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Comment: Re:Slippery slope? (Score 5, Interesting) 604

by ColoradoAuthor (#43506257) Attached to: Bruce Schneier On the Marathon Bomber Manhunt
Did anyone else listen to this on a scanner? It's amazing how many times the dispatcher had to remind officers to exercise discipline and to follow the orders which they had been given. Apparently many officers felt compelled to converge on any suspected sighting, abandoning their assigned lookout posts. In general, I was impressed by the police response, but it was far below the standard that would be expected in many other cities.
Programming

+ - 8 Irresistible Programming Contests->

Submitted by
Esther Schindler
Esther Schindler writes "Baseball players can compare their excellence by looking at statistics. Developers... not so much. It's hard to know how good you are unless you go head-to-head with other programmers, which is one reason that programming competitions are fun. So, too, is the money you might win, or the career bragging rights, or, as Steven Vaughan-Nichols points out in 8 Contests and Challenges You Can't Resist, you might get to contribute to a NASA project. Wouldn't that look cool on your resume?"
Link to Original Source
Science

+ - Oil Detection Methods Miss Important Class Of Chemicals->

Submitted by
MTorrice
MTorrice writes "For decades, scientists studying oil spills have relied on the same analytical methods when tracking the movement of oil and assessing a spill’s environmental impact. But these techniques miss an entire class of compounds that could account for about half of the total oil in some samples, according to research presented last week at the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference, in New Orleans. These chemicals could explain the fate of some of the oil released in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident and other spills, the researchers say."
Link to Original Source

+ - Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture->

Submitted by kthreadd
kthreadd (1558445) writes "Luis Villa has an interesting discussion on the topic of not licensing at all, what he calls POSS or Post Open Source Software. With a flood of new hackers flocking to places like GitHub which doesn't impose any particular requirements for hosted projects, the future of Open Source may very well be diminishing. Skip licensing, just commit to GitHub. What legal ramifications will this have on the free and open source community going forward?"
Link to Original Source
Android

+ - Malware Controls 620,000 Phones, Sends Costly Messages->

Submitted by
Orome1
Orome1 writes "A new discovered malware is potentially one of the most costly viruses yet discovered. Uncovered by NQ Mobile, the "Bill Shocker" (a.expense.Extension.a) virus has already impacted 620,000 users in China and poses a threat to unprotected Android devices worldwide. Bill Shocker downloads in the background, without arousing the mobile device owner's suspicion. The infection can then take remote control of the device, including the contact list, Internet connections and dialing and texting functions. Once the malware has turned the phone into a "zombie," the infection uses the device to send text message to the profit of advertisers. In many cases, the threat will overrun the user's bundling quota, which subjects the user to additional charges."
Link to Original Source
GNU is Not Unix

+ - GNU C Library 2.17 Announced, Includes Support for 64-bit ARM->

Submitted by hypnosec
hypnosec (2231454) writes "A new version of GNU C Library (glibc) has been released and with this new version comes support for the upcoming 64-bit ARM architecture a.k.a. AArch64. Version 2.17 of glibc not only includes support for ARM, it also comes with better support for cross-compilation and testing; optimized versions of memcpy, memset, and memcmp for System z10 and zEnterprise z196; optimized version of string functions on top of some quite a few other performance improvements states the mailing list release announcement. Glibc v 2.17 can be used with a minimum Linux kernel version 2.6.16."
Link to Original Source
Advertising

+ - Empty Times Square Building generates $23 Million a Year from Digital Ads->

Submitted by dryriver
dryriver (1010635) writes "'Advertising things at the right place is proving to be a cash cow, as electronic ads earn about $23mn each year for an empty building at One Times Square – the iconic tourist destination in the New York City. A 25-story Manhattan office building that has long been empty keeps on bringing in millions to its owner as a billboard. Michael Phillips, CEO of Atlanta-based Jamestown Properties, bought One Times Square through a fund in 1997 for $117 million, as the Wall Street Journal reports. Above 100mn pedestrians pass through the square each year, which is 90% more than 16 years ago, says the Times Square Alliance, a non-profit business improvement organization. And this is what makes a price tag for having a company’s name placed on the building the highest in the world, even above such crowded tourist destinations as Piccadilly Circus in London. Dunkin' Brands Group Inc. pays $3.6mn a year for a Dunkin' Donuts digital sign on the One Times Square building, with Anheuser-Busch InBev paying another $3.4mn a year for its advertisement. Sony and News America pay $4mn a year for a shared sign.'"
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:No fancy gizmos please... (Score 1) 445

by ColoradoAuthor (#42134487) Attached to: The Coming Wave of In-Dash Auto System Obsolescence

7 replies, and no one actually addressed the problem the OP mentioned: distractions. Maps distract you more and not less.

Failing to solve the problem is not cleverness. All of you think you're being snarky by being morons.

Um, maps are hardly distracting if used as described in the comment you're responding to: before going somewhere.

