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Comment: Windows XP Embedded - 2016 (Score 1) 367

by zarmanto (#46543949) Attached to: Linux May Succeed Windows XP As OS of Choice For ATMs
Windows based ATM machines are almost certainly running on XP Embedded, rather than the retail version of XP... support for Embedded doesn't end until January 2016. Thus, if the financial industry is moving away from XP to Linux, it isn't necessarily related to Microsoft's XP support schedules.

Comment: It can be done -- I did it. (Score 1) 451

by zarmanto (#46421671) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do I Change Tech Careers At 30?

I switched technology careers at 30 myself; I went from help desk technician and system administration to web development, and I'm quite satisfied with the results. Of course, it probably helps that I'd already been trying to get into web development for the better part of the preceding decade... but that's not the point. The point is that it can indeed be done, if you have the skills and the drive to get where you want to be. Most jobs outside of the education field and higher sciences aren't nearly as difficult to break into, as people usually think.

My advice to you would be, very simply, just apply for the job you want, and see what happens. It'll most likely take more than a few interviews before you find someone willing to take a chance on you, and of course, you'll probably have to start out at an entry level position... but if you're coming from the educational field, then you probably won't take too much of a hit to your paycheck.

Frankly, Nike's advice actually works, here: if you want to get a different/better job... just do it.

Comment: Forget video games... what about Legos?? (Score 2) 285

by zarmanto (#45800087) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Will You Start Your Kids On Classic Games Or Newer Games?

I have five kids, (ranging from three to eleven years old) and while they do sometimes play video games, (the four year old is almost better at MarioKart Wii than me, and he's only been playing it for less than a year!) my focus for them this year has been primarily Legos. We made a point of scavenging all of my old Legos from my parents house just a couple of months ago, and we purchased hundreds of dollars worth of new Legos for Christmas. And you know what? While only a couple of them have had any kind of a lasting interest in video games, every single one of them is perfectly happy to sit down with a pile of bricks in front of them, for hours on end.

I think there is just something intrinsically satisfying about building something with your own hands. Legos capture that in a simplified "child friendly" form like nothing else I've experienced in my own lifetime. So no: I won't focus specifically on those "vintage" video games... but I will be searching the web for PDFs of my old Lego kit instruction manuals. (So far, I've only found one... the official Lego site doesn't go far enough back in their archive. Yet.)

Comment: Re:Problem not unique to Apple... (Score 1) 326

by zarmanto (#45272645) Attached to: Apple Blocks Lawrence Lessig's Comment On iOS 7 Wi-Fi Glitch

What does Scrum have to to with allocation of development resources ...

Scrum in-and-of-itself isn't really critical to the issue I was attempting to address; I was only using it to help illustrate that development teams do not have unlimited resources. Scrum is simply one of the tools that my particular team uses to organize and prioritize our workload, so that we can appropriately allocate what limited resources we do have. I hypothesized (within the context of the original thread) that Valve likely uses some similar management methodology to organize their own workload.

Also, not every dev shop has a dedicated "maintenance team"... I work in a small dev shop where all of us cross-task to both development and maintenance. So in my case, it's absolutely a given that higher priority tasks (such as new development of a highly anticipated game, for example) would take resources away from lower priority tasks (such as maintenance of a game that's over a decade old, and not bringing in any cash at all for the company).

Comment: Problem not unique to Apple... (Score 1) 326

by zarmanto (#45270279) Attached to: Apple Blocks Lawrence Lessig's Comment On iOS 7 Wi-Fi Glitch

Disclosure: I am an Apple fan -- but I absolutely will not defend the practice of purging negative comments from community forums. I think censorship is probably the single most frustrating experience anyone can have in a forum, warranted or not. I speak from experience: I've been censored recently as well -- in an entirely different forum, and for reasons which seemed entirely unreasonable to me. Ironically, I had made the egregious error of trying to help.

