Esther Schindler writes "It's a danger for any consultant, and for most inter-departmental internal project staff: To get the work done, you need to work with someone else who supplies expertise you lack. But when the 'expert' turns out to be the wrong person how do you tell the client (or boss) that you just can't work with that individual?"
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Bucc5062 writes "A previous mobile phone of mine, a Motorola Razr, had a very nice program call Motocast. With it any pictures and videos would be automatically uploaded to a local/home PC running something akin to a 'cloud' service. This was great tool for I did not want to store files in the greater 'cloud'. the Razr moved on and I currently have two phones at home, neither of which have the same ability to push files to a local PC automatically. I did some research and did not find any good substitute for local cloud type backup so I am putting this out to one of the most diverse crowds I know, Slashdot readers. Zumocast did not look like it did the trick (I don't want streaming to my mobile device) and Delite studios had local cloud, but they make no reference to automatically pushing files to the server. I have people at home who are not tech savvy and would never remember to do it manually. Rolling my one is a long term option though it would require me learning the APIs for Android and I guess Windows. Is there something out that that works as good as Motocast?" ownCloud seems like a reasonable contender (installation on Debian, at least in the case of a few users and sqlite, is pretty easy). Their Android app has an option to automatically sync videos and photos as they are taken. But are there other options that are easier to install for folks uncomfortable with the idea of running Apache and an SQL server?
Bizzeh writes "Today my boss came to me with what he thought to be a valid point and analogy. A builder builds a wall. A week later, bricks begin to fall out of the bottom, but he continues to build the wall higher. In most cases, he would have to replace those lower bricks at his own expense and on his own time. Comparatively: A software developer writes a piece of software. When bugs are discovered, the developer is paid to fix them by the employer and on the employer's time. I didn't know how to refute the analogy at the time, but it did make me think: why are bugs in software treated differently in this way?"
StonyCreekBare writes "What options are available for distributed storage for families? My two brothers, my daughter and her husband, and his mother all have homes in various parts of the country. We use various cloud storage providers to keep our shared data. This has numerous limitations and we are starting to think maybe we can do it better ourselves. We all have decent Internet connections, are all somewhat tech savvy, and think that by leveraging the Internet we can maybe provide for our needs better and at lower cost by buying some hardware and doing it ourselves. How would you go about implementing such a family-oriented, distributed cloud platform? What hardware? What applications, beyond simply the preservation and sharing of family data, (grandkids' photos, home videos, and more) would be good to leverage such a platform? Security Cameras? HTPC? VoIP? Home Automation? Primary requirements are Cheap, Secure, Reliable."
First time accepted submitter Rasberry Jello writes "I consider myself someone who 'gets code,' but I'm not a programmer. I enjoy thinking through algorithms and writing basic scripts, but I get bogged down in more complex code. Maybe I lack patience, but really, why are we still writing text based code? Shouldn't there be a simpler, more robust way to translate an algorithm into something a computer can understand? One that's language agnostic and without all the cryptic jargon? It seems we're still only one layer of abstraction from assembly code. Why have graphical code generators that could seemingly open coding to the masses gone nowhere? At a minimum wouldn't that eliminate time dealing with syntax errors? OK Slashdot, stop my incessant questions and tell me what I'm missing." Of interest on this topic, a thoughtful look at some of the ways that visual programming is often talked about.
schnell writes "The increasing prevalence of online news paywalls and 'nag walls' (e.g. you can only read so many articles per month) has forced me to divide those websites into two categories: those that offer content that is unique or good enough to pay for vs. those that don't. Examples of the former for me included The Economist and Foreign Policy, while other previous favorite sites The New York Times and even my hometown Seattle Times have lost my online readership entirely. I also have a secret third category — sites that don't currently pay/nag wall, but I would pay for if I had to — Ars Technica and Long Form come to mind. What news/aggregation sites are other Slashdotters out there willing to pay for, and why? What sites that don't charge today would you pay for if you had to? Or, knowing this crowd, are the majority just opposed to paying for any web news content on principle?"
X10 writes "Suppose you're assigned to a project that someone else has created. It's an app, you'll work on it alone. You think 'how hard can it be,' you don't check out the source code before you accept the assignment. But then, it turns out the code is not robust. You create a small new feature, and the app breaks down in unexpected ways. You fix a bug, and new bugs pop up all over the place. The person who worked on the project before you is well respected in the company, and you are 'just a contractor,' hired a few months ago. The easy way out is to just quit, as there's plenty of jobs you can take. But that doesn't feel right. What else can you do?"
