Programming

Ask Slashdot: Are Progressive Glasses a Mistake For Computer Users? 464

Posted by timothy
from the you-mean-socialist-glasses dept.
An anonymous reader writes I'm a daily, all-day computer user and use two 19-inch monitors for my work. I'm at the age now where I need reading glasses, and my optometrist steered me to progressive lenses. I don't need any correction for distance, only reading. I'm trying very hard to get used to them, but I hate them. The focal point seems to be about 1 inch big, with everything around that blurry. Reading books on my iPad is a struggle; I have to turn my head side to side simply to keep the line of text in focus, and when I do that, the page warps and flow in a dizzying manner. I don't think reading should be like watching a tennis match. And using my two monitors at work? Hopeless and frustrating! Has anybody here who uses either very large or multiple computer monitors figured out how to comfortably use progressive glasses? Or are they simply inappropriate for this kind of use?
Cloud

Ask Slashdot: Best Options For a Standalone Offline Printing Station? 190

Posted by timothy
from the your-baby-has-printing-pains dept.
An anonymous reader writes My father is considering a Chromebook, but there is a problem: He occasionally wants to print. Chrome OS only talks to physical printers by Google Cloud Print, so the printer has to be online one way or another. But my father wants to surf over 3G, so he has no network infrastructure. Now what are the best options for a standalone printing station that works offline? I have a Raspberry Pi and a small touch display that I could spare, how about I prepared some scripts and called that the dedicated printing computer? Then what printers have ARM drivers available? Does anybody know a consumer-grade or small-office-grade printer that can print ordinary PDF docs directly from flash drives or memory cards? I have looked, but could not find one yet. The devices I found that print PDF docs directly only do so if the docs were made by the (proprietary) printer-related software or the printer itself. There are ways to turn PDF docs into series of JPG files. A lot of ordinary printers can print JPG files directly from flash media, should my father stick with this option? Also, what are secondary options in case the offline printing station does not work out? Should he consider buying a 3G-capable WiFi router (there are enough available) and set up a home network, then use Google Cloud Print? Should I just send my father to a copy shop? Or should he simply forget about the Chromebook and get an ordinary laptop with a common OS that can talk to printers by USB?
Botnet

Ask Slashdot: What Should We Do About the DDoS Problem? 312

Posted by Soulskill
from the build-another-internet-and-don't-tell-the-hackers dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Distributed denial of service attacks have become a big problem. The internet protocol is designed to treat unlimited amounts of unsolicited traffic identically to important traffic from real users. While it's true DDoS attacks can be made harder by fixing traffic amplification exploits (including botnets), and smarter service front ends, there really doesn't seem to be any long term solution in the works. Does anyone know of any plans to actually try and fix the problem?
Technology

Ask Slashdot: What Tech Companies Won't Be Around In 10 Years? 332

Posted by Soulskill
from the those-who-fail-to-adapt dept.
An anonymous reader writes: It's interesting to look back a decade and see how the tech industry has changed. The mobile phone giants of 10 years ago have all struggled to compete with the smartphone newcomers. Meanwhile, the game console landscape is almost exactly the same. I'm sure few of us predicted Apple's rebirth over the past decade, and many of us thought Microsoft would have fallen a lot further by now. With that in mind, let's make some predictions. What companies aren't going to make it another 10 years? Are Facebook, Twitter, and the other social networking behemoths going to fade as quickly as they arose? What about the heralds of the so-called 'sharing economy,' like Uber? Are IBM and Oracle going to hang on? Along the same lines, what companies do you think will definitely stick around for another decade or more? Post your predictions for all to see. I'll buy you a beer in 10 years if you're right.
Christmas Cheer

Ask Slashdot: Best Wireless LED Light Setup for 2015? 68

Posted by timothy
from the don't-actually-jump-start-them dept.
An anonymous reader writes I want to get a jump-start on next year's Christmas by wiring up my mother's gnome garden for a Christmas light show. I need a setup that can use wireless LED lights and speakers, the lights using a custom sequence set to music, that can be controlled remotely indoors to go off on a schedule, say every hour. Do you know of an off-the-shelf setup that is cheap and works seamlessly, especially for someone with little to no coding or custom building experience?
Security

