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Businesses

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Sell an Algorithm To Venture Capitalists? 205

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the wait-for-apple-to-steal-it dept.
dryriver writes "Dear Slashdotters, We are a two man crew who have spent almost three years developing a video processing algorithm that 'upgrades' the visual quality of digital video footage. We take video footage that is "of average quality" — think an amateur shooting on a cheap digital camcorder or on a smartphone camera — and use various mathematical tricks we have developed to make the footage look better — optically sharper, better lit, more vivid colours, improved contrast, enhanced sense of three-dimensionality and of 'being-there realism.' In about a month, we will be presenting our algorithm to some venture capitalists. We have the obligatory before-and-after video demos prepared for this, of course. But there will also be a short PowerPoint presentation where we explain our tech in some detail. Now here is our main question: What, in your opinion, should we — or indeed should we NOT — put in the PowerPoint presentation to impress a Venture Capitalist? Should we talk about how we developed the algorithm at all — what kind of R&D and testing was involved? Should we try to walk the VCs through how our algorithm works under the hood — simplified a bit for a 'non-engineer' audience of course? Or should we stick to talking about market potential, marketing strategy & money-related stuff only? If you were in our shoes — presenting a digital video-quality improvement technology to professional VCs — what would and would you not put in your PowerPoint? Any advice on this from Slashdotters with some experience would be most welcome!"
Businesses

Ask Slashdot: How To Teach IT To Senior Management? 159

Posted by timothy
from the first-there-were-the-dinosaurs dept.
New submitter gagol writes "I recently took a position at a small industrial equipment manufacturer. We are looking to buy a new ERM software package and my boss, who is looking forward to buy the thing, knows nothing about computers or software. I will be providing basic IT training to the senior management and I am looking for your input on the scope and content of said training. I am thinking: basic components and architecture -> networking -> software -> proprietary vs open source. What do you think?"
Advertising

Ask Slashdot: What's Your Company's Marketing-to-Engineering Ratio? 202

Posted by timothy
from the life-imitates-dilbert dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I just learned that the company I work for annually budgets ~$17,000 for non-labor engineering expenses, but budgets ~$250,000 for non-labor marketing and sales expenses. Am I just being cynical when I say that my company spends almost 15 times as much trying to convince the outside world that we make a good product, than it spends on actually making a good product? What's the marketing-to-engineering ratio at your company?"
Programming

Ask Slashdot: How To Handle a Colleague's Sloppy Work? 332

Posted by Soulskill
from the eat-his-lunch dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I'm working on a new product with one of the more senior guys at our company. To be blunt: his work is sloppy. It works and gets the job done, but it's far from elegant and there are numerous little (some might say trivial) mistakes everywhere. Diagrams that should be spread over five or six pages are crammed onto one, naming is totally inconsistent, arrows point the wrong way (without affecting functionality) and so forth. Much of this is because he is so busy and just wants to get everything out the door. What is the best way to handle this? I spent a lot of time refactoring some of it, but as soon as he makes any changes it needs doing again, and I have my own work to be getting on with. I submit bug reports and feature requests, but they are ignored. I don't want to create bad feelings, as I have to work with him. Am I obsessing over small stuff, or is this kind of internal quality worth worrying about?"
Bitcoin

Ask Slashdot: Would You Accept 'Bitcoin-Ware' Apps? 232

Posted by timothy
from the better-than-nagware dept.
After the E-Sports Entertainment Association admitted to sneaking Bitcoin-mining code into its client software, an anonymous reader writes "I thought that could have been a pretty clever idea, if it was made clear to the users that they could get the app and run it for free as long as, let's say, they accept that it would be run for Bitcoin mining for five hours a week, when their computer is idle. That could make a lot of profit for the developers if their app is truly successful, and without the users having to pay much (only a limited number of hours per week, and if the user is no longer running the app then it won't try to mine anymore). What do you think about this?"
Power

