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Google

Ask Slashdot: Are There Any Search Engines Left That Don't Try To Think For Me? 424 424

An anonymous reader writes: As a programmer especially, I'm becoming increasingly unhappy with Google searches. They try very hard to present me with what they think I'm searching for instead of what I'm actually searching for. This issue mostly shows up when searching error messages, obscure type and function names and stuff like that. What I think though, is that I only notice the issue when searching for stuff I know a lot about, namely programming, but my queries get distorted when I'm searching for just about anything, I just don't know enough about the subject to notice. Are there any alternative search engines left that don't think they know better than me what I'm looking for and just search for my phrase, like in the 2000s? Searching for exact strings is an option with Google, but what search engines are the most hands-off to start with?
Operating Systems

Ask Slashdot: A Development Environment Still Usable In 25 Years Time? 257 257

pev writes: I'm working on an embedded project that will need to be maintainable for the next 25 years. This raises the interesting question of how this can be best supported. The obvious solution seems to be to use a VM that has a portable disk image that can be moved to any emulators in the future (the build environment is currently based around Ubuntu 14.04 LTS / x86_64) but how do you predict what vendors / hardware will be available in 25 years? Is anyone currently supporting software of a similar age that can share lessons learned from experience? Where do you choose to draw the line between handling likely issues and making things overly complicated?
IT

Ask Slashdot: Dealing With Service Providers When You're an IT Pro? 479 479

New submitter username440 writes: So, a lot of us will have been here: You have a problem with your ISP, cable TV, cellphone whatever technology and you need to call the provider. Ugh. Foreign call centers, inane fault-finding flowcharts (yes, I have turned it off and on again) and all the other cruft that you have to wade through to get to someone with the knowledge to determine that YOU in fact also have a degree of knowledge and have a real problem.

Recently I had a problem with my ISP, where the ISP-provided "modem" — it's a router — would lock up at least 3 times per day. I had router logs, many hundreds of Google results for that model and release of hardware showing this as a common problem, and simply wanted the ISP to provide a new router (it's a managed device). I replaced the router with a spare Airport Extreme and the problems disappeared, to be replaced with a warning from the ISP that they could't access my managed device" and the connection is provided contingent to using THIER router. However my point was to prove that their router is at fault.

How do you fare when trying to get through to a service provider that they actually DO know something in the field? How do you cut through the frontline support bull*hit and talk to someone who knows what they are doing? Should there be a codeword for this scenario?
Linux

Ask Slashdot: Feature Requests For Epoch Init System 1.3.0? 119 119

New submitter Ben Dibell writes: My name is Subsentient. I maintain the Epoch Init System, a single-threaded init system for Linux designed to be easy to configure and customize, as well as staying out of your way.
Epoch uses a numeric priority system to determine the boot order of objects, supports a wide range of customizability, and doesn't require much anything except libc and /bin/sh (though /bin/sh can be omitted, not recommended). Epoch also features advanced service status reporting features and has service supervision.

I'm just here to ask the Slashdot community what they'd like to see in the next release, 1.3.0 "Fluoxetine", before I wrap it up.

There are generally 2 things I can't consider:
* Parallel service startup, because that can be done manually, and implementing it would make Epoch too complex IMHO.
* Switching away from the numeric priority system to "true" dependencies. I implemented the priority system because I liked the freedom it gives the end user.

Despite these omissions, your feedback matters to me. I want to make something everyone will want to use.

-Subsentient
Education

Ask Slashdot: How to Avoid The Worst of a Tech Bubble? 135 135

An anonymous reader writes: I just reached a senior level in a tech career and I've been doing pretty much a bit of everything, e.g. software architecture, full stack dev, eng. related specific dev, consultancy, etc. So I'm at a point where I want to start focusing on something that has a good development path, i.e. I won't struggle finding a job, it'll be fairly paid and it'll allow me to move up in responsibility (bigger teams, more difficult projects) if I want to. It seems like we might be heading into a new tech bubble. Based on your experience of the .com collapse and your predictions for the current market, is there any path you wouldn't recommend (or strongly recommend) if this bubble goes pop? What were the roles most affected when the .com bubble burst back in 2000 and would it be any different this time? Is there anything you can do to be better prepared, such as focusing on broader techs rather than niche techs, etc.
IT

Ask Slashdot: What Asset Tracking Software Do You Recommend? 68 68

grahamsaa writes: I work for an organization that has a number of physical assets, as well as presence in multiple data centers. On the DC side, there are a number of specific things we need to track (one thing we want to be able to account for is how much power we need for each rack). On the office side, our needs are more basic. We need to be able to tag and track laptops, workstations, monitors, etc.

