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+ - Who's Afraid of Android Fragmentation? ->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "The dreaded term “fragmentation” has been applied to Android more times than anyone can count over the past half-decade. That’s part of the reason why game developers often build for iOS before Android, even though Android offers a bigger potential customer base worldwide, and more types of gaming experiences. Fortunately, new sets of tools allow game developers to build for one platform and port their work (fairly) easily to another. “We’ve done simultaneously because it is such a simple case of swapping out the textures and also hooking up different APIs for scores and achievements,” London-based indie developer Tom Vian told Dice. “I’ve heard that iOS is a better platform to launch on first, but there’s no sense for us in waiting when we can spend half a day and get it up and running.” So is fragmentation an overhyped roadblock, or is it a genuine problem for developers who work in mobile?"
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+ - H-1B Visas Proving Lucrative for Engineers, Dev Leads->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Ever wanted to know how much H-1B holders make per year? Developer Swizec Teller, who is about to apply for an H-1B visa, took data from the U.S. Department of Labor and visualized it in a series of graphs that break down H-1B salaries on a state-by-state basis. Teller found that the average engineer with an H-1B makes $87,000 a year, a good deal higher than developers ($74,000) and programmers ($61,000) with the same visa. (“Don’t call yourself a programmer,” he half-joked on Twitter.) Architects, consultants, managers, administrators, and leads with H-1Bs can likewise expect six-figure annual salaries, depending on the state and company. Teller’s site is well worth checking out for the interactive graphs, which he built with React and D3.js. The debate over H-1Bs is an emotional one for many tech pros, and research into the visa’s true impact on the U.S. labor market wasn’t helped by the U.S. Department of Labor’s recent decision to destroy H-1B records after five years. “These are the only publicly available records for researchers to analyze on the demand by employers for H-1B visas with detail information on work locations,” Neil Ruiz, who researches visa issues for The Brookings Institution, told Computerworld after the new policy was announced in late 2014."
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+ - In Space, a Laptop Doubles As a VR Headset->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "On Earth, the engineers and developers in charge of building the Oculus Rift and other virtual-reality headsets are concerned about weight: Who wants to strap on something so heavy it cricks their neck? But in space, weight isn’t an issue, which is why an astronaut can strap a laptop to his head via a heavy and complicated-looking rig and use it as a virtual-reality device. NASA astronaut Terry Virts recently did just that to train himself in the use of SAFER (Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue), a jetpack worn during spacewalks. (In the movie Gravity, George Clooney’s character uses a highly unrealistic version of SAFER to maneuver around a space shuttle.) While a laptop-as-VR-device can work in zero gravity, don’t try it at home; stick instead with something like Google Cardboard, which offers a similar experience at a fraction of the weight."
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+ - Building a Procedural Dungeon Generator in C#->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Procedural dungeon generation is a fun exercise for programmers. Despite the crude interface, such games continue to spark interest. A quarter century ago, David Bolton wrote a dungeon generator in procedural Pascal; now he's taken that old code and converted it to C# (Dice link). It’s amazing just how fast it runs on a five-year-old i7 950 PC with 16GB of RAM. If you want to follow along, you can find his code for the project on SourceForge. The first part of the program generates the rooms in a multilevel dungeon. Each level is based on a 150 x 150 grid and can have up to 40 rooms. Rather than just render boring old rectangular rooms, there are also circular rooms. "There are a couple of places where corridor placement could have been optimized better," Bolton wrote about his experiment. "However, the dungeon generation is still very fast, and could provide a good programming example for anyone exploring what C# can do." For C# beginners, this could represent a solid exercise."
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+ - What Does It Mean to Be a Data Scientist? ->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "What is a data scientist? 'To be honest, I often don’t tell people I am a data scientist,' writes Simon Hughes, chief data scientist of the Dice Data Science Team. 'It’s not that I don’t enjoy my job (I do!) nor that I’m not proud of what we’ve achieved (I am); it’s just that most people don’t really understand what you mean when you say you’re a data scientist, or they assume it’s some fancy jargon for something else.' So how do Simon and his team define 'data scientist'? In this blog posting, he breaks it down along several lines: solid programming skills, a scientific mindset, and the ability to use tools are just for starters. A data scientist also needs to be a polymath with strong math skills. 'All good scientists are skeptics at heart; they require strong empirical evidence to be convinced about a theory,' he writes. 'Likewise, as a data scientist, I’ve learned to be suspicious of models that are too accurate, or individual variables that are too predictive.' His points are good to keep in mind right now, with everybody throwing around buzzwords like 'Big Data' without fully realizing what they mean."
