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Movies

Harold Ramis Dies At 69 136

Posted by samzenpus
from the print-is-dead dept.
samzenpus writes "Writer and comedian Harold Ramis has passed away at 69. Ramis had a hand in many classic comedies but is especially loved for playing the ghost-hunting Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters. 'His creativity, compassion, intelligence, humor and spirit will be missed by all who knew and loved him,' said his family in a statement."
Books

Book Review: Sudo Mastery: User Access Control For Real People 83

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
Saint Aardvark writes "If you're a Unix or Linux sysadmin, you know sudo: it's that command that lets you run single commands as root from your own account, rather than logging in as root. And if you're like me, here's what you know about configuring sudo:

1.) Run sudoedit and uncomment the line that says "%wheel ALL=(ALL) ALL".
2.) Make sure you're in the wheel group.
3.) Profit!

If you're a sysadmin, you need to stop people from shooting themselves in the foot. There should be some way of restricting use, right? Just gotta check out the man page.... And that's where I stopped, every time. I've yet to truly understand Extended Backus-Naur Form, and my eyes would glaze over. And so I'd go back to putting some small number of people in the 'wheel' group, and letting them run sudo, and cleaning up the occasional mess afterward. Fortunately, Michael W. Lucas has written Sudo Mastery: User Access Control for Real People."
Keep reading for the rest of Saint Aardvark's review.
Programming

Jim Weirich, Creator of Rake, Has Passed Away 109

Posted by timothy
from the always-sad-news dept.
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."
Mars

Journal of Cosmology Contributor Sues NASA To Investigate Mars "Donut" 140

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the chewbacca-hungers-for-donut-fungus dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Rhawn Joseph, a self-described astrobiologist involved with the infamous Journal of Cosmology, is suing NASA, demanding 100 high-resolution photos and 24 micrographs be taken of the 'donut' rock that recently appeared in front of the Opportunity rover on Mars, on the basis that it is a living organism. The remarkable full text of the complaint, which cites NASA's mineralogical analysis of the rock as evidence against it being a rock, is available to read at Popular Science." Really, the lawsuit is worth a read.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Blowing Up a Pointless Job Interview 692

Posted by timothy
from the what-kind-of-clown-would-you-be? dept.
Nemo the Magnificent writes "Ever been asked a question in a job interview that's just so abysmally stupid, you're tempted to give in to the snark and blow the whole thing up? Here are suggested interview-ending answers to 16 of the stupidest questions candidates actually got asked in interviews at tech companies in 2013, according to employment site Glassdoor. Oil to pour on the burning bridges."
Software

Irish Politician Calls For Crackdown On Open Source Internet Browsers 335

Posted by Soulskill
from the internet-is-a-series-of-tubes dept.
An anonymous reader writes "An Irish politician has called for tougher controls on the use of open source internet browsers. He said, 'An online black market is operating which protects the users’ anonymity and operates across borders through the use of open source internet browsers and payments systems which allow users to remain anonymous. This effectively operates as an online supermarket for illegal goods such as drugs, weapons and pornography, where it is extremely difficult to trace the identity of the buyers. We need a national and international response to clamp down on this illicit trade.' The politician added that the U.S. had 'taken action' to address this, but he seemed surprised that their solution was only 'temporary.'"
Movies

Programmer Debunks Source Code Shown In Movies and TV Shows 301

Posted by timothy
from the movie-mistakes-of-a-particular-kind dept.
rjmarvin writes "Someone is finally pausing TV shows and movies to figure out if the code shown on screen is accurate or not. British programmer and writer John Graham-Cumming started taking screenshots of source code from movies such as Elysium, Swordfish and Doctor Who, and when it became popular turned the concept into a blog. Source Code in TV and Films posts a new screenshot daily, proving that, for example, Tony Stark's first Iron Man suit was running code from a 1998 programmable Lego brick."
Programming

