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How Facebook Is Eating the $140 Billion Hardware Market 89

mattydread23 writes: It started out as a controversial idea inside Facebook. In four short years, the Open Compute Project has turned the $141 billion data-center computer-hardware industry on its head. This is the comprehensive history of the project, including interviews with founder Jonathan Heiliger and members of the financial services industry who are already on board, plus a dismissal from Google's own data center guru Urs Holzle.

My High School CS Homework Is the Centerfold 628

theodp writes: To paraphrase the J. Geils Band, Maddie Zug's high school computer science homework is the centerfold. In a Washington Post op-ed, Zug, a student at the top-ranked Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, argues that a centerfold does not belong in the classroom. "I first saw a picture of Playboy magazine's Miss November 1972 a year ago as a junior at TJ," Zug explains. "My artificial intelligence teacher told our class to search Google for Lena Soderberg (not the full image, though!) and use her picture to test our latest coding assignment...Soderberg has a history with computer science. In the 1970s, male programmers at the University of Southern California needed to test their image-processing algorithm. They scanned what they had handy: the centerfold of a Playboy magazine. Before long, the image became a convention in industry and academia." (Wikipedia has a nice background, too.)

Comment Re:don't count yer fibers just yet (Score 1) 108

The map you're looking for is here. If I remember correctly, yellow is Millenium/Broadstripe/Wave, everything else is Comcast. In shaded areas of the Comcast section, Millenium can wire individual apartment or condo buildings. For example, I live in a Comcast area of Capitol Hill but we only have Millenium in my building, most likely because they offered either the building management or the builder an incentive (e.g., wired the building for cable for free in exchange for a multiyear contract).

Every time somebody complains about their Comcast internet in Seattle, I want to smack them upside the head. Try living in an area or building that only has Millenium/Broadstrap/Wave for cable service. I dream of going back to Comcast after dealing with CenturyLink's reliable and cheap but extremely slow (usually 35Kb up, 2-3Mb down) DSL. Millenium is a non-starter with their higher prices and shitty service.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 2) 274

These Amazon distribution centers are operated by wholly owned subsidiaries. Amazon claims that it's not their sales business that has a business presence there, but rather the subsidiaries which are technically separate companies that just happen to be owned by Amazon.


Ask Slashdot: Most Secure Mobile OS? 291

Lexta writes "So I'm contemplating my next smartphone purchase, and I've been a little put off by all of the security exploits posted on Slashdot over the last few months, particularly for Android. So, what's the most secure stock standard (not jailbroken) mobile OS?"

What's Not To Like About New iPad? 617

Hugh Pickens writes "With 3 million sold over the last week what's not to like about the new iPad? Michelle Maltais at the LA Times does a good job of putting together a compendium of gripes about the new device, justified or otherwise. Most people thought that Siri on the new iPad was a gimme; instead it has a scaled back version — dictation. 'If you want Siri, buy an iPhone. Plain and simple.' The new iPad is a little heavier than the iPad 2, thanks to the better graphics processor and more powerful battery. At one-tenth of a pound heavier that really doesn't sound like much, but it can start to matter if you hold your iPad in one hand for long periods or have any kind of repetitive stress injury. Apps designed for Retina display can be up to five times bigger and it's not just a problem for owners of the new iPad. Legacy owners of the original and iPad 2 who have these apps get to feel the pain too, since updates aren't device specific." The list continues, below.

Schmidt: Google Once Considered Issuing Currency 189

itwbennett writes "In his keynote speech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said the company once 'had various proposals to have [its] own currency [it was] going to call Google Bucks.' The idea was to implement a 'peer-to-peer money' system, but it was squelched by legal issues."

Ask Slashdot: Making JavaScript Tolerable For a Dyed-in-the-Wool C/C++/Java Guy? 575

DocDyson writes "I'm a dyed-in-the-wool C/C++/Java developer with over 20 years of experience. I'm making a good living and having fun doing back-end Java work right now, but I strongly believe in being a generalist, so I'm finally trying to learn the HTML5/CSS3/JavaScript future of the Web. However, I find JavaScript's weak typing and dynamic nature difficult to adapt to because I'm so used to strongly-typed, compiled languages with lots of compile-time error-checking and help from the IDE. Does anyone out there who has made this transition have any tips in terms of the best tools and libraries to use to make JavaScript more palatable to us old-school developers?"

Comment Re:In works within the EU... (Score 1) 949

EU members have passed extensive tax harmonization over the years. Rates are set by country and the details of what's taxable where and for how much has been made consistent throughout the union. No such thing has happened or is practical in the US. Every state has its own rules for what's taxed at what rate. For example, in most states you don't have to pay sales tax on food items bought at the grocery store, but in others you still have to pay sales tax on those items fully or in some states at a lower rate than you would for non-food items. In New York, you don't have to pay sales tax on clothing. North Carolina has an annual sales tax holiday where certain items like books are sales tax free for 3 days a year.

What really makes it complex though is that the rates or rules are not consistent across an entire state because local governments can also have their own taxes. Where I live in Seattle, we pay the base 6.5% Washington state sales tax plus 3% in local taxes. Some of those local taxes go to the city where the item is purchased, some to the county where the item was purchased and yet some goes to the regional transit authority spanning multiple counties. On top of that, if you're buying food and beverages in a restaurant, there's an additional 0.5% which goes to pay off debt for stadiums.

There are tens of thousands of different individual jurisdictions just like this across the country. Harmonization would mean elimination of dedicated funding sources for local governments which is just very unlikely to happen any time soon.

Comment Re:I'm not too good for code reviews (Score 1) 495

A few years ago, I took a training course on something or other (I think it was object-oriented design patterns). The instructor brought up an excellent example from outside the software world--germ theory and hygienic medical practices. Ignaz Semmelweis had shown that doctors washing their hands dramatically reduced mortality of patients in hospitals. At the time, his contemporaries thought he was crazy and many were offended by the implication that their hands were unclean. Even after Pasteur proved the biological mechanism of germ theory many years later, it still took years for handwashing to become a completely accepted medical practice because many doctors felt they just didn't have time for it.

Good software engineering practices like code reviews, source control, bug tracking, unit testing, etc. are generally no different. If applied correctly, they should reduce the overall time to release a product.

"Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed." -- Robin, The Boy Wonder