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+ - Which Freelance Developer Sites Are Worth Your Time?->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Many websites allow you to look for freelance programming jobs or Web development work. (Hongkiat.com, for example, offers links to several dozen.) The problem for developers in the European Union and the United States is that competition from rivals in developing countries is crushing fees for everybody, as the latter can often undercut on price. (This isn’t a situation unique to software development; look at how globalization has compelled manufacturing jobs to move offshore, for example.) With all that in mind, developer David Bolton surveyed some freelance developer marketplaces, especially the ones that catered to Western developers, who typically need to operate at price-points higher than that of their counterparts in many developing nations. His conclusion? 'It’s my impression that the bottom has already been reached, in terms of contractor pricing; to compete these days, it’s not just a question of price, but also quality and speed.' Do you agree?"
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+ - JavaScript, PHP Top Most Popular Languages, With Apple's Swift Rising Fast->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Developers assume that Swift, Apple’s newish programming language for iOS and Mac OS X apps, will become extremely popular over the next few years. According to new data from RedMonk, a tech-industry analyst firm, Swift could reach that apex of popularity sooner rather than later. While the usual stalwarts—including JavaScript, Java, PHP, Python, C#, C++, and Ruby—top RedMonk’s list of the most-used languages, Swift has, well, swiftly ascended 46 spots in the six months since the firm’s last update, from 68th to 22nd. RedMonk pulls data from GitHub and Stack Overflow to create its rankings, due to those sites’ respective sizes and the public nature of their data. While its top-ranked languages don’t trade positions much between reports, there’s a fair amount of churn at the lower end of the rankings. Among those “smaller” languages, R has enjoyed stable popularity over the past six months, Rust and Julia continue to climb, and Go has exploded upwards—although CoffeeScript, often sited as a language to watch, has seen its support crumble a bit."
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+ - Building a Good Engineering Team In a Competitive Market->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "It's a pretty good market out there for tech professionals, at least on a statistical level. That can make it difficult for companies (both large ones and startups) to find good talent for their developer and engineering ranks. According to Ron Pragides, who rode the wave of IPOs at Salesforce and Twitter before joining Bigcommerce, the trick to hiring good tech people isn't necessarily a matter of offering the best perks, or the most money, or even an office with all sorts of fun stuff (although those can help). Instead, it's often a matter of selling them on a vision of the company's future. 'It is about presenting the opportunity and the potential of what it could be if we have the right attitude, the right focus, the right work ethic,' he said in an interview, 'It’s about making people feel like this is your company and making them understand they are going to help the culture and will have a big direction in how the office develops. I tell them, 'This is your company, this is your startup.'' But even that might not be enough in places like Silicon Valley, where lots of companies offer that 'vision thing.' So what does it take to pull in good people to work on your projects? Or does it really just come down to money in the end?"
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+ - What Makes a Great Software Developer?->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "What does it take to become a great—or even just a good—software developer? According to developer Michael O. Church’s posting on Quora (later posted on LifeHacker), it's a long list: great developers are unafraid to learn on the job, manage their careers aggressively, know the politics of software development (which he refers to as 'CS666'), avoid long days when feasible, and can tell fads from technologies that actually endure... and those are just a few of his points. Over at Salsita Software’s corporate blog, meanwhile, CEO and founder Matthew Gertner boils it all down to a single point: experienced programmers and developers know when to slow down. What do you think separates the great developers from the not-so-fantastic ones?"
