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  • Microsoft To Open Source .NET and Take It Cross-Platform

    An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft today announced plans to open source .NET, the company's software framework that primarily runs on Windows, and release it on GitHub. Furthermore, Microsoft also unveiled plans to take .NET cross-platform by targeting both Mac OS X and Linux. In the next release, Microsoft plans to open source the entire .NET server stack, from ASP.NET 5 down to the Common Language Runtime and Base Class Libraries. The company will let developers build .NET cloud applications on multiple platforms; it is promising future support of the .NET Core server runtime and framework for Mac and Linux. Microsoft is also making Visual Studio free for small teams.

    524 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Duke: No Mercy For CS 201 Cheaters Who Don't Turn Selves In By Wednesday

    theodp writes: The Duke Chronicle published an e-mail reportedly sent to hundreds of Duke students who took Computer Science 201 (Data Structures & Algorithms) last spring, giving those who copied solutions to class problems until Nov. 12th to turn themselves in for cheating. "Students who have violated course policies but do not step forward by November 12, 2014," warns the e-mail, "will not be offered faculty-student resolution and will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct for disciplinary processes without any recommendation for leniency." The Chronicle adds that CS Prof Owen Astrachan, co-director of undergraduate studies, admitted that there is a fine line between collaboration and cheating in computer science — online and in person, although Astrachan made it clear in comments that "Students who copied code from the Internet are in violation of the community standard and course policies."

    319 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Black IT Pros On (Lack Of) Racial Diversity In Tech

    Nerval's Lobster writes While pundits and analysts debate about diversity in Silicon Valley, one thing is very clear: Black Americans make up a very small percentage of tech workers. At Facebook, Google, and Yahoo, that number is a bit less than 2 percent of their respective U.S. workforces; at Apple, it's closer to 7 percent. Many executives and pundits have argued that the educational pipeline remains one of the chief impediments to hiring a more diverse workforce, and that as long as universities aren't recruiting a broader mix of students for STEM degrees, the corporate landscape will suffer accordingly. But black IT entrepreneurs and professionals tell Dice that the problem goes much deeper than simply widening the pipeline; they argue that racial bias, along with lingering impressions of what a 'techie' should look like, loom much larger than any pipeline issue.

    458 comments | about two weeks ago

  • New Book Argues Automation Is Making Software Developers Less Capable

    dcblogs writes: Nicholas Carr, who stirred up the tech world with his 2003 essay, IT Doesn't Matter in the Harvard Business Review, has published a new book, The Glass Cage, Automation and Us, that looks at the impact of automation of higher-level jobs. It examines the possibility that businesses are moving too quickly to automate white collar jobs. It also argues that the software profession's push to "to ease the strain of thinking is taking a toll on their own [developer] skills." In an interview, Carr was asked if software developers are becoming less capable. He said, "I think in many cases they are. Not in all cases. We see concerns — this is the kind of tricky balancing act that we always have to engage in when we automate — and the question is: Is the automation pushing people up to higher level of skills or is it turning them into machine operators or computer operators — people who end up de-skilled by the process and have less interesting work?

    I certainly think we see it in software programming itself. If you can look to integrated development environments, other automated tools, to automate tasks that you have already mastered, and that have thus become routine to you that can free up your time, [that] frees up your mental energy to think about harder problems. On the other hand, if we use automation to simply replace hard work, and therefore prevent you from fully mastering various levels of skills, it can actually have the opposite effect. Instead of lifting you up, it can establish a ceiling above which your mastery can't go because you're simply not practicing the fundamental skills that are required as kind of a baseline to jump to the next level."

    212 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Eben Upton Explains the Raspberry Pi Model A+'s Redesign

    M-Saunders writes It's cheaper, it's smaller, and it's curvier: the new Raspberry Pi Model A+ is quite a change from its predecessor. But with Model Bs selling more in a month than Model As have done in the lifetime of the Pi, what's the point in releasing a new model? Eben Upton, a founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, explains all. "It gives people a really low-cost way to come and play with Linux and it gives people a low-cost way to get a Raspberry Pi. We still think most people are still going to buy B+s, but it gives people a way to come and join in for the cost of 4 Starbucks coffees."

