Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Starting and Running a Software Shop?
Small? Specialize and get billing, taxes, legal and ERP covered. Legal and taxes are other people, billing an ERP can be done with online tools like FreshBooks or small to midsized softwarepackages like Lexware.
What practices you need is up to you - especially if you code alone.
It also depends on the code you write. If it's just custom ABAP scripting for a handful of clients at a time, point and click testing and a few manually checked testpositions ought to be enough.
If you want to deliver software to a wide range of customers, perhaps even online, with demo-versions and stuff you *have* to have your pipeline standing, even and especially if you are alone. You want to be able to compile and deploy a hotfix wih a mouseclick.
Ask yourself: if the worst possible szenario happens with my software, will I be able to fix it inmediatel? If the answer is yes, with a few night-shifts and my leet Google searching skill I ought to manage somehow - that's OK. If the answer is no, compiling for XYZ takes days of time each time around - then you're doing it wrong and need to automate your process (more).
As for the business itself: Specialize in a field and a subset of that. There is no other way you can keep up with the big boys as a small shop. ERP, Web, Embedded, DB, etc. They all have their ups and downs and each have countless subcategories you can specialize in. Do it! Do not look left or right, unless you don't have any customers in the current field.
Harvard Scientists Say It's Time To Start Thinking About Engineering the Climate
You people talk about terraforming mars or venus as if that were so easy.
Newsflash: Mars and Venus are very far away. Like, I mean, enormously freaking huge distances.
It took rosetta 10 years to rendevous with a comet that's basically crossing through earths nearest neighborhood. And that was a satellite the size of a car. And it did not have to transport and sustain humans and their life-requirements.
Until significant advancemens in getting stuff to orbit, massive advancements in material and propulsion technology and massive advancements in synthesizing materials, food, air and water have come by, we're pretty much stuck on this planet. If these advancements don't come, then we're stuck here for ever. We might aswell learn to behave that way.
If humanity is to dumb to stop itself from killing itself on this planet, it has nothing lost on some other planet. That's my opinion anyway.
Ask Slashdot: What's the Most Hackable Car?
If we're talking about the kind of hacks you'd normaly think of when thinking of cars that would probably be some 2-3 decade old ex-soviet military car. In a pinch you can repair those with a paperclip. Some of them also have awesome features. I've heard of a transporter that can deflate and inflate its tires... while driving! They used that feature to adjust the tires to the ground the transporter would pass over. More traction in snow and sand and stuff like that.
An old us-army jeep probably is pretty hackable aswell. As goes for dune-buggies and other kit-cars.
As for hackable electronics in cars - I'd rather add those myself.
Android Botnet Evolves, Could Pose Threat To Corporate Networks
It's not that there are not enough viable alternatives to Overlord Google.
Millions of Spiders Seen In Mass Dispersal Event In Nova Scotia
This is a spider.
Jolla Crowdfunds Its First Tablet
Awesome specs, looks good, cheap price. This is trés cool. I have been toying around with the idea of getting a Huawei or Asus Cheapo Tablet as a new one, but I think I'll wait until this ones out and take a look at it. Like the Jolla Phone too - but my HTC Desire HD is still holding up, so I'll pass for now.
Debian Votes Against Mandating Non-systemd Compatibility
Systemd appears to me like the Dolphin of init. Dolphin had the clear mission: To be simple to use. They were willing to ditch the superiour Konqueror for it. OK, if for them one mission statement weighs enough to justify that, go right ahead. I think I'd still prefer Konqueror allthough I couldn't say if I'd be bothered to install it if presented with Dolphin as a default. Same with Systemd vs. init.
I personally am not sure if this thing turns out well. It all comes down to how good the systemd camp is at offering incentives to move to it and how well they develop. If the entire thing in the end turns out better than init and has less problems the bickering will stop. If not, Debian will switch back eventually and the systemd camp will be burnt for a long time.
Ask Slashdot: Professionally Packaged Tools For Teaching Kids To Program?
Errrm, what does *she* want to do? Make a 3D thingie fly around and shoot hearts at ponies with it? Then Unity 3D is the way to go. Blender will be more useful to her aswell. There are courses for that. Does she want to draw cool graphics? That's easy: Processing. Does she want to build her own robot? Arduino. ... And so on.
Teaching her Eclipse sounds more like torture to me. But then again, maybe you have a fledgling business programmer here - who knows?
I like the fact that your daughter is into this sort of thing. I wish the mother of mine had supported me more/not prevented me in trying to introduce my daughter to programming. All the best to both of you.
HTML5: It's Already Everywhere, Even In Mobile
My understanding is that it is still just HTML, but the way some people describe it, it sounds like the second coming of C.
It is the next coming of C.
The moment the portable devices became web capable - and the web back then already was where most people spent their time when computing - was when the iPhone was introduced. A full-blown non-sucking modern browser on a fully mobile pocket device that the entire world wanted. That was a first. And Steve Jobs said: No,it won't run flash or any other VM. Period.
