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Programming

+ - Ask Slashdot: Better option than C#? 2

Submitted by evilgeniusjamie
evilgeniusjamie (2765921) writes "I work as a software developer for a company based in the UK. We currently have a program written in COBOL which is the core of the company. The company are looking to upgrade, since COBOL developers are hard to find in this area, and the program (of a 12-year old legacy) is somewhat archaic and chaotic, as it has been changed and reverted and changed again almost daily since the day it was first released.

After our team put the idea forward to redevelop from scratch rather than upgrade the current system (5 developers, 2 of which write in COBOL and manage the change/control of the current system, but 4 of us are C# developers. The math is correct — one of the COBOL developers also uses C#) we were told C# was not the way to go. Incidentally, the person that made this decision has, to the best of our knowledge, zero programming experience.

So my question — as a C# developer, my opinion is rather biased — what would be a better option than C#, considering:
The main program will be the core of the entire company
The main program needs to have a Windows app version as well as a web-app version, which must both work simultaneously.
There is also a requirement for a mobile-app for field agents, which whilst not working entirely the same way as the core program, will need to integrate seamlessly.
The current program does, and the future program must, input AND output multiple formats of file (including, but not limited to, Excel, CSV (comma separated, tab-separated, pipe-separated, asterisk-seperated, to name but a few), XML, fixed-width text files, and PDF versions of all the above).

There are also plenty of business rules that dictate how and when certain processes must take place and even the way in which we take on new work."

+ - How do I handle a Patent Troll->

Submitted by
weiserfireman
weiserfireman writes "We received a letter today from a company claiming they are the licensing agent for some US Patents, 7986426, 7477410, 6771381, 6185590.

They are claiming the integration of scanning and document management into our workflows violates their patents and we have to license their technology as an end user.

An example of an infringing technology is the use of an HP MFP scanner to send an email or scan a document to a network folder or Microsoft Sharepoint.

I am pretty sure that these patents could be invalidated by prior art. I've worked with document management systems since 1999. But my company is so small that a patent fight as an enduser of these technologies is not financially feasible.

I have started the process of trying to get HP's Legal Team involved, does Slashdot have any other suggestions?"

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Music

+ - Amanda Palmer raises $1M from fans for her album-> 1

Submitted by
NewYorkCountryLawyer
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The music industry will never be the same. Singer Amanda Palmer (@amandapalmer on Twitter), has just raised over $1,000,000 directly from her fans, through Twitter and other social media, to mix, promote, and distribute her new album. Armed only with a Kickstarter page, social media accounts, and a lot of friends, she has just liberated a lot of musicians from the tyranny of having to 'sign' with a big studio. I predict music business historians will be writing about this day for years to come. The "big 4" record companies just got a lot smaller."
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Communications

+ - What Would A Post-Email World Look Like?->

Submitted by
jfruh
jfruh writes "Pundits have been gleefully predicting the death of email for years, but nobody has really been able to explain what will replace email, especially for the medium's archiving capabilities that businesses and governments have come to rely on. It's possible that email won't vanish, but rather become insivible, one component of an integrated communication stream that will be transparent to users but still present — and useful — under the hood. It may turn out that Google's Wave, which was built on this idea, was just a bit ahead of its time."
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+ - Keeper Of Shadows: A New Game of Crypto-archaeology->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The Keeper of Shadows is a new alternative history game where you decode an ancient archaeological puzzle. This features a real 3800-year old tablet from Ancient Iraq which contains a mathematical table. The numbers on it follow a strange relationship according to the Theorem of Pythagoras....more than a thousand years before he was born.

Speculations suggest that this is a trigonometric table, but the ratios are not in such a sequence. Some say this is a school exercise but questions remain... why does the 3rd column contain 8 prime numbers out of 15? What if this isn't a school exercise....but an astronomical record of some planetary event?

This alternate history game is part of the ZetaTrek project, which was mentioned on Slashdot last year."

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Businesses

+ - This Is the Way Facebook Ends ->

Submitted by
pigrabbitbear
pigrabbitbear writes "For the past eight years, Facebook has been the central neural network of the Internet’s link-sharing brain. But as the site has grown, so have our needs. Now that the company’s public, it’s crunch time, and the skeptics and haters are lining up to talk about how it might all end. One thing’s for certain: whether it’s a bang or a whimper, Facebook is not forever. How could it collapse? Let me count the ways."
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+ - The Netherlands rejects ACTA->

Submitted by Peetke
Peetke (1681018) writes "The Dutch House of Representatives unanimously accepted motion to urge the Cabinet to reject ACTA (if they ever get the change to do so; it may already end in the European Parlement). Additionally an even stronger motion was accepted to reject any future treaty that may harm a free and open Internet. This is a good day for the Internet."
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Open Source

+ - Open Source Projects for Beginning Coders?

