Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

+ - How a 3D Printer Let a Dog Run for the First Time->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Ever since 3-D printing began to enter the mainstream, people have discussed the technology’s potential for building prosthetic arms and legs for human beings. But what about doing the same for dogs? In one of those videos that ends up circulated endlessly on the Internet, a dog named Derby, born with a congenital deformity that deprived him of front paws, is outfitted with a pair of 3-D-printed prosthetics. With those "legs" in place, the dog can run for the first time, at a pretty good clip. Both the prosthetics and the video were produced by 3D Systems, which builds 3-D printers, and it seems likely that other 3-D-printing companies will explore the possibility of printing off parts for pets. And while the idea of a cyborg pooch is heartwarming, it will be interesting to see how 3D printers will continue to advance the realm of human prosthetics, which have become increasingly sophisticated over the past decade."
Link to Original Source

+ - Is Google's Cardboard Project the Android of VR?->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "When Facebook dropped a cool $2 billion to purchase virtual-reality firm Oculus VR earlier this year, it was seen as a way for CEO Mark Zuckerberg to take an early position in what could become one of the dominant technologies of the next decade. But what if Oculus VR, even with all of Facebook’s money, didn’t end up as the competitor to beat? What if a piece of cardboard, supported by some APIs and an ecosystem of third-party developers, become synonymous with virtual reality? You can debate whether Google’s Cardboard project is expressly intended as a way to ding archrival Facebook, but it’s clear that the search-engine giant wants to play in the virtual-reality sandbox in the same way as it did with smartphones and tablets: open source a technology and encourage others to build with it. Will Cardboard prove the Android of VR, to Oculus Rift’s iPhone? At this nascent stage, that question can’t be answered, but one thing’s for certain: Google is intent on turning something that people initially treated like a joke into an actual platform."
Link to Original Source

+ - What Will Microsoft's 'Embrace' of Open Source Actually Achieve?->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Back in the day, Microsoft viewed open source and Linux as a threat and did its best to retaliate with FUD and patent threats. And then a funny thing happened: Whether in the name of pragmatism or simply marketing, Microsoft began a very public transition from a company of open-source haters (at least in top management) to one that’s embraced some aspects of open-source computing. Last month, the company blogged that .NET Core will become open-source, adding to its previously open-sourced ASP.NET MVC, Web API, and Web Pages (Razor). There’s no doubt that, at least in some respects, Microsoft wants to make a big show of being more open and supportive of interoperability. The company’s even gotten involved with the .NET Foundation, an independent organization designed to assist developers with the growing collection of open-source technologies for .NET. But there’s only so far Microsoft will go into the realm of open source—whereas once upon a time, the company tried to wreck the movement, now it faces the very real danger of its whole revenue model being undermined by free software. But what's Microsoft's end-goal with open source? What can the company possibly hope to accomplish, given a widespread perception that such a move on its part is the product of either fear, cynicism, or both?"
Link to Original Source

+ - Tech Hiring Will Rise in 2015, Say Recruiters->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Demand for tech professionals isn’t slowing down anytime soon, according to a survey of nearly 800 tech-focused hiring managers by Dice (yes, yes, we know). Heading into the new year, 75 percent of recruiters anticipate hiring more tech professionals in the first six months of 2015 than the last six months of 2014, an all-time high for this semi-annual survey; that’s five points greater than mid-year and two points greater than December 2013. Like the last six months of 2014, hiring managers are particularly interested in the experienced candidate. The majority (76 percent) are hiring for positions requiring six to 10 years of experience, while four in 10 (40 percent) are hiring for positions requiring more than 10 years of experience. Nearly three quarters (72 percent) of companies are planning to expand by more than 10 percent in early 2015, another record breaker. Sixty-eight percent of recruiters anticipated hiring over 10 percent more professionals six months ago, and 65 percent projected such a large-scale hiring push a year ago. So, for tech professionals looking for a job or considering leaving their current one, now might be a good time."
Link to Original Source

+ - Apple's iPod Classic Refuses to Die->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "A funny thing happened to the iPod Classic on its way to the dustbin of history: people seemed unwilling to actually give it up. Apple quietly removed the iPod Classic from its online storefront in early September, on the same day CEO Tim Cook revealed the latest iPhones and the upcoming Apple Watch. At 12 years old, the device was ancient by technology-industry standards, but its design was iconic, and a subset of diehard music fans seemed to appreciate its considerable storage capacity. At least some of those diehard fans are now paying four times the iPod Classic’s original selling price for units still in the box. The blog 9to5Mac mentions Amazon selling some last-generation iPod Classics for $500 and above. Clearly, some people haven’t gotten the memo that touch-screens and streaming music were supposed to be the way of the future."
Link to Original Source

