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The Largest Ship In the World Is Being Built In Korea

Qbertino It's so big ... (265 comments)

... they're worrying a bit about the sea-level when they put it to water.

2 days ago

3-D Printed "Iron Man" Prosthetic Hands Now Available For Kids

Qbertino That one sideline says a lot ... (64 comments)

" ... (who can't all afford the cost of conventional prostheses) ..."

USA - the only supposed first-world country where children have to be able to afford a prostheses.
Creepy. ... Or actually f*cking outrageous if you think about it for a minute.

2 days ago

Ask Slashdot: Stop PulseAudio From Changing Sound Settings?

Qbertino Just reading this gives me the creeps ... (282 comments)

Just reading this gives me the creeps and makes me sad.

Note: I've been a FOSS advocate since the 90ies and have used Linux since '99. It's my only OS of choice for Inet facing servers and just recently, after years of x86 Linux neglegt and OS X usage (typing this on my MB Air) have finally again bought a Linux-only computer - a refurbished Thinkpad W510, pimped out with 18GB of memory and a 256GB SSD. With Ubuntu 14.04 LTS installed. I expected it to be a tad of a step backwards.

It was.

What I saying is, that one of the very neat advantages of Apples products is the prime qualtiy integration of hard- and software. With installing Ubuntu I was back to fiddling around with NVidia drivers a la 2003, annoying non-memorised bluetooth settings, praying for my extra Logitech Mousebuttons to work (they do, thanks to manual X-configability) shoddy/broken compiz desktop acceleration and other fussing around. I'm an expert, so I very well know that I would have the same mess on a Windows system and much more so and no way to fix it. And I also do have very good reasons for moving away from Apple (walled garden, non-turing complete iOS computers/devices, etc.) but I also have to say that FOSS utility computing still being stuck with problems we had back in 2002 really depresses me at times.

Timothys post brings up all images that show what's wrong and anoying with FOSS.

I'd so whish for one vendor to say: OK, we're building expert, top-quality utility computing hardware and going fully FOSS with it - 100% HW/SW integration and all. Personally I'm whishing for a MB Air/Ultrabook like device with low-power CPU and 20+hrs of battery life, fully open-speced HW and some neat and bold features like custom non-tiling setups for the UI, special functions supported out of the box and stuff like that. ... But then again, it's 2014 with computers a dime a dozen and such a project just one successful kickstarter campaing away. Maybe I should get of my ass and start one ...?

Anyhow, I'm sick of fiddling with stuff that should be basic comodity in 2014 and having to deal with issues like the one timothy has. Just had to let that out.

My 2 cents.

3 days ago

Ask Slashdot: Handling Patented IP In a Job Interview?

Qbertino Patents are assets. Put them into a company. (224 comments)

Plain and simple: Patents are assets. Put them into a company. A company that you own 51% in at minimum of course.

Make it clear to any potential employer, that in terms of patents it's
a) ... out of your hands to give your prospective emloyer access to IP owned by [YOUR_PATENT_HOLDING_COMPANY]
b) ... whenever they're negotiating about your patents they're talking to you not as an employee but as CEO/Owner of [YOUR_PATENT_HOLDING_COMPANY]

This not just keeps the fronts clear but also opens you up to potentially lucrative deals with you and possible employers.
Hope I could help.

5 days ago

Too Much Privacy: Finnish Police Want Big Euro Notes Taken Out of Circulation

Qbertino Rolexes (314 comments)

Rolexes are the best currency for larger sums and are actually used for exactly that. You wear them on your wrist and if you clothe accordingly they're not even suspicious when crossing a border.

about a week ago

Ask Slashdot: Dealing With an Unresponsive Manufacturer Who Doesn't Fix Bugs?

Qbertino Proprietary Vendor Lock-In always sucks. Contract? (204 comments)

For VPN it's just the same. I've been dealing with Cisco AnyCrap VPN for the last 4 months and our problem - establishing a network-transparent VPN access to a remote share to deploy software without Cisco Malware (TM) hijacking our netconfig - still hasn't gone away. Naturally. The fuss is mostly politics (90%) with 3 parties and 15 individuals involved pushing responsibility around and fussing with bullshit that would be fixed in 30 minutes if they'd actually deliver what we need, but I guess that's the usual problem.

Moral to the story, once again, as has been for the past 2 decades:
Never, ever go with proprietary solutions and vendor/service lock-in for mission critical stuff!

That aside, how does your contract look? Is it Lawyer-time yet? Perhaps you should start playing 'legal-ball' or at least start writing snail-mail solicited letters as to indicate that you're pissed and won't take this much longer. Can actually work wonders.

Good luck. And don't forget to add "OpenVPN Compatible" into your next contracts.

about two weeks ago

Test-Driving a $35 Firefox OS Smartphone

Qbertino In two years these will be on par with mine (132 comments)

Tech moves fast.

In two years this sort of phone will be on par with mine, an HTC Desire HD. It's 3.5 years old and does all I could ever want from a Phone. Appart from being a little sluggish at times maybe. But that's hardly an issue, given that it is very sturdy and has a replaceable battery - which most modern phones don't.

When robots have advanced far enough into manufacturing, we'll have the equivalent of iPhone 6es come out of vending machines and the likes, for prices simular to that of this model. The predecessor to my current phone was a Blackberry Curve 8310. The superiour keyboard and battery runtime aside, the entire device seems way outdated and strangely anachronistic to me, like from a different era - and it's only 7 years old!

