kramer2718 writes "I have worked for about a decade as a software engineer. I am almost never hired to build new software from scratch, so my work satisfaction tends to be proportionate to quality of the legacy code I have to work with. Some legacy code has been good. Most of it is bad. I know a few questions to ask during an interview to determine the code quality: Are recent technologies used? Are there code review processes? Is TDD practiced? Even so, I still encounter terrible quality code. Does Slashdot have any advice for other questions to ask? Any other ways to find out code quality beforehand?"
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Trailrunner7 writes "A security researcher has submitted to Oracle a patch he said took him 30 minutes to produce that would repair a zero-day vulnerability currently exposed in Java SE. He hopes his actions will spur Oracle to issue an out-of-band patch for the sandbox-escape vulnerability, rather than wait for the February 2013 Critical Patch Update as Oracle earlier said it would. Adam Gowdiak of Polish security consultancy Security Explorations reported the vulnerability to Oracle on Sept. 25, as well as proof-of-concept exploit code his team produced. The vulnerability is present in Java versions 5, 6 and 7 and would allow an attacker to remotely control an infected machine once a user landed on a malicious website hosting the exploit. Gowdiak said his proof-of-concept exploit was successfully used against a fully patched Windows 7 machine using Firefox 15.0.1, Chrome 21, IE 9, Opera 12, and Safari 5.1.7."
snydeq writes "You don't need to be a programmer, but you'll solve harder problems faster if you can write your own code, writes Paul Venezia. 'The fact is, while we may know several programming languages to varying degrees, most IT ninjas aren't developers, per se. I've put in weeks and months of work on various large coding projects, but that's certainly not how I spend most of my time. Frankly, I don't think I could just write code day in and day out, but when I need to develop a tool to deal with a random problem, I dive right in. ... It's not a vocation, and it's not a clear focus of the job, but it's a substantial weapon when tackling many problems. I'm fairly certain that if all I did was write Perl, I'd go insane.'"
theodp writes "Mother Jones reports on Obama's Digital Gurus, the top-secret team of analytics engineers and scientists led by hipster CTO Harper Reed who work on text analytics, social network/media analysis, web personalization, computational advertising, and online experiments & testing from the campaign's Chicago HQ and satellite offices. For OFA (Obama for America), writes Tim Murphy, there is no such thing as Too Much Information. 'In terms of just the sheer amount of data that political candidates have on you,' says UNC Prof Daniel Kreiss, 'I think everyone finds it creepy.' Still playing catch-up to OFA in its data efforts is Team Romney, which reportedly hired former employees from places like Google Analytics, Apple, Ominture, and Overstock.com in an attempt to reverse engineer the Obama campaign's strategy."
mikejuk writes "After six years in the making, the Arduino Due is finally becoming available and, with a price tag of $49, is bound to give a boost to the platform. The Due, which means 2 in Italian and is pronounced 'doo-eh', replaces the 8-bit, 16MHz Uno by a 32-bit, 84MHz processor board that also has a range of new features — more memory, a USB port that allows it to pretend to be a mouse or a keyboard say, 54 I/O pins and so on — but what lets you do more with it is its speed and power. The heart of the new Arduino Due is the Atmel SAM3X8E, an ARM Cortex-M3-based processor, which gives it a huge boost in ADC performance, opening up possibilities for designers. The theoretical sampling rate has gone from the 15 ksps (kilosamples per second) of the existing boards, the Arduino Uno, Leonardo, and Mega 2560, to a whopping 1,000 ksps. What this all means is that the Due can be used for much more sophisticated applications. It can even play back WAV files without any help. Look out for the Due in projects that once would have needed something more like a desktop machine."
An anonymous reader writes "Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff is the latest to predict Windows 8 will be a disaster for Microsoft, but for a different reason than some others: he says that Windows is simply irrelevant in the new era of cloud computing and bring-your-own-devices (BYOD), which will become clear to corporate IT decision makers when they confront the upgrade decision. Of course, this conveniently dovetails with Salesforce's market position, so consider the source. Another interesting development is the growing rivalry between Benioff and his old boss Larry Ellison; Salesforce.com is a longtime Oracle shop, but they have just announced intentions to hire 40-50 PostgreSQL developers."
