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Media

Disney Close To Unveiling New "DVD Killer" 498

Uncle Rummy writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that Disney is close to releasing a new system that will sell permanent, multi-device access to digital media. The system, dubbed Keychest, is being positioned as an answer to consumer concerns about purchasing digital media that are locked to a small number of devices, and thus as a way to finally shift media sales from an ownership model to an access model. They claim that such a service would reduce the risk of losing access to content as a result of a single vendor going out of business, as purchased content would remain available from other vendors. However, they do not seem to have addressed the question of what happens to customers' access to purchased content if the Keychest service itself is discontinued."
Programming

Submission + - Why Is "Design by Contract" Not More Popul

Coryoth writes: "Design by Contract, writing pre- and post-conditions on functions, seemed like straightforward common sense to me. Such conditions, in the form of executable code, not only provide more exacting API documentation, but also provide a test harness. Having easy to write unit tests that are automatically integrated into the inheritance hierarchy in OO languages "just made sense". However, despite being available (to varying degrees of completeness) for many languages other than Eiffel, including Java, C++, Perl, Python, Ruby, Ada, and even Haskell and Ocaml, the concept has never gained significant traction, particularly in comparison to unit testing frameworks (which DbC complements nicely), and hype like "Extreme Programming". So why did Design by Contract fail to take off?"
Businesses

Submission + - Where are the science shortages?

An anonymous reader writes: With Bill Gates talking about the shortages in people to fill positions in science and technology, I was wondering where the shortages really are in science? Are there really any science positions out there in high demand? It seems like a lot of the visa worker issues revolve around IT, but is there an impact in science or engineering?
Businesses

Submission + - Is 40 to old for IT or Software Development?

An anonymous reader writes: I have read some stuff on Dice.com's message boards where some people are claiming that after age 40 or so that jobs become very scarce in the IT profession. I was wondering how prevalent this really is, and in particular I was wondering how hard it would be to actually start a career in IT or Software Development at age 40 or even later.

I recently finished up a degree in physics, and I have done some very basic IT support as well as some programming as part of my job working in an environmental testing lab. How difficult would it be to start a computer career at age 40, and what industries and fields will have the most problem with my age and which will have the least problem with my age?
Businesses

Submission + - How hard is it to get a tech job in California?

An anonymous reader writes: I have recently moved from the UK to San Francisco and am trying to get a tech job here. My experience has been difficult. I've had some interviews, but I find that getting feedback just does not happen. One of the companies is a (well known company) that told me they would get back in a week. I heard nothing for a month. Emailing them has produced no response. I assume I did not get the job, but is this typical of how companies treat candidates?

I have also applied to lots positions and got no response at all. This has been direct through comany websites and through job sites.

I was wondering if others can provide some insight into what I am doing wrong?

To give a bit of background I've worked for 10yrs in IT in programming and application support/operations. I also have a degree in Comp Sci.
Windows

Submission + - Has XP Suddenly Slowed Down?

WhoaNotSoFast writes: For the last few weeks, I've noticed XP boxes slowing down dramatically. Typically the screen freezes for 10-30 seconds — e.g. the Start menu won't come up — and there's lots of disk activity. It's happening on unrelated PCs at different locations. I notice it most on quitting IE or Firefox, but it occurs at other times also. Most of the PCs have 256MB of RAM and adequate free disk space. Most are running Windows Firewall, AVG Anti-Virus and either Windows Defender or Counterspy Enterprise. They're not loading much else at startup. The XP event logs don't show anything unusual. I've run Rootkit Revealer on some of the machines, and found nothing. Task Manager doesn't show any excess CPU utilization. Unplugging the network connection doesn't seem to make a difference. Has anyone else noticed this behavior? Is there an infection I haven't found? Is there a paging problem? Has XP grown so large that it needs more physical memory? Or could it be a ploy by MS to nudge us toward Vista? Is XP developing early dementia? Or am I?
Programming

Submission + - Good Beginner's Book for Object Oriented Design?

