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Comment: Re:None, seriously, none. (Score 1) 471

by neiras (#47878419) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Smartwatch Apps Could You See Yourself Using?

I get what you're saying. I just think if we ever end up with a wrist-worn device that needs a display bigger than itself, we're going to have some sort of projection trick going on along with gesture recognition rather than a physical expandable screen.

You know, tilt your watch toward you and "see" a larger "screen" hovering over it. Interact with controls by "tapping" them, tracked by depth cameras in the watch. focused puffs of air for tactile feedback maybe.

Seems out there, but given the hurdles materials science needs to get over to give us durable foldable flexible displays that will survive the beating they will take on our wrists, I bet we're looking at about the same timeline. Say, 30 years or so, assuming no nuclear war or worldwide economic collapse.

Comment: Re:None, seriously, none. (Score 1) 471

by neiras (#47872559) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Smartwatch Apps Could You See Yourself Using?

How about a flexible screen that is 5" that folds up to a watch form factor. Then when you want it, it unfolds into something useful.

Nah, that would be silly. Creases in my display? No thanks. Flexible devices sound cool until you actually consider how they would work and how they might break.

Needless engineering complexity for no real purpose, sort of like Samsung's stupid flexible TV.

Comment: Re: Amazing quality (Score 2) 146

by neiras (#47680231) Attached to: World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor Launches Nov. 13th

Um. It's funny. I watched the trailer and all I could think was "wow, Blizzard scores are always so one-dimensional. Disappointing."

They are really good at assigning themes to races or characters. But musically, they just seem hamfisted. There's no real complexity or subtlety. Just HERE IS THE THEME. NOW HERE IS ANOTHER THEME.

Technically well executed; emotionally flat as standalone pieces. Blizzard knows that players will simply attach emotions that they are already feeling in game to the themes they hear as they play though, so it works for them.

No need to be evocative or really creative. Music in WoW is just another hook.

Comment: Breaking things is how we learn (Score 3, Insightful) 116

by neiras (#47642819) Attached to: Wiring Programmers To Prevent Buggy Code

Doing hard or unfamiliar tasks is one way we improve and grow. Mistakes improve our understanding of a domain.

Flagging code for extra review based on "struggle detection" *might* be useful. Sadly, we all know that we'd end up with clueless management punishing or even firing good people because they were stretching to meet a goal.


Wiring Programmers To Prevent Buggy Code 116

Posted by timothy
from the stop-thinking-about-my-clairvoyance dept.
mikejuk (1801200) writes "Microsoft Researcher Andrew Begel, together with academic and industry colleagues have been trying to detect when developers are struggling as they work, in order to prevent bugs before they are introduced into code. A paper presented at the 36th International Conference on Software Engineering, reports on a study conducted with 15 professional programmers to see how well an eye-tracker, an electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor, and an electroencephalography (EEG) sensor could be used to predict whether developers would find a task difficult. Difficult tasks are potential bug generators and finding a task difficult is the programming equivalent of going to sleep at the wheel. Going beyond this initial investigation researchers now need to decide how to support developers who are finding their work difficult. What isn't known yet is how developers will react if their actions are approaching bug-potential levels and an intervention is deemed necessary. Presumably the nature of the intervention also has to be worked out. So next time you sit down at your coding station consider that in the future they may be wanting to wire you up just to make sure you aren't a source of bugs. And what could possibly be the intervention?"

Comment: I've been in your position (Score 5, Insightful) 246

by neiras (#47589975) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: IT Personnel As Ostriches?

You can never ignore office politics. You don't have to play the game actively, but you do need to be aware of what's going on around you, who is in what camp, what the major conflicts are. You have to cross battle lines regularly to do your job; you can't afford to be seen as a member of the 'enemy camp' by *anyone*.

As an IT guy you need people to trust you, which means you need to be ethical. If you see something you shouldn't know, don't go chattering about it.That kind of thing does get around, and you'll lose trust instantly.

Nothing's stopping you from making personal career decisions based on the information that you come across in your daily work. For instance, if you see that the company is about to be liquidated and you don't want to be around for the mess, by all means polish your resume and start interviewing. Just don't assume that just because you saw something you have the whole picture. You could end up feeling stupid when the private email you saw turns out to be a deliberate test of your trustworthiness. It does happen.

Keep your mouth shut about the things you see. Look after your career and reputation. Be aware of politics, but abstain from participating wherever possible. After a few years when you have trust and credibility, you can consider climbing the ladder a bit and playing the game - you'll have capital to spend.

+ - Nasa validates 'impossible' space drive->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Nasa is a major player in space science, so when a team from the agency this week presents evidence that "impossible" microwave thrusters seem to work, something strange is definitely going on. Either the results are completely wrong, or Nasa has confirmed a major breakthrough in space propulsion.

