Education

Ask Slashdot: How Should I Build a Maker Space For a Liberal Arts College? 167

Posted by Soulskill
from the build-it-out-of-LEGO dept.
XxtraLarGe writes: I work for a small liberal arts college, and have been asked to research makerspaces. I have done a bunch of initial research which tells me a lot about equipment being used, as well as location, etc., but what I'm not finding are what to know before you start, or what it takes to make the effort worthwhile.

I'd be interested in hearing from other educators, staff, students and other maker community members on Slashdot that had makerspaces at their schools or community — can be any level — and what was the experience like? 3D printer, 3D scanner & Laser cutting machines seem to be a given, so I'd like to hear what kinds of think-outside-the-box equipment/materials did you have? We are considering putting it in our library, which seems to be a popular choice with most schools. There's also the possibility of having it somewhere in town that it could be more accessible to members of the community, maybe even as a co-op.
Cellphones

Ask Slashdot: What Are the Most Stable Smartphones These Days? 484

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-dad's-flip-phone-is-pretty-stable dept.
janimal writes: The iPhone used to be the smartphone that "just works." Ever since the 4S days, this has been true less and less with each generation. My wife's iPhone 6 needs to be restarted several times per week for things like internet search or making calls to work. An older 5S I'm using also doesn't consistently stream to Apple TV, doesn't display song names correctly on Apple TV and third party peripherals. In short, as features increase, the iPhone's stability is decreasing. In your opinion, which smartphone brand these days is taking up the slack and delivering a fully featured smartphone that "just works"?
The Internet

Ask Slashdot: What Features Would You Like In a Search Engine? 276

Posted by timothy
from the esp-heads-the-list dept.
New submitter nicolas.slusarenko writes Nowadays, there is one dominant search engine in the world among few alternatives. I have the impression that the majority of users think that it is the best possible service that could be made. I am sure that we could have a better search engine. During my spare time I been developing Trokam, an online search engine. I am building this service with the features that I would like to find in a service: respectful of user rights, ad-free, built upon open source software, and with auditable results. Well, those are mine. What features would you like in a search engine?
Data Storage

Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Storing Data To Survive a Fire (or Other Disaster) 446

Posted by samzenpus
from the burning-down-the-house dept.
First time accepted submitter aka_bigred writes Every year as I file my taxes, I replicate my most important financial data (a couple GB of data) to store an offline copy in my fire-rated home safe. This gets me thinking about what the most reliable data media would be to keep in my fire-rated home safe.

CDs/DVDs/tapes could easily melt or warp rendering them useless, so I'm very hesitant to use them. I've seen more exotic solutions that let you print your digital data to paper an optically re-import it later should you ever need it, but it seems overly cumbersome and error prone should it be damaged or fire scorched. That leaves my best options being either a classic magnetic platter drive, or some sort of solid state storage, like SD cards, USB flash drives, or a small SSD. The problem is, I can't decide which would survive better if ever exposed to extreme temperatures, or water damage should my house burn down.

Most people would just suggest to store it in "the cloud", but I'm naturally averse to doing so because that means someone else is responsible for my data and I could lose it to hackers, the entity going out of business, etc. Once it leaves my home, I no longer fully control it, which is unacceptable. My thought being "they can't hack/steal what they can't physically access." What medium do other Slashdot users use to store their most important data (under say 5GB worth) in an at-home safe to protect it from fire?
Communications

Ask Slashdot: What Would a Constructed Language Have To Be To Replace English? 626

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-source-control-and-versioning dept.
Loren Chorley writes: The idea of constructing a language capable of replacing English has fascinated me for a long time. I'd like to start a project with some of my own ideas and anyone who's interested, but I'd really like to hear what the Slashdot community thinks on the topic first. Taking for granted that actually replacing English is highly unlikely, what characteristics would the new language need? More specifically: How could the language be made as easy as possible to learn coming from any linguistic background? How could interest in the language be fostered in as many people as possible? What sort of grammar would you choose and why? How would you build words and how would you select meanings for them, and why? What sounds and letters (and script(s)) would you choose? How important is simplicity and brevity? How important are aesthetics (and what makes a language aesthetic)? What other factors could be important to consider, and what other things would you like to see in such a language?
Piracy

