guruevi writes: "A (girl)friend of mine just started a CS course and has been dumped head first into programming with Java.
The textbook sucks in my not-so-humble opinion, the teacher just glossed over the theory, didn't really explain anything other than "just do this and it will work" (until yesterday she had no idea as to what String args means in the main and why it should or shouldn't be there) and has given them only a few class methods to implement, feeding them the main and tester classes so far then skipped straight ahead to "now implement the main, this class and the tester" leaving (at least one of) his pupils bewildered as to what it actually all means.
Yes, she can parrot what an object is and a string or an integer and how to write it up but she has no idea how it fits together. Constructor methods same problem, parrot the theory but no idea what it actually means and how object oriented programming makes things look different than the methodical sequential programming people are geared towards thinking.
Since I am an already somewhat seasoned programmer I can explain what everything means and it feels very natural after years of experience but I'm not a great teacher. I also like to introduce what is and isn't good practice (and where her teacher goes horribly wrong is teaching good practice such as commenting, variable naming etc.) but it all gets overwhelming for her.
Since I am not really familiar with Java (more of a P*/C/ObjC/C++ guy) I am looking for either a good guide on Java or any objective oriented programming for beginners, something where people can understand how methods/functions work, how variables are passed and what scoping means (things the textbook doesn't explain until a few chapters later, it just assumes the pupil to copy the examples)"
guruevi writes: "In January BREIN (the Dutch counterpart to the RIAA) illegally seized 8 servers from a hosting provider. In order to get the servers back, BREIN and the hosting provider reached a settlement where all servers would be returned but 4 servers BREIN claims hosted illegal websites would be completely erased. The other 4 hosted administrative data of the hosting company.
According to BREIN, the servers hosted illegal top sites (sites where data is shared among releasers, not end-users) but the owner of the servers and the hosting provider denies the allegation, the company that owned the websites that were hosted on the servers went into bankruptcy in the mean time.
BREIN settled before a judge could review the case and in return for the servers and in order not to prolong the impact on his business made the owner agree to a gag order as well. According to Tim Kuik, proprietor of BREIN, "we got exactly what we wanted" and calls the opponents lawyers a "bad loser"."
guruevi writes: "SABAM, the Belgian RIAA wants truckers to start paying for the copyrights to listen to the radio in their cabin. SABAM already has a system in place to extract fees from businesses for having radio's in the work area for businesses with more than 9 employees and they find that truckers' cabins are areas of work and thus infringe on their copyrights. The local politicians think this is going too far, they believe truckers need a radio for safety reasons and view a truck cabin as 'an intimate place'.
Can you come up with other places to extract music copyright remittances? Maybe you may want to pay taxes every time you take a dump as your gas may form a tune."
guruevi writes: I just received this e-mail apparently from SourceForge asking me to change the password on their site. Off course since there were password sniffing attempts I can't be too sure that this is a legitimate e-mail or whether or not the code behind it is safe to use. Maybe I'm getting phished based on my account data?
This is their e-mail:
We recently experienced a directed attack on SourceForge infrastructure (http://sourceforge.net/blog/sourceforge-net-attack/) and so we are resetting all passwords in the sf.net database — just in case. We're e-mailing all sf.net registered account holders to let you know about this change to your account.
Our investigation uncovered evidence of password sniffing attempts. We have no evidence to suggest that your password has been compromised. But, what we definitely don't want is to find out in 2 months that passwords were compromised and we didn't take action.
So, as a proactive measure we've invalidated your SourceForge.net account password. To access the site again, you'll need to go through the email recovery process and choose a shiny new password:
guruevi writes: "The two stars named Alcor and Mizar, sometimes also called "Horse and Rider" can be seen with the naked eye and has been thought to be a binary system since ancient times. Using his telescope, Galileo documented Mizar to be itself a pair of binaries with later discoveries in spectroscopy showing it was actually four stars orbiting each other. However an astronomer at the University of Rochester made the discovery that Alcor is actually two stars and it is apparently gravitationally bound to the Mizar system making the whole group a sextuplet.
The discovery is surprising since Alcor is one of the most studied stars in the sky. Eric Mamajek, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Rochester, and leader of the team that found the star says "We were trying a new method of planet hunting and instead of finding a planet orbiting Alcor, we found a star." The star seems to be a cool and dim M-class dwarf star."
guruevi writes: "For unknown reasons, the human brain distinctly separates the handling of images of living things from images of non-living things, processing each image type in a different area of the brain. For years, many scientists have assumed the brain segregated visual information in this manner to optimize processing the images themselves, but new research shows that even in people who have been blind since birth the brain still separates the concepts of living and non-living objects.