Regex Golf, xkcd, and Peter Norvig 172

Posted by samzenpus
from the problem-to-solve dept.
mikejuk writes "A recent xkcd strip has started some deep academic thinking. When AI expert Peter Norvig gets involved you know the algorithms are going to fly. Code Golf is a reasonably well known sport of trying to write an algorithm in the shortest possible code. Regex Golf is similar, but in general the aim is to create a regular expression that accepts the strings in one list and rejects the strings in a second list. This started Peter Norvig, the well-known computer scientist and director of research at Google, thinking about the problem. Is it possible to write a program that would create a regular expression to solve the xkcd problem? The result is an NP hard problem that needs AI-like techniques to get an approximate answer. To find out more, read the complete description, including Python code, on Peter Norvig's blog. It ends with this challenge: 'I hope you found this interesting, and perhaps you can find ways to improve my algorithm, or more interesting lists to apply it to. I found it was fun to play with, and I hope this page gives you an idea of how to address problems like this.'"
Google

Google's Comical New Social Networking Patent 45

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-see-what-you-did-there dept.
theodp writes "GeekWire reports on Google's just-granted patent on creating and sharing social network status updates in the form of comic strips, a la Bitstrips. Google also envisions an educational role for its new invention, which the search giant has dubbed the Self-Creation of Comic Strips in Social Networks and Other Communications. Google explains, 'Aside from humor, such comic strips are also usable for education, for instance in summarizing a real-time conversation between two political leaders as it is happening. By posting such a comic strip on a social network facility such as a social network blog or tweet, others may more readily follow the flow of the conversation than if it had been summarized in plain text.'"
Sci-Fi

Interview: Bruce Sterling Answers Your Questions 34

Posted by samzenpus
from the straight-from-the-bruce's-mouth dept.
Last week you had a chance to ask "Chairman Bruce" about the state of sci-fi, dystopian futures, and the modern surveillance state. Below you'll find his answers to those questions, including who would win if he fought William Gibson and Neal Stephenson in a no-holds-barred battle.
Software

The Software Inferno 109

Posted by Soulskill
from the abandon-all-hope-ye-who-compile-here dept.
CowboyRobot writes "The Software Inferno is a tale that parallels The Inferno, Part One of The Divine Comedy written by Dante Alighieri in the early 1300s. That literary masterpiece describes the condemnation and punishment faced by a variety of sinners in their hell-spent afterlives as recompense for atrocities committed during their earthly existences. The Software Inferno is a similar account, describing a journey where 'sinners against software' are encountered amidst their torment, within their assigned areas of eternal condemnation, and paying their penance. Quoting: 'CANTO 6 - HERESY: ...The countess explained that these chaotically traveling souls were strongly at variance with well-established beliefs and laws of software engineering developed by experts on the subject. Their unabashed contempt for universally accepted truths spawned decision making that wrought great damage upon software projects in their charge. Some challenged Fred Brooks' sacred counsel in futile attempts to rise above their failings by adding new people with woefully insufficient qualifications to rescue already-late projects. Others flaunted their derision by disregarding software design patterns sanctified by the Gang of Four, instead opting for inelegance of their own in attempts to solve problems whose solutions were already proven, well known, and time-honored.'"
Software

GitHub Takes Down Satirical 'C Plus Equality' Language 575

Posted by timothy
from the questions-and-meta-questions dept.
FooAtWFU writes "Some clowns and jokers over at 4chan thought it would be a funny idea to put together a web page for a programming language named 'C Plus Equality' as a parody of feminism, dismissing OOP as 'objectifying' and inheritance as "a tool of the patriarchy". But this parody was apparently too hot to host at Github, which took down the original Github repository after receiving criticism on Twitter, prompting a backlash and inquiry into the role of free speech and censorship on Github's platform. The project has since found a new home on BitBucket, at least for the time being." Comments on an article describing the research which sparked the parody call the parody's language "fake," and compare it to the 1996 Sokal affair. (It also reminds me a bit of Jesux.)
Wikipedia

