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Submission + - Drones and driverless tractors – is this the future of farming?-> 1

walterbyrd writes: Ian Beecher-Jones, a precision farming consultant, recently told Farmers Weekly magazine that about 60% of Britain’s farmland is now being managed by precision methods, which include sensor systems, cameras, drones, microphones, virtual field maps, analytics and GPS-guided tractors. These technologies – examples of the so-called internet of things – are fuelling what is being called the “new agricultural revolution”.
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Submission + - The Key of Revelation: spoken by George "Burnin'" Bush on 1/20/2001... psst 9/11-> 2

phenix writes: On 1/20 Bush inaugurated the fire of Creation, by speaking a paraphrase of the words of Ecclesiastes 9:11, and Revelation 20:1. Chapter and verse, highlighting the month, day, and year of the soon to come terrorist attack and framing the story of Exodus as a battle between magic, technology, and secrecy: all centering on the USA... Let there be light... in my native Geek, and reversed: sudo xe,
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Submission + - RTOS Vs. General Purpose OS 1

mrjoli021gmail.com writes: I have been working with VxWorks and Linux for real-time solutions. My main focus has been in the voice market. I don't see any impact on the servers we deploy running Debian and/or RedHat. We even have most of our infrastructure virtualized. So my question is, is there still a market for any Real-time Os and if so what is that purpose? From my experience Linux if tweaked, it is stable enough to run efficiently at least for most of the stuff I have done. That is why I would like to know a good argument for running VxWorks or any RTOS vs a Linux distro.

Submission + - In Praise of the Solo Programmer

HughPickens.com writes: Jean-Louis Gassée writes that once upon a time, we were awestruck by the solo programmer who could single-handedly write a magnum opus on a barebones machine like the Apple ][ with its 64 kilobytes of memory and an 8-bit processor running at 1MHz. Once such giant was Paul Lutus, known as the Oregon Hermit, who won a place next to Jobs and Wozniak in the Bandley Drive Hall of Fame for his Apple Writer word processor. "Those were the days Computers and their operating systems were simple and the P in Personal Computers applied to the programmer," writes Gassée. "There’s no place for a 2015 Paul Lutus. But are things really that dire?"

As it turns out, the size and complexity of operating systems and development tools do not pose completely insurmountable obstacles; There are still programs of hefty import authored by one person. One such example is Preview, Mac’s all-in-one file viewing and editing program. The many superpowers of Apple’s Preview does justice to the app’s power and flexibility authored by a solo, unnamed programmer who has been at it since the NeXT days. Newer than Preview but no less ambitious, is Gus Mueller’s Acorn, an “Image Editor for Humans”, now in version 5 at the Mac App Store. Mueller calls his Everett, WA company a mom and pop shop because his spouse Kristin does the documentation when she isn’t working as a Physical Therapist. Gus recently released Acorn 5 fixing hundreds of minor bugs and annoyances. "It took months and months of work, it was super boring and mind numbing and it was really hard to justify, and it made Acorn 5 super late," writes Mueller. "But we did it anyway, because something in us felt that software quality has been going downhill in general, and we sure as heck weren't going to let that happen to Acorn."

Submission + - EPA withholds Colorado disaster documents demanded by Congress 2

schwit1 writes: The EPA, when ordered by Congress to release documents describing that agency's planning prior to the toxic waste disaster it caused in Colorado, has failed to meet the deadline set by Congress for turning over those documents.

"It is disappointing, but not surprising, that the EPA failed to meet the House Science Committee's reasonable deadline in turning over documents pertaining to the Gold King Mine spill," said Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX). "These documents are essential to the Committee's ongoing investigation and our upcoming hearing on Sept. 9. But more importantly, this information matters to the many Americans directly affected in western states, who are still waiting for answers from the EPA."

Smith — who frequently spars with the EPA — is chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. EPA director Gina McCarthy has been asked to appear and answer questions about the agency's role in creating a 3-million-gallon toxic spill into Colorado's Animas River on Aug. 5. Critics say McCarthy and the EPA have been unresponsive, secretive and unsympathetic toward millions of people who live in three states bordering the river.

The word "coverup" comes to mind, though how could anyone believe that the Obama administration (the most transparent in history!) would do such a thing baffles the mind.

