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Microsoft

First Look At Windows 7 Beta 1 898

The other A. N. Other writes "It seems that Microsoft couldn't keep the lid on Windows 7 beta 1 until the new year. By now, several news outlets have their hands on the beta 1 code and have posted screenshots and information about this build. ZDNet's Hardware 2.0 column says: 'This beta is of excellent quality. This is the kind of code that you could roll out and live with. Even the pre-betas were solid, but finally this beta feels like it's "done." This beta exceeds the quality of any other Microsoft OS beta that I've handled.' ITWire points out that this copy has landed on various torrent sites, and while it appears to be genuine, there are no guarantees. Neowin has a post confirming that it's the real thing, and saying Microsoft will be announcing the build's official availability at CES in January."
Education

Best Paradigm For a First Programming Course? 592

Keyper7 writes "The first programming course I had during my computer science schooling, aptly named 'Introduction to Programming,' was given in C because its emphasis was on imperative programming. A little before I graduated, though, it was decided that the focus would change to object-oriented programming with Java. (I must emphasize that the change was not made because of any hype about Java or to dumb down the course; back then and still, it's presented by good Java programmers who try to teach good practices and do not encourage excessive reliance on libraries.) But the practices taught are not paradigm-independent, and this sparked a discussion that continues to this day: which paradigm is most appropriate to introduce programming? Besides imperative and object-oriented, I know teachers who firmly believe that functional programming is the best choice. I'm interested in language-independent opinions that Slashdotters might have on this matter. Which paradigm is good to introduce programming while keeping a freshman's mind free enough for him/her to learn other paradigms afterwards?"
PHP

PHP Gets Namespace Separators, With a Twist 523

jeevesbond writes "PHP is finally getting support for namespaces. However, after a couple hours of conversation, the developers picked '\' as the separator, instead of the more popular '::'. Fredrik Holmström points out some problems with this approach. The criteria for selection were ease of typing and parsing, how hard it was to make a typo, IDE compatibility, and the number of characters."

Comment Re:Why not Python? (Score 1) 963

From a more technological point of view there is also a fundamental difference between the philosophies of the two languages.

Perl subscribes to "there is more than one way to do it"; Python is all about "there should be only one way". The latter is what made Java such an insipid and annoying language to develop in. Python is probably saved from this only by its much better standard library and generally smaller verbosity.

Personally, if I had to choose from the two, I would still choose Python because of the gentler learning curve, and because I hate forced indentation/whitespace slightly less than Perl's type sigils.

But if you can choose any language, try one of those newly popular "modern" languages - finally get down on your ass and learn Haskell (as I should), or Kaya, or LISP (which, as one of the oldest still in use today, is more "modern" than almost anything that has seen light ever since), or Ocaml, or even F# or something. (Any one of these can also show you that OO is not the only way of abstraction, or the best way, or, god help me, even a particularly good way.)

Microsoft

Microsoft Gives Xandros Users Patent Protection 298

DigDuality writes "Microsoft, shrugging off licensing moves to prevent it from repeating its controversial patent deal with Novell, has signed a set of broad collaboration agreements with Linux provider Xandros that include an intellectual property assurance under which Microsoft will provide patent covenants for Xandros customers."
The Internet

Does Wikipedia Suck on Science Stories? 400

An anonymous reader writes "An editor from Wired writes on his blog that Wikipedia sucks for science stories — not because they are inaccurate, but because of what he calls the 'tragedy of the uncommon': Too many experts writing about subjects in ways that no non-expert can understand. Would this be the dumbing-down of Wikipedia — or would it be a better resource for everyone?"
Music

Submission + - Internet Radio Saving Bill

k-zed writes: "A bill has been introduced that will save independent internet radio by setting royalties at the same level paid by satellite radio services, a reasonable amount (7.5% of gross revenues) which will benefit the artists as well as not bankrupt net radio stations. Call your Representative right now and ask to cosponsor the "Internet Radio Equality Act", just introduced by Representative Jay Inslee. This bill will set royalty rates that internet radio pays to the same reasonable level that satellite radio pays."
Movies

MPAA Committed To Fair Use and DRM 212

Doctor Jay writes "At a LexisNexis Conference on DRM this week, MPAA's Dan Glickman announced that the MPAA was fine with consumers ripping DVDs for portable video players and home media servers. 'In his speech to industry insiders at the posh Beverly Hills Four Seasons hotel, Glickman repeatedly stressed that DRM must be made to work without constricting consumers. The goal, he said, was "to make things simpler for the consumer," and he added that the movie studios were open to "a technology summit" featuring academics, IT companies, and content producers to work on the issues involved.'"
The Internet

Ohio University Blocks P2P File Sharing 425

After receiving the highest number of notices from the RIAA about P2P file sharing, Ohio University has announced a policy that restricts all fire sharing on the campus network. Some file-sharing programs that could trigger action are Ares, Azureus, BitTorrent, BitLord, KaZaA, LimeWire, Shareaza and uTorrent. Claiming that this effort is 'to ensure that every student, faculty member and researcher has access to the computer resources they need,' is this another nail in the coffin of internet freedom in American universities or a needed step to prevent illegal fire sharing?
The Internet

Dealing With Venom on the Web 326

theodp writes "In a world where nastiness online can erupt and go global overnight, BusinessWeek finds Corporate America woefully unprepared and offers suggestions for how to cope, including shelling out $10,000 to companies like ReputationDefender.com to promote the info you want and suppress the news you don't. And in what must be a sign of the Apocalypse, BW holds Slashdot's moderation system up as a model for maintaining civility in message boards."

Is Assembly Programming Still Relevant, Today? 676

intelinsight asks: "Consider the following question given the current software development needs, and also the claims of the Assembly lovers for it being a language that gives one insights of the internal working of a computer. How relevant or useful is it to learn Assembly programming language in the current era? "
The Internet

Consumer Revolt Spurred Via the Internet 309

sas-dot writes "UK's newspaper Independent outlines the brewing consumer revolt being fomented on the web. 'Consumer militancy' is becoming ever more common, as individuals join forces on the internet to fight back against the state and big business. Businesses from banks to soccer clubs have been the target of these groups, in each case facing the fury of consumers who feel they have been wronged. For example, 'A mass revolt has left the high street banks facing thousands of claims from customers seeking to claw back some of the £4.75bn levied annually on charges for overdrafts and bounced cheques. More than one million forms demanding refunds have been downloaded from a number of consumer websites. The banks are settling out of court, often paying £1,000 a time.' Are these kinds of organized 'advocate mobs' going to be the future of internet activism?"

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