    107 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Mozilla Launches Browser Built For Developers

    HughPickens.com writes "Mozilla announced that they are excited to unveil Firefox Developer Edition, the first browser created specifically for developers that integrates two powerful new features, Valence and WebIDE that improve workflow and help you debug other browsers and apps directly from within Firefox Developer Edition. Valence (previously called Firefox Tools Adapter) lets you develop and debug your app across multiple browsers and devices by connecting the Firefox dev tools to other major browser engines. WebIDE allows you to develop, deploy and debug Web apps directly in your browser, or on a Firefox OS device. "It lets you create a new Firefox OS app (which is just a web app) from a template, or open up the code of an existing app. From there you can edit the app's files. It's one click to run the app in a simulator and one more to debug it with the developer tools."

    Firefox Developer Edition also includes all the tools experienced Web developers are familiar with including: Responsive Design Mod, Page Inspector, Web Console, JavaScript Debugger, Network Monitor, Style Editor, and Web Audio Editor. At launch, Mozilla is starting off with Chrome for Android and Safari for iOS. and the eventual goal is to support more browsers, depending on what developers tell Mozilla they want, but the primary focus is on the mobile Web. "One of the biggest pain points for developers is having to use numerous siloed development environments in order to create engaging content or for targeting different app stores. For these reasons, developers often end up having to bounce between different platforms and browsers, which decreases productivity and causes frustration," says the press release. "If you're a new Web developer, the streamlined workflow and the fact that everything is already set up and ready to go makes it easier to get started building sophisticated applications."
    Mozilla released a teaser trailer for the browser last week.

    74 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Computer Scientists Ask Supreme Court To Rule APIs Can't Be Copyrighted

    An anonymous reader writes: The EFF, representing a coalition of computer scientists, filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court yesterday hoping for a ruling that APIs can't be copyrighted. The names backing the brief include Bjarne Stroustrup, Ken Thompson, Guido van Rossum, and many other luminaries. "The brief explains that the freedom to re-implement and extend existing APIs has been the key to competition and progress in both hardware and software development. It made possible the emergence and success of many robust industries we now take for granted—for example, mainframes, PCs, and workstations/servers—by ensuring that competitors could challenge established players and advance the state of the art. The litigation began several years ago when Oracle sued Google over its use of Java APIs in the Android OS. Google wrote its own implementation of the Java APIs, but, in order to allow developers to write their own programs for Android, Google's implementation used the same names, organization, and functionality as the Java APIs."

    260 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Codecademy's ReSkillUSA: Gestation Period For New Developers Is 3 Months

    theodp writes: TechCrunch reports that Codecademy has teamed up with online and offline coding schools to create ReskillUSA. "3 months," explains ReskillUSA's website, is "how long it takes a dedicated beginner to learn the skills to qualify for computing and web development jobs." TechCrunch's Anthony Ha explains,"By teaming up with other organizations, Codecademy is also hoping to convince employers that completing one of those programs is a meaningful qualification for a job, and that you don't necessarily need a bachelor's degree in computer science." In his Medium post, Codecademy CEO Zach Sims calls on "students learning for the jobs of the future or employers interested in hiring a diverse and skilled workforce – to join us. The future of our economy depends on it."

    173 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Data Warehouse Server System?

    New submitter puzzled_decoy writes The company I work has decided to get in on this "big data" thing. We are trying to find a good data warehouse system to host and run analytics on, you guessed it, a bunch of data. Right now we are looking into MSSQL, a company called Domo, and Oracle contacted us. Google BigQuery may be another option. At its core, we need to be able to query huge amounts of data in sometimes rather odd ways. We need a strong ETLlayer, and hopefully we can put some nice visual reporting service on top of wherever the data is stored. So, what is your experience with "big data" servers and services? What would you recommend, and what are the pitfalls you've encountered?

    147 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Florida-Based Magic Leap Builds Its Team With Bay Area Hires

    Tekla Perry writes Stealthy 'cinematic reality' company Magic Leap may be based in Florida--but it's doing a lot of hiring from the Bay Area, scooping up engineers from Pixar, Google, Apple, and Intel--along with a few Willow Garage alums. And it's got openings for many many more. Are all these folks with long-term Silicon Valley roots really going to move to South Florida? Or is Magic Leap getting ready to open up a Silicon Valley research center to house the brain trust it is gathering? Here's what we know about Magic Leap and its technology, who's joining it, and what other kinds of engineers the company aims to hire. Magic Leap has a lot of money to do all that hiring, having just raised more than half a billion dollars, the bulk of it from Google. If you're working in the Bay Area now, would you look forward to a move to Florida, or rather stay where you are?

