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Comment: Re:Not good enough (Score 1) 319

by jtnix (#47934047) Attached to: Say Goodbye To That Unwanted U2 Album

So it could have been distributed as a Gift, right?
Is there a gifting option for iTunes?
Can I buy an album for someone else and do they have to opt in on the 'gift' or is it just an automatic purchase for their delivery preference?

Ahh, the mysteries of this mostly unused service I have at my beck and call!

Comment: Stand-up workstations are better than caffeine (Score 2) 133

by jtnix (#47785849) Attached to: Coffee Naps Better For Alertness Than Coffee Or Naps Alone

I would argue that employers are definitely interested in increased productivity from employees, but they will certainly settle for the appearance of productivity.

At the risk of going off-topic, a twice-a-day caffeine nap at work is not going to improve productivity nearly as much as a stand-up work station will. Not to mention that staying in a sedentary, sitting position 8+ hours a day is incredibly unhealthy and unnatural. Blast from the past from Mashable: http://mashable.com/2011/05/09...

Businesses

Companies That Don't Understand Engineers Don't Respect Engineers 371

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-you-aren't-part-of-the-solution,-you're-part-of-the-preciptate dept.
An anonymous reader writes Following up on a recent experiment into the status of software engineers versus managers, Jon Evans writes that the easiest way to find out which companies don't respect their engineers is to learn which companies simply don't understand them. "Engineers are treated as less-than-equal because we are often viewed as idiot savants. We may speak the magic language of machines, the thinking goes, but we aren't business people, so we aren't qualified to make the most important decisions. ... Whereas in fact any engineer worth her salt will tell you that she makes business decisions daily–albeit on the micro not macro level–because she has to in order to get the job done. Exactly how long should this database field be? And of what datatype? How and where should it be validated? How do we handle all of the edge cases? These are in fact business decisions, and we make them, because we're at the proverbial coal face, and it would take forever to run every single one of them by the product people and sometimes they wouldn't even understand the technical factors involved. ... It might have made some sense to treat them as separate-but-slightly-inferior when technology was not at the heart of almost every business, but not any more."

+ - Last universal ancestor (LUA) may have a 'leaky' membrane->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "Around four billion years ago the Last Universal Ancestor (LUA), most probably a single cell organism, appeared on Planet Earth. In order to be alive that single cell organism must be able to harness energy from its surrounding, and in order to do that, according to researchers at University College London (UCL), that single cell organism had a 'leaky' membrane which allowed protons to enter and exit at the same time

The UCL researchers came to the conclusion using mathematical modeling, in which the findings were published on August 13, 2014, in PLOS Biology

Illustrated picture at http://cdn.phys.org/newman/gfx...

The study claims this membrane may explain why all cells use the same complex mechanism to harvest energy, and it may also explain why two types of fundamental single-celled organisms — bacteria and archaea — have different cell membranes

The leakiness of the membrane allowed LUA to be powered by energy in its surroundings, most likely vents deep on the ocean floor, while holding in all the other components necessary for life. The team modeled how the membrane changed, enabling LUA’s descendants to move to new, more challenging environments and evolve into two distinct types of single-celled organism, bacteria and archaea, creating the deepest branch of the tree of life

Bacteria and archaea share many common features such as genes, proteins and mechanisms of reading DNA, initially leading scientists to believe they were just different types of bacteria. Their classification changed in the 1970s after extreme differences were found in the way they replicate DNA and in the structure of their cell membrane. As they both stemmed from LUA, scientists set out to find answers in the structure and function of LUA’s membrane

Data from the study strongly suggest that LUA lived in the area where ancient seawater, dense with positively charged particles called protons, mixed with warm alkaline vent fluid, which contained few protons. The difference in the concentration of protons across these two environments enabled protons to flow into the cell, driving the production of a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which powered the growth of cells, just as it does today. However, unlike modern cells the scientists believe this could only happen if the membrane was 'leaky', enabling protons to leave the cell spontaneously so more protons could enter to power growth

