Niris writes "I am currently a senior in computer science, and am expecting to graduate in December. I have an internship lined up in Android development with medium sized company that builds apps for much larger corporations, and I have recently begun a foray into iOS development. So far my experience with Android ranges from a small mobile game (basically Asteroids), a Japanese language study aid, and a fairly large mobile app for a local non-profit that uses RSS feeds, Google Cloud Messaging and various APIs. I have also recently started working with some machine learning algorithms and sensors/the ADK to start putting together a prototype for a mobile business application for mobile inspectors. My question: is my background diverse enough that I don't have to worry about finding a job if all the predictions that the 'app bubble' will pop soon come true? Is there another, similar area of programming that I should look into in order to have some contingencies in place if things go south? My general interests and experience have so far been in mobile app development with Java and C++ (using the NDK), and some web development on both the client and server side. Thank you!"
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
RougeFemme writes "To capitalize on Google Reader's shutdown, Digg is building an RSS reader from scratch. But this Reader replacement will go beyond RSS to include social media content, like Facebook, Tumblr, Hacker News, Reddit, LinkedIn, etc. From their blog post: 'Google did a lot of things right with its Reader, but based on what we’re hearing from users, there is room for meaningful improvement. We want to build a product that’s clean and flexible, that bends easily and intuitively to the needs of different users. We want to experiment with and add value to the sources of information that are increasingly important, but difficult to surface and organize in most reader applications — like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit, LinkedIn, or Hacker News. We likely won’t get everything we want into v1, but we believe it’s worth exploring."
CNET reports that a British businessman named Jim McCormick is facing charges now for fraud; McCormick "charged 27,000 pounds (around $41,000) for devices that weren't quite what he said they were." That's putting it mildly; what he was selling as bomb detecting devices were actually souped-up (or souped-down, with non-functional circuitboards and other flim-flammery) golf-ball detectors. The Daily Mail has some enlightening pictures.
Nerval's Lobster writes "When Google announced the shutdown of Google Reader, its popular RSS reader, it sparked significant outrage across the Web. While one could argue that RSS readers have declined in popularity over the past few years (in fact, that was Google's stated reason for killing it), they remain a useful tool for many people who want to collect their Web content—articles, blog postings, and the like—in one convenient place. (Fortunately for them, there exist any number of alternative RSS readers, some of which offer even more features than Google Reader.) This wasn't the first time that Google announced a project's imminent demise, and it certainly won't be the last: Google Buzz, Google Health, Google Wave, Google Labs, and other software platforms all ended up in the dustbin of tech history. So here's the question: of all those projects, which didn't deserve the axe? If you had a choice, which would you bring back?"
Hugh Pickens writes writes "The news that that Google is killing off Google Reader in their annual spring cleaning means hordes of abandoned RSS users will need a new home to get their news fix before July 1, 2013. Sure, Google Reader may not have been the most beautifully designed product to come out of Mountain View, Calif., but it sure was convenient. And now that it's going away, it's evident just how valuable it has been. 'It's a tough question that's not unlike asking what's the best planet to live on not named Earth or the best thing to breathe not named air,' writes Casey Chan. 'Google Reader was that obvious a choice.' So what's the best RSS reader not named Google Reader? Is it Reeder? Or NetNewsWire? Maybe Feedly? Or should we all just ditch RSS and get with Twitter?" Personally, I've taken a liking to Akregator on my desktop and Sparse RSS on my phone (syncing done woefully manually by exporting the list of feeds from my desktop reader and importing into the phone reader now and then). Update: 03/14 14:43 GMT by T : Depending on your aesthetics and platform of choice, you might like one of these four options, too.
First time accepted submitter 3seas writes in about DMVs across the country learning textspeak in order to keep vulgar acronyms off the road. "You can have txtspeak on your plate in Arizona, but only if you keep it clean. 'ROFLMAO' is a no-go. Arkansas, however, seems to be a little slower on the uptake. 'ROFLMAO' doesn't appear on the state's prohibited list. That doesn't necessarily mean the plate would pass DMV scrutiny should someone request it."
