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Facebook

The Computer Science Behind Facebook's 1 Billion Users 113

Posted by timothy
from the yet-they-keep-most-recent-instead-of-top-stories dept.
pacopico writes "Much has been made about Facebook hitting 1 billion users. But Businessweek has the inside story detailing how the site actually copes with this many people and the software Facebook has invented that pushes the limits of computer science. The story quotes database guru Mike Stonebraker saying, 'I think Facebook has the hardest information technology problem on the planet.' To keep Facebooking moving fast, Mark Zuckerberg apparently instituted a program called Boot Camp in which engineers spend six-weeks learning every bit of Facebook's code."
Open Source

Open Source Raspberry Pi WebIDE Alpha Released 26

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-why-not dept.
ptorrone writes "Adafruit, the NYC based open-source hardware company led by Ladyada released their open-source Raspberry Pi WebIDE alpha today. Its goal is to be 'The easiest way to develop code on your Raspberry Pi.' To get up and running head on over to learn.adafruit.com/webide and follow the installation and setup instructions. It uses Bitbucket, and any code changes you make will be synced to your Bitbucket account. Adafruit chose Bitbucket over GitHub because they offer free secure accounts, which is very important for a Web-based IDE."
Programming

Ask Slashdot: Am I Too Old To Retrain? 418

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-unless-you're-an-mma-fighter dept.
Talcyon writes "I'm a 40-year-old developer, and it's become apparent that my .NET skillset is woefully out of date after five years of doing various bits of support. I tried the 'Management' thing last year, but that was a failure as I'm just not a people person, and a full-on development project this year has turned into a disaster area. I'm mainly a VB.NET person with skills from the .NET 2.0 era. Is that it? Do I give up a career in technology now? Or turn around and bury myself in a support role, sorting out issues with other people's/companies' software? I've been lurking around Slashdot for many years now, and this question occasionally comes up, but it pays to get the opinions of others. Do I retrain and get back up to speed, or am I too old?"
Oracle

Oracle's Sparc T5 Chip Evidently Pushed Back to 2013 98

Posted by timothy
from the when-visions-collide dept.
Mark Hachman writes in Slash Datacenter that the Sparc T5 chip Oracle announced earlier this year apparently won't be ready until sometime in 2013. John Fowler, executive vice president, Systems, Oracle, presented at Oracle Open World a chart outlining highlights of Oracle's plans for the future. "But Fowler also skipped over some bad news: an apparent delay for the Sparc T5. A year ago, Oracle’s Sun division announced the Sparc T4—and according to Fowler, Oracle chief Larry Ellison set a very high bar for the next iteration: double the performance while maintaining app compatibility on an annual basis. Apparently, that didn’t quite happen with the T5; Oracle had the opportunity to announce a T5-based server, and didn’t. That’s a bit of bad news for the Sun design team, which already had to watch Intel’s Xeon chief, Diane Bryant, give the preceding keynote. ... As detailed at this year’s Hot Chips conference, the T5 combines 16 CPU cores running at 3.6 GHz on a 28-nm manufacturing process. Continuing the trend of hardware acceleration of specific functions, Sun executives claimed the chip would lead in on-chip encryption acceleration, with support for asymmetric (public key) encryption, symmetric encryption, hashing up to SHA-512, plus a hardware random number generator."
Google

Google Glass, Augmented Reality Spells Data Headaches 44

Posted by Soulskill
from the waiting-on-google-smell-o-vision dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Google seems determined to press forward with Google Glass technology, filing a patent for a Google Glass wristwatch. As pointed out by CNET, the timepiece includes a camera and a touch screen that, once flipped up, acts as a secondary display. In the patent, Google refers to the device as a 'smart-watch. Whether or not a Google Glass wristwatch ever appears on the marketplace — just because a tech titan patents a particular invention doesn't mean it's bound for store shelves anytime soon — the appearance of augmented-reality accessories brings up a handful of interesting issues for everyone from app developers to those tasked with handling massive amounts of corporate data.For app developers, augmented-reality devices raise the prospect of broader ecosystems and spiraling complexity. It's one thing to build an app for smartphones and tablets — but what if that app also needs to handle streams of data ported from a pair of tricked-out sunglasses or a wristwatch, or send information in a concise and timely way to a tiny screen an inch in front of someone's left eye?"
Programming