The research, published in today's issue of Neuron, implies that the brain categorizes objects based on the different types of subsequent consideration they demand — such as whether an object is edible, or is a landmark on the way home, or is a predator to run from. They are not categorized entirely by their appearance. "If both sighted people and people with blindness process the same ideas in the same parts of the brain, then it follows that visual experience is not necessary in order for those aspects of brain organization to develop," says Bradford Mahon, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester, and lead author of the study. "We think this means significant parts of the brain are innately structured around a few domains of knowledge that were critical in humans' evolutionary history."
Previous studies have shown that the sight of certain objects, such as a table or mountain, activate regions of the brain other than does the sight of living objects, such as an animal or face — but why the brain would choose to process these two categories differently has remained a mystery, says Mahon. Since the regions were known to activate when the objects were seen, scientists wondered if something about the visual appearance of the objects determined how the brain would process them. For instance, says Mahon, most living things have curved forms, and so many scientists thought the brain prefers to processes images of living things in an area that is optimized for curved forms.
I just wonder where zombies and the undead would appear on your fMRI."
guruevi writes: "An ultra-powerful laser can turn regular incandescent light bulbs into power-sippers, say optics researchers at the University of Rochester. The process could make a light as bright as a 100-watt bulb consume less electricity than a 60-watt bulb while remaining far cheaper and radiating a more pleasant light than a fluorescent bulb can.
The key to creating the super-filament is an ultra-brief, ultra-intense beam of light called a femtosecond laser pulse. The laser burst lasts only a few quadrillionths of a second. During its brief burst, Guo's laser unleashes as much power as the entire grid of North America onto a spot the size of a needle point. That intense blast forces the surface of the metal to form nanostructures and microstructures that dramatically alter how efficiently can radiate from the filament.
In 2006, Guo and his assistant, Anatoliy Vorobeyv, used a similar laser process to turn any metal pitch black as reported on Slashdot. The surface structures created on the metal were incredibly effective at capturing incoming radiation, such as light.
Guo's team has even been able to make a filament radiate partially polarized light, which until now has been impossible to do without special filters that reduce the bulb's efficiency. By creating nanostructures in tight, parallel rows, some light that emits from the filament becomes polarized. Guo is also announcing this month in Applied Physics Letters a technique using a similar femtosecond laser process to make a piece of metal automatically move liquid around its surface, even lifting a liquid up against gravity."
guruevi writes: "We currently have Time Warner Cable in our area but no viable competitors. We have no FiOS, we have no decent DSL (unless you call 512/128 good, we have no U-Verse. We only have TWC for Cable and High-Speed Internet or DirectTV for Sattelite. TWC knows this and thus can charge anything for no service. Currently we were forced in their All-In-One package since it is cheaper than buying just cable and internet from them. Recently the quality of the basic cable (analog) offer has been degrading to the point that there is visible pixelation and the color has been degraded to something that looks like 256 color VGA (looks like a 90's era compressed DivX) especially during peak hours. This is (I think) done to save on bandwidth since they are offering more HD and On-Demand channels and a whopping 10MBps Internet (Turbo Boost).
So I wanted to switch to digital and HD since it's supposed to be better, we payed for HD service and were forced to rent their DVR with it (they don't offer HD service without). Not a problem, the channels are decent. Now we want a second television so I have an HD television but you can't receive their HD channels without a DVR since they are all encrypted. No problem I think, I plug into the Firewire plugs on the back of the DVR which are supposed to be able to tune the box and stream it over the network using MythTV however these plugs have been (illegally or intentionally) disabled. Calling TWC doesn't help, they don't want to ship me a DVR with the plugs enabled nor do they want to ship me a cable box that can decode the HD service I'm paying for. The only solution they have is to pay for another DVR box ($120 for the box + $120 installation) and rental (~$20/month for the box + $4/month for the remote (no kidding) + taxes and fees). CableCard has recently been discontinued on the network so I can't buy a TiVo.
I think the best solution in my situation would be to dump TWC all together for cable and switch to a pure IPTV provider. The problem is however, I found a few IPTV providers outside the US (Israel, China, India, Europe,...) that offer some type of TV channel offer (either with or without a set top box) but I can't find any that offer the US. I don't need local channels however I would like to have at least NBC (although I can get that over antenna), ABC, A&E, Discovery, Comedy Channel etc. Ideally I would be able to integrate an IPTV offer in my MythTV setup but it's not a requirement. I am more than happy to pay for a set top box rental or pre-paid as long as I can get some decent service for a decent price. My bandwidth is good and stable enough for certain HD channels (they are currently already compressed with TWC and I can stream 720p QuickTime) and I can always upgrade my bandwidth from the current 3 Mbps. Anybody that tried out some good providers or content distributors and had good results?"
guruevi writes: "It seems that the scientist that was forced to remove his prediction about earthquakes in the L'Aquilla region was right after all. According to CNN up to 150 people have lost their life in that region because of a powerful earthquake. No word yet from the news tickers on what became of the bully that censored this scientist because of the 'panic' he started."
guruevi writes: "Apparently Apple has really stopped introducing stuff at big events and are silently introducing products on their website without much fanfare as seen with Safari 4 Beta.
