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Comment Not engineering (Score 1) 140

Don't oversell what you're doing as "introductory software engineering". If your students are high school level and "new to logic and computer science" then what you should be doing is teaching them an introduction to programming. That is a fine and worthy goal right there. Software engineering is usually a college-level subject or even a degree in itself, teaching already-capable programmers how to design and build complex and robust real-world systems; much of the material revolves not around programming at all but SDLC process and other things that will be irrelevant (and boring) to computer-naive high schoolers. Not to be too precious about it, but the terminology matters; would you advertise an introductory high-school physics course on friction and statics as an "introductory civil engineering"?

Submission + - Google Hosts Special Demo Day for Female Entrepreneurs (thenewstack.io)

An anonymous reader writes: Wednesday Google hosted a special edition of their annual "Demo Day" event featuring 11 early-stage startup companies founded by women from eight different countries. More than 450 women from 40 different counties applied for a spot, and the winner of the competition was Bridgit, a fast-growing Canadian company which provides a mobile communications platform for construction teams. Online voters also awarded the "Game Changer" title to KiChing, a startup that's actively addressing Mexico’s unique e-commerce challenges. But all of the startups at Wednesday’s event were already actively raising series-A funding, and "We aim to help connect them to mentors, access to capital, and shine a spotlight on their efforts," said Mary Grove, the director of Google for Entrepreneurs, addressing the Demo Day audience in San Francisco.

Submission + - Untangling the Tale of Ada Lovelace

theodp writes: To commemorate the 200th birthday of Ada Lovelace, Google's CS Education in Media Program partnered with YouTube Kids on Happy Birthday Ada! for Computer Science Education Week. For those seeking (much!) more information on The Enchantress of Numbers, Stephen Wolfram has penned a pretty epic blog post, Untangling the Tale of Ada Lovelace. "Ada Lovelace was born 200 years ago today," Wolfram begins. "To some she is a great hero in the history of computing; to others an overestimated minor figure. I’ve been curious for a long time what the real story is. And in preparation for her bicentennial, I decided to try to solve what for me has always been the 'mystery of Ada'." If you're not up for the full 12,000+ word read, skip to "The Final Story" for the TL;DR summary.

Submission + - MIT Creates Tor Alternative That Floods Networks With Fake Data (softpedia.com)

An anonymous reader writes: MIT researchers create an alternative to Tor, a network messaging system called Vuvuzela that pollutes the network with dummy data so the NSA won't know who's talking to who. First tests show a 44-seconds delay, but the network can work fine and keep anonymity even it has more than 50% of servers compromised.

Comment Likely not criminals. (Score 5, Insightful) 101

Lots of comments here about the foolishness of paying off criminals. Indeed. But in fact I tip my hat to ProtonMail for their clever strategy for illuminating the likely identity of their attackers. The thing is, when you pay off blackmailers they typically don't then carry through with the initial threat because that's bad business. They may make further demands based on their new knowledge of you being an easy mark, but to carry out the initially threatened action after being paid simply sends the message to you and other potential targets that paying is a waste of money because the threat will be carried out anyway. The profile of the target (encrypted email service) alone combined with analysis of the second attack as having the hallmarks of a state actor would suggest a three-letter agency. The fact that they got hit after paying just clinches it.

Comment Re:Sharks don't kill very many people (Score 2) 49

Although the U.S. has more historically documented shark attacks in total, Australia is some way out in front when it comes to fatal shark attack: http://www.sharkattackdata.com... Over the last few years there have been around 3 fatal attacks per year in Australian coastal waters. Not a great many, but more than "every other year". When it comes to numbers per head of population, it's not even close! We like to swim and surf, and share our waters with relatively large numbers of potentially dangerous sharks (as well as box jellyfish, and crocodiles...)

Comment Obligatory car analogy (Score 1) 150

You have asked "What is the best car I could buy? Also, should I build it myself or get one from the showroom?"

As many other posts here suggest, the first question is kind of meaningless without knowing what you want to do with said car. Is it for trips around town? To carry 7 kids? A lean mean street-fightin' machine?

As for the second question, if your budget is $50k, then I suggest neither. You cannot (should not try to) build a general-purpose HPC solution and its infrastructure for that kind of money. If your use-case is not heavily dependent on high-bandwidth data transfer then definitely consider AWS/Google compute/Azure. If you have a very specialized use-case, perhaps a single compute job that was trivially parallelizable with little or no I/O, you could probably put something together for $50k and run it under a desk. But general-purpose HPC is not just a bunch of server units. A high-speed switch between your compute nodes alone could cost that much. A very basic chassis from Dell suitable as a compute node costs around $5k. Stuff it full of memory, 2 or 4 xeons, GPUs if you need them, fast local scratch disk, redundant 10GB network connects... again, you're looking well north of $25k per unit. Not to mention, as others have, you need a climate-controlled room with abundant, reliable and redundant power to put the thing in.

Comment Dell Latitude (Score 1) 385

Lots of comments about Linux on XPS series; I've had up-and-down experiences with hardware build quality with those but what I can solidly recommend is the Dell Latitude series - currently E6540 or the 7000. They're a bit pricey but like the Thinkpad and HP ProBook these are business-oriented machines with great warranty support, and upgradeable parts. And Linux runs just great on them - I write this on a slightly older 6440 with Fedora 21 on it; never had any issues even though Fedora is a relatively "pure" distro that doesn't come with proprietary drivers. I would also recommend Fedora as good mainstream distro for work in the sciences - all the packages you would want to run on a laptop (R/scipy etc) are available as rpms: http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/....

Comment Re:Java (Score 1) 407

Java 7 introduced the Closeable interface and try-with-resources statement to give the programmer every incentive to Do The Right Thing in cases like these, and every good Java programmer I know uses them (see http://mina.apache.org/sshd-pr... for topical example of an SSH client implementing Closeable). True, anyone can code badly but that's not the language's fault and in this case I would hardly say that sloppy mentality is encouraged. A poster above noted that C++98 != C++14. By the same token, Java 1.8 != Java 1.2

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