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Books

Ask Slashdot: Composing an e-Book With a Couple of Bells and Whistles 148

New submitter Cbhihe writes: I want to edit an e-book, a scientific textbook to be distributed on the Kindle tablet to be exact. The book is written. For that I used LibreOffice.
It comes complete with index, drawings, pictures, formulae and its present look and feel is no different from the majority of scientific text, you might be accustomed to browsing. I need advice for the next step, which consists in making this digital pile of data suitable for an e-book.. with a slight twist. The e-book should allow for:
— picture zoom-in in pop-ups on screen
— allow in-text basic interactivity, e.g. when in a exercise, multiple answers are proposed, each answer when clicked should display "Right" or "Wrong" (for instance).
Can you recommend, if not a commercial package that allows such features right out of the box, then at least and preferably open-source technology needed for me to achieve what I want ? I am willing to get down to moderate programming to use your suggested solution. I am conversant in C, C++ and getting there with Python.
AI

Ask Slashdot: How To Get Into Machine Learning? 123

An anonymous reader writes: I know this is a vague question, but hoping to get some useful feedback anyway. I'm an experienced SW Engineer/Developer who is looking to get into the Machine Learning arena. I have an MS in CS and a solid 15 years of experience in a variety of areas, but no experience in Machine Learning.With that as background, my question is: What is the most time-efficient (and reasonable cost) way to:
(1) Decide whether Machine Learning is for me and
(2) Make myself employable in the field.
An additional constraint is that I can't afford to quit my full-time day job. Thanks.
Businesses

Slashdot Asks: Is Scrum Still Relevant? (opensource.com) 371

An anonymous reader writes: In an article titled "Scrum is dead: breaking down the new open development method," Ahmad Nassri writes: "Among the most 'oversold as a cure' methodologies introduced to business development teams today is Scrum, which is one of several agile approaches to software development and introduced as a way to streamline the process. Scrum has become something of an intractable method, complete with its own holy text, the Manifesto for Agile Software Development , and daily devotions (a.k.a., Scrum meetings). Although Scrum may have made more sense when it was being developed in the early '90s, much has changed over the years. Startups and businesses have work forces spread over many countries and time zones, making sharing offices more difficult for employees. As our workforce world evolves, our software development methods should evolve, too." What do you think? Is Scrum still a viable approach to software development, or is it time to make way for a different process?
Displays

Ask Slashdot: What's Out There For Poor Vision? 197

hackwrench writes: I like to read on my computer, but when I resize text to be comfortably big, web pages and browsers handle it badly, and some applications don't offer an option to enlarge. Some applications even are bigger than the screen, which Windows doesn't handle well. Lastly, applications consist of bright backgrounds which feels like staring into a headlight. Windows' built in options like magnifier are awkward. What tools are there for Windows to increase text size, make things fit inside the screen, and substitute colors that windows use?
Technology

Ask Slashdot: Smart Electronics For a Marathoner? 169

New submitter IMightB writes: My question is basically what is the best smart watch style device for runners. Must have features GPS, bluetooth and music storage for roughly 5 hours of use during a marathon. Pretty much everything else is a nice to have. My wife has recently decided to enter her first marathon and unfortunately, the other day during a training run her 7gen iPod Mini gave up the ghost due to moisture accumulating in the armband and her Garmin Forerunner 15 only lasts about 3 hours with GPS on (despite Manufacturer claims to the contrary). She would like to consolidate devices down to something with a watch style format and start using a bluetooth headset. I currently use, and really like, a pair of aging Jaybird JF3's for a bluetooth headset and will probably recommend to her whatever Jaybirds current equivalent is in their lineup. But the watch portion is eluding me still. Based on my current research, the Sony SmartWatch 3 may be the only one that fits my wife's 'Must have Requirements' Are there other options available? Can anyone with marathon or distance running experience share their thoughts on this subject? Thanks in Advance.
Handhelds

