CowboyRobot writes "Intuit launched QuickBooks in 1992, and it has grown into the best-selling retail software for small-business accounting worldwide. QuickBooks is available on multiple platforms with different feature sets (Pro, Premier, Enterprise), in specialized editions (accounting, contracting, etc.), is available on CD or via subscription, and is offered in localized versions for the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. How they manage so many builds is a case-study for large scale programming. 'The Windows version is about 80,000 source files, 10+ million lines of C++ code plus a little C# for the .NET parts. Plus help files, tax tables, files defining local accounting rules, tax and other government reporting forms, upgrade offers — a lot of files. Every customer gets the full version. Specific feature sets are turned on and off with the license key.' And the lessons are not just technical. 'One surprising lesson is that small teams work, even for very large codebases — especially, Burt says, in sustaining an entrepreneurial, creative culture.'"
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Quince alPillan writes "Netflix revealed today that they've released Chaos Monkey, an open source Amazon Web Service testing tool that will randomly turn off instances in Auto Scaling Groups. 'We have found that the best defense against major unexpected failures is to fail often. By frequently causing failures, we force our services to be built in a way that is more resilient. We are excited to make a long-awaited announcement today that will help others who embrace this approach. ...source code for the founding member of the Simian Army, Chaos Monkey, is available to the community.'"
New submitter toygeek writes "In an effort to give various robots more control during free-fall and navigation of severe obstacles, researchers have studied how agama lizards use their tails to retain or correct orientation during leaps and jumps. They've applied the research to both hexapod and wheeled robots, and the results are both astounding, and outstanding!"
YokimaSun writes "Fans of classic graphical point-and-click adventure games, will be happy to learn that a new version of ScummVM has been released with support for new games such as 'Once Upon A Time: Little Red Riding Hood,' 'Backyard Baseball 2003,' 'Blue Force,' 'Darby the Dragon,' 'Dreamweb,' 'Geisha,' 'Gregory and the Hot Air Balloon,' 'Magic Tales: Liam Finds a Story,' and more. ScummVM not only supports Windows, Linux and new platforms such as iPhone and Android but also consoles such as Dreamcast, Gamecube and Nintendo 64 and rarer handhelds such as Openpandora and Dingoo."
eldavojohn writes "Unless his Facebook account has been hacked, Peter Jackson has announced a third movie for The Hobbit series: 'So, without further ado and on behalf of New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Wingnut Films, and the entire cast and crew of The Hobbit films, I'd like to announce that two films will become three.' Other sites are confirming this while Variety notes that filming has been wrapped on the first two so doing a third film will require a restart to all of that effort including re-negotiations with rights holders and acting schedules. **potential spoiler alert** From Peter Jackson's announcement: 'We know how much of the story of Bilbo Baggins, the Wizard Gandalf, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer, and the Battle of Dol Guldur will remain untold if we do not take this chance.' How much of Middle Earth would you like to see on film?"
cweditor writes "Grupo Posadas has five data centers supporting more than 100 hotels and other lines of business, but it's moving almost all of those operations to a service provider in Texas. Could cloud service providers help the U.S. become a destination for tech outsourcing instead of an exporter of tech jobs? One stumbling block: The U.S. finds itself on the receiving end of protectionist legislation in other countries that discourages use of non-domestic IT service providers, says the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation."
TheNextCorner writes "Images taken by a NASA spacecraft show that the American flags planted in the Moon's soil by Apollo astronauts are mostly still standing. Each of the Apollo missions planted an American flag in the soil at their landing sites. Scientists had previously examined photos of the Apollo landing sites for the flags, and had seen what looked like shadows cast by them on the lunar surface. Now, researchers have studied photos of the landing sites taken at different points during the day (and under different illuminations) and have observed shadows circling the points where the flags are thought to be."
thatpythonguy writes "Core Python Application Programming is the latest addition to a growing corpus of literature serving a growing number of Python programmers and engineers. This Prentice Hall book of 800+ pages covers some traditional areas and touches upon some new ones. I typically do not spend much time speaking about the author of the books that I review; however, this occasion warrants an exception. And it is not because Wesley Chun used Python over a decade ago to build the address book and spell-checker for Yahoo! Mail nor is it because he holds a minor degree in music from UC Berkeley in classical piano. Rather, it is because he is both an engineer and an instructor. In other words, he was not pulled from his geek duties and asked to become a pseudo-writer; he already does that for his consulting practice, authoring (or co-authoring) several books and articles on Python (including "Python Web Development with Django") as well as starring in his own training video (entitled "Python Fundamentals"). The result of that experience is a writing style that is technically sound, yet accessible." Keep reading for the rest of Ahmed's review.
Croakyvoice writes "A few years ago the Homebrew community went from one console to another releasing some excellent software, from the Days of the Dreamcast the first breakthrough homebrew console, to the PSP which gave us the first handheld Nintendo 64, GBA and PSX emulators on a handheld. The last few years we have seen Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony and Apple all bring out means to thwart homebrew development. The app store on both Android and iOS have taken many homebrew devs over to try and break the market. The major consoles have so many firmware updates that the days of Homebrew seem to be numbered, is there a way back for the Homebrew Community?"
hypnosec writes "Apple has announced that its latest Mac OS X version, Mountain Lion, has had three million downloads in just four days thereby making it the most successful OS in Cupertino's history. Philip Schiller, iPhone maker's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, said, 'Just a year after the incredibly successful introduction of Lion, customers have downloaded Mountain Lion over three million times in just four days, making it our most successful release ever.'"
Nerval's Lobster writes "For any software developers with an urge to play around with demographic or socio-economic data: the U.S. Census Bureau has launched an API for Web and mobile apps that can slice that statistical information in all sorts of nifty ways. The API draws data from two sets: the 2010 Census (statistics include population, age, sex, and race) and the 2006-2010 American Community Survey (offers information on education, income, occupation, commuting, and more). In theory, developers could use those datasets to analyze housing prices for a particular neighborhood, or gain insights into a city's employment cycles. The APIs include no information that could identify an individual."
ananyo writes "A flexible electronic sensor made from interlocking hairs can detect the gentle steps of a ladybird and distinguish between shear and twisting forces. The sensor consists of two interlocking sheets of nanofibres. When the sensor sheet is pressed, twisted or brushed, the squishy, metal-coated hairs change position, generating changes in the sensor's electrical resistance (abstract). Such subtle tactile input would be very useful for robots designed to interact with people, says Matei Ciocarlie, a scientist at robotics company Willow Garage. 'Skin has been an overlooked part of robotics,' says Ciocarlie, because it poses such a challenging problem: in addition to being robust, sensitive and flexible, it needs to be made in very large sheets."
Gunkerty Jeb writes "Moxie Marlinspike, the security and privacy researcher known for his SSLStrip, Convergence and RedPhone tools, has released a new tool that can crack passwords used for some VPNs and wireless networks that rely on encryption using Microsoft's MS-CHAPv2 protocol. Marlinspike discussed the tool during a talk at DEF CON over the weekend, and it is available for download."