Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Submission + - It's Programmer Day - What Are You Going To Do? ( 1

mikejuk writes: As well as being Friday the 13th, today is also Programmer Day. Instead of regarding it as a lighthearted joke, or an opportunity to have some fun, perhaps we should take it more seriously..Given the ongoing debate about getting the general public to code and learn some computer science, perhaps we could make use of it to get some programming ideas into the wider world. Perhaps the commercialization of Programmer Day by a greeting card company would be a good idea — as long as the cards contained some nugget of programming or computer science.
Yes, this is an opportunity we are letting slip by.
What are your suggestions for using Programmer day to get people involved and to improve our image?

Submission + - Why Apple's 64-bit iPhone chip probably won't matter for years (

mattydread23 writes: One of the big talking points of Apple's iPhone 5S introduction this week was the A7 processor, supposedly the first 64-bit chip ever to find its way into a smartphone. But it probably won't have any effect for years — first of all, the real benefit of 64-bit apps is to take advantage of more than 4GB of memory, and the iPhone is still years away from that limit. Second, developers have little incentive to build 64-bit apps when most of the iPhones (including the new 5C) in the field will be 32-bit for the foreseeable future.

Submission + - Ethiopian man claims he is 160 years old ( 2

schwit1 writes: Many people won't be aware of Italy's invasion of Ethiopia in 1895, but one man doesn't just know about the battle — he claims to have lived through it. 'When Italy invaded Ethiopia I had two wives, and my son was old enough to herd cattle', said Mr Ebba.

Retired farmer Dhaqabo Ebba, from Ethiopia, says he is a staggering 160 years old, which would make him the world's oldest living man. This would make him 46 years older than the oldest ever recorded man.

Comment Re:Define "Rockstar" (Score 1) 356

:-( The younger programmers haven't learnt the rule-of-thumb:

:( You would consider me a younger programmer.
I think the things you bring up: virtual dispatch in a performance critical loop, template bloat, and other performance problems aren't so much a "younger programmer" problem but the result of increasing compute power and the fact that Java and JavaScript are the programming language of choice in CS programs in American Universities. Unless you really had a reason to learn higher performance programming: like a systems programming class or a microcontroller based engineering class, you won't be exposed to the pitfalls you talk about and therefore won't learn how to avoid them. Also: complexity analysis (big O) is huge, and it's amazing how few people look at a nested for loops / crazy STL container searches/finds without realizing the performance implications. I think ignorance of the art of writing performance critical code is equal throughout the age distribution.

Maybe it just my "embedded guy" superiority complex, but you can't get away with that shit in the embedded world. Although, now that we're getting super powerful ARM microcontrollers I'm actually afraid that average code will become more and more common.

Comment Re:Define "Rockstar" (Score 1) 356

You have to really really fuck something up to have C++ OO code be too slow where you're talking "milliseconds".

Anecdotally, I use to write software that controlled generators. We used a 72MHZ ARM7TDMI with 64K onboard ram and some awfully slow external 8-bit ram chip. Never had any performance problems. Milliseconds is a really long time in the context of embedded software.

If OO is too slow, it's usually because the PEBCAK.

Comment Define "Rockstar" (Score 4, Insightful) 356

In my experiences as a C++ developer our challenges are mainly architectural. None of us are C++ wizards, we all have many C++/STL books on our desks and are frequently scouring forums when we don't know something. C++ knowledge or the lack of it has never been a problem. Chances are that one of us knows how to do that whacky thing you want to do but can't remember how to do it. If we don't know, its really not that hard to experiment a little and figure it out. Worst case were posing on stack exchange or some other forum.

Knowing how to develop a piece of software with an OO architecture in C++ is the skill that we find to be more important and harder to find in new devs. We have a few open recs right now and although we get many guys with years of C and C++ experience, few if any know anything about OO. Out of the current employees, less than half are 'good' at OO design.

I have worked with guys who can crank out thousands of lines of real time, embedded code for industrial applications. Globals everywhere, no understanding of encapsulation or data hiding, nothing even resembling an interface. That sucked.

Give me a good designer over a "rockstar" programmer any day.

