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Businesses

How Mission Creep Killed a Gaming Studio 131

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-actually-about-duke-nukem-forever dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes: Over at Kotaku, there's an interesting story about the reported demise of Darkside Game Studios, a game-development firm that thought it finally had a shot at the big time only to collapse once its project requirements spun out of control. Darkside got a chance to show off its own stuff with a proposed remake of Phantom Dust, an action-strategy game that became something of a cult favorite. Microsoft, which offered Darkside the budget to make the game, had a very specific list of requirements for the actual gameplay. The problem, as Kotaku describes, is those requirements shifted after the project was well underway. Darkside needed more developers, artists, and other skilled tech pros to finish the game with its expanded requirements, but (anonymous sources claimed) Microsoft refused to offer up more money to actually hire the necessary people. As a result, the game's development imploded, reportedly followed by the studio. What's the lesson in all this? It's one of the oldest in the book: Escalating and unanticipated requirements, especially without added budget to meet those requirements, can have devastating effects on both a project and the larger software company.
Programming

MIT's Picture Language Lets Computers Recognize Faces Through Inference 22

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-face-can-run,-but-it-can't-hide dept.
itwbennett writes: MIT researchers are working on a new programming language called Picture, which could radically reduce the amount of coding needed to help computers recognize objects in images and video. It is a prototype of how a relatively novel form of programming, called probabilistic programming, could reduce the amount of code needed for such complex tasks. In one test of the new language, the researchers were able to cut thousands of lines of code in one image recognition program down to fewer than 50.
Education

Cornell Study: For STEM Tenure Track, Women Twice As Likely To Be Hired As Men 501

Posted by timothy
from the whose-bias-is-called-bias dept.
_Sharp'r_ writes In the first "empirical study of sexism in faculty hiring using actual faculty members", Cornell University researchers found that when using identical qualifications, but changing the sex of the applicant, "women candidates are favored 2 to 1 over men for tenure-track positions in the science, technology, engineering and math fields." An anonymous reader links to the study itself.
Microsoft

Microsoft Starts Working On an LLVM-Based Compiler For .NET 125

Posted by timothy
from the spreading-like-bamboo dept.
An anonymous reader writes Are the days of Microsoft's proprietary compiler over? Microsoft has announced they've started work on a new .NET compiler using LLVM and targets their CoreCLR — any C# program written for the .NET core class libraries can now run on any OS where CoreCLR and LLVM are supported. Right now the compiler only supports JIT compilation but AOT is being worked on along with other features. The new Microsoft LLVM compiler is called LLILC and is MIT-licensed.
Education

Ask Slashdot: How To Introduce a 7-Year-Old To Programming? 315

Posted by timothy
from the first-you-must-erase-his-mind dept.
THE_WELL_HUNG_OYSTER writes I'm a professional programmer and have been programming since I was a small boy. I want to introduce this to my 7-year-son but know nothing about teaching this to children. Since he enjoys Roblox and Minecraft very much, and knows how to use computers already, I suspect teaching him to write his own small games would be a good starting point. I'm aware of lists like this one, but it's quite overwhelming. There are so many choices that I am overwhelmed where to start. Anyone in the Slashdot in the community have recent hands-on experience with such tools/systems that he/she would recommend?
Software

Why Some Developers Are Live-Streaming Their Coding Sessions 131

Posted by timothy
from the look-at-me-look-at-me dept.
itwbennett writes Adam Wulf recently spent two weeks live-streaming himself writing every line of code for a new mobile app. He originally started to live-stream as 'a fun way to introduce the code to the community.' But he quickly learned that it helps him to think differently than when he was coding without the camera on. "Usually when I work, so much of my thought process is internal monologue," he said, "but with live streaming I try to narrate my thought process out loud. This has forced me to think through problems a little differently than I otherwise would, which has been really beneficial for me."
Windows

Microsoft Creates a Docker-Like Container For Windows 95

Posted by samzenpus
from the imitation-is-the-sincerest-form-of-flattery dept.
angry tapir writes Hoping to build on the success of Docker-based Linux containers, Microsoft has developed a container technology to run on its Windows Server operating system. The Windows Server Container can be used to package an application so it can be easily moved across different servers. It uses a similar approach to Docker's, in that all the containers running on a single server all share the same operating system kernel, making them smaller and more responsive than standard virtual machines.
Programming

Stack Overflow 2015 Developer Survey Reveals Coder Stats 428

Posted by Soulskill
from the nobody-loves-matlab dept.
SternisheFan points out the results from 26,086 developers who answered Stack Overflow's annual survey. It includes demographic data, technology preferences, occupational information, and more. Some examples: The U.S. had the most respondents, followed by India and the UK, while small countries and several Nordic ones had the most developers per capita. The average age of developers in the U.S. and UK was over 30, while it was 25 in India and 26.6 in Russia. 92.1% of developers identified as male. Almost half of respondents did not receive a degree in computer science.

