Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Last Chance - Get 15% off sitewide on Slashdot Deals with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" (some exclusions apply)". ×

Submission + - Practical Project management (

Zigurd writes: How can we forge a practical, undogmatic tool set for software project management that works in the reality of how software is created? And, how can you, as someone not steeped in traditional project management and in Agile, feel confident enough to commit the heresy of a mixed approach?

Submission + - Write Less Android Software (

Zigurd writes: You have a substantial budget. You have an army, perhaps a foreign mercenary army, of developers. You've got experience delivering big Web projects this way. But your Android project might as well be Afghanistan. Unexpected limitations, difficult bugs, poor performance, and bloat plague you for weeks and months. Facebook's approach to unbundling functionality makes Facebook's products more visible on mobile devices. Keeping your apps simple, relatively small, and having multiple cooperating apps isn't just smart engineering, it's better for the user and better for you commercially.

Submission + - Google's Social Menagerie and its Android and Web Habitats (

Zigurd writes: In addition to search, email, and office productivity, Google runs at least nine "applications" that deal in user-provided content. We can't call them "Web sites" since most of them are presented through both Android applications and a Web user interface. But the extent and quality of this presentation is unequal and uneven. The content varies by media type and long form/short form characteristics. The intended persistence of the content also varies, though persistence often really means "ease of discovery" which can diminish quickly if a chronological update stream is the principal means of discovery.

Submission + - Missed It By Thaaaat Much: Why Chrome OS Athena isn't Chro (

Zigurd writes: Now that Windows 8.1 has landed with a thud, and OEMs are kvetching about being misled by predictions about the success of touch, there are some signs that Google has decided to take another shot at touch in Chrome OS. Or, perhaps, the Chrome OS developers are just tidying up loose ends in the Chrome OS touch interface, of which there are a considerable number at the time of this writing, based on a search of open issues mentioning "touch."

Comment Product definition, they're doing it wrong (Score 1) 121

> Android is "a lot cheaper for HP to implement in a laptop; ChromeOS, in contrast, comes with more stringent system requirements that would cost HP a bit more."

It looks like sweet hardware. They may have good intentions re costs. But that's not how to define a product. The laptop form factor works against the touch interface by putting the screen just a little too far away. It also completely destroys the ability to hold a device like a sheaf of paper or clipboard.

The other side of the coin is that a browser-based UI is well-suited to using a pointing device instead of (or in addition to) touch.

Could have been a great Chromebook.

Submission + - Diagnosing and Fixing Google's Social Problems (

Zigurd writes: While Google+ has been accused of being a "ghost town," at least it looks pretty, even now after what feels like a long period of stagnation and un-addressed bugs. But Google+ isn't the most neglected neighborhood in Googleland.

Comment Loopy logic leaps (Score 4, Insightful) 73

Going from "open government" to "outsourcing" is a non sequitur meant to set up a straw man. It is outsourcing that results in private firms treating government data as proprietary, and it is this kind of outsourcing that open government initiatives seek to avoid.

It's a long piece. Tl;dr: Think tank wonk mistakes Tim O'Reilly for a technolibertarian and turgidly tilts at windmills of his own invention.

Comment Re:Android app compatability? (Score 1) 148

Android app compatibility is available for Linux in several forms: You can install an Android distro in a virtualization container, Canonical's "Ubuntu for Android," Open Mobile's ACL (disclosure, I used to be CTO there), and others.

My view of the best way to do this (and not surprising that this is how Open Mobile does it) is that Android can be integrated into "foreign" desktop environments as if it were a Java SE-like runtime environment.

As for how I would want to use Ubuntu on a tablet, I would put it on a powerful tablet such as those Windows 8 will be shipping on. Then I can have my Android development tools in a tablet form factor, and I can run an x86 Android build in a VM or QEMU for testing/debugging.

Comment The right to a patent monopoly is not fundamental (Score 4, Insightful) 315

The right to a patent monopoly is not a fundamental human right.

The US Constitution is written with a specific sense regarding rights. It grants no rights because it takes the point of view that you have human rights, with, or without any government's say so. Instead, the Constitution grants powers to the government.

The right to a patent monopoly is not one of the rights the Constitution assumes you have. That's because, in the eyes of the authors of that document, it's not really a basic human right. Instead, the government is explicitly empowered to grant patent and copyright monopolies. And that power is conditional: "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

If it isn't functioning as intended, is it still legitimate?

Comment A servant, or a lifeguard? (Score 1) 238

Is this some kind of weird expression of the New England work ethic? Make the driver work just as hard as ever, but should he ever falter, a superior system kicks in and saves his ass?

If I have a computer that can handle emergencies more reliably than I can, surely it can handle the mundane more reliably, too.

"Consider a spherical bear, in simple harmonic motion..." -- Professor in the UCB physics department