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+ - The Highest-Paying States for Technology Professionals->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "The average technology professional made $89,450 in 2014, according to Dice's latest salary survey. When it comes to salaries, however, not all states and cities are created equal. Those tech pros living and working in Silicon Valley are the highest-paid in the country, with an average annual salary of $112,610—but that salary grew only 4 percent year-over-year, lagging behind cities such as Portland and Seattle. Dice has built an interactive map that shows where people are making the most (and least). As you click around, note how salary growth is particularly strong in parts of the West, the Northeast, and the South, while remaining stagnant (and even regressing) in some middle states. If anything, the map reinforces what many tech pros have known for years: that more cities and regions are becoming hubs of innovation. Expect that growth to likely continue through 2015."
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+ - What Will Google Glass 2.0 Need to Actually Succeed? ->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "As previously rumored, Google has discontinued selling Google Glass, its augmented-reality headset... but it could be coming out with something new and (supposedly) improved. The company has placed a relentlessly positive spin on its decision: “Glass was in its infancy, and you took those very first steps and taught us how to walk,” reads a posting on the Google+ page for Glass. “Well, we still have some work to do, but now we’re ready to put on our big kid shoes and learn how to run.” Formerly a project of the Google X research lab, Glass will now be overseen by Tony Fadell, the CEO of Google subsidiary (and Internet of Things darling) Nest; more than a few Glass users are unhappy with Google's decision. If Google’s move indeed represents a quiet period before a relaunch, rather than an outright killing of the product, what can it do to ensure that Glass’s second iteration proves more of a success? Besides costing less (the original Glass retailed for $1,500 from Google's online storefront), Google might want to focus on the GoPro audience, or simply explain to consumers why they actually need a pair of glasses with an embedded screen. What else could they do to make Glass 2.0 (whatever it looks like) succeed?"
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+ - Is D a Criminally Underrated Programming Language?->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "While some programming languages achieved early success only to fall by the wayside (e.g., Delphi), one language that has quietly gained popularity is D, which now ranks 25 in the most recent Tiobe Index. Inspired by C++, D is a general-purpose systems and applications language that’s similar to C and C++ in its syntax; it supports procedural, object-oriented, metaprogramming, concurrent and functional programming. D’s syntax is simpler and more readable than C++, mainly because D creator Walter Bright developed several C and C++ compilers and is familiar with the subtleties of both languages. D’s advocates argue that the language is well thought-out, avoiding many of the complexities encountered with modern C++ programming. So shouldn't it be more popular?"
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+ - What Can Tony Fadell Actually Do For Google Glass?->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Google Glass is no longer a part of the Google X research lab that birthed the project, according to The Wall Street Journal; instead, it’s now part of a standalone unit overseen by Tony Fadell, the CEO of Google subsidiary Nest. Given Fadell’s rising profile in the technology world, it seems unlikely that he’d inherit the Glass project just to kill it, which would make him look bad; it seems more likely that he’ll try to revamp the technology, much in the same way that he overhauled smoke detectors into sleek, Web-connected devices with aesthetic appeal. But what can Fadell actually do to "save" Glass? He could slash the absurdly high price of $1,500 for starters, and perhaps give it a design revamp, but what other actions can he take beyond that?"
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+ - Exploring Some Lesser-Known Scripting Languages-> 1

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Scripting languages are used in everything from games and Web pages to operating-system shells and general applications, as well as standalone scripts. While many of these scripting languages are common and open to modification, there are some interesting, open-source ones that are worth a look, even if they don't have the substantial audience of some of the popular ones. Wren, Candle, Fancy, Pikt, and PPL all show what a single developer can do if they set out with enough motivation to create open-source scripting languages. The results often prove surprisingly powerful."
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+ - Little-Known Programming Languages That Actually Pay->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "There is no shortage of programming languages, from the well-known ones (Java and C++) to the outright esoteric (intended just for research or even humor). While the vast majority of people learn to program the most-popular ones, the lesser-known programming languages can also secure you a good gig in a specific industry. Which languages? Client-server programming with Opa, Salesforce's APEX language, Mathematica and MATLAB, ASN.1, and even MIT's App Inventor 2 all belong on that list, according to developer Jeff Cogswell. On the other hand, none of these languages really have broad adoption; ASN.1 and SMI, for example, are primarily used in telecommunications and network management. So is it really worth taking the time to learn a new, little-used language for anything other than the thrills?"
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