Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Making side-money as a programmer

earlzdotnet writes: "I've been programming for a few years now, have a full time job etc. I'm one of those lucky souls that actually enjoy programming, so I commonly work on my own open source projects on weekends. However, I wouldn't mind working on a short-term(ie, not more than 2 months) project every once in a while on weekends.

I've looked at freelancing before and I could probably make more money by working at McDonald's on weekends than that. I've also looked into making web sites for small businesses, but it requires a bit too much commitment and support for me, especially since I'm terrible at graphics design. I've had my hand at trying to write reusable components to sell to other programmers, but that was pretty pointless(made one $20 sale). I've seen teaching suggested, but I'm self-taught and probably not experienced enough to responsibly teach people

Are there any other options to make a bit of cash as a programmer? Is programming just one of those things that requires complete dedication or what?"
The Internet

Submission + - Open Spectrum Does Not Mean Free Internet (

CowboyRobot writes: "FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski recently proposed making RF spectrum publicly available, and many in the media (including the Washington Post) have been mistakenly conflating open access to wifi signal with free Internet access; anyone can put up a wireless access point but that doesn't give them access to the Internet. The proposal will probably mean more attempts at providing free Internet access to specific neighborhoods or municipalities, but as Larry Seltzer at NetworkComputing points out, these programs also usually forget that access to signal is not the same as access to the Internet. After getting the funding to wire a city, these isn't money left to pay for the actual bandwidth usage."

Submission + - Australian Govt forces Apple, Adobe, Microsoft to explain price hikes (

An anonymous reader writes: Live outside the US? Tired of paying huge local price markups on technology products from vendors such as Apple, Microsoft and Adobe? Well, rest easy, the Australian Government is on the case. After months of stonewalling from the vendors, today the Australian Parliament issued subpoenas compelling the three vendors to appear in public and take questions regarding their price hikes on technology products sold in Australia. Finally, we may have some answers for why Adobe, for example, charges up to $1,400 more for the full version of Creative Suite 6 when sold outside the US.

Submission + - Raytheon's Riot program mines social network data for intelligence agencies (

Shipud writes: Raytheon has secretly developed software capable of tracking people's movements and predicting future behaviour by mining data from social networking websites according to this story from The Guardian.

An "extreme-scale analytics" system created by Raytheon, the world's fifth largest defence contractor, can gather vast amounts of information about people from websites including Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.

Raytheon says it has not sold the software – named Riot, or Rapid Information Overlay Technology – to any clients. But the company has acknowledged the technology was shared with US government and industry as part of a joint research and development effort, in 2010, to help build a national security system capable of analysing "trillions of entities" from cyberspace.

The power of Riot to harness popular websites for surveillance offers a rare insight into controversial techniques that have attracted interest from intelligence and national security agencies, at the same time prompting civil liberties and online privacy concerns.


Submission + - Widespead Email Compromise by Yahoo (YahooXtra) in New Zealand (

Bitsy Boffin writes: Xtra, the largest ISP in New Zealand, which outsources email provision to Yahoo, has in the last two days been subject of a widespread email compromise, causing potentially thousands of accounts to send SPAM messages to every address in their webmail address books.

Discussion at Geekzone centers around this potentially being a continuation of the Yahoo XSS exploit.

While Telecom NZ, the owners of Xtra internet service provider indicate that the problem was "resolved", reports of SPAM from it's members continue unabated.

Telecom NZ are advising those affected to change their passwords.


Submission + - Should Techies Trump Latinos in Immigration Reform?

theodp writes: In an open letter on TechCrunch, Vivek Wadhwa calls on Congressman Luis Gutierrez to lift his 'hold on Silicon Valley' and stop tying immigration reform for highly-skilled STEM immigrants to the plight of undocumented immigrants. So, why should the STEM set get first dibs? 'The issues of high-skilled and undocumented immigrants are both equally important,' says Wadhwa, but 'the difference is that the skilled workers have mobility and are in great demand all over the world. They are getting frustrated and are leaving in droves.' Commenting on Gutierrez's voting record, Wadhwa adds, 'I would have voted for visas for 50,000 smart foreign students graduating with STEM degrees from U.S. universities over bringing in 55,000 randomly selected high-school graduates from abroad. The STEM graduates would have created jobs and boosted our economy. The lottery winners will come to the U.S. with high hopes, but will face certain unemployment and misery because of our weak economy.' So, should Gutierrez cede to Wadhwa's techies-before-Latinos proposal, or would this be an example of the paradox of virtuous meritocracy undermining equality of opportunity?

