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Friendly Reminder: Do Not Place Your iPhone in a Microwave...

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  yesterday

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "...placing your iPhone in the microwave will destroy the phone, and possibly the microwave. While that might seem obvious to some people, others have fallen for the “Wave” hoax making its way around online. The fake advertisement insists that the new iOS 8 allows users to charge their iPhones by placing them in a “household microwave for a minute and a half.” Microwave energy will not charge your smartphone. To the contrary, it will scorch the device and render it inoperable. If you nuke your smartphone and subsequently complain about it online, people will probably make fun of you. (If you want a full list of things not to place in a microwave, no matter how pretty the flames, check this out.)"
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A Beginner's Guide to Programming with Swift

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  4 days ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Earlier this year, Apple executives unveiled Swift, which is meant to eventually replace Objective-C as the programming language of choice for Macs and iOS devices. Now that iOS 8's out, a lot of developers who build apps for Apple's platforms will likely give Swift a more intensive look. While Apple boasts that Swift makes programming easy, it'll take some time to learn how the language works. A new walkthrough by developer David Bolton shows how to build a very simple app in Swift, complete with project files (hosted on SourceForge) so you can follow along. A key takeaway: while some Swift features do make programming easier, there's definitely a learning curve here."
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Ask Slashdot: Any Place for Liberal Arts Degrees in Tech?

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about a week ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "A new article in Fast Company suggests tech CEOs want employees with liberal arts degrees, because those graduates have critical thinking skills. Meanwhile, a new article on Dice (yes, yes, we know) posits that STEM degrees such as data science, IT admin, and electrical engineering are what science-and-tech companies are going to want for the foreseeable future. What do you think? What place do those with liberal arts degrees have in companies such as, say, Tesla or a biomedical engineering firm?"
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Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about two weeks ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "In theory, learning less-popular programming languages could end up paying off big—provided the programmers who pursue them play their proverbial cards right. And as with any good card game, there’s a considerable element of chance involved: In order to land a great job, you need to become an expert in a language, which involves a considerable amount of work with no guarantee of a payoff. With that in mind, do you think it's worth learning R, Scala, Haskell, Clojure, or even COBOL (the lattermost is still in use among companies with decades-old infrastructure, and they reportedly have trouble filling jobs that rely on it)? Or is it better to devote your precious hours and memory to popular, much-used languages that have a lot of use out there?"
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Essential IT Certifications for 2015

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about two weeks ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Figuring out which IT-related certification program to pursue can prove a daunting task for anyone. ITworld recently posted their top suggestions, based on a study from consulting firm Foote Partners. Now Dice has a few, because, well, Dice sees a lot of certification-related job postings on any given day. Amazon Web Services' Certified Solutions Architect, Red Hat Certified Architect, EC-Council's Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator, and a handful of others seem to be the most popular ones heading into 2015. But no matter which certification you're thinking of pursuing, it's important to take several questions into account, such as whether you'll have time to complete the coursework, and whether there's a significant salary benefit to the certification. Which certifications do you think matter?"
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Steve Ballmer Authored Your Blue Screen of Death

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about three weeks ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Millions of people have shrieked in horror and dismay at Microsoft’s infamous 'Blue Screen of Death.' What fewer people know—at least until now—is that the text accompanying the BSoD was originally written by Steve 'Developers! Developers! Developers!' Ballmer, who recently stepped down as Microsoft's CEO. According to Microsoft developer Raymond Chen, Ballmer didn’t like the original text that accompanied the BSoD in Windows 3.1, so he wrote up a new version. If you used Windows at any point in the past two decades, you can thank him for that infuriatingly passive 'This Windows application has stopped responding to the system' message, accompanied by the offer to hit Ctrl+Alt+Delete to restart the PC (and lose all your unsaved data). At least Ballmer didn't try to write something like, 'RESTART! RESTART! RESTART!'"
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Taking the Ice Bucket Challenge With Liquid Nitrogen