Submitted by pyrosoft
pyrosoft (44101) writes "After many years of using open-source software and system administration, I want to move from writing simple bash scripts to actually learning real programming skills and contributing back to the community. What are your suggestions for getting started? How do you pick a project that will welcome your (possibly amateurish) help? With a fairly limited skill set, how do you find a request that you can handle? What are common newbie mistakes to avoid?"

+ - Turn off your PC – The cost of PC gaming-> 1

Submitted by MBAFK
MBAFK (769131) writes "My coworker Geoff and I have been taking power meters home to see what the true cost of PC gaming is. Not just the outlay for hardware and software but what the day-to-day costs really are. If you assume a 20 hour a week habit and using $0.11 a KWH. Actually playing costs Geoff $30.83 a year. If Geoff turns his PC off when he is not using it he could save $66 dollars a year. Turn off your PC when you aren’t using it. The environment will thank you and so will your wallet."
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Cloud

+ - NSA security expert worries about mobility, cloud ->

Submitted by alphadogg
alphadogg (971356) writes "Approaching its 60th birthday, the National Security Agency has a staff some 35,000 strong worldwide, and an impressive building complex in Fort Meade, Md., where the walls are lined with copper mesh to prevent electronic eavesdropping. True to its origins dating back to breaking enemy code during World War II, the agency has two primary missions: signals Intelligence and information assurance. Although the NSA is typically depicted as the most super-secret of federal agencies, it does post valuable reports on security best practices on its Web site. And Neal Ziring, the NSA's technical director of the Information Assurance Directorate, recently agreed to an in-depth interview with Network World during which he touches on everything from cloud computing to mobility."
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Google

+ - James Gosling Unhappy With Oracle Trial Outcome->

Submitted by
itwbennett
itwbennett writes "Reaction to the outcome of the Oracle vs. Google Trial has been generally postive, but Java creator James Gosling isn't so happy: 'For those of us at Sun who felt trampled-on and abused by Google's callous self-righteousness, I would have preferred a different outcome — not from the court case as much as from events of years past,' Gosling wrote on his personal blog."
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Security

+ - Yahoo Includes Private Key in Source File For Axis Chrome Extension->

Submitted by Trailrunner7
Trailrunner7 (1100399) writes "Yahoo on Wednesday launched a new browser called Axis and researchers immediately discovered that the company had mistakenly included its private signing key in the source file, a serious error that would allow an attacker to create a malicious, signed extension for a browser that the browser will then treat as authentic.

The mistake was discovered on Wednesday, soon after Yahoo had launched Axis, which is both a standalone browser for mobile devices as well as an extension for Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer. Yahoo is touting the browser's predictive search capability, which will guess what the user is trying to search for as she is typing and bring up thumbnail images of potential matches.

But that's not the thing that got the most attention. Within hours of the Axis launch, a writer and hacker named Nik Cubrilovic had noticed that the source file for the Axis Chrome extension included the private PGP key that Yahoo used to sign the file. That key is what the Chrome browser would look for in order to ensure that the extension is legitimate and authentic, and so it should never be disclosed publicly."

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Space

+ - DARPA Funds "100 Year Starship" to Develop Human Interstellar Travel->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "Voyager 1, which is now in the outermost layer of the heliosphere that forms the boundary between the Solar System and interstellar space, is set to be the first man-made object to leave the Solar System. It has taken the car-sized probe over 35 years to reach its current point, but at its current speed of about 3.6 AU (334,640,905 miles) per year it would take over 75,000 years to reach our nearest star, Proxima Centauri. Despite the mind-boggling distances involved, DARPA has just awarded funding to form an organization whose aim is to make human interstellar travel a reality within the next century."
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Microsoft

+ - Visual Studio 11 Express Is Metro Only->

Submitted by mikejuk
mikejuk (1801200) writes "Microsoft has finally demonstrated its corporate insanity for all to see. The next version of VS Express 11 will only produce Metro and not desktop apps — and it gets worse.
The next generation of Express products will be much more limited with just three editions — Express 11, Express for Windows Phone and Express for Azure. The Express 11 IDE will support C++, C#, VB and JavaScript in one neat and easy-to-use package. This sounds great until you realize that this neat package only supports the creation of Metro applications.
There are no templates and no targets defined for the desktop.
If you want to develop a .NET app then you need to stick with Express 2010 and don't even think about going forward with new editions. To stay current you have no choice but to convert your apps to Metro. If you don't agree then you need to start looking for an alternative desktop environment — perhaps this is the opertunity Linux has been waiting for."

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An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it. -- James Michener, "Space"

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