Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

Nerval's Lobster hasn't commented recently.

Submissions

top

How Game Developers Turn Kickstarter Failure Into Success

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  2 days 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."
Link to Original Source
top

Women Founders Outpace Male Counterparts in Certain Types of Kickstarter Funding

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  4 days 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.'"
Link to Original Source
top

Apple's App Store Needs a Radical Revamp. How Would You Go About It?

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about a week 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?""
Link to Original Source
top

Silicon Valley Doesn't Have an Attitude Problem, OK?

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about two weeks 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."
Link to Original Source
top

Push for Pizza: An App That Does Exactly One Thing Well

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about two weeks 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."
Link to Original Source
top

Why It's Still Worth Learning Objective-C and Python

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about two weeks 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?"
Link to Original Source
top

Want to Work Without Prying Eyes? Try Wearing a Body Sock

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about three weeks 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."
Link to Original Source
top

5 Programming Languages You'll Need Next Year (and Beyond)

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

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Over at Dice, there's a breakdown of the programming languages that could prove most popular over the next year or two, including Apple's Swift, JavaScript, CSS3, and PHP. But perhaps the most interesting entry on the list is Erlang, an older language that was invented in 1986 by engineers at Erricson. It was originally intended to be used specifically for telecommunications needs, but has since evolved into a general-purpose language, and found a home in cloud-based, high-performance computing when concurrency is needed. "There aren’t a lot of Erlang jobs out there," writes developer Jeff Cogswell. "However, if you do master it (and I mean master it, not just learn a bit about it), then you’ll probably land a really good job. That’s the trade-off: You’ll have to devote a lot of energy into it. But if you do, the payoffs could be high." And while the rest of the featured languages are no-brainers with regard to popularity, it's an open question how long it might take Swift to become popular, given how hard Apple will push it as the language for developing on iOS."
Link to Original Source
top

Indie Game Developers Talk About Why They Struck Out on Their Own

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

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Technology writer Jon Brodkin sat down with a group of indie game developers (as well as a professor at the University of Southern California's game-design program) to talk about why they decided to launch their own small studios rather than stick with comfortable (albeit stressful) jobs at major firms like Disney or Zynga. The answer, as you'd expect, boils down to control. “Working for a bigger company is a good way to gain experience, and learn how games are made,” said Graham Smith, one of the co-founders of Toronto-based DrinkBox Studios. “It’s also nice to have a steady salary coming in as you learn the ropes. On the flip side, depending on the company, you might not have much control over the game’s design, or even be making the types of games that you enjoy playing.” But startups come with their own challenges, not the least of which is the prospect of an economic downturn quickly wiping you out, or not making your Kickstarter goal."
Link to Original Source
top

Designer Brews Beer, Prints Resume on Side of Custom 4-Pack, Scores Job

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about 2 months ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Canadian graphic designer Brennan Gleason wanted to attract more work, so he came up with a novel concept: custom-printing his resume on boxes of the beer he brews as a sideline. “I brewed up a nice blonde ale, so I figured it would awesome to use it to promote myself and my work,” Gleason wrote in a post on Dribbble. “Box contains the resume and the bottles each contain a piece of my work.” In addition to some bits about his work history, the carton labeling features a prominent link to his personal website. The best part? His creative effort reportedly gained him a few job offers. And if the employer loves beer, a resume on the side of a beer carton could go a long way toward scoring that job interview, provided the employer in question isn’t a teetotaler."
Link to Original Source
top

PHP vs. .NET: Which Should You Learn?

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about 2 months ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Both PHP and .NET enjoy broad bases of support. While it's certainly possible to learn the intricacies of both platforms, is there one worth tackling more than the other? That depends on any number of factors, including how much one loves Linux. But should someone relatively new to programming attempt to learn both? In a new Dice article, Jeff Cogswell (a developer and writer that some in the Slashdot community know well, even if they vehemently disagree with him) argues No: "At an early stage in your career, you need to focus your energy on getting very good at one thing, which will translate into higher-paying jobs down the road. If you try to go to broad, you will stretch yourself thin and not master anything." But that's just his opinion, of course. Do you agree? Is it better to focus intensely on a small number (or even one) language or platform, or attempt to become competent at a broader range of things?"
Link to Original Source
top

Why Amazon Might Want a Big Piece of the Smartphone Market

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about 2 months ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "If rumors prove correct, Amazon will unveil a smartphone at a high-profile June 18 event in Seattle. According to a new article in The New York Times, Amazon’s willing to take such enormous risks because a smartphone will help it sell more products via its gargantuan online store. In theory, a mobile device would allow customers in the midst of their daily routines to order products with a few finger-taps, allowing Amazon to push back against Google and other tech companies exploring similar instant-gratification territory. But a smartphone also plays into Amazon’s plans for the digital world. Over the past several years, the company has become a popular vendor of cloud services and used that base to expand into everything from tablets to a growing mobile-app ecosystem. A smartphone could prove a crucial portal for all those services. If an Amazon smartphone proves a hit, however, it could become a game-changer for mobile developers, opening up a whole new market for apps and services. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has succeeded in the digital space largely by opening up various platforms—whether Kindle self-publishing or the Amazon app store—to third-party wares. It’ll be interesting to see whether he does something similar with the smartphone."
Link to Original Source
top

