Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

+ - Would Microsoft really cut its QA department?->

Submitted by colinneagle
colinneagle (2544914) writes "Bloomberg reports that Nadella is making changes to the engineering organization and that QA testers may feel the ax. The publication attributes to him the notion that "it often makes sense to have the developers test and fix bugs instead of a separate team of testers."

This would be an incredible move if it's true, because it would fly in the face of more than 30 years of development processes. The whole premise of Agile development is based on building one small piece, test, test, test, add another feature, test, test, test, rinse, repeat. You don't let programmers debug their code for the same reason you don't let writers be their own editor; you need fresh eyes to see what the other person might not.

Microsoft does use a different technique for development. Rather than straight QA people, it uses what it called Software Developer Engineer Test, or SDET, who create software that identifies bugs and fixes them when possible. There is still a layer of human intervention for harder-to-find bugs, but the process does automate testing.

Might Microsoft be bold enough to cut QA for its software products and increase its automated testing processes? Or is this just a nightmare scenario that has cropped up amid Microsoft layoff rumors?"

Link to Original Source

+ - Police dog sniffs out hidden memory cards, flash drives to search for child porn->

Submitted by colinneagle
colinneagle (2544914) writes "A Rhode Island state police task force’s hunt to track down “the worst of the worst” sex offenders and child pornographers now includes a golden Labrador named Thoreau that can sniff out hidden memory cards and storage drives, which will be used during the investigation of suspected child pornographers. The dog is trained to identify the scent of the components within the storage devices, and has already found as part of an investigation "a thumb drive containing child pornography hidden four layers deep in a tin box inside a metal cabinet," the Providence Journal reported.

Of course, the dog cannot discern between storage devices that contain illegal material and those that do not, but it will be used when investigating suspected child pornographers and could gather evidence that police officers may not be able to find."

Link to Original Source

+ - FAA's ruling on smartphones during takeoff has had little impact->

Submitted by colinneagle
colinneagle (2544914) writes "Airlines have seen almost no increase in the use of smartphones, tablets, and laptops among passengers since the Federal Aviation Administration ruled in October that they are now allowed to do so during takeoff and landing, a recent study found.

Over a four month period observed by DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development this year, 35.9% of passengers used mobile devices at any point during the flight. In last year’s study, while flight attendants still patrolled the aisles for devices that hadn't been shut off, 35.3% of passengers used devices during flight. Chaddick Institute director Joseph Schwieterman said many people may not be interested in using their mobile devices in-flight, and are simply excited for an opportunity to "use the time to sleep and chill out."

Another contributing factor is the stipulation to the FAA’s rule that still bans the use of smartphones for making phone calls or send text messages, the report noted. That may change soon, however. The FAA recently received public comment on a proposal to lift its ban on in-flight cellphone communications service, which has been in place since 1991.""

Link to Original Source

+ - How MIT and Caltech's coding breakthrough could accelerate mobile network speeds

Submitted by colinneagle
colinneagle (2544914) writes "What if you could transmit data without link layer flow control bogging down throughput with retransmission requests, and also optimize the size of the transmission for network efficiency and application latency constraints? In a Network World post, blogger Steve Patterson breaks down a recent breakthrough in stateless transmission using Random Linear Network Coding, or RLNC, which led to a joint venture between researchers at MIT, Caltech, and the University of Aalborg in Denmark called Code On Technologies.

The RLNC-encoded transmission improved video quality because packet loss in the RLNC case did not require the retransmission of lost packets. The RLNC-encoded video was downloaded five times faster than the native video stream time, and the RLNC-encoded video streamed fast enough to be rendered without interruption.

In over-simplified terms, each RLNC encoded packet sent is encoded using the immediately earlier sequenced packet and randomly generated coefficients, using a linear algebra function. The combined packet length is no longer than either of the two packets from which it is composed. When a packet is lost, the missing packet can be mathematically derived from a later-sequenced packet that includes earlier-sequenced packets and the coefficients used to encode the packet."

