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Open Source

Ask Slashdot: How To Start Reading Other's Code? 254

Posted by timothy
from the first-hire-some-polish-mathematicians dept.
BorgeStrand writes "I'm reviving an open source project and need to read up on a lot of existing code written by others. What are your tricks for quickly getting to grips with code written by others? The project is written in C++ using several APIs which are unknown to me. I know embedded C pretty well, so both the syntax, the APIs and the general functionality are things I wish to explore before I can contribute to the project."
Businesses

NY and SF Mayors Announce Joint Tech Summits 27

Posted by timothy
from the guiding-hand-of-the-state dept.
First time accepted submitter Clarklteveno writes "New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his San Francisco counterpart, Ed Lee, said at a news conference Friday that they are sponsoring a pair of technology summits over the next year. The mayors said the 'digital cities' summits — one in New York in September and another in San Francisco early next year — will seek to find ways to use technology to solve problems the cities face. The mayors made the announcement after touring the office of San Francisco-based mobile payment company Square with co-founder Jack Dorsey, who also helped found Twitter. Bloomberg pointed to power outages and dangerous winds and flooding from Hurricane Sandy as examples of issues the summits would seek to address."
Oracle

Larry Ellison Rejuvenating Hawaii's Sixth-Largest Island (Which He Owns) 297

Posted by Soulskill
from the go-big-or-go-home dept.
McGruber writes "In June of 2012, we discussed news that Larry Ellison, co-founder and chief executive of Oracle, purchased the Hawaiian island Lanai for $300 million. Ellison now owns nearly everything on the island, including many of the candy-colored plantation-style homes and apartments, one of the two grocery stores, the two Four Seasons hotels and golf courses, the community center and pool, water company, movie theater, half the roads and some 88,000 acres of land. (2% of the island is owned by the government or by longtime Lanai families.) Now Ellison is attempting to win over the island's small, but wary, local population, one whose economic future is heavily dependent on his decisions. He and his team have met with experts in desalination and solar energy to change the way water and electricity are generated, collected, stored and delivered on the island. They are refurbishing residential housing intended for workers (Mr. Ellison's Lanai Resorts owns and manages 400 of the more than 1,500 housing units on the island). They've tackled infrastructure, such as lengthening airport runways and paving county roads. And to improve access to Lanai, Mr. Ellison bought Island Air earlier this year and is closing a deal to buy another airline."
Databases

Transgendered Folks Encountering Document/Database ID Hassles 814

Posted by Soulskill
from the flipping-bits dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Most of us hear the equivalent of 'let me bring up your record' several times a week or month when dealing with businesses and government agencies; sometimes there's a problem, but clerks are accustomed to dealing with changes in street address, phone numbers, company affiliation, and even personal names (after marriage). But what about gender? Transgendered folks are encountering embarrassing moments when they have to explain that their gender has changed from 'M' to 'F' or vice versa. While there are many issues involved in discrimination against transgendered individuals, I have to confess that the first thing that came to my mind was the impact on database design and maintenance."
Mozilla

POTI, Creators of the Songbird Media Player, Call It Quits 67

Posted by timothy
from the but-you-can-reuse-bits-of-it dept.
ilikenwf writes "Pioneers of the Inevitable has announced on their blog that they will be folding on June 28. Started in 2007, the company went on to create the Songbird Desktop and mobile players, as well as the Songbird.me Facebook app. Their legacy lives on in Nightingale, an open source fork of the Songbird Desktop player that runs on Linux, Windows and Mac. No word yet on whether or not their currently closed source code will be opened up or not, but their contributions to the world of open source software are appreciated, and won't be forgotten."
Programming

Ask Slashdot: Self-Hosting Git Repositories? 165

Posted by timothy
from the that-sounds-recursive dept.
mpol writes "We're all aware of PRISM and the NSA deals with software houses. Just today it was in the news that even Microsoft gives zero-day exploits to the NSA, who use them to prepare themselves, but also use the exploits to break into other systems. At my company we use Git with some private repositories. It's easy to draw the conclusion that git-hosting in the cloud, like Github or Bitbucket, will lead to sharing the sourcecode with the NSA. Self-hosting our Git repositories seems like a good and safe idea then. The question then becomes which software to use. It should be Open Source and under a Free License, that's for sure. Software like GitLab and GNU Savane seem good candidates. What other options are there, and how do they stack up against each other? What experience do people have with them?"
Databases