Ask Slashdot: Dealing With Companies With Poor SSL Practices? 141

Posted by timothy
from the stochastic-protection dept.
An anonymous reader writes Despite recent highly-publicized hacking incidents making the news, companies continue to practice poor cyber-security. I signed-up to buy something from [an online vendor] and upon completing signup through HTTPS, was sent my username and password in plain-text through e-mail. This company has done everything in its power to avoid being contacted for its poor technical practices, including using GoDaddy's Domains By Proxy to avoid having even WHOIS information for their webmaster's technical contact from being found. Given such egregious behavior, what do you do when you're left vulnerable by companies flagrantly violating good security practice?
Microsoft

Ask Slashdot: Is an Open Source .NET Up To the Job? 421

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-steps-or-irrelevant-steps dept.
Rob Y. writes: The discussion on Slashdot about Microsoft's move to open source .NET core has centered on:

1. whether this means Microsoft is no longer the enemy of the open source movement
2. if not, then does it mean Microsoft has so lost in the web server arena that it's resorting to desperate moves.
3. or nah — it's standard Microsoft operating procedure. Embrace, extend, extinguish.

What I'd like to ask is whether anybody that's not currently a .NET fan actually wants to use it? Open source or not. What is the competition? Java? PHP? Ruby? Node.js? All of the above? Anything but Microsoft? Because as an OSS advocate, I see only one serious reason to even consider using it — standardization. Any of those competing platforms could be as good or better, but the problem is: how to get a job in this industry when there are so many massively complex platforms out there. I'm still coding in C, and at 62, will probably live out my working days doing that. But I can still remember when learning a new programming language was no big deal. Even C required learning a fairly large library to make it useful, but it's nothing compared to what's out there today. And worse, jobs (and technologies) don't last like they used to. Odds are, in a few years, you'll be starting over in yet another job where they use something else.

Employers love standardization. Choosing a standard means you can't be blamed for your choice. Choosing a standard means you can recruit young, cheap developers and actually get some output from them before they move on. Or you can outsource with some hope of success (because that's what outsourcing firms do — recruit young, cheap devs and rotate them around). To me, those are red flags — not pluses at all. But they're undeniable pluses to greedy employers. Of course, there's much more to being an effective developer than knowing the platform so you can be easily slotted in to a project. But try telling that to the private equity guys running too much of the show these days.

So, assuming Microsoft is sincere about this open source move,
1. Is .NET up to the job?
2. Is there an open source choice today that's popular enough to be considered the standard that employers would like?
3. If the answer to 1 is yes and 2 is no, make the argument for avoiding .NET.
Education

Ask Slashdot: Resources For Kids Who Want To Make Games? 121

Posted by Soulskill
from the building-blocks-of-fun dept.
Mr. Jones writes: My 11-year-old son is fascinated by games — game mechanics in particular. He has been playing everything from Magic to WarFrame since he was 5 years old. He seems mostly interested in creating the lore and associated mechanics of the games (i.e. how a game works). If it was only programming I could help him, but I am lost when it comes to helping him learn more formal ways of developing and defining gameplay. I really see a talent for this in him and I want to support it any way I can. Can you suggest any conferences, programs, books, websites, etc. that would help him learn?
Education

Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM? 280

Posted by Soulskill
from the jump-in-with-an-appropriate-number-of-feet dept.
An anonymous reader writes: I graduated with a degree in the liberal arts (English) in 2010 after having transferred from a Microbiology program (not for lack of ability, but for an enlightening class wherein we read Portrait of the Artist). Now, a couple years on, I'm 25, and though I very much appreciate my education for having taught me a great deal about abstraction, critical thinking, research, communication, and cheesily enough, humanity, I realize that I should have stuck with the STEM field. I've found that the jobs available to me are not exactly up my alley, and that I can better impact the world, and make myself happier, doing something STEM-related (preferably within the space industry — so not really something that's easy to just jump into). With a decent amount of student debt already amassed, how can I best break into the STEM world? I'm already taking online courses where I can, and enjoy doing entry-level programming, maths, etc.

Should I continue picking things up where and when I can? Would it be wiser for me to go deeper into debt and get a second undergrad degree? Or should I try to go into grad school after doing some of my own studying up? Would the military be a better choice? Would it behoove me to just start trying to find STEM jobs and learn on the go (I know many times experience speaks louder to employers than a college degree might)? Or perhaps I should find a non-STEM job with a company that would allow me to transfer into that company's STEM work? I'd be particularly interested in hearing from people who have been in my position and from employers who have experience with employees who were in my position, but any insight would be welcome.
Open Source

