BorgeStrand writes "I'm reviving an open source project and need to read up on a lot of existing code written by others. What are your tricks for quickly getting to grips with code written by others? The project is written in C++ using several APIs which are unknown to me. I know embedded C pretty well, so both the syntax, the APIs and the general functionality are things I wish to explore before I can contribute to the project."
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New submitter sker writes "Mind hackers, self-help junkies, even regular people have heard wild promises of the power of neurofeedback — namely the process of watching a visual representation of your own brain's activity to influence what your brain is doing. Folks are using it to cure ADHD, PTSD, or even to supposedly improve mindfulness meditation. Previously the sole domain of costly hospital and research equipment, the necessary EEG equipment is making its way into the home. From newagey Deepak Chopra-endorsed kits to the for-engineers-only OpenEEG project, the options are rapidly getting unwieldy for curious bystanders to make sense of. Have you had experience with EEG or neurofeedback at home? Do you have advice?"
mpol writes "We're all aware of PRISM and the NSA deals with software houses. Just today it was in the news that even Microsoft gives zero-day exploits to the NSA, who use them to prepare themselves, but also use the exploits to break into other systems. At my company we use Git with some private repositories. It's easy to draw the conclusion that git-hosting in the cloud, like Github or Bitbucket, will lead to sharing the sourcecode with the NSA. Self-hosting our Git repositories seems like a good and safe idea then. The question then becomes which software to use. It should be Open Source and under a Free License, that's for sure. Software like GitLab and GNU Savane seem good candidates. What other options are there, and how do they stack up against each other? What experience do people have with them?"
An anonymous reader writes "After 25 years of doing IT (started as a PC technician and stayed on technical of IT work through out my career) I've been moved to a position of doing only on call work (but paid as if it is a normal 9-5 job). This leaves me with a lot of free time... As someone who's used to working 12+ hours a day + the odd night/weekend on call, I'm scared I'll lose my mind with all the new free time I'll have. Any suggestions (beyond develop hobbies, spend time with family) on how to deal with all the new free time?"
Despite a hue and cry from disappointed users, Google has not made any moves to reverse its decision to close down Google Reader on the first of July, just a few weeks away. Despite the name — and the functions it started out with in 2001 — Reader has become more than a simple interface to RSS feeds; Wikipedia gives a concise explanation of how it evolved from just a few features to a full-blown platform of its own, incorporating social-sharing features of the kind that have become expected in many online apps. Those features have morphed over the years along with Google's larger social strategies, along the way upsetting some readers who'd grown used to certain features. If you're a Google Reader user, will you be replacing it with another aggregator?
An anonymous reader writes "I have been asked by a medium-sized business to help them come to grips with why their IT group is ineffective, loathed by all other departments, and runs at roughly twice the budget of what the CFO has deemed appropriate for the company's size and industry. After just a little scratching, it has become quite clear that the 'head of IT' has no modern technological skills, and has been parroting what his subordinates have told him without question. (This has led to countless projects that are overly complex, don't function as needed, and are incredibly expensive.) How can one objectively illustrate that a person doesn't have the knowledge sufficient to run a department? The head of IT doesn't necessarily need to know how to write code, so a coding test serves no purpose, but should be able to run a project. Are there objective methods for assessing this ability?"
An anonymous reader writes "I have had an interesting situation arise where I built some web apps for a client about 2 years ago. I have no longer been working with the client and a new developer has taken over purely for maintenance work. Currently I have been looking for new work and have used the said apps as part of my portfolio. During one interview I was informed that I not telling the truth about building the apps and I was then shown the source of a few JS files. It seems the new developer had put a copyright header on them, removed my name as the author and put his own. Now this is grey territory as it the client who owns the source, not the contracting developer. It put me on my back foot and I had to start explaining to interviewers that the developer stole the work and branded it. I feel it makes me look like a fool, having to defend my position in an interview with a possible client and I feel I had lost the chance of directing the outcome of the interview. I have cut the apps from my portfolio, however they are some of my best work and a real testament to my skills. I decided to cut my loss and move on, I am not looking for a fight or any unnecessary heartache. So what you do in my situation?"
An anonymous reader writes "Is there a device to automatically disconnect network or otherwise time limit a physical connection to a network? The why? We are dealing with a production outage of large industrial equipment. The cause? The supplier, with no notice, remotely connected to the process control system and completely botched an update to their system. We are down and the vendor is inept and not likely to have us back to 100% for a few days. Obviously the main issue is that they were able to do this at all, but reality is that IT gets overridden by the Process Control department in a manufacturing business. They were warned about this and told it was a horrible idea to allow remote access all the time. They were warned many times to leave the equipment disconnected from remote access except when they were actively working with the supplier. Either they forgot to disconnect it or they ignored our warnings. The question is, is there a device that will physically disconnect a network connection after a set time? Yes, we could use a Christmas tree light timer hooked up to a switch or something like that but I want something more elegant. Something with two network jacks on it that disconnects the port after a set time, or even something IT would have to login to and enable the connection and set a disconnect timer would be better than nothing. As we know, process control workers and vendors are woefully inept/uneducated about IT systems and risks and repeatedly make blunders like connecting process control systems directly to the internet, use stock passwords for everything, don't install antivirus on windows based control computers, etc. How do others deal with controlling remote access to industrial systems?"
