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Submission + - CERN Engineers Have to Identify and Disconnect 9,000 Obsolete Cables

An anonymous reader writes: CERN, home to the Large Hadron Collider, has grand plans to update the world’s largest particle accelerator complex in the next few years. But engineers have identified a barrier to the upgrade: there’s no space for new cables in the injectors that accelerate particles before they enter the LHC.
Programming

Submission + - 8 Irresistible Programming Contests (smartbear.com)

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?"
Programming

Submission + - Beyond Agile Myths: What the research shows

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."

Displays

Submission + - Optical Displays Made of Nothing But Air And Water (inhabitat.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Finnish scientists have developed a new optical display that works using using nothing more than air and water. Based out of Aalto University, the researchers took their inspiration from the superhydrophobic properties of the lotus leaf and fabricated a surface with structures in two size scales: microposts that have a size of ten micrometers and tiny nanofilaments that are grown on the posts. This two-level surface allowed the air layer to exist in two different shapes, or wetting states, while corresponding to the two size scales. The team also found that they could easily switch between the two states locally using a nozzle to create over- or under-pressure in the water
Space

Submission + - NRO gives NASA two space spy telescopes more powerful than Hubble (nasawatch.com)

mknewman writes: "The U.S. government's secret space program has decided to give NASA two telescopes as big as, and even more powerful than, the Hubble Space Telescope. Designed for surveillance, the telescopes from the National Reconnaissance Office were no longer needed for spy missions and can now be used to study the heavens. They have 2.4-meter (7.9 feet) mirrors, just like the Hubble. They also have an additional feature that the civilian space telescopes lack: A maneuverable secondary mirror that makes it possible to obtain more focused images. These telescopes will have 100 times the resolving power of the Hubble, according to David Spergel, a Princeton astrophysicist and co-chair of the National Academies advisory panel on astronomy and astrophysics."
NASA

Submission + - NASA Gets Two Military Spy Telescopes for Astronomy (washingtonpost.com) 1

SomePgmr writes: "The U.S. government’s secret space program has decided to give NASA two telescopes as big as, and even more powerful than, the Hubble Space Telescope. Designed for surveillance, the telescopes from the National Reconnaissance Office were no longer needed for spy missions and can now be used to study the heavens."
Android

Submission + - Android Ported From Java To C# (itworld.com)

itwbennett writes: "When working on how to improve the performance of its tool for Android, development tools vendor Xamarin hit a wall because of performance issues with Dalvik, which is Android's virtual machine, according to a post on the company blog. One idea the Xamarin team had was to translate Android's source code to C#. A few months later skunkworks project XobotOS was born. The result of the project's efforts is that most of Android's layouts and controls have been ported to C#, and the code is available on GitHub, according to the blog post."
Microsoft

Submission + - the Longhorn dream reborn (arstechnica.com)

gbjbaanb writes: Early this month, Microsoft dropped something of a bombshell on Windows developers: the new Windows 8 touch-friendly immersive style would use a developer platform not based on .NET. Cue howls of outrage from .NET developers everywhere, but here Ars Technica descibes what's more likely to have been going on and why Microsoft is finally getting its act together for developers.

Submission + - Rebels Hijack Gadhafi's Phone Network (wsj.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A team led by a Libyan-American telecom executive has helped rebels hijack Col. Moammar Gadhafi's cellphone network and re-establish their own communications.

The new network, first plotted on an airplane napkin and assembled with the help of oil-rich Arab nations, is giving more than two million Libyans their first connections to each other and the outside world after Col. Gadhafi cut off their telephone and Internet service about a month ago.

Submission + - HarperCollins Forcing Libraries To Re-Buy Ebooks A (gizmodo.com) 1

Japong writes: Harper Collins wants libraries to re-purchase ebooks after 26 checkouts, stating that since traditional physical library books usually "wear out" after 26 checkouts and require a re-purchase, their digital counterparts should as well.

Oklahoma's Pioneer Library responds:

The argument against the arbitrary number is twofold. First, replacement of books in libraries is based upon the condition of the book, not the number of times it has been checked out. It is not unusual for popular books to be checked out 100 times or more before the wear and tear of circulation takes its toll and the book has to be replaced or repaired. Second, eBooks, too, eventually wear out. The electronic file formats become obsolete in a matter of years as technology progresses and customer interests change. Remember the switch from VHS to DVD or cassette to CD?


Submission + - 1948 Mayor to MIT: Use Flamethrowers to Melt Snow? (mit.edu)

An anonymous reader writes: In 1948 Boston mayor James Curley freaked out because of the record amounts of snow. He wrote to MIT and begged for help, even suggested using flamethrowers to melt it. (Check out the original type-written letter)

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