Ask Slashdot: Best Software For Image Organization? 259

Posted by timothy
from the where-do-we-stand-in-2014? dept.
Wycliffe writes Like many people, I am starting to get a huge collection of digital photos from family vacations, etc. I am looking for some software that allows me to rate/tag my own photos in a quick way. I really don't want to spend the time tagging a bunch of photos and then be locked into a single piece of software, so what is the best software to help organize and tag photos so that I can quickly find highlights without being locked into that software for life? I would prefer open source to prevent lock-in and also prefer Linux but could do Windows if necessary.
Handhelds

Ask Slashdot: Best Software To Revive PocketPCs With Windows Mobile 5-6? 110

Posted by timothy
from the don't-knock-interesting-hobbies dept.
An anonymous reader writes I recently got my hands on some amazing (at their time) pieces of technology, PocketPCs from the 2005-2007 era. All run with Windows Mobile 5 or 6, have storage SD cards (up to 4GB), 300 to 600 MHz ARM CPUs and 64-124MB of RAM/ROM. GPS chip is Sirf STAR III. I want to know what software you would install on them. Maybe a good Linux with GUI - if anyone can point on how to make it work. Creating some apps myself would be nice, but dunno where to start for WM5. One of my ideas was to use them as daily organizer / shopping list / memory games for people that don't own smartphones. So if anyone remembers such apps, I'd appreciate a reference. Tips or ideas for memory training or smart games are also highly welcomed. The power within these toys is simply unused and it's a shame!
IT

Ask Slashdot: Are Any Certifications Worth Going For? 317

Posted by Soulskill
from the lifeguard-certification-might-help dept.
An anonymous reader writes: I am an IT professional in my 30s and have had some form if IT employment for the last 15 years. I've worked my way from technical support to IS manager, but my career seems to have stalled. I have a fancy 4-year degree in Information Systems (I was never much of a programmer) from an actual college, and a good deal of real-world experience combined with reading the odd technical book here and there to keep abreast of what's going on in the world of tech, but what I don't have is any certifications. None.

When I was a poor student fresh from college, I decided that certifications were a waste of money, since the jobs I was applying for at the time didn't care about them, and the tests were several hundred dollars each. Now, it seems most jobs I see listed want some certifications, and I suspect HR systems are weeding out resumes that don't have the correct alchemical formula of certifications.

So my question is: are any certifications now worth it? If so, where do I start? I will probably stick to the track I'm on (I'm better at managing than developing). Going to classes might be an option, but I'd prefer to be able to self-study if possible to work around being on-call constantly (and, to be blunt, classes are expensive). I don't want to stump up for a class only to find out I don't actually like the class or the material or the certification isn't actually what I thought it was.
Businesses

Ask Slashdot: Can a Felon Work In IT? 720

Posted by samzenpus
from the orange-is-not-the-new-big-blue dept.
First time accepted submitter Lesrahpem writes I'm a felon with several prior misdemeanor convictions from an immature time in my life. I've since cleaned up my act, and I want to go back into the IT sector. I keep running into potential employers who tell me they'd like to hire me but can't because of my past record (expunging won't work, I'm in Ohio). Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Should I just give up and change careers?"
Businesses

Ask Slashdot: Paying For Linux Support vs. Rolling Your Own? 118

Posted by Soulskill
from the how-to-train-your-penguin dept.
schmaustech writes: A lot of businesses pay for Linux support. But at what point does that stop being worth the money? When would a company be better served by setting up their own internal support? When does it make sense for them to write their own patches, which could be submitted back to the community? The inherit risk is that the organization is accountable and accepts the risks if a major bug is encountered within any of the open source applications they are using. What's your perspective on this, and how many major corporations are taking this approach?
The Internet

Ask Slashdot: Dealing With Electronics-Induced Inattentiveness? 312

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-attention-is-the-currency-of-the-future dept.
An anonymous reader writes: I am a graduate student in his twenties who used to be able to read dozens and dozens of lengthy books in his childhood. Over the years, I have noticed that my attention span and ability to concentrate has decreased noticeably, seemingly in synchronization with society's increased connectedness with the Internet and constant stimulation from computers and mobile devices alike. I have noticed that myself and others seem to have a difficult time really sitting down to read anything or focus on anything relatively boring for even more than ten seconds (the "TL;DR Generation," as I sometimes call it).

I see it when socializing with others or even during a professor's lecture. I have tried leaving my mobile phone at home and limiting myself to fewer browser tabs in an effort to regain concentration that I believe has been lost in recent years. Nonetheless, this is an issue that has begun to adversely affect my academic studies and may only get worse in time. What advice do fellow Slashdot users have with regard to reclaiming what has been lost? Should such behaviors simply be accepted as a sign of the times?