The most-used technologies included JavaScript, SQL, Java, C#, and PHP. The most loved technologies were Swift, C++11, and Rust, while the most dreaded were Salesforce, Visual Basic, and Wordpress. 20.5% of respondents run Linux more than other OSes, and 21.5% rely on Mac OS X. Vim is almost 4 times more popular than Emacs, and both are used significantly less than NotePad++ and Sublime Text.

45% of respondents prefer tabs, while 33.6% prefer spaces, though the relationship flips at higher experience levels. On average, developers who work remotely earn more than developers who don't. Product managers reported the lowest levels of job satisfaction and the highest levels of caffeinated beverages consumed per day.
Open Source

Getting Started Developing With OpenStreetMap Data 39

Posted by timothy
from the go-fast-turn-left dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes In 2004, Steve Coast set up OpenStreetMap (OSM) in the U.K. It subsequently spread worldwide, powered by a combination of donations and volunteers willing to do ground surveys with tools such as handheld GPS units, notebooks, and digital cameras. JavaScript libraries and plugins for WordPress, Django and other content-management systems allow users to display their own maps. But how do you actually develop for the platform? Osmcode.org is a good place to start, home to the Osmium library (libosmium). Fetch and build Libosmium; on Linux/Unix systems there are a fair number of dependencies that you'll need as well; these are listed within the links. If you prefer JavaScript or Python, there are bindings for those. As an alternative for Java developers, there's Osmosis, which is a command-line application for processing OSM data.
Advertising

Consumer Groups Bemoan Google's "Deceptive" Ads for Kids In FTC Complaint 92

Posted by timothy
from the part-of-this-nutritious-breakfast dept.
Mark Wilson writes A number of consumer groups have filed a complaint with the FTC suggesting that Google is targeting children with 'unfair and deceptive' ads in YouTube Kids for Android and iOS. A letter signed by Children Now, Consumer Watchdog, Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, and others says that ads are displayed in a way that would not be permitted on broadcast or cable television. The letter makes three main complaints about the app. The first suggests that Google mixes programming and ads, while another says that the relationship between Google and the manufacturers of advertised products is not clear. The groups ask for the FTC to take action to stop the advertisements. Also covered by The Verge and VentureBeat; here's the complaint letter.
Microsoft

Mono 4 Released, First Version To Adopt Microsoft Code 223

Posted by timothy
from the licenses-mean-things dept.
jones_supa writes: Version 4.0.0 of Mono, the FOSS implementation of the .NET Framework, has been released. This is the first release of Mono that replaces various components of Mono with code that was released by Microsoft under the MIT license. Microsoft itself is working towards .NET Core: a redistributable and re-imagined version of .NET, which has two code drops: CoreFX and CoreCLR. Mono at this point continues to provide an API that tracks the .NET desktop/server version. This means that most of the Mono code that has been integrated from Microsoft comes from the ReferenceSource code drop. Mono's C# compiler now also defaults to C# 6.0.
Education

Stanford Turns To Pair Programming: 1 CS Education For the Price of 2? 121

Posted by timothy
from the jury-of-your-peers dept.
theodp writes: Stanford students may pay $44,184 in tuition, but that may not even entitle them to individually graded homework. The Stanford Daily reports that this quarter, Stanford's Computer Science Department will implement 'pair programming' in the introductory computer science courses CS 106A: Programming Methodology and CS 106B: Programming Abstractions. "The purpose of this change," reports the paper, "is to reduce the increasingly demanding workload for section leaders due to high enrollment and also help students to develop important collaboration skills." The CS 106A Pair Programming Q&A page further explains, "Our enrollments have grown rapidly, and we are trying to explore creative new ways to manage student work that will also reduce the heavy workload on our section leaders," adding that students who don't get with the Pair Programming program and elect to go solo will not be awarded "late days" that can be used to avoid penalties on overdue assignments, unlike their paired classmates. Google in November put out an RFP to universities for its invite-only 3X in 3 Years: CS Capacity Award program, which aimed "to support faculty in finding innovative ways to address the capacity problem in their CS courses," which included a suggestion that "students that have some CS background" should not be allowed to attend in-person intro CS courses. Coincidentally, Google Director of Education and University Relations Maggie Johnson, whose name appeared on the CS Capacity RFP, was Director of Undergraduate Studies in Stanford's CS Department before joining Google.
Programming

Rust 1.0 Enters Beta 211

Posted by timothy
from the when-metal-breathes dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Rust is a systems programming language focused on safety and speed and aims, among other things, to offer memory safety without garbage collection and threads without data races. Over on the Rust blog, the Rust Core Team has announced the release of Rust 1.0 beta. They write, 'The beta release marks a very significant "state transition" in the move towards 1.0. In particular, with the beta release, all libraries and language features that are planned to be stable for 1.0 have been marked as stable. As such, the beta release represents an accurate preview of what Rust 1.0 will include.' The final Rust 1.0 release is scheduled for May 15th, 2015. A warning from the developers: "Rust is a work-in-progress and may do anything it likes up to and including eating your laundry." The FAQ is worth reading.
IOS