    161 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Android 5.0 Makes SD Cards Great Again

    An anonymous reader writes: Over the past couple of years, Google has implemented some changes to how Android handles SD cards that aren't very beneficial to users or developers. After listening to many rounds of complaints, this seems to have changed in Android 5.0 Lollipop. Google's Jeff Sharkey wrote, "[I]n Lollipop we added the new ACTION_OPEN_DOCUMENT_TREE intent. Apps can launch this intent to pick and return a directory from any supported DocumentProvider, including any of the shared storage supported by the device. Apps can then create, update, and delete files and directories anywhere under the picked tree without any additional user interaction. Just like the other document intents, apps can persist this access across reboots." Android Police adds, "All put together, this should be enough to alleviate most of the stress related to SD cards after the release of KitKat. Power users will no longer have to deal with crippled file managers, media apps will have convenient access to everything they should regardless of storage location, and developers won't have to rely on messy hacks to work around the restrictions."

    214 comments | about three weeks ago

  • The Effect of Programming Language On Software Quality

    HughPickens.com writes: Discussions whether a given programming language is "the right tool for the job" inevitably lead to debate. While some of these debates may appear to be tinged with an almost religious fervor, most people would agree that a programming language can impact not only the coding process, but also the properties of the resulting product. Now computer scientists at the University of California — Davis have published a study of the effect of programming languages on software quality (PDF) using a very large data set from GitHub. They analyzed 729 projects with 80 million SLOC by 29,000 authors and 1.5 million commits in 17 languages. The large sample size allowed them to use a mixed-methods approach, combining multiple regression modeling with visualization and text analytics, to study the effect of language features such as static vs. dynamic typing, strong vs. weak typing on software quality. By triangulating findings from different methods, and controlling for confounding effects such as team size, project size, and project history, they report that language design does have a significant, but modest effect on software quality.

    Quoting: "Most notably, it does appear that strong typing is modestly better than weak typing, and among functional languages, static typing is also somewhat better than dynamic typing. We also find that functional languages are somewhat better than procedural languages. It is worth noting that these modest effects arising from language design are overwhelmingly dominated by the process factors such as project size, team size, and commit size. However, we hasten to caution the reader that even these modest effects might quite possibly be due to other, intangible process factors, e.g., the preference of certain personality types for functional, static and strongly typed languages."

    217 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Tech Recruiters Defend 'Blacklists,' Lack of Feedback, Screening Techniques

    Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes Remember when executives at Apple, Google, and other firms "fixed" the market for highly skilled tech workers by agreeing not to steal each other's employees? That little incident made a lot of people think about the true modus operandi of corporate and third-party tech recruiters. Dice sat down with some of those recruiters, who talked about everything from "no poaching" tactics to the "blacklist" that exists for candidates who make boneheaded mistakes in interviews. The bottom line? Recruiters seem to pass the blame for some of the industry's most egregious errors on "junior recruiters and agencies," while insisting that their goal in life is to get you a job. How does that align with your experience?

    253 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Mozilla Teases First Browser Dedicated To Devs

    hypnosec writes Mozilla has teased a browser for developers — a first of its kind — in a bid to equip developers with a set of tools at one place for better and enhanced productivity. Speaking about the perils of web development Mozilla says engineers, while building for the web, use a range of tools that don't always work well together. Because of this, they have to switch between platforms. This process of switching from one platform to another makes a developer less productive, Mozilla says. The not-for-profit organization hasn't detailed its browser for developers to a great extent, but has revealed that the browser will be available on November 10.

    132 comments | about three weeks ago

  • The 7th Underhanded C Contest Is Online

    Xcott Craver writes The 7th Underhanded C Contest is now open. The goal of the contest is to write code that is as readable, clear, innocent and straightforward as possible, and yet somehow exhibits evil behavior that cannot be seen even when staring at the source code. The winners from 2013 are also online, and their clever and insightful submissions make for fun reading.

    41 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Amazon Releases (Not Many) Details On Its Workforce Demographics

    theodp (442580) writes Late to the table on disclosing workforce demographics, Amazon posted a diversity report to its website on Halloween, revealing that its global work force is 63% male and 37% female, while in the U.S., its work force is 60% white, 15% black, 13% Asian and 9% Hispanic. More lacking in granular detail than the less-than-transparent diversity data provided by its tech peers, Rainbow PUSH said Amazon's numbers were not as good as they appeared, and criticized the company for a lack of candor. "Their general work force data released by Amazon seems intentionally deceptive, as the company did not include the race or gender breakout of their technical work force," PUSH said in a statement. "The broad assumption is that a high percentage of their black and Latino employees work in their warehouses." Following the lead of other tech companies, Diversity at Amazon suggests the e-tailer's undisclosed-but-presumed lack of tech diversity could be blamed on "female students and students of color [who] are opting out of technology and engineering" as early as middle school and high school. Taking a page from Google's playbook, Amazon pointed to its involvement with the Anita Borg Institute, Code.org, Girls Who Code, and the National Center for Women & Information Technology as ways the company's addressing tech diversity deficiencies.