In responding to a thread about a bug, I described one software development methodology (scrum, if that matters) to a crowd of discontent gamers in the Steam forum. I then painstakingly crafted a reasoned explanation for why that process necessitates that this particular bug in an older game (Half-Life: Opposing Force, which had been recently ported to both Linux and Mac) simply won't be fixed anytime soon, because the Steam developers are almost certainly entirely wrapped up in the development of Half Life 3. I then went on to speculate (and I suspect this is where I went wrong) that as soon as we see a fix to that bug, we should all be on the lookout for the impending release of HL3. A short time later, that entire thread had suddenly vanished from the Steam forum, with no explanation.

And the problem crops up elsewhere as well; forum admins are frequently overzealous, especially when they see something that they view as a potential slight to their corporate overlords. It's a very unfortunate trend, and as I see it, the only way to avoid being unreasonably censored is to post your comments elsewhere, where -- hopefully -- unbiased management will leave your commentary on controversial matters intact. (Slashdot might qualify as such a haven... I know I haven't been censored here. Yet.)

Comment: Qualifiers abound... (Score 1) 410

by zarmanto (#44874545) Attached to: The last time I used a dial-up modem was...

I can see by some of the other comments that I'm not the only one who has a qualifier, here. I actually switched over from dial-up to DSL back in 2000 -- but the last time I actually used a modem in any capacity was probably 2006 as a vote auto-dialer, before my wife finally lost interest in American Idol altogether. (Thanks for that goes to Taylor Hicks, for sucking so spectacularly and yet winning anyway. In retrospect, I have to confess that I have somewhat mixed feelings on his winning... at least I don't have to watch the show anymore.)

+ - Break Microsoft Up

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Tom Worstall writes in Forbes that the that the only way to get around the entrenched culture that has made Microsoft a graveyard for the kind of big ideas that have inspired companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon is to split the company up so as to remove conflicts between new and old products and with Ballmer's departure instead of finding someone new to run the company, bring in experts to handle the legal side and find suitable CEOs for the new companies. "The underlying problem for Microsoft is that the computing market has rapidly left behind the company's basic strategy of controlling the machines that people use with operating-system software," says Erik Sherman. "The combination of mobile devices that broke Microsoft's grip on the client end, and cloud computing that didn't necessarily need the company in data centers, shattered this form of control." Anyone can see how easily you could split off the gaming folks, business division, retail stores, and hardware division says John Dvorak. Each entity would have agreements in place for long-term supply of software and services. "This sort of shake up would ferret out all the empire builders and allow for new and more creative structures to emerge. And since everyone will have to be in a semi-startup mode, the dead wood will be eliminated by actual hard work.""

+ - Top 10 Internet Cities Worldwide->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A new report today has ranked the Top 10 "Internet Cities" around the globe, based on a set of five criteria: connection speed, availability of citywide WiFi, openness to innovation, support of public data, and security/data privacy. One might expect high-tech cities like San Francisco and Tel Aviv to appear on a list of "Internet Cities," but they don't. Indeed, no Middle Eastern cities appear here at all, and — due, largely, to the United States' poor Internet speeds — the only US city to make this ranking is Seattle."
Link to Original Source

+ - The World Fair of 2014 according to Asimov (from 1964)-> 2

Submitted by Esther Schindler
Esther Schindler (16185) writes "If you ever needed evidence that Isaac Asimov was a genius at extrapolating future technology from limited data, you'll enjoy this 1964 article in which he predicts what we'll see at the 2014 world's fair. For instance:

Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence. The I.B.M. exhibit at the present fair has no robots but it is dedicated to computers, which are shown in all their amazing complexity, notably in the task of translating Russian into English. If machines are that smart today, what may not be in the works 50 years hence? It will be such computers, much miniaturized, that will serve as the "brains" of robots. In fact, the I.B.M. building at the 2014 World's Fair may have, as one of its prime exhibits, a robot housemaid*large, clumsy, slow- moving but capable of general picking-up, arranging, cleaning and manipulation of various appliances. It will undoubtedly amuse the fairgoers to scatter debris over the floor in order to see the robot lumberingly remove it and classify it into "throw away" and "set aside." (Robots for gardening work will also have made their appearance.)

