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Programming

What Does Everyone Use For Task/Project Tracking? 428

JerBear0 writes "I work as the sole IT employee at a company of about 50 people. I handle programming, support, pretty much anything that is IT related, or even that plugs in. As seems to be true with many small companies, the priorities seem to shift quite frequently. As a result, I've always got multiple programming (both new systems and improvements/changes to existing systems), integration, research, maintenance tasks/projects on my To Do list, in varying stages of completion. At any given time, I need to be able to jump back to one of these items and pick up where I left off. I am currently using Outlook Tasks, and then end up referencing my notebook and email for those dates to figure out exactly where I left off. It works, but not well. If it's been a while, I'll end up losing an hour or two just tracking everything down. I looked at using MS Project / OpenProj, but they want an individual file for each project, and I want at least the project/task list all on one screen. Essentially what I'd want would be a Task List on steroids, allowing for hierarchical subtasks, attachments, and prioritization. Ideally it would be a desktop app, but a locally-hostable web app would be okay. In some of these projects I may want to include proprietary information, which I really don't want floating out in the cloud outside of my control. I know I'm not alone in this problem, so what do you guys (gals) use to address this?"
Input Devices

How To Enter Equations Quickly In Class? 823

AdmiralXyz writes "I'm a university student, and I like to take notes on my (non-tablet) computer whenever possible, so it's easier to sort, categorize, and search through them later. Trouble is, I'm going into higher and higher math classes, and typing "f_X(x) = integral(-infinity, infinity, f(x,y) dy)" just isn't cutting it anymore: I need a way to get real-looking equations into my notes. I'm not particular about the details, the only requirement is that I need to keep up with the lecture, so it has to be fast, fast, fast. Straight LaTeX is way too slow, and Microsoft's Equation Editor isn't even worth mentioning. The platform is not a concern (I'm on a MacBook Pro and can run either Windows or Ubuntu in a virtual box if need be), but the less of a hit to battery life, the better. I've looked at several dedicated equation editing programs, but none of them, or their reviews, make any mention of speed. I've even thought about investing in a low-end Wacom tablet (does anyone know if there are ultra-cheap graphics tablets designed for non-artists?), but I figured I'd see if anyone at Slashdot has a better solution."
Space

Giant Ribbon Discovered At Edge of Solar System 251

beadwindow writes "NASA's IBEX (Interstellar Boundary Explorer) spacecraft has made the first all-sky maps of the heliosphere and the results have taken researchers by surprise. The maps are bisected by a bright, winding ribbon of unknown origin: 'This is a shocking new result,' says IBEX principal investigator Dave McComas of the Southwest Research Institute. 'We had no idea this ribbon existed — or what has created it. Our previous ideas about the outer heliosphere are going to have to be revised.' Another NASA scientist notes, '"This ribbon winds between the two Voyager spacecraft and was not observed by either of them.'"
Privacy

Did Chicago Lose Olympic Bid Due To US Passport Control? 1040

An anonymous reader writes "Yesterday, Chicago lost its bid for the 2016 Olympics (which went to Rio de Janeiro instead), and it's looking very likely that US border procedures were one of the main factors which knocked Chicago out of the race: 'Among the toughest questions posed to the Chicago bid team this week in Copenhagen was one that raised the issue of what kind of welcome foreigners would get from airport officials when they arrived in this country to attend the Games. Syed Shahid Ali, an I.O.C. member from Pakistan, in the question-and-answer session following Chicago's official presentation, pointed out that entering the United States can be "a rather harrowing experience." ... The exchange underscores what tourism officials here have been saying for years about the sometimes rigorous entry process for foreigners, which they see as a deterrent to tourism.'"
Earth

Laughing Gas Is Major Threat To Ozone Layer 306

Hugh Pickens writes "The Christian Science Monitor reports that according to new research, nitrous oxide, the colorless, sweet-smelling gas with a long history as a medical and dental anesthetic is the next big threat to Earth's protective ozone layer. Its role in destroying ozone has long been recognized, as well as its role as a heat-trapping greenhouse gas but the new study puts nitrous oxide's ability to deplete ozone into numbers comparable to those used for other ozone-depleting gases covered by the 1987 Montreal Protocol. The researchers note that the health of the ozone layer has been improving since the adoption of the protocol and that nitrous oxide looms large today as an artificial destroyer of the ozone layer, in part because the emissions of other harmful chemicals have been so sharply reduced." (Continues.)