It's actually quite realistic when Google claims that they want to put the second half of humanity on to the internet within the next 5 years.

about two weeks ago

Mysterious Feature Appears and Disappears In a Sea On Titan

Qbertino Imagine we would find the Solaris lifeform (65 comments)

Imagine we would find a lifeform like in Lems' Solaris. Not many species but one single one occuping a planet.
A Super-Amobea that won the evolutionary race some hundred million years ago or something.
Would it have a conscience? If yes, what kind of conscience?
Would scientists discuss, wether it is ethical to take a probe or not? Would we be hurting a being? Would be deem it ethical (or not) to send probes into it/down there? ...
Interesting questions.

But then again, I'd say it's probably just land exposed and covered by tides.
Meeeh. Boooooring.

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Multimedia-Based Wiki For Learning and Business Procedures?

Qbertino Bingo. (97 comments)

The problem with any system is content.


Use static HTML, CSS, the F4Player and see the lectures catch on. Once you've got content, choose/buid you system based on that. That might even be Wordpress or Joomla or something.

about three weeks ago

NVIDIA Begins Requiring Signed GPU Firmware Images

Qbertino Who makes the most FOSS friendls GFX HW? (192 comments)

With all this hassle nowadays - I remember the times when nVidia was the only company supporting Linux and was something like the darly child of the FOSS community - which company actually *is* the most FOSS friendly today? Intel? AMD/ATI? Some other company?

Educated opinions on this needed.

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Swift Or Objective-C As New iOS Developer's 1st Language?

Qbertino Experienced C developer? Isn't that a no-brainer? (316 comments)

You're an experiecned C developer? Well, sorry, but that's a no-brainer then. Go for Objective-C. Anything else would be really really stupid. You'll have to change some C habits to actually 'get' Obj-C, but you'll live. Obj-C works on every plattform, so you wouldn't be tied to iOS/OS X either. Only upsides to that route for you.

I OTOH also am an experienced developer, but pampered by 15 years of modern scripting language usage. I would want to learn C++ or Objective-C (I've been trying to pick up C++ for the last 2 years but haven't put enough effort into it yet), especially because im a FOSS Linux Geek, but I hate having to deal with anachronistic shit - so for me actually using an easy-to-use lock-in language would actually make sense - especially if I know what I want to build on iOS exclusively, since I would only do something very product and project specific on iOS. And only if I'm paid for it.

about three weeks ago

First Shellshock Botnet Attacking Akamai, US DoD Networks

Qbertino There is no indignation. (236 comments)

... how the indignation at a major vulnerability like this (2nd in a few months) is so muted when the OS in question doesn't come from Microsoft.

Bugs happen. The bullshit and coverup that comes with many of them needn't happen.

When did shellshock come out? A week ago?
We already have testing routines, fixes, live reports on ongoing exploits, ad-hoc sidetracking fixes for commercial non-FOSS versions (Mac OS X), countless how-tos on how to close up holes, a lively worldwide debate among experts on how to prevent this class of exploit, the bash crew merging the fixes, existing updates for debian, etc.

Seriously, this is a *very* *bad* hole, and yet the cool with which I was able to approach it simply knowing that all my outward facing boxes run a type-a prime FOSS distribution like debian was something you will not see with a windows admin. apt-get upgrade, apt-get update ... bladibla blubdiblub packageA bash someOtherPackage ... bladibla continue? Fuck yeah. Hit Enter. Yawn. Go get some coffee, come back, paste the onliner test. Fixed.

Sorry pal, but even with a bug of this magnitude, the way the FOSS community deals with it is a whole different league than any other camp. Openness beats everything else in this line of work, every time.

My 2 cents.

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

Qbertino The air is thin for PhDs (479 comments)

That reads both ways:
a) You've gotten the highest formal accreditation anyone in the field can have. That means you're able to get into jobs that others can't.
b) The flipside is, that, all-in-all, those jobs are wide and far between, at least on global scale.

Think of the PhD as the last cog to get the machine working. The other cogs still have to be there. You have to move in to an area where PhDs are sought after and where they have their place. The webshop in a 30000 people town is not where you want to put your rank to use - you have to leave that "comfort-zone" behind. If you haven't built a network yet, you better get starting now. Or maybe you *have* built a network, but aren't aware of it. What are your college buddies doing? Is there no vector there to get into a field?

Mix the C++ experience in when pointing out your PhD. I all honesty, you'd be stupid if you don't combine your pratical C++ skills with your academic PhD-stuff from here on out. There is tons of neat stuff all over the planet. Scientific work, embedded, big data, financial (obscene amounts of money to be made in those last two).

And if you don't know what you want to do and where you want to do it, go apply for an internship at Google or some other famous scary company. No joke. Go there. Who knows, maybe you're a team-lead in 6 months on some new Android lib they're cooking up. If they ask you why you want to intern with a PhD, say you don't know what you want but you'd like to find out. That's how I got my job in the gaming industry. I had my back against the wall and started applying for jobs all over the country. BAM - 4 weeks later inet gamedev paradise with a very neat project that went on for two years and was specifically designed to burn massive sums of money. Or at least so it felt. The reference I got out of that job is worth a masters degree and serves me till this very day.

Or maybe you want to get more into algorythms and DB stuff - go find a company or scientific project that deals with such problems and ask to join - if only as an intern for a few weeks.

And someone else pointed it out already too:
Get a professional company to write your resume and a recruiter or an agent to help you find a job. That, or just call and ask to talk to the PM of the job for hire because you "want to find out if it makes sense to apply". Your application will most likely end up in the stack or bin with all the others, only it will be on top, because your a PhD. ... People want to see and talk to the people they're supposed to work with - that goes especially if your not a designated expert in a field.