Mind Maps: the Poor Man's Design Tool 97

Posted by Soulskill
from the asking-for-directions-is-taboo dept.
CowboyRobot writes "'UML too complex? Flowcharts too old school? Mind maps offer a simple way to capture designs and weave them together elegantly.' The quickest way to begin designing a program is to simply write down the steps in normal text, but this method breaks down with more complex projects. UML can be a useful format for larger projects but can be difficult to get right, especially when trying to use it with a less conventional project. The middle ground are 'Mind Maps,' 'a diagrammatic representation of loosely connected ideas. They are a central tool in brainstorming sessions. Mind map tools help capture ideas and then mush them around until you have the structure you want.'"
Businesses

Nokia Bets Big On Mapping 104

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the elop-versus-page dept.
angry tapir writes "Nokia and Oracle have joined forces on mapping, with details of the deal to be announced at the Oracle OpenWorld conference. To differentiate its smartphones from the competition, Nokia is betting big on location as well as imaging technology. Oracle is expected to add Nokia's mapping technology to its applications. Part of Nokia's location strategy is signing deals for the use of its Navteq mapping technology with as many companies as possible. Besides the deal with Oracle, Nokia has recently announced contracts with car makers BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen and Korean Hyundai, which will all use Navteq map data in some of their vehicles. Garmin will also start using Nokia data on transit services and walking routes to power a new Urban Guidance feature, which will be available as part of its Navigon app for Android and iOS. Nokia's most important partner on navigation, though, is Microsoft. All smartphones based on Windows Phone 8 will have Nokia's Drive application as standard, while Microsoft's Bing Maps geographical search engine uses Nokia data."
Programming

TypeScript: Microsoft's Replacement For JavaScript 488

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-code-on-the-block dept.
mikejuk writes "Everyone seems to have a replacement for JavaScript — Google even has two. Now Microsoft has revealed that Anders Hejlsberg, the father of C# among other languages, has been working on a replacement and it has released a preview of TypeScript. The good news is that it is compatible with JavaScript — you can simply load JavaScript code and run it. JavaScript programs are TypeScript programs. To improve on JavaScript, TypeScript lets you include annotations that allow the compiler to understand what objects and functions support. The annotations are removed by the compiler, making it a zero overhead facility. It also adds a full class construct to make it more like traditional object oriented languages. Not every JavaScript programmer will be pleased about the shift in emphasis, but the way it compiles to a JavaScript constructor is fairly transparent. At this early stage it is difficult to see the development as good. It isn't particularly good for JavaScript developers who already have alternatives, and it isn't good for C# developers who now have confirmation that Ander Hejlsberg is looking elsewhere for his future." Update: 10/01 20:34 GMT by U L : It's also freely available under under the Apache 2.0 license, and there's a language specification available. It looks pretty interesting: it even has ML-style type inference (including e.g. deducing the types of higher order functions).
Cloud

RightScale, Scalr, EnStratus: Comparing the APIs 13

Posted by samzenpus
from the best-in-show dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Back in May, I took a look at three cloud management platforms: RightScale, Scalr, and enStratus. Perhaps the biggest surprise was that people from two of those companies—RightScale and Scalr—took note of the article and replied in the comments, offering some clarification on their offerings. (And they were very civil: thank you!) What I'd like to do next is re-visit these platforms, but focus directly on the APIs that the three offer—not so much coding, but a high-level picture of them. How do they stack up? What features do they have? How do they fit with standards? And what can you expect from the long-term?"
Cloud