+ - Robots Are Strong: The Sci-Fi Myth of Robotic Competence-> 1

Submitted by malachiorion
malachiorion (1205130) writes "When it comes to robots, most of us are a bunch of John Snow know-nothings. With the exception of roboticists, everything we assume we know is based on science fiction, which has no reason to be accurate about its iconic heroes and villains, or journalists, who are addicted to SF references, jokes and tropes. That's my conclusion, at least, after a story I wrote Popular Science got some attention—it asked whether a robotic car should kill its owner, if it means saving two strangers. The most common dismissals of the piece claimed that robo-cars should simply follow Asimov's First Law, or that robo-cars would never crash into each other. These perspectives are more than wrong-headed—they ignore the inherent complexity and fallibility of real robots, for whom failure is inevitable. Here's my follow-up story, about why most of our discussion of robots is based on make-believe, starting with the myth of robotic hyper-competence. Bishop"
Link to Original Source

+ - Driverless cars could cripple law enforcement budgets->

Submitted by colinneagle
colinneagle (2544914) writes "Google’s driverless cars have now combined to drive more than 700,000 miles on public roads without receiving one citation, The Atlantic reported this week. While this raises a lot of questions about who is responsible to pay for a ticket issued to a speeding autonomous car – current California law would have the person in the driver’s seat responsible, while Google has said the company that designed the car should pay the fine – it also hints at a future where local and state governments will have to operate without a substantial source of revenue.

Approximately 41 million people receive speeding tickets in the U.S. every year, paying out more than $6.2 billion per year, according to statistics from the U.S. Highway Patrol published at StatisticBrain.com. That translates to an estimate $300,000 in speeding ticket revenue per U.S. police officer every year.

State and local governments often lean on this source of income when they hit financial trouble. A study released in 2009 examined data over a 13-year period in North Carolina, finding a “statistically significant correlation between a drop in local government revenue one year, and more traffic tickets the next year,” Popular Science reported.

So, just as drug cops in Colorado and Washington are cutting budgets after losing revenue from asset and property seizures from marijuana arrests, state and local governments will need to account for a drastic reduction in fines from traffic violations as autonomous cars stick to the speed limit."

Link to Original Source

+ - Bell Labs offers $100,000 prize for game-changing information technology-> 1

Submitted by coondoggie
coondoggie (973519) writes "One of the iconic research facilities in the world — Bell Labs — today said it would offer $100,00 in prizes for researchers that have innovative ideas that can alter the information and communications technology field by a factor of 10. If that sounds pretty wide open, it is, as the lab is looking for all manner of advanced ideas in areas from web applications, cloud services, cryptography, network mathematics and security to software-defined networks, sustainability, wireless systems and coding theory."
Link to Original Source

+ - Gun Rights Groups Say They Don't Oppose Smart Guns, Just Mandates-> 1

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "When two gun stores attempted to sell the nation's first integrated smart gun, the iP1, gun advocacy groups were charged in media reports with organizing protests that lead to the stores pulling the guns from their shelves or reneging on their promise to sell them in the first place. But, the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation say they do not oppose smart gun technology, which they call "authorized user recognition" firearms. "We do oppose any government mandate of this technology, however. The marketplace should decide," Mike Bazinet, a spokesman for the NSSA, wrote in an email reply to Computerworld. However, the argument for others goes that if stores begin selling smart guns, then legislators will draft laws requiring the technology."
Link to Original Source

+ - The 69 Words GM Employees Can Never Say->

Submitted by bizwriter
bizwriter (1064470) writes "General Motors put together its take on a George Carlin list of words you can't say. Engineering employees were shown 69 words and phrases that were not to be used in emails, presentations, or memos. They include: defect, defective, safety, safety related, dangerous, bad, and critical. You know, words that the average person, in the context of the millions of cars that GM has recalled, might understand as indicative of underlying problems at the company. Oh, terribly sorry, "problem" was on the list as well."
Link to Original Source

+ - Why should Red Hat support competitors' software?->

Submitted by colinneagle
colinneagle (2544914) writes "The Wall Street Journal recently reported that, based on documents it reviewed, Red Hat "has chosen not to provide support to its commercial Linux customers if they use rival versions of OpenStack." But the big question is: Why would customers have expected that in the first place? Gartner analyst Lydia Leong told Network World that Red Hat isn't really doing anything wrong here. Customers shouldn't have an expectation that Red Hat would support competitors' software. "The norm would be to expect that non-Red Hat software is treated like any other third-party software," Leong says.

