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Things You Drink Can Be Used To Track You 202

sciencehabit writes with an intriguing story about the potential of figuring out where people have been by examining their hair: "That's because water molecules differ slightly in their isotope ratios depending on the minerals at their source. Researchers found that water samples from 33 cities across the United State could be reliably traced back to their origin based on their isotope ratios. And because the human body breaks down water's constituent atoms of hydrogen and oxygen to construct the proteins that make hair cells, those cells can preserve the record of a person's travels. Such information could help prosecutors place a suspect at the scene of a crime, or prove the innocence of the accused." Or frame someone by slipping them water from every country on the terrorist watchlist.

Comment In my humble opinion... (Score 1) 434

Many, many "Agile" teams are really just using the buzzword... saw it in a magazine (or on Slashdot!), and thought it sounded good. They pick the one practice they like, ignore all the rest, then blame "Agile" when it fails. (It's really "frAgile", not Agile, but that's another post).

In the OP's question, he wondered whether promoting great developers into a non-technical role was a good idea. It's the same age-old question about developers becoming managers. And the answer is? Almost always a horrible idea. Hire the skills. Find someone who wants to learn it. Don't do automatic promotions. In other words, THINK!

No pro sports player would try to play their sport without a coach, but developers try to pick up new techniques all the time by ourselves. Sometimes it works... sometimes, you need an expert to help you figure it out as quickly as possible. Team-wide (and company wide!) process changes are the times you always need a coach. Bring in an expert and solve these problems before you run into them.

Comment Re:Pragmatic Programmers (Score 1) 271

Since I have (obviously) limited experience, I can't say... I assume you're correct (and have heard good things about you guys.)

However, the expenses on Ship It! were negligible... much less than I expected. I know Andy and Dave really go out of their way to keep costs down.

My take on it all? Find one of the good publishers (there's more than one), and PUBLISH! You'll never regret it.

Comment Pragmatic Programmers (Score 1) 271

My first book (Ship It! ) was with the prags and it was a great experience. The book is now in 6 foreign languages editions and I keep getting quarterly checks. The editorial process was incredibly difficult, but that's because they push you to be the best you can.

And the 50% royalty rate is really what you get. I can tell you exactly how many books have been bought and returned, PDFs vs paper books, etc. I've not heard of anyone being able to match the level of information they provide authors.

The build system is also insanely cool. You can render the book on your local box, so you can see how it looks as you go. That's really motivating.

I just published a book on (for a variety of reasons, none negative towards the prags), and it was nearly painless. If you do publish on Lulu, be sure to start with their Word template and that eliminates a ton of the pain. But Career 2.0 ( ), my latest, has so many more typos, etc in it that Ship It!... it was easier to write, but the editing quality suffered a bit.

Regardless of who you publish with, you'll sell if you market it. Otherwise it won't. You write articles (InfoQ, DZone, etc), you set up a blog, you go to user's groups... you're the main PR arm for your book. You'll get out of it what you put into it.

Comment A few tips... (Score 1) 601

Break down the individual tasks to half day to a day's worth of work.

Then use the 'pomodoro' technique. Work for 25 minutes (no interruptions, like email or /.), then take a five minute break. This type of time boxing helps you focus and get rolling.

Tell someone else what you'll get done today. :) Harness that ego all developers have built in.

Comment Think long term... (Score 1) 654

If you can consider it long term... if you don't really need the money right now.

Two things to consider. Posting to the open source project gets your name out in a big way. Your next job, or your next 5 jobs, very well may come your way because of that exposure and enhanced reputation.

Also, pitch it to the company as getting the community to maintain your changes. Unless this is their core business (and it sounds like it might be), it's in their best interests to get the community to pick up the changes and keep them moving forward in future releases.

Finally, have you asked them if this was intentional? Often contacts are just boilerplate from the lawyers and they never intended to put you in this position.

Submission + - Linux Laptops

rustalot42684 writes: What manufacturers offer laptops with Linux pre-installed? I looked at System76, but thought that it is always good to consider other options, and I thought Slashdot would be a good place to fish for [strong] opinions.

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