Oracle Open World: Ellison Preaches Cloud Religion 49

Posted by samzenpus
from the silver-lining dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Oracle CEO Larry Ellison used his opening keynote at Oracle Open World (OOW) to unveil several initiatives to accelerate the cloud, including its own private cloud, Infrastructure-as-a-Service, and its latest database version—which, coincidentally, can be stored in memory within Oracle's latest Exadata database machines. Ellison also paid tribute to Oracle hardware partner Fujitsu, which had earlier announced 'Project Athena': a server designed with a UltraSPARC chip that (he claimed) can run the Oracle database 'faster than any microprocessor on the planet.' Ellison opened OpenWorld with four key announcements: that Oracle is now offering infrastructure as a service; that it will complement the IaaS offering by allowing customers to run that same infrastructure behind their corporate firewall as a private cloud; the launch of Oracle database 12C (where the 'c' stands for 'cloud'); and, finally, the new Exadata servers, which barely use disk drives at all in-favor of in-memory storage, with flash memory as a fallback."
Facebook

How Noah Kagan Got Fired From Facebook and Lost $100 Million 236

Posted by timothy
from the but-who's-counting dept.
First time accepted submitter abhi2012 writes "Noah Kagan, a former Facebook product manager, has written a brutally honest article about how and why he got fired from Facebook in 2006 and what he learned from it. The experience must be particularly painful, given that it eventually cost Kagan a $100 million fortune."
Books

WTFM: Write the Freaking Manual 299

Posted by timothy
from the so-to-speak dept.
theodp writes "Blogger Floopsy complains that he would love to RTFM, but can't do so if no one will WTFM. 'You spend hours, days, months, perhaps years refining your masterpiece,' Floopsy laments to creators of otherwise excellent programming language, framework, and projects. 'It is an expression of your life's work, heart and soul. Why, then, would you shortchange yourself by providing poor or no documentation for the rest of us?' One problem with new program languages, a wise CS instructor of mine noted in the early look-Ma-no-documentation days of C++, is that their creators are not typically professional writers and shy away from the effort it takes to produce even less-than-satisfactory manuals. But without these early efforts, he explained, the language or technology may never gain enough traction for the Big Dogs like O'Reilly to come in and write the professional-caliber books that are necessary for truly widespread adoption. So, how important is quality documentation to you as a creator or potential user of new technologies? And how useful do you find the documentation that tech giants like Google (Go), Twitter (Bootstrap), Facebook (iOS 6 Facebook Integration), Microsoft (Windows Store apps), and Apple (Create Apps for IOS 6) produce to promote their nascent technologies? Is it useful on its own, or do you have to turn to other 'store-bought' documentation to really understand how to get things done?"
Python

Python 3.3.0 Released 131

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After just over a month of release candidates, the final version of Python 3.3 launched today. This version includes new syntax, including the yield from expression for generator delegation; new library modules, including fault handler (for debugging crashes), ipaddress, and lzma (for data compression using the XZ/LZMA algorithm); a reworked OS and I/O exception hierarchy; the venv module for programmatic access to Python virtual environments; and a host of API changes. The full list of features and the change log are both available."
PHP

Malicious PhpMyAdmin Served From SourceForge Mirror 86

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the tin-foil-hat-activate dept.
An anonymous reader writes with a bit of news about the compromised download of phpMyAdmin discovered on an sf.net mirror yesterday: "A malicious version of the open source Web-based MySQL database administration tool phpMyAdmin has been discovered on one of the official mirror sites of SourceForge, the popular online code repository for free and open source software. The file — phpMyAdmin-3.5.2.2-all-languages.zip — was modified to include a backdoor that allowed attackers to remotely execute PHP code on the server running the malicious version of phpMyAdmin." The Sourceforge weblog has details. Someone compromised a mirror (since removed from rotation of course) around September 22nd. Luckily, only around 400 people grabbed the file before someone caught it.
Programming

