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Comment Re:Relevant Experience (Score 1) 374

how would one go about contributing to such a project?

The exact details depend on the project, but in general:

(1) Visit the project's website.
(2) Download the source code. There should be links on the site for this.
(3) Study the code, start tinkering with it, learn how it works.
(4) Possibly subscribe to the developer's mailing list. Find out what the hot topics are for the project.
(5) Also, study the issue tracker to find out what bugs need fixing.
(6) When you feel comfortable with the workings of the code, start thinking about how you can improve it. Think small to start with. See if you can fix a few bugs.
(7) Submit your fixes using the instructions on the site. This will usually be via a code repository system like SVN.
(8) Hopefully your fixes will be accepted by the project leadership. If not, don't panic -- maybe you missed something? Maybe you didn't stick to their coding style? Whatever, talk it through with them, find out the problem, and try again. (and if you do get accepted first time, don't let it go to your head!)
(9) Congratulations you have now contributed to an OSS project.

Comment Relevant Experience (Score 1) 374

You've hit the nail on the head with the question about relevant experience -- it's the first thing people look for when hiring; it's way more important than qualifications.

I see two ways to get in:

(a) Contribute to some OSS projects that are relevant to the sort of coding you want to get into. Bear in mind that it will take you some time to build up enough experience doing this for it to really count for anything.

(b) Look for coding jobs in the industry you were previously in -- ie a cross-over job. For example, if you were previously a sales person for widgets, and you know loads about the various types of widgets and how they work, etc, you might find that a widget manufacturer or sales company might be willing to hire you as a coder based on your expertise in widgets rather than in coding. You'll still need to know how to write code of course, but I'm guessing you know enough already to be able to get through an interview once you've managed to get one.

Comment Re:Competition driven market, it works (Score 1) 662

This whole market thingy seems to work.

You say that, but it took five years of market stagnation after MS cornered the market for anyone else to rise to challenge them.

So yes, the competition is good, and it does seem to have stung MS back into life developing new code, but it's hardly a ringing endorsement of the free market.

Comment What about callerID spoofing? (Score 2, Interesting) 399

It's one thing to block your callerID from being presented to the end user - in that case, the intermediary telcos will still be able to see the callerID; they pass it between themselves, but just don't pass it to the final end user. That's how this system works -- because they're a telco, they get to see the callerID, but unlike other telcos, they've decided to pass the information on regardless.

But what about spoofed callerIDs? They're the ones that I feel would be genuinely useful to unmask. But sadly, this system won't work in these cases. If the callerID is tampered with at source, that tampered value is what gets passed between the telcos, so there's nothing useful that can be unmasked.


US Becomes Top Wind Producer; Solar Next 388

SpuriousLogic sends along a SciAm piece that begins, "The United States overtook Germany as the biggest producer of wind power last year, new figures showed, and will likely take the lead in solar power this year, analysts said on Monday. Even before an expected 'Obama bounce' from a new President who has vowed to boost clean energy, US wind power capacity surged 50 percent last year to 25 gigwatts — enough to power more than five million homes."
Classic Games (Games)

The Return of (Old) PC Graphic Adventures 93

KingofGnG writes "Though they belong to a genre already considered defunct and inadequate for the mainstream video game market, adventure games have a glorious past, a past that deserves to be remembered, and, of course, replayed. At the center of a good part of this effort of collective memory, there is ScummVM, the virtual machine which acts like an interface between the feelings and the puzzles from the good old times and the modern operating systems. As already highlighted before, the ScummVM target has grown immensely over time, going from the simple support of the 'classic' adventure games par excellence published by Lucasfilm/Lucasarts, to a range that includes virtually any single puzzle-solving game developed from the beginning of time up to the advent of the (Windows) NT platform. The last video game engine added to ScummVM within the past few days is Groovie, created by the software house Trilobyte for its first title released in 1993, The 7th Guest ."

Firefox 2 and Gecko 1.8 End of Life 138

vm writes "According to Mozilla and other sources, Firefox 2 and Gecko 1.8 will soon be left behind some time in mid-December. The end result: no future security or stability updates. This will affect Thunderbird 2, SeaMonkey 1.1, Camino 1.5, and any other projects based on Gecko 1.8. So, if you haven't already upgraded, there's no time like the present."
Data Storage

Researcher Warns of "Digital Dark Age" 367

alphadogg writes "A assistant professor from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is sounding a warning that companies, the government and researchers need to come up with a plan for preserving our increasingly digitized data in light of shifting document management and other software platforms (think WordPerfect and floppy disks). Jerome P. McDonough, who teaches at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, says there exists about 369 exabytes worth of data, and that includes some pretty hard to replace stuff, including tax files, email and photos. Open standards could play a key role in any preservation effort, he says. 'If we can't keep today's information alive for future generations, we will lose a lot of our culture,' McDonough said. Even over the course of 10 years, you can have a rapid enough evolution in the ways people store digital information and the programs they use to access it that file formats can fall out of date.'"