An anonymous reader writes with news that the first successful case was brought before the copyright tribunal under NZ's three strikes law. From the article: "The first music pirate stung under new file-sharing laws has been fined $616 but 'didn't realise' the actions were illegal. The Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) — which represents music studios — took an unnamed offender to the Copyright Tribunal last year for sharing songs on the Internet — a track by Barbadian pop-star Rihanna on two occasions and the other by Nashville band Hot Chelle Rae. In a decision released today, the tribunal found in RIANZ's favor and ordered the offender ... to pay a penalty $616.57." Torrent Freak has a slightly different perspective: a lack of evidence and pushback from the tribunal resulted in much smaller fines than the RIANZ wanted.
The TV show Glee may have borrowed Jonathan Coulton's arrangement of "Baby Got Back" without asking him first, but he's got a response of the kind that it'd be hard for the show's makers to criticize without looking churlish. Borrowing it back, and using it to raise money for charity. As CNET puts it, "Coulton has foxily tossed up on iTunes his own version of the song and titled it 'Baby Got Back (In the Style of Glee).' He terms it 'my cover of Glee's cover of my cover.'"
Wayne Rasanen's Decatxt chording keyboard may be new and exciting to him, and he says has a patent on it so apparently the USPTO found it novel and original, but it's not the first chording keyboard by many long shots. The idea has been around (at least) since 1968. And let's not forget Braille chording keyboards, as described in a 1992 IEEE paper. And if you have an iPhone and want to experiment with a virtual Braille chording keyboard, there's an app for that. Maybe we're just jaded. Or maybe we've known a lot of blind people who used one-handed Braille chording keyboards to type as fast with one hand as a sighted person using a QWERTY keyboard and two hands. So it's hard for us to get excited about a chording keyboard. Be that as it may, we wish Wayne Rasanen all the luck in the world as he brings his invention to market.
bmcage writes "Belgium wants to build an artificial energy storage island within 5 years. The island will store excess energy produced at night from the offshore wind farms already present in the North-Sea. From the article: 'Belgium is planning to build a doughnut-shaped island in the North Sea that will store wind energy by pumping water out of a hollow in the middle, as it looks for ways to lessen its reliance on nuclear power. One of the biggest problems with electricity is that it is difficult to store and the issue is exaggerated in the case of renewable energy from wind or sun because it is intermittent depending on the weather. "We have a lot of energy from the wind mills and sometimes it just gets lost because there isn't enough demand for the electricity," said a spokeswoman for Belgium's North Sea minister Johan Vande Lanotte.'"
maijc writes "Computer activist Aaron Swartz committed suicide yesterday in New York City. He was 26 years old. Swartz was 'indicted in July 2011 by a federal grand jury for allegedly mass downloading documents from the JSTOR online journal archive with the intent to distribute them.' He is best known for co-authoring the widely-used RSS 1.0 specification when he was 14, and as one of the early co-owners of Reddit."
SternisheFan sends this excerpt from ABC: "On the heels of the latest NFL suicide, researchers announced today that 34 NFL players whose brains were studied suffered from CTE, a degenerative brain disease brought on by repeated hits to the head that results in confusion, depression and, eventually, dementia. The study was released just days after the murder-suicide of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher. It's not yet known what triggered Belcher's action, but they mirror other NFL players who have committed suicide. Researchers at Boston University's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy published the largest case series study of CTE to date (abstract), according to the center. Of the 85 brains donated by the families of deceased veterans and athletes with histories of repeated head trauma, they found CTE in 68 of them. Of those, 34 were professional football players, nine others played college football and six played only high school football. Of the 35 professional football players' brains donated, only one had no evidence of the disease, according to the study." It's a good thing we protect our youth from conditions like this.