Submission + - US Income Distribution Worst Ever (

the eric conspiracy writes: In 2012 the highest earning 1% of the US population garnered 19.3% of the US total. This breaks the previous record set in 1928 at 18.7%. In the last three years, 95% of all income gains have gone to the richest 1%. Real income growth between for the top 1% was 86% between 1993 and 2000. For the remainder of the population earnings rose 6.6%. The study also noted that the top 10% of US families had 50% of the total US income.

Income distribution usually worsens as a country first develops due to a shift from agriculture to urban living, then improves as the economy matures. This is known as the Kuznets curve. The current regression of income equity in the US suggests serious social policy failings.

Submission + - The NSA's next move: silencing university professors? ( 2

wabrandsma writes: From the Guardian:

A Johns Hopkins computer science professor blogs on the NSA and is asked to take it down.

A professor in the computer science department at Johns Hopkins, a leading American university, had written a post on his blog, hosted on the university's servers, focused on his area of expertise, which is cryptography. The post was highly critical of the government, specifically the National Security Agency, whose reckless behavior in attacking online security astonished him.

On Monday, he gets a note from the acting dean of the engineering school asking him to take the post down and stop using the NSA logo as clip art in his posts. The email also informs him that if he resists he will need a lawyer.

Why would an academic dean cave under pressure and send the takedown request without careful review, which would have easily discovered, for example, that the classified documents to which the blog post linked were widely available in the public domain?

Comment This is a "Free Market" (Score 1, Interesting) 688

This is exactly how neoconservatives view the free market. Politicians and laws are part of the market and fair game. A company will always strive to maximize profits, if buying laws and legislators maximizes profits so be it.

This is the free market as neoconservatives see it, whoever has the most capital wins.

Submission + - Researchers Say PHP SuperGlobal Variables Are Critical Security Risks

Trailrunner7 writes: The ease with which PHP applications can be subverted should be pretty apparent by now given the number of botnets supported by compromised sites hosting PHP code.

The biggest culprit in the PHP universe may be a set of nine variables called SuperGlobals that provide programmers with development flexibility yet introduce dangerous vulnerabilities that allow attackers to externally modify these variables and run code of their choosing, conduct remote file inclusion, or bypass intrusion detection signatures.

Research released today by Imperva calls for a ban on SuperGlobal variables, vulnerabilities in which can be exploited to break application logic and hack servers hosting the wonky code. The result could be anything from fraud against online banking customers to loss of personal data.

Submission + - How to foil NSA sabotage: use a dead man's switch ( 4

mspohr writes: Cory Doctorow has an interesting idea published in todays Guardian on how to approach the problem of NSA "gag orders" which prevent web sites, etc. from telling anyone that they have been compromised. His idea is to set up a "dead man" switch where a site would publish a statement that "We have not been contacted by the government" ... until, of course, they were contacted and compromised. The statement would then disappear since it would no longer be true.
He points out a few problems... Not making the statement could be considered a violation of disclosure... but, can the government force you to lie and state that you haven't been contacted when you actually have?

Comment Silicon Valley Culture (Score 2) 762

About two weeks ago we had this story Silicon Valleys Loony Cheerleading Culture is Out Of Control.

Titstare just seems like a satire on the completely pointless app genre that seems to be the new popular thing to do if you are a young hip coder looking to score big in the new social/app bubble we are in.

Didn't Facebook start as a way to rank girl's appearance at Harvard? Who's to fault these guys, they could be the next Zuckerberg. Titstare is (however tongue-in-cheek) indicative of the trend of creating valueless apps and hyping them up to billion dollar status and then selling to the highest bidder trying to reinvigorate their failing business. (example: AOL/MySpace/HuffPost).

Submission + - TSA is officially allowed to lie to you in order to cover itself

zoan2013 writes: Blogger Johnathan Corbett reports that the remaining claims of his lawsuit against the TSA were dismissed on Tuesday with US District Judge Joan A Lenard basically saying the TSA doesn't have to tell the truth in TSA-related FOIA requests. (Full dismissal order here) Judge Lenard also refused to allow the 19 previously dismissed charges to be appealed while the rest were being decided. Corbett is now appealing to the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, and is considering filing a complaint of judicial misconduct against Lenard.

Slashdot Top Deals

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.