And last but not least - if you are an expert or want to become one, there's another two options:
Freelance or own company. Think about it.

Good luck.

about a month ago

Why You Can't Manufacture Like Apple

Qbertino HTC seemed to manage (408 comments)

HTC seemed to manage just fine building devices of the quality of Apple or even better. I've dropped my 3.5 year old HTC Desire (solid aluminum body) more times than I can count and it still works as it did the first day. My first tablet - an HTC Flyer, case by apparently the same design team - serves my every day aswell.

I've seen and held my share of iPhones, and IMHO HTCs devices are better.

As far as enclosures go, I'd even say the new iPhone 6 ripps one or two things from the HTC One M8.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Avoid Becoming a Complacent Software Developer?

Qbertino My passion is as high as always ... (275 comments)

My passion is as high as always, only the world has changed and I've become wiser. Mind you, I've still broken my personal record in job-switching in the last 2 years, despite being in my mid-40ies. If anything, with age I've become *more* nimble but less anoyingly eager - at least on the outside.

Here's some advice:
1.) Switch your job. Don't worry, you'll live. And if only it is to find out that you had the best job in the world. Ok them, *now* you know. Look for the next one like that. Sometimes a bit of jobhopping is required to find out what you want and what you don't want. Pratice job-hopping and interviewing. Not to make it a habit, but to get used to looking until you've found a place where you are valued. Going freelance is a variant to that. If you're scared of going freelance even though you'd like to: Go freelance! Again: You'll live. And you'll never look back at your old life with anything other than pitty.

2.) More experienced people in our field - like me - would rather do nothing than work with a shitty team unwilling to learn or toil away on something that can't work or only will work with extreme stress and effort, because someone in sales or PM wasn't listening and didn't do his homework. Contrary to my younger colleagues, I, like most other experienced in our field, smell a projekt doomed to fail from 10 miles away. They might think I'm not passionate or that I'm complacent. Until three weeks later they've wasted 50hrs trying to get something to work that simply can't under the given circumstances. When the project finally runs against the wall and the crew and the problem has everyones attention, the boss turns to me. I say: "We need A,B and C. Otherwise this won't work. End of Story." Optionally, depending on the situation, I add in ".... As I said 3 months ago.". Sidenote: I allways *did* say it 3 months ago, but sometimes it's wiser not to rub it in. Also a thing experieced devs have learned.

Then we get what we need - which usually is simply a phone number of someone who we need to talk to and the mandate to do freely as we will, as long it stays within budget and solves the problem. Then I fix the problem by working a few hours of overtime - which I do gladly, because I, at this point, don't have to deal with any bullshit and I feel like getting something done. Just happened again yesterday, btw. Stayed till half past eight and did all the scaffolding and on monday morning finally everybody is going to hush and listen how we're going to do the last fixes.

3.) There's life beyond computers. I ditched my internet connection at home. Capped mobile data and Inet caffees are enough for regular E-Mail or getting your surfing fix inbetween. I've got enough of that at work, and I try not to spend 12 hours at the keyboard each day as I used to. It's lost its exitement. Mind you, I still pick up new stuff each day and make technology decisions 5 times a week at a minimum - but I've gotten way better and faster at dropping ideas. I try not to run in circles on the web anymore. I'm slowly building my Idea Immune System, and try to avoid getting all worked up within minutes about every new tech-fad that comes along. I've also got other things to do before I grow old. When my joints start aching, then I can go back to surfing and trying new web-toolkits 24/7, until then I want to get better at things I'm not that good at yet. Meeting women, cooking (moving away from fast-food), martial arts, exercising, traveling, dancing and perhaps even going back to playing guitar.

You should think about stuff like that too.

My general advice on this is:
You should at least have one regular thing in your life that fulfills you with deep inner satisfaction that has nothing to do with your job or other parts of your life. That can be a religion, any form or art or some outdoor activity or something along those lines. It should be that you can say to yourself: OK, even if I lose my job tomorrow, go broke, have my wife running away and my house burn to the ground, there's still that thing I can do that is fun and gives my life true meaning.

Hope I could help.
Good luck.

about a month ago

Slashdot Asks: What's In Your Home Datacenter?

Qbertino What's the point? (287 comments)

What's the point? Eat's power, wastes my time, is noisy, etc.

I've got two 1TB USB HDDs for archive and longterm storage (USB powered, to avoid the hassle with powerbricks) and I regularly archive to one of those and then arsync to the other twice a year or so, so they're basically manually mirrored. I've got three smaller Timemachine/Incremental Backup drives (again USB, USB powered) for sequential backup and disaster recovery, should one of my laptops (MB Air & Lenovo Linux Thinkpad) or my Mac Mini crash its HDD/SDD.

I do not have a landline internet connection, but that's a different story. I find I use my time more usefully. I've got plenty of broadband at work and at Starbucks or Tenten. For private Inet sessions I go there for a few hours saturdays or sundays. When I'm of the grid I hang out with my daughter and her mom, go dancing, meet with friends or read a nice book. So no need for fiddling with oversized hardware on that side either.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: Remote Support For Disconnected, Computer-Illiterate Relatives

Qbertino Chromebook. Problem solved. (334 comments)

That's easy: Chromebook.

Looks flashy, neat little apps, apple style all around but without the premium costs, impervious to any malware not sanctioned by Google, starts in seconds and they'd have to put in a real expert effort to screw things up. And no hard feelings about having Google take care of them, since all Princes of Nigeria allready have their contacts, so this Problem can't get any worse anyway.

