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Comment: Re:Start by... (Score 4, Insightful) 467

by solid_liq (#34898970) Attached to: Advice On Teaching Linux To CS Freshmen?

What can you do in Slackware that is impossible in Ubuntu?

In Slackware, you learn how to do things on any Linux distro. In Ubuntu, you only learn how to do things in Ubuntu, Debian, and Debian derivatives. I owe to Slackware the fact that I can sit down and work with any Linux distro out there. It doesn't include its own special tools for anything, so you are forced to do everything the "standard Linux way," which is the way that works on every distro (with some special exceptions, like DSL).

Comment: Give them insight into the underpinnings (Score 1) 467

by solid_liq (#34898750) Attached to: Advice On Teaching Linux To CS Freshmen?
I would teach them basic bash scripting, and about /proc and /sys. Then I would have them write scripts to automate extracting information from /proc and /sys in bash using grep, sed and maybe awk. Teaching them how to work with Linux from the shell and how to pull information out of the kernel like this should give them some good insights into the operating system and its tools. Additionally, I would teach them how to write init scripts and how to do "fun" things to get them excited about Linux.

Comment: There's always the option of no framework (Score 1) 331

by solid_liq (#34363170) Attached to: What 2D GUI Foundation Do You Use?
I had the same dilemma, except I also knew I would eventually add 3D graphics as well. I wanted it to be portable to anything, and I needed it to render accurately and with proper anti-aliasing (anti-aliased while drawing, not via a filter after the fact). After mulling over all the options, I came to a difficult conclusion: write it myself. This is more work than I'd like, but it allows me to ensure it will run on anything, anywhere. If something new comes out that I want it to run on, I just port to it; I don't have to beg a vendor for it to be ported for me. Performance isn't paramount to my application, so I can put enough abstraction layers in to make the porting process relatively easy. All frameworks seem to put performance as the highest priority, which gets rid of the ease of portability. If your application will render graphics that sit still most of the time, this may be your best option (assuming you know linear algebra if you want vector graphics, and know graphics programming regardless).

This option worked for me.

Comment: Switch to embedded (Score 2, Informative) 565

by solid_liq (#33105892) Attached to: How Can an Old-School Coder Regain His Chops?
You'll find getting back into the field, to program in high level languages with all of your previous experience outdated, to be very difficult. Companies will not want to pay you the salary your years of experience would warrant, and it would be like starting over.

Instead, the method back in that I've found for those of us who started in the "old days" is to go for embedded systems development. The embedded world uses 10+ year old technologies, so your experience with assembly language programming and writing software for systems with limited amounts of RAM and storage space is a big plus for embedded systems development. There are plenty of companies still creating software for processors that run at between 4 and 20 MHz with anywhere from 256 bytes of RAM on up to a handful of kilobytes of RAM. I've found this sort of development work is much more interesting, anyway, and people with old school knowledge are considered more valuable, rather than a dinosaur, for such work.
Space

Black Hole Emits a 1,000-Light-Year-Wide Gas Bubble 145

Posted by Soulskill
from the reminds-me-of-a-buddy-of-mine dept.
PhrostyMcByte writes "12 million light-years away, in the outer spiral of galaxy NGC 7793, a bubble of hot gas approximately 1,000 light-years in diameter can be found shooting out of a black hole — one of the most powerful jets of energy ever seen. (Abstract available at Nature.) The bubble has been growing for approximately 200,000 years, and is expanding at around 1,000,000 kilometers per hour."
Medicine

Three Ground-Breaking Miniature Biosensors 18

Posted by samzenpus
from the hospital-pill dept.
kkleiner writes "Over the past few years, several research teams have developed increasingly smaller and cheaper biosensors with improved detection capabilities and faster turnaround times. Whether you are a doctor diagnosing patients in the rural areas of Africa or a Homeland Security agent working to thwart an act of bioterrorism, one of these little devices should be your sidekick."
Science