    123 comments | about three weeks ago

  • It's Time To Revive Hypercard

    HughPickens.com writes HyperCard, an application program and programming tool released for the Apple Macintosh in 1987, represented the 'computing for the people' philosophy that enabled users to go past the pre-built software that came on their machines, and to program and build software of their own. "Mac users could use Hypercard to build their own mini-programs to balance their taxes, manage sports statistics, make music – all kinds of individualized software that would be useful (or fun) for individual users." Now Jer Thorp writes that the end of HyperCard left a huge gap that desperately needs to be filled – a space for an easy to use, intuitive tool that will once again let average computer users make their own tools. According to Throp, this type of plain-language programming makes sense, particularly in an application that was designed specifically for non-programmers. "I find the largest concern for learners to be not with the conceptual hurdles involved in writing a program, but with obscure and confusing syntax requirements. I would love to be able to teach HyperTalk to my students, as a smooth on-road to more complex languages like JavaScript, Java or C++." By putting the tools of creation into the hands of the broader userbase, we would allow for the creation of ultra-specific personalized apps that, aside from a few exceptions, don't exist today."

    HyperTalk wasn't just easy, it was also fairly powerful. Complex object structures could be built to handle complicated tasks, and the base language could be expanded by a variety of available external commands and functions (XCMDs and XFCNs, respectively), which were precursors to the modern plug-in. But ultimately, HyperCard would disappear from Mac computers by the mid-nineties, eclipsed by web browsers and other applications which it had itself inspired. The last copy of HyperCard was sold by Apple in 2004. "One thing that's changed in the intervening decades is that the hobbyist has largely gone by the wayside. Now you're either a user or a full-fledged developer, and the gulf is wider than ever," writes Peter Cohen. "There's really nothing like it today, and I think the Mac is lesser for it."

    299 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Tao3D: a New Open-Source Programming Language For Real-Time 3D Animations

    descubes (35093) writes "Tao3D is a new open-source programming language designed for real-time 3D animations. With it, you can quickly create interactive, data-rich presentations, small applications, proofs of concept, user interface prototypes, and more. The interactivity of the language, combined with its simplicity and graphical aspects, make it ideal to teach programming.

    Tao3D also demonstrates a lot of innovation in programming language design. It makes it very easy to create new control structures. Defining if-then-else is literally a couple of lines of code. The syntax to pass pass blocks of code to functions is completely transparent. And it is fully reactive, meaning that it automatically reacts as necessary to external events such as mouse movements or the passage of time.

    The source code was just made available under the GNU General Public License v3 on SourceForge [as linked above], GitHub and Gitorious."

    158 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Mark Zuckerberg And John Doerr Donate $1M To Expand The Hour Of Code Campaign

    theodp writes Techcrunch reports that Mark Zuckerberg has donated $500K to expand the Hour of Code campaign, which aims to reach 100 million students this year with its learn-to-code tutorials, including its top-featured tutorial starring Zuckerberg (video). Techcrunch adds that Zuckerberg's donation will be matched by fellow tutorial team teacher Bill Gates (video), Microsoft, Reid Hoffman, Salesforce, Google, and others. Zuck and Gates appear to have a sizable captive audience — a Code.org District Partnership Model brochure on the code-or-no-HS-diploma-for-you Chicago Public Schools' website calls for partner districts to "hold a district-wide Hour of Code event each year" for three years.

    24 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Getting 'Showdown' To 90 FPS In UE4 On Oculus Rift

    An anonymous reader writes Oculus has repeatedly tapped Epic Games to whip up demos to show off new iterations of Oculus Rift VR headset hardware. The latest demo, built in UE4, is 'Showdown', an action-packed scene of slow motion explosions, bullets, and debris. The challenge? Oculus asked Epic to make it run at 90 FPS to match the 90 Hz refresh rate of the latest Oculus Rift 'Crescent Bay' prototype. At the Oculus Connect conference, two of the developers from the team that created the demo share the tricks and tools they used to hit that target on a single GPU.

    30 comments | about three weeks ago

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