Lucas123 writes "As consumerization of IT and self-service trends becomes part and parcel of everyone's work in the enterprise, the corporate data center may be left behind and IT departments may be given over to business units as consultants and integrators. 'The business itself will be the IT department. [Technologists] will simply be the enabler,' said Brandon Porco, chief technologist & solutions architect at Northrop Grumman. Porco was part of a four-person panel of technologists who participated at a town hall-style meeting at the CITE Conference and Expo in San Francisco this week. The panel was united on the topic of the future of IT shops. Others said they are not sure how to address a growing generation gap between young and veteran workers, each of whom are comfortable with different technologies. Nathan McBride, vice president of IT & chief cloud architect at AMAG Pharmaceuticals, said he's often forced to deal with older IT workers coming on board who expect his company to support traditional email like Outlook when it uses Google Apps.' Sooner or later, IT departments are going to change. When do you think that will happen, and how will they be different?"
First time accepted submitter william.meaney1 writes "I'm the sole network admin at a 25 person company. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity less than a year after getting a technical degree in IT. I've had some huge opportunities here (for a first time network admin). After my schooling, I went ahead and I'm now CompTIA A+, Network+, and CCNA certified. Now, being hired out of school, I was grateful for the job, and the boss hired me for peanuts (Less than $30,000/year) I've been living at home, using that money for loan payments, car payments, and certification expenses. I've started looking for other work, and I feel more than qualified for most of the requirements I'm seeing. The big hurdle I'm coming across that EVERYONE seems to want is experience with SQL databases, and Microsoft Exchange. I was wondering if anyone had any ideas for getting usable experience on a low budget. I have some SQL experience, I deployed a source control program here that uses a SQL express backend, but what else do you need to know for database maintenance?"
helios17 writes "Non-Profits like this have traditionally gotten started from the money grants provide. Most grants award vehicles, computers, and even pay for organization rental and utility costs. The problem fledgling and even established non-profits are encountering is the dwindling number of grants allowing for Operating or General Support costs. What good is a vehicle received via grant if you can't afford to put fuel in it? With the number of Operating or General Support grants shrinking and those available funds competed for heavily, should we be looking on line for help? Can efforts like this be a better way to approach it?"
First time accepted submitter nedko.m writes "I would describe myself as more of a 'software guy' rather than somebody who likes to play with hardware much, but I've wanted to start doing basic robotics projects as a hobby for quite a while now. However, I was never sure where to start from and what the very first steps should be in order to get more familiar with the hardware aspects of robotics. For instance, I would like to start off with a simple soccer robot. Any suggestions on what low-budget parts should I obtain, which would provide me, subsequently, extensibility to a bit more elaborate projects?"
First time accepted submitter paragonc writes "I am a software engineer who works remotely. I'm amazingly lucky to live in Austin, Texas where I have access to multiple high quality co-working facilities within biking distance. While these places are great for networking and establishing a rhythm to daily life, not having a permanent desk forces me to pack my gear in and out each day. This means i pack light. My current Go Bag includes a 13.3 inch MacBook pro, and an iPad running avatron Air Display. This has worked well, but i'm sorely missing having a real high resolution external monitor. I've looked at a few of the USB powered external displays, but the resolution seems to only hit 1366 X 768. I'd be curious if slashdotters have any tricks up their sleeves on how to implement a high resolution portable external displays."
First time accepted submitter wolfguru writes "As the IT Manager for a large printing firm, I often have to provide hardware to support older software which is used to configure and maintain existing systems, some of which are nearly 20 years old. Much of the software uses RS-232 serial communications to connect to the PLC devices and is often 16 bit versions. Newer systems from the PLC manufacturers supports some of the equipment, but many of the older PLC consoles are essentially unreachable without the serial communications. For any of you faced with similar challenges in keeping a manufacturing environment maintenance department working; what do you use to support them and where do you find equipment that will run the older systems that are sometimes the only means of supporting these types of devices?"
AvailableNickname writes "I am currently pursuing a bachelor's in CompSci and I just spent three hours working on a few differential equations for homework. It is very frustrating because I just don't grok advanced math. I can sort of understand a little bit, but I really don't grok anything beyond long division. But I love computers, and am very good at them. However, nobody in the workforce is even going to glance at my direction without a BSc. And to punish me for going into a field originally developed by mathematicians I need to learn all this crap. If I had understood what I was doing, maybe I wouldn't mind so much. But the double frustration of not understanding it and not understanding why the heck I need to do it is too much. So, how important is it?"