A Database of Brains 25

Posted by Soulskill
from the quickly-DDOSed-by-zombie-botnet dept.
aarondubrow writes "Researchers recently created OpenfMRI, a web-based, supercomputer-powered tool that makes it easier for researchers to process, share, compare and rapidly analyze fMRI brain scans from many different studies. Applying supercomputing to the fMRI analysis allows researchers to conduct larger studies, test more hypotheses, and accommodate the growing spatial and time resolution of brain scans. The ultimate goal is to collect enough brain data to develop a bottom-up understanding of brain function."
Red Hat Software

Red Hat Ditches MySQL, Switches To MariaDB 203

Posted by Soulskill
from the market-share-sinking dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Red Hat will switch the default database in its enterprise distribution, RHEL, from MySQL to MariaDB, when version 7 is released. MySQL's first employee in Australia, Arjen Lentz, said Fedora and OpenSuSE were community driven, whereas RHEL's switch to MariaDB was a corporate decision with far-reaching implications. 'I presume there is not much love lost between Red Hat and Oracle (particularly since the "Oracle Linux" stuff started) but I'm pretty sure this move won't make Oracle any happier,' said Lentz, who now runs his own consultancy, Open Query, from Queensland. 'Thus it's a serious move in political terms.' He said that in practical terms, MariaDB should now get much more of a public footprint with people (people knowing about MariaDB and it being a/the replacement for MySQL), and direct acceptance both by individual users and corporates."
Perl

Learn About the FRDCSA 'Weak AI' Project (Video) 52

Posted by Roblimo
from the let-us-run-your-life-for-you dept.
Today's interviewee, Andrew Dougherty, has a Web page that says he is "...an autodidact mathematician and computer scientist specializing in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Algorithmic Information Theory (AIT). He is the founder of the FRDCSA (Formalized Research Database: Cluster Study & Apply) project, a practical attempt at weak AI aimed primarily at collecting and interrelating existing software with theoretical motivation from AIT. He has made over 90 open source applications, 400 (unofficial) Debian GNU/Linux packages and 800 Perl5 modules (see http://frdcsa.org/frdcsa)." Tim Lord says Andrew's project "brings together a lot of AI algorithms, collects large sets of data for those algorithms to chew on, and writes software to do things like ... guide your whole life." As you might guess, Andrew occupies a pretty far edge of the eccentric programmer world, as you'll see from this video (and transcript). He calls himself "a serious Stallmanite" (his word), and has chosen the GPL for his software in the hopes that it will therefore help the greatest number of people. (Speaking of help, he's looking for interesting data sets and various "life rules" that can be integrated with his planning software, and one of the reasons he presented at the recent YAPC::NA was to solicit help in putting his hundreds of Perl modules onto CPAN.)
The Almighty Buck

The $200,000 Software Developer 473

Posted by timothy
from the of-course-those-are-the-blackmail-rates dept.
itwbennett writes "You can make a decent living as a software developer, and if you were lucky enough to get hired at a pre-IPO tech phenom, you can even get rich at it. But set your sights above the average and below Scrooge McDuck and you won't find many developers in that salary range. In fact, the number of developers earning $200,000 and above is under 10%, writes blogger Phil Johnson who looked at salary data from Glassdoor, Salary.com and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. How does your salary rate? What's your advice for earning the big bucks?"
IT

Ask Slashdot: What To Do With New Free Time? 299

Posted by timothy
from the when-you're-finished-gloating-at-least dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After 25 years of doing IT (started as a PC technician and stayed on technical of IT work through out my career) I've been moved to a position of doing only on call work (but paid as if it is a normal 9-5 job). This leaves me with a lot of free time... As someone who's used to working 12+ hours a day + the odd night/weekend on call, I'm scared I'll lose my mind with all the new free time I'll have. Any suggestions (beyond develop hobbies, spend time with family) on how to deal with all the new free time?"
Java

Oracle Reinstates Free Time Zone Updates For Java 7 61

Posted by timothy
from the mistakes-were-made dept.
twofishy writes "The internet has been buzzing this week with the news that Oracle has ceased to provide free time zone updates outside of the standard JDK release cycle. However, at the end of yesterday the firm appeared to have a change of heart. 'We never intended for a support contract to be required to keep JDK 7 up to date. TZUpdater was made unavailable on March 8 as part of the End of Public Updates for JDK 6, and as soon as we learned that this affected JDK 7 users we initiated the process of making it available for JDK 7 again.'"
Ruby

