itwbennett writes "They'll still be all-night coding sessions, but starting with this week's 'Project Mayhem' event, there are a few notable changes. First, they're longer — starting at 11 a.m. Thursday and continuing until 2 p.m. Friday. And coding through the night is optional. 'It's like, "let's take this day off to do this, and then if I need to get more done, we can hang out and finish at night,"' said Facebook engineering manager Pedram Keyani, who organizes the hackathons."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
sfcrazy writes "In this exclusive interview MySQL founder Michael Widenius talks about the reasons of decline of MySQL, what Oracle is doing wrong and how MariaDB is fast replacing it. There are quite some interesting information in this interview. The take out of this interview is — '...there is no reason at all to use MySQL 5.5 instead of MariaDB 5.5. The same will be true for the next generation.'" Of course, he has an economic interest in getting people to use MariaDB. Hard to argue that Oracle isn't evil though.
An anonymous reader writes "I just learned that the company I work for annually budgets ~$17,000 for non-labor engineering expenses, but budgets ~$250,000 for non-labor marketing and sales expenses. Am I just being cynical when I say that my company spends almost 15 times as much trying to convince the outside world that we make a good product, than it spends on actually making a good product? What's the marketing-to-engineering ratio at your company?"
An anonymous reader writes "I'm working on a new product with one of the more senior guys at our company. To be blunt: his work is sloppy. It works and gets the job done, but it's far from elegant and there are numerous little (some might say trivial) mistakes everywhere. Diagrams that should be spread over five or six pages are crammed onto one, naming is totally inconsistent, arrows point the wrong way (without affecting functionality) and so forth. Much of this is because he is so busy and just wants to get everything out the door. What is the best way to handle this? I spent a lot of time refactoring some of it, but as soon as he makes any changes it needs doing again, and I have my own work to be getting on with. I submit bug reports and feature requests, but they are ignored. I don't want to create bad feelings, as I have to work with him. Am I obsessing over small stuff, or is this kind of internal quality worth worrying about?"
An anonymous reader writes "Simon St. Laurent writes in praise of CSS selectors: 'After years of complaints about Cascading Style Sheets, many stemming from their deliberately declarative nature, it's time to recognize their power. For developers coming from imperative programming styles, it might seem hard to lose the ability to specify more complex logical flow. That loss, though, is discipline leading toward the ability to create vastly more flexible systems, a first step toward the pattern matching model common to functional programming.'"
Nerval's Lobster writes "BlackBerry 10 is completely different from previous BlackBerry operating systems — with good reason. Its core assets come from a company named QNX, which Research In Motion acquired in 2010. Blackberry 10 features include 'live tiles' that dynamically refresh with new information, as well as a revamped keyboard and security upgrades. But what really makes or breaks a phone is the quality (and quantity) of its third-party apps. Jeff Cogswell pokes through the BlackBerry 10 programming API in a quest to see what app developers can do with the platform, and how it compares on that front to Apple iOS and Google Android. His conclusion? Although some of the underlying components are showing their age, BlackBerry has 'spent a lot of time building up a foundation for a good development community.' He also goes over BlackBerry 10's viability for porting apps and building games. But will developers actually work with a platform with such low market-share?"
jfruh writes "One of the hooks Microsoft has used to get developers to build apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 has been pubCenter, an ad network that's easy to add to apps and provides revenue back to publishers. But many developers found that on April 1 that revenue abruptly dropped by an order of magnitude, with most potential ad impressions going unsold; one developer reported only 160,000 ads served to 60 million requests, a fill rate of less than 0.3%. Since many of the ads before April 1 had been for Bing, this may be a sign that Microsoft is no longer willing to subsidize its developers — and that advertisers aren't that interested in buying ads in Windows 8 apps."
An anonymous reader writes "There's a persistent bias against older programmers in the software development industry, but do the claims against older developers' hold up? A new paper looks at reputation on StackOverflow, and finds that reputation grows as developers get older. Older developers know about a wider variety of technologies. All ages seem to be equally knowledgeable about most recent programming technologies. Two exceptions: older developers have the edge when it comes to iOS and Windows Phone."
The idea of the Hackathon was to develop either Web or mobile applications that would dovetail with county services and be useful for county workers, county residents or both. The winners got cash prizes, but many people on the nine competing teams weren't aware of them until the closing awards ceremony when the three winners were announced. But then, this is a helpful part of the country where, if an old person falls down on the sidewalk, strangers will rush to her side, whip out cell phones in case a 911 call is needed, and help her to her feet. A hackathon to benefit your neighbors is nothing but an extension of that spirit. One note: Several county employees said this was the first-ever government-organized hackathon around here, but there was a Tampa Mayor's Hackathon last June, and Tampa is the biggest city in Hillsborough County. But this is all good, and Hillsborough hopes to hold a bigger (and hopefully better-publicized) hackathon next year. Meanwhile, there are more home-grown tech events around here every year. April 25 saw the 3rd annual Ignite Tampa event, which brought together people involved in "technology, arts, communications, education, non-profits, the government sector and more" to meet with "the community" -- and local venture capitalists. And the inaugural Sarasota-Bradenton BarCamp is scheduled for May 2 - 5. And so on. Lots of events, many of which combine technology and the arts, which is always a delightful mix -- and one we look forward to seeing even more of in coming years, not only in Florida but everywhere in the world.
