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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."'"

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.

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."

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?"

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."

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."

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?"

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."

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."

Oracle Proposes New Native JavaScript Engine for OpenJDK 80

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the shiny-new-crap dept.
hypnosec writes "Oracle has proposed a new project for OpenJDK — Nashorn, which aims to implement a high-performance yet lightweight JavaScript runtime that would run on the JVM natively. Nashorn will be headed by Jim Laskey, multi-language Lead at Oracle and the project will be sponsored by HotSpot group. The project proposes an implementation of JavaScript such that it can run standalone JavaScript applications via the JSR 223 APIs. Nashorn's design will enable it to take advantage of new JVM technologies like the MethodHandles and the InvokeDynamic APIs."
Open Source

A Gentle Rant About Software Development and Installers 338

Posted by samzenpus
from the listen-up dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "This is the story of the comparison that just wasn't meant to be. It's a story of everything that can go wrong in the customer end of the software world, and some thoughts on what needs to be done, especially in an area known as Installers. I'm a software engineer with 25 years of experience, and for years I've wanted to point out some of the shortcomings of my own industry to help make it better for everyone involved—not only for the end-users, but also for the IT people who have to support the products; the salespeople who have to sell and later, possibly, apologize for the software; for the executives whose hands are tied because they don't have the technical knowledge to roll up their sleeves and help fix problems in the code; and for the programmers themselves who might get stuck with what some consider the absolute worst position for a programmer: maintenance of crappy code written by programmers who have long since left the organization."

Rise of the Online Code Schools 98

Posted by samzenpus
from the from-the-comfort-of-your-own-home dept.
Barence writes "When it comes to programming, the classroom is moving online. A new wave of start-ups has burst onto the scene over the last year, bringing interactive lessons and gamification techniques to the subject to make coding trendy again. From Codecademy — and its incredibly successful Code Year initiative — to Khan Academy, Code School and Udacity, online learning is now sophisticated and high-tech — but is it good enough to replace the classroom? 'We are the first five or six chapters in a book,' says Code School's Gregg Pollack in this exploration of online code classes, but with the number of sites and lessons growing by the week that might not be the case for long."

What Nobody Tells You About Being a Game Dev 181

Posted by Soulskill
from the internet-people-curse-your-mother dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Alex Norton is the man behind Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox, an upcoming indie action-RPG. What makes Malevolence interesting is that it's infinite. It uses procedural generation to create a world that's actually endless. Norton jumped into this project without having worked at any big gaming studios, and in this article he shares what he's learned as an independent game developer. Quoting: "A large, loud portion of the public will openly hate you regardless of what you do. Learn to live with it. No-one will ever take your project as seriously as you, or fully realize what you're going through. ... The odds of you making money out of it are slim. If you want to succeed, you'll likely have to sell out. Just how MUCH you sell out is up to you.' He also suggests new game devs avoid RPGs for their first titles, making a thorough plan before you begin (i.e. game concepts explained well enough that a non-gamer could understand), and considering carefully whether the game will benefit from a public development process."

Another Player In the World of Free, Open Online CS Courseware 64

Posted by timothy
from the teachers-yes-but-fewer-dirty-looks dept.
dncsky1530 writes "UNSW professor Richard Buckland, lecturer of the famous Computing 1 course on YouTube, is now running a large scale open online Computer Science course for the world. UNSW Computing 1 — PuzzleQuest and the Art of Programming starts off with microprocessors and works it way through C with interactive activities while taking students on an adventure of hacking, cracking and problem solving. It's based around a three month long PuzzleQuest with grand and suspiciously unspecified prizes as well as fame and glory for the intrepid. The next class starts December 3rd 2012."

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