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Comment: You don't need a bonfire, anymore. (Score 2) 764

by Ouija (#34709762) Attached to: Amazon Censorship Expands

A couple of generations ago, you needed a bonfire in the middle of the street to get rid of books full of unpopular ideas.
Today, that can be accomplished very quietly with a few inode updates.
The Internet and DRMed information is like Alexandria written on gunpowder-impregnated flash paper.
Information is easily linked and too rarely duplicated. Unplug a server, and it goes away.
We can stand around and shrug when some paedo gets his dirty book pulled from his tablet.
Nobody will be there - or care - when it's our turn.
Mark my words.

Comment: Re:Word to the wise (Score 1) 200

by Ouija (#34358260) Attached to: What Software Specification Tools Do You Use?

Hmm. In my many years of experience in software development, I've yet to find anything that _specifies_ software behavior as completely as the software itself. Moreover, "repeatability" isn't important at all in software development. It's critical, of course, on an assembly line. So the very goal of ISO/CMM is fundamentally flawed.

That said, documentation of the expectations and capability of software is paramount. So you write your behavior specs first. Then you write code that meets the specs. Oh, and those specs can't be in a dry, dead, out-of-date .docx file. Or in some contrived, expensive tool. It needs to be _in the code_ PART OF THE CODE- an automated test suite that can be run instantly and report immediately the second anything is out-of-spec.

In this way, both the software and the specifications it is intended to meet grow and change together. So you don't have to have business people and business analysts having to make all the hard decisions up front in a vacuum. You get to show them work frequently and be able to respond to changes as their needs evolve.

Development is faster. Progress is measurable in terms of business requirements met. Maintenance is far more inexpensive. Best of all, there are working examples of every bit of code- the tests are current, living, breathing documentation of how each method and unit was designed to work and what business value it was explicitly intended to support.

That's what you need to write your code. Forget the over-priced tools. Anything less is cheating your company or client.

Comment: NoSQL is about a lot of things. (Score 2, Interesting) 272

by Ouija (#33438592) Attached to: Yale Researchers Prove That ACID Is Scalable

SQL syntax is dated and very obtuse. Just look at the different syntax between insert and an update. ...wouldn't you rather just have "save"?

Object-relational mapping is cumbersome and mis-matched in SQL. 1:many either yields n+1 queries or a monster cartesian product set. And, what about inheritance? It just doesn't jive.

It isn't about losing ACID- although not every purpose needs ACID. Your average shared drive filesystem isn't ACID, for example.

When you have anemic domains that aren't nailed down and need to be readily flexible without big re-designs, JSON-based No-SQL works very well.
When you want to avoid n+1 and have well-defined data needs with 4MB of data across your object graph, No-SQL works... very very well.
When you want to segregate the business services and its backing data store from the separate concern of BI, No-SQL keeps the riff-raff out of your data store.

It's different. It solves different problems. Keep your mind open.

Announcements

Linux Kernel 2.6.35 Released 159

Posted by timothy
from the everything-new-is-new-again dept.
eldavojohn writes "Linus has announced the release of 2.6.35 for people to download and test after he found not a lot of changes between this week and last. The big features to look out for include: 'Transparent spreading of incoming network traffic load across CPUs, Btrfs improvements, KDB kernel debugger frontend, Memory compaction and Support for multiple multicast route tables' as well as various performance and graphics improvements. Linus also praised the community saying that 'regression changes only' after rc1 improved this time around and gave numbers to back it up saying 'in the 2.6.34 release, there were 3800 commits after -rc1, but in the current 35 release cycle we had less than 2000.' Good to see the process is becoming more refined and controlled after the first release candidate — hopefully there's no impending burnout."
NASA

Gamma Ray Mystery Reestablished By Fermi Telescope 95

Posted by Soulskill
from the back-to-the-drawing-board dept.
eldavojohn writes "New observations from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope reveal that our assumptions about the 'fog' of gamma rays in our universe are not entirely explained by black hole-powered jets emanating from active galaxies — as we previously hypothesized. For now, the researchers are representing the source of unaccounted gamma rays with a dragon (as in 'here be') symbol. A researcher explained that they are certain about this, given Fermi's observations: 'Active galaxies can explain less than 30 percent of the extragalactic gamma-ray background Fermi sees. That leaves a lot of room for scientific discovery as we puzzle out what else may be responsible.' And so we reopen the chapter on background gamma-rays in the science textbooks and hope this eventually sheds even more light on other mysteries of space — like star formation and dark matter."
Science