+ - A Flying Drone Built From Fungus->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "what if manufacturers could build drones out of something other than metal? What if you could construct an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) out of biological material, specifically a lightweight-but-strong one known as mycelium? The vegetative part of a fungus, mycelium is already under consideration as a building material; other materials would include cellulose sheets, layered together into “leather,” as well as starches worked into a “bioplastic.” While a mushroom-made drone is probably years away from takeoff, a proposal for the device caught some attention at this year’s International Genetically Engineered Machine competition. Designed by a team of students from Brown, Spelman, and Stanford Universities in conjunction with researchers from NASA, such a drone would (theoretically) offer a cheap and lightweight way to get a camera and other tools airborne. 'If we want to fly it over wildfires to see where it’s spreading, or if there’s a nuclear meltdown and we want to fly in to see what’s going on with the radioactivity, we can send in the drone and it can send back data without returning,' Ian Hull, a Stanford sophomore involved in the project, told Fast Company."
Link to Original Source

+ - Is C Still Relevant In the 21st Century?-> 1

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Many programming languages have come and gone since Dennis Ritchie devised C in 1972, and yet C has not only survived three major revisions, but continues to thrive. But aside from this incredible legacy, what keeps C atop the Tiobe Index? The number of jobs available for C programmers is not huge, and many of those also include C++ and Objective-C. On Reddit, the C community, while one of the ten most popular programming communities, is half the size of the C++ group. In a new column, David Bolton argues that C remains extremely relevant due to a number of factors, including newer C compiler support, the Internet ("basically driven by C applications"), an immense amount of active software written in C that's still used, and its ease in learning. 'Knowing C provides a handy insight into higher-level languages—C++, Objective-C, Perl, Python, Java, PHP, C#, D and Go all have block syntax that’s derived from C.' Do you agree?"
Link to Original Source

+ - Which Programming Language Pays the Best? Some Say Python->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "What programming language will earn you the biggest salary over the long run? According to Quartz, which relied partially on data compiled by employment-analytics firm Burning Glass and a Brookings Institution economist, Ruby on Rails, Objective-C, and Python are all programming skills that will earn you more than $100,000 per year. But salary doesn’t necessarily correlate with popularity. Earlier this year, for example, tech-industry analyst firm RedMonk produced its latest ranking of the most-used languages, and Java/JavaScript topped the list, followed by PHP, Python, C#, and C++/Ruby. Meanwhile, Python was the one programming language to appear on Dice’s recent list of the fastest-growing tech skills, which is assembled from mentions in Dice job postings. Python is a staple language in college-level computer-science courses, and has repeatedly topped the lists of popular programming languages as compiled by TIOBE Software and others. Should someone learn a language just because it could come with a six-figure salary, or are there better reasons to learn a particular language and not others?"
Link to Original Source

+ - What If George Lucas Had Directed the Next 'Star Wars'?->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Late last week, Disney released a ninety-second trailer for the latest Star Wars movie, which is scheduled to arrive in theaters by the end of 2015. While the trailer itself didn’t reveal very much about the plot or characters of the space epic, it’s already providing seemingly endless material for fan art, homages, and even parodies. One of the most popular parodies circulating online, created by Michael Shanks, re-edits the trailer in a way that suggests what might have happened if George Lucas—who sold the rights to the Star Wars franchise in 2012 and didn’t direct this latest installment—had gotten his hands on the footage. Spoiler alert: It features everything that diehard Star Wars fans hated about the prequels and the “Special Edition” versions of the original trilogy, from excessive use of computer graphics to a very special guest appearance by a certain much-reviled character."
Link to Original Source

+ - Want Better Software? Stop Tolerating Buggy Code->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "As researchers uncover one serious flaw after another in widely used software, it’s increasingly clear there are lots of vulnerabilities, everywhere. While there are efforts underway to identify and fix these issues before criminals exploit them, the bigger challenge is stopping developers from using buggy code. There is no such thing as perfect software, but developers can reduce the number of bugs by following secure coding practices. There are also tools which can analyze individual libraries—both open-source and commercial—included in software projects to ensure they aren’t buggy. Many organizations have no idea if the software they are using contains vulnerable components because the application hasn’t been thoroughly tested. But aside from As researchers uncover one serious flaw after another in widely used software, it’s increasingly clear there are lots of vulnerabilities, everywhere. While there are efforts underway to identify and fix these issues before criminals exploit them, the bigger challenge is stopping developers from using buggy code. But aside from efforts such as The Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative, which maintains open-source apps, it doesn't seem like there's a lot of coordinated effort out there to clean up old code and analyze libraries and apps for bugs. Is there anything that can be done about this?"
Link to Original Source