First time accepted submitter johntromp writes "Source code for the 21st International Obfuscated C Code Contest was released last weekend, following announcement of the winners on Sep 30, and just over a month after the submission window closed on Sep 14, a new speed record for the judges. Happy source code browsing!"
sfcrazy writes "While the larger Ubuntu community was busy downloading, installing and enjoying the latest edition of Ubuntu yesterday, a post by Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth ruffled some feathers. He gave the impression that from now on only select members of the community will be involved in some development and it will be announced publicly only after completion. There was some criticism of this move, and Shuttleworth responded that they are actually opening up projects being developed internally by Canonical employees instead of closing currently open projects. He also made a new blog post clarifying his previous comments: 'What I offered to do, yesterday, spontaneously, is to invite members of the community in to the things we are working on as personal projects, before we are ready to share them. This would mean that there was even less of Ubuntu that was NOT shaped and polished by folk other than Canonical – a move that one would think would be well received. This would make Canonical even more transparent.'"
rbowen writes "Apache OpenOffice has graduated from the Incubator, and now is officially a top-level project at the Apache Software Foundation." From the announcement: "As with all Apache software, Apache OpenOffice software is released under the Apache License v2.0, and is overseen by a self-selected team of active contributors to the project. A Project Management Committee (PMC) guides the Project's day-to-day operations, including community development and product releases. Information on Apache OpenOffice source code, documentation, mailing lists, related resources, and ways to participate are available at http://openoffice.apache.org." (Download mirror on Sourceforge, too.)
D H NG writes "According to a study by the career site Glassdoor, Google tops the list of tech companies in the salaries it pays to software engineers. Google paid its engineers an average base salary of $128,336, with Microsoft coming in second at $123,626. Apple, eBay, and Zynga rounded off the top 5."
kc600 writes "Say you're a freelancer, using mainly open source solutions. You notice that customers, although they don't object to the whole open source idea, don't see the point in paying you for the time it costs you to properly open source your code. As a result, code is not released, because it would take too much time to factor out the customer-specific stuff, to debate architecture with the other developers, look at bug reports, et cetera. You feel there's something to contribute that many might benefit from. The code would also be better maintained if more people would use it, so the customer's project would also benefit. But you're not going to do it in your free time; you have enough on your mind and the bill is paid, right? What useful tricks can you think of to encourage yourself — and your customers — to properly share code, to the benefit of all, and get paid for it?"
New submitter ChronoEngineer writes "Recently the Free Software foundation launched a new fund-raising system starting with the GNU MediaGoblin project. Rewards from its new tiered donation reward system include physical objects such as a 3D print of the project's mascot as well as digital ones (Rewards List). This gives free software projects an alternative crowd-funding source where all of their contributions go to advancing free software, since the administrative cut taken from the earnings goes to the Free Software Foundation. Chris Webber, of GNU Mediagoblin, mentions this as one of the reasons he chose the FSF over Kickstarter for his project."
ITEXPO West in Austin, TX, Slashdot editor Timothy Lord met Ivan Kohler, the "President, Founder and Head Geek" of a company called Freeside Internet Services that is 100% open source (no dual-licensing) and makes its living supporting software Ivan says is used to manage some of the very unsexy backend tasks that ISPs and VoIP providers need to do, like track usage and send bills to customers. Freeside uses the AGPL license, which Ivan calls "a GPL variant for web applications" that, he says, "prevents people from taking our software, modifying it, and selling it in a hosted capacity as proprietary software."
mikejuk writes "Long before the current crop of MOOCs (Massive Online Open Course) there was a course that taught you all you needed to know about computers by starting from the NAND gate and working its way up through the logic circuits needed for a computer, on to an assembler, a compiler, an operating system, and finally Tetris. Recently one of the creators of the course, Shimon Schocken, gave a TED talk explaining how it all happened and why it is still relevant today. Once you have seen what is on offer at http://www.nand2tetris.org/ you will probably decide that it is not only still relevant but the only way to really understand what computers are all about."