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about three weeks ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "As a trend, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge seems a bit played out—who hasn’t yet dumped a bucket of icy water over his or her head for charity? But that didn’t stop Canadian chemist Muhammad Qureshi from executing his own sublimely scientific, potentially dangerous variation on the theme: After donating to the ALS Association, he proceeded to douse himself with a bucket of liquid nitrogen. Anyone who’s taken a chemistry class, or at least watched the end of Terminator 2, knows that liquid nitrogen can rapidly freeze objects, leaving them brittle and prone to shattering. Pouring it on your skin can cause serious frostbite. So what prevented that bucketful of liquid nitrogen from transforming Qureshi into a popsicle? In two words: Leidenfrost effect. Named after 18th century scientist Johann Gottlob Leidenfrost, the effect is when a liquid comes near a mass that’s much warmer than the liquid’s boiling point, which (in the words of Princeton’s helpful physics explainer) results in an insulating vapor layer that “keeps that liquid from boiling rapidly.” In other words, the vapor makes the liquid “float” just above the surface of the object, rather than coming into direct contact with it."
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Did Microsoft Just Reveal the New Windows 9 Logo?

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about three weeks ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Microsoft just accidentally—or 'accidentally'—leaked a logo for Windows 9. Microsoft China posted the image to Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo, along with a note: 'Microsoft’s latest OS Windows 9 is coming soon, do you think the start menu at the left bottom will make a come back?' The post was quickly yanked, but not before setting the Internet abuzz. (If it is an official logo, it gets zero points for originality.) Windows 9 will reportedly rebalance the Windows user interface in favor of keyboard and mouse input, rather than the touch-friendly system pushed by Windows 8’s Start screen. What’s certain is that Microsoft wants to put Windows 8 in the rear-view mirror as quickly as possible. Greeted by lukewarm reviews upon its release in 2012, Windows 8 failed to overtake Windows 7 or even the ancient Windows XP in terms of market-share; third-party developers seemingly had little enthusiasm for building apps for the platform, and many consumers expressed confusion over the dual interface, which paired the traditional desktop with the aforementioned Start screen."
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Watch This Inventor Survive a Fireworks Blast in a Metal Suit

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about three weeks ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Labor Day is nigh, and with it the official end of summer. It’s time to pack away the umbrellas and beach towels, and perhaps spend a few minutes flipping through photos of all the fun times you had over the past couple months: the grilling, the trips, the fireworks oh yes, the fireworks Chances are pretty good that you’ve set off more than a few fireworks in your time. But Colin Furze, the British inventor and YouTube celebrity who once co-hosted Sky1’s Gadget Geeks? Well, he puts everybody’s love of fireworks to shame. He loves fireworks so much, in fact, that he built a giant metal suit so he could stand in the middle of an epic pyrotechnic display. No matter how good your own engineering skills (or strong your courage), it's inadvisable to try this at home. But it's sure fun to watch."
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'The Internet of Things' Is a Lot of Hype

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about three weeks ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Recently, Gartner analysts declared the “Internet of Things” (or IoT) to be at the “Peak of Inflated Expectations,” trumping even the completely overblown “Big Data.” The technology industry is, unfortunately, driven by bright shiny objects, and venture capitalists are subject to a herd mentality, always looking for the next big thing... and that next big thing is The Internet of Things. But as Silicon Valley veteran Miko Matsumura describes in this column, there's just one problem: 'There’s already an Internet of Things it’s called the Internet.' Yes, he argues, the development of IPv6 allows for a radically expanded address space for more devices. But the shift to IPv6 can hardly be considered a radical shift to enable the emergence of a new Internet, either 2.0 or one made up of 'things': 'There may be some method to all this madness, but it requires considerable discernment to know the difference between a fundamental technological advance and one of these trend bandwagons.' Do you agree?"
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'Internet of Things' Is a Bubble of Hype

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about a month ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Recently, Gartner analysts declared the “Internet of Things” (or IoT) to be at the “Peak of Inflated Expectations,” trumping even the completely overblown “Big Data.” The technology industry is, unfortunately, driven by bright shiny objects, and venture capitalists are subject to a herd mentality, always looking for the next big thing... and that next big thing is The Internet of Things. But as Silicon Valley veteran Miko Matsumura describes in this column, there's just one problem: 'There’s already an Internet of Things it’s called the Internet.' Yes, he argues, the development of IPv6 allows for a radically expanded address space for more devices. But the shift to IPv6 can hardly be considered a radical shift to enable the emergence of a new Internet, either 2.0 or one made up of 'things': 'There may be some method to all this madness, but it requires considerable discernment to know the difference between a fundamental technological advance and one of these trend bandwagons.' Do you agree?"
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Uber Has a Playbook for Sabotaging Lyft, Says Report