David W. White writes "Years ago ago those of us who used any *nix desktop ('every morning when you wake up, the house is a little different') were seen as willing to embrace change and spend hours tinkering and configuring until we got new desktop versions to work the way we wanted, while there was an opposite perception of desktop users over in the Mac world ('it just works') and the Windows world ('it's a familiar interface'). However, a recent article in Datamation concludes that 'for better or worse, [Linux desktop users] know what they want — a classic desktop — and the figures consistently show that is what they are choosing in far greater numbers than GNOME, KDE, or any other single graphical interface.' Has the profile of the Linux desktop user changed to a more pragmatic one? Or is it just the psychology of user inertia at work, when one considers the revolt against changes in the KDE, GNOME, UNITY and Windows 8 interfaces in recent times?"
monkeyhybrid writes "Following a tweet from the developer of Maia (a cross platform game soon to hit Steam) that Linux was bringing him more game sales than OS X. Gaming On Linux decided to investigate further by reaching out to multiple developers for platform sales statistics. Although the findings and developer comments show Linux sales to still be sitting in third place, behind those of OS X and Windows, they are showing promise. Developer feedback certainly appears to be positive about the platform's future. With Steam OS on its way, surely leading to more big title releases making their way to the Linux platform, could Linux gaming be set to take the number two spot from Apple?"
enharmonix writes "I have a big decision to make. I am probably going to buy a laptop that I will primarily use for music. I would prefer an OEM distro so I don't need to install the OS myself (not that I mind), but I have no preference between open- and closed-source software as an end-user; I just care about the quality of the product. There are two applications that I absolutely must have: 1) a standard notation transcription program with quality auditioning (i.e., playback with quality sound fonts or something similar, better than your standard MIDI patches) that can also accept recorded audio in lieu of MIDI playback, and 2) a capable synthesizer (the more options, the better). If there's software out there that does both 1 and 2 in the same app, that's even better. I've played with some of Ubuntu's offerings for music a few years ago and some are very good, though not all of them are self-explanatory and the last time I checked, none of them really met my needs. I am not so worried about number 2 because I think I could pretty easily develop my own in .NET/Mono, which I think would be a fun project (which would be open source, of course). I am a Gnome fan so if I go with Linux, I will almost certainly go with standard Ubuntu over Kubuntu, but Gnome seems to rule out Rosegarden which was the best FOSS transcription software out there the last time I checked. The other solution I've thought of is to just shell out the $600 for Finale, which I'm more than willing to do, but I'm not so sure I want Windows 8 and I'm just not sure I can afford to go with a Mac on top of the $600 for Finale. I don't intend to put more than one OS on my laptop, either. Any slashdotters out there dabble in composing/recording, using MIDI, sound fonts, recorded audio, and/or synthesizers? What setup of hardware/OS/software works for you? Can FOSS music software compete with their pricier closed source competitors?" The KXStudio apps installed over Debian or Ubuntu tend to be pretty nice (better session handling that gladish provides at least).
Nerval's Lobster writes "U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder made government whistleblower Edward Snowden a very peculiar offer last week: plead guilty, and the U.S. government would consider how to handle his criminal case. That seems an inverted way of doing things—in the United States, the discussions (if not the trial) usually come before the guilty plea—but Holder's statement hints yet again at the conundrum facing the government when it comes to Snowden, a former subcontractor for the National Security Agency (NSA) who leaked secrets about that group's intelligence operations to a number of newspapers, most notably The Guardian. It's unlikely that the U.S. government would ever consider giving full clemency to Snowden, but now it seems that various officials are willing to offer something other than locking him in a deep, dark cell and throwing away the key. If Snowden ever risked coming back to the United States (or if he was forced to return, thanks to the Russians kicking him out and no other country willing to give him asylum), and you were Holder and Obama, what sort of deal would you try to strike with everybody's favorite secrets-leaker?"
Rydia writes "Since it first released, I have been in love with my Nokia N900, and it has satisfied all my needs for a mobile with a high degree of control and utility. Sadly, the little guy is showing his age, both in battery life (even with the powersaving kernel options enabled), and performing in general has been left far, far in the dust by phones that are now considered quite old. The time has come to find its successor, but after a thorough search of smartphone options, I can't find any handset that offers everything for the power user that the N900 did (much less a hardware keyboard). I'd like to avoid supporting Google/Android, but there don't seem to be many options. Have any other techies found a replacement for their N900?"
ProgramErgoSum writes "Horse carriages, vinyl records, telegraphy, black and white television are all great examples of technology that held tremendous sway decades ago and eventually faded away. Other systems such as railways and telephony are 'historical,' but have advanced into the current age, too. I think not being aware of the science behind such yesteryear technologies (or their histories) is not right. I feel it would be most beneficial to encourage kids to explore old technologies and perhaps even try simple simulations at home or school. So, what websites or videos or other sources of information would you reach out to that teaches the basics of say, telegraphy? Or, signalling in railways? Etc. etc." Do you (or do you plan to) educate your kids about any particular older technologies?