Empathy Is For the Birds 201

Posted by samzenpus
from the polly-want-to-make-an-emotional-connection? dept.
grrlscientist writes "Common Ravens have been shown to express empathy towards a 'friend' or relative when they are distressed after an aggressive conflict — just like humans and chimpanzees do. But birds are very distant evolutionary relatives of Great Apes, so what does this similarity imply about the evolution of behavior?"
Biotech

Doubled Yield For Bio-Fuel From Waste 97

Posted by timothy
from the what-about-the-oil-from-anything-guy? dept.
hankwang writes "Dutch chemical company DSM announced a new process for production of ethanol from agricultural waste. Most bio-fuel ethanol now is produced from food crops such as corn and sugar cane. Ethanol produced from cellulose would use waste products such as wood chips, citrus peel, and straw. The new process is claimed to increase the yield by a factor of two compared to existing processes, thanks to new enzymes and special yeast strains."

Comment: Nice pictures (Score 2, Interesting) 190

by solid_liq (#32465550) Attached to: SpaceX Successfully Launches Falcon 9 Rocket
For such an expensive rocket launch, you'd think they'd at least have a professional photographer with professional lenses. Those pictures are terrible. Look at the flames; there's no detail. They obviously used cheap lenses. I'm an amateur photographer, but I have professional equipment because I'm too picky to have my pictures look as bad as their launch pictures do. I'm glad the launch succeeded, but you'd think they'd want better pictures for examining the launch and for PR.

Comment: Take a step back? (Score 1) 222

by solid_liq (#32393396) Attached to: When Mistakes Improve Performance
He apparently wants us to take a step backwards to the days when crashes were frequent, such as with Windows 98. Software quality has a long way to go already. Does he not realize that making programmers deal with such an issue would bring software quality back into the Dark Ages?

As it is, programmers aren't given enough time to write software that works bug-free. Schedules are always rushed. This would dramatically increase: the burden on developers, the quantity of bugs, the number of developers being fired because they didn't get a project accomplished nearly as quickly as someone who pulled off a similar project 5 years earlier, the frustration of the users and developers (and transitively, the number of heart attacks around the world due to elevated blood pressure), the number of security vulnerabilities in software, and the migration rate to processor vendors who didn't make this mistake.

In short: this guy is on crack!
Linux

Slackware 13.1 Released 155

Posted by kdawson
from the taking-up-the-slack dept.
Several readers made sure we are aware that Slackware 13.1 release is out. Here's the list of mirrors. "Slackware 13.1 brings many updates and enhancements, among which you'll find two of the most advanced desktop environments available today: Xfce 4.6.1, a fast and lightweight but visually appealing and easy-to-use desktop environment, and KDE 4.4.3, a recent stable release of the new 4.4.x series of the award-winning KDE desktop environment."

Comment: Simple Solution (Score 1) 369

by solid_liq (#32008356) Attached to: Computer Competency Test For Non-IT Hires?
The solution to this is simple:

1. Make sure you have an Enterprise licensed AV installed. The per-client cost is low, and the updates will be centrally managed by the server. If your network is too small for this to be cost effective, then just have Norton AV (or your favorite respected AV) on every machine in the network.

2. Don't give your employees local admin privs. This one change has, in my experience, made all the difference in the world for many small businesses.

This is much cheaper than paying the labor for having an IT person come in and clean up all the messes.
NASA

Spitzer Telescope Sheds Light On Colony of Baby Stars 34

Posted by Soulskill
from the orion's-baby-pictures dept.
astroengine writes "NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope had the unprecedented opportunity to observe the heart of the Orion Nebula for 40 days, returning 80 images of the star-forming region. In doing so, the observatory has been keeping track of 1,500 young stars as they undergo rapid variations in brightness, caused by large 'cool spots' on the surface of the stars and obscuring dust. However, the high resolution images Spitzer is returning take center-stage, showing a tight cluster of stellar birth amid the nebulous clouds of dust. This is an incredible achievement considering its primary mission is over (after using up all of its liquid helium coolant in May 2009) and only two instruments are still working."

What hath Bob wrought?

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