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Submission + - The #NoEstimates debate: An unbiased look at origins, arguments, and leaders

MikeTechDude writes: Estimates have always been an integral part of the software development process. In recent years, however, developers, including Woody Zuill and Vasco Duarte, have begun to question the efficacy, and even the purpose, of using estimates to predict a project's cost and time line. A fierce debate has sprung up on Twitter, between those calling for an end to estimates and those who continue to champion their use in a professional setting. On the surface, it would appear that the debate is black and white. Proponents of the #NoEstimates Twitter hashtag are promoting a hard stop to all estimates industry-wide, and critics of the movement are insisting on a conservative approach that leaves little room for innovation. However, the reality of the debate has unfolded in far more complex, nuanced shades of gray. HP's Malcolm Isaacs digs deep and pinpoints where the debate started, where it now stands, and what its implications are for the future of software development. Meanwhile, Martin Heller offers his less unbiased approach with his post, #NoEstimates? Not so fast.

Submission + - Oculus' Michael Abrash explains what it'll take for VR to feel real (techinsider.io)

redletterdave writes: At Oculusâ(TM) annual developer conference on Thursday, Oculus' chief scientist Michael Abrash took the stage to offer a few anecdotes and a ton of information about the current state of virtual reality, and where it needs to go in order to be truly great. Getting to the next level of virtual reality, Abrash said, will require coordinated advances in several different technologies. Specifically, Abrash believes the future of virtual reality will be built on three pillars: driving the human perceptual system, sensing and reconstructing reality, and interaction.

Submission + - FBI investigation of Hillary's emails is 'criminal probe' (nypost.com)

RoccamOccam writes: The FBI investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s unsecured email account is not just a fact-finding venture — it’s a criminal probe, sources told The New York Post on Wednesday.

The feds are investigating to what extent Clinton relied on her home server and other private devices to send and store classified documents, according to a federal source with knowledge of the inquiry.

“It’s definitely a criminal probe,” said the source. “I’m not sure why they’re not calling it a criminal probe.

Submission + - Internet search engines may be influencing elections (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: “What we’re talking about here is a means of mind control on a massive scale that there is no precedent for in human history.” That may sound hyperbolic, but Robert Epstein says it’s not an exaggeration. Epstein, a research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research in Vista, California, has found that the higher a politician ranks on a page of Internet search results, the more likely you are to vote for them. 80% more likely in some cases. The story also suggests that the folks at Google may already be influencing elections. “Google’s algorithm has been determining the outcome of close elections around the world,” says Epstein.

Submission + - The sad state of open IPCameras (bluecherrydvr.com) 2

criticalmess writes: I'm about to give up on any decent hardware to be found to roll my own web-based camera setup around the house and office — and thought that the nerds and experts at /. would be my last resource I could pull out.
Having bought multiple IPCamera (DLink, Abus, Axis, Foscam, TP-Link, ...) and always getting the "requires DirectX" treatment, I'm wondering if there are any open and affordable IPCams out there? I've been lookint at BlueCherry and their kickstarter campaign to create a complete opensource hardware solution (http://www.bluecherrydvr.com/2013/06/21/bluecherry-open-source-high-resolution-ip-camera-update/), I've been looking at Zavio (http://www.zavio.com/) as they seem to offer the streams in an open enough format while not breaking the bank on the hardware. Anything else I should be looking at?

I can't for the love of it understand why most of these hardware companies require you to run DirectX — anybody care to enlighten the crowd?

Should be simple enough really: hardware captures images, a small embedded webserver transforms this into an RTSP stream or HTTP stream, maybe on h264 or similar — done.

Submission + - Google To Reopen Maps To User Edits, With An Anti-Abuse Plan (itworld.com)

jfruh writes: When Google opened up its Maps to user edits, a lot of useful information got added — along with plenty of spam and outright abuse, some of it obscene, which led to the program being shut down. Now the company is planning to reopen things to user input, recruiting local mappers that they're calling "regional leads" to filter out problematic content.

Submission + - Cell Phone Radiation Emission Tests Assume Use Of Belt Clip (itworld.com)

jfruh writes: Most Slashdotters rightfully roll their eyes when people panic about the "radiation" put out by cell phone. But there is a germ of truth to some of the nervous talk: when the FCC assesses how much radio-frequency radiation a phone user will absorb, they work on the assumption you'll be wearing it in a belt clip, rather than putting it in your pocket as most people do.

Submission + - Privateer trumps Airbus in Electric Battle for Channel Crossing (australianflying.com.au)

savuporo writes: Remember how Airbus blocked its tiny competitor Pipistrel from claiming the first English channel crossing in electric airplane ? As reported, A private owner has beaten Airbus in the race to fly the first electric aircraft across the English Channel. Hugues Duwal flew his electric Colomban Cri Cri E-Cristaline across the channel last night, beating the Airbus E-Fan by one day.

Submission + - Hillary Clinton takes aim at 'Uber economy' (marketwatch.com)

SonicSpike writes: In a major campaign speech in New York City, the former secretary of state didn’t mention the ride-sharing service by name. But it was pretty clear what sort of companies she was talking about when she got to how some Americans earn money.

