Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

+ - Alpha Centauri to Bend Starlight for Planet Hunt-> 1

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "In October 2014 and again February 2016 Alpha Centauri, the closest star system to our Solar System, will pass in front of two distant stars allowing astronomers a rare opportunity to use Einstein's General Relativity to potentially detect hidden exoplanets around the binary star system. As Alpha Centauri blocks the distant starlight from our perspective, the gravitational field will bend the distant light to create a microlensing event. The transient brightening can then be analyzed and the gravitational presence of any worlds may be revealed. The research, announced Monday at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Indianapolis, has been submitted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Roguelikes (Score 1) 951

by bhaak1 (#42039681) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Video Games Keep You From Using Linux?

I'm not asking for a flame war as much as trying to shame the dev team out of hiding!

Others have tried and failed (e.g. SporkHack was partly forked from Vanilla for this effect and this year several fork developer posted an April Fools' joke on RGRN about considering their fork the successor to NetHack and changing its name to "NetHack").

No reaction by the DevTeam. It's highly unlikely that the DevTeam will ever release another version (the development has already slowed down before 3.4.3), so you are stuck with the old version or forks or other roguelikes.

Comment: Roguelikes (Score 4, Interesting) 951

by bhaak1 (#42038321) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Video Games Keep You From Using Linux?

Vanilla NetHack hasn't had a release since 2003 but there have been several forks of it, one I did myself (look at my sig).

Considering the "far better roguelikes" that's something just asking for a flame war but I guess he thinks about ToME4 or Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.

ToME4's root go back a long time, originally an Angband variant but the 4th version separated completely from that heritage and created vast amounts of original content that makes Skyrim look like a coffee-break activity.

Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup is sort of an Anti-NetHack, trying to avoid many of the design mistake NetHack had. Like the needs for spoilers, that different races play the same in the long run, grinding, or that the game doesn't stay challenging after a certain point.

DCSS and ToME4 are big games but in the last years there has been a trend to develop smaller roguelikes. Like DoomRL which is exactly what its title says or roguelikes for mobile devices like 100Rogues and POWDER.

Books

+ - Ask Slashdot: High-tech ways to manage your own library at home? 1

Submitted by DeptofDepartments
DeptofDepartments (2774577) writes "With Kindles and ebooks on everyone's lips (sc. hands) nowadays, this might come as a surprise to some, but besides being a techie, I have also amassed quite a collection of actual books (mostly hardcover and first editions) in my personal library. I have always been reluctant to lend them out and the collection has grown so large now that it has become difficult to keep track of all of them.

This is why I am looking for a modern solution to implement some professional-yet-still-home-sized library management. Ideally, this should include some cool features like RFID tags or NFC for keeping track of the books, finding and checking them out quickly, if I decide to lent one.

One problem seems to be the short lifetime of RFID tags (only 5-10 years). Given that many books will probably only be read or checked out once or twice in this period at best, the administrative effort seems very large.
I have also been largely unsuccessful in finding tags or solutions that go beyond the cheap 5 to 20 item "starter kits", yet still remain affordable and below the industrial scale.

Also, what would be suitable and affordable readers/writers for the tags in this context?

Finally, as many of the books are old folios or fairly precious first editions, everything must be non-destructive and should be removable without damage to the books if need be.

(Note: Scanning ISBN's with a hand-held barcode scanner is not an option, as many books are old (pre-ISBN) or special editions).

Software-wise, I would like to have a nice and modern-looking, easy-to-use software that can interface with the hardware side as described above. I do not necessarily need multi-user or networking capabilities at this point.

I hope the CSI (Combined Slashdot Intelligence) has some helpful ideas and pointers for me on this!"

Comment: Better late than never? (Score 1) 173

by bhaak1 (#41893157) Attached to: David Braben Kickstarts an <em>Elite</em> Reboot

I don't have high hopes that Braben can repeat the success of Elite. He's been talking about it for years, with small hints here and there but nothing has come from it.

So I'm mildly anxious that this time it will be for real.

But OTOH I don't expect it to be a big succes. In the best case it will be something along the lines of the recent XCOM remake and I would be quite content with such a game.

