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Software

Is the Flickr API a National Treasure? 101

Posted by timothy
from the coerce-and-control-network dept.
First time accepted submitter somekind writes "Over the past few months Twitter imposed restrictions on the use of its client API, and Facebook shut down the facial recognition API supporting face.com after acquiring the company. Mathew Ingram noted these and other examples (Google starting to charge for high-volume use of Google Maps) as evidence that 'open APIs' published by a single vendor can't be trusted by outside developers. Worried about the possibility that Yahoo! might do the same with Flickr, Dave Winer has just launched a petition to Obama asking the President to declare the Flickr API a National Historic Landmark, thus (by Dave's reckoning) legally protected from arbitrary withdrawal or wholesale changes by its corporate masters."
Cloud

Official Doc Reveals Oracle's Cloud Rules 84

Posted by timothy
from the don't-tell-everyone-at-once dept.
itwbennett writes "In an official document that is both 'confidential' and publicly available on Oracle's website, the company lays out its cloud policies. Most of the policies follow industry standards, but then there are a few that should give customers pause. Like the one that allows Oracle to turn off access to accounts in the event of a dispute or account violation."
Businesses

Ask Slashdot: Interviewing Your Boss? 219

Posted by timothy
from the are-you-really-as-clueless-as-you-appear? dept.
First time accepted submitter Uzuri writes "I'm soon going to have the experience of interviewing an individual to be my direct supervisor. I have in mind several things to ask already, especially since I also have the strange position of working as a technical person in a non-technical office and want to be able to be certain that the interviewee understands exactly what that means without coming off as hostile or condescending. What sort of questions would you ask/have you asked the person who was to be your boss? What sort of tells would you look for? What's out of bounds?"
China

Nokia Abruptly Closes Application Store In China For N9 66

Posted by timothy
from the none-for-you dept.
jppiiroinen writes "It seems that Nokia is slowly killing existing applications for their Linux based N9 mobile phone which are available through their store. As a developer who has published paid (and free) apps, it appears after their final blow of killing the support for paid applications in China, where the main revenue came from, there is not any means to make money, and no reason to maintain apps anymore. What this means also for the end-users: no premium apps, like Angry Birds. There was no heads-up or anything, just a single email without any means to make a complaint. Nokia, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish." Also being discussed at Maemo.org.
Open Source

New Contiki OS Network Regression Test Framework 13

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the tiny-tests dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Contiki, the open source operating system for the Internet of Things, just got a regression test framework ported over from Thingsquare Mist that allows the Contiki developers to test the entire system on 9 platforms, 4 CPU architectures, and 1021 network nodes, for every new commit."
Databases

PostgreSQL 9.3 Will Feature UPDATEable Views 68

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the long-overdue-features dept.
Picking up work abandoned around Postgres 8.2, a patch recently hit the PostgreSQL 9.3 branch that adds SQL-92 automatically updatable views. For many common cases, you will no longer have to write hairy triggers to fake UPDATE support (e.g. if you have a view that hides a few internal columns). Limitations currently include only supporting views with at most one table in the FROM clause. This complements the under-advertised INSTEAD OF trigger support added in 9.1.
Programming

Happy Birthday To Ada Lovelace, the First Computer Programmer 60

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the before-her-time dept.
First time accepted submitter MrBeeudoublez writes "Honored by a Google Doodle, Ada Lovelace is the first computer programmer. From the article: 'Ada's life as a member of British society (first as the daughter of Lord Byron, and later as the wife of the Count of Lovelace), brought her into contact with Charles Babbage, whose concepts for mechanical calculating machines (early computers) she took a great interest in. Ultimately, her work on explaining Babbage's design for the Analytical Engine resulted in her being credited as the first true computer programmer in history, even if the computer she programmed for was not actually built until 2002.'"
Programming

The Scourge of Error Handling 536

Posted by Soulskill
from the a-user-did-what? dept.
CowboyRobot writes "Dr. Dobb's has an editorial on the problem of using return values and exceptions to handle errors. Quoting: 'But return values, even in the refined form found in Go, have a drawback that we've become so used to we tend to see past it: Code is cluttered with error-checking routines. Exceptions here provide greater readability: Within a single try block, I can see the various steps clearly, and skip over the various exception remedies in the catch statements. The error-handling clutter is in part moved to the end of the code thread. But even in exception-based languages there is still a lot of code that tests returned values to determine whether to carry on or go down some error-handling path. In this regard, I have long felt that language designers have been remarkably unimaginative. How can it be that after 60+ years of language development, errors are handled by only two comparatively verbose and crude options, return values or exceptions? I've long felt we needed a third option.'"
Python