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Alternatives to the Canonical Computer Science Degree 1

connorblack writes: "I want to be a web developer, and everyday I ask myself the same question: why am I wasting my time getting a computer science degree? I feel like I'm trapped- most of the courses I spend all my time on are far removed from the skills I need to succeed as a web developer. But on the other hand, I can't imagine another degree that would allow me to stay in a programming mindset. The fact is that web development has taken huge bounds in the last few years, and sadly most universities haven't caught up. Computer science is a field that overlaps with web development, but getting a computer science degree to become a web developer is like getting a zoology degree to become a veterinarian. Close, but no cigar. So here's the deal: I'm in my second year of a computer science degree, and the thought of wasting two more years, getting left in the dust, and becoming irrelevant has me horrified. I want to start my web development career now. Or at least as soon as possible. I can drop out and devote 6 months to teaching myself, but I want something more structured. Something that has the benefits of a classroom and an authority figure, but which teaches me exactly what I need to know to do what I want to do. Any suggestions?"

Submission + - Mega Vulnerability Reward Program Starts Payouts: 7 Bugs Fixed In First Week

An anonymous reader writes: If you’re a hacker or a security researcher, this is a reminder that you don’t have to take on Google’s or Mozilla’s software to get paid for finding a bug. In its first week, the Mega vulnerability reward program has already confirmed and fixed seven bugs, showing that Dotcom really does put his money where his mouth is. Although Mega hasn’t shared how much money it paid out in the first week, how many bug submissions were made, or even who found which bugs, the company did briefly detail the discovered security holes. It also confirmed that the program is here to stay and urged those participating to find more severe bugs.

Submission + - Corn shortage affects ethanol production in the US (

drdread66 writes: A nationwide corn shortage brought on by last year's drought has started to curtail ethanol production. While this shouldn't be surprising to anyone, it raises public policy issues regarding ethanol usage requirements in motor fuel. Given that the energy efficiency of ethanol fuel is questionable at best, is it time to lift the mandate for ethanol in our gasoline?

Submission + - Ozone on the Path to Recovery over Antarctica? (

hypnosec writes: Ozone layer seems to be on a road to recovery over Antarctica as Satellite images indicate that the hole in the protective layer is the smallest as compared to its size in the past decade. According to Europe’s MetOp weather satellite, which is monitoring the atmospheric ozone, the hole over the South Pole in 2012 was the smallest in the last 10 years. The decrease in size of the hole is probably the result of reduction in the concentration of CFCs, especially since the mid-1990s, because of international agreements like the Montreal Protocol.

Submission + - What to do when an advised BIOS upgrade is bad?

Bomarc writes: "Twice now I've been advised to "flash the BIOS to the latest", once by a (major) hard drive controller maker (RAID); once by an OEM (who listed as "critical", and has removed older versions of the BIOS). Both times, the update has bricked an expensive piece of equipment. Both times, the response after the failed flash was "It's not our problem, it's out of warranty". Given that they recommended — advised that the unit be upgraded, shouldn't they shoulder the responsibility of BIOS upgrade failure? Also, if there design had sockets rather than soldering on parts, one could R/R the faulty part (BIOS chip), rather than going to eBay and praying. Am I the only one that has experienced this type of problem? Have you been advised to upgrade a BIOS (firmware); and the upgrade bricked the part or system — if so, what did you do? Should I name the companies?"

Submission + - Aaron Swartz's prosecutor Steve Heymann Should Be Fired ( 1

Weezul writes: Thanks to a last minute appeal by Aaron Swarz' girlfriend, a petition to fire Boston Assistant US Attorney Stephen Heymann has passed 25,000 signatures, has crossed the threshold required to elicit a White House response. Steve Heymann is the prosecutor in the Massachusetts US Attorneyâ(TM)s office who so aggressively and unreasonably went after Aaron to further his own career.

Submission + - Carpal Tunnel problem caused by left mouse button 3

lsatenstein writes: "I am a heavy user of the net, particularly slashdot and a few other blogging sites. Lately, with heavy mouse use, both with the laptop pad, and a physical mouse, I have severe carpal pains in my arm between the wrist and the elbow. It was so bad that I could not work for 3 days. I have tried everything from readjusting keyboard/mouse height to taking five minute breaks every half hour.

Is there a better mouse alternative that could relieve the forefinger from that overuse of the left mouse button? Could there be a floor button? or some other technique to stop repetitive action problems? Pain cam be compared to the most severe toothache."
GNU is Not Unix

Submission + - GNU Hurd To Develop SATA, USB, Audio Support (

An anonymous reader writes: Hurd, the GNU micro-kernel project that was founded by Richard Stallman in 1983, may finally be catching up with Linux on the desktop... Plans were shared by its developers to finally bring in some modern functionality by working on support for Serial ATA drives, USB support, and sound cards. There's also ambitions to provide x86_64 CPU architecture support. GNU Hurd developers will be doing an unofficial Debian GNU/Hurd "Wheezy" release this year but they hope for the Debian "Jessie" release their micro-kernel in Debian will make it as part of some official CDs.