Ask Slashdot: How Serious Is Hacking In Mobile Games? 86

Posted by Soulskill
from the going-for-the-high-score dept.
Origen writes: As a developer contemplating trying out the mobile game scene, a GDC session about hacking/tampering looked interesting — but I wasn't able to attend. The presentation isn't available online, but it was paired with a whitepaper [contact details required], which can be downloaded. I'm surprised by some of the information presented and the potential for damage/mischief. Not so much that these issues are unheard of — they've existed for years on other platforms. What I find surprising is the lack of support at the OS level on mobile devices to defend from many of these types of hacks. Have we learned nothing from the pains of the past? How significant are the points about hacking/piracy in the mobile space that are discussed by this whitepaper?
Education

Slashdot Asks: What Will You (Or Your Kids) Learn This Summer? 81

Posted by timothy
from the shameless-plugs-are-welcome dept.
For those in the northern hemisphere, summer is rapidly approaching, especially for those with kids. Camps, educational programs, and other activities are enrolling now, in advance of the long summer vacation. (Particularly long for Americans!) Aside from conventional sleepaway options for kids, there are science and technology courses, space camps, survival adventures, and more. Whatever your age, and whether on your own or as part of a formal group, do you have any specific learning activities planned for the summer, whether as participant or parent? Are there summer education opportunities you'd like to recommend to others, or ones you'd rate as not worth the price? (Naming details helps, in this context -- which space camp? How much does it cost?)
The Media

Ask Slashdot: Options Beyond YouTube For An Indie Web Show? 60

Posted by timothy
from the pirate-tv-from-your-house dept.
New submitter Deltree Zero writes: I have an indie TV-style education/entertainment show which focuses on medicinal cannabis growing and use in Maine, product reviews, guests, etc. I have been creating the show at home using a very passable camera, editing with Lightworks, and have been distributing it via YouTube. I am five monthly episodes in, and besides needing a small upgrade in the microphone department, production has settled in to a workable quality level that I can be proud of. I am not looking to collect money at any time during distribution. The show is getting quite popular and I was wondering if any Slashdot readers had any advice on how to distribute my show other ways than YouTube. I see Roku is an outlet like this but my show must first pass through some sort of content filter and I am still waiting to hear if medicinal cannabis is on the "no-no list." There are other indie TV-style channels I have heard of, Revision 3, for example. What other indie channels exist that might deliver my show at low or no cost? What other methods of digital distribution make sense for an upcoming web show looking to free itself from YouTube as its only distribution point?
IT

Ask Slashdot: What Makes a Good Work Environment For Developers and IT? 261

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-put-fresca-in-the-fridge-and-tell-us-there's-soda dept.
An anonymous reader writes: I've been unexpectedly placed in charge of our small technology department at work. We have three dedicated developers, two dedicated IT people, and one 'devops' guy who does some of both. It's the first team I've managed, and I'd like to do a good job of it, so I ask you: what makes a good work environment? I have my own likes and dislikes, of course, and I'm sure everyone can appreciate things like getting credit for their work and always having the break room fridge stocked. But I'd like to hear about the other things, big and small, that make it more fun (or at least less un-fun) to come into work every day. This can be anything — methods of personal communication, HR policies (for example, how can reviews be not-terrible?), amenities at the office, computer hardware/software, etc. I also wouldn't mind advice on how to represent my team when dealing with other departments.
Facebook

Ask Slashdot: Living Without Social Media In 2015? 394

Posted by timothy
from the you're-clearly-living-in-throwback-thursday dept.
An anonymous reader writes On Slashdot, we frequently write derogatory comments regarding social networking sites. We bash Facebook and the privacy implications associated with having a great deal of your life put out there for corporations to monetize. Others advocate for deleting your Facebook profile. Six months ago, I did exactly that. However, as time went on, I have fully realized social media's tacit importance to function in today's world, especially if you are busy advancing your career and making the proper connections to do so. Employers expect a LinkedIn profile that they can check and people you are meeting expect a Facebook account. I have heard that not having an account on the almighty Facebook could label you as a suspicious person. I have had employers express hesitation in hiring me (they used the term "uncomfortable") and graduate school interviewers have asked prying questions regarding some things that would normally be on a person's social media page. Others have literally recoiled in horror at the idea of someone not being on Facebook. I have found it quite difficult to even maintain a proper social life without a social media account to keep up to date with any sort of social activities (even though most of them are admittedly quite mundane). Is living without social media possible in 2015? Does social media have so much momentum that the only course of action is simply to sign up for such services to maintain normality despite the vast privacy issues associated with such sites? Have we forgotten how to function without Facebook?
IT

