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Open Source

Building Hospitable Open Source Communities (Video) 86

Posted by Roblimo
from the the-tirades-will-continue-until-morale-improves dept.
This is an 11 minute excerpt from an hour-long video, contributed by long-time Slashdot user Erik Möller. This video is the moving picture equivalent of the typical Slashdot summary of a text article, complete with a link to the main article, which in this case is a video (over an hour long) at PassionateVoices.org. Erik's interviewee, Sumana Harihareswara, is also a long-time Slashdot reader who claims (admits?) that she met her husband through a Slashdot link, albeit indirectly. She's spent most of the past decade working with open source, much of it as a community leader. If you are in a leadership role in an open source community or plan to lead one someday, you may want to listen to the complete interview. Sumana has many useful things to say about how open source communities should -- and shouldn't -- be run.

Comment: Played for a few hours and got bored (Score 4, Interesting) 85

by chad_r (#49755845) Attached to: How Cities: Skylines Beat SimCity At Its Own Game

I played Cities: Skylines for a while. Some parts are cool, like setting transit routes, setting different policies for neighborhoods, or controlling downstream pollution. But it wasn't fun in the long-term, because:

  1. 1) It's not challenging. Once you make it past about 10,000 people you rake in more money than you know what to do with
  2. 2) City development isn't realistic. Real cities of 20,000 people don't have a network of subways and high-rise neighborhoods. Unlike real cities, sprawling cul-de-sacs are low-value because they tend to be farther from police and fire service.
  3. 3) Grade schools and high schools aren't optional in real life. In Skylines, Putting in a grade school and high school raises the education level of citizens, which means they are too overqualified for industrial work. So industry basically only desires employees who didn't graduate from grade school??
  4. 4) People are dumb with respect to jobs. A group of university graduates will travel to the next town to do uneducated farm labor, and it makes the farm sad but apparently the employees are fine with it

I'm glad there is competition and innovation in the simulation realm, but I didn't have the free time to play Skylines a lot.

Cloud

A Conversation with Druva Co-Founder Jaspreet Singh (Video) 39

Posted by Roblimo
from the doo-wop-is-now-de-dupe dept.
This was originally going to be an interview about the state of enterprise-level backup software in an increasingly edge computing-focused world, but we rapidly drifted into talking about how Druva started in Pune (near Bangalore) and ended up moving to Silicon Valley. We hear plenty about American software companies moving to India, but not a lot about Indian software companies moving here. Druva had good reasons for the move, the chief one being a financing deal with Sequoia Capital. Aside from that, though, Jaspreet says the talent pool -- not just developers but software marketing people and other important staffers -- is more concentrated in Silicon Valley than almost anywhere else in the world. 'It's like Hollywood for geeks,' Jaspreet says. This doesn't mean business is necessarily easy in the USA: Jaspreet ended up laying off his entire staff. Twice. And he made other mistakes as a young, new CEO bringing a company to life in a crowded field.

Those mistakes, which Jaspreet shares freely with us, are like a business school 'Start-Up Pitfalls' class. You may never want to do your own startup, but if you're a developer or otherwise involved with the software industry, there's a good chance that you'll have a chance to work for one at some point. And if you have that chance, you'll be glad you watched this video (or read the transcript) before you take the startup plunge.

Comment: Depends (Score 1) 169

by PotatoHead (#49753963) Attached to: Video Games: Gateway To a Programming Career?

My early experiences were the old Atari VCS (2600) and VCS stood for video computer system. I was fascinated by the pixels and the idea of a TV being interactive.

I wanted control of the pixels.

Later, in school, I got to work on Apple ][ computers, and those just begged to be programmed. Gaming can initiate the desire, but so can a lot of other computer driven things these days.

It is not prep directly.

Indirectly, games can be prep. For a few friends and I, cracking copy protection got us into 6502 machine and later on, Assembly language. We would use the monitor to see what was going on. Reading the ROM listing told us a lot more.

BASIC is slow, and that too drove learning more. To get the real magic out of the old machines, one has to know stuff. We made games, played them and learned. Utility type programming was good too. One such program generated book reports with just a few picks and keyboard input.

Just playing, unless the game incorporates programming concepts, is not meaningful. The ability of games and other interactive things can spark the desire to build and control.

The latter leads to activities that do serve as prep.

+ - Samba user survey results - Improve the documentation !->

Submitted by Jeremy Allison - Sam
Jeremy Allison - Sam writes: Mark Muehlfeld of the Samba Team recently surveyed our user base and recently reported the results at the SambaXP conference in Germany.

They make fascinating reading, and include all the comments on Samba made by our users. Short answer — we must improve our documentation. Here are the full results:

https://www.samba.org/~mmuehlf...

Cheers,

                Jeremy Allison,
                Samba Team.