Wikipedia's Lamest Edit Wars 219

Posted by samzenpus
from the from-the-depths-of-my-mother's-basement-I-stab-at-thee dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Who says Wikipedians don't have a sense of humor? While perusing Wikipedia I recently came across an article documenting the lamest examples of wikipedia edit wars over the most trivial things. As one wikipedian says: 'Some discussions are born lame; some achieve lameness; some have lameness thrust upon them.' A few of the most amusing examples include: Was Chopin Polish, French, Polish–French, or French–Polish? Can you emigrate from a country of which you are not a citizen? Can you receive citizenship if you already have it? The possibilities for intensive study are endless. Next up, Are U2 an 'Irish band' or simply a band that happen to be from Ireland, since two of their members were born in the UK? A heated discussion took place for over two-and-a-half weeks that resulted in at least one editor getting blocked and many more getting warnings. Next, should members of the Beatles be listed in the 'traditional' order or in alphabetical order? Another edit war which flares up continuously in The Beatles involves whether to identify the band as 'The Beatles' with a capital T or 'the Beatles' with a lower case t. The issue became so contentious it merited an article in the Wall Street Journal. One such installment of this saga was brought before the arbitration committee (by an administrator, no less) where it was quickly declared 'silly.' Next, Is J. K. Rowling's name pronounced like 'rolling' or to rhyme with 'howling'? Rowling is on record claiming she pronounces her name like 'rolling'. An irate editor argues that this is a 'British' pronunciation and the 'American" pronunciation of her name should also be noted. 'This is slightly ridiculous as she is English, and therefore of course will pronounce it in an English manner. Perhaps it rhymes with "Trolling"?' Finally did Jimmy Wales found Wikipedia or co-found it? 'Not surprisingly, those who actually were around at the time and know the answer stayed far away from this one. The casualty list has yet to be compiled, but no doubt editor egos will be among the worst hit.'"
It's funny.  Laugh.

King James Programming 184

Posted by Soulskill
from the though-i-walk-through-the-valley-of-the-shadow-of-regular-expressions dept.
Jah-Wren Ryel writes "What do you get when you train a Markov chain on the King James Bible and a copy of Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs? King James Programming — a tumblr of auto-generated pseudo-scripture (or pseudo-compsci lessons). Some examples: -- 'The LORD is the beginning (or prefix) of the code for the body of the procedure.' -- 'More precisely, if P and Q are polynomials, let O1 be the order of blessed.' -- ''In APL all data are represented as arrays, and there shall they see the Son of man, in whose sight I brought them out.'"
Music

Get Ready For a Streaming Music Die-Off 370

Posted by Soulskill
from the tiny-pieces-of-a-tiny-pie dept.
walterbyrd writes "Streaming services are ailing. Pandora, the giant of its class and the survivor at 13 years old, is waging an ugly war to pay artists and labels less in order to stay afloat. Spotify, in spite of 6 million paid users and 18 million subscribers who humor some ads in their stream, has yet to turn a profit. Rhapsody axed 15% of its workforce right as Apple's iTunes Radio hit the scene. On-demand competitor Rdio just opted for layoffs too, in order to move into a 'scalable business model.' Did no one wonder about that business-model bit in the beginning? Meanwhile, Turntable.fm, a comparatively tiny competitor with what should have been viral DNA, just pulled the plug on its virtual jam sessions this week—and it just might be the canary in the coal mine."
It's funny.  Laugh.