New submitter connorblack writes "My very gifted nephew is about to turn nine this month and I would love to get him some sort of fun, engaging book or game to introduce him to the basic concepts of programming. I have a feeling if approached correctly he would absolutely devour the subject (he is already working through mathematics at an 8th grade level). What I first was looking at were the Lego Mindstorm programmable robots- which would have been perfect, if only they weren't around 300 dollars... So if there's anything similar (or completely new!) you've either heard praise about or used yourself with your kids, it would be great to get a recommendation. Also if possible I would want to stick to an under 100 dollar budget." Would a nine year old be able to follow The Little Schemer?
First time accepted submitter The_Buse writes "This week I lost my grandmother and after returning to work (as a web developer) I find myself looking for some way to dedicate something to her memory. Unfortunately, I'm no author so I can't dedicate a book to her, and I can't carry a tune so penning a song in her honor is out of the question. What I can do is write one hell of a web app, and after nearly a year of development my (small) team and I are nearing the release date of our next product. My question is, have you ever dedicated a project/app/code in honor of someone? What's the best way to do it: comment blocks in the header, tongue-in-cheek file names, Easter eggs? Or is this a horrible idea all together?"
alphadogg writes "The practice of flipping is probably most familiar to the general public from reality TV shows like 'Flip This House' on A&E. The idea is to buy a house for a lowish price, fix it up a bit, and then sell it on to a buyer, hopefully at a profit. Now, the secondary market for Android and iOS apps is beginning to see the same pattern. App creators without the time or inclination to service or monetize their apps can simply sell them off for a flat, up-front sum of money. Buyers can then either tweak them as they like or not, and either attempt to monetize them themselves or re-sell the apps to still another party. 'Probably 80% of people who want to get involved in mobile either don't know how to code an app or don't know an app developer,' says the founder of one app trading site. 'So there's this massive demand, but kind of a little bit of a barrier to entry.'"
StonyCreekBare writes "I started out programming in Z80 assembler in the 1970s. Then I programmed in Pascal. Then x86 Assembler in the early '90s. Over time I did a smattering of C, Basic, Visual C++, Visual Basic, and even played at Smalltalk. Most recently I settled on Perl, and Perl/Tk as the favorite 'Swiss army Chainsaw' tool set, and modestly consider myself reasonably competent with that. But suddenly, in this tight financial environment I need to find a way to get paid for programming, and perl seems so 'yesterday.' The two hot areas I see are iOS programming and Python, perhaps to a lesser extent, Java. I need to modernize my skill-set and make myself attractive to employers. I recently started the CS193P Stanford course on iTunesU to learn iPad programming, but am finding it tough going. I think I can crack it, but it will take some time, and I need a paycheck sooner rather than later. What does the Slashdot crowd see as the best path to fame, wealth and full employment for gray-haired old coots who love to program?"
kenekaplan writes "NASA has used VxWorks for several deep space missions, including Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. When the space agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) needs to run stress tests or simulations for upgrades and fixes to the OS, Wind River's Mike Deliman gets the call. In a recent interview, Deliman, a senior member of the technical staff at Wind River, which is owned by Intel, gave a peek at the legacy technology under Curiosity's hood and recalled the emergency call he got when an earlier Mars mission hit a software snag after liftoff."
hypnosec writes "Apple, Adobe, Google, HP, Microsoft and many others have joined forces and launched a new resource – the Web Platform in a bid to create a 'definitive resource' for all open Web technologies. The companies have come together to provide developers with a single source of all the latest information about HTML5, CSS3, WebGL, SVG and other Web standards. The platform will also offer tips and best practices on web development as well as web technologies. 'We are an open community of developers building resources for a better web, regardless of brand, browser or platform,' notes the WebPlatform site."