I would like to use a single system for all of this, but have yet to find something that will work well on the office side and the data center side. Free / open source solutions are preferred, but we're prepared to spend money on a commercial solution if it meets our needs. What would you recommend?
Hardware

Ask Slashdot: What Hardware Is In Your Primary Computer? 558 558

An anonymous reader writes: Here's something we haven't done in a while: list the specs of your main system (best one) so we can see what kinds of computers Slashdot geeks use. Context would be interesting, too — if you're up for it, explain how and why you set it up as you did, as well as the computer's primary purpose(s). Things you can list include (but are not limited to): CPU, motherboard, video card, memory, storage (SSD/HDD), exotic Controllers (RAID or caching), optical drives, displays, peripherals, etc. We can compare and contrast, see what specs are suitable for what purposes, and perhaps learn a trick or two.
IT

Ask Slashdot: How To Turn an Email Stash Into Knowledge For My Successor? 203 203

VoiceOfDoom writes: I'm leaving my current position in a few weeks and it looks unlikely that a replacement will be found in time. My job is very specialized and I'm the only person in the organization who is qualified or experienced in how to do it. I'd like to share as much of my accumulated knowledge with my successor as possible but at the moment, it mostly exists in my email archive which will be deleted after I've been gone for 90 days.

The organization doesn't have any knowledge management systems so the only way it seems I can pass on this information is by copying all the info into a series of documents, which isn't much fun to do in Outlook. Can my fellow Slashdotters can suggest a better approach? By the way, there's quite a lot of confidential stuff in there that my successor needs to know but which cannot leave the organization's existing systems.
Security

Ask Slashdot: Should We Expect Attacks When Windows 2003 Support Ends? 117 117

kooky45 writes: On July 14th 2015, Microsoft will stop supporting Windows 2003. If your company is anything like mine then they're in a panic to update Windowns 2003 systems that have been ignored for years. But what will happen to Windows 2003 systems still in use after the cut-off date? Company Security warns us that the world will end, but they said the same thing when Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP -- and yet we survived. Did you experience an increase in successful attacks against XP shortly after its support ended, or expect to see one against Windows 2003 this time round?
Businesses

Ask Slashdot: What Asset Tracking Software Do You Recommend? 137 137

grahamsaa writes: I work for an organization that has a number of physical assets, as well as presence in multiple data centers. On the DC side, there are a number of specific things we need to track (one thing we want to be able to account for is how much power do we need for each rack). On the office side, our needs are more basic. We need to be able to tag and track laptops, workstations, monitors, etc. I would like to use a single system for all of this, but have yet to find something that will work well on the office side and the data center side. Free/open source solutions are preferred, but we're prepared to spend money on a commercial solution if it meets our needs. What would you recommend?
Chrome

Ask Slashdot: Options After Google Chrome Discontinues NPAPI Support? 208 208

An anonymous reader writes: I've been using Google Chrome almost exclusively for more than 3 years. I stopped using Mozilla Firefox because it was becoming bloated and slow, and I migrated all my bookmarks etc. to Chrome. Now Chrome plans to end NPAPI support — which means that I will not be able to access any sites that use Java, and I need this for work. I tried going back to Firefox for a couple of days but it still seems slow — starting it takes time, even the time taken to load a page seems more than Chrome. So what are my options now? Export all my bookmarks and go back to Mozilla Firefox and just learn to live with the performance drop? Or can I tweak Firefox performance in any way? FWIW, I am on a Windows 7 machine at work.
Hardware Hacking

Ask Slashdot: Your Most Unusual Hardware Hack? 258 258

An anonymous reader writes: Another Slashdotter recently 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?
Businesses

Ask Slashdot: What Do You Wish You'd Known Starting Your First "Real" Job? 583 583

itwbennett writes: ITworld's Josh Fruhlinger asked seasoned (and some not-so-seasoned) tech professionals what they wished they knew back when they were newly minted graduates entering the workforce. Perhaps not surprisingly, some of the best advice has more to do with soft skills than with tech skills. To wit: 'When [managers] say they are suggesting you do something, it's not really a suggestion — it is an order disguised as a suggestion. Plain-speaking is a lost art at big companies and corporate double talk is the name of the game.' What's your best piece of advice for the newest among you?
Programming

Ask Slashdot: Best Test Case Manager Plugin For JIRA? 70 70

Bomarc writes: I've been working with software testing ... for a few years now. And there seems to be a serious lack of QA — Test Case Management (TCM) tools. The company that I'm working for needs a good test case manager. Currently JIRA is the tool of choice for other aspects of project management. I'm not asking to jump ship from JIRA, but the Atlassian TCM "Zephyr" has several problems, some of the key ones include: It does not have (any) matrix capabilities, no test case suite capabilities, if you change one test case (including assignments) the system changes all of the runs from that test case, the integration between the defect tracker and the TCM is archaic (at best), the number of actions to pass/fail a step (or test case) are annoying (way to many). Whoever designed it doesn't use it. If you watch the "Introduction" for Zephyr – it is amusing to see how the person performing he demo skips over and fumbles when dealing with the flaws I've mentioned above.

I have used the product "TestLog" which is a well-thought-out product; has test matrix capabilities (and other good features); however it does not have any integration with JIRA. (Hint, hint: Atlassian, this is what you need!).

Is there any company that makes a "plug-in" for JIRA with a similar features to TestLog – test case management that is well thought out, not just an afterthought?
Power

Ask Slashdot: What Interesting Things Can I Power With an External USB Battery? 133 133

New submitter expert464 writes: I just purchased an external USB battery for the main purpose of charging smartphones. I've also thought of using it to power a USB lamp and charge a bluetooth speaker. What other things am I missing that would be useful and/or interesting to power when not near an electrical outlet?