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about a month ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "The folks over at The Verge claim that 'Uber is arming teams of independent contractors with burner phones and credit cards as part of its sophisticated effort to undermine Lyft and other competitors.' Interviews and documents apparently show Uber reps ordering and canceling Lyft rides by the thousands, following a playbook with advice designed to prevent Lyft from flagging their accounts. 'Uber appears to be replicating its program across the country. One email obtained by The Verge links to an online form for requesting burner phones, credit cards, and driver kits — everything an Uber driver needs to get started, which recruiters often carry with them.' Is this an example of legal-but-hard-hitting business tactics, or is Uber overstepping its bounds? The so-called sharing economy seems just as cutthroat — if not more so — than any other industry out there."
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With 'Swing Copters,' Is Dong Nguyen Trolling Gamers?

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about a month ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Given its extreme difficulty, it’s tempting to think that the new Swing Copters is Dong Nguyen’s attempt at a joke (You thought ‘Flappy Bird’ was hard? Check this out!), or maybe even a meta-comment on the emerging “masocore” gaming category. Or maybe he just wanted to make another game, and the idea of an ultra-difficult one appealed. Whatever the case, Nguyen can rely on the enduring popularity of Flappy Bird to propel Swing Copters to the top of the Google and iOS charts. But his games' popularity illuminates a rough issue for developers of popular (or even just semi-popular) apps everywhere: how do you deal with all the copycats flooding the world's app stores? Although Google and Apple boast that their respective app stores feature hundreds of thousands of apps, sometimes it seems as if most of those apps are crude imitations of other apps. The perpetual fear among app developers is that they’ll score a modest hit—only to see their years of hard work undermined by someone who cobbles together a clone in a matter of weeks or days. If Apple and Google want to make things friendlier out there for developers, they might consider stricter enforcement policies for the blatant rip-offs filling their digital storefronts."
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How Game Developers Turn Kickstarter Failure Into Success

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about a month ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "When you ask random strangers on the Internet to give you money, there are no guarantees. That’s true in almost any scenario, including when video game developers use Kickstarter to crowdfund the creation of a game. While 3,900 or so games have been funded on Kickstarter, more than 7,200 game projects failed to hit their goal. Within those two numbers are some people who fall into both categories: developers who failed to get funding on their first try, but re-launched campaigns and hit their goals. Jon Brodkin spoke with a handful of those indie game developers who succeeded on their second try; many of them used the momentum (and fans) from the first attempt to get a head start on funding the second, and one even adjusted his entire plan based on community feedback. But succeeding the second time also depended on quite a bit of luck."
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Women Founders Outpace Male Counterparts in Certain Types of Kickstarter Funding

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about a month ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Women outpace men when it comes to raising money for technology projects through crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, according to a new study by researchers at New York University and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Jason Greenberg (NYC) and Ethan Mollick (Wharton/UPenn) chose 1,250 Kickstarter projects in five categories: games and technology, where founders were predominantly male; film, with an even gender distribution; and fashion and children’s books, both populated with more female founders and backers. They analyzed additional factors such as 'industry typing' (a theory in which people 'often hold conscious or unconscious biases about what gender is the archetype employee in a particular occupation or industry') and restricted the data set by geography and how much money each Kickstarter project wanted (a project aiming for less than $5,000 may attract an inordinate percentage of family and friends as funders, skewing results). After crunching the data, they found that female founders of technology projects were more likely than males to achieve their Kickstarter goals, a finding that didn’t extend to the other four categories. 'It appears female backers are responsible for helping female founders succeed in specific industry categories that women backers generally disfavor,' they theorized, adding a little later: 'The value of crowdfunding is that it enables access to a pool of potential female backers particularly inclined to support women in industry categories in which they believe women to be underrepresented.'"
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Apple's App Store Needs a Radical Revamp. How Would You Go About It?

