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+ - TracFone Finally Agrees To Allow Phone Unlocking ->

jfruh writes: While most Slashdot readers probably enjoy the latest and greatest smartphones and heavy-use data plans, millions of Americans use low-cost, prepaid featurephones, and many of those are sold under various brand names owned by TracFone. Today, after much pressure from the FCC, TracFone admitted that its customers also have the right to an unlocked phone that they can port to a different provider, including those low-income customers who participate in the government-subsidized Lifeline program, widely (though incorrectly) known as "Obamaphone".
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+ - Why Software Development Isn't A Straight March Forward->

jfruh writes: In Pali, the term for which is paiccasamuppda ('mutual arising') means that every action contains the seeds of unknown others, including ones that work toward its own destruction. We can see this in our national political life — when, for instance, a young white man who tried to start a race war by killing nine black people spurred a movement to remove Confederate flags from statehouses instead. And, according to webmaster Sasha Akhavi, we see it in software development as well, where our actions cause nowhere near the linear march towards success that we would like.
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+ - Why Isn't Anyone Talking About the Botched Apple Music Launch?->

itwbennett writes: When Apple Music launched yesterday, it only launched on iOS apps at the appointed time. Peter Smith writes this about the desktop experience:

The Apple Music site had a Try Now button up for desktop users all day, and clicking it opened iTunes. iTunes 2.1.2 if you were up to date. The problem was that Apple Music requires iTunes 2.2, and as late as 6 PM ET that wasn't available. If you clicked the Try Now button, iTunes would open and inform you that you needed iTunes 2.2 and offered an Upgrade button. That Upgrade button would take you to the web to download the old version of iTunes that didn't support Apple Music.

But nowhere in the tech press did you see mention of the botched launch. VentureBeat wanted to make sure you knew how not to get charged for Apple Music, as did Engadget and TheVerge. And TechCrunch thought things were "going pretty well so far" when, at 6:20 PM ET, some Mac users finally started getting the update ( seven hours after scheduled launch).
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+ - Celebrating Workarounds, Kludges, and Hacks->

itwbennett writes: We all have some favorite workarounds that right a perceived wrong (like getting around the Wall Street Journal paywall) or make something work the way we think it ought to. From turning off annoying features in your Prius to getting around sanctions in Crimea and convincing your Android phone you're somewhere you're not, workarounds are a point of pride, showing off our ingenuity and resourcefulness. And sometimes artful workarounds can even keep businesses operating in times of crisis. Take, for example, the Sony employees, who, in the wake of the Great Hack of 2014 when the company's servers went down, dug out old company BlackBerrys that, while they had been abandoned, had never had their plans deactivated. Because BlackBerrys used RIM's email servers instead of Sony's, they could still communicate with one another, and employees with BlackBerrys became the company's lifeline as it slowly put itself back together.
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+ - How Computer Science Education Got Practical (Again)->

jfruh writes: In the 1980s and 1990s, thousands of young people who had grown up tinkering with PCs hit college and dove into curricula designed around the vague notion that they might want to "do something with computers." Today, computer science education is a lot more practical — though in many ways that's just going back to the discipline's roots.
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+ - Mob Programming: When Is 5 Heads Really Better Than 1 (or 2)?->

itwbennett writes: Proponents of Mob programming, an offshoot of Pair programming in which the whole team works together on the same computer, say that it increases both quality and productivity, but also acknowledge that the productivity gains might not be readily apparent. 'If you measure by features or other classic development productivity metrics, Mobbing looks like it's achieving only 75 to 85 percent of individual or Pair output for, say, a team of six or seven working for a week,' says Paul Massey, whose company Bluefruit Software is a heavy user of the Mob approach. So, where does the productivity come from? Matthew Dodkins, a software architect at Bluefruit says the biggest gains are in code merges. 'In a day spent using traditional collaboration, you would have to first spend time agreeing on tasks, common goals, deciding who's doing what... and then going away to do that, write code, and come back and merge it, resolve problems,' says Dodkins. By bringing everyone into the same room, 'we try to merge frequently, and try to do almost continuous integration.' Matt Schartman, whose company Appfolio also uses Mobbing and wrote about his experience, gave Mobbing high marks for producing a quality product, but didn't find that it improved productivity in any measurable way.
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+ - Foxconn CEO Backpedals On Planned Robot Takeover->