AchilleTalon writes "As many of you may know, there are two main competitors on the Windows platform for embedded software development, namely IAR and Keil. By embedded development, I mean development for microprocessors like the well known 8051 and the likes, not mobile platforms which include a complete OS in first place. I am seeking for alternatives to IAR and Keil in the OSS world. Even if I can find pieces of code here and there, I haven't found yet a fully integrated development platform. Does it exist? What do you use?"
jrepin writes "KDE's integrated development environment KDevelop has just reached version 4.5. 'In this new version you will find brand new integration for Unit Tests, so that you can easily run and debug them while working on your projects. Furthermore, you'll find an iteration of our New Class wizard, many changes regarding polishing the UI in different places, better support for C++11 features and some other things you'll find along the way.'"
mikejuk writes "The founders of the original MySQL, the open-source database, are getting back together in a merger between Monty Program and SkySQL. SkySQL was created by around two dozen former MySQL executives and investors after Oracle bought MySQL from Sun. Widenius started Monty Program AB and created the MariaDB database from some of MySQL's open source code. The merger will provide a stronger rival to MySQL, so reassuring users who are worried about Oracle's future plans for the database."
Dan Milstein from Hut 8 Labs has written a lengthy post about why software developers often struggle to estimate the time required to implement their projects. Drawing on lessons from a book called Thinking Fast and Slow by Dan Kahneman, he explains how overconfidence frequently leads to underestimations of a project's complexity. Unfortunately, the nature of overconfidence makes it tough to compensate. Quoting: "Specifically, in many, many situations, the following three things hold true: 1- 'Expert' predictions about some future event are so completely unreliable as to be basically meaningless 2- Nonetheless, the experts in question are extremely confident about the accuracy of their predictions. 3- And, best of all: absolutely nothing seems to be able to diminish the confidence that experts feel. The last one is truly remarkable: even if experts try to honestly face evidence of their own past failures, even if they deeply understand this flaw in human cognition they will still feel a deep sense of confidence in the accuracy of their predictions. As Kahneman explains it, after telling an amazing story about his own failing on this front: 'The confidence you will experience in your future judgments will not be diminished by what you just read, even if you believe every word.'"
waderoush writes "Plenty of technology companies serve free breakfast, lunch, and dinner to their employees, but Dropcam CEO Greg Duffy says that's a form of mind control designed to get people to to work late. To keep employees happy, Duffy says, it's better to make them go home to their families for dinner. Some other suggestions from the San Francisco video monitoring startup: don't fill your engineering department with young, single, childless males (aka brogrammers). Keep your business model simple by making actual stuff that you can sell for a profit. And don't hire assholes. Why pay attention to Duffy's advice? Because Dropcam has a 100 percent employee retention rate — no one who has joined the 4-year-old company has ever left."
Peetke writes "As we all know Oracle is not the biggest friend to the Open Source Community. Long standing OSS supporter Wikipedia has now moved from an optimized fork of MySQL 5.1 to MariaDB 5.5, for both its English and German sites. Wikipedia expects all other languages to follow within a month. Performance-wise, this move has no big implications, but it will ensure our biggest community database will live long and prosper."
First time accepted submitter IamIanB writes "Harvard Middle Eastern Studies student Todd Mostak's first tangle with big data didn't go well; trying to process and map 40 million geolocated tweets from the Arab Spring uprising took days. So while taking a database course across town at MIT, he developed a massively parallel database that uses GeForce Titan GPUs to do the data processing. The system sees 70x performance increases over CPU-based systems, and can out crunch a 1000 node MapReduce cluster, in some cases. All for around $5,000 worth of hardware. Mostak plans to release the system under an open source license; you can play with a data set of 125 million tweets hosted at Harvard's WorldMap and see the millisecond response time." I seem to recall a dedicated database query processor that worked by having a few hundred really small processors that was integrated with INGRES in the '80s.
hessian writes with a story at Wired (excerpt below) about a project from Drew Endy of the International Open Facility Advancing Biotechnology, or BIOFAB, to standardize a programming language connecting genetic information from DNA to the cell components that DNA can create. "The BIOFAB project is still in the early stages. Endy and the team are creating the most basic of building blocks — the 'grammar' for the language. Their latest achievement, recently reported in the journal Science, has been to create a way of controlling and amplifying the signals sent from the genome to the cell. Endy compares this process to an old fashioned telegraph. 'If you want to send a telegraph from San Francisco to Los Angeles, the signals would get degraded along the wire,' he says. "At some point, you have to have a relay system that would detect the signals before they completely went to noise and then amplify them back up to keep sending them along their way.""
An anonymous reader writes "For many of us our hosting providers are a way to hone our skills as well as run a business. Which provider out there gives the best bang for the buck for a FOSS developer? Virtually everybody provides Perl, PHP, Ruby, MySQL / MariaDB etc. but where can one get easy and cheap access to a stuff like NodeJS and Big Data? Companies such as Pair Networks are great but not quite on the mark with any of their service offerings for somebody looking to test out real world scenarios with these technologies from a hosted stance. Obviously hosting from home is always an option but that has the penalty of administration, backup, DR planning, bigger security footprint etc. and for those of us whose time is balanced between making money and friends / family time that's not very appealing."