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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Managing a distributed software team in a matrix organization

An anonymous reader writes: I work as a software developer in a company which builds industrial and automotive computers. I've recently been offered a position as line manager for a new, distributed team of software developers. All embedded software engineers from multiple offices in different countries are now being reorganized into this new distributed team, as opposed to belonging to any specific office. An advantage would be that this new team has better control of its own development practices, processes and tools since everyone are working in the same field; embedded software. However, since we operate like a matrix organization, I would be allocating the resources in my team to various projects managed by independent project managers, where a typical project spans both hardware, embedded software and mechanics to complete the product. Every project is different and they can operate very independently.

While there's extensive material throughout the Internet on best practices for managing distributed teams, it seems to either take an agile perspective, the project manager's perspective or be otherwise based on the assumption that everyone in the team are working in the same project. In my case, I'd be managing a distributed team of developers all assigned to different projects. Therefore it's very unclear to me which parts of the available online advice about managing distributed software teams are applicable to my situation. How can I build cohesion, alignment and trust for my team of embedded software developers in this new three-dimensional distributed matrix organization?

Submission + - String Theorist Makes Intellectual Property Claim to Suppress Critical Paper (

An anonymous reader writes: Sabine Hossenfelder at the blog Backreaction has this curious story of a new paper which makes an experimental test of the "multiverse" in string theory: "In a recent paper, William Kinney from the University at Buffalo put to test the multiverse-entanglement with the most recent cosmological data. The brief summary is that not only hasn’t he found any evidence for the entanglement-modification, he has ruled out the formerly proposed model for two general types of inflationary potentials... Much to my puzzlement, his analysis also shows that some of the predictions of the original model (such as the modulation of the power spectrum) weren’t predictions to begin with...To add meat to an unfalsifiable idea that made predictions which weren’t, one of the authors who proposed the entanglement model, Laura Mersini-Houghton, is apparently quite unhappy with Kinney’s results and tries to use an intellectual property claim to get his paper removed from the arXiv. I will resist the temptation to comment on the matter and simply direct you to the Wikipedia entry on the Streisand Effect. Dear Internet, please do your job."

Submission + - SPAM: China leads in new fab builds

Taco Cowboy writes: For year 2016 — 2017 ten new fabs will be built in China, compare to 2 new fabs in America, 2 new fabs in Taiwan, 2 new fabs in South East Asia, 1 new fab, each for Europe, Japan, and Korea

Of the world wide 19 new fab construction for 2016-2017, SEMI segments the 19 projects by wafer size: 12 fabs and lines are for 300 mm, four for 200 mm, and three LED fabs (150 mm, 100 mm and 50 mm). Excluding LEDs, SEMI estimates the potential installed capacity for all these fabs and lines at nearly 210,000 wafer starts per month (in 300-mm equivalents) for fabs beginning construction in 2016 and 330,000 wafer starts per month (in 300-mm equivalents) for fabs beginning construction in 2017

The number of 300-mm wafer fabrication facilities in operation is expected to reach 100 in 2016, according to IC Insights. The market researcher reports 95 production-class IC fabs using 300-mm wafers (excluding R&D IC fabs and “non-IC” products such as CMOS image sensors) at the end of 2015 with eight scheduled to open in 2017. The number of 300-mm fabs in operation will reach 117 by the end of 2020, according to IC Insight

SEMI recently reported that billings for global semiconductor manufacturing equipment reached $8.3 billion in the first quarter of 2016, which is three percent higher than the fourth quarter of 2015 and 13 percent lower than the same quarter in 2015. In comparison, bookings for global semiconductor equipment reached $9.4 billion in the first quarter of 2016, which is five percent higher than the fourth quarter of 2015, and two percent lower than the same quarter in 2015

Link to Original Source

Submission + - The Universe needs dark matter for life to exist

StartsWithABang writes: Making up some 85% of the mass in our Universe, dark matter is necessary to explain the motions of individual galaxies, the grouping and clustering of assemblies of galaxies, the large-scale structure of the Universe and more. But on a much closer-to-home level, dark matter may be absolutely essential to the origin of life, too! Without dark matter, supernova explosions and starburst events would still create copious amounts of heavy elements, driven outwards by winds and the force of the explosions. But it’s the extra gravity of the dark matter that prevents most of this material from escaping, and allows it to take part in the formation of future generations of stars, to participate in rocky planet formation, and to deliver the ingredients necessary for life.