Colliding Particles Can Make Black Holes After All 269

Posted by Soulskill
from the act-now-while-supplies-last dept.
cremeglace writes with this excerpt from ScienceNOW: "You've heard the controversy. Particle physicists predict the world's new highest-energy atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland, might create tiny black holes, which they say would be a fantastic discovery. Some doomsayers fear those black holes might gobble up the Earth — physicists say that's impossible — and have petitioned the United Nations to stop the $5.5 billion LHC. Curiously, though, nobody had ever shown that the prevailing theory of gravity, Einstein's theory of general relativity, actually predicts that a black hole can be made this way. Now a computer model shows conclusively for the first time that a particle collision really can make a black hole." That said, they estimate the required energy for creating a black hole this way to be roughly "a quintillion times higher than the LHC's maximum"; though if one of the theories requiring compact extra dimensions is true, the energy could be lower.
OS X

Apple Patches Massive Holes In OS X 246

Posted by timothy
from the well-it-wouldn't-be-polite-to-patch-windows dept.
Trailrunner7 writes with this snippet from ThreatPost: "Apple's first Mac OS X security update for 2010 is out, providing cover for at least 12 serious vulnerabilities. The update, rated critical, plugs security holes that could lead to code execution vulnerabilities if a Mac user is tricked into opening audio files or surfing to a rigged Web site." Hit the link for a list of the highlights among these fixes.
First Person Shooters (Games)

Duke Nukem Forever Not Dead? (Yes, This Again) 195

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-didn't-think-it-was-over-did-you? dept.
kaychoro writes "There may be hope for Duke Nukem Forever (again). 'Jon St. John, better known as the voice of Duke Nukem, said some interesting words during a panel discussion at the Music and Games Festival (MAGFest) that took place January 1 – 4 in Alexandria, Virginia, according to Pixel Enemy. Answering a question from the crowd regarding DNF, St. John said: "... let me go ahead and tell you right now that I'm not allowed to talk about Duke Nukem Forever. No, no, don't be disappointed, read between the lines — why am I not allowed to talk about it?"'"

Comment: Where does that leave InnoDB? (Score 1) 156

by Ouija (#30439842) Attached to: Oracle Responds To MySQL Purchase Concerns

Where does that leave InnoDB? It's the only game in town for a tried-and-true constraint-enabled MySQL database. I was to understand that Oracle bought that engine up years ago. Were that single piece to go missing, MySQL would be set back to the stone age. The lack of mention about that engine, and lots of talk about third party engines concerns me.

The Almighty Buck

EA Flip-Flops On Battlefield: Heroes Pricing, Fans Angry 221

Posted by Soulskill
from the put-your-money-where-your-gun-is dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Ben Kuchera from Ars Technica is reporting that EA/DICE has substantially changed the game model of Battlefield: Heroes, increasing the cost of weapons in Valor Points (the in-game currency that you earn by playing) to levels that even hardcore players cannot afford, and making them available in BattleFunds (the in-game currency that you buy with real money). Other consumables in the game, such as bandages to heal the players, suffered the same fate, turning the game into a subscription or pay-to-play model if players want to remain competitive. This goes against the creators' earlier stated objectives of not providing combat advantage to paying customers. Ben Cousins, from EA/DICE, argued, 'We also frankly wanted to make buying Battlefunds more appealing. We have wages to pay here in the Heroes team and in order to keep a team large enough to make new free content like maps and other game features we need to increase the amount of BF that people buy. Battlefield Heroes is a business at the end of the day and for a company like EA who recently laid off 16% of their workforce, we need to keep an eye on the accounts and make sure we are doing our bit for the company.' The official forums discussion thread is full of angry responses from upset users, who feel this change is a betrayal of the original stated objectives of the game."

Comment: Act the Part (Score 1) 2

by Ouija (#29821635) Attached to: What has happened to our venerable profession?

Yes, you are a professional. But you aren't acting like one. Defend the profession by practicing the disciplines you learned in school and afterward. That means:

  * using revision control
  * writing tests or behavior specs before writing implementation code- no matter how trivial
  * aggressively refactoring and keeping your code DRY
  * writing software that communicates its intent so well that any developer can maintain it; not just simply to the point that it "works"
  * using an economy of technology and infrastructure appropriate for the problem at hand

It means having the integrity to stand up as a group and declare that it would be unprofessional for your team to write software without tests, or without a clear schedule and set of reasonable expectations. Professionals do that. As an example, a doctor wouldn't perform a surgery without "scrubbing in" first- no matter how dire the situation before them. The discipline makes their profession possible.

I'd rather be led to hell than managed to heavan.

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