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  • Why Apple, Google, and FB Have Their Own Programming Languages

    An anonymous reader writes: Scott Rosenberg, author of Dreaming in Code dissects Apple's Swift, Google's Go, and other new languages — why they were created, what makes them different, and what they bring (or not) to programmers. "In very specific ways, both Go and Swift exemplify and embody the essences of the companies that built them: the server farm vs. the personal device; the open Web vs. the App Store; a cross-platform world vs. a company town. Of all the divides that distinguish programming languages—compiled or interpreted? static vs. dynamic variable typing? memory-managed/garbage-collected or not?—these might be the ones that matter most today."

    161 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Node.js Forked By Top Contributors

    New submitter jonhorvath writes: Several of the top contributors to Node.js, a popular open source run-time environment, have decided to fork the project, creating io.js as an alternative. The developers were unhappy with how cloud computing company Joyent was directing work on Node.js. Mikeal Rogers said, "We don't want to have just one person who's appointed by a company making decisions. We want contributors to have more control, to seek consensus." Here's the new repository, and a README file to go with it. A developer at Uber tweeted that they've already migrated to io.js on their production systems. It'll be interesting to see how many other sites follow.

    254 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Chinese CEO Says "Free" Is the Right Price For Mobile Software

    hackingbear writes Sheng Fu, CEO of Cheetah Mobile, a public Chinese mobile software company you probably haven't heard of, but whose products are among the top downloaded products in Android markets around the world, said that the intense competition of the Chinese market leads to products that can compete globally. Many recent university graduates are working in tech, all with their startups looking to find their place in the market, he said. Chinese companies saw the impact that piracy played in the PC software era, and China's mobile companies grew up knowing they would need to make money without getting consumers to open their wallets. "Chinese companies are so good at making free but high-quality products," he said. Sounds like we have a good race to the bottom.

    133 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Programmer Father Asks: What Gets Little Girls Interested In Science?

    nbauman writes Programmer David Auerbach is dismayed that, at a critical developmental age, his 4-year-old daughter wants to be a princess, not a scientist or engineer, he writes in Slate. The larger society keeps forcing sexist stereotypes on her, in every book and toy store. From the article: "Getting more women into science and technology fields: Where’s the silver bullet? While I might get more hits by revealing the One Simple Trick to increase female participation in the sciences, the truth is there isn’t some key inflection point where young women’s involvement drops off. Instead, there is a series of small- to medium-sized discouraging factors that set in from a young age, ranging from unhelpful social conditioning to a lack of role models to unconscious bias to very conscious bias. Any and all of these can figure into why, for example, women tend to underrate their technical abilities relative to men. I know plenty of successful women in the sciences, but let’s not fool ourselves and say the playing field in the academic sciences or the tech world is even. My wife attributes her pursuit of programming to being a loner and pretty much ignoring wider society while growing up: 'Being left alone with a computer (with NO INTERNET TO TELL ME WHAT I COULDN’T DO) was the deciding factor,' she tells me."

    584 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Samsung's Open Source Group Is Growing, Hiring Developers

    jones_supa writes Almost two years ago, Samsung's open source team was just one person: Linux and FOSS advocate Ibrahim Haddad, head of the open source group at Samsung Research America. The new Open Source Innovation Group at Samsung is now 40 people strong, including 30 developers, devoted full-time to working on upstream projects and shepherding open source development into the company. The group is hiring aggressively and plans to double the size of the group in the coming years. Their first targets are project maintainers and key contributors to 23 open source projects that are integral to Samsung's products, including Linux, Gstreamer, FFmpeg, Blink, Webkit, EFL, and Wayland. They plan to eventually start hiring more junior open source developers as well. Just about every Samsung product, from phones and tablets to home appliances, uses open source software, said Guy Martin, senior open source strategist at Samsung. Martin also mentions the importance of funding: "You already see this in the Linux kernel, where most people who contribute are paid to contribute. And you'll see that more and more."