Ask Slashdot: Local Navigation Assistance For the Elderly? 161

An anonymous reader writes: I have an older (90+) relative who is experiencing mental decline. He's still fairly functional (you can have a decent conversation with him, and he's amazingly positive for someone in his condition), but his memory of anything recent is terrible. He's in an assisted living center, but he's having serious trouble for example finding his way to the dining hall and back to his room. He has visitors daily and the staff are supportive but 24/7 oversight is not an option. I am looking for a navigation system suitable for use indoors that will help him move around. The distances involved are short, and his schedule is pretty regular so it would be OK to have a schedule of where he usually is at a given time (lounge, dining hall, room) and a big green arrow that always points out which way he should go to get there (so it would need to accommodate doors and hallways etc, not just the straight line direction). Is anyone here aware of such a system? I've thought of trying to write an app for a smartphone but I'm not sure if GPS is really the way to go, seeing as it's indoors. Also, battery life would be an issue — he would have trouble remembering what to do if it stopped working and I'm not sure if he'd remember (or be able) to connect a charger. For the same reason it would need to be pretty bomb-proof — he's not in position to troubleshoot if it fails.
Programming

Ask Slashdot: Selecting a Version Control System For an Inexperienced Team 325

An anonymous reader writes: I have been programming in Python for quite a while, but so far I have not used a version control system. For a new project, a lot more people (10-15) are expected to contribute to the code base, many of them have never written a single line of Python but C, LabVIEW or Java instead. This is a company decision that can be seen as a Python vs. LabVIEW comparison — if successful the company is willing to migrate all code to Python. The code will be mostly geared towards data acquisition and data analysis leading to reports. At the moment I have the feeling, that managing that data (=measurements + reports) might be done within the version control system since this would generate an audit trail on the fly. So far I have been trying to select a version control system, based on google I guess it should be git or mercurial. I get the feeling, that they are quite similar for basic things. I expect, that the differences will show up when more sophisticated topics/problems are addressed — so to pick one I would have to learn both — what are your suggestions? Read below for more specifics.
Privacy

Ask Slashdot: Where Can I Find "Nuts and Bolts" Info On Cookies & Tracking Mechanisms? 84

New submitter tanstaaf1 writes: I was thinking about the whole tracking and privacy train-wreck and I'm wondering why specific information on how it is done, and how it can be micromanaged or undone by a decent programmer (at least), isn't vastly more accessible? By searching, I can only find information on how to erase cookies using the browser. Browser level (black box) solutions aren't anywhere near good enough; if it were, the exploits would be few and far between instead everywhere everyday. Read below for the rest of tanstaaf1's question.
Hardware Hacking

Ask Slashdot: What Is Your Most Awesome Hardware Hack? 251

An anonymous reader writes: Another Slashdotter once asked what kind of things someone can power with an external USB battery. I have a followup along those lines: what kind of modifications have you made to your gadgets to do things that they were never meant to do? Consider old routers, cell phones, monitors, etc. that have absolutely no use or value anymore in their intended form. What can you do with them? Have you ever done something stupid and damaged your electronics?
Windows

Ask Slashdot: Make Windows Update Install Only Security Updates Automatically? 288

An anonymous reader writes: After the news earlier this month about Microsoft forcing the Windows 10 upgrade on people who don't want it, my sizeable extended family has been coming to me for a solution. They don't want to be guinea pigs this early in the Windows 10 release cycle, but it looks like Microsoft may not be giving them a choice. My reading of Woody Leonhard's advice is that the only way to ensure the upgrade doesn't happen is to disable Windows Update, but that seems extreme. I want my family to install security updates, but I don't relish the idea of explaining to them how to install just those and hide the less-desireable updates.