Bloomberg Testing Productivity App for Oculus Rift

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about 2 months ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "So far, the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset has found its most widespread use in gaming. But as the device rises in prominence, more companies are testing its capabilities as a work tool. Bloomberg is one of those companies, having designed software that allows Oculus-equipped traders and financial pros to view dozens of virtual “screens,” each one packed with data. The platform is clearly aimed at those Masters of the Universe who stack their real-world desks with four, six or eight screens—the better to take the pulse of the markets. Think of it as a traditional Bloomberg terminal on steroids. “This is a mockup of how virtual reality can be applied in the workplace,” Nick Peck, a Bloomberg employee responsible for creating the software, told Quartz. “I really wanted to explore how virtual reality could solve one of the most basic problems we hear about: limited screen real estate.” A virtual-reality Bloomberg terminal isn’t the only practical application proposed by Oculus Rift users: earlier this year, the Norwegian Armed Services began testing whether the hardware could be used to drive tanks, on the supposition that off-the-shelf cameras and a headset built for virtual gaming could prove cheaper than custom-built military equipment."
Link to Original Source
top

MIT Working on Robotic Limbs That Attach to Shoulders, Waist

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about 3 months ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Following up on news that ActiveLink is building heavy-duty exoskeletons for work in nuclear plants, IEEE Spectrum reports that MIT researchers are experimenting with Supernumerary Robotic Limbs (SRLs) that attach to either the shoulder or waist. The SRLs are capable of lifting objects and bracing against solid surfaces. From the article: “The SRL watches what you're doing with your arms to decide how to move. It does that by monitoring two inertial measurement units (IMUs) that the user wears on the wrists. A third IMU sits at the base of the robot’s shoulder mount, to track the overall orientation and motion of the SRL.” In the future, we will all have the ability to become Doctor Octopus (minus two robo-limbs, of course)."
Link to Original Source
top

The Next Unreal Tournament: Totally Free, Developed by Public

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about 3 months ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Epic Games is rebooting Unreal Tournament, but not in a typical way. A small team of veteran developers will begin work on the next edition of the popular, multi-player shooter, in collaboration with pretty much anyone who wants to participate. "From the very first line of code, the very first art created and design decision made, development will happen in the open, as a collaboration between Epic, UT fans and UE4 developers. We’ll be using forums for discussion, and Twitch streams for regular updates," reads a note on the company's blog. All code and content will appear on GitHub, and development will focus on Mac, Linux, and Windows. What's the catch? According to Epic, it'll take months to forge a playable game. "When the game is playable, it will be free. Not free to play, just free," the blog adds. "We’ll eventually create a marketplace where developers, modders, artists and gamers can give away, buy and sell mods and content. Earnings from the marketplace will be split between the mod/content developer, and Epic. That’s how we plan to pay for the game.""
Link to Original Source
top

Job Postings for Python, NoSQL, Apache Hadoop Way Up This Year

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about 4 months ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Dice (yes, parent company, etc.) collects a ton of data from job postings. Its latest findings? The number of jobs posted for NoSQL experts has risen 54 percent year-over-year, ahead of postings for professionals skilled in so-called "Big Data" (up 46 percent), Apache Hadoop (43 percent), and Python (16 percent). Employers are also seeking those with expertise in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms, to the tune of 20 percent more job postings over the past twelve months; in a similar vein, postings for tech professionals with some cloud experience have leapt 27 percent in the same period. Nothing earth-shattering here, but it's perhaps interesting to note that, for all the hype surrounding some of these things, there's actually significant demand behind them."
Link to Original Source
top

Review: 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2'

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about 4 months ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "It’s a weird time to be Spider-Man.

Sam Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man,’ which made its debut in 2002, proved (along with Brian Singer’s ‘X-Men,’ released in 2000) that superhero movies could appeal to the mass market, provided they were done right. With or without his Spider-Man mask, Peter Parker (played in Raimi’s movie and its two sequels by Tobey Maguire) made for an appealing presence, earnest and kind-hearted even as he punched and trash-talked villains.

A few years after the debut of ‘Spider-Man,’ Christopher Nolan began his ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy, and everything changed for the current iteration of superhero movies. Now Spider-Man’s earnestness seemed a bit passé, overshadowed by Christian Bale-as-Batman’s moral ambiguities and dour growl. With subsequent movies such as ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ and the ‘Iron Man’ trilogy, the genre deepened still further, more willing to reflect—as Raimi’s Spider-Man never had—real-world issues such as terrorism, surveillance, and drones.