The Rails Girls Are Coming to a City Near You (Video) 162

Posted by Roblimo
from the programming-not-trains dept.
So far, the Rails Girls have groups in cities ranging from Warsaw to Wellington, with U.S. gatherings in Washington D.C., Charlotte NC, San Francisco CA, and... let's make it easy: Here's a map. OMG! They're everywhere! Actually, mostly Europe, being as they started in Finland, same as the Leningrad Cowboys and a popular computer operating system. But they're spreading like mad. Would you believe the reason one of the two founders originally got interested in Ruby on Rails was because she wanted to make a fan page for American politician Al Gore? Our interviewee, Magda (from Rails Girls Warsaw), swears this is true. She also tells us about their upcoming Washington D.C. workshop on June 13th, 2013, in conjunction with the June 14-15 RubyNation event. Sounds like fun, doesn't it. Maybe you need more of this kind of fun where you live, eh? If there isn't a Rails Girls group near you, maybe you should start one and help more women and girls get into programming. This is the Rails Girls' goal. Any particular ages? Not really. And their workshops are all free of charge: "You just need to be excited!"
Apple

Apple Shows Off New iOS 7, Mac OS X At WWDC 607

Posted by samzenpus
from the round-up dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off his company's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco with a short video emphasizing the importance of design, particularly that which evokes some sort of emotional connection such as love or delight. But that sentimental bit aside, this WWDC was all business: huge numbers of developers attend this annual event, packing sessions designed to help give their apps an edge in Apple's crowded online marketplace (some 50 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store, Cook told the audience during his keynote). Apple also uses its WWDC to unveil new products or services, attracting sizable interest from the tech press.

This time around, the company introduced Mac OS X 'Mavericks,' which includes 'Finder Tabs' (which allow the user to deploy multiple tabs within a Finder window—great for organization, in theory) and document tags (for easier searching). Macs will now support multiple displays, including HDTVs, with the ability to tweak elements between screens; Apple claims the operating system will also interact with the CPU in a more efficient manner.

On top of that, Apple rolled out some new hardware: an upgraded MacBook Air with faster graphics, better battery life (9 hours for the 11-inch edition, while the 13-inch version can draw 12 hours' worth of power). Apple has decided to jump into the cloud-productivity space with iWork for iCloud, which makes the company's iWork portfolio (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) browser-based; this is a clear response to Office 365 and Google Docs.

And finally, the executives onstage turned back to iOS, which (according to Apple) powers some 600 million devices around the world. This version involves more than a few tweaks: from a redesigned 'Slide to Unlock' at the bottom of the screen, to the bottom-up control panel that slides over the home-screen, to the 'flat' (as predicted) icons and an interface that adjusts as the phone is tilted, this is a total redesign. As a software designer, Ive is clearly a huge fan of basic shapes—circles and squares— and layering translucent elements atop one another."
Programming

Ask Slashdot: What To Do When Another Dev Steals Your Work and Adds Their Name? 480

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-due-credit dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I have had an interesting situation arise where I built some web apps for a client about 2 years ago. I have no longer been working with the client and a new developer has taken over purely for maintenance work. Currently I have been looking for new work and have used the said apps as part of my portfolio. During one interview I was informed that I not telling the truth about building the apps and I was then shown the source of a few JS files. It seems the new developer had put a copyright header on them, removed my name as the author and put his own. Now this is grey territory as it the client who owns the source, not the contracting developer. It put me on my back foot and I had to start explaining to interviewers that the developer stole the work and branded it. I feel it makes me look like a fool, having to defend my position in an interview with a possible client and I feel I had lost the chance of directing the outcome of the interview. I have cut the apps from my portfolio, however they are some of my best work and a real testament to my skills. I decided to cut my loss and move on, I am not looking for a fight or any unnecessary heartache. So what you do in my situation?"
Education

MIT President Tells Grads To 'Hack the World' 86

Posted by timothy
from the but-gently dept.
theodp writes "On Friday, MIT President L. Rafael Reif exhorted grads to 'hack the world until you make the world a little more like MIT'. A rather ironic choice of words, since 'hack the world' is precisely what others said Aaron Swartz was trying to do in his fateful run-in with MIT. President Reif presumably received an 'Incomplete' this semester for the promised time-is-of-the-essence review of MIT's involvement in the events that preceded Swartz's suicide last January. By the way, it wasn't so long ago that 2013 commencement speaker Drew Houston and Aaron Swartz were both welcome speakers at MIT."
Oracle

