Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Deal of the Day - 6 month subscription of Pandora One at 46% off. ×

Code Bubbles — Rethinking the IDE's User Interface 198

kang327 writes "As Java developers we are used to the familiar file-based user interface that is used by all of the major IDEs. A team at Brown University has developed an IDE for Java called Code Bubbles that makes a fairly radical departure from current IDEs — it is based on fragments instead of files. The idea is that you can see many different pieces of code at once. Fragments can form groups, have automatic layout assistance, wrap long lines based on syntax, and exist in a virtual workspace that you can pan. A video shows reading and editing code, opening different kinds of info such as Javadocs, bug reports and notes, annotating and sharing workspaces, and debugging with bubbles. They report on several user studies that show the system increases performance for the tasks studied, and also that professional developers were enthusiastic about using it. There is also a Beta that you can sign up for."

India Hanging Up On 25 Million Cell Phones 103

jvillain writes "India is about to pull the plug on 25 million cell phones in the name of fighting terrorism and fraud. 'The ban by India's Department of Telecommunications has been unfolding gradually since Oct. 6, 2008, six weeks before the attacks in Mumbai killed 173 people and wounded 308. A memo then directed service providers to cut off cellphone users whose devices didn't have a real IMEI — or unique identity number — in the interests of 'national security.' Since then, the move has picked up steam as a way to circumvent terrorists using black market, unregistered cellphones. The Mumbai attackers kept in touch with each other via cellphones and used GPS to pinpoint their attacks, which started Nov. 26, 2008, and went on for three days. The telecommunications department has issued warnings and deadlines through 2009 but has announced this one is for real, telling operators to block cellphones without valid IMEI numbers. Previously, it warned companies to stop importing them and customers to stop buying them.'"

Open Access To Exercise Data? 188

identity0 writes "A recent Slashdot discussion about heart-rate monitors in schools got me thinking about getting one for my own exercise. It turns out that the available models have a wide range of features: calorie rate, pedometers, GPS, PC connectivity, etc. Being a geek, I want one that will let me look at my exercise data, and I'm curious what experiences Slashdotters have had with them. Some download data to a proprietary application — are open source alternatives available or is the data format easily readable? Others upload data to an online app — can the data be pulled off the site or is it forever trapped on their servers? While I'm not an open source zealot or a paranoid about my data being shared, I would like to know that I can access my data in the future. Whatever method you guys use to monitor your exercise, I'd love to hear about it."
Input Devices

Software To Flatten a Photographed Book? 172

davidy writes "I have photographed some pages of a book for reading on my PDA. This is much faster than scanning and I don't have to carry the heavy books. However, the photographed books are not as nice: curved, skewed, and shadowed, as opposed to the much flatter, cleaner scanned books. I have searched for software that can flatten the pages for better reading on the PDA. So far I have come across Unpaper and Scan Tailor. Unpaper doesn't seem to have a windows GUI, and Scan Tailor doesn't unskew well. I remember reading about Google's technique of converting books to e-books with a camera and a laser overlay. Is there any home user software that can do a similar job without the need for a laser overlay or other sophisticated (and patented) technology?"

MIT Project "Gaydar" Shakes Privacy Assumptions 508

theodp writes "At MIT, an experiment that identifies which students are gay is raising new questions about online privacy. Using data from Facebook, two students in an MIT class on ethics and law on the electronic frontier made a striking discovery: just by looking at a person's online friends, they could predict whether the person was gay. The project, given the name 'Gaydar' by the students, is part of the fast-moving field of social network analysis, which examines what the connections between people can tell us, from predicting who might be a terrorist to the likelihood a person is happy, fat, liberal, or conservative." MIT professor Hal Abelson, who co-taught the course, is quoted: "That pulls the rug out from a whole policy and technology perspective that the point is to give you control over your information — because you don't have control over your information."

Comment Re:What HTML 5 should have been (Score 1) 640

I wish Animats' original comment were viable. Truly, I wish we could enforce stricter standards on the web without X browser losing users.

But you're right. :(

I really wish they'd bring back XForms. I haven't read the WebForms spec yet--I'm about to go check it out--but XForms was such beautiful, beautiful stuff. Weird at first, sure, but new technologies often are. Once the weird phase was over, XForms was absolute heaven. Shame it never caught on. Shame XHTML never caught on (or at least, never reached critical mass/proper implementation).

Comment Re:Restart Firefox Only Once A Month??? LOL! (Score 1) 383

I've been browsing for some time with noscript and without flash and I rarely end up with this kind of trouble. On top of that I have the cache, cookies and history cleared upon exit. And I'm not having any sort of trouble of the sort you're describing. I don't mind people criticizing Firefox, but this immature trolling because of your own incompetence is enough to make one slightly annoyed.

"Incompetence"? Wow.

You had to install a couple of extensions that disable Javascript and Flash (two of the most common files on the web) and tell Firefox to clear cach, cookies, and history on exit.

Sounds to me like Mozilla made you do quite a bit to achieve your stability.

If only the average user were "competent" enough to install these specific extensions and change all the settings that you did. We should all be as "competent" enough to clean up after Mozilla's oversights to the bugs you were brilliant enough to workaround.

Comment Re:Will this benefit the average user? (Score 1) 383

In addition to the other comments to this, I'll add...

Unless you're Dr. Who, or Doc Brown, or Q...

Time only moves in one direction: forward.

Previous versions of Firefox are still available for single-core users. I'm not an expert on low-level computer architecture, but many others seem to disagree with your sentiments about overhead.

Even if you are right, previous versions already have the single-core field covered. How much longer would you have them cater to an architecture that is only going to become more and more obsolete?


Google Labs Offers Table-Based Search Results 165

blackbearnh writes "Google just released Google Squared into the Google Labs playground. Google Squared lets you get results back in row and column format, and then add more columns to the result set. There's a brief tour of the features over on O'Reilly Radar, where the judgement is that there's lots of rough edges, but a huge amount of potential, especially for quick and dirty table generation for reports."

Comment To reiterate⦠(Score 1) 695

1. Um, yeahâ¦Guest account? 2. I know about âoeFast-user switchâ on Windows, and on OS X you can go into System Preferencesâ'Accounts and enable a menu item that lets you switch users any time you want. I use this to switch to a Guest account when people want to use my laptop on campus.

Comment Re:Alright (Score 1) 580

Oh, also, higher profits for microsoft will drive them to innovate.


Are you kidding me?! If higher profits drive innovation at Microsoft, we'd be way ahead of where we are now.

Honestly, in Microsoft's case, I think lower profits is what drives them to innovate. That's when they say, “oh shit, we gotta do something about this.”

A failure will not appear until a unit has passed final inspection.