An anonymous reader writes: What are the best books for someone new to object oriented programming and design? I have a decent amount of experience in structured programming. Is there a good language neutral book, and are there any good books specific to C++, C#, and/or Java? I want something that focuses on real world design issues, not just the particulars of a language.
The Courts

Submission + - Crazy non-compete contracts???

JL-b8 writes: "Dear Slashdot, I've just encountered a (from what I know) strange occurrence. A group of friends who work for a small web design firm are being forced to sign a non-compete agreement with a clause that prohibits the employee from working with a competing company for 12 months after the date of their leaving. Is this a common thing? And what has happened to people who have signed these things? The owners claim it's a standardly practiced clause but I don't see how the hell a web developer/designer is supposed to find work in a city for a year without moving to a completely different city. I'd like more input as to how this weighs in to the rest of the companies out there."
Programming

Submission + - What's it like for a developer to go into sales?

An anonymous reader writes: I've worked for a single, very large technology company since graduating from college in '89. My degree is in Computer Science, and I wrote everything from embedded machine code for big iron to applications with Smalltalk. I'm still in development, but since'99 my programming tasks have been replaced by project management, some customer-facing work (technical-ish presentations, demonstrations, training, etc), helping our marketing people position my team's work, and other things that programmers generally don't like to do.

I find that I enjoy the broad, technical perspective that comes from working in the field, and I'm thinking about moving out of development and into technical sales. Moreover, I've interviewed several techies in my company who are now in sales and all tell them they love it. Several have reported that a techie can make more money in sales. But I have several reservations: I am an introvert and a full day of face-time can really sap my energy, many sales people I've worked with are "sharks" (which I simply cannot be), and I don't like the idea of putting part of my salary at-risk.

Are you a former developer who went into sales? If so, what were your experiences like from a professional and personal perspective? What advise would you give to a developer considering a new career in sales?
Privacy

Submission + - Getting out

An anonymous reader writes: The United States of America as well as several other countries claimed to be the "most free" of countries have recently been imposing draconian legislation- some would say Fascist or Orwellian. If the trend continues, some people will be looking to get out of the country to keep their privacy and freedom. That leaves a question- where should they go?
Programming

Submission + - How to get accurate specs?

spiffcow writes: "So here's my story... I'm the only programmer at a language interpretation company. I design internal software for users are largely computer-illiterate, and obtaining accurate specs for these programs has become a huge challenge. In the most recent instance, I asked for detailed specs on what an accounting program should do (i.e. accounting rules, calculation methods, etc.), and received a Word document mockup of an input screen, complete with stickers of cartoon monkeys. This seems to be the norm around here. When I asked my boss (the head Sales manager) for specs, he responded saying that it was my responsibility to determine what was needed. So my question is this: how do I convey to the users that, in order to develop the software they want, I need detailed, accurate specs. Oh, and as a side note, how do I explain to people that the title "Software developer" does not entail providing technical support for the copy machine?"
Music

Submission + - BMI madness

Dishwasha writes: I have several customers that have recently received a notice from the Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) that they were in violation of the music rights which BMI owns. They were sited that they had "Music on Hold; TVs in Public Waiting Rooms, in Therapy Sessions, In Fitness Centers, in Operating Rooms, and in Patient Rooms." Apparently none of these applied except for having a TV in waiting rooms and patient rooms. BMI is demanding my customers to sign an agreement for a "Health Care Multiple Use License". More recently one of my customers is a hospital in a town consisting of a population of less than 800 and they have been directly invoiced by the BMI for the use of TVs in public waiting areas.

Is there any legal advice, articles, or documentation the community can offer me that I can share with my customers? Does BMI hold any legal right to claim fees on publicly broadcasted material that is receiving royalties through advertisement that is not being charged by the accused to their customers nor directly generating any revenue or profit, but is simply accessed via a common device used to gain access to public services (i.e. Broadcasted Television) and not being duplicated in any illegal fashion?

Real Programs don't use shared text. Otherwise, how can they use functions for scratch space after they are finished calling them?

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