The ideal solution would be to have only security updates install automatically, but it looks like it's easier said than done. I've looked at third-party tools like Autopatcher and Portable Update, but a security-only option doesn't seem to be very standard. From what I've read, Microsoft doesn't even package security updates separately, sometimes mixing merely Important and Recommended updates in the downloaded CAB file. I wish I could get them off Windows, but it's not an option. They use Windows at work or school, and don't want to go through the process of learning another OS. Maybe the current situation with Windows 10 will convince them eventually, but they need something now. I would really like to come up with a solution before the next Patch Tuesday on October 13. Do any of the more knowledgeable Slashdotters out there have any advice?
Government

Ask Slashdot: Best Country To Avoid Government Surveillance? 381

simpz writes: Which country is best to choose for hosting Internet services and locating VMs to avoid government surveillance (both NSA and local)? It should be a country with good connectivity to the US and Europe, but have strong legal protections from mass surveillance. People talk about Switzerland, Norway and Iceland (even Spain). Anyone worked through the pros and cons of each of these? I'm not concerned about legitimate (with court order) surveillance, just the un-targeted mass surveillance most governments seem to do. I don't believe this bad behavior should be rewarded or made easy.
Security

Ask Slashdot: Linux-Based Home Security 212

Grady Martin writes: I got a new job. Everything about it is perfect, except for one thing: The overwhelming majority of affordable housing within driving distance lies in an area known for its high crime rate. A home security system would afford some peace of mind, and a system whose code I could tinker with would afford even more. What Linux-based options are available? What experience do you have with such systems?
Businesses

Ask Slashdot: Advice On Enterprise Architect Position 198

dave562 writes: I could use some advice from the community. I have almost 20 years of IT experience, 5 of it with the company I am currently working for. In my current position, the infrastructure and applications that I am responsible for account for nearly 80% of the entire IT infrastructure of the company. In broad strokes our footprint is roughly 60 physical hosts that run close to 1500 VMs and a SAN that hosts almost 4PB of data. The organization is a moderate sized (~3000 employees), publicly traded company with a nearly $1 billion market value (recent fluctuations not withstanding).

I have been involved in a constant struggle with the core IT group over how to best run the operations. They are a traditional, internal facing IT shop. They have stumbled through a private cloud initiative that is only about 30% realized. I have had to drag them kicking and screaming into the world of automated provisioning, IaaS, application performance monitoring, and all of the other IT "must haves" that a reasonable person would expect from a company of our size. All the while, I have never had full access to the infrastructure. I do not have access to the storage. I do not have access to the virtualization layer. I do not have Domain Admin rights. I cannot see the network.

The entire organization has been ham strung by an "enterprise architect" who relies on consultants to get the job done, but does not have the capability to properly scope the projects. This has resulted in failure after failure and a broken trail of partially implemented projects. (VMware without SRM enabled. EMC storage hardware without automated tiering enabled. Numerous proof of concept systems that never make it into production because they were not scoped properly.)

After 5 years of succeeding in the face of all of these challenges, the organization has offered me the Enterprise Architect position. However they do not think that the position should have full access to the environment. It is an "architecture" position and not a "sysadmin" position is how they explained it to me. That seems insane. It is like asking someone to draw a map, without being able to actually visit the place that needs to be mapped.

For those of you in the community who have similar positions, what is your experience? Do you have unfettered access to the environment? Are purely architectural / advisory roles the norm at this level?
Businesses

Ask Slashdot: New Employee System Access Tracking? 87

New submitter mushero writes: We are a fast-growing IT services company with dozens of systems, SaaS tools, dev tools and systems, and more that a new employee might need access to. We struggle to track this, both in terms of what systems a given set of roles will need and then has it been done, as different people manage various systems. And of course the reverse when an employee leaves. Every on-boarding or HR system we've looked at has zero support for this; they are great at getting tax info, your home address, etc. but not for getting you a computer nor access to a myriad of systems. I know in a perfect world it'd all be single-sign-on, but not realistic yet and we have many, many SaaS service that will never integrate. So what have you used for this, how do you track new employee access across dozens of systems, hundreds of employees, new hires every day, etc.?
Businesses

Ask Slashdot: How To "Prove" a Work Is Public Domain? 213

New submitter eporue writes: YouTube claims that I haven't been able to prove that I have commercial rights to this video of Superman. They are asking me to submit documentation saying "We need to verify that you are authorized to commercially use all of the visual and audio elements in your video. Please confirm your material is in the public domain." I submitted a link to the Wikipedia page of the Superman cartoons from the 40s where it explains that the copyright expired, and to the Archive page from where I got it. And still is not enough to "prove" that I have the commercial rights. So, how do you "prove" public domain status ?

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