itwbennett writes: For years now, Foxconn has been talking up plans to replace pesky humans with robot workers in its factories. Back in February, CEO Terry Gou said he expected the automation to account for 70 percent of his company’s assembly line work in three years. But in the company's shareholder meeting Thursday, Gou said he had been misquoted and that 'it should be that in five years, the robots will take over 30 percent of the manpower.'
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+ - Put Your Enterprise Financial Data In The Cloud? Sure, Why Not->

jfruh writes: For many, the idea of storing sensitive financial and other data in the cloud seems insane, especially considering the regulatory aspects that mandate how that data is protected. But more and more organizations are doing so as cloud providers start presenting offerings that fulfill regulatory needs — and people realize that information is more likely to be accidentally emailed out to the wrong address then hacked.
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+ - Average Duration of Hiring Process for Software Engineers: 35 Days->

itwbennett writes: Despite the high demand for tech workers of pretty much all stripes, the hiring process is still rather drawn out, with the average time-to-hire for Software Engineers taking 35 days. That's one of the findings of a new study from career site Glassdoor. The study, led by Glassdoor's Chief Economist Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, analyzed over 340,000 interview reviews, covering 74,000 unique job titles, submitted to the site from February 2009 through February 2015. Glassdoor found that the average time-to-hire for all jobs has increased 80% (from 12.6 days to 22.9 days) since 2010. The biggest reason for this jump: The increased reliance on screening tests of various sorts, from background checks and skills tests to drug tests and personality tests, among others.
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+ - The Next Java Update Could Make Yahoo Your Default Search Provider->

itwbennett writes: At the company's shareholder meeting on Wednesday, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced a partnership with Oracle that could result in Yahoo becoming your default browser. Starting this month, when users are prompted to update to the next version of Java, they'll be asked to make Yahoo their default search engine on Chrome (and Internet Explorer, for what it's worth). And, according to a Wall Street Journal report, the button will be checked by default, so if you aren't looking out for it, you might unwittingly find yourself a Yahoo user.
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+ - You Don't Need A Facebook Account To Sign Up For Facebook Messenger->

jfruh writes: Proving it's serious about transforming Messenger from a Facebook feature into a standalone service, Facebook has announced that users in some countries no longer need a Facebook account to use Messenger. If you live in the U.S., Canada, Peru, or Venezuela, all you need is a mobile phone number. So if you've been avoiding signing up for Facebook but frustrated by all your friends using its messaging service, you're in luck.
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+ - When Will Your Hard Drive Fail?->

jfruh writes: Tech writer Andy Patrizio suffered his most catastrophic hard drive failure in 25 years of computing recently, which prompted him to delve into the questions of which hard drives fail and when. One intriguing theory behind some failure rates involve a crisis in the industry that arose from the massive 2011 floods in Thailand, home to the global hard drive industry.
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+ - US Navy Will Pay Millions For Windows XP Support->

jfruh writes: More than 100,000 U.S. Navy computers still run on Windows XP, and while there's a migration plan in place, the Navy signed a $9.1 million contract with Microsoft to support those systems in the meantime. You could look at this as the US government falling behind technologically — but you could also see it as an organization that has systems that work perfectly fine for it being willing to pay for support rather than jumping too quickly into a potentially disruptive transition.
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+ - Google Pulling Back The Veil On Its Custom-Built Data Centers->

jfruh writes: In the mid-'00s, as Google scaled up its data centers to meet increasing demand, "we could not buy, for any price, a data-center network that would meet the requirements of our distributed systems," says Amin Vahdat, the company's networking technical lead. So they had to build their own software-defined networks inside what were essentially vast warehouse-sized computers. And now the company is starting to tell the world how they did it.
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+ - The Internet Of Things Is The Password Killer We've Been Waiting For->

jfruh writes: You can't enter a password into an Apple Watch; the software doesn't allow it, and the UI would make doing so difficult even if it did. As we enter the brave new world of wearable and embeddable devices and omnipresent 'headless' computers, we may be seeing the end of the password as we know it. What will replace? Well, as anyone who's ever unlocked car door just by reaching for its handle with a key in their pocket knows, the answer may be the embeddable devices themselves.
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