    51 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Which Programming Language Pays the Best? Probably Python

    Nerval's Lobster writes: What programming language will earn you the biggest salary over the long run? According to Quartz, which relied partially on data compiled by employment-analytics firm Burning Glass and a Brookings Institution economist, Ruby on Rails, Objective-C, and Python are all programming skills that will earn you more than $100,000 per year. But salary doesn't necessarily correlate with popularity. Earlier this year, for example, tech-industry analyst firm RedMonk produced its latest ranking of the most-used languages, and Java/JavaScript topped the list, followed by PHP, Python, C#, and C++/Ruby. Meanwhile, Python was the one programming language to appear on Dice's recent list of the fastest-growing tech skills, which is assembled from mentions in Dice job postings. Python is a staple language in college-level computer-science courses, and has repeatedly topped the lists of popular programming languages as compiled by TIOBE Software and others. Should someone learn a language just because it could come with a six-figure salary, or are there better reasons to learn a particular language and not others?

    277 comments | about three weeks ago

  • UK Authorities Launching Massive Child Abuse Database

    mrspoonsi sends news that "Data taken from tens of millions of child abuse photos and videos will shortly be used as part of a new police system to aid investigations into suspected pedophiles across the UK." The Child Abuse Image Database (CAID) will be available to authorities starting December 11th. It's been populated with data seized in earlier investigations. The database assigns a hash to each photograph, so when a new drive full of illegal images is confiscated, it can immediately be plugged in and quickly scanned to see if there are any matches. It will also catalog GPS coordinates from Exif data.

    The purpose of CAID is to eliminate the duplication of effort when investigating these photos. Often when storage drives are seized, they contain thousands or millions of images, and dozens of different police departments could end up unknowingly investigating the same victims. Law enforcement liaison officer Johann Hofmann said, "We're looking at 70, 80, up to 90% work load reduction. We're seeing investigations being reduced from months to days."

    150 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Celebrated Russian Hacker Now In Exile

    An anonymous reader writes: VKontakte is a Russian social network, more popular there than even Facebook. Its founder, Pavel Durov, was a celebrity for his entrepreneurial skills, much like Mark Zuckerberg elsewhere. But as Russia has cracked down on internet freedoms, 30-year-old Durov had to relinquish control of the social network. He eventually fled the country when the government pressured him to release data on Ukrainian protest leaders. He's now a sort of roving hacker, showing up where he's welcome and not staying too long. "Mr. Durov, known for his subversive wit and an all-black wardrobe that evokes Neo from the Matrix movies, is now a little-seen nomad, moving from country to country every few weeks with a small band of computer programmers. One day he is in Paris, another in Singapore." Durov said, "I'm very happy right now without any property anywhere. I consider myself a legal citizen of the world."

    130 comments | about three weeks ago

  • A Mismatch Between Wikimedia's Pledge Drive and Its Cash On Hand?

    Andreas Kolbe writes The latest financial statements for the Wikimedia Foundation, the charity behind Wikipedia, show it has assets of $60 million, including $27 million in cash and cash equivalents, and $23 million in investments. Yet its aggressive banner ads suggest disaster may be imminent if people don't donate and imply that Wikipedia may be forced to run commercial advertising to survive. Jimmy Wales counters complaints by saying the Foundation are merely prudent in ensuring they always have a reserve equal to one year's spending, but the fact is that Wikimedia spending has increased by 1,000 percent in the course of a few years. And by a process of circular logic, as spending increases, so the reserve has to increase, meaning that donors are asked to donate millions more each year. Unlike the suggestion made by the fundraising banners, most of these budget increases have nothing to do with keeping Wikipedia online and ad-free, and nothing to do with generating and curating Wikipedia content, a task that is handled entirely by the unpaid volunteer base. The skyrocketing budget increases are instead the result of a massive expansion of paid software engineering staff at the Foundation – whose work in recent years has been heavily criticised by the unpaid volunteer base. The aggressive fundraising banners too are controversial within the Wikimedia community itself.