Communications

+ - "Beaming" technology allows for remote human/rat communications->

Submitted by cylonlover
cylonlover (1921924) writes "The EU Commission’s Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) is working on a “beaming” telepresence system that is designed to allow users to virtually experience being in a remote location by seeing, hearing and even feeling that location through the sensory inputs of a robot located there. That robot, in turn, would relay the user’s speech and movements to the people at that location. Now, two of the CORDIS partners have put an interesting slant on the technology – they’ve used it to let people interact with rats."
Link to Original Source
Piracy

+ - Porn Pirate Ordered to Pay 1.5 Million Dollars 1

Submitted by bs0d3
bs0d3 (2439278) writes "A court in Illinois has ordered a man who lives in Virginia 1.5 million in damages after the man was unable to appear in court. The defendant was a paying customer who used to watch porn on their site, and then upload it to bittorrent after. The porn company says they were able to identify him through their custom encryption software. Every time the Defendant downloaded a copy of a copyrighted video from Plaintiff's website, it inserts an encrypted code that is only assigned to Defendant. In this case, the encrypted code for Defendant is: "xvyynuxl". The uploaded shared copied uniquely identified the customer whos account was used to view the porn. According to attorney Blair Chintella, the defendant may be able to challenge the ruling by arguing that there was some jurisdictional defect in the lawsuit."

Comment: Re:Eclipse is better if you are a beginner (Score 1) 586

by bhaak1 (#41827955) Attached to: The IDE As a Bad Programming Language Enabler

What you are saying, then, is that beginners should use a language that supports a REPL? Great! Now if we would just stop teaching Java to CS101 students...

REPL can be simulated on any language. I hope you're teaching your CS101 students more than just things that make sense in a REPL.

Comment: Re:Eclipse is better if you are a beginner (Score 1) 586

by bhaak1 (#41827947) Attached to: The IDE As a Bad Programming Language Enabler

I don't think our philosophies differ that much. You didn't you would code and then immediately jump into debugger. You said "as soon as I feel like I understand what the code is supposed" so you already have thought about the code.

I've seen programmers trying to debug code by randomly and unsystematically putting breakpoints, hoping to getting a clue what the code does wrong, without even trying to think first. Shotgun debugging at its worst. If they don't have a clear model in their mind of what the code is supposed to do how can they deduce valid conclusions that can be proven or disproven?

Comment: Re:Eclipse is better if you are a beginner (Score 1) 586

by bhaak1 (#41827925) Attached to: The IDE As a Bad Programming Language Enabler

Also: Memory protection leads to sloppy programmers. Bad habits should be punished.

Because of this sentence I'm not sure if your whole post is ironic or not. I'll treat it as non ironic.

Part of the learning process is not only in solving the exact thing you want to do. When you do the research needed to solve your problem you tend to get a lot of information that isn't related to the problem at hand but helps you understand the language and how to avoid related problems.

Yes, you tend to get a lot of information that is not related to the problem you're having but if you are a beginner but that doesn't mean that you also understand that information and keep it in mind for later reference. Because you just don't know the language and its problems yet!

If you're starting out in a new language (even if you already know programming in other languages) it is certainly not always obvious what code leads to unmaintainable code. Learning a language is always exploring unknown territory and exploring is much easier if you can do it in small steps and for that instant feedback is way better. You will always be using some sort of reference and tutorial for exploring it and if those tutorials recommend bad languages features or habits (and let's be honest, every language has these) then it's the fault of that learning material.

Comment: Re:Eclipse is better if you are a beginner (Score 1) 586

by bhaak1 (#41827585) Attached to: The IDE As a Bad Programming Language Enabler

That may be, but tools made "for beginners" are bad tools. Not what you want when you're no longer a beginner. Then you want the beginner-stuff out of your way, so it doesn't waste your time.

I didn't say Eclipse is made "for beginners". IMO Eclipse works well enough OOTB even for advanced programmers, it stays out of your way most of the time.

But yes, if you want to become a really good programmer, you should expand your view beyond one single IDE. At least switching between Eclipse and Vim. :-)

Comment: Eclipse is better if you are a beginner (Score 5, Insightful) 586

by bhaak1 (#41815507) Attached to: The IDE As a Bad Programming Language Enabler

Syntax highlighting and parens matching doesn't really help the beginners. Instant feedback for programming errors is great, you immediately learn about the syntax on the go. Then the debugger is also a great tool (even though I think you should first think, then code, then think again and only as a last resort start the debugger).

These are not Eclipse-unique features, you can get such features with many setups but an easy to install IDE that satisfies your needs and is easily extendable with plugins that integrate seamlessly with your IDE (for example Findbugs).

It's almost like Emacs done right for Java. Well, as right as an IDE can be done.

I don't buy the argument that 1 class means 1 file is a problem (btw, this only applies to public classes anyway). If your project is large enough, you still get navigational problems even if you'd crammed 10000 lines into files (please, don't do this).

Maybe Computer Science should be in the College of Theology. -- R. S. Barton

Working...