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Education

Khan Academy Launches Computer Science Curriculum 146 146

joabj writes "Expanding beyond math and the physical sciences, Khan Academy has added a set of computer science courses to its popular collection of learn-at-home instructional videos. For the project, Khan tapped jQuery creator John Resig, who chose JavaScript as the first language to teach students. The initial set of tutorials cover drawing, programming basics, animation and user interaction."
Education

Forget 6-Minute Abs: Learn To Code In a Day 306 306

whyloginwhysubscribe writes "The usually excellent BBC 'Click' programme has an article on 'Why computer code is the new language to learn' — which features a company in London who offer courses on learning to code in a day. The BBC clip has an interesting interview with a marketing director who, it seems to me, is going to go back and tell his programmers to speed up because otherwise he could do it himself! Decoded.co's testimonials page is particularly funny: 'I really feel like I could talk credibly to a coder, given we can now actually speak the same language.'"
Math

How Big Data Became So Big 105 105

theodp writes "The NYT's Steve Lohr reports that his has been the crossover year for Big Data — as a concept, term and marketing tool. Big Data has sprung from the confines of technology circles into the mainstream, even becoming grist for Dilbert satire ('Big Data lives in The Cloud. It knows what we do.'). At first, Jim Davis, CMO at analytics software vendor SAS, viewed Big Data as part of another cycle of industry phrasemaking. 'I scoffed at it initially,' Davis recalls, noting that SAS's big corporate customers had been mining huge amounts of data for decades. But as the vague-but-catchy term for applying tools to vast troves of data beyond that captured in standard databases gained world-wide buzz and competitors like IBM pitched solutions for Taming The Big Data Tidal Wave, 'we had to hop on the bandwagon,' Davis said (SAS now has a VP of Big Data). Hey, never underestimate the power of a meme!"
Java

Rootbeer GPU Compiler Lets Almost Any Java Code Run On the GPU 304 304

An anonymous reader writes "Today the source code to the Rootbeer GPU Compiler was released as open source on github. This work allows for a developer to use almost any Java code on the GPU. It is free, open source and highly tested. Rootbeer is the most full featured translator to convert Java Bytecode to CUDA. It allows arbitrary graphs of objects to be serialized to the GPU and the GPU kernel to be written in Java." Rootbeer is the work of Syracuse University instructor Phil Pratt-Szeliga.
Microsoft

Microsoft Picks Another Web Standards Fight 211 211

mikejuk writes "WebRTC is a way to allow browsers to get in touch with one another using audio or video data without the help of a server. Google has been something of a pioneer in this area, and submitted a suggested technology for the standard. Mozilla has gone along with it, making it all look good. Microsoft, on the other hand, just seemed to be standing on the sidelines, watching what was happening. However, Microsoft now has a product that needs something like WebRTC; namely, Skype. It has been working on a web-based version of Skype and this has focused the collective mind on the problems of browser-to-browser communication. It now agrees that a standard is needed, just not the one Google and Mozilla are behind. Microsoft has submitted its own proposals for CU-RTC-Web or Customizable, Ubiquitous Real Time Communication over the Web, to the W3C. It may well be that Microsoft's alternative has features that make it superior, but a single standard is preferable to a better non-standard. Given Microsoft's need to make Skype work in the browser, it seems likely that, should its proposal not be accepted as the standard, it will press on regardless, thus splitting the development environment. Both Google and Mozilla have already put a lot of work into WebRTC, and there are partial implementations in Firefox, Chrome and Opera."
The Courts

Former Goldman Sachs Programmer Arrested and Charged Again For Code Theft 176 176

hypnosec writes with news that Sergey Aleynikov, once a programmer for Goldman Sachs, has been arrested and charged again for stealing code from his employer in 2009. Aleynikov was originally charged for the crime in 2009. He was convicted in 2010 and sentenced to 97 months in prison, but an appeals court overturned the verdict, saying the corporate espionage laws were misapplied. Manhattan District Attorney Cryus Vance said, "This code is so highly confidential that it is known in the industry as the firm's 'secret sauce.' Employees who exploit their access to sensitive information should expect to face criminal prosecution in New York State in appropriate cases." The Fifth Amendment's "double jeopardy" clause is unlikely to stop this case because it's within a different jurisdiction — the earlier trial was in federal court, and this one is in New York State court.
Programming

Software Engineering Has Its Own Political Axis From Conservative To Liberal 283 283