Set up their account and put the access data in an envelope for them and keep them handy for your self, so you can log on their account and clean up if things get messy or they want something deleted and are to overwelmed to handle it.

Unless, of course, their connection is too flaky for Chrome OS to be useful. Then you're screwed. Fiddling with custom Linux and all that stuff you mentioned would be to much of a hassle IMHO.

about a month ago

Industry-Based ToDo Alliance Wants To Guide FOSS Development

Qbertino More releases? No problem. (54 comments)

Only some manager falling for some marketing thing would think more releases means better software. I can give them releases of my new FOSS TotallyUseless.exe/TotallyUseless.bin Programm - 3 times a day, no problem. 100$ per hour and you can have bucketloads of releases.

about a month ago

Why Apple Should Open-Source Swift -- But Won't

Qbertino What I like ... errrm, respect about Apples Swift (183 comments)

What I respect about Apples Swift (not to be mistaken for the other PL Swift) is that it/Apple doesn't claim Swift to be anything other than it actually is. An improvement on PLs already exisiting in Apples Ecosystem tailored *specifically* for developing in that ecosystem, catering to the preferences and addressing the pet peeves of their developer community. AFAICT with no downsides and measurable upsides if you intend to develop native iOS Apps exclusively.

*This* all IMHO is a new lock-in PL done right - as far as you can do those right.
contrary to all the lies, damn lies and hideous marketing bullshit that went into the .Net/C# mess.

Apple did it right again in the way that they actually let the engineers take care of the language, the designers layout a nice free iBook on it and basically kept marketing out of it. ... Not that Apples marketing is really that bad.

If I ever do native iOS development and embrace the golden cage, I might even look into it - the syntax does look less scary than that of the classic C family.

My 2 cents.

about a month ago

Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

Qbertino Bullshit. (937 comments)

WTF is this? Religious people not just claiming a factually facist souverenity of all things moral but now also claiming the same about passion, poetry and emotion? WTF, dudes?

Just because I believe in science and reason, in the scientific method and in moral values by what Dawkins calls "intelligent design" - i.e. debating, weighing and reasoning - doesn't mean I'm not passionate. I have a diploma in performing arts, love poetry and music, am pratically addicted to dancing tango (i.e. holding hot cuties in my arms while moving to passionate music ... you'd get addicted too, trust me ...) and indulge in stoic philosophy and mysticisim and enjoy studiing and debating religious philosophy and architecture.

I just don't like some religious facist telling me - or anybody else for that matter - what they are supposed to believe, think, advocate, pray, meditate, celebrate or otherwise do due to some invisible dictator in the sky or some ancient bronce-age myth written in a book most people are to dumb to interpret correctly anyway! Or telling others that they will burn in hell if they don't chop of certain parts of their penis or will go to heaven if they wear certain clothes of blow themselves up with some unbelievers!

If anything I'd say that my likes - I like to call them 'free thinkers' - are *more* passionate about most things than 'religious' people, who simply have found a sad and sorry reason to turn off their brains when it comes to difficult questions.

I'm starting to believe we need a more outspoken movement for reason and gotta go out into the street standing right next to the Salafist handing out free Qurans and the J-Wittnesses with their watchtowers and hand out free copies of Hitchens' 'God is not great' and copies of Seneca and Spinoza.

Religious factions made up of losers are starting to claim to much space in public attention, imho. This is getting out of hand and needs a little counter-action, don't you think?

about a month ago



Ask Slashdot: Open Hard- & Software based Security Token Thingie?

Qbertino Qbertino writes  |  about 3 months ago

Qbertino (265505) writes "Hoi Slashdotters. I'm just musing about a security setup to allow my coworkers/users access to files from the outside. I want security to be a little safer than pure key or PW based SSH access and some super-expensive RSA Token Setup is out of question, so I've been wondering if there are any feasible and working FOSS and open hardware based security token generator projects out there? Best with readymade server-side scripts/daemons.
Perhaps something arduino or rasberry pi based or something? Has anybody tried something like this? What are your experiences? What do you use? How would you attempt an open hardware FOSS solution to this problem? Discuss! And thanks for any input."

Is it feasible to revive an old Linux PC setup?

Qbertino Qbertino writes  |  about 4 months ago

Qbertino (265505) writes "I’ve been rumaging around on old backups and cleaning out my stuff and have once again run into my expert-like paranoid backups and keepsakes from back in the days (2001). I’ve got, among other things, a full installset of Debian 3 CDs, an original StarOffice 6.0 CD including a huge manual in mint condition, Corel Draw 9 for Linux, the original box & CDs — yes it ran on a custome wine setup, but it ran well, I did professional design and print work with it.

I’ve got more of other stuff lying around, including the manuals to run it. Loki Softs Tribes 2, Kohan, Rune and the original Unreal Tournament for Linux have me itching too. :-)

I was wondering if it would be possible to do an old 2001ish setup of a linux workstation on some modern supercheap, supersmall PC (Rasberry Pi? Mini USB PC?), install all the stuff and give it a spin. What problems should I expect? Vesa and Soundblaster drivers I’d expect to work, but what’s with the IDE HDD drivers? How well does vintage Linux software from 2003 play with todays cheap system-on-board MicroPCs? What’s with the USB stuff? Wouldn’t the install expect the IO devices hooked on legacy ports? Have you tried running 10-15 year old Linux setups on devices like these and what are your experiences? What do you recommend?"

