone manufacturers and carriers that want to use Google's services must conform to Google's device standards, a stricter requirement than what basic AOSP requires. For some, this is a catch. For others, it's merely the cost of doing business. ... [Dianne Hackborn, one of Android's tech leads,] defends Google's right to include proprietary services, and to keep them proprietary, saying that its no different than any other proprietary app on Android. That's not entirely true, since Google does keep some API development to itself, but to its credit the company does open-source most of the new APIs introduced to Android.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Lately, with the volatility of the economy, I have been thinking of expanding my education to reach into other areas related to my career. I have a computer science degree from Purdue and have been employed as a firmware engineer for 10+ years writing C and C++. I like what I do, but to me it seems that most job opportunities are available for people with skills in higher level languages such as ASP, .NET, C#, PHP, Scripting, Web applications and so on. Is it worth going back to school to get this training? I was thinking that a computer information technology degree would fit the bill, but I am concerned that going back to college would require a lot of time wasted doing electives and taking courses that don't get to the 'meat' of the learning. What would you do?"
hype7 writes "Here's a provocative article; the VP of engineering of a Sequoia-backed startup in Silicon Valley makes the case that good engineering managers aren't just hard to find — that they basically don't exist. The crux of his argument? The best engineers get all the benefits of being leaders, but without needing to take on the rather painful duties of management. So they choose not to move up. Compare this to the engineers who aren't as strong, and use the opportunity to move up as a way to get their voice heard."
Nerval's Lobster writes "King, the gaming developer behind the monster hit Candy Crush Saga, has attracted a fair amount of criticism over the past few weeks over its attempt to trademark the word 'candy,' which isn't exactly an uncommon term. The company followed up that trademarking attempt by firing off takedown notices at other developers who use 'candy' in the titles of their apps. But things only got emotional in the past few days, when indie developer Albert Ransom published an open letter on his Website that excoriates King for what basically amounts to bullying. Ransom claims that he published CandySwipe in 2010, a full two years before Candy Crush Saga hit the market, and that the two games bear a number of similarities; after opposing King's attempts to register a trademark, Ransom found that his rival had taken things to a whole new level by purchasing the rights to a game called Candy Crusher and using that as leverage to cancel the CandySwipe trademark. Ransom claims he spent three years working on his game, and that King is basically robbing his livelihood. King was not effusive in its response. 'I would direct you to our stance on intellectual property,' a spokesperson for the company wrote in an email to Slashdot, which included a link to a letter posted online by King CEO Riccardo Zacconi. 'At this time, we do not have any comment to add beyond what is outlined in this letter.' Zacconi's various defenses in the letter seem a moot point in the context of CandySwipe, considering how Ransom has already abandoned the prospect of fighting to protect his intellectual property. But the two developers' letters help illustrate how downright nasty the casual-gaming industry has become over the past several quarters, as profits skyrocket and people attempt to capitalize on others' success."
Sockatume writes "If you want to ship a phone with Google's apps on it, you need to license them. A copy of the OEM licensing agreement from 2011 was recently leaked, and Ars Technica provides a summary. Amongst the rules: a company licensing Google Apps can't act in a way that would fragment Android, but must also maintain the platform's open-ness; most of Google's services must be included; Google apps must be defaults, and placed within a couple of clicks of the default home screen. No surprises, but it's interesting to see the details laid out."
First time accepted submitter vigna writes "The Laboratory for Web Algorithmics of the Università degli studi di Milano together with the Data and Web Science Group of the University of Mannheim have put together the first entirely open ranking of more than 100 million sites of the Web. The ranking is based on classic and easily explainable centrality measures applied to a host graph, and it is entirely open — all data and all software used is publicly available. Just in case you wonder, the number one site is YouTube, the second Wikipedia, and the third Twitter." They are using the Common Crawl data (first released in November 2011). Pages are ranked using harmonic centrality with raw Indegree centrality, Katz's index, and PageRank provided for comparison. More information about the web graph is available in a pre-print paper that will be presented at the World Wide Web Conference in April.