Submission + - Six months without Adobe Flash, and I feel fine (

hessian writes: "As documented on /., six months ago I de-installed the Adobe FlashTM player on all my browsers.

This provoked some shock and incredulity from others. After all, Flash has been an essential content interpreter for over a decade. It filled the gap between an underdeveloped JavaScript and the need for media content like animation, video and so on."

Submission + - Has the GNOME community gone crazy?

An anonymous reader writes: Vincent Untz, former GNOME release manager and developer and current cloud wrangler at SUSE gives a talk at FOSDEM 2013 titled Has the GNOME community gone crazy?

Untz's talk started out a bit strange, with him seemingly equating the rumored 'death of the desktop' to the complaints about GNOME 3. Also, his observation that when GNOME 3 came out he 'saw so many news , so many articles on how GNOME 3 is horrible', gave him the appearance of a detached observer without the ability to confront these issues head on. He says that GNOME users accuse developers of 'hating the world' and wanting to 'destroy the planet'.

His stated goal for the talk is 'convey a bit on why we do things this way or that way and debunk some myths'. Untz unfortunately reduces GNOME users right of the bat by stating that their concerns are just 'emotional reactions to GNOME 3, people don't have an idea why they don't like GNOME 3, they just repeat stuff and maybe they have never tried GNOME 3. Their opinions/reactions to GNOME 3 are so wrong that we have to explain why that is'. Take note that Untz states the biggest myth is GNOME doesn't listen to feedback.

Untz doesn't address the many in depth blog posts, reviews and critiques of the GNOME 3 UI from users who have actually used GNOME 3 and do have an idea why they don't like it. Untz admits that the developers community is 'bad at communication, we don't explain features or changes well', but things are starting to change, he says, and the developer community is now starting to post to their blogs on whats happening and are more directly getting feedback.

Untz cites the new GNOME classic as debunking the myth that GNOME doesn't listen to feedback . Although he personally has not has not tried it he says it looks like GNOME 2, jokingly saying it has the same colors, seemingly equating GNOME 2 appearance with GNOME 2 functionality. 'we made that for users, because we heard a lot of feedback from them'. His indifference here to gnome classic enforces his early statement that the gnome developers have moved on and 'staying with GNOME 2 would have been just wrong, GNOME 2 is old and not a desktop of today'.

Another one of Untz's myths is that 'GNOME 3 keeps removing options and features'. He understands why people feel that way. He states that you will not have a good UI if you put all the options there. He goes on to say 'We need to remove some features in order to provide other features and it is usually temporary'. (I guess Nautilus may be getting some features back then).

Untz goes on to reveal some interesting tidbits.

What is GNOME OS?

For people who where eagerly awaiting for their very own operating system based on GNOME (the GNOME OS) they may be a bit disappointed. GNOME OS 'is not an OS, its a code name for big goals that we want to set for the project'.'Some of the developers within the project want to kill the distribution[model] but that is not the goal of the project'.

Is GNOME 3 build for tablets?

'It's not made for tablets. We don't make GNOME 3 for tablets, we make GNOME 3 for real computers'. Untz says that touch screens are not something they can ignore so they have to be ready for that, so that is why they make GNOME 'touch aware'.

What is the GNOME 3 focus compared to GNOME 2?

GNOME 2 focused on 'Usability' and GNOME 3 focuses on 'User Experience'.

Whats the future of GTK?

The plans are to merge GTK with Clutter.

The presentation starts off a bit wobbly but towards the end and by the time you get to the question period, with Bastien Nocera, and another developer chiming in you get the feeling that the GNOME developers are a serious and dedicated bunch who truly believe in their project. As these GNOME developers keep on telling us, GNOME 3 is a different project from GNOME 2 with different goals and Untz states that several times throughout his talk. After watching his presentation I'm actually surprised that GNOME classic made its way into GNOME 3. I guess the constant chipping away at the GNOME developers by die-hard GNOME 2 fans may have made a small impact in this regard.

Submission + - Japanese "cyber crime" suspect arrested for petting a stray cat (

siddesu writes: A man was arrested this morning in Tokyo because he was videotaped approaching a famous stray cat in the popular tourist destination of Enoshima near Tokyo.

The animal was used some months ago to deliver (via an SD card strapped to its leash) a message ridiculing the cyber crime unit of the Japanese police for their failure to apprehend a "hacker", who posted "threatening messages" to several popular boards.

The investigation of the pranks since October last year has so far resulted in four arrests of innocent people.

Submission + - Ron Paul calls on U.N. for help ( 1

thoughtfulbloke writes: Maker or Taker? Ron Paul has gone to the United Nations' World Intellectual Property Organization to seize control of the domain from the fans that built it up, rather than purchase it.

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