Would you now bet on server side JavaScript (Node.js)?

Qbertino Qbertino writes  |  about 5 months ago

Qbertino (265505) writes "How realistic is it to place most bets on server side JavaScript / Node.js rather than a P language (PHP/Perl/Python)?

Back in the day, when Netscape had the only useful web server, server-side scripting was done with JavaScript — that was somewhere around 96 or so. Along came LAMP and got rid of proprietary solutions (for the most part that is) and somehow PHP got critical mass for being at the right place at the right time and having good documentation and a very low bar of entry.

However things have changed. Flash as a rich client technology is basically dead, just about everything web-based done client side has its logic coded in JavaScript, and with HTML 5 & CSS 3 being the go-to platform of today (also for wrapped x-platfrom mobile apps) and Node.js has recruited the remarkable V8 JS VM for serverside stuff. I’m now seriously considering the move away from PHP / Python to JavaScript for non-trivial server side development aswell. It would be so cool to have one PL for everything, and finally getting rid of PHP / mod_php doesn’t really hurt either.

I am wondering if it is feasible to bet on server side JS and Node.js in particular for large non-trivial web apps. I’m talking about Apps with the functional depth compareable to Pimcore or Typo3 here.

Concrete Example: Let’s say a client would come up to me and say he want’s a custom DTP platform that runs entirely on the web, with heavy Ajax/JS/HTML Canvas coding in the client (modern HTML 5 browsers) and a large app model in the backend (x86 Linux with print PDF generation and lots of other features).
Would you say it’s a risk worth taking to do the lions share of server side logic in JS running on Node.js with C/C++ extensions to Node.js for the speed-critical parts (Node offers some neat features in that dept) or would you suggest to play it safe and use existing PHP setups and toolkits, such as Zend or Symfony for such a thing? I’d say if the client is heavy JS lifting already, you might aswell use the same PL on the server — especially since I know how to abstract persistence and app layer, no matter the PL and could probably write the framework for all my persistence needs in a week. That would be a week in a project planned for 6 — 10 months.

Basically it would mean to restrict PHP work to quick and simple hacks on existing platforms such as Wordpress, Drupal or Typo3 and do every other from-scratch‘ project on JS / Node.js from here on out.

What do you think? Feasible or just to risky? What would you do? Have you been itching to go full force on Node.js yourself? Educated opinions of slashdotters desperately needed. Thanks."

One Phone to rule them all

Qbertino Qbertino writes  |  about 6 months ago

Qbertino (265505) writes "The Oneplus One, brazingly subtitled "2014 Flagship Killer", is a mobile phone specifically designed to go head-to-head with and beat the flagship products of existing behemoths in the industry and apparently also caters to the opinion leading crowd, i.e. us. It sports a quadcore 2.5 Ghz Snapdragon CPU, 3GB of RAM with a Sysclock of 1.8Ghz and 32GB (299$) / 64GB (349$) of storage, a replacable battery, a 6-lens 13 Megapixel sony camera and a 5 megapixel webcam for videochat. It runs CyanogenMod 11S based off Android 4.4 KitKat. Specs, especially when compared to pricing, blow the lid off current expectations and definitely raise the bar for next gen phones. Three concluding words: I want one."

How do I wrap my head around (My)SQL?

Qbertino Qbertino writes  |  about a year ago

Qbertino (265505) writes "Hi fellow slashdotters. I've got a problem. Basically I'm the regular Type A 80ies computer-geek, starting programming on a Sharp PC (PocketComputer) 1402 back in 1986 and been coding for money since the web-boom back in 2000-2001. There is one thing that has been bugging me ever since, and that is the developer communitys obsession with SQL as a means to automatically access persistance from the app layer. I'm not quite sure if it may just be MySQL, but the strange, human-communication-emulation syntax of SQL and it's ever-present ambiguity never fail to piss me off on a day-to-day basis.

However, I now have a job that requires me to become at least mid-range fluent in MySQL. Modifying the setup to avoid MySQLs SQL, such as adding ORM layers or frameworks, is not an option, for various reasons, some of them silly, some of them quite resonable. One being that we actually do access and analyse data direct and manually — what SQL originaly was built for.

My specific questions:
What can I do to get solid results and make measurable progress with non-trivial SQL (JOINs and beyond) whilst not constantly running into MySQL annoyances like, f.i. its bizar error messages to often?

What strategies do you recommend for a born SQL hater to grow a little acceptance and get to learn to handle the strangeness of this PL? Maybe a book of sorts that adresses issues more experience developers may have with (My)SQL? Perhaps you have some personal advice on how you tackled this problem — if you had it?

Finally, what do you recommend to get more firm and less confused with the non-trivial pieces of set theory and day-to-day data analysis ... books, online resources, games/riddles or excercises and explanations for pratice? I'd like to get quicker and more fluent at this in general.

Thanks for your input."

What's the best State-of-the-Art FOSS Product for Java (Web) Projects?

Qbertino Qbertino writes  |  about 2 years ago

Qbertino (265505) writes "Hi Slashdotters. After 12 years of realtive abstinence I'm looking to get my hands dirty with Java again and thought I'd do so by attempting one of the countless non-trivial Web projects on my idea list. I'm looking for something that removes a few layers of the crufty LAMP stack that so many of us got used to, in order to compensate for the Java typical hassles I'll inevitably run into. For this I'm looking for a FOSS Java Product (Framework, Toolkit, Enterprise CMS, Appserver, whatever) that has a certain set of features and attributes (see below). I've allways been keeping an eye on the PHP and Python projects on a regular basis, but couldn't say so about Java, so I need some input from you guys.