Highly-Paid Developers As ScrumMasters? 434

An anonymous reader writes 'At my company, our mis-implementation of Agile includes the employment of some of our most highly-paid, principal engineers as ScrumMasters. This has effectively resulted in a loss of those engineering functions as these engineers now dedicate their time to ScrumMastery. Furthermore, the ScrumMasters either cannot or do not separate their roles as Team Leads with those of ScrumMastery and — worse — seem to be completely unaware that this poor implementation of Agile development is harmful to our velocity. To date, I have chalked this up to poor leadership, a general lack of understanding of Agile, and an inability to change from traditional roles left over from the waterfall development mode. In addition, I have contended that, for a given Scrum Team, the role of ScrumMaster should be filled by someone of lower impact, such as an intern brought in specifically for that purpose. But I would like to put the questions to Slashdotters as to whether they have seen these same transitional difficulties, what the results have been at their respective companies, or whether they just plain disagree with my assertion that principal engineers should not be relegated to the roles of ScrumMasters.'
Cellphones

Nokia Releases Linux Handset 484

galaxy writes "Nokia releases their first Linux mobile handset, the N900 The handset is based on the latest release of Maemo, the Nokia mobile Linux platform, and includes e.g. GSM and 3G access (with HSPA, giving datarates of up to 10Mbps downlink and 2Mbps uplink on suitable networks), WLAN, Bluetooth, camera, assisted GPS and, most importantly, a touchscreen complemented by a hardware QWERTY under a slider. The beast is powered by an ARM Cortex-A8 processor at 600 MHz, has PowerVR SGX with OpenGL ES 2.0 support, 32GB internal memory etc."
Privacy

Model Drops Lawsuit After Outing Anonymous Blogger 476

JumperCable writes "The NY Daily News is reporting that model Liskula Cohen, who was suing the 'Skanks of NYC' blogger for defamation, is dropping the lawsuit now that she has outed the anonymous blogger, who is a Fashion Institute of Technology student named Rosemary Port. This brings up the question of potential abuse of the legal system to 'out' anonymous authors even if there is no intention actually to pursue a case against an anonymous individual. Also, according to the article, the outed blogger intends to sue Google for $15 million because it 'breached its fiduciary duty to protect her expectation of anonymity.' Do Web hosting services even have a fiduciary duty to protect their clients, or is this all legal bluff and bluster?" Should such anonymity-busting court rulings include a provision for penalties if the plaintiff does not follow through with legal action after outing their target?
The Almighty Buck

The Outing of Pranknet 543

An anonymous reader writes "The Smoking Gun recently published a story on their investigation and outing of Pranknet, an online cabal that aims to take pranks to the next level. Their legacy includes thousands of dollars of damage, and many harassed souls. Many of the pranks have clear criminal implications. Reading their report may send chills down your collective spines." From the linked article: "Coalescing in an online chat room, members of the group, known as Pranknet, use the telephone to carry out cruel and outrageous hoaxes, which they broadcast live around-the-clock on the Internet. Masquerading as hotel employees, emergency service workers, and representatives of fire alarm companies, 'Dex' and his cohorts have successfully prodded unwitting victims to destroy hotel rooms and lobbies, set off sprinkler systems, activate fire alarms, and damage assorted fast food restaurants. But while Pranknet's hoaxes have caused millions of dollars in damages, it is the group's efforts to degrade and frighten targets that makes it even more odious ..."
Spam

