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Comment: Standardized and simplify as much as possible (Score 1) 176

by sleepypsycho (#48441827) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Starting and Running a Software Shop?

I strongly recommend keeping the same set of tools, language and build. Each different element adds overhead. With a small group you can't afford additional overhead.

It is likely that everyone will have to handle multiple aspects of the project. You will want multiple people who can wrangle the build and the tools the better.If everyone is sharing the process then it is easier for the team to be flexible and make the best use of the individual. It also means a relatively experience set of developers. Look for people who have shown flexible and wide variety of interest.

A clear process is also critical. Whatever system you use make it clear how decisions are made. Code review or pair program is required. You don't want to rely on one person to develop a critical system and then find out it is a mess or that no one else is clear on the mechanism.

Comment: Re:why the focus on being your brother's keeper? (Score 5, Informative) 192

by sleepypsycho (#47090455) Attached to: Mental Illness Reduces Lifespan As Much as Smoking

A number of reasons
1) Basic human compassion
2) Mentally ill and drug abusers affect the healthy. Drug crime is rampant with a high cost to society. Even if all drugs were legalized, as I believe they should be, there would be still a heavy price, just as with alcoholism. These would include car crashes, unemployment, failed businesses, etc that you mention.
3) As someone with depression, it seems worth fixing.
4) Mental illness is just that, an illness.Why do you draw a distinction between cancer and mental illness. How is someone with cancer "healthy"?

+ - Poll Question: Who controls the AC at work?

Submitted by sleepypsycho
sleepypsycho (1335401) writes "o Don't know/don't care, every one is always comfortable
o Immutable powers (upper management, building owners, etc) who keep it sweltering to save a nickle
o Immutable powers who keep it cold because they once read that productivity is highest at 65 degrees
o Laws of physics and bad engineering, randomly making any given room +/- 10 from comfortable
o Everyone with open access to the thermostat, ensuring a constant hot / cold war
o Middle manager who has put a stop to the temperature war to no one's satisfaction
o It is always cool and comfy here in my mother's basement"

Comment: Chrome, but IE for important provider applications (Score 2, Insightful) 381

by sleepypsycho (#45631019) Attached to: Desktop Browser of Choice in 2013?

For enrolling in health benefits (not Obamacare as it happens), managing my bank statement, etc, I use Internet Explorer. Not because I trust Microsoft, but because I know the provider is going to focus on making their application work correctly with IE. I don't want some subtle discrepancy in browser behavior to route my transaction to underspace. I don't care if it is Microsoft who is not following the standard, they are the de facto standard for most of these services.

+ - How Your Coffee Table Could Pass Your Coffee->

Submitted by mikejuk
mikejuk (1801200) writes "3D input devices like the Kinect have made so many new things possible, but what about output? inForm is a remarkably simple but effective device that has to be seen to be believed.
The mechanism of MIT's new shapeshifting output device is remarkably simple. It is based on the well known pin screen devices that you can use to take a 3D impression of an object. A 2D plate of pins can be moved to create a surface.In the same way, inForm uses a set of rods and actuators to create dynamic surfaces. The big difference is that the actuators are under computer control.
Now you have a computer controlled surface and what is really surprising is how much you can get from this simple idea. With the help of a 3D depth camera and some innovative software, the surface can act as an output device that lets you manipulate real objects remotely. If you use the surface as a table then your computer can bring you real objects such as your mobile phone — see the video to believe it.
While there are many obvious serious applications such as displaying volumetric CT scans, displaying complex data or providing early experience of prototypes there is also the possibility of having fun with the device. After all simple pinscreens are still sold as executive toys. Could there be a new generation of games in this?
What about putting a device at each end of a video phone call?
With a little more engineering to take it to a higher resolution and smoothness, you could have a magic coffee table that automatically handed you your coffee and followed up with a donut.
Perhaps one day all furniture will be alive."