A working microwave thruster would radically cut the cost of satellites and space stations and extend their working life, drive deep-space missions, and take astronauts to Mars in weeks rather than months. In hindsight, it may turn out to be another great British invention that someone else turned into a success."

Link to Original Source

+ - Chinese government probes Microsoft over anti-monopoly issues

Submitted by DroidJason1
DroidJason1 (3589319) writes "The Chinese government is investigating Microsoft for possible breaches of anti-monopoly laws, following a series of surprise visits to Redmond's offices in cities across China on Monday. These surprise visits were part of China's ongoing investigation, and were based on security complaints about Microsoft’s Windows operating system and Office productivity suite. Results from an earlier inspection apparently were not enough to clear Microsoft of suspicion of anti-competitive behavior. Microsoft's alleged anti-monopoly behavior is a criminal matter, so if found guilty, the software giant could face steep fines as well as other sanctions."

+ - The Terrifying Truth About How The Drugs You Take Get Tested->

Submitted by gallifreyan99
gallifreyan99 (3502381) writes "Every drug you take will have been tested on people before it—but that testing process is meant to be tightly controlled, for the safety of everyone involved. Two chilling investigations document the horrifying extent—and that lack of oversight the FDA seems to have over the process. First, drugs are increasingly being tested on homeless, destitute and mentally ill people. Second, it turns out many human trials are being run by doctors who have had their licenses revoked for drug addiction, malpractice and worse."
Link to Original Source

+ - Jackson: Tech Diversity is Next Civil Rights Step

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "Having seen this movie before, U.S. civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson called on the Obama administration Monday to scrutinize the tech industry's lack of diversity. "There's no talent shortage. There's an opportunity shortage," Jackson said, calling Silicon Valley "far worse" than many others, such as car makers that have been pressured by unions. He said tech behemoths have largely escaped scrutiny by a public dazzled with their cutting-edge gadgets. Jackson spoke after meeting with Labor Secretary Tom Perez to press for a review of H-1B visas, arguing that data show Americans have the skills and should have first access to high-paying tech work. Jackson's Rainbow Push Coalition plans to file a freedom-of-information request next month with the EEOC to acquire employment data for companies that have not yet disclosed it publicly, which includes Amazon, Broadcom, Oracle, Qualcomm and Yelp. Unlike the DOL, Jackson isn't buying Silicon Valley's argument that minority hiring statistics are trade secrets. Five years after Google's HR Chief would only reassure Congress the company had "a very strong internal Black Googler Network" and its CEO brushed off similar questions about its diversity numbers by saying "we're pretty happy with the way our recruiting work," Google — under pressure from Jackson — fessed up to having a tech workforce that's only 1% Black, apparently par for the course in Silicon Valley."

Comment: Re:Who does not have a computer in 2014? (Score 2) 91

by neiras (#47566591) Attached to: Reglue: Opening Up the World To Deserving Kids With Linux Computers

No one wanted them. No one would take them. All I could do is recycle them. You literally can't give an old computer away, because I've tried. So we need to rethink this idea that there are kids who want old computers running Linux. Who are they, and why can't we match up the glut of surplus machines no one wants with them?

You have no idea how many students and families are thrilled to receive a 3-year-old desktop or laptop. I've seen it. I sometimes refurbish old systems for the local horribly-underfunded school district and they are thrilled to recieve them. They are still using machines I built them 5 years ago (from even older hardware) in places. I know, personal anecdote, but this can't be rare. Need is everywhere.

Also, groups like Free Geek exist.

+ - Is running mission-critical servers without a firewall a "thing"?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I do some contract work on the side (as many folks do), and am helping a client set up a new point of sale system. For the time being, it's pretty simple: selling products, keeping track of employee time, managing inventory and the like. However, it requires a small network because there are two clients, and one of the clients feeds off of a small SQL Express database from the first. During the setup the vendor disabled the local firewall, and in a number of emails back and forth since (with me getting more and more aggravated) they went from suggesting that there's no NEED for a firewall, to outright telling me that's just how they do it and the contract dictates that's how we need to run it. This isn't a tremendous deal today, but with how things are going odds are there will be e-Commerce worked into it, and probably credit card transactions.. which worries the bejesus out of me.

So my question to the Slashdot masses: is this common? In my admittedly limited networking experience, it's been drilled into my head fairly well that not running a firewall is lazy (if not simply negligent), and to open the appropriate ports and call it a day. However, I've seen forum posts here and there with people admitting they run their clients without firewalls, believing that the firewall on their incoming internet connection is good enough, and that their client security will pick up the pieces. I'm curious how many real professionals do this, or if the forum posts I'm seeing (along with the vendor in question) are just a bunch of clowns."

OS/2 must die!