Link to Original Source
Education

Learn About The Technology Education And Literacy in Schools Program (Video #2) 11

Posted by Roblimo
from the how-can-you-be-in-four-places-at-once-when-you're-not-anywhere-at-all? dept.
Quoting our intro from yesterday's 'Part One' video: 'The Technology Education And Literacy in Schools program (TEALS to its friends), started with one volunteer, a Berkeley CS grad named Kevin Wang who taught high school for a while, then went to Microsoft for a much higher salary than he got from teaching. But before long, he was getting up early and teaching a first period computer science class at a Seattle-area high school that was (sort of) on his way to work.'

TEALS is now in 130 high schools and has 475 volunteers in multiple states but still has a long way to go (and needs to recruit many more volunteers) because, Kevin says, fewer than 1% of American high school students are exposed to computer science, even though "Computer science is now fundamental in these kids' lives." He doesn't expect everyone who takes a TEALS class to become a computer person any more than chemistry teachers expect all their students to become chemists. You might say that learning a little about how computers and networks work is like knowing how to change a car tire and cook a simple meal: skills that make life easier even for people who don't want to become mechanics or cooks.
Education

Learn About The Technology Education And Literacy in Schools Program (Video) 17

Posted by Roblimo
from the computer-science-for-the-high-school-masses dept.
The Technology Education And Literacy in Schools program (TEALS to its friends) started with one volunteer, a Berkeley CS grad named Kevin Wang who taught high school for a while, then went to Microsoft for a much higher salary than he got from teaching. But before long, he was getting up early and teaching a first period computer science class at a Seattle-area high school that was (sort of) on his way to work. Then some other local high schools came to him and wanted similar programs. Kevin's a smart guy, but not smart enough to be in four places at once, so he recruited coworkers to join him as volunteer computer science educators. Today (as this is being written) TEALS is in 130 high schools and has 475 volunteers in multiple states. Kevin works full time on the program, sponsored by Microsoft, but 78% of the volunteers now come from other companies.

TEALS has stuck with Kevin's original 1st period (usually somewhere between 7:30 and 9:30) schedule not just because it's convenient for many of the volunteers, but because (contrary to teen-nerd stereotypes) 60% of their students are in after-school sports and 20% are in band. The program is growing steadily and they're looking for more volunteers. We'll have another video with Kevin tomorrow, and that's when the transcript of both videos will appear. Meanwhile, you can read the TEALS FAQ and see how you might fit in with this group or one of many other similar ones either as a volunteer, as a student or as a teacher or school administrator interested in giving your students at least a basic grounding in Computer Science. (Coincidentally, today's 'Ask Slashdot' is about tech skills for HS students -- an unintentional but excellent tie-in.)

Comment: What is your goal? (Score 1) 300

by Yaztromo (#49728085) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Skills Do HS Students Need To Know Now?

What is the goal of this program? "Tech skills" covers a whole lot of ground, from office-drone skills to systems administration skills to web layout to SEO-type skills to basic Internet use to actual Computer Science.

Knowing what your goals are for your students certainly influences the answers your going to get. Do you just want them to have basic Internet fluency? Do you want to prep them for typical (non technical) office jobs? Becoming digital publishers? Setting up networks? Creating their own robots? Writing programs?

Answering this question is really your first step. Figure out which goals you feel are important to your students based on their own personal goals, and work from there. The rest should fall our pretty naturally.

Yaz

Input Devices

Mechanical 'Clicky' Keyboards Still Have Followers (Video) 147

Posted by Roblimo
from the clack-clack-clack-the-keyboard-types-on-down-the-track dept.
For a good number of years, the sound of the old IBM or other mechanical keyboard clacking away was the sound of programmers (or writers) at work on their computers. Then, according to Edgar Matias, president and cofounder of the Matias Corporation, computer companies started using membrane switches and other cheaper ways to make keyboards, which made a lot of people mutter curse words under their breath as they beat their fingers against keys that had to go all the way to the bottom of their travel to work, unlike the good old mechanical keyboards we once knew and loved.

Enter Edgar Matias, who started out making the half keyboard, which is like a chorded keyboard except that you can use your QWERTY typing skills with little modification -- assuming you or your boss has $595 (!) to lay out on a keyboard. But after that Edgar started making QWERTY and Dvorak keyboards for semi-competitive prices. FYI: No Slashdot person got a free keyboard (or extra money) for making this video, but I have a Matias keyboard, and in my opinion it's far better than the cheapie it replaced. A lot of other people seem to want "real" keyboards, too, which they buy from Matias or from other companies such as Unicomp, which makes keyboards just like the classic, heavily-loved IBM Model M. Again, I've owned a Unicomp keyboard (that I bought; it was not a giveaway) and it was excellent. Both companies put out quality products that are far easier on your hands and wrists than the $10 or $20 keyboards sold by big box electronics retailers.

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor

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