Submission + - Is Ridley Scott a born again science fiction fan? (

bowman9991 writes: "Ridley Scott's back flip on science fiction has been significant. The director of the genre classics Alien and Blade Runner is now working on not one, but two new science fiction adaptations: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, staring Leonardo DiCaprio, and Joe Haldeman's The Forever War. SFFMedia details the two new movies and asks why Ridley Scott has had this sudden change of heart. Last year he said science fiction films were as dead as westerns, now after more than 25 he's directing two of them. What happened?"
The Internet

Submission + - Linux and Mac to get BBC iPlayer downloads (

Jonas writes: It may have taken them forever, but the Beeb is officially bringing BBC iPlayer downloads to Linux and Macs. The technology will be powered by Adobe's AIR platform, though will still be wrapped in the DRM present in Windows downloads. The iPlayer has seen massive improvements since its initial launch, including the move to Flash instead of streaming Windows Media Video, and the utilisation of the H.264 codec to make streaming a more attractive option. Downloads are also now available specifically for portable devices, including Nokia phones and Archos handhelds, and there's talk of the entire back catalogues of current shows becoming permanently available for download.

Comment Suggestion (Score 1) 2

Try asking this same question in a more newbie friendly environment, such as

The folk on slashdot are generally very clued up, but if this gets onto the main /. site you'll get all sorts of discussion about why Gimp is good afterall, and the actual useful answers to your question will get lost in the fuzz.

I know that there are programs that do exactly what you need because I've seen them, but I don't know them by name, nor well enough to make a recommendation.

Anyway, just a suggestion. I hope you get your question answered, but I do feel that /. is probably the wrong place to ask. :-)

All the best!


Submission + - Alternative to GIMP for new Linux User? 2

corporal_clegg writes: I have been trying for more than a year to get my wife to move to Linux on her HP laptop. She is a technophobe and is adverse to change though good technology quickly wins her over if it is easy to use. Yesterday a trojan wrecked the laptop (don't ask — kids *sigh*) and with a little cajoling I was able to convince her to give my favorite OS a try. I dropped Fedora 9 (with GNOME) on the system last night, resolved a couple of minor issues and proudly gave her a brand new shiny system. Her chief complaint? She hates GIMP — and when I say hates, I mean she despises it with the fiery passion that only a woman scorned can express. She used it a few times on my system in the past, decided she hated it and now it seems that the lack of a simple image program on her laptop may drive her back to Windows. If I can get a image manipulation program for her that meets her needs, I am certain she will be won over. More importantly, her opinion will help drive her parents and their friends to Linux and relieve me of no end of toil in maintaining their Windows systems. Thus making her happy is more than just about increasing marital bliss, it means moving at least another 3 families to Linux.

Her requirements are very simple: she wants to be able to select a photo, make a simple choice to print it as 8x10, 5x7, contact sheet or the like (without worrying about aspect ratios) and do cropping. Automatic red eye removal is a plus but not a requirement. She has been using the Windows "photo printing wizard" built in to XP and needs no more functionality than that. So, what robust (bugs and quirks are probably not acceptable unless they are very minor) image printing packages are out there that meet this very basic need?

Submission + - Opera develops search engine for web developers (

nk497 writes: The Metadata Analysis and Mining Application (MAMA) doesn't index content like a standard search engine, but looks at markup, style, scripting and the technology behind pages. Based on those existing MAMA-ed pages, 80.4 per cent of sites use cascading style sheets (CSS), while the average web page has 47 markup errors and 16,400 characters. Should you want to know which country is using the AJAX component XMLHttpRequest the most, MAMA can tell you that it's Norway, with 10.2 per cent of the data set.

Submission + - Dillo 2.0 released

steltho writes: The long awaited Dillo-2.0 is out. This version is based on fltk2, and the developers claim a 50% reduction in Dillo's memory footprint. You can get it here:

Submission + - WorldBank Under CyberSiege in Unprecedented Crisis ( 1

JagsLive writes: The World Bank Group's computer network — one of the largest repositories of sensitive data about the economies of every nation — has been raided repeatedly by outsiders for more than a year, FOX News has learned.

It is still not known how much information was stolen. But sources inside the bank confirm that servers in the institution's highly-restricted treasury unit were deeply penetrated with spy software last April. Invaders also had full access to the rest of the bank's network for nearly a month in June and July.

In total, at least six major intrusions — two of them using the same group of IP addresses originating from China — have been detected at the World Bank since the summer of 2007, with the most recent breach occurring just last month.

In a frantic midnight e-mail to colleagues, the bank's senior technology manager referred to the situation as an "unprecedented crisis." In fact, it may be the worst security breach ever at a global financial institution. And it has left bank officials scrambling to try to understand the nature of the year-long cyber-assault, while also trying to keep the news from leaking to the public.

"Now this is a totally brain damaged algorithm. Gag me with a smurfette." -- P. Buhr, Computer Science 354