Link to Original Source

+ - FBI Reports US Agencies Hacked by Anonymous->

Submitted by Rambo Tribble
Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes "Reuters is reporting that the FBI has issued a warning to several U.S. Government agencies that the Anonymous collective has hacked their systems. Included in the list of compromised agencies are the U.S. Army, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, and potentially many more agencies. The avenue of attack: Adobe Cold Fusion."
Link to Original Source

+ - Former Microsoft CTO Creates Exclusive $80 App for iPhone/iPad

Submitted by SmartAboutThings
SmartAboutThings (1951032) writes "Nathan Myhrvold is a former Chief Technology at Microsoft back when the company’s CEO was Bill Gates. Now, Myhrvold is co-founder of Intellectual Ventures, as well as the principal author of Modernist Cuisine which he now brought to the iOS world exclusively for $80. His six volume foodie encyclopedia, called the Modernist Cuisine is also one of the most expensive cooking encyclopedias, the original six volume version retailing for $500 , with the two-volume that followed after that selling for $115. Now, Nathan and his team have transformed their huge food encyclopedia into an iPhone/iPad app. It’s not just a digital book, but rather an expensive $80 interactive app that can do more than just provide recipes. The interactive digital cookbook is the fruit of a development team of 10-15 people that have worked over nine months on the project. The app contains 37 technique videos, 416 recipes and 1,683 photos."

+ - Microsoft Announces 3D Builder 3D Printing App For Windows 8.1->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Microsoft really seems to be on board with the whole 3D printing thing, loading Windows 8.1 with native 3D printing capabilities and working closely with MakerBot to develop a driver for the Replicator 2 3D printer, but that’s not all apparently. Microsoft also now has an app called 3D Builder that lets users more easily set up a design for 3D printing. 3D Builder, which is available for free in the Windows Store starting today, lets users manipulate existing designs stashed in the app’s library or upload their own designs made in other applications. Features include the ability to scale, arrange, rotate, and adjust objects and even stack or push designs together to create something new."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Understand the goals of others (Score 1) 1

by sleepypsycho (#45398421) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Communication Skills for Programmers?

The first thing is to figure out what is the communication goals of colleagues.
- Is the boss concerned about status and schedule? Then do go into technical detail, but provide enough information to give confidence in your response.
- Are you being asked to provide a lot of directions and solutions from colleagues or subordinates? Then you can ask for opinions and suggestion before providing other feedback. Once people realize that they should think before asking, you will get a lot less frivolous questions.
- Are you being asked for technical detail? Figure out what kind of information would be helpful for you. Bear in mind some people may want more or less because of experience level or personal style.

Second, don't be too concerned about "needless conversation". Communication is a key to any organization as well as social harmony.

Third, look for, and implement, more formalized systems of information sharing. The bigger the company and the project the more communication is needed. The conversations requirements will become exponential if it is not systematized. A simple example are kanbans in an agile development process. When a story is put into the "ready for development" all the coders know they can take up the story and that the story description and test criteria are written. There is no asking around about what to do next and fewer questions about what needs to get done. Obviously no system is perfect, and conversation will still be required. However, ready access to the information each person needs for the job will reduce lots of unnecessary conversation. There will be less conversation used just to gather information and fewer discussions pointlessly trying to figure out why critical information was not communicated. Conversation can then be more focused on decision making, design, etc which will be a better use of everyone's time.

+ - Ask Slashdot: Communication Skills for Programmers? 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "As a new developer at a young-ish software company, I've been told my communication skills need some work. I'm not painfully introverted or socially inept, but I get lost in my work and only contact people if I need something from them or they ask me a question. Traditional advice isn't relevant to casual, less hierarchical companies — I don't have to hold my tongue when someone is wrong or worry about formalities. But I do need to connect with people professionally, since my team members and managers decide my perf and advancement. How do you keep colleagues abreast of your work without having exponentially many needless conversations?"

+ - GE Canada struggling to find PDP-11 programmers for its nuclear control systems 5

Submitted by AmiMoJo
AmiMoJo (196126) writes "A representative from GE Canada has posted a job offer to the Vintage Computer forum for a PDP-11 assembly language programmer. Apparently the original job posting failed to turn up any qualified candidates to support the nuclear industry's existing robotic control systems, which they say they are committed to running until 2050. If they are having trouble finding anyone now one wonders how hard it will be in 37 years time."

+ - Automatic Translation Without Dictionaries->

Submitted by physicsphairy
physicsphairy (720718) writes "Tomas Mikolov and others at Google have developed a simple means of translating between languages using a large corpus of sample texts. Rather than being defined by humans, words are characterized based on their relation to other words, e.g., in any language, a word like 'cat' will have a particular relationship to words like 'small', 'furry,' 'pet', etc. The set of relationships of words in a language can be described as a vector space, and words from one language can be translated into words in another language by identifying the mapping between their two vector spaces. The technique works even for very dissimilar languages, and is presently being used to refine and identify mistakes in existing translation dictionaries."
Link to Original Source

Nobody's gonna believe that computers are intelligent until they start coming in late and lying about it.