Python Creator Guido van Rossum Leaves Google For Dropbox 261

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-just-typed-import-guido dept.
New submitter mrvan writes "Guido van Rossum, the proclaimed Python Benevolent Dictator For Life, has left Google to work for Dropbox. In their announcement, Dropbox says they relied heavily on Python from the beginning, citing a mix of simplicity, flexibility, and elegance, and are excited to have GvR on the team. While this is, without a doubt, good news for Dropbox, the big question is what this will mean for Python (and for Google)."
Education

Coderdojo Inspires Coding In Kids As Young As Seven 40

Posted by Soulskill
from the learn-programming-through-single-combat dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With kids growing up in an increasingly digital world, it's alarming that many of them have no idea how the devices that power their lives actually work. So three cheers for Coderdojo — a worldwide group of volunteers teaching programming and web design to children aged seven and up. From the article: 'Coderdojo's format is open and inclusive. Participants can use the operating system and programming tools of their choice. There is no set curriculum and the only rule is: "Above all: be cool." More rigid approaches, he suggests, can often stifle learners' enthusiasm: "A lot of coding tuition aimed at young people tends to revolve around games," he said. "But that can disengage some young people. Many of them, particularly girls, just aren't interested in gaming. "On the other hand, doing something like developing a web site shows them that they can do things they might not have realized they were able to and combines artistic and design skills with an understanding of why things are built in a certain way."'"
Programming

Auto-threading Compiler Could Restore Moore's Law Gains 404

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the sufficiently-smart-compiler dept.
New submitter Nemo the Magnificent writes "Develop in the Cloud has news about what might be a breakthrough out of Microsoft Research. A team there wrote a paper (PDF), now accepted for publication at OOPSLA, that describes how to teach a compiler to auto-thread a program that was written single-threaded in a conventional language like C#. This is the holy grail to take advantage of multiple cores — to get Moore's Law improvements back on track, after they essentially ran aground in the last decade. (Functional programming, the other great hope, just isn't happening.) About 2004 was when Intel et al. ran into a wall and started packing multiple cores into chips instead of cranking the clock speed. The Microsoft team modified a C# compiler to use the new technique, and claim a 'large project at Microsoft' have written 'several million lines of code' testing out the resulting 'safe parallelism.'" The paper is a good read if you're into compilers and functional programming. The key to operation is adding permissions to reference types allowing you to declare normal references, read-only references to mutable objects, references to globally immutable objects, and references to isolated clusters of objects. With that information, the compiler is able to prove that chunks of code can safely be run in parallel. Unlike many other approaches, it doesn't require that your program be purely functional either.
Math

One Cool Day Job: Building Algorithms For Elevators 203

Posted by timothy
from the getting-it-up-is-only-half-the-battle dept.
McGruber writes "The Wall Street Journal has an article about Theresa Christy, a mathematician who develops algorithms for Otis Elevator Company, the world's largest manufacturer and maintainer of people-moving products including elevators, escalators and moving walkways. As an Otis research fellow, Ms. Christy writes strings of code that allow elevators to do essentially the greatest good for the most people — including the building's owner, who has to allocate considerable space for the concrete shafts that house the cars. Her work often involves watching computer simulation programs that replay elevator decision-making. 'I feel like I get paid to play videogames. I watch the simulation, and I see what happens, and I try to improve the score I am getting,' she says."
Books

How Does a Single Line of BASIC Make an Intricate Maze? 438

Posted by timothy
from the when-factors-align dept.
JameskPratt writes "This Slate article talks about a single line of code — 10 PRINT CHR$ (205.5 + RND (1)); : GOTO 10 — and how it manages to create a complicated maze without the use of a loop, variables and without very complicated syntax." Now that amazing snippet of code is the basis of a book, and the book is freely downloadable.
Open Source