From a single basic idea, the model can explain the fundamental differences between bacteria and archaea. In these deep sea vents, there is a continuous flow of alkaline fluids, which mix with the ocean waters. When they mix, the fluids neutralize each other, and that stops any build-up of charge which would otherwise prevent protons flowing into the cell

If the first cells had leaky membranes, then protons could enter and then be neutralized, or leave again, almost as if there was no barrier at all

The mathematical modeling shows that the rate at which protons enter and leave was high enough to power the growth of cells via proteins embedded in the membrane. LUA could have been powered by natural proton gradients in vents, but only if it had a really leaky membrane, completely unlike today’s cells"

Link to Original Source

+ - Designers & Dragons is the complete history of role-playing game publishers

Submitted by Robotech_Master
Robotech_Master (14247) writes "Evil Hat Productions is Kickstarting a four-volume history of the RPG industry that's already met its funding goal almost seven times over. Comprising half a million words altogether, it tells the story of pencil-and-paper role-playing games from their very beginnings, and you can read the e-book of the first volume for kicking in just one buck. $1 for the first e-book, $15 for all four, print volumes starting at $25 and up.

I've reviewed the first volume of it here. I found it extremely thorough and well-written."

+ - Best PDF handling library, for our own definition of "best" ;-)->

Submitted by Fotis Georgatos
Fotis Georgatos (3006465) writes "I got recently engaged in a conversation about handling PDF texts for a range of needs, such as creation, manipulation, merging, text extraction and searching, digital signing etc etc. A couple of potential picks popped up (PDFBox, itext), given some Java experience of the other fellows. And then comes the reality of choosing software as a long term knowledge investment! ideally, we would like to combine these features:
  • open source, with a community following ; the kind of stuff slashdotters would prefer
  • tidy software architecture; simple things should remain simple
  • allow open API allowing usage across many languages (say: Python & Java)
  • clear licensing status, not estranging future commercial use
  • serious multilingual & font support
  • PDF-handling rich features, not limiting usage for invoicing, e-commerce, reports & data mining
  • digital signing should not go against other features

I'd like to poll the collective slashdot crowd wisdom about if/which PDF related libraries, they have written software with, keeps them happy for *all* the above reasons. And if not happy with that all, what do they thing is the best bet for learning one piece of software in the area, with great reusability across different circumstances and little need for extra hacks?

ROTG is not at all a good answer; I'd really like to hear the smoked out war stories. It is easy to obtain a list of such libraries, yet tricky to understand how many obtained success with them!"

Link to Original Source

Verizon

Verizon Boosts FiOS Uploads To Match Downloads 234

Posted by samzenpus
from the greased-lightning dept.
An anonymous reader writes Verizon is boosting the upload speeds of nearly all its FiOS connections to match the download speeds, greatly shortening the time it takes to send videos and back up files online. All new subscribers will get "symmetrical" connections. If you previously were getting 15 Mbps down and 5 Mbps up, you'll be automatically upgraded for no extra cost to 15/15. Same goes if you were on their 50/25 plan: You'll now be upgraded to 50/50. And if you had 75/35? You guessed it: Now it'll be 75 down, and 75 up.
Sony

Sony Forgets To Pay For Domain, Hilarity Ensues 277

Posted by samzenpus
from the turning-the-lights-back-on dept.
First time accepted submitter Dragoness Eclectic writes Early Tuesday, gamers woke up to find out that they couldn't log in to any Sony Online Entertainment games--no Everquest, no Planetside 2, none of them. Oddly, the forums where company reps might have posted some explanation weren't reachable, either. A bit of journalistic investigation by EQ2Wire came across the explanation: SOE forgot to renew the domain registration on SonyOnline.net, the hidden domain that holds all their nameservers. After 7 weeks of non-payment post-expiration, NetworkSolutions reclaimed the domain, sending all access to Sony's games into an internet black hole. Sony has since paid up. SOE's president, John Smedley, has admitted that the expiration notices were being sent to an "unread email" address.