Ask Slashdot: Dealing With User Resignation From an IT Perspective? 279

Posted by timothy
from the here-is-your-read-only-cardboard-box dept.
New submitter recaptcha writes Today one of my fellow workers has announced he has found another job and will be leaving our company in two weeks' time. This is all above board and there is no disgruntled employee scenario here; he is simply working through his notice period and finishing up some jobs. I have already set some fileserver folders to Read-Only for him and taken a backup of his mailbox in case he empties it on the last day. Which best practices do you follow that will prevent a resigning user from causing any damage (deliberately or not) in these last days of employment before his account is disabled?
Botnet

Ask Slashdot: Who's Going To Win the Malware Arms Race? 155

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-you-and-not-me dept.
An anonymous reader writes: We've been in a malware arms race since the 1990s. Malicious hackers keep building new viruses, worms, and trojan horses, while security vendors keep building better detection and removal algorithms to stop them. Botnets are becoming more powerful, and phishing techniques are always improving — but so are the mitigation strategies. There's been some back and forth, but it seems like the arms race has been pretty balanced, so far. My question: will the balance continue, or is one side likely to take the upper hand over the next decade or two? Which side is going to win? Do you imagine an internet, 20 years from now, where we don't have to worry about what links we click or what attachments we open? Or is it the other way around, with threats so hard to block and DDoS attacks so rampant that the internet of the future is not as useful as it is now?
The Internet

Ask Slashdot: What Happened To Semantic Publishing? 68

Posted by timothy
from the you-might-enjoy dept.
An anonymous reader writes There has always been a demand for semantically enriched content, even long before the digital era. Take a look at the New York Times Index, which has been continuously published since 1913. Nowadays, technology can meet the high demands for "clever" content, and big publishers like the BBC and the NY Times are opening their data and also making a good use of it.

In this post, the author argues that Semantic Publishing is the future and talks about articles enriched with relevant facts and infoboxes with related content. Yet his example dates back to 2010, and today arguably every news website suggests related articles and provides links to external sources. This raises several questions: Why is there not much noise on this topic lately? Does this mean that we are already in the future of Online (Semantic) Publishing? Do we have all the tools now (e.g. Linked Data, fast NoSQL/Graph/RDF datastores, etc.) and what remains to be done is simply refinement and evolution? What is the difference in "cleverness" of content from different providers?
Media

Ask Slashdot: Building a Home Media Center/Small Server In a Crawlspace? 253

Posted by timothy
from the make-sure-you-can-retrieve-it-later dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I've decided it's time for me to build a separate machine specifically for use as a Media Center/Small Home Server. My wife and I haven't had cable TV in years, instead relying entirely on Netflix, other streaming sites, and hard copies we've bought over the years. Having just finished ripping our entire media collection (CDs, DVDs, and even our vinyls and VHS with the help of a capture card and some sweet digital voodoo) to a couple HDDs, I'm feeling froggy. Up until now we've been using WDTV Live, and it's been pretty snazzy, but I want to upgrade to a dedicated media machine instead of piggybacking off of my office computer. It'll be a Windows based machine utilizing Plex, and it's going in the crawlspace of the house. The crawlspace in question is unfinished, but I do have a dry concrete slab down there where I can put/mount/assemble something. Cooling won't be an issue obviously, and I am keeping a close eye on hardware specs with regards to moisture. It is still a crawlspace though. What would be a good setup to to house the hardware? Priorities being to safeguard against moisture, vermin, and dirt. Modified PC Tower? Rack? Build an enclosure? Something I haven't considered?

Please assume I'm stubborn and absolutely dead-set on putting it in the crawlspace to avoid the discussion devolving into the 'best' place to put a media machine."