Getting a Literature Ph.D. Will Make You Into a Horrible Person
No one writes more maintanable code than the person that believes that their code should be able to be read like a book. For that reason people that major in writing and english can turn out to be supprisingly good coders.
Microsoft Creative Director 'Doesn't Get' Always-On DRM Concerns
Not to wreck your analogy, but when I was a kid we had a carpet sweeper. It was a cheap vaccuum cleaner that, wait for it... didn't need to be plugged in. Then we decided to get an electric one because the carpet sweepers just weren't as good.
Disclaimer: I don't own an xbox. Never have, and never will if they require an always on internet connection. I do have a steam account, but I'm in the odd minority (according to loudness of form posts) that has never had offline mode fail me.
Perl's Glory Days Are Behind It, But It Isn't Going Anywhere
I'd write analogies for those if I had expirence with them. The only one on that list that I have any hands on expirence with is Haskell and that was only in acedamia :P
Judge Koh Rules: Samsung Did Not Willfully Infringe
Hrmm... that's weird: Checks cnet article, "the research firm pegged Apple's U.S. smartphone share at 53.3 percent"
Ok where's that source: Follows to sub article, "Apple has achieved its highest ever share in the US (53.3%) in the latest 12 weeks"
Ok where's the actual data: No, link. Checks google. Oh here's the actual data, "This data is exclusively focused on the sales within this 12 week period rather than market share figures." http://www.kantarworldpanel.com/global/News/news-articles/US-iOS-Maintains-Lead-Among-US-Smartphone-OS-Sales
Checks dates: Ok so the 12 weeks directly after the iPhone 5 release saw 53% of smart phone sales being iPhones.
Ok so cnet is calling percentage of sales in a 12 week period directly after a the iPhone 5 launch 'market share', while the data it quotes from states that this is not market share. Aside from the dishonesty in cnets reporting that's still kinda impressive.
Perl's Glory Days Are Behind It, But It Isn't Going Anywhere
I wrote this a while ago, but I find it's useful to post it here:
The precondition that you can write terrible code in any language is a mental diversion. You must design languages for people that believe in intelligent design.
If there is low hanging fruit in your garden of eden, people are going to assume that someone vastly smarter then they are placed it there for plucking.
Not even God himself coming down from on high and face to face telling every member of the human race not to touch it is going to keep it from being abused.
That is the true nature of humanity and by inclusion programmers.
perl: An unorganized, but sprawling garden full of almost every imaginable fruit. Regex is a shiny sinful apple at eye level on every single tree. The only way to navigate the garden is to ask the snakes.
python: An organized garden that has one of each kind of fruit. But it's half way through being dug up and replanted into an even more organized garden.
ruby: A newer garden. Heaps of fertilizer make everything grow incredibly fast, but the trees are getting tangled and there's a problem with weeds.
c#: Someone spent a lot of money crafting this garden correctly. They also planted trees that emit a hypnotic pollen that will murder you if you try to leave the garden.
java: A beautiful garden but only when viewed from space. Every tree has exactly 1 fruit, and getting anywhere takes forever. Recently taken over by someone interested in c#'s hypnotic pollen trees.
c++: An industrial farm complete with tractors and combine harvesters, but no safety equipment. As a bonus 98% of the farm does not contain buried land mines.
c: A plot of land and a barn full of seeds. Get to work.
Gabe Newell Reveals More About Steam Boxes, New Input Devices
See here's what I don't think you understand. Valve is not selling dedicated hardware. They are selling STANDARDIZED hardware. Two of their "Good, Better, Best" systems will be general purpose linux PCs that come pre-loaded with steam set to go full screen on startup.
I fully believe that general purpose PCs will eventually overtake consoles, but I don't think it already happened due to a single factor. Price. Now a console may currently cost more than an equivalent gaming PC, but keep in mind, current generation consoles are sunk expenses for 95% of their player base, and have been for 5 or so years. General purpose PC's are price competing against a sunk expense, and that's always a loosing battle. However that's only true until the console cycle refreshes itself.
Here's how I see it playing out. MS and Sony know that they need to release a 10 year console that is at least somewhat edges out a similarly priced gaming PC. That might buy them 10 more years of sunk expenses that they can ride on, but this very well may be the last console generation. Valve sees this and is heavily invested in general purpose gaming. If they can bridge the gap with good enough hardware at a competetive price point they may well be able to get the future on 10 years early.
We'll just have to see how everything prices out next year as it happens though.
Gabe Newell Reveals More About Steam Boxes, New Input Devices
Too many people want this. For some reason no one will ever do it. I don't understand.
Petition For Metric In US Halfway To Requiring Response From the White House
The reason why the US will not switch from Imperial to Metric is simple. Metric is based on strict mathematical principals, Imperial is based on ease of use (not conversion)
This is under the assumption that:
1. People like units that are easy to visualize.
2. People work well with things on a scale between 0 and 10 or 1 to 100 consider:
3. People scale things with 5 being average, [6,7] and [3,4] being large and small respectively, and [1,2] and [8,9] being exceptional.
Take for example:
Inches: One of the sections of one of your fingers is almost exactly 1 inch long. On many average people the 'rule' is that it's their thumb.