Bizzeh writes "Today my boss came to me with what he thought to be a valid point and analogy. A builder builds a wall. A week later, bricks begin to fall out of the bottom, but he continues to build the wall higher. In most cases, he would have to replace those lower bricks at his own expense and on his own time. Comparatively: A software developer writes a piece of software. When bugs are discovered, the developer is paid to fix them by the employer and on the employer's time. I didn't know how to refute the analogy at the time, but it did make me think: why are bugs in software treated differently in this way?"
Nw submitter CMULL writes "Stop typing Git over and over again. Ruby on Rails development and consulting firm thoughtbot created an interactive shell dedicated to Git commands, gitsh. One of the primary developers says there is a need for this shell because many early Unix utilities don't take sub-commands like Git."
rjmarvin writes "Karanbir Singh and a handful of other CentOS developers are now full-time Red Hat employees, working in-house on the CentOS distribution with more transparent processes and methods. None of the CentOS developers will be working on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The CentOS project would become another distribution and community cared for by Red Hat, like Fedora, and Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens says the company is planning its future around OpenStack, not just Linux."
An anonymous reader writes "Bitcoin values dropped sharply over the weekend after the largest trading exchange, MtGox, revealed that an investigation into unusual trading activity turned up a flaw in the underlying Bitcoin software that allowed an attacker to double withdrawal a transaction" Not so fast according to database experts: the real problem is that Mt Gox (and other exchanges) are using a surrogate transaction id rather than a natural key in their databases: "The flaw isn't so much in Bitcoin as it is in exchange-systems. Many exchanges use the tx-id to uniquely identify transactions, but as it turns out, an attacker can change the tx-id without changing the actual transaction, rebroadcast the changed transaction (effectively creating a double-spend) and if his altered transaction gets accepted into a block instead of the legit transaction, the attacker receives his coins and can complain with the exchange that he didn't. The exchange will then check their db, fetch the tx-id from it, look it up in the blockchain and not find it. So they could conclude that the transaction indeed failed and credit the account with the coins. ... A simple workaround is to not use the tx-id to identify transactions on the exchange side, but the (amount, address, timestamp) instead."
goruka writes with news that a new game engine has been made available to Free Software developers under the permissive MIT license "Godot is a fully featured, open source, MIT licensed, game engine. It focuses on having great tools, and a visual oriented workflow that can deploy to PC, Mobile and Web platforms with no hassle. The editor, language and APIs are feature rich, yet simple to learn. Godot was born as an in-house engine, and was used to publish several work-for-hire commercial titles. With more than half a million lines of code, Godot is one of the most complex Open Source game engines at the moment, and one of the largest commitments to open source software in recent years. It allows developers to make games under Linux (and other unix variants), Windows and OSX." The source is available via Github, and, according to Phoronix, it's about as featureful as the Unity engine.
snydeq writes "Programming boot camps are on the rise, but can a crash course in coding truly pay off for students and employers alike? InfoWorld's Dan Tynan discusses the relative (and perceived) value of code academies with founders, alumni, recruiters, and hiring managers. Early impressions and experiences are mixed, but the hacker school trend seems certain to stick. 'Many businesses that are looking at a shortfall of more than a million programmers by the year 2020 are more than willing to give inexperienced grads a chance, even if some are destined to fail. The zero-to-hero success stories may be relatively rare, but they happen often enough to ensure that the boom in quick-and-dirty coding schools is only likely to accelerate.'"
jones_supa writes "At FOSDEM 2014 some recent developments of GNU Hurd were discussed (PDF slides). In the name of freedom, GNU Hurd has now the ability to run device drivers from user-space via the project's DDE layer. Among the mentioned use-cases for the GNU Hurd DDE are allowing VPN traffic to just one application, mounting one's own files, redirecting a user's audio, and more flexible hardware support. You can also run Linux kernel drivers in Hurd's user-space. Hurd developers also have working IDE support, X.Org / graphics support, an AHCI driver for Serial ATA, and a Xen PV DomU. Besides the 64-bit support not being in a usable state, USB and sound support is still missing. As some other good news for GNU Hurd, around 79% of the Debian archive is now building for GNU Hurd, including the Xfce desktop (GNOME and KDE soon) and Firefox web browser."