‘Spider-Man 3’ (2007) tried to get with the times by giving Maguire a black suit (courtesy of an alien symbiote) and a little bit of an attitude, an effort that pretty much everybody seems to view as a failure. As a character, Spider-Man needed to undergo a more careful revision—to become more nuanced and grounded, all without stripping the character of his agreeability. With ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ (2012) and the new ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2,’ director Marc Webb attempts to strike that balance, and for the most part he succeeds. His Spider-Man, as played by Andrew Garfield, comes off as a little more street-savvy and a whole lot less emo than Maguire, even if he does shed tears at key moments.

‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ features Spider-Man squaring off against Electro (Jamie Foxx) as well as the Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan) and, briefly, the Rhino (Paul Giamatti). If you think that’s too many villains for a feature film, you’re right, although Webb manages to weave them into the plot with a bit more finesse than Raimi shoving a trio of wrongdoers into ‘Spider-Man 3’ (and at least the Green Goblin doesn't look like a Power Ranger this time around). Webb’s other thread is the romance between Parker and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), which benefits from chemistry between the two leads, although it’s ultimately eclipsed by the inevitable explosions, super-fights, and stunts. As Gwen, Stone gets the chance to play a role with a little more dramatic weight than the standard-issue damsel-in-distress, and late in the movie she gives a speech that virtually breaks the fourth wall to call out superhero movies on their tendency to reduce female characters to little more than eye candy... a speech that's interrupted within seconds by yet another super-powered brawl.

Webb tries to give his new movie some additional weight by making time a major theme. Characters mention they’re running out of it; the first shot zooms out from a micro-shot of a wristwatch’s gears; much later, the final battle takes place in a clock tower (and ends on a decidedly pessimistic note). In order to prevent the narrative from tumbling into a dour hole, Webb and Garfield try to give Parker some levity, whether he’s taunting a would-be super-villain with a bullhorn or engaging in a webbing-powered slapstick routine right out of Buster Keaton. “He’s releasing himself into the symbol that he’s created,” Garfield said in an interview. “He’s enjoying the hell out of it while he’s doing it.”

Spider-Man will never be dark like Nolan’s Batman—these movies have an obligation to be colorful and bombastic. But at least this new one gives the web-crawler some shading.

Rating: 8/10"
top

Tech People Making $100k a Year on the Rise, Again

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about 4 months ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Last month, a report suggested that Austin has the highest salaries for tech workers (after factoring in the cost of living), followed by Atlanta, Denver, Boston, and Silicon Valley. Now, a new report (yes, from Dice, because it gathers this sort of data from tech workers) suggests that more tech people are earning six figures a year than ever. Some 32 percent of full-time tech pros took home more than $100,000 in 2013, according to the findings, up from 30 percent in 2012 and 26 percent in 2011. For contractors, the data is even better: In 2013, a staggering 54 percent of them earned more than $100,000 a year, up from 51 percent the previous year and 50 percent in 2011. How far that money goes depends on where you live, of course, but it does seem like a growing number of the world's tech workers are earning a significant amount of cash."
Link to Original Source
top

Reinventing the Axe

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about 4 months ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "The axe has been with us for thousands of years, with its design changing very little during that time. After all, how much can you really alter a basic blade-and-handle? Well, Finnish inventor Heikki Karna has tried to change it a whole lot, with a new, oddly-shaped axe that he claims is a whole lot safer because it transfers a percentage of downward force into rotational energy, cutting down on deflections. "The Vipukirves [as the axe is called] still has a sharpened blade at the end, but it has a projection coming off the side that shifts the center of gravity away from the middle. At the point of impact, the edge is driven into the wood and slows down, but the kinetic energy contained in the 1.9 kilogram axe head continues down and to the side (because of the odd center of gravity)," is how Geek.com describes the design. "The rotational energy actually pushes the wood apart like a lever." The question is, will everyone pick up on this new way of doing things?"
Link to Original Source
top

How Nest and FitBit Might Spy on You For Cash

Nerval's Lobster Nerval's Lobster writes  |  about 4 months ago

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Forbes offers up a comforting little story about how Nest and FitBit are planning on turning user data in a multi-billion-dollar business. "Smart-thermostat maker Nest Labs (which is being acquired by Google for $3.2 billion) has quietly built a side business managing the energy consumption of a slice of its customers on behalf of electric companies," reads the article. "In wearables, health tracker Fitbit is selling companies the tracking bracelets and analytics services to better manage their health care budgets, and its rival Jawbone may be preparing to do the same." As many a wit has said over the years: If you're not paying, you're the product. But if Forbes is right, wearable-electronics companies may have discovered a sweeter deal: paying customers on one side, and companies paying for those customers' data on the other. Will most consumers actually care, though?"
Link to Original Source

Journals

Nerval's Lobster has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>