    274 comments | about three weeks ago

  • The Life of an ATLAS Physicist At CERN

    An anonymous reader writes: Anyone with even a passing interest in the sciences must have wondered what it's like to work at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, better known as CERN. What's it like working in the midst of such concentrated brain power? South African physicist Claire Lee, who works right on ATLAS – one of the two elements of the LHC project that confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson in 2012 — explains what a day in the life of a CERN worker entails. She says, "My standard day is usually comprised of some mix of coding and attending meetings ... There are many different types of work one can do, since I am mostly on analysis this means coding, in C++ or Python — for example, to select a particular subset of events that I am interested in from the full set of data. This usually takes a couple of iterations, where we slim down the dataset at each step and calculate extra quantities we may want to use for our selections.

    The amount of data we have is huge – petabytes of data per year stored around the world at various high performance computing centers and clusters. It’s impossible to have anything but the smallest subset available locally – hence the iterations – and so we use the LHC Computing Grid (a specialized worldwide computer network) to send our analysis code to where the data is, and the code runs at these different clusters worldwide (most often in a number of different places, for different datasets and depending on which clusters are the least busy at the time)."

    34 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Google, National Parks Partner To Let Girls Program White House Xmas Tree Lights

    theodp writes The Washington Post reports the White House holiday decor is going digital this year, with dog-bots and crowdsourced tree lights. "Thanks to Google's Made with Code initiative," reports a National Park Foundation press release, "girls across the country will experience the beauty of code by lighting up holiday trees in President's Park, one of America's 401 national parks and home to the White House." Beginning on December 2, explains the press release, girls can head over to Google's madewithcode.com (launched last June by U.S. CTO Megan Smith, then a Google X VP), to code a design for one of the 56 state and territory trees. Girls can select the shape, size, and color of the lights, and animate different patterns using introductory programming language and their designs will appear live on the trees. "Made with Code is a fun and easy way for millions of girls to try introductory code and see Computer Science as a foundation for their futures. We're thrilled that this holiday season families across the country will be able to try their hands at a fun programming project," said former Rep. Susan Molinari, who now heads Google's lobbying and policy office in Washington, DC.

    333 comments | about three weeks ago

  • DOOM 3DO Source Released On Github

    New submitter burgerbecky writes The port that was as hellish as the game world itself, DOOM for the 3DO's source code has been released on github. The original programmer outlined the corners cut and why.

    323 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Ask Slashdot: IT Career Path After 35?

    An anonymous reader writes "All my friends seem to be moving towards a managerial role, and I'm concerned about my increasing age in a business where, according to some, 30 might as well be 50. But I still feel young, and feel like I have so much to learn. So many interesting technical challenges cross my path, as I manage to move towards larger and more complex projects. I am in higher demand than ever, often with multiple headhunters contacting me in the same day. But will it last? Is age discrimination a myth? Are there statistics on how many IT people move into management? I know some older programmers who got bored with management and successfully resumed a tech-only career. Others started their own small business. What has been your experience? Do you/have you assumed a managerial role? Did you enjoy it? Have you managed to stay current and marketable long after 35?"

    376 comments | about three weeks ago

  • In UK Study, Girls Best Boys At Making Computer Games

    New submitter Esteanil writes Researchers in the University of Sussex's Informatics department asked pupils at a secondary school to design and program their own computer game using a new visual programming language. The young people, aged 12-13, spent eight weeks developing their own 3D role-playing games. The girls in the classroom wrote more complex programs in their games than the boys and also learnt more about coding. The girls used seven different triggers – almost twice as many as the boys – and were much more successful at creating complex scripts with two or more parts and conditional clauses. Boys nearly always chose to trigger their scripts on when a character says something, which is the first and easiest trigger to learn.

    312 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Ask Slashdot: Objective C Vs. Swift For a New iOS Developer?