This eventually killed Flash and pushed *everyone* in the rich client field back to Ajax, HTML and CSS. At the same time browsers became more performant, Google open sourced their acqired V8 engine and moved every thinkable app into the cloud.
And the devices doing this are so powerfull, they'd run circles around an 80ies liquid nitro cooled Supercomputer. Hence rich clients in pure open standard web technologies is where *everything* that matters in utility and end-user computing today happens. That's a simple fact. Performance be damned, we have 4-8 cores running at 1.x Ghz on even the cheapest of mobile devices. So, yeah, every advancement in the field is a big deal. Web Components, for instance, are a huge step forward. (Google for "Polymer")
And why are web based rich client apps such a big deal, you ask?
From the top of my head:
No deployment, continuous integration, port 80 is always open, no fussing with customers inhouse IT, runs on everything that runs on electricity and has a screen with zero porting. And probably then some reasons.
(Sidenote: That's why we today even have tons of SCADA equipment that runs mission-critical stuff accesible to every highschool kid who can dig up the default password.)
You got it just right: The web and HTML5 centric frontends actually are the next coming of C.
Ars Dissects Android's Problems With Big Screens -- Including In Lollipop
Good UI & UX design is hard. Really hard. It's one thing doing a cleanroom design of UX, an entirely other doing it for real life and various screen-sizes - preferably responsive. It's like with the code itself. In dev it will run and work, but beware of post-deployment if you haven't tested your stuff in every possible situation. I did tons of this stuff with Flash back in the day, and even with Flashs superiour visual & direct manupilation workplace and solid cross-plattform compatilibilty it was hard. I remember doing the UI for a flash-based MMO at a gamepublisher some years ago. We worked for months just to get the pageflow of character configuration and setup right. Video-based UX testing with usergroups and all. We'd discuss how and why the rail of a slider would look like X and not like Y.
Now, with HTML5, CSS and JS and all the screen sizes and mouse vs. tough it's by orders of magnitude harder.
It does not get that much easyer when you go native with Android or iOS SDK. You're app and your workflow will always have something significant that a good UI designer would like to highlight or help out in being intuitively usable - without destroying the page- and workflow the user is used to with other applications. It's a really tough job and each and every time it's like jumping off a cliff and not knowing if the parachute will deploy.
I'm one of the rare cases that's actually reasonably good at both - I have various diplomas in art and design and 28 years of programming experience, but I honestly couldn't tell which is harder. Basically both require very hard work if you want to do it well. Good UI is also where shitty backends are exposed. If the backend can't deliver what the user needs, no UX in the world will fix it. A significant portion of the logic is having the computer do what the enduser needs, fast and efficient. If UX and backend development don't work together or one of them doesn't understand the needs of the other, it almost instantly shows in a project. That's the classic difference between Apple and MS, btw. Steve Jobs basically nailed it in this rare direct comparsion comment.
Bottom line: The apps shown in this rundown on lollypop are the best you can get with boilerplate UX. The article basically is right, good UX looks different.
World's Youngest Microsoft Certificated Professional Is Five Years Old
I think the mold on the left yogurt in my fridge is an MCSE. ... Yeah, he was bored one afternoon.
Seriously though, if my kid were a computer prodigy, the last thing I would teach it is something proprietary with such a short half-life as MCP. Basic knowledge of a programming language and TCP/IP would've been much better for this kid at that age. What a waste of talent. ... Put him on the kernel team and Linus accept a commit by him - *that* would be news. :-)
I hope this wasn't some nutty dad driving his kid to do something so he could feel great about himself as a dad.
But maybe the kid is happy and loves his dad and dad loves him back. That's the most important think at that age - MCP or not.
My 2 cents.
Ask Slashdot: Programming Education Resources For a Year Offline?
You'll come back as a TCP/IP Expert - which can never hurt. That aside, I'd take some serious stoic philosophy with me too. Helps you tune into the mood you need if at sometime you're feeling down. Senecas "Letters of a Stoic" and everything from Epicurous is neat aswell.
Maybe you want to check out a little buddhist philosophy while you're at it, since you're in a place where that's the thing anyway.
Other than that, I'd try to find ways of coping with boredom and loss of meaning. Mingle with the locals and learn their traditions - perhaps a musical instrument or their local tales or tibetan buddhist literature. No need to be arrogant or pompous about things we nerds of the west care so much about.
Oh, almost forgot: Learn alpine mountaineering! You're in climbers paradise, stupid! If you get into climbing, you won't get bored and your computer-books will remain unread. Promise. Also there's a lot to geek out about on gear and climbing routes and all that kind of stuff. Ice climbing is a whole field in itself aswell. If that's not enough, take a camera and try to catch some lokal wildlife, if that's your thing. ... Seriously, the books on computing stuff should just be a fallback.