The average hand is 5 inches long, if you have a 6 or 7 inch long hand, your hand is on average big, children or small adults may have 3 or 4 inch hands.
Feet: A person leisurely walking has a 1 foot stride. A brisk walk to slow jogs run about 1 to 2 foot strides.
The average person is just over 5 feet tall (today). Tall people are 6 or 7 feet tall while children or very small adults are 3 or 4 feet tall.
Yards: A person at a moderate run generally has a 1 yard stride.
Even in the US people don't use yards for much, but in American Football a down is 10 yards.
Miles: One mile is kinda an arbitrary distance until you consider that:
The average person at a brisk walk gets 3 or 4 miles in an hour, 5 miles at a jog, and 6 or 7 miles at a run.
A rock that fits in your hand (baseball sized) weighs about 1 pound.
While working weak people might have problems with a 30 or 40 pound box (law requires you to be able to lift 40lbs to qualify for any type of manual labor). The average person can pick up and cary a 50 pound box around as part of his daily work. A healthy adult could cary a 60 or 70 pound box.
For laptops, you have 3lb ultra books, 5lbs for a normal laptop (but that's rapidly shrinking, mac book pros are now high 4's), and over 7lbs is considered a desktop replacement.
Liquids: In the US we use metric and imperial interchangeably. It's the one area where metric has actually stuck because wtf is wrong with imperial liquids?
Milliliter: Generally medicine is measured in ml, but normally we fill the included cup to the specified line and don't care about the specifics.
Pint: When you "Could use something to drink" you want 1 pint of liquid.
Quart/Liter: When you're "Very thirsty" you generally want a liter of liquid. Most people have no idea how much liquid a quart is these days.
Gallon: Milk is measured in gallons, and the average American family buys 1 gallon of milk a week.
2 Liter: You go to the store for a 2 liter of pop/soda. In American vernacular the "Two-Liter" is a single unit of measurement because it's easy to visualize.
How Would Driver-less Cars Change Motoring?
This is false and one of my pet peeves. In drivers training they teach you to stay 2 seconds behind the vehicle in front of you. Since speed is distance over time the distance between you and the driver in front of you is a simple linear function based on your speed. So for distance in feet d=2.9333*mph (roughly).
To be legal parked you can be 0 feet away from the car infront of you.
At 5mph that distance increases to 14.6 feet.
At 10mph you'd need to be 29.3 feet away.
If everyone accellerated uniformly you'd be breaking the law, because your rate of accelleration is legally capped at a fraction of the accelleration of the person in front of you. Now with automated cars these laws could be relaxed as soon as every single human was banned from driving.
Book Review: Google+: the Missing Manual
They have a service for that. It's called GMail.
AT&T Threatens To Shut Off Service of Customer Who Won Throttling Case
Straw man. Unlimited != Full speed all the time. Unlimited means that they're not limiting it. Your basement walls limit it and that's fine. Cosmic radiation limits it, and that's fine. Your other users clog up the spectrum and that's a grey area; maybe it's fine if you're making an effort to up the transmitters in the area, and maybe it's not if you're cutting costs by taking them down.
If you're paying money for software and hardware to limit, it's no longer unlimited. That is what they're doing.
Cheap Solar Panels Made With An Ion Cannon
Umm... The article was saying that they can cut 10x as many slices from the same block of silicon.
So they aren't making a panel 10x more dense, they're making 10 panels for the same materials cost as 1 modern day panel. Which (if you dismiss the price of buying and operating the frickin ion cannon) makes this price competetive with some fossil fuels.
The hope is in 20 or 30 years this tech will combine with a dozen or so other breakthroughs and we'll start to see truly competetive solar options.
Former Google Exec: Traditional Search Market Shrinking
You remember that on facebook you are not the user, you're the product? Now think of everytime your parents have asked you something tech related over facebook.
Seriously. If you're on slashdot, chances are you are the search engine.
Capitol Records Motion To Enjoin ReDigi Denied
The Judge looked at the charges, mentally tosses out the bs, then looks at the defendants assets.
Megaupload: "These guys probably won't be doing business after this."
ReDigi: "If they are guilty they're probably good for the fines."
That's probably the difference (IANAL).
Apple Versus Google Innovation Strategies
Runs off to check wikipedia...
Ok you were right, there was a version of the iPod released in november 2001 that was actually much worse than the one I remember. Also yes, it was the Zen that had firewire. That is what my post said. The Zen technically competed with the second gen iPod (released 9 months later).
I probably never considered it because it was impossible to use if you didn't own a brand frickin new mac with OSX 10.1 (which came out in september 2001). It was the second gen iPod released 9 months later that let you use a windows box to put music on them, and it was a long while after that (iirc) before someone hacked it to allow linux.
So my bad. You were right, the very first iPod was so terrible that it completely fell off my radar, and it was the second itteration that I had hands on expirence with, and rejected as an overhyped fashion accessory. Seriously, the first gen iPod only worked if you had a brand new iMac to go with it. There's a bad product and then there's pants on head stupid.
Apple Versus Google Innovation Strategies
I hate to do this to a +5 insightful, but you're wrong.