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about a month ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Given the hundreds of thousands of apps currently on offer, it’s hard for any one app (no matter how well designed) to stand out on Apple's App Store, much less stay atop the bestseller charts for very long. In an August 10 blog posting, former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée offered Apple CEO Tim Cook some advice: Let humans curate the App Store. 'Instead of using algorithms to sort and promote the apps that you permit on your shelves, why not assign a small group of adepts to create and shepherd an App Store Guide,' he wrote. 'A weekly newsletter will identify notable new titles, respond to counter-opinions, perhaps present a developer profile, footnote the occasional errata and mea culpa.' Whether or not such an idea would effectively surface all the good content now buried under layers of Flappy Bird rip-offs is an open question; what’s certain is that, despite Apple’s rosy picture, developers around the world face a lot of uncertainty and competition when it comes to making significant money off their apps. Sure, some developers are making a ton of cash, but the rising tide doesn’t necessarily float all boats. If you had the opportunity, how would you revamp/revise/upgrade/adjust/destroy the App Store to better serve the developers who put apps in it?""
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Silicon Valley Doesn't Have an Attitude Problem, OK?

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about a month and a half ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "In Silicon Valley they think differently, and if that leads to arrogance, so be it. At least that’s what Bloomberg Businessweek’s Joel Stein implies in his long meditation on the area’s outlook on technology, money and changing the world. Stein set out to examine the underlying notion that Silicon Valley’s and San Francisco’s tech entrepreneurs are feeding a backlash by being, in a word, jerks. His conclusion seems to be that they may well be jerks, but they’re misunderstood jerks. He doesn’t deny that there’s sexism and boorishness at play in the young tech community, but he sees the industry trying to make itself better. He sees a lot of egotism at work, too but, he observes, if you’re setting out to change the world, you’re probably going to need a big ego to do it. But tell that to other people in Northern California: undoubtedly, you’ve read about the tempest in San Francisco recently, where urban activists are decrying the influx of highly paid tech professionals, who they argue are displacing residents suddenly unable to keep up with skyrocketing rents."
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Push for Pizza: An App That Does Exactly One Thing Well

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about a month and a half ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Ordering food via a smartphone? Easy, thanks to a growing variety of apps like GrubHub, which allow you to order takeout (or delivery) from a plethora of restaurants. But a group of teenagers decided to make the process even simpler—provided you really, really, really like pizza. Like many a minimalist smartphone app, Push for Pizza cuts everything down to the essentials: push the giant pizza logo, select a nearby pizzeria, choose a pizza, and wait for it to show up on your doorstep. Yes, it’s simplistic, but simplistic apps are in these days: just look at Yo, the popular app that allows people to message the word “Yo” to one another, which raised $1.5 million in venture funding this summer. Who knows how much some VC might value Push for Pizza."
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Why It's Still Worth Learning Objective-C and Python

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about a month and a half ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Apple suggests that Swift, its new programming language, will eventually replace Objective-C. However, because of the huge amount of code already "out there" among the millions of iOS apps and Mac software, companies aren’t going to immediately rewrite their code in Swift (if ever). So, while Swift might be the new language, Objective-C is unlikely to go away anytime soon. As a new article on Dice argues, that means that Objective-C remains a great choice if you want to learn iOS and Mac programming. The same deal goes for Python: although a lot of programmers either don't use it or dismiss it, a lot of developers and companies (including Google) continue to rely on it for large-scale applications. What other languages can you think of that don't deserve to be overlooked?"
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Want to Work Without Prying Eyes? Try Wearing a Body Sock

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about a month and a half ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "The “Compubody Sock,” which anyone with knitting skills can make at home, is a giant sock-hoodie-bag in which you place your laptop or tablet, along with your head and hands, giving you total privacy while freaking out anyone who happens to be sitting next to you. Designer Becky Stern told Forbes’ Kashmir Hill that the Sock was meant more as commentary on privacy and device addiction; even so, considering how NSA employees reportedly drape themselves in hoods in order to thwart hidden cameras while typing in passwords, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that an ultra-paranoid someone could find a practical use for a body sock. But that paranoid android better have expert knitting skills: putting together the Sock necessitates a whole lot of steps (“Purl 5, purl 2 together, purl 1, turn the work,” etc.). Your other option, of course, is to simply avoid working on sensitive stuff in public."
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