Comment: Gloves (Score 1) 445

by ColoradoAuthor (#42132507) Attached to: The Coming Wave of In-Dash Auto System Obsolescence

My rule is to wear gloves when test driving a car or shopping for a replacement radio. After all, 4-6 months of the year, I'll be wearing gloves when I climb into the car in the morning. Radio, heater, and all important controls need to be operable.

Unfortunately, there are almost no replacement radios that have real buttons and knobs. That's one area where the auto manufacturers get it right more often than the gizmo vendors.

Comment: Re:Check out your State Bar. (Score 2) 153

by ColoradoAuthor (#41893893) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Become Informed In Judicial Elections?

That information has proven quite helpful in my home states (CO and NE).

Usually I'll vote against a judge if more than about 15% of attorneys recommend "Do Not Retain" (or 10%, if the the judge gets poor marks for impartiality). For borderline cases, first I'll look for mentions of the judge in news stories. If I'm still undecided, I'll vote against retention. Why? The vast majority of people vote to retain all of the judges, so even really bad judges stay in office. By voting against retention, I will amplify the votes of any voters who happen to know about a problem with the judge.

Comment: Re:Also skeptical (Score 1) 133

by ColoradoAuthor (#41699325) Attached to: How Hair Can be Used To Track Where You've Been

Here's one reference in the literature about the technique (co-authored by the same guy featured in TFA):

Ehleringer, J.R., Bowen, G.J., Chesson, L.A., West, A.G., Podlesak, D.W., Cerling, T.E. (2008). From the Cover: Hydrogen and oxygen isotope ratios in human hair are related to geography. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(8), 2788-2793. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0712228105 (geolocation based on oxygen isotopes in hair)

Notice that isotope analysis indicates that a person was or was not in a set of regions at a given time, as in "possibly Texas or Florida." So it's better at narrowing down a list of possibilities than at pinpointing someone's travels. Or as the NOVA story says, it's a "a starting point" for an investigation, not a smoking gun to show off at a trial. (At work, I get to play with some of this stuff, blasting microscopic objects with laser beams and analyzing the atoms that fly off. How fun is that?)

Programming

+ - Beyond Agile Myths: What the research shows

Submitted by
Esther Schindler
Esther Schindler writes "Scott Fulton wrote two in-depth articles about the current state of Agile development, based on research from two computer scientists about what developers really do, rather than what the developers might like to think they do. And, as the newscasters teasers say, the results might surprise you. (Don't worry. Nobody is saying that Agile Sucks. This is more about how it's being used in the real world, and what successful Agile teams have in common.)

First, in “Agile” Often Isn’t, Scott looked at the cultural effects of Agile methodologies on workforces. The researchers made two unanticipated discoveries, he reports: One, companies adopting Agile actually struggle more to cope with the side-effects. Two, development teams that succeed in producing better products and pleasing customers aren’t exactly using Agile after all. For example:

Entitled “Agile Undercover,” the first report from Hoda and her colleagues demonstrated conclusively that Agile development teams were failing to communicate with their customers — not just occasionally, but mainly. And in order to ameliorate the impact of these failures, teams and their companies were making active, intentional efforts to keep customers in the dark about their development practices, including their schedules of deliverables. ...

“Teams are very keen on pleasing their customers, and it’s hard for them to bring up issues with customer collaboration,” Hoda tells me. So to keep the customer at bay and out of their hair, development teams hire or appoint a customer proxy. An ambassador, if you will. Or, to be more truthful, a sales associate.

The second article, Is Teamwork Dead? A Post-Agile Prognosis, looks more at the dichotomy of "team success." Culturally, when we "win," we tend to give credit to the team ("Gosh, it wasn't just me...") but when a project fails, there's an assumption it's one person's fault, even if we don't look for a scapegoat. Making a team more than a bunch of people in the same room is a special skill, and one that Agile methodologies rely on — remember the part about self-organizing teams? "Though they may not go about this process consciously or intentionally, individual group members employing Agile for the first time, Hoda’s team found, tend to adopt one of six roles," Scott reports, such as mentor, coordinator, and promoter.

See if the research agrees with your Agile experience."

Comment: Re:Crony capitalism and security theatre (Score 2) 88

by ColoradoAuthor (#41312645) Attached to: GAO Slams DHS Over BioWatch Biological Defense System

No, according to the cited article, 1,200 deaths per year (initially, then declining year to year) occurred because of more people driving rather than flying "attributable to the effect of 9/11."

"Two primary reasons explain the 9/11 effect on road fatalities. First, the 9/11 effect may capture the fear of flying. ... Second, the 9/11 effect may be attributable to the inconvenience of flying post-9/11" [page 9 of the paper]. The authors were unable to measure these two factors independently. I think it would be reasonable to say that for most people, the choice to drive rather than fly was due primarily to a fear of terrorism (for which security theater might arguably be a solution). Only for a small but savvy minority was the choice to drive due to the TSA itself.

Those who can, do; those who can't, simulate.

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