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Programming

Ask Slashdot: How To Convince a Team To Write Good Code? 366

Posted by Soulskill
from the cattleprods-are-your-best-bet dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I am part of engineering team that maintains a very important component in our company. Our code quality and general engineering quality focus has been very weak: we have frequent buggy releases, our latencies are shooting up, our test coverage is nearly non-existent, and it is impossible for a newcomer in our team to get up to speed and be productive in less than a month due to unnecessary complexity. A group of 2-3 of us want to change that, and we know what needs to change technically — the better code review and release processes, better build tools, etc. But despite that, the quality of our code and design continues to suffer, and poor code continues to get released in the name of keeping the scheduled release date (product guys don't like to wait). We feel that if the right thing is done every time, we would can eliminate our issues and still release at the same pace. How do we effect the social change necessary to convince them of what is better and encourage them to take the effort to do it?"
Hardware Hacking

Hobbyist Builds Working Replica of Iron Man's Laser Gauntlet 78

Posted by Soulskill
from the looks-quite-handy dept.
Zothecula writes "Given that most real-life superheroes don't have the budget of Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne, you would assume that their gadgetry wouldn't be quite on par with what we're used to seeing in the movies. German cyber weapons hobbyist Patrick Priebe, however, has built his own working laser gauntlet... just like the one made famous by a certain Iron Man."
Operating Systems

Canonical Could Switch To Rolling Releases For Ubuntu 14.04 and Beyond 222

Posted by Soulskill
from the move-'em-on,-head-'em-up dept.
massivepanic writes "For the longest time Canonical has slapped an LTS ("long term support") moniker on some of their Ubuntu releases. Currently, a new major release of the operating system happens every six months, and is supported for 18 months after release. Whereas in the past when LTS versions received two years support or more, the current model — starting with 12.04 — supports new LTS releases for five years. However, a recent public Google Hangouts session revealed that Canonical has been thinking about switching from the venerable LTS model to a rolling release, starting with version 14.04."
Microsoft

Microsoft Surface Pro Arrives Feb. 9 268

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-everybody's-clamoring-for-more-expensive-tablets dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "According to Microsoft, the Surface Windows 8 Pro will be available for purchase on Feb. 9 in the U.S. and Canada. As anticipated, the Surface Pro will be slightly thicker than the Surface with Windows RT, and will weigh about two pounds. The tablet is powered with an Intel Core i5 processor and 4GB of memory. It also includes an 802.11 a/b/g/n dual band Wi-Fi, a stylus for pressure-sensitive input, dual 720p HD webcams, a full-sized USB 3.0 port, microSDXC slot, and mini DisplayPort. Since the Surface Pro runs Windows 8 Pro, it will work with your corporate infrastructure, as well as any older apps that you used on Windows XP to 7. In terms of pricing, the 64GB version will cost $899 while the 128GB will set you back by $999."
Biotech

Hidden Viral Gene Discovered In GMO Crops 391

Posted by Soulskill
from the food-is-tasty-in-proportion-to-how-much-it's-trying-to-kill-you dept.
Jeremiah Cornelius writes "Researchers with the European Food Safety Authority discovered variants of the Cauliflower mosaic virus 35S in the most widely harvested varieties of genetically-modified crops, including Monsanto's RoundupReady Soy and Maze. According to the researchers, Podevin and du Jardin, the particular 'Gene VI' is responsible for a number of possible consequences that could affect human health, including inhibition of RNA silencing and production of proteins with known toxicity. The EFSA is endorsing 'retrospective risk assessment' of CaMV promoter and its Gene VI sequences — in an attempt to give it a clean bill of health. It is unknown if the presence of the hidden viral genes were the result of laboratory contamination or a possible recombinant product of the resultant organism. There are serious implications for the production of GMO for foodstuffs, given either possibility."
Robotics

Robot Serves Up 360 Hamburgers Per Hour 299

Posted by Soulskill
from the om-nom-nom dept.
kkleiner writes "No longer will they say, 'He's going to end up flipping burgers.' Now, robots are taking even these ignobly esteemed jobs. San Francisco based Momentum Machines makes a robot called the Alpha that can churn out 360 gourmet burgers per hour. The company plans on launching the first ever burger restaurant chain with a cook staff made entirely of robots. You think Americans are obese right now? Just wait."
Privacy

Have a Wi-Fi-Enabled Phone? Stores Are Tracking You 323

Posted by Soulskill
from the my-decoy-phone-will-fool-them-all dept.
jfruh writes "Call it Google Analytics for physical storefronts: if you've got a phone with wi-fi, stores can detect your MAC address and track your comings and goings, determining which aisles you go to and whether you're a repeat customer. The creator of one of the most popular tracking software packages says that the addresses are hashed and not personally identifiable, but it might make you think twice about leaving your phone on when you head to the mall."
Space

New Asteroid Mining Company Emerges 148

Posted by Soulskill
from the a-challenger-appears dept.
coondoggie writes "A new company intends by 2015 to send a fleet of tiny satellites to mine passing asteroids for high-value metals. Deep Space Industries Inc.'s asteroid mining proposal begins in 2015, when the company plans to send out a squadron of 55lb cubesats, called Fireflies, that will explore near-Earth space for two to six months looking for target asteroids. The company's CEO said, 'Using resources harvested in space is the only way to afford permanent space development. More than 900 new asteroids that pass near Earth are discovered every year. They can be like the Iron Range of Minnesota was for the Detroit car industry last century — a key resource located near where it was needed. In this case, metals and fuel from asteroids can expand the in-space industries of this century. That is our strategy.'"
Microsoft

