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Are Cable Subscribers Subsidizing Internet-Only TV Viewers? 223

waderoush sends a tongue-in-cheek open letter to cable TV subscribers from somebody who has cut the cord in favor of streaming shows over the internet. "Dear Cable TV Subscriber: I don't think I've ever told you how grateful I am. I haven't paid a cent for cable television since 2009. Yet I have on-demand access via the Internet to a growing cornucopia of great shows like Game of Thrones, Homeland, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad, at reasonable à la carte prices. And it's all because you continue to pay exorbitant and ever-increasing monthly fees for your premium cable bundle (around $80 per month, on average). After all, your money goes straight to the studios and networks that produce and distribute all the expensive first-run programming that I'm perfectly happy to watch later at heavily discounted prices. So in effect, you're subsidizing my own footloose, freeloading, cord-cutting TV habits. I don't know how to thank you!"

Is Silicon Valley Morally Bankrupt and Toxic? 469

concealment sends this quote from a post about how the goals of many tech companies are at odds with what's good for consumers: "Since I've been out of the Silicon-Valley-centered tech industry, I've become increasingly convinced that it's morally bankrupt and essentially toxic to our society. Companies like Google and Facebook — in common with most public companies — have interests that are frequently in conflict with the well-being of — I was going to say their customers or their users, but I'll say 'people' in general, since it's wider than that. People who use their systems directly, people who don't — we're all affected by it, and although some of the outcomes are positive a disturbingly high number of them are negative: the erosion of privacy, of consumer rights, of the public domain and fair use, of meaningful connections between people and a sense of true community, of beauty and care taken in craftsmanship, of our very physical well-being. No amount of employee benefits or underfunded projects can counteract that. Over time, I've come to consider that this situation is irremediable, given our current capitalist system and all its inequalities. To fix it, we're going to need to work on social justice and rethinking how we live and work and relate to each other. Geek toys like self-driving cars and augmented reality sunglasses won't fix it. Social networks designed to identify you to corporations so they can sell you more stuff won't fix it. Better ad targeting or content matching algorithms definitely won't fix it."

Will Online Learning Disrupt Programming Language Adoption? 193

theodp writes "Back in the day, getting traction for a new programming language was next to impossible. First, one needed a textbook publishing deal. Then, one needed a critical mass of CS profs across the country to convince their departments that your language was worth teaching at the university level. And after that, one still needed a critical mass of students to agree it was worth spending their time and tuition to learn your language. Which probably meant that one needed a critical mass of corporations to agree they wanted their employees to use your language. It was a tall order that took years if one was lucky, and only some languages — FORTRAN, PL/I, C, Java, and Python come to mind — managed to succeed on all of these fronts. But that was then, this is now. Whip up some online materials, and you can kiss your textbook publishing worries goodbye. Manage to convince just one of the new Super Profs at Udacity or Coursera to teach your programming language, and they can reach 160,000 students with just one free, not-for-credit course. And even if the elite Profs turn up their nose at your creation, upstarts like Khan Academy or Code Academy can also deliver staggering numbers of students in a short time. In theory, widespread adoption of a new programming language could be achieved in weeks instead of years or decades, piquing employers' interest. So, could we be on the verge of a programming language renaissance? Or will the status quo somehow manage to triumph?"

Could a Category 5 Hurricane Take Down East Coast Data Centers? 214

TheNextCorner writes "With more data moving into the cloud, there is an increasing danger of data loss when one of these cloud computing data centers fails. Hurricanes pose a real threat to infrastructure located in Virginia and North Carolina, where Google, Apple & Facebook have opened large data centers. 'Where would the most damaging hit be? It's debatable, but the most detrimental hit may be in Virginia. Amazon Web Services (AWS) has one of their major centers in Northern Virginia. ... In a study involving millions of people, a third of those surveyed reported visiting a website every day that used Amazon's infrastructure. In 2011, Amazon's S3 cloud stored 762 billion objects. It's possible that Amazon's cloud alone holds an entire 1% of the Internet.' Could a category 5 Hurricane become a problem for these cloud data centers and take down parts the Internet?"

Is Phoenix the Next Silicon Valley? 555

SpicyBrownMustard writes "There's no secret to a rising level of 'Silicon Valley fatigue' lately, and the new reality show certainly isn't helping. And with hacker hostels packing in twenty somethings fueling the 'it's okay to fail' incubator culture that now is actually hurting startups, it's no wonder weariness with the culture is setting in. asks the question: Is Phoenix The Next Silicon Valley? The article covers a startup with a couple names you might know, who picked Phoenix due to its much lower cost of living and different quality of life. The startup's CTO, 'explains that having so much more financial freedom lowers the stress associated with working for a startup, as he can enjoy work/live balance.' Their location certainly didn't hurt fundraising, as they managed $2 million in seed capital. Are we indeed moving on from Silicon Valley for tech startups?"

Leveraging always beats prototyping.