If Red Hat has done anything wrong, it's that it has not clearly articulated its positioning and support for non-Red Hat OpenStack distros. Red Hat did not immediately respond to a question asking for a clarification on its support policy.

The complication in all this comes from the fact that OpenStack is an open source project and there are misconceived notions that all OpenStack clouds are interoperable with one another. But Leong says just because OpenStack is open source doesn't change the expectations around vendors supporting competitors' products.

Each vendor — HP, Red Hat, Rackspace, IBM — has its own commercial interests at play here. Of course Red Hat will integrate their OpenStack distro with RHEL — that's how it makes money. And HP will do the same with its hardware. There are no purely altruistic open source companies that offer free distributions that are interoperable across all vendors."

Link to Original Source

+ - Microsoft Research's gesture keyboard could kill the mouse->

Submitted by colinneagle
colinneagle (2544914) writes "The Type–Hover–Swipe keyboard is a slim keyboard with gesture control sensors embedded between its keys. When you want to do some basic mouse movements, like scrolling up and down, simply raise your hand from the keyboard and make a gentle motion. In a demo video showing it in action, switching between apps seemed as simple as hovering over the keyboard, More interesting is the racing game simulation, where you basically hold your hands over the keyboard in a driving position. That did look a little clumsy, but as Microsoft says, the sensors are only 64 pixels, so it's fairly low res. There are other methods to compensate for this and recognize proper input.

As always, this is a work in progress. The keyboard has no release date, and there's no promise it will be released, or even be released in the form demonstrated. But if it can spare users the waste of time of shifting to the keyboard, then that will be a benefit for all."

Link to Original Source

+ - Why Hollywood's Best Robot Stories Are About Slavery->

Submitted by malachiorion
malachiorion (1205130) writes "On the occasion of Almost Human's cancellation (and the box office flopping of Transcendence), I tried to suss out what makes for a great, and timeless Hollywood robot story. The common thread seems to be slavery, or stories that use robots and AI as completely blatant allegories for the discrimination and dehumanization that's allowed slavery to happen, and might again. My analysis for Popular Science, including a defense (up to a point!) of HAL 9000's murder spree."
Link to Original Source

+ - Ask Slashdot: How Do You Tell A Compelling Story About IT Infrastructure?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Every month we submit status reports to upper management. On the infrastructure side, these reports tend to be "Hey, we met our service level agreements ... again." IT infrastructure is now a lot like the electric company. Nobody thanks the electric company the lights come on but they have plenty of colorful adjectives to describe them when the power is off.

What is the best way to construct a compelling story for upper management so they'll appreciate the hard work that an IT department does. They don't seem particularly impressed with functioning systems because they expect functioning systems. The extensive effort to design and implement reliable systems has also made IT boring and dull. What types of summaries can you provide upper management to help them appreciate IT infrastructure and the money they spend on the services it provides?"

+ - Microsoft cheaper to use than open source software, UK CIO says->

Submitted by colinneagle
colinneagle (2544914) writes "Jos Creese, CIO of the Hampshire County Council, told Britain's "Computing" publication that part of the reason is that most staff are already familiar with Microsoft products and that Microsoft has been flexible and more helpful.

"Microsoft has been flexible and helpful in the way we apply their products to improve the operation of our frontline services, and this helps to de-risk ongoing cost," he told the publication. "The point is that the true cost is in the total cost of ownership and exploitation, not just the license cost."

Creese went on to say he didn't have a particular bias about open source over Microsoft, but proprietary solutions from Microsoft or any other commercial software vendor "need to justify themselves and to work doubly hard to have flexible business models to help us further our aims.""

Link to Original Source

+ - MIT students to receive $100 in Bitcoin->

Submitted by colinneagle
colinneagle (2544914) writes "The MIT Bitcoin Club is handing out $100 in the cryptocurrenty to MIT undergrads next September. The club’s co-founder Jeremy Rubin gave a pretty convincing reason for the giveaway:

"Giving students access to cryptocurrencies is analogous to providing them with internet access at the dawn of the internet era."

That gets at the main point, which is to encourage the students to test the technology and come up with applications for it. Even with the Mt. Gox debacle and the other issues surrounding Bitcoin's stability and value, its potential as a technological platform remains massive."

Link to Original Source

egrep -n '^[a-z].*\(' $ | sort -t':' +2.0

Working...