First time accepted submitter hughbar writes "I live in a London suburb that has many activities and classes, yoga, IT [of course], running, art, assorted volunteering and many others. With the help of the local council, we'd now like to make a centralised, searchable database of these, with a number of helpful features: Easy to make submissions, otherwise the whole thing will always be out of date; Web accessible [obviously] but mobile phone friendly as well; Maybe, publish and subscribe, so people can 'subscribe' to yoga listings for example; Handles repeating events, like a classical web calendar; Maybe, can be consolidated with nearby events calendars. I'm aware of MRBS and WebCalendar, but I'm wondering whether there are other suggestions, especially as this is a useful social application. And, yes, I'd like it done with open source, then we can tailor it."
postbigbang writes "Imagine having thousands of images on disparate machines. many are dupes, even among the disparate machines. It's impossible to delete all the dupes manually and create a singular, accurate photo image base? Is there an app out there that can scan a file system, perhaps a target sub-folder system, and suck in the images-- WITHOUT creating duplicates? Perhaps by reading EXIF info or hashes? I have eleven file systems saved, and the task of eliminating dupes seems impossible."
dptalia writes "I'm part of a team tasked with re-imagining my local elementary school's library. Libraries, especially school libraries, are struggling to remain relevant in today's world, when so much reading and research can be done from home. But this school has mostly low-income students who don't have the sort of high-tech resources at home that we all take for granted. What ideas do you have to turn an elementary school library into an environment that fosters innovation and technology?"
An anonymous reader writes "I've been a software engineer for about 15 years, most of which I spent working on embedded systems (small custom systems running Linux), developing in C. However, web and mobile technologies seem to be taking over the world, and while I acknowledge that C isn't going away anytime soon, many job offers (at least those that seem interesting and in small companies) are asking for knowledge on these new technologies (web/mobile). Plus, I'm interested in them anyway. Unfortunately, there are so many of those new technologies that it's difficult to figure out what would be the best use of my time. Which ones would you recommend? What would be the smallest set of 'new technologies' one should know to be employable in web/mobile these days?"
EmagGeek writes "I live in a semi-rural micropolitan area that generally has good access choices for high speed Internet. However, there are holes in the coverage in our area, and I live in one of them. There is infrastructure nearby, but because our subdivision covenants require all utilities to be underground, telecoms won't even consider upgrading to modern technology. The result is that we're all stuck with legacy DSL (which AT&T has happily re-branded as U-Verse even though it isn't) as our only choice for wireline access. There is a competing cable company in the area, also with infrastructure nearby, but similarly they are reluctant to even discuss burying new cable in our 22-home subdivision. Has anyone been in this same predicament and been able to convince a nearby ISP to run new lines? If so, how did you do it? Our neighborhood association could really use some pointers on this because we hit a new brick wall with every new approach we try — stopping just short of burying our own cable and hoping they'll at least be willing to run a line to the pole at the end of the street and drop it into our box."
First time accepted submitter xyourfacekillerx writes "After a long hiatus of developing (ASP.NET), I decided to pick it up again. I need to learn .NET and SQL for my new job (GIS tech using ESRI software). Down the road they need a PHP website, tons of automation tasks, some serious data consolidation, they want mobile apps in theory. This is not my job description, but I'm sure I can do it. Long story short, I need to setup a development environment on my home desktop, so I can do all this in my spare time. Trouble is, I share the machine (Win 8.1, 2.7 dual core pentium something or other, with virtualization support.) I want to avoid affecting the other users profiles. I currently use my profile for music production (Reason) and photography (Photoshop, et al) so it's already resource intensive with RAM, CPU and VMM. I'll be needing to install all of your basic Microsoft developer suites, IIS, SQl Server, ANdroid SDK, Java SDK, device emulators, etc. etc. Plus AMP and finally GIS software. There will obviously be a lot of services running, long build times, and so on. To wit, I wouldn't be able to use my desktop for my other purposes like the music editing. So I need some advice. Would it help to set up all these tools under a different account on the same Win 8.1 install? Or should I virtualize my development environment (and how?), and run the virtual machine side by side? Or should I add a HDD or secondary partition and boot to that when I intend to develop? I am poor ATM, but is there a cheap very mini PC I can place next to my desktop and run all my development software off that, remote desktop into it? I've done a lot of googling the last week and haven't turned up anything, so I turn to Slashdot. Please help me get organized so I can start coding again."
Hugo Villeneuve writes "What piece of code, in a non-assembler format, has been run the most often, ever, on this planet? By 'most often,' I mean the highest number of executions, regardless of CPU type. For the code in question, let's set a lower limit of 3 consecutive lines. For example, is it:
- A UNIX kernel context switch?
- A SHA2 algorithm for Bitcoin mining on an ASIC?
- A scientific calculation running on a supercomputer?
- A 'for-loop' inside on an obscure microcontroller that runs on all GE appliance since the '60s?"