Oracle Discontinues Free Java Time Zone Updates 405

Posted by timothy
from the now-you-won't-know-when-you-are dept.
New submitter Noel Trout writes "For a long time in the Java world, there has been a free tool called the 'tzupdater' or Time Zone Updater released as a free download first by Sun and then Oracle. This tool can be used to apply a patch to the Java runtime so that time zone information is correct. This is necessary since some time zones in the world are not static and change more frequently than one might think; in general time zone updates can be released maybe 4-6 times a year. The source information backing the Java timezone API comes from the open source Olson timezone database that is also used by many operating systems. For certain types of applications, you can understand that these updates are mission critical. For example, my company operates in the private aviation sector so we need to be able to display the correct local time at airports around the world. So, the interesting part is that Oracle has now decided to only release these updates if you have a Java SE support contract. Being Oracle, such licenses are far from cheap. In my opinion, this is a pretty serious change in stance for Oracle and amounts to killing free Java for certain types of applications, at least if you care about accuracy. We are talking about the core API class java.util.TimeZone. This begs the question, can you call an API free if you have to pay for it to return accurate information? What is the point of such an API? Should the community not expect that core Java classes are fully functional and accurate? I believe it is also a pretty bad move for Java adoption for these types of applications. If my company as a startup 10 years ago would have been presented with such a license fee, we almost certainly could not have chosen Java as our platform as we could not afford it."
United Kingdom

BBC Clock Inaccurate - 100 Days To Fix? 487

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-tricky-clock dept.
mikejuk writes "The BBC home page has just lost its clock because the BBC Trust upheld a complaint that it was inaccurate. The clock would show the current time on the machine it was being viewed on and not an accurate time as determined by the BBC. However, the BBC have responded to the accusations of inaccuracy by simply removing the clock stating that it would take 100 staffing days to fix. It further says: 'Given the technical complexities of implementing an alternative central clock, and the fact that most users already have a clock on their computer screen, the BBC has taken the decision to remove the clock from the Homepage in an upcoming update.' They added, '...the system required to do this "would dramatically slow down the loading of the BBC homepage", something which he said was "an issue of great importance to the site's users". Secondly, if the site moved to a format in which users across the world accessed the same homepage, irrespective of whichever country they were in, it would be "impossible to offer a single zonally-accurate clock."'"
IT

Why Your Users Hate Agile 597

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-prefer-strength-or-charisma dept.
Esther Schindler writes "What developers see as iterative and flexible, users see as disorganized and never-ending. This article discusses how some experienced developers have changed that perception. '... She's been frustrated by her Agile experiences — and so have her clients. "There is no process. Things fly all directions, and despite SVN [version control] developers overwrite each other and then have to have meetings to discuss why things were changed. Too many people are involved, and, again, I repeat, there is no process.' The premise here is not that Agile sucks — quite to the contrary — but that developers have to understand how Agile processes can make users anxious, and learn to respond to those fears. Not all those answers are foolproof. For example: 'Detailed designs and planning done prior to a project seems to provide a "safety net" to business sponsors, says Semeniuk. "By providing a Big Design Up Front you are pacifying this request by giving them a best guess based on what you know at that time — which is at best partial or incorrect in the first place." The danger, he cautions, is when Big Design becomes Big Commitment — as sometimes business sponsors see this plan as something that needs to be tracked against. "The big concern with doing a Big Design up front is when it sets a rigid expectation that must be met, regardless of the changes and knowledge discovered along the way," says Semeniuk.' How do you respond to user anxiety from Agile processes?"
Open Source

Indian FOSS Evangelist Atul Chitnis Dead At 51 39

Posted by timothy
from the sad-news-travels dept.
New submitter knwny writes "Atul Chitnis, the man who popularized open software in India, died on 3rd June of intestinal cancer. As a technology mentor, writer and public speaker he promoted Linux and FOSS since the late 1980s through his association with various tech magazines and conferences. He introduced Linux to thousands of PC Quest magazine readers by convincing them to carry the first ever Linux distribution in India on its cover CD in 1996."

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