General Electric at the 2014 World's Fair will be showing 3-D movies of its "Robot of the Future," neat and streamlined, its cleaning appliances built in and performing all tasks briskly. (There will be a three-hour wait in line to see the film, for some things never change.)

It's really fun (and sometimes sigh-inducing) to see where he was accurate and where he wasn't. And, of course, the whole notion that we'd have a world's fair is among the inaccurate predictions."
Link to Original Source

+ - Book Review: "The Internet Police" and the Online Surveillance State->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "When Ars Technica editor Nate Anderson sat down to write The Internet Police (W.W. Norton & Company, 320 pp.), Edward Snowden hadn’t yet decided to add some excitement to the National Security Agency’s summer by leaking a trove of surveillance secrets to The Guardian.

As a result, Anderson’s book doesn’t mention Snowden’s escapade, which will likely become the security-and-paranoia story of the year, if not the decade. For anyone unaware of the vast issues highlighted by Snowden’s leak, however, The Internet Police is a handy guide to the slow and unstoppable rise of the online security state, as well as the libertarian and criminal elements that have done their level best to counter that surveillance.

Anderson starts off his book in 2000, with an exploration of HavenCo. The people behind HavenCo had a fascinating idea: build a datacenter on a rusting naval fort in the North Sea, and use it to hold data for customers concerned about the government sniffing around. But the company’s dream of constructing a “true libertarian paradise” eventually sank, thanks to a toxic combination of infighting and infrastructure challenges.

HavenCo was an early entrant in a longtime attempt to place a large swath of the Web beyond the reach of governments and corporations, and it definitely wasn’t the last: from Silk Road to MegaUpload, the properties dedicated to a “liberated Net” have proliferated in recent years. Some people founded such sites out of high principle; others for the LULZ; and many because they simply wanted to download movies and music and possibly highly illegal drugs for free.

Anderson does an excellent job of tracing the push-and-pull between these Websites and various government and corporate entities. People form peer-to-peer networks to swap copyrighted content, and corporations sue to shut them down; others set up networks to trade pornography or drugs, and law-enforcement agencies unleash all sorts of surveillance tools to track down the perpetrators; spam networks rise, and governments pass legislation (boosted by corporations) to nuke them off the Web, with varying degrees of success. These attempts at control usually prove successful, at least until new and improved versions of those Websites rise from the smoking ruins of the old.

To his credit, Anderson wears his journalist hat to the proceedings, never tipping his sympathies to one side or the other. He acknowledges that government and law enforcement really do want to keep people safe above all else, even as certain legislatures and police departments run roughshod over citizens’ privacy; he also details how many software creators built their security and privacy tools out of a genuine desire for people to have as much freedom as possible online, only to watch as criminals and others twisted those tools to their own nefarious ends.

Anderson’s conclusion is that society needs an Internet police in order to keep some degree of peace, but that “we need to keep a close eye on them.” In this post-Snowden era, when it seems increasingly clear that governments have the ability to monitor virtually every single aspect of our electronic lives, this bit of advice seems more important than ever."

Link to Original Source

+ - V8 developer quits "downright shameful" Google JavaScript engine 3

Submitted by rjmarvin
rjmarvin (3001897) writes "Stephan Beal has maintained V8--the beating heart of Google Chrome--since 2009, but left the project today over frustration with an incompetent staff, lack of respect and constant changes he referred to as "a direct kick in the balls." The senior developer revealed a culture of disorganization and incompatibility within the vital Google engine, run by a team refusing to even document their own code..."

+ - Netflix Comes To Linux Web Browsers Via "Pipelight"->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "With Netflix continuing to rely upon Microsoft Silverlight, the video streaming service hasn't been supported for Linux users as the Mono-based "Moonlight" implementation goes without Netflix support. However, there is now Netflix support for Linux-based web-browsers via the open-source Pipelight project. Pipelight supports Netflix and other Silverlight-based web applications by having a Netscape plug-in that in turn communicates with a Windows program running under Wine. The Windows program then simulates a browser to load the Silverlight libraries. Netflix then works as the Pipelight developers implemented support for the Netflix DRM scheme within Wine."
Link to Original Source

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. -- John Muir