The Ultimate Anti-Action Online Game: Waiting In Line 3D 94

Posted by timothy
from the desert-bus-for-bipeds dept.
Freshly Exhumed writes "Looking a lot like the venerable Wolfenstein 3D or similar Id action games of the DOS days, the new online game Waiting in Line 3D was released Monday by developer Rajeev Basu, and was played 50,000 times in its first 24 hours of activity... er... inactivity. Is the complete lack of any action a brilliant satire of computer gaming? Is it software-based performance art? Is it silly? Judge for yourself, if you can meet the challenge!" Now's a good time to confess if you spent a major portion of your post-Thanksgiving dinner recovery time camped out in line for some of those Black Friday come-ons.
United Kingdom

And Now For Something Completely Different: Monty Python Reunion Planned 168

Posted by timothy
from the well-then-it's-not-completely-different dept.
cold fjord writes with this report from The Telegraph: "The original members of Monty Python will reunite more than 30 years after the comedy troupe last worked together. John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Eric Idle and Michael Palin will officially announce their reformation at a London press conference on Thursday. The five surviving members have reportedly been in months of secret talks about getting the Flying Circus back on the road. The reunion comes after several failed attempts to reform by the group. However, according to The Sun, the surviving members realised 'it was now or never,' and had decided to embark upon 'a fully-fledged reunion.'" Related stories include this commentary, one take on the best of Python and this negative reaction, too.
It's funny.  Laugh.

"Dance Your PhD" Finalists Announced 16

Posted by samzenpus
from the groove-a-mile-wide dept.
sciencehabit writes "Science Magazine has posted the 12 finalist videos from its annual Dance Your PhD contest. The contest asks scientists from around the world to send in videos of themselves interpreting their research in dance form. As usual, this year's finalists have gone all out with some wacky, fun, and just plain bizarre videos. You can vote for your favorite, with the winner and reader's choice announced on November 21."
Privacy

Citizen Eavesdrops On Former NSA Director Michael Hayden's Phone Call 390

Posted by Soulskill
from the daily-schadenfreude dept.
McGruber writes "The Washington Post has the news that former head of the NSA Michael Hayden took a call while on the Acela train between D.C. and Boston. Hayden was talking to a journalist 'on background', which means the reporter is not allowed to cite Hayden by name. Unfortunately for Hayden, another train passenger overhead the call and live-tweeted it. 'Mattzie continued to livetweet Hayden’s conversations slamming the Obama administration, all the while insisting that he be referred to only on background. The conversation also seemed to touch on Hayden’s time as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency under President George W. Bush as well. "Hayden was bragging about rendition and black sites a minute ago," Mattzie wrote. Hayden has in the past defended the use of waterboarding against detainees held in various sites around the world, and dismissed torture as a "legal term."'"
Government

White House Official Tracked Down and Fired Over Insulting Tweets 208

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the calls-em-like-he-sees-em dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "BBC reports that Jofi Joseph, a senior National Security Council staffer who was a key member of the White House team negotiating on Iran's nuclear weapons program, has been fired ... after a months-long probe into a barrage of tweets that included caustic criticisms of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and top NSC officials, especially Ben Rhodes – whom he accused of dodging questions about Benghazi. Joseph, who posted under the now defunct Twitter name @NatSecWonk, gave a lacerating commentary on anything from policy to personal appearance. 'Was Huma Abedin wearing beer goggles the night she met Anthony Weiner,' he tweeted, referring to the scandal-hit former New York mayoral candidate and his wife, a former aide of Hillary Clinton. He tweeted that Mrs Clinton 'had few policy goals and no wins' in the Middle East. He said Chelsea Clinton was 'assuming all of her parents' vices,' and targeted figures such as Republican commentator Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney's wife Ann for their looks and weight. Many in the foreign policy community reacted with shock to the revelation that Joseph was the mystery tweeter because Joseph was well known among policy wonks and his wife, Carolyn Leddy, is a well-respected professional staffer on the Republican side of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. 'What started out as an intended parody account of DC culture developed over time into a series of inappropriate and mean-spirited comments,' said Joseph in an apology. 'I bear complete responsibility for this affair and I sincerely apologize to everyone I insulted.'"

A LISP programmer knows the value of everything, but the cost of nothing. -- Alan Perlis

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