    RegularDave writes: I'm a recent grad from a master's program in a potentially worthless social science field, and I've considered getting into iOS development. Several of my friends who were in similar situations after grad school have done so and are making a healthy living getting contract work. Although they had CS and Physics degrees going into iOS, neither had worked in objective C and both essentially went through a crash courses (either self-taught or through intensive classes) in order to get their first gigs. I have two questions. First, am I an idiot for thinking I can teach myself either objective C or Swift on my own without any academic CS background (I've tinkered in HTML, CSS, and C classes online with some success)? Second, if I'm not an idiot for attempting to learn either language, which should I concentrate on?

    211 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Debian Forked Over Systemd

    jaromil writes: The so called "Veteran Unix Admin" collective has announced that the fork of Debian will proceed as a result of the recent systemd controversy. The reasons put forward are not just technical; included is a letter of endorsement by Debian Developer Roger Leigh mentioning that "people rely on Debian for their jobs and businesses, their research and their hobbies. It's not a playground for such radical experimentation." The fork is called "Devuan," pronounced "DevOne." The official website has more information.

    647 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Is Ruby On Rails Losing Steam?

    itwbennett writes: In a post last week, Quartz ranked the most valuable programming skills, based on job listing data from Burning Glass and the Brookings Institution. Ruby on Rails came out on top, with an average salary of $109,460. And that may have been true in the first quarter of 2013 when the data was collected, but "before you run out and buy Ruby on Rails for Dummies, you might want to consider some other data which indicate that Rails (and Ruby) usage is not trending upwards," writes Phil Johnson. He looked at recent trends in the usage of Ruby (as a proxy for Rails usage) across MS Gooroo, the TIOBE index, the PYPL index, Redmonk's language rankings, and GitHut and found that "demand by U.S. employers for engineers with Rails skills has been on the decline, at least for the last year."

    291 comments | about a month ago

  • Attack of the One-Letter Programming Languages

    snydeq writes: The programming world is fast proliferating with one-letter programming languages, many of which tackle specific problems in ways worthy of a cult following, writes InfoWorld's Peter Wayner in this somewhat tongue-in-cheek roundup of the more interesting entrants among this trend. "They're all a bit out there, with the possible exception of C. ... Each offers compelling ideas that could do the trick in solving a particular problem you need fixed.'"

    127 comments | about a month ago

  • 2014 Hour of Code: Do Ends Justify Disney Product Placement Means?

    theodp writes "The purpose of product placement/product integration/branded entertainment," explains Disney in a job posting, "is to give a brand exposure outside of their traditional media buy." So, one imagines the folks in Disney Marketing must be thrilled that Disney Frozen princesses Anna and Elsa will be featured in the 'signature tutorial' for CSEdWeek's 2014 Hour of Code, which aims to introduce CS to 100 million schoolkids — including a sizable captive audience — in the weeks before Christmas. "Thanks to Disney Interactive," announced Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi, "Code.org's signature tutorial for the 2014 Hour of Code features Disney Infinity versions of Disney's 'Frozen' heroines Anna and Elsa!." Partovi adds, "The girl-power theme of the tutorial is a continuation of our efforts to expand diversity in computer science and broaden female participation in the field, starting with younger students." In the tutorial, reports the LA Times, "students will learn to write code to help Anna and Elsa draw snowflakes and snowmen, and perform magical 'ice craft.' Disney is also donating $100,000 to support Code.org's efforts to bring computer science education to after-school programs nationwide."

    125 comments | about a month ago

  • Upgrading the Turing Test: Lovelace 2.0

    mrspoonsi tips news of further research into updating the Turing test. As computer scientists have expanded their knowledge about the true domain of artificial intelligence, it has become clear that the Turing test is somewhat lacking. A replacement, the Lovelace test, was proposed in 2001 to strike a clearer line between true AI and an abundance of if-statements. Now, professor Mark Reidl of Georgia Tech has updated the test further (PDF). He said, "For the test, the artificial agent passes if it develops a creative artifact from a subset of artistic genres deemed to require human-level intelligence and the artifact meets certain creative constraints given by a human evaluator. Creativity is not unique to human intelligence, but it is one of the hallmarks of human intelligence."

    68 comments | about a month ago

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