Submission + - Amazon Work-Life Balance Defender: Prior Employer Nearly Killed Me and My Team

theodp writes: New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan questions whether her paper's portrayal of Amazon's brutal workplace was on target, citing a long, passionate response in disagreement from Nick Ciubotariu, a head of infrastructure development at Amazon. Interestingly, Ciubotariu — whose take on Amazon's work-life balance ("I’ve never worked a single weekend when I didn’t want to") was used as Exhibit A by CEO Jeff Bezos to refute the NYT's report — wrote last December of regretting his role as an enabler of his team's "Death March" at a former employer (perhaps Microsoft, judging by Ciubotariu's LinkedIn profile and his essay's HiPo and Vegas references). "I asked if there were any questions," wrote Ciubotariu of a team meeting. "Nadia, one of my Engineers, had one: 'Nick, when will this finally end?' As I looked around the room, I saw 9 completely broken human beings. We had been working over 100 hours a week for the past 2 months. Two of my Engineers had tears on their faces. I did my best to keep from completely breaking down myself. With my voice choking, I looked at everyone, and said: 'This ends right now'." Ciubotariu added, "I hope they can forgive me for being an enabler of their death march, however unwilling, and that I ultimately didn’t do enough to stop it. As a 'reward' for all this, I calibrated #1 overall in my organization, and received yet another HiPo nomination and induction, at the cost of a shattered family life, my health, and a broken team. I don’t think I ever felt worse in my entire career. If I could give it all back, I would, in an instant, no questions asked. Physically and mentally, I took about a year to heal."

Submission + - Linus Torvalds says Security is never going to be perfect->

sfcrazy writes: Linus Torvalds made a surprise appearance for a Keynote discussion at LinuxCon 2015. He talked about many topics, including security. Linus said security in most cases is bugs which are exploited by some clever person. But can we get rid of bugs, and as a result security holes? So can Linux get rid of such bugs? Not realistically. It’s just impossible to write any software free of bugs. The thing is to catch them as soon as you can. “The thing is, you are never going to get rid of bugs,” Linus said. It’s also hard to know ahead of time that the bug in your software can be a security issue. And he’s absolutely right. “If you think of it that way, then you just know that bugs are inevitable; security is never going to be perfect,” he added
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Submission + - 20th anniversary of the Nintendo Virtual Boy's U.S. debut->

harrymcc writes: On April 21, 1995, Nintendo's Virtual Boy launched in the U.S. The world's first stereoscopic game console, it was originally intended to be the Oculus Rift of its era--but evolved into a strange device which is remembered mostly for being an enormous flop. Over at Fast Company, Benj Edwards tells the remarkable story, and explains what went wrong with a machine that started out being quite visionary.
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Submission + - IRS computer hack bigger than previously thought

schwit1 writes: A hack of IRS taxpayer information was significantly bigger than previously estimated, the IRS revealed today.

An additional 220,000 potential victims had information stolen from an IRS website as part of a sophisticated scheme to use stolen identities to claim fraudulent tax refunds, the IRS said Monday. The revelation more than doubles the total number of potential victims, to 334,000.

Well, no matter, this hack is mere chicken feed compared to the 21 million records stolen from the federal Office of Personal Management. And it hardly compares with the recent Pentagon breach, where the Chinese got almost all federal records. No, the IRS is doing a much better job then those other agencies, only being slightly incompetent and screwing up only a little.

Submission + - Federal Judge Calls BS on Homeland Security's 2008 STEM 'Emergency'

theodp writes: In 2008, the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security enacted 'emergency' changes to Optional Practical Training (OPT) to extend the amount of time foreign STEM graduates of US colleges could stay in the country and work ("to alleviate the crisis employers are facing due to the current H-1B visa shortage", as Bill Gates explained it in 2007). More than seven years later, U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle has found that the government erred by not seeking public comment when it extended the program, and issued a ruling that could force tens of thousands of foreign workers on OPT STEM extensions to return to their home countries early next year. Huvelle has given the government six months to submit the OPT extension rule for proper notice and comment lest it be revoked. From the ruling (pdf): "By failing to engage in notice-and-comment rulemaking, the record is largely one-sided, with input only from technology companies that stand to benefit from additional F-1 student employees, who are exempted from various wage taxes. Indeed, the 17-month duration of the STEM extension appears to have been adopted directly from the unanimous suggestions by Microsoft and similar industry groups." Microsoft declared a new crisis in 2012, this time designed to link tech's need for H-1B visas to U.S. children's lack of CS savvy.

Submission + - Windows 10 could disable pirated games and unauthorized hardware->

Mark Wilson writes: Cries of "FUD!" ring out whenever potential issues and concerns with Windows 10 are pointed out, but there's no denying that the launch of this version of Windows has been more blighted than any other. The latest controversy finds Microsoft updating its EULA so that it is able to block pirated games and unauthorized peripherals.

While on one hand this seems entirely reasonable — few people would argue too strongly that they should be permitted to play pirated games — on the other it is confusing and worrisome. It is yet another example of Microsoft causing trouble for itself by failing to properly communicate with its customers, being insufficiently transparent and clear in meaning. Just what is an 'unauthorized peripheral'? It is the lack of clarity that is likely to give the greatest cause for concern here.

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