Comet Probe Philae To Deploy Drill As Battery Life Wanes
Seven minutes to fly up and down three feet; that's almost impossible to imagine.
Yepp. You could probalby jump beyond it's gravitational pull.
One sneeze and your away for the day.
*Aaaachoooh!* ... oh noes! Help, I'm flying.
Researchers Forecast the Spread of Diseases Using Wikipedia
How did they do it? I started reading the linked paper, but my brain started hurting two sentences in. I couldn't extract any useful information on the 'how'.
Comet Probe Philae Unanchored But Stable — And Sending Back Images
This is so cool. ... Isn't that freakin' amazing? ... I'm getting goosebumps all over and feel like back in the 70ies when we'd been to the moon. (my Grandpa worked at Grumman as a Engineer on the Lunar Lander btw.)
We've landed on a friggin' Comet! This is so awesome!
F*ck yeah! YAY! Go, space exploration, go!
Groupon Backs Down On Gnome
The problem probably just finally got escalated inside Groupon. Before it was some stupid desk clerk thinking: Oh, some hobbyists I've never heard of are mad that their little programming club has the same name as our new terminal. No big deal.
Then it was "Sue them into next wednesday!" "Burn Groupon to the ground!" "Hang them higher!" and their response being "OMFG! It's a project that's FOSS and Linux and they are all friends with IBM, Oracle and Google. And they've got lawyers!"
Probably some exec with a clue got wind of the situation and concluded that "... yeah, they do have a case and this Gnome Project acutally isn't that small of a deal as one might think. And we have enough bad press as it is. Back down.".
Smart move I'd say.
And they even get a little neat publicity for playing nice.
The Math Behind the Hipster Effect
I love it. Hipster-hate, in all it's forms, is the latest new thing! It's the latest trend.
What's wrong with hippster? ... I love hippster. Nerdyness becoming the über-chique. That's awesome. For once, fashion has caught up with nerd-culture and not the other way around. In the 80ies it was Grundge and oversized, today it's hippster. Different name, same thing, basically. I can get huge and stable plastic frame glasses that are sturdy, cheap and let me see everything and I'm right ahead with the avantgarde.
The best thing about it is, that if you want to dress extra classy, a *normal* suit and tie will do just fine, becaue everybody else is wearing chucks and NBs anyway. And, to be honest, girls all dressed up like chicas in high-heels and tons of makeup all day never was my thing. I thing they look really cute with their baggy smurf-woolen caps, doc martens and oversized parkas. ... It's all been there in the 60ies and 80ies already and I love it whenever it comes around.
Yay for Hippster!
Worrying Aspects of Linux Gaming
Sorry to be raining on your parade, folks, but seriously, no one really cares.
If Windows 8 has become a utility OS for Steam and Valve is OK with that and is dropping Linux as a foundation - so effing what? Valve would've built yet another dodgy distro of Linux (a shabby Debian fork I'd guess) and I think we all can agree that we have enough of those. And if you think that Valve would've put effort into the community - think again. Their a business.
With Android and Chrome OS we already have to large Linux distros comparatively tightly controlled by a MegaCorp. And from what I can tell, Android is going to be the next gen gaming OS. Convergence is upon us and once that's through, no one will give a damn about the "Desktop" - it was a crappy metaphor anyway - or PC gaming. Aside from a few enthusiasts and development professionals perhaps.
You'll plug your phone into your TV/Monitor grab your favorite independantly manufactured gaming controller and play Assasins Creed 12 you've just downloaded and bought a 32-hour gaming ticket for.
NVidia Shield anyone? Did you see the gaming demo in the iPhone 6 presentation? Gaming on smartphones and tablets is just taking of and there are enough experts in gaming who've expressed their feeling that the current gen of consoles will be the last. XBone is bombing, Wii has significantly slowed and the PS4 is one step away from becoming Sonys all-in media and home computing center - if they don't screw this one up that is.
No one want the Linux desktop, because the Desktop is on the way out.
Utility OSes like iOS, Chrome and Anroid is where the parties at now. End of Story.
Discovery Claims It Will Show a Man Being "Eaten Alive" By an Anaconda
How are they gonna get him out again? Cut the snake open?
How about giving the beast some real food and/or just leave it alone?
Or film it from a distance and watch it eat some of its natural prey.
Isn't that what discovery channel usually does?
And, btw, AFAIK boa constrictors - which include anacondas - prefer their prey not breathing anymore. And they don't really care if it's bottled air you're breathing or not. They constrict you 'till you stop breathing. Hence the name. Duh.
To be honest, I kinda hope this snake teaches the guy a lesson and get's away with it. Now *that* would be some news. :-)
The Great IT Hiring He-Said / She-Said
And? They obviously are in pain for developers of this rare language. Show some pitty!