The first iPod that came out was in direct competetion with the nomad zen. The zen had a longer battery life (14 hours vs 10 hours), bigger harddrive (60gig vs 20 gig), usb1.1 and firewire (the iPod only had firewire), a tuner, and a microphone, and worked on windows, osx and linux (the iPod was a pain on osx and a nightmare for windows). I will give you that the interface was a step up after you got your music on it, but viewed side by side, and dollar for dollar (as I did back then), you'd have to wonder what people were smoking when they bought an iPod. They were not competing with cd-mp3 players at all, and they didn't start competing with the flash players till years later.
The only thing they at had at first had was white headphones and a bunch of monocrome dancing ads, but, as history has shown, marketing beat out the technically superior product. It wasn't till about 2005 that the iPod actually became the superior product.
The Problem With Windows 8's Picture Password
When passwords first were introduced to the unwashed masses, how may people got away with three letter passwords. How many people still get away with it.
Picture login is at that same stage. Pretty soon you'll see picture login policies like "Passwords must contain at least three swipes, four taps and a loop-de-loop, pictures must contain at least 6 faces and 12 different lines. blah blah blah." It's just a matter of time till everyone realises that this isn't a holy grail and people can still socially engineer obscenely weak passwords. Once the dust settles though, this will probably be a better solution to passwords.
Do You Really Need a Smart Phone?
I have a land line and am considering a dumb cell just due to costs.
I sit at work next to a phone with the Internet in front of me, I have a 10 minute commute home where I also sit by a phone and the Internet. Aside from 20 minutes a day that I spend driving, I don't need to pay some one $80 a month to duplicate functionality.
AMD Radeon HD 7970 Launched, Fastest GPU Tested
Here's a good one http://www.100fps.com/how_many_frames_can_humans_see.htm
"So the conclusion is: To make movies/Virtual Reality perfect, you'd have to know what you want. To have a perfect illusion of everything that can flash, blink and move you shouldn't go below 500 fps."
Also from Wikipedia to debunk the 24fps recording thing:
Judder is a real problem in this day[when?] where 46 and 52-inch (1,300 mm) television sets have become the norm. The amount an object moves between frames physically on screen is now of such a magnitude that objects and backgrounds can no longer be classed as "clear". Letters cannot be read and looking at vertical objects like trees and lamp posts while the camera is panning sideways have even been known to cause headaches. The actual amount of motion blur needed to make 24 frames per second smooth eliminates every remnant of detail from the frames. Where adding the right amount of motion blur eliminates the uncomfortable side effects, it is more than often simply not done. It requires extra processing to turn the extra frames of a 120 FPS source (which is the current recording "standard") into adequate motion blur for a 24 FPS target. It would also potentially remove the detail and clarity of background advertising. Today, devices are up to the task of displaying 60 frames per second, using them all on the source media is very much possible. For example, the amount of data that can be stored on Blu-ray and the processing power to decode it is more than adequate. Though the extra frames when not filtered correctly, can produce a somewhat video-esque quality to the whole, the improvement to motion heavy sequences is undeniable. Many televisions now have an option to do some kind of frame interpolation (what would be a frame between 2 real frames gets calculated to some degree) using technologies like Trimension DNM. Sophisticated algorithms can utilize motion compensation information to achieve a very high degree of accuracy with few artifacts.
Balls in your court now.
Ask Slashdot: Getting a Grip On an Inherited IT Mess?
The number one best thing you can ever do in your situation is ask your bosses what they think the system should be doing.
Step 1: All the squirrelly business logic and the rationale behind each system you have to maintain should have a plain text description. You have to know the 'Why' before the mess of band aids that is the 'How' will ever make sense. Have your boss (or his secretary, or whoever) document it and get it to you. Do NOT do this step yourself. Repeat do NOT perform this step.
Step 2: Put out fires till someone not you finishes step 1. Start making backups of every last scrap of data you can get your grubby hands on.
Step 3: Once step 1 is done compare it to the mess. Note where the realities that are in your bosses head diverge from what is actually happening. Your job is to now create a detailed functional spec that takes what your boss says, and expand on it with what is really happening. Try to include worst case scenarios and document them as intended features.
Step 4: Have your boss and sales and marketing, and every other top level manager sign off on it. This will not happen. No two managers in your company will fully agree on what the current system is actually doing. Your goal is to figure out what sales and marketing are telling your users that your products do. Do not disregard this step or it will come back and bite you very hard.
Step 5: Once every department actually agrees on what your job really is, you will be well equipped to start the long process of fixing things. Again make lots and lots of backups. Management will sign off on step 4, then you'll fix a gaping security hole, and some customer somewhere will throw a raging fit because sales promised that they'd be able to get admin access to your databases or something ridiculous.
Step 6: Don't be an ass. When step 5 inevitably happens, explain the miss-step in communication graciously, and roll back. If you pulled not being an ass off properly, you now have a great platform to explain to management why X was a bad idea, and present an idea to fix it.
I'm a grizzled vet to your situation. If someone would've told me what I just told you when I started out, there would have been a lot less headache and stress. Hang in there, it can be an intensely rewarding experience.