Ask Slashdot: What If We Don't Run Out of Oil? 663

Posted by Soulskill
from the humvees-for-everyone dept.
symbolset writes "The Atlantic recently ran an in-depth article about energy resources. The premise is that there remain incalculable and little-understood carbon fuel assets which far outweigh all the fossil fuels ever discovered. The article lists them and discusses their potentials and consequences, both fiscal and environmental. 'The clash occurs when renewables are ready for prime time—and natural gas is still hanging around like an old and dirty but reliable car, still cheap to produce and use, after shale fracking is replaced globally by undersea mining of methane hydrate. Revamping the electrical grid from conventionals like coal and oil to accommodate unconventionals like natural gas and solar power will be enormously difficult, economically and technically.' Along these lines, yesterday the U.S. Geological Survey more than doubled their estimate of Bakken shale oil reserve in North Dakota and Montana to 7.4-11 billion barrels. Part of the push for renewables over the past few decades was the idea that old methods just weren't going to last. What happens to that push if fossil fuels remain plentiful?"
Entertainment

How To Promote Stage Comedy In a Geeky Way? 123

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the tragedy-for-the-masses dept.
shaitand writes "I recently went to a renaissance festival where a man (Arthur Greenleaf Holmes) performed some of the most obscene NSFW and hilarious comedy I've seen in a long while. The show was free and he had CDs and DVDs in his bag and accepted donations. I certainly gave one. But why is this guy doing niche fairs and not HBO specials? I contacted him and he said that he would love to break out and because of his costume he has trouble and the nature of his act he has trouble getting on to traditional stages. How would you promote such an act? On further conversation he said he is an avid supporter of free flow of information and strongly encourages pirating his work far and wide. Since he is primarily interested in making money with live performance and not media sales I thought if he took this to the next level and released a DVD under a creative commons license the exposure and interest generated might help him break into new forums with his act?"
Programming

Ask Slashdot: Best OSS Embedded Development Platform 128

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-little-help-from-my-friends dept.
AchilleTalon writes "As many of you may know, there are two main competitors on the Windows platform for embedded software development, namely IAR and Keil. By embedded development, I mean development for microprocessors like the well known 8051 and the likes, not mobile platforms which include a complete OS in first place. I am seeking for alternatives to IAR and Keil in the OSS world. Even if I can find pieces of code here and there, I haven't found yet a fully integrated development platform. Does it exist? What do you use?"
DRM

Ask Slashdot: Are There Any Good Reasons For DRM? 684

Posted by Soulskill
from the keeps-you-from-accidentally-playing-bad-games dept.
centre21 writes "Having been on Slashdot for several years, I've seen a lot of articles concerning DRM. What's most interesting to me are the number of comments condemning DRM outright and calling for the abolishing DRM with all due prejudice. The question I have for the community: is there ever a time when DRM is justified? My focus here is the aspect of how DRM protects the rights of content creators (aka, artists) and helps to prevent people freely distributing their works and with no compensation. How would those who are opposed to DRM ensure that artists will get just compensation for their works if there are no mechanisms to prevent someone from simply digitally copying a work (be it music, movie or book) and giving it away to anyone who wants it? Because, in my eyes, when people stop getting paid for what they do, they'll stop doing it. Many of my friends and family are in the arts, and let me assure you, one of the things they fear most isn't censorship, it's (in their words), 'Some kid freely distributing my stuff and eliminating my source of income.' And I can see their point. So I reiterate, to those who vehemently oppose DRM, is there ever a time where DRM can be a force for good, or can they offer an alternative that would prevent the above from happening?"
Open Source

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Assess the Status of an Open Source Project? 110

Posted by Soulskill
from the say-its-name-three-times-in-front-of-a-mirror-site dept.
Chrisq writes: "Our software landscape includes a number of open source components, and we currently assume that these components will follow the same life-cycle as commercial products: they will have a beta or test phase, a supported phase, and finally reach the end of life. In fact, a clear statement that support is ended is unusual. The statement by Apache that Struts 1 has reached end of life is almost unique. What we usually find is:
  • Projects that appear to be obviously inactive, having had no updates for years
  • Projects that are obviously not going to be used in any new deployments because the standard language, library, or platform now has the capability built in
  • Projects that are rapidly losing developers to some more-trendy alternative project
  • Projects whose status is unclear, with some releases and statements in the forums that they are 'definitely alive,' but which seem to have lost direction or momentum.
  • Projects that have had no updates but are highly stable and do what is necessary, but are risky because they may not interoperate with future upgrades to other components.

By the treating Open Source in the same way as commercial software we only start registering risks when there is an official announcement. We have no metric we can use to accurately gauge the state of an open source component — but there are a number of components that we have a 'bad feeling' about. Are there any standard ways of assessing the status of an open source project? Do you use the same stages for open source as commercial components? How do you incorporate these in a software landscape to indicate at-risk components and dependencies?"