Half of GitHub Code Unsafe To Use (If You Want Open Source) 218

Posted by timothy
from the but-they-said-to-download dept.
WebMink writes "GitHub is a great open source hosting site, right? Wrong. There's no requirement that projects on GitHub provide any copyright license, let alone an open source one, so roughly half the projects on GitHub are "all rights reserved" — meaning you could well be violating copyright if you make any use of the code in them. And GitHub management seem just fine with this state of affairs, saying picking a license is too hard for ordinary developers. But if you're not going to give anyone permission to use your code, why post it on GitHub in the first place?"
Android

Ouya Consoles Will Start Shipping On December 28th 121

Posted by timothy
from the did-you-bet-correctly? dept.
sfcrazy writes "Ouya has stuck to its deadlines. The team has posted an update on the official blog that the units will start shipping on the scheduled date of December 28th. These units are for those developers who backed the project on Kickstarter. There is some surprise for developers with this console. 'What we didn't tell you was that the advance dev consoles you ordered are pretty special – you'll know what I mean when you open yours. They're rare drops. :P,' says the official post."
IBM

In a Symbolic Shift, IBM's India Workforce Likely Exceeds That In US 491

Posted by timothy
from the rising-tide-lifting-boats dept.
dcblogs writes "IBM has 112,000 employees in India, up from 6,000 in 2002, with an average wage of about $17,000, according to an internal company document. That wage level may seem shockingly low to U.S. IT workers, but it is in alignment with IT wages in India.The Everest Group said the annual wages generally in India for a software engineer range from $8,000 to $10,000; for a senior software engineer, $12,000 to $15,000, and between $18,000 and $20,000 for a team lead. A project manager may make as much as $31,000. IBM employs about 430,000 globally. According to the Alliance at IBM, the U.S. staff is at about 92,000. It was at 121,000 at the end of 2007, and more in previous years. It has been widely expected over the past year or two that IBM's India workforce was on track to exceed its U.S. workforce, if it hadn't exceeded it already."
Databases

Ask Slashdot: Which OSS Database Project To Help? 287

Posted by Soulskill
from the flip-a-coin-or-flip-a-table dept.
DoofusOfDeath writes "I've done a good bit of SQL development / tuning in the past. After being away from the database world for a while to finish grad school, I'm about ready to get back in the game. I want to start contributing to some OSS database project, both for fun and perhaps to help my employment prospects in western Europe. My problem is choosing which OSS DB to help with. MySQL is the most popular, so getting involved with it would be most helpful to my employment prospects. But its list of fundamental design flaws (video) seems so severe that I can't respect it as a database. I'm attracted to the robust correctness requirements of PostgreSQL, but there don't seem to be many prospective employers using it. So while I'd enjoy working on it, I don't think it would be very helpful to my employment prospects. Any suggestions?"
Cloud

Netflix Gives Data Center Tools To Fail 75

Posted by timothy
from the because-the-fan-is-dirty dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Netflix has released Hystrix, a library designed for managing interactions between distributed systems, complete with 'fallback' options for when those systems inevitably fail. The code for Hystrix—which Netflix tested on its own systems—can be downloaded at Github, with documentation available here, in addition to a getting-started guide and operations examples, among others. Hystrix evolved out of Netflix's need to manage an increasing rate of calls to its APIs, and resulted in (according to the company) a 'dramatic improvement in uptime and resilience has been achieved through its use.' The Netflix API receives more than 1 billion incoming calls per day, which translates into several billion outgoing calls (averaging a ratio of 1:6) to dozens of underlying systems, with peaks of over 100,000 dependency requests per second. That's according to Netflix engineer Ben Christensen, who described the incredible loads on the company's infrastructure in a February blog posting. The vast majority of those calls serve the discovery user interfaces (UIs) of the more than 800 different devices supported by Netflix."
Cellphones

NYC Police Gathering Cellphone Logs 122

Posted by timothy
from the for-a-nice-toasty-fire dept.
Dupple writes "When a cellphone is reported stolen in New York, the Police Department routinely subpoenas the phone's call records, from the day of the theft onward. The logic is simple: If a thief uses the phone, a list of incoming and outgoing calls could lead to the suspect. But in the process, the Police Department has quietly amassed a trove of telephone logs, all obtained without a court order, that could conceivably be used for any investigative purpose. The call records from the stolen cellphones are integrated into a database known as the Enterprise Case Management System, according to Police Department documents from the detective bureau. Each phone number is hyperlinked, enabling detectives to cross-reference it against phone numbers in other files."

/earth: file system full.

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