The following attributes are a must:

1.) Must be a pro-level/enterprise tool, meaning: When I learn it in the end I should be closer to typical enterprise products like jBoss, Glassfish, Oracle Whatever, SAP Whatnot, IBM Websphere, etc. with the knowledge gained. Ergo: Not some avantgarde experiment that has me crying myself to sleep once I get a gig at some Java shop that uses todays regular products, but something that prepares me for the things to come. At least a little.

2.) I'm willing to use some avantgarde stuff if it is stuff I can easyly integrate into existing enterprise toolstacks later in my career (SAP, Oracle, IBM, ect.) without having to install countless things below the regular Java level. Or obscure Java Libs that are a licencing liability to my employer/client.

3.) This one's a little contradiction with point 1: I which it to have absolutely zero fuss in integrating application and persistance. Think Zope/Plone. If I build a type/entity I want to do that exactly once and only once and I do not want to be manually editing XML in order to do so. Best would be if it had some kind of modeller where I can click together my entities and objects, maybe in some Java Application or a Web/Ajax Backend Interface (very fancy I know). I wish to avoid seperate persistance level logic programming with a specific language (read: No SQL or XML Situps!) entirely. In other words: In terms of persistance/applevel integration I really would like to leave the current state of things which to me appears to have been stuck in the early 90ies. I have no problem if this is all covered by fully automated scaffolding/crud or whatever and tons of autogenerated SQL in the background — I just would like to avoid having to deal with seperate layers alltogether whilst prototyping. Basically I'd like to stick to building my objects/types in Java and nothing else.

4.) The product should be either a one-command install on x86 Debian stable and other x86 Linux distros or should be easy to deploy manually with just a runtime as a prerequesite and a jar or something. Likewise it should be easy to deploy the required runtime environment and sub-libs on Mac OS X Snow Leopard. It should have a webserver option that is production ready and tried-and-true tested. It would be nice if that webserver option would either be an intergrated HTTP thingie inside the Java product or a first-choice integration with a FOSS HTTP Server binary that is *not* Apache, like lightHttpd or whatever the newest hype in enterprise ready lightweight HTTP-thingies is. I'd like to avoid Apache Configuration hassles just as I'd like to avoid SQL hassles.

6.) It should be established as a product — at least in the FOSS community (not just on one obscure mailinglist somewhere deep in the massive Apache Java Project grabbag) or be notably promising with a small company or dedicated team behind it. Something like PHPs ZendFW, Symphony, the Typo3 or Rails community — they've got a hang at pushing their stack in respective markets. (I.E.: Their websites don't look like shit and the projects opinion leaders actually know that marketing is important — even for a FOSS product) If it's a young but promising project I have no trouble helping out once I'm up to speed, so don't hesitate to advertise your own below, just don't ignore the requirements above completely.

Bonus points if the product has a braggable enterprise customer/user list and a real shot at pissing into the soup of the established players (Oracle, SAP, IBM, etc.).

Number 6 and 7 are nice to haves:

6.) Native integration with a well-established seasoned Ajax Toolkit like Sencha/Ext3, jQuery UI, Tipco GI or something of the sort. Perferably with a FOSS interface builder along with it.

  7.) Built with zero-fuss Mobile App integration (Android & iOS) in mind, since I think we all agree that that is the next big thing. Perhaps Android/iOS Libs already in place/available or something like that.

Thanks for you input, it's allway a great help."

Late-ish Career Boost via degree: CS or Business Informatics?

Qbertino Qbertino writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Qbertino (265505) writes "Hoi Slashdotters. I'm in my early 40ies and after a little more than 10 years of web, scripting and software development as a freelancer and some gigs as a regular fulltime employee I'm seriously considering giving my IT career a boost to be more able to move up the food chain by getting a degree. I'm your regular 80ies computer kid and made a career switch to IT during the dot-bomb days. Now I'm with quite a bit of programming and project experience but sans a degree and find myself hitting somewhat of a glass ceiling with maybe a little age discrimination thrown in there — i.e. at my age you're either moving up the ladder or out. Since I'm in Germany, degrees count a lot (70% of IT staff have a degree) so getting one seems fitting and a nice touch to my portfolio. However, I'm pondering wether I should go for CS ('Informatics / Informatik' in German) or Business Informatics.

I'd like to move into Projekt Management or Technical Account Management and am in a little dilemma: CS gives me the pro credibility and proves my knowledge with low-level and tech stuff and I'd be honing my C/C++ and *nix skills and emphasising my tech cred. BI would teach me some bean-counting skills, I'd be doing modelling, ERP with Java or .Net all day (creepy, I know) and give me some BA cred but I'd lose karma with the T-Shirt wearing crew and the decision makers in that camp. Help me make my move with some educated opinions please. I'm leaning a little toward BI because I suspect that's where the money is in my case, but am not quite sure wether a classic CS degree wouldn't still be better — even if I'm wearing a suit. Any suggestions?"

LSE drops .Net for Linux & Solaris Solution

Qbertino Qbertino writes  |  about 5 years ago

Qbertino (265505) writes " reports (text in German) that the London Stock Exchange will drop its .Net based trading software solution for a Linux/Solaris alternative. Its mostly performance and cost issues that bring Microsofts prime example for the feasibility of .Net for large installations to a grinding and unpleasant halt. What really gives the .Net camp a major blow in the TCO arguement though, is that amoung 20 evaluated solutions the one chosen was buying the entire Sri Lanka based company MilleniumIT that offers the chosen alternative for the equivalent of 30 Million Euros. In comparsion, the mere rollout of the current insufficient .Net infrastructure cost LSE the equivalent of 65 Million Euros. ... 'gues I'll continue stearing clear of .Not."