Ask Slashdot: Explaining Version Control To Non-Technical People? 383

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the it-will-cost-negative-ten-meelion-dollars dept.
New submitter billius writes "I was recently hired (along with another guy) as a web developer at a large university. Our job is to build tools to support the social science researchers on our team. When I got here the codebase was an unholy mess: the formatting was terrible, there were .bak files scattered everywhere and there was no version control system in place. We quickly went to work cleaning things up and implementing new features. My boss was so pleased with our work that she took us out to lunch. During lunch, she asked us if there were any additional tools we needed to do our job more efficiently. We both told her that version control was an invaluable tool for any kind of software development, but had a difficult time describing to her what exactly version control was. I attempted to explain that it created a log of all the changes made to the code and allowed us to make sure that multiple developers working on the same project would not step on each other's toes. I don't think we really got through to her and a few weeks passed with us hearing nothing. Today we were asked by another supervisor if we needed any additional tools and we went through the same spiel about version control. She suggested that we try to write up a brief description of what we wanted and how much it would cost, but I'm drawing a blank an how exactly to describe version control to a person who isn't very technical, let alone a developer. Does anyone out there have any tips on how to sell version control to management?"
Bug

New Java Vulnerability Found Affecting Java 5, 6, and 7 SE 121

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the everything-is-compromised dept.
jcatcw writes "Just as Oracle is ramping up for the September 30 start of JavaOne 2012 in San Francisco, researchers from the Polish firm Security Explorations disclosed yet another critical Java vulnerability that might 'spoil the taste of Larry Ellison's morning ... Java.' According to Security Explorations researcher Adam Gowdiak, who sent the email to the Full Disclosure Seclist, this Java exploit affects one billion users of Oracle Java SE software, Java 5, 6 and 7. It could be exploited by apps on Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari. Wow, thanks a lot Oracle."
Programming

Ask Slashdot: Should Developers Install Their Software Themselves? 288

Posted by samzenpus
from the hoisting-with-your-own-petard dept.
Paul Carver writes "Should developers be responsible for installing the software they develop into production environments? What about System Test environments? I'm not a developer and I'm not all that familiar with Agile or DevOps, but it seems unhealthy to me to have software installs done by developers. I think that properly developed software should come complete with installation instructions that can be followed by someone other than the person who wrote the code. I'd like to hear opinions from developers. Do you prefer a workplace where you hand off packaged software to other teams to deploy or do you prefer to personally install your software into System Test and then personally install it into production once the System Testers have certified it? For context, I'm talking about enterprise grade, Internet facing web services sold to end users as well as large companies on either credit card billing or contractual basis with service level agreements and 24x7 Operations support. I'm not talking about little one (wo)man shops and free or Google style years long beta services."
Education

Gates and Others Offer $150k For Open Source School Software 151

Posted by timothy
from the what's-the-noodling-to-useful-ratio? dept.
WebMink writes "With an impending deadline for America's schools to satisfy new federal reporting requirements on academic achievement, a new alliance of state educators is creating a system of open source software to help schools gather and submit the data that the rules require. To get the whole thing started, the Gates Foundation and Carnegie are funding two $75,000 awards for the open source developers who create the in-school software. The winners could also become the linchpins of a new industry in academic software."
Graphics

Torque3D Engine Goes Open-Source 68

Posted by Soulskill
from the go-forth-and-build dept.
New submitter DangerOnTheRanger writes "Torque3D, the game engine behind games such as Blockland and Tribes 2, has gone open-source. The engine itself — in addition to four game templates — are all included in a Git repository hosted on GitHub. Documentation is available in a separate repository. Quite the exciting time in the world of game development!"
Education

How Microsoft Is Wooing College Kids To Write Apps For Windows 8 187

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-take-candy-from-strangers dept.
SquarePixel writes "Bloomberg has an interesting story about Microsoft's efforts to simultaneously woo younger workers and to get more apps into its Windows Store. Quoting: 'Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, designed Windows 8 for touch-screen technology included in the company's first tablet, Surface, and other devices coming this year. To gain share in tablets, a market expected by DisplaySearch to reach $66.4 billion in 2012, Microsoft needs enough apps to challenge the more than 200,000 available for iPad. Using student recruits is one way Microsoft can woo app developers who are used to building programs for mobile phones and tablets, where the company has little and no share, respectively. Luring programmers before graduation is particularly critical for recruitment in the U.S., which lags behind countries such as India and China in its ability to crank out qualified engineers.'"

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