+ - Scotland to get spaceport by 2018->

Submitted by nk497
nk497 (1345219) writes "The UK will build a spaceport by 2018, with eight locations under consideration — the majority of which are in Scotland. The Department of Transport is evaluating existing airfields for suitability to become a spaceport, examining factors such as the weather — strong winds are a problem — and how it will affect the local environment and economy.In its report, the government noted that commercial sub-orbital spaceflights for paying passengers will kick off by the end of this year in the US via Virgin Galactic. It wants the UK to get in on the space tourist action, becoming the centre for such activity in Europe.

"In the longer term, it is possible that spaceplanes will enable intercontinental travel at very high speeds," the report added. "There have been suggestions that by travelling on a sub-orbital trajectory, journey times from the UK to Australia could be cut from the current duration of around 20 hours to as little as two hours." Aside from space tourism and weekend getaways to Brisbane, the spaceport will also allow satellite launches plus delivery of cargo and scientific payloads into orbit. If all goes well, the government predicted the first sub-orbital flights by 2018, followed by satellite launches in 2020, and orbital flights by 2030."

Link to Original Source
Cellphones

San Francisco Bans Parking Spot Auctioning App 404

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-tech-for-you dept.
A couple months ago, we discussed a new phone app being used in San Francisco to auction off parking spaces to the highest bidder. The city has now ordered the app makers to cease and desist, and threatened motorists with a $300 fine for each transaction. City Attorney Dennis Herrera said, Technology has given rise to many laudable innovations in how we live and work -- and Monkey Parking is not one of them. It's illegal, it puts drivers on the hook for $300 fines, and it creates a predatory private market for public parking spaces that San Franciscans will not tolerate. Worst of all, it encourages drivers to use their mobile devices unsafely — to engage in online bidding wars while driving. People are free to rent out their own private driveways and garage spaces should they choose to do so. But we will not abide businesses that hold hostage on-street public parking spots for their own private profit.
Education

Girls Take All In $50 Million Google Learn-to-Code Initiative 548

Posted by Soulskill
from the more-good-coders-more-good-software dept.
theodp writes: On Thursday, Google announced a $50 million initiative to inspire girls to code called Made with Code. As part of the initiative, Google said it will also be "rewarding teachers who support girls who take CS courses on Codecademy or Khan Academy." The rewards are similar to earlier coding and STEM programs run by Code.org and Google that offered lower funding or no funding at all to teachers if participation by female students was deemed unacceptable to the sponsoring organizations. The announcement is all the more intriguing in light of a Google job posting seeking a K-12 Computer Science Education Outreach Program Manager to "work closely with external leaders and company executives to influence activities that drive toward collaborative efforts to achieve major 'moonshots' in education on a global scale." Perhaps towards that end, Google recently hired the Executive Director of the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), who was coincidentally also a Code.org Advisory Board member. And Code.org — itself a Made With Code grantee — recently managed to lure away the ACM's Director of Public Policy to be its COO. So, are these kinds of private-public K-12 CS education initiatives (and associated NSF studies) a good idea? Some of the nation's leading CS educators sure seem to think so (video).

+ - Lie Like a Lady: The Profoundly Weird, Gender-Specific Roots of the Turing Test->

Submitted by malachiorion
malachiorion (1205130) writes "Alan Turing never wrote about the Turing Test, that legendary measure of machine intelligence that was supposedly passed last weekend. He proposed something much stranger—a contest between men and machines, to see who was better at pretending to be a woman. The details of the Imitation Game aren't secret, or even hard to find, and yet no one seems to reference it. Here's my analysis for Popular Science about why they should, in part because it's so odd, but also because it might be a better test for "machines that think" than the chatbot-infested, seemingly useless Turing Test."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Weather control (Score 3, Interesting) 178

by jtnix (#47009129) Attached to: Air Force Prepares to Dismantle HAARP

Excellent! You've established that the ionosphere is higher than the troposphere where the weather develops and occurs.

Now, imagine think of the ionosphere as the lens between the sun and the earth and HAARP as a tool to control the focal point of this lens.

Think about that for more than a minute, you're a smart cracker!

Time sharing: The use of many people by the computer.

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