Ton Roosendahl recieves Honorary Doctorate

Qbertino Qbertino writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Qbertino (265505) writes "BlenderNation, a Blender News site, reports that Ton Roosendahl, lead developer and founder of the Blender Project, will recieve a PhD HC at the University in Leeds (UK) today. Blender isn't just a flagship open source project, it also has gained a solid reputation in the scientific community. Honor whom honor is due, i say. He very much deserves it. I'm sure the Blender community as a whole is happy and proud for and with him."

3rd Blender Open Movie Project 'Durian' Announced

Qbertino Qbertino writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Qbertino (265505) writes "After 2 Blender Open Movie projects (Elefants Dream and Big Buck Bunny), both of which where huge successes for the blender communtiy and did a remarkable job at achieving the target goals, the blender foundation has announced it's third open movie project codenamed 'Durian' which is to be another animated short film made with an entirely FOSS production pipeline with Blender at its core. This time with an epic setting, an action-oriented presentation and a heroine as main character. The scenario rollout will be provided and overseen by the renowned dutch comic artist Martin Lodewijk. To all artists, blenderheads and 3D programmers: If you want to participate, now is your time to apply. The project team will be finalised and announced by June 20th this year. Shortly after the project will start in Amsterdam and go for the usual 6 to 9 Months. With Blender versions and projects increasing in quality and impact in leaps and bounds at each iteration, this is yet another gem from the Blender crew to look forward too. Especially with Blender 2.5 coming up with a large redo and overhaul of core components and features."

Removing naggapps and clutter from a fresh Vista

Qbertino Qbertino writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Qbertino (265505) writes "Hello fellow Slashdotters. I've got a rather unusual problem: I'm a Linux veteran and haven't used Windows for production work since 8 years ago and stopped using it entirely about 6 years ago. However, I'm about to recieve a brand new Laptop as an xmas present from my employer and it comes with Vista preinstalled. I'd like to use the preinstalled OS as a foundation for working with some apps I use at work that only run on Windows, so I'd like to keep the install if possible. And, no, there are no replacements for these on Ubuntu. What can I do to clean up Vista and remove any crap that bogs down the system or gets me angry by nagging me with "Please register this OS and give us your genetic fingerprint" popups and simular shite MS has been pissing off people with lately? I'm even willing to pay 30 Euros or so for Windows cleanup utilities, maybe there is something you Windows guys can recommend? Any free tools I should run before doing anything on Vista? Thanks for any help."

Are you also growing sceptical of todays IT?

Qbertino Qbertino writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Qbertino (265505) writes "I am, just as many other slashdotters, the typical Generation X geek. I started programming in my teens in the mid-80s and have done it ever since, with maybe a few year break inbetween. In 1999 I joined the first web craze full-scale and have since then been developing software and contributing to IT projects for a living. I currently have a compareatively safe and fun job in a currently booming market (MMO Gaming) and a chance to yet again try out the newest of technologies in my field and even get paid for it. However, I've grown increasingly weary of a world embracing IT technologies where I feel they don't belong. IT-Bots deciding wether someone is elligeble to a credit or not or a terrorist or not based on some obscure metadata, indian taxi-drivers required not to smile in order for bots to be able to read their faces, bizar amounts of virtual/digital money being leveraged to unhinge entire economies, ect. pp. ... you get the picture. Don't get me wrong, I don't think the world will end because of this, but I do think people will have to move away from IT in order to reclaim their lives and that this will hurt our field of expertise where it actually *is* usefull and meant to advance humanity. On the other hand, people are starting to think this is normal. They don't see the nature of computers or the web, but simply take it in without even reflecting it. And the scary part about it is that no matter how ineffective it is, it is actually more effective for everyday life to mostly stear clear of IT and not become to dependant on it. Which — as I see it — only IT experts can actually really do proactively. What I'm saying is that more and more I see it becoming increasingly difficult to actually see the work I do actually benefit the people around me. What I see is a huge machine decoupled from humanity, squeezing the last bit of net gain out of everything and sinking people to mere co-dependant parts of it rather than empowering individuals. What are your observations? Similar, or is this just some sort of a winter depression I'm having? I don't see myself as overly romantic or backwards — on the contrary — but could it be that we as IT geeks more proactively have to embrace a counterculture? And maybe stand up against a world in which *everything* is ruled by IT? What do you fellow slashdotters think?"

CakePHP 1.2 RC 1 released

Qbertino Qbertino writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Qbertino (265505) writes "After a long developement time and massive improvements in functions and featureset the CakePHP project has released RC1 of their Web Application Framework. CakePHP is one of the popular full-scale MVC web frameworks written in PHP. Unlike most others, it still actively supports PHP 4, allthough not with all features and it is officially inspired by Ruby on Rails."
Link to Original Source

German Supreme Court blocks 'Big Eavesdropping'

Qbertino Qbertino writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Qbertino (265505) writes "The 'Big Eavesdropping Attack' ('Großer Lauschangriff'), a set of german anti-terrorisim laws forcing network and telco providers to store any connection data for 60 days (amoungst other things), is a major YRO/privacy issue in Germany. According to Spiegel Online (Article in German) the German Supreme Court has invalidated substancial portions of the bill in a short-notice arbitration. This is yet another instance in a series of swattings of the German gouverment for this sort of thing from the Judges of the German Supreme Court. A big relief for all whom it concerns. Nice to see the authorities still believe in citizens rights. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside."