Microsoft May Invest $1B-$3B In Dell Buyout 151

Posted by Soulskill
from the dude-you're-gettin-dell dept.
alexander_686 writes "We heard that Dell is in buyout talks with private equity firms. Now, the word is that Microsoft may invest one to three billion dollars in that buyout. For that amount of money, Microsoft isn't going for majority ownership, but it would be a significant stake. Dell is worth around $22-25 billion. Speculation is that investors would put up $5-7 billion in equity, borrowing the rest. As a point of reference, Michael Dell's stock is worth $3.6 billion."
The Internet

Why You'll Pay For Netflix — Even If You Don't Subscribe To Netflix 292

Posted by Soulskill
from the enforced-infrastructure-enhancement dept.
Velcroman1 writes "At the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, Netflix announced Super HD, an immersive theatrical video format that looks more lifelike than any Web stream, even competing with Blu-Ray discs. But there's a costly catch. To watch the high-definition, 1080p movies when they debut later this year, you'll need a specific Internet Service Provider. Those on Cablevision or Google Fiber are in; those served by Time Warner or a host of smaller providers will be out of luck. But regardless of whether you subscribe to Netflix, you may end up paying for it, said Fred Campbell, a former FCC legal adviser who now heads The Communications Liberty & Innovation Project think tank. 'Instead of raising the price of its own service to cover the additional costs, Netflix wants to offload its additional costs onto all Internet consumers,' Campbell said. 'That's good for Netflix and bad for everyone else in the Internet economy.'"
Role Playing (Games)

WotC Releases Old Dungeons & Dragons Catalog As PDFs 224

Posted by Soulskill
from the going-for-the-saving-throw dept.
jjohn writes "Wizards of the Coasts, holders of the TSR catalog, have released rulebooks and modules for most editions of Dungeons and Dragons through a partnership with DriveThruRPG.com. The web site, dndclassics.com, may be a little overloaded right now. Most module PDFs are $4.99 USD." The article points out that these are all fresh scans of the old books. It's also worth noting that the decision to make these PDFs available reverses WotC's 2009 decision to stop all PDF sales because of piracy fears. The only reference to this in the article is a quote from the D&D publishing and licensing director: "We don't want them to go to torrent sites. Why not give them a legal route?"
Open Source

To Open Source Obama's Get-Out-the-Vote Code Or Not? 356

Posted by Soulskill
from the changelogs-we-can-believe-in dept.
An anonymous reader writes "There's a battle brewing amongst Obama's election team. The political folks want to keep the get out the vote code closed source so republicans never get access to it, but the programmers want it open sourced so it can be improved upon. 'In this sense, the decision to mothball the tech would be a violation of the developers’ ethical principles. But the argument is about more than whether putting the tech back in the hands of the public is the right thing to do. "The biggest issue we saw with all of the commercial election software we used was that it’s only updated every four years," says Ryan. It was these outdated options that convinced team Obama to build all the campaign tech in-house. If the code OFA built was put on ice at the DNC until 2016, it would become effectively worthless. "None of that will be useful in four years, technology moves too fast," said Ryan. "But if our work was open and people were forking it and improving it all the time, then it keeps up with changes as we go."'"
Cellphones

CES: Bringing Electronics Assembly and Distribution to Central Africa (Video) 61

Posted by Roblimo
from the cruising-the-world-for-the-lowest-possible-labor-costs dept.
"When you think about electronics manufacturing, you probably don’t automatically think about Africa. You are about to meet somebody who would like to change your mind about that. His name is Tony Smith, and he is the CEO and Founder of Limitless Electronics." That's how Slashdot Editor Timothy Lord introduces this video. And that's what it's about: Former Microsoft employee Tony Smith at CES 2013 talking about his efforts to bring electronics assembly and distribution to his native country, Cameroon, through his company, Limitless Electronics.
Businesses

MS Won't Release Study Disputing Munich's Linux-Switch Savings 268

Posted by timothy
from the what-and-give-away-the-recipe dept.
itwbennett writes "As previously reported on Slashdot, in November of last year, the city of Munich reported savings of over €10 million from its switch to Linux. Microsoft subsequently commissioned a study (conducted by HP) that found that, in fact, 'Munich would have saved €43.7 million if it had stuck with Microsoft.' Now, Microsoft has said it won't release the study, saying that '[it] was commissioned by Microsoft to HP Consulting for internal purposes only.'"
Input Devices

Ask Slashdot: Best Webcam To Augment Impaired Vision? 63

Posted by timothy
from the tickle-me-elmo-via-usb dept.
mynamestolen writes "In order to read paper-based books many visually impaired people want to attach a webcam to a computer and attach the computer to a TV. Some Electronic Magnifiers are purpose-built to provide a similar solution. Different organisations around the world (such as in the UK) have help pages. But I have not been able to find a guide to set up my own system. So I'm asking Slashdot readers how to go about it. What is the best camera to use if I want to hold the camera in my hand and point it at book or magazine? What parameters should I adjust, either in the software or on the camera? Depth of view, refresh rates, contrast, color balance and resolution might be key problems. My system is Linux and getting drivers for a good camera might also be a problem."

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