+ - Top 5 Python GUI Frameworks->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "As a Python developer, sooner or later you’ll want to write an application with a graphical user interface. Fortunately, there are a lot of options on the tools front: The Python wiki on GUI programming lists over 30 cross-platform frameworks, as well as Pyjamas, a tool for cross-browser Web development based on a port of the Google Web Toolkit. How to choose between all these options for Python GUIs? Developer David Bolton started by narrowing it down to those that included all three platforms (Windows, Mac, and Linux) and, where possible, Python 3. After that filtering, he found four toolkits (Gtk, Qt, Tk, and wxWidgets) and five frameworks (Kivy, PyQt, gui2Py, libavg and wxPython). He provides an extensive breakdown on why he prefers these."
Link to Original Source

+ - Here's What Your Car Could Look Like in 2030->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "If you took your cubicle, four wheels, SkyNet's AI, and brought them all together in unholy matrimony, their offspring might look something like the self-driving future car created by design consultants IDEO. That's not to say that every car on the road in 2030 will look like a mobile office, but technology could take driving to a place where a car's convenience and onboard software (not to mention smaller size) matter more than, say, speed or handling, especially as urban areas become denser and people potentially look at "driving time" as a time to get things done or relax as the car handles the majority of driving tasks. Then again, if old science-fiction movies have proven anything, it’s that visions of automobile design thirty or fifty years down the road (pun intended) tend to be far, far different than the eventual reality. (Blade Runner, for example, posited that the skies above Los Angeles would swarm with flying cars by 2019.) So it's anyone's guess what you'll be driving a couple decades from now."
Link to Original Source

+ - How Obama's Immigration Overhaul Will Affect Tech->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "President Obama’s plan to overhaul the nation’s immigration policies could not only save up to five million people from deportation, it will also affect the U.S. tech industry. Obama will rely on an executive action for immigration reform, rather than working with Congress. “I will make it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy,” Obama added in his Nov. 20 speech. On paper, his plan will streamline the ability of foreign entrepreneurs and STEM workers to obtain visas, although specifics went unannounced; spouses of certain visa holders, including at least a portion of those with an H-1B, will have the ability to obtain work permits. Obama’s plan will also expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which grants work permits and some legal protections to unauthorized immigrants who arrived in the United States as children. Under the new guidelines, unauthorized immigrants whose children are U.S. citizens, and who have lived in the country for at least five years, will also be protected. Those immigrants will need to pass criminal background checks and pay taxes. While Obama has taken steps to fix what he views as a broken system, he’s also shifted the debate on immigration to a whole new level. Expect tech firms across the nation to ponder the merits and drawbacks of his plan for quite some time to come."
Link to Original Source

+ - Google Maps Crunches Data, Tells You When to Drive on Thanksgiving->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Whatever your plans for Thanksgiving, Google can offer some advice: try to avoid driving anywhere the day before. Analysts from the search-engine giant’s Google Maps division crunched traffic data from 21 U.S. cities over the past two years and found that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is by far the worst traffic day that week, with some notable exceptions. (In Honolulu, Providence, and San Francisco, the worst traffic is always on Saturday; in Boston, it’s Tuesday.) Unfortunately, Wednesday is often the only available travel day for many Americans—but Google thinks they can beat the worst of the traffic if they leave before 2 P.M. or after 7 P.M. on that day. Traffic on Thanksgiving itself is also light, according to the data. When it comes to driving back home, Sunday beats Saturday from a traffic perspective. According to Google Maps’ aggregated trends, Americans also seek out “ham shop,” “pie shop,” and “liquor store” on the day before Thanksgiving, as they rush to secure last-minute items."
Link to Original Source

+ - Is a Moral Compass a Hinderance or a Help for Startups?->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "As an emerging company in a hotly contested space, Uber already had a reputation for playing hardball with competitors, even before reports leaked of one of its executives threatening to dig into the private lives of journalists. Faced with a vicious competitive landscape, Uber executives probably feel they have little choice but to plunge into multi-front battle. As the saying goes, when you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail; and when you’re a startup that thinks it's besieged from all sides by entities that seem determined to shut you down, sometimes your executives feel the need to take any measure in order to keep things going, even if those measures are ethically questionable. As more than one analyst has pointed out, Uber isn’t the first company in America to triumph through a combination of grit and ethically questionable tactics; but it’s also not the first to implode thanks to the latter. Is a moral compass (or at least the appearance of one) a hinderance or a help for startups?"
Link to Original Source

Riches: A gift from Heaven signifying, "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased." -- John D. Rockefeller, (slander by Ambrose Bierce)

Working...