5 Alternatives For Developing Native iOS Apps 54

Posted by samzenpus
from the joining-the-club dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "]The simplest way to join the ranks of iOS developers is to learn Objective-C and/or Swift (the latter, while not quite ready for prime-time upon release, has gotten a lot better with its recent v1.2 update). But for everybody who doesn't want to go down that route, there are other ways to create native iOS apps. Over at Dice, David Bolton went through five alternatives: Xamarin, Codename One, Embarcadero C++ Builder/Delphi XE/AppMethod, RemObjects C#/Oxygene, and DragonFireSDK. (Three of the systems, excepting Rem Objects C# and DragonFireSDK, are cross-platform, as well.) His conclusion? "There's no shortage of systems for developing native apps for iOS and other platforms, but cost will most likely determine your choice. Other than the annual Apple developer fee, creating in Swift and Objective-C; with regard to [these alternative] platforms, Embarcadero is the most expensive."
Transportation

Coding For Cars: The Next Generation of Mobile Apps 24

Posted by samzenpus
from the code-and-drive dept.
snydeq writes Developers will need to rethink UIs, connection strategies, and how to capitalize on new data streams — especially as autonomous cars start rolling off the lots, writes InfoWorld's Peter Wayner, in a forward-thinking article on developing apps for cars, including autonomous cars to come. "Delivering data to cars, autonomous or not, will take a whole new way of thinking. Rectangles will always be rectangles, but automobile network connections are spotty and the user interface needs to compete — if that's the right word — with the objects on the road for the right amount of attention from the driver. Here are eight ways developers will need to rethink their app strategies when it comes to delivering apps for cars."
Books

Book Review: Drush For Developers, 2nd Edition 29

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
Michael Ross writes As with any content management system, building a website using Drupal typically requires extensive use of its administrative interface, as one navigates through its menus, fills out its forms, and reads the admin pages and notifications — or barely skims them, as they have likely been seen by the site builder countless times before. With the aim of avoiding this tedium, speeding up the process, and making it more programmatic, members of the Drupal community created a "shell" program, Drush, which allows one to perform most of these tasks on the command line. At this time, there is only one current print book that covers this tool, Drush for Developers, Second Edition, which is ostensibly an update of its predecessor, Drush User's Guide. Read below for the rest of Michael's review.
Graphics

Developer of 'Banished' Develops His Own Shading Language 31

Posted by timothy
from the copious-free-time dept.
jones_supa writes Luke Hodorowicz, the hard-working developer behind the townbuilding strategy computer game Banished, has
designed a novel GPU shading language and written a compiler for it. The language has been christened 'Shining Rock Shading Language' (SRSL) and it outputs the program in several other shading languages. The first goal for the language was to treat the vertex, fragment and geometry shader as a single program. The language sees the graphics pipeline as a stream of data, followed by some code, which outputs a stream of data, and then more code runs, and another stream of data is output. Body text of the shaders is very C-like and should be understood easily coming from other shading languages. SRSL has all the intrinsic functions you would expect from HLSL or GLSL. All types are HLSL-style. Loops and conditionals are available, but switch statements and global variables are seen redundant and not implemented. Luke's blog post tells more about the details of the language, complemented with examples.
Bug

MIT Debuts Integer Overflow Debugger 40

Posted by timothy
from the measure-twice-cut-once dept.
msm1267 writes Students from M.I.T. have devised a new and more efficient way to scour raw code for integer overflows, the troublesome programming bugs that serve as a popular exploit vector for attackers and often lead to the crashing of systems. Researchers from the school's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) last week debuted the platform dubbed DIODE, short for Directed Integer Overflow Detection. As part of an experiment, the researchers tested DIODE on code from five different open source applications. While the system was able to generate inputs that triggered three integer overflows that were previously known, the system also found 11 new errors. Four of the 11 overflows the team found are apparently still lingering in the wild, but the developers of those apps have been informed and CSAIL is awaiting confirmation of fixes.
Programming

No, It's Not Always Quicker To Do Things In Memory 486

Posted by Soulskill
from the performance-that-fails-to-perform dept.
itwbennett writes: It's a commonly held belief among software developers that avoiding disk access in favor of doing as much work as possible in-memory will results in shorter runtimes. To test this assumption, researchers from the University of Calgary and the University of British Columbia compared the efficiency of alternative ways to create a 1MB string and write it to disk. The results consistently found that doing most of the work in-memory to minimize disk access was significantly slower than just writing out to disk repeatedly (PDF).