An anonymous reader writes "Steve Yegge is back at it again. This essay is on the notion that software engineers range from conservative to liberal in their notion of software and how it should be built. He says, 'Just as in real-world politics, software conservatism and liberalism are radically different world views. Make no mistake: they are at odds. They have opposing value systems, priorities, core beliefs and motivations. These value systems clash at design time, at implementation time, at diagnostic time, at recovery time. They get along like green eggs and ham. I think it is important for us to recognize and understand the conservative/liberal distinction in our industry. It probably won't help us agree on anything, pretty much by definition. Any particular issue only makes it onto the political axis if there is a fundamental, irreconcilable difference of opinion about it. Programmers probably won't — or maybe even can't — change their core value systems. But the political-axis framework gives us a familiar set of ideas and terms for identifying areas of fundamental disagreement. This can lead to faster problem resolution.'"
Businesses

Wall Street and the Mismanagement of Software 267 267

CowboyRobot writes "Last week, a bug in high-frequency trading software from Knight Capital Group resulted in erroneous trades costing almost a half-billion dollars. So, what went wrong and how can they, or any other software developer, prevent something similar from happening again? In hindsight, it's clear that the developers did not verify the code under enough conditions. But the real issue is how these high-frequency trades work in the first place. Robert Dewar at Dr. Dobb's suggests the financial industry needs to take a page from the avionics rulebook, which has very strict guidelines about what code can be implemented due to the high cost of failure in that field. 'High-frequency automated trading is not avionics flight control, but the aviation industry has demonstrated that safe, reliable real-time software is possible, practical, and necessary. It requires appropriate development technology and processes as well as a culture that thinks in terms of safety (or reliability) first. That is the real lesson to be learned from last week's incident. It doesn't come for free, but it certainly costs less than $440M.'"
Businesses

Scrum/Agile Now Used To Manage Non-Tech Projects 136 136

jfruh writes "Agile and, in particular, Scrum, have been popular project management methods for software development for more than a decade, and now its use is spreading well beyond software. For example, NPR is using Agile for faster, cheaper development of new radio programs. 'I was looking for some inspiration and found it one floor up inside our building (where Digital Media sits),' says NPR vice president of programming Eric Nuzum. NPR has used this 'Agile-inspired' approach to create several new programs, including TED Radio Hour, Ask Me Another, and Cabinet of Wonders."
Android

Custom Android ROM Developers Get OTA Update Capabilities Like Carriers 50 50

hypnosec writes "A new service dubbed OTA Update Center has been launched that enables Android ROM developers to provide over-the-air (OTA) updates of their ROMs in a centralized and easy fashion. Custom ROM developers had very little at their disposal when it came to providing updates and when any user with such a ROM did want to apply an update, he/she was required to reinstall the new ROM from scratch, which often involved deletion of the backup, installation of the new ROM, and restoration of data. This was a lengthy process and often a deterrent when it came to updating the ROM. Also, the developers were required to have their own infrastructure whereby they would be required to host their own servers and have the required bandwidth to serve scores of downloads. The OTA Update Center changes this and provides a free-to-use service that is easy and noob-friendly to use."
Education

In Hacker Highschool, Students Learn To Redesign the Future 85 85

caseyb89 writes "Hacker Highschool is an after school program that teaches students the best practices of responsible hacking. The program is open source, and high schools across the country have begun offering the free program to students. Hacker Highschool recognized that teens are constantly taught that hacking is bad, and they realized that teens' amateur understanding of hacking was the cause of the biggest issues. The program aims to reverse this negative stereotype of hacking by encouraging teens to embrace ethical, responsible hacking."
Open Source

TextMate 2 Released As Open Source 193 193

First time accepted submitter DaBombDotCom writes "Allan Odgaard, the author of the popular text editor for Mac OS X, TextMate, has posted on his blog: 'Today I am happy to announce that you can find the source for TextMate 2 on GitHub. I've always wanted to allow end-users to tinker with their environment, my ability to do this is what got me excited about programming in the first place, and it is why I created the bundles concept, but there are limits to how much a bundle can do, and with the still growing user base, I think the best move forward is to open source the program. The choice of license is GPL 3. This is partly to avoid a closed source fork and partly because the hacker in me wants all software to be free (as in speech), so in a time where our platform vendor is taking steps to limit our freedom, this is my small attempt of countering such trend.'"
Math

Ask Slashdot: How Many of You Actually Use Math? 1086 1086

An anonymous reader writes with a question that makes a good follow-on to the claim that mathematics requirements in U.S. schools unnecessarily limit students' educational choices: "I'm a high school student who is interested in a career in a computer science or game development related position. I've been told by teachers and parents that math classes are a must for any technology related career. I've been dabbling around Unity3D and OGRE for about two years now and have been programming for longer than that, but I've never had to use any math beyond trigonometry (which I took as a Freshman). This makes me wonder: will I actually use calculus and above, or is it just a popular idea that you need to be a mathematician in order to program? What are your experiences?"