Microsoft offers 44 Billion $ for Yahoo

Qbertino Qbertino writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Qbertino (265505) writes "According to the major German news-site Spiegel Online, Microsoft wants to buy Yahoo for $31 per share, adding up to 44 Billion for a majority in shares. Prices for Yahoo shares started climbing after the news. Tricky thing. This would reduce the amount in Microsofts piggybank considerably and could backfire big time if their plan doesn't work out. And this time there'd be not much left to pay off the mistake. It's suprising to see MS announcing such a bold move. Is Yahoo really worth that much? And doesn't this appear a tad desperate?"

Workplace Shell replacement for Mac OS X?

Qbertino Qbertino writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Qbertino (265505) writes "I'm proud owner of an older 12" G4 iBook (1,0 Ghz) from a few years ago, the one many geeks have and liked to use because of it's price/performance ratio for a subnotebook. Many people I met use it to run Debian Linux PPC or some other OSS operating system and do their programming on it. However I mostly do web developement where the OS hardly matter and I've come to like the benefits of running the native OS and the neat and frictionless hardware integration that comes with it. I do quite a lot of Flash developement aswell and need to be able to use the official Flash IDE from Adobe. The downside is that the desktop bogs down the systems performance which I'd like to use for other things by running a replacement of the Aqua Workplace Shell & desktop enviroment. There are quite a few wps replacements for windows — I've use Litestep with Windows 2000 — but I'm looking for one for OS X. What lightweigth WPS replacements are there for OS X and what other strategies are there to take some weight off an OS X desktop?"

Qbertino Qbertino writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Qbertino (265505) writes "The high-end open-source 3D engine Crystalspace has reached Version 1.0. From the website: "After almost 10 years of development we finally release Crystal Space and Crystal Entity Layer 1.0!" Crytalspace has several sub-projects: A game engine called CEL, a scripting exstension for that game engine called Cellstart, and CrystalCore, a single-player FPS Demo-Game built to show off Crystalspaces features. Crystalspace is generally considered a modern and extremely powerfull 3D engine and allready is in use in commercial products."

Qbertino Qbertino writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Qbertino (265505) writes "A company called Applied Business Technologies Inc. has recently released an open source web RAD system and application server based on Java and Java EE. It's called jVantage and seems to do away with the usual 1995ish grind Java developers have to put up with before having a decent web application ready. The developement enviroment is completely web based and somewhat reminiscent of the way the Python web application server Zope handles things. The screencast demonstrations (front page, bottom right) — in django/rails/cake/yourFavoriteWebFramework style — display an impressive set of features and a developement speed that is nearly breathtaking and faster even than with the aforementioned code-generating frameworks. It's nice to see now that Java has completely joined the OSS world it also is quickly catching up with the goodies other enviroments have to offer. And even picking up the Zope concept. With projects like these and the mature OSS developement pipeline Java has it may even be able to step back into the ring with PHP in the everyday web developement game. They've got me (Python, Zope & PHP Fanboy) curious anyway."

Qbertino Qbertino writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Qbertino (265505) writes "Apple introduces the iPhone. The Specs go as following: Touchscreen controlled with a patended gesture system, OS X, 61x12x115 mm, 480by320 Screen resoltution, 4 or 8GB storage, 4-Band GSM, Edge Bluetooth, WiFi, 2 Megapixels Camera, Battery Time for Talk, Video, browsing: 5 hrs, Audio Playback 16 hrs., Weight: 135 grams. Looks: Sweeet. ... I want one."

Qbertino Qbertino writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Qbertino (265505) writes "I'm currently working myself into a large web application project (Flash / Ajax / PHP 4 / MySQL 4) for which I'm supposed to become the lead maintainance programmer. Currently I'm trying to wrap my head around an admin area where each user interaction triggers roughly around 10 actions that range from Ajax calling variables from special PHP files, flash components loading subcomponents and those yet again loading stuff from other PHP files — data passing to and fro via GET *and* POST — and all of the server side stuff doing roughly 5 to 10 DB actions via individual class related custom SQL statements, each of which are stored in seperate, class related PHP files (neatly named though, I have to admit). Allthough naming is somewhat consitent and PHP Documentor did a good job at listing APIs, there is no written documetation about which component is supposed to do what and how they relate to one another. [sarcasm]"Gee, thanks a bunch. Yeah, I believe the manager though you were doing a good job at the documentation, since it looks soo neat with the right stylesheet."[/sarcasm] Needless to say, the thing is living hell to work through and is a prime example of the big downside of web-developement. I'm starting to miss a solid callstack debugger, and web-call-tracer or whatever you call it, to keep track of what's going on if I load template X with Master Flash Component Y. We use Eclipse with no success so far in getting the debugger to work correctly (still working at it), but that won't be enough anyway. I need to keep track of what's going on between client(browser) and server, what's going on *in* the server (that's the classic debugger, I know) and what's going on between serverapp and DB. And all of that *at the same time*. Since PHP is the most commonly used server enviroment I expect a measurable set of tools available to tackle this problem, some well-configured Unix CLI "scope-tracker" or watchamacallit or something and maybe a sophisticated logfile-reader or so. Any suggestions on how I can approach this problem? Note: The original programmer is long gone, so whooping his lazy ass for not documenting properly is not an option."


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