Times Are Tough For Nigerian Scammers 232

The Narrative Fallacy writes "The Washington Post reports that online swindling takes dedication even in the best of times but succeeding in the midst of a worldwide economic meltdown takes patience, resolve, and hard work. 'We are working harder. The financial crisis is not making it easy for them over there,' said Banjo, 24, speaking about Americans, whose trust he has won and whose money he has fleeced, via his Dell laptop. 'They don't have money. And the money they don't have, we want.' US authorities say Americans — the easiest prey, according to Nigerian scammers — still lose hundreds of millions of dollars a year to cybercrimes, including a scheme known as the Nigerian 419 fraud, named for a section of the Nigerian criminal code. 419 is cemented in Nigerian popular culture. and the scammers, known as 'yahoo-yahoo boys,' are glorified in pop songs such as 'Yahoozee,' which gained even more fame after former secretary of state Colin L. Powell danced to it at a London festival last year."
Programming

Netflix Prize Contest Ends, Down To the Wire 100

suraj.sun updates us on the Netflix Prize now that the competition has officially closed. We discussed the new leader with one day to go in the contest: The Ensemble, taking the lead from long-time leader BellKor's Pragmatic Chaos, the first contestant to submit an entry that broke the 10% barrier. In the contest's final day, BellKor re-took the lead with 20 minutes to go, then The Ensemble apparently pulled a Michael Phelps with 4 minutes to go, squeaking ahead by 0.01%. At least so the leaderboard claims — but those numbers are posted by the competing teams. The NY Times reports that an official winner will not be named until September — Netflix needs that much time to pore through the complex entries and read the code. Netflix contacted BellKor on Sunday to tell them the team remained in first place; The Ensemble has had no such notification.
Security

Submission + - Nmap 5.00 Released! (nmap.org)

iago-vL writes: "The long-awaited Nmap Security Scanner version 5.00 was just released (download)! This marks the most important release since 1997, and is a huge step in Nmap's evolution from a simple port scanner to an all-around security and networking tool suite. Significant performance improvements were made, and dozens of scripts were added. For example, Nmap can now log into Windows and perform local checks (PDF), including Conficker detection. New tools included in 5.00 are Ncat, a modern reimplementation of Netcat (with IPv6, SSL, NAT traversal, port redirection, and more!), and Ndiff, for quickly comparing scan results. Other tools are in the works for future releases, but we're still waiting for them to add email and ftp clients so we can finally get off Emacs!"
Censorship

British Men Jailed For Online Hate Crimes 778

chrb writes "Two British men have become the first to be jailed for inciting racial hatred online. The men believed that material they published on web servers based in the United States did not fall under the jurisdiction of UK law and was protected under the First Amendment. This argument was rejected by the British trial judge. After being found guilty, the men fled to Los Angeles, where they attempted to claim political asylum, again arguing that they were being persecuted by the British government for speech that was protected under the First Amendment. The asylum bid was rejected and the two were deported back to the UK after spending over a year in a US jail."
The Courts

Prof. Nesson Ordered To Show Cause 267

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Professor Charles Nesson, the Harvard law professor serving pro bono as counsel to the defendant in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, has been ordered to show cause why sanctions should not be issued against him for violating the Court's orders prohibiting reproduction of the court proceedings. The order to show cause was in furtherance of the RIAA's motion for sanctions and protective order, which we discussed here yesterday. The Judge indicated that she was 'deeply concerned' about Prof. Nesson's apparent 'blatant disregard' of her order."
Image

Artist Wins £20,000 Grant To Study Women's Butts Screenshot-sm 202

Sue Williams has been awarded a £20,000 grant by the Arts Council of Wales, to "explore cultural attitudes towards female buttocks." Sue plans to examine racial attitudes towards bottoms in Europe and Africa and create plaster casts of women's behinds to try to understand their place in contemporary culture. And here I've been studying the issue all these years for free like a sucker!

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What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite. -- Bertrand Russell, "Skeptical Essays", 1928

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