The new iPod Touch (http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_ipod/) has a shiny metal backplate (compared to the previous all-plastic one) and comes into it's previous 8GB and 16GB versions as well as a (new) 32GB version and seems to be marketed towards handheld gaming."
guruevi writes: "Apple just announced that all iTunes songs will soon be available in DRM-free format. The concession for this will be the 3-tier pricing structure. Now the media generators finally got it's much wanted price increase. Songs will now be available for USD 0.69, USD 0.99 or USD 1.29.
Other announcements from the company were a new (expected) MacBook 17" and new versions of iWork and iLife. Online versions of iWork are also going to become fee-based and Keynote Remote is going to cost money as well. Does giving up Steve Jobs as Apple's main man also mean giving up the set, relatively low prices of it's services?"
guruevi writes: "The controversial wiretap law which has had quite some coverage here on Slashdot and created an outcry with people concerned about their privacy has finally been passed through the House and is now going to the Senate. The law will grant retroactive immunity to the telecom industry which has aided the Bush Administration and 3-letter agencies with illegal wiretaps and will legalize such wiretaps.
For future wiretaps, the new measure would require a special court set up under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to approve any effort to spy on Americans. Authorities could act for up to seven days before seeking a warrant — more than twice the three-day emergency period under the current secret laws and courts.
The House vote was 293-129, with 188 Republicans and 105 Democrats voting for it. One Republican voted against the measure.
Bush said the legislation will "allow our intelligence professionals to quickly and effectively monitor the plans of terrorists abroad while protecting the liberties of Americans here at home." He's also fearmongering by saying that 'the enemy' that attacked us at 9/11 will attack again and this legislation will allow
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-West Virginia, said the bill would prevent administration officials from conducting any new warrantless surveillance. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, said the new plan is "not perfect" but "strikes a sound balance" between intelligence-gathering and civil liberties.
Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said the intelligence community depends on "the backing of patriotic private companies."
"The telecom companies simply have to produce a piece of paper we already know exists, resulting in immediate dismissal," said Caroline Fredrickson, the head of the ACLU's Washington legislative office. She said the bill "does nothing to keep Americans safe and is a constitutional farce.""
guruevi writes: "Slashdot's most favorite poster, the one and only with uid 666, Anonymous Coward stole personal data of 6 million Chileans — reportedly including a daughter of the president — and posted it briefly on the Internet, authorities said Sunday. The hacker said he intended "to demonstrate how poorly protected the data in Chile is, and how nobody works to protect it."
Police Chief Jaime Jara confirmed that authorities were investigating the theft of the leaked data, which he said included identity card numbers, addresses, telephone numbers, e-mails and academic background. The data is currently offline but it could have been downloaded by some visitors. Torrent anyone?"
guruevi writes: "Researchers at the University of Rochester have digitally reproduced music in a file nearly 1,000 times smaller than a regular MP3 file. The music, a 20-second clarinet solo, is encoded in less than a single kilobyte, and is made possible by two innovations: recreating in a computer both the real-world physics of a clarinet and the physics of a clarinet player.
A comparison of samples of both reproductions (MP3 and this new algorithm) can be heard on the site.
Apparently they sample all physics that interact with the clarinet at speeds a human can produce (as opposed to sampling the sound it produces thousands of times per second) and then reproduce the sound. I don't know if this would be similar to MIDI but according to the researchers, even the human voice could be synthesized this way."
guruevi writes: "Astronomers at the University of Rochester, have announced that low-mass stars and possibly even super-Jupiter-sized planets may be responsible for creating some of the most breathtaking objects in the sky.
The news is ironic because the name "planetary" nebula has always been a misnomer. When these objects were discovered 300 years ago, astronomers couldn't tell what they were and named them for their resemblance to the planet Uranus. But as early as the mid-19th century, astronomers realized these objects are really great clouds of dust emitted by dying stars.
Now, researchers have found that planets or low-mass stars orbiting these aged stars may indeed be pivotal to the creation of the nebulae's fantastic appearance. Pretty pictures and more information in the link."