Submission + - Microsoft Open-Sources Checked C, a Safer Version of C (

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft has open-sourced Checked C, an extension to the C programming language that brings new features to address a series of security-related issues. As its name hints, Checked C will add checking to C, and more specifically pointer bounds checking. The company hopes to curb the high-number of security bugs such as buffer overruns, out-of-bounds memory accesses, and incorrect type casts, all which would be easier to catch in Checked C. Despite tangible benefits to security, the problem of porting code to Checked C still exists, just like it did when C# or Rust came out, both C alternatives.

Submission + - More Details Emerge On 32-Core AMD Zen Server Chip Code Named 'Naples' (

MojoKid writes: AMD is hoping their next generation Zen processor architecture will be able to go toe-to-toe with the best that Intel has to offer and AMD is reportedly working on a high-end server variant of Zen as well, codenamed Naples. Naples would have a total of 32 cores, with a cluster of Zen cores sharing an 8MB pool of L3 cache. Total L3 shared cache is pegged at a stout 64MB and Naples will be capable of executing 64 threads while operating within a 180W power envelope. Naples reportedly will support eight independent memory channels and up to 128 PCIe Gen 3 lanes. In addition, a 16x10 GbE Ethernet controller is integrated into the chipset and Naples will use an SP3 LGA socket. The first server-based Zen processor could possibly squeak by for a late 2016 introduction, but odds are that we won't see widespread availability until 2017. At that time, you should expect Zen server processors in dual-, quad-, 16- and 32-core variants, with TDPs ranging from 35 watts to 180 watts. This is the second sighting of a 32-core AMD Zen variant. Earlier this year a CERN Engineer had details corroborating its existence in a presentation he was giving.

Comment Re:Too late (Score 1) 197

Many large companies have a lot of trouble with git. It's not a coincidence that Facebook and Google have been working on Mercurial backends: For their needs, Git is absolutely insufficient.

These companies should consider using Fossil. Fossil is a mature DVCS, BSD-licensed. It is extremely elegantly written, and provides client, server, GUI, CGI executable and web server in a single binary file. It includes a Wiki and a bug tracker for each project. It does not litter your working copy with unnecessary files - only a single dot-file in the highest directory. It was not written in two weeks.

Fossil deserves to be much better known, but for some reason Git gets all the attention.

Free project hosting is available here:

Comment The Flaw Lurking In Every Deep Neural Net (Score 1) 230

No need to wait for self-driving cars. If the NSA is using neural networks to analyse big data and look for terrorists, it will sometimes miss obvious terrorists, and sometimes classify harmless people as terrorists. I would hope that the latter would be screened out by human review, but there's not much we can do about the former without improving our understanding of neural nets.

Comment Why is the web slow? (Score 1) 220

When a web page is slow to load, it is often because of all the data that must be loaded from 3rd-party sites - Google Analytics is one of the worst, but there is also Facebook, Twitter, etc (probably for 3rd-party logins). SPDY is not going to fix that. If Google wants to speed up the web, it should start by reducing the latency of its own services.

Submission + - Apple Drops Snow Leopard Security Updates, Doesn't Tell Anyone (

Freshly Exhumed writes: As Apple issued an update for Mavericks, Mountain Lion, and Lion yesterday, Snow Leopard users have not seen a security update since September, 2013. This would not be noteworthy if Apple, like a host of other major software vendors, would clearly spell out its OS support policies and warn users of such changes, but they have not. Thus, the approximately 20% of Mac users still running Snow Leopard now find themselves in a very vulnerable state without the latest security updates.

Submission + - Yes, You Too Can Be An Evil Network Overlord - On The Cheap With OpenBSD, pflow ( writes: Have you ever wanted to know what's really going on in your network? Some free tools with surprising origins can help you to an almost frightening degree. Peter Hansteen shares some monitoring insights, anecdotes and practical advice in his latest column on how to really know your network. All of it with free software, of course.

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