“Many Americans are making extra money renting out a spare room, designing websites, selling products they design themselves at home, or even driving their own car,” she said at the New School.

But that sort of work comes with its own problems, she said.

“This ‘on demand’ or so-called ‘gig economy’ ... is raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future,” Clinton added.

Submission + - For Microsoft, Windows 10 Charity Begins at Home

theodp writes: "We’re investing $10 million in organizations that are upgrading the world," Microsoft announced on in its new Upgrade Your World website, which was created in conjunction with the Windows 10 launch. "We’ve identified nine global nonprofits, and we’d like your help choosing the 10th." The missions of the selected nonprofits include fighting global poverty, preventing children living with HIV from needlessly dying, increasing access to quality education for children in the developing world, conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends, and ensuring that all kindergartners learn 'computer science.' To paraphrase Sesame Street, can you guess which cause is not like the others? If you guessed Code.org, which wants CS made a "core" K-12 subject in U.S. schools, you're right! Coincidentally, Code.org's biggest donors include Microsoft ($3M+), Ballmer Family Giving ($3M+), and Bill Gates ($1M+). And Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi, who once reported to Satya Nadella, is coincidentally a sometimes jogging partner of Steve Ballmer, as well as the next-door neighbor of Microsoft General Counsel and Code.org Board member Brad Smith, whose FWD.us bio notes is responsible for Microsoft's philanthropic work. Code.org emerged on the scene shortly after Smith suggested that action on Microsoft's 'two-pronged' National Talent Strategy to increase K-12 CS education and the number of H-1B visas could be galvanized by 'producing a crisis'.

Submission + - Facebook's new chief security officer wants to set a date to kill Flash

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook’s new chief security officer, Alex Stamos, has stated publicly that he wants to see Adobe end Flash. This weekend Stamos tweeted: "It is time for Adobe to announce the end-of-life date for Flash and to ask the browsers to set killbits on the same day. Even if 18 months from now, one set date is the only way to disentangle the dependencies and upgrade the whole ecosystem at once."

Submission + - 'Happy Birthday' Hits Sour Notes When It Comes To Song's Free Use (npr.org)

vivaoporto writes: NPR reports that "Happy Birthday to You", the song the Guinness Book of World Records calls the most recognized in the English language, is the subject of a class action complaint regarding the validity of its copyright.

Despite being so popular you'll rarely ever hear it on TV or in a movie. Instead, you usually hear something that sounds sort of like the song, but not quite.

It turns out the publisher Warner/Chappell Music owns the copyright to the "Happy Birthday" song. That means that every time anyone wants to use the song, they must pay a licensing fee, sometimes as high as six figures. But how did Warner/Chappell get the rights?

"This is where it gets complicated," says filmmaker Jennifer Nelson, laughing.

Nelson is working on a documentary about the song. She paid for the rights to use it, and she's suing Warner/Chappell to get her money back, arguing it's part of the public domain — free for anyone to use.

If the company wins the suit, it can keep collecting licensing fees until the copyright expires. If Nelson and her lawyers win, the song will be in the public domain.

"I think it's going to set a precedent for this song and other songs that may be claimed to be under copyright, which aren't," says Newman.

The Courthouse News Service have more information about the pending suit.

Submission + - Death toll from sudden temperature swings may surpass AIDS (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: It’s no surprise that a sudden summer heat wave can kill the elderly; it’s a serious public health hazard that will only grow as the world warms. But will more old folks survive milder winters, balancing out the loss of life in the summers? A new study suggests not. A rise of 1C in mean summer temperatures killed 1% more people, whereas that same rise in mean winter temperatures saved a mere 0.6%, according to an analysis of death records for nearly 3 million people 65 years and older living in New England from 2000 to 2008. Not only that, but sudden swings in temperature—another phenomenon that could increase along with climate change in some regions—were found to be even worse killers, in either winter or summer, surpassing the toll taken by AIDS.

Submission + - Graphene-Based Audio Devices Allow Communication at Bat Frequencies (gizmag.com)

Zothecula writes: In yet another first for graphene, physicists from the University of California, Berkeley, have employed this versatile material to create ultra-thin, lightweight ultrasonic microphones and speakers that enable high-quality, two-way communication in the audio range normally used by the likes of bats and dolphins.

Submission + - ELIoT, distributed programming for the Internet of Things

descubes writes: ELIoT (Extensible Language for the Internet of Things) is a new programming language designed to facilitate distributed programming. A code sample with less than 20 lines of code looks like a single program, but really runs on three different computers to collect temperature measurements and report when they differ. ELIoT transforms a simple sensor API into a rich, remotely-programmable API, giving your application the opportunity to optimize energy usage and minimize network traffic.

Using less resources than Bash, and capable of serving hundred of clients easily on a Raspberry Pi, ELIoT transparently sends program fragments around, but also the data they need to function, e.g. variable values or function definitions. This is possible because, like in Lisp, programs are data. ELIoT has no keywords, and program constructs such as loops or if-then-else are defined in the library rather than in the language. This makes the language very flexible and extensible, so that you can adapt it to the needs of your application.

The project is still very young (published last week), and is looking for talented developers interested in distributed programming, programming languages or language design.

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