If the thought of a robot apocalypse is keeping you up at night, you can relax. Scientists at Cambridge University are studying the potential problem. From the article: "A center for 'terminator studies,' where leading academics will study the threat that robots pose to humanity, is set to open at Cambridge University. Its purpose will be to study the four greatest threats to the human species - artificial intelligence, climate change, nuclear war and rogue biotechnology."
concealment writes "During a pre-trial hearing in military court today, [alleged Wikileaks source Bradley] Manning's attorney, David Coombs, proposed a partial guilty plea covering a subset of the slew of criminal charges that the U.S. Army has lodged against him. "Manning is attempting to accept responsibility for offenses that are encapsulated within, or are a subset of, the charged offenses," Coombs wrote on his blog this evening. "The court will consider whether this is a permissible plea.""
As tablets and computer-phones flood the market, the headlines read: "The Personal Computer is Dying." But they are only half true: an artifact of the PC is dying, but the essence of the PC revolution is closer to realization than ever before, while also being closer to loss than ever before.
Rexdude writes "Firefox continues to be criticized for their new versioning system and being a memory hog. People talk about Chrome, IE9, Opera as alternatives — but do Slashdotters ever use Seamonkey? I've never seen anyone mention it in any discussion on browsers. The successor to the original Mozilla Suite, it has a full-blown email/news/RSS client, Chatzilla, and an HTML editor. Also several other default features that would require separate extensions for Firefox. And they don't update their versions like crazy either; the current version is 2.13.1. I've been quite happy with it so far — it's snappier to use than Firefox. How many people on Slashdot use Seamonkey, and what has been your experience? (Note — I'm not affiliated with the project.)"
It's been said that the mix of stories on Slashdot is like an omelet: linux and tech, mixed with science and Legos, and a few reviews and sci-fi folded in. It's not just the stories that are a good mix, however, it's the people behind them. Through the past 15 years, an unusual cast of characters have been responsible for keeping the site up and running and bringing you the stories you want to read. We've asked a number of them to write a few words about their time working here and to share a few memories. Below you'll find that some of our former employees don't know what "a few words" means, and a collection of what bringing you news for the past 15 years has been like.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Christian Science Monitor reports that despite an apparent prohibition on faster-than-light travel by Einstein's theory of special relativity, applied mathematician James Hill and his colleague Barry Cox say the theory actually lends itself easily to a description of velocities that exceed the speed of light. 'The actual business of going through the speed of light is not defined,' says Hill whose research has been published in the prestigious Proceedings of the Royal Society A. 'The theory we've come up with is simply for velocities greater than the speed of light.' In effect, the singularity at the speed of light divides the universe into two: a world where everything moves slower than the speed of light, and a world where everything moves faster. The laws of physics in these two realms could turn out to be quite different. In some ways, the hidden world beyond the speed of light looks to be a strange one. Hill and Cox's equations suggest, for example, that as a spaceship traveling at super-light speeds accelerated faster and faster, it would lose more and more mass, until at infinite velocity, its mass became zero. 'We are mathematicians, not physicists, so we've approached this problem from a theoretical mathematical perspective,' says Dr Cox. 'Should it, however, be proven that motion faster than light is possible, then that would be game changing. Our paper doesn't try and explain how this could be achieved, just how equations of motion might operate in such regimes.'"
chicksdaddy writes "In the wake of Adobe's warning on Thursday about a high profile compromise on its network, security experts say the incident raises troubling questions about the extent of the breach at a company that makes software running on hundreds of millions of computers. Writing on Thursday, Brad Arkin, Adobe's Senior Director of Product Security And Privacy, reassured customers that the company's source code wasn't stolen, nor did the hackers have access to code for any of Adobe's core products like Adobe Reader or Flash. However, those with expertise in breaking into networks and cleaning up after hacks said the nature of the attack – which Adobe has described as having the characteristics of an 'APT' – or advanced persistent threat – make it difficult to know what attackers did or did not have access to and whether or not the threat has been removed. 'If you put yourself in the hacker's position you realize how much they must have known about Adobe internals to perform the hack they performed,' said Dave Aitel of Immunity Inc. 'If they had that kind of access it's very hard to say that they were limited in their access and are completely removed from the network.'"