Hardware

Ask Slashdot: Setting Up a System Integration Room At VAR? 70

Posted by timothy
from the don't-forget-all-the-little-screwdrivers dept.
o2binbuzios writes "Due to an office move, I have a chance to do a clean-sheet design for an integration room at a fairly large VAR ($100M+ ). I'm looking for some ideas or best practice to support 100-120 square meters (~50 x 30 ft). I'm particularly interested in ideas around efficient workflow, ways to manage cabling and electrical, and 'environmental' solutions that make it a pleasant place to work. There will be a central bench with 6-8 stations (3-4 per side) with engineers and techs who may be configuring stacks of up to 10 devices at a time that could range from servers, to network elements, to SAN & NAS devices and more. I've been looking for a paper that seems like it must exist — but I'm happy to gather good ideas one at a time or in bunches here on Slashdot."
The Internet

Ask Slashdot: Do You Move Legal Data With Torrents? 302

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-seed-randomly-generated-text-files dept.
An anonymous reader writes "We've recently seen a number of interesting projects come from bittorrent.com, including Sync and SoShare. I sometimes use torrents to move several GB of data, especially when pushing large bundles to multiple destinations. It's mostly a hodgepodge of open source tools, though. Apart from anecdotes and info from bittorrent.com, details are thin on the ground (e.g. the Blizzard Downloader). I have two questions for the Slashdot community. 1) Do you use BitTorrent to move data? If so, how? i.e. What kind of data and what's the implementation? 2) If you've looked at torrent clients/tools, what's missing in the open source ecosystem that would make it more useful for moving around large blobs of data?"
Books

Ask Slashdot: Science Books For Middle School Enrichment? 203

Posted by timothy
from the summer-reading-time-approaches dept.
new submitter heybiff writes "It is the time of year where students are scrambling for extra credit assignments to boost grades. As a middle school science teacher, I want to accommodate them, while still keeping science involved; and book reports are a popular activity in my school. Unfortunately, I have only been able to come up with a short list of science related books that a 11-14 year old would or could read in their free time: Ender's Game, Hitchhiker's Guide. What books would you recommend as a good read for an extra credit book report, that would still involve a strong science twist or inspire a student's interest in science? The book must be in print, science related, fiction or non-fiction, and not be overtly objectionable or outright banned. I look forward to the submissions." "Outright banned" actually seems a rich vein on which to draw; note that not even Ender's Game is safe.
Crime

Ask Slashdot: How To Track a Skype Account Hijacker? 152

Posted by timothy
from the hi-from-indonesia dept.
An anonymous reader writes "My Skype account was hijacked, which I discovered after Skype suspended it for suspicious activity, including a number of paid calls and an attempt to debit my card. Now that I've secured the account again, I can see the call history — there are several numbers called in Senegal, Mali, Benin and Philippines. Obviously I could call them myself and create a bit of havoc in their lives, but ideally I'd like to trace the hijacker himself — perhaps with some kind of 'social engineering' approach. Or is it just a waste of time?" How would you do this, and would you bother?
Open Source

Ask Slashdot: Service-Heavy FOSS Hosting? 75

Posted by timothy
from the for-work-and-play dept.
An anonymous reader writes "For many of us our hosting providers are a way to hone our skills as well as run a business. Which provider out there gives the best bang for the buck for a FOSS developer? Virtually everybody provides Perl, PHP, Ruby, MySQL / MariaDB etc. but where can one get easy and cheap access to a stuff like NodeJS and Big Data? Companies such as Pair Networks are great but not quite on the mark with any of their service offerings for somebody looking to test out real world scenarios with these technologies from a hosted stance. Obviously hosting from home is always an option but that has the penalty of administration, backup, DR planning, bigger security footprint etc. and for those of us whose time is balanced between making money and friends / family time that's not very appealing."
Education

Localized (Visual) Programming Language For Kids? 185

Posted by timothy
from the because-english-sometimes-sucks dept.
First time accepted submitter jimshatt writes "I want my kids to play around with programming languages. To teach them basic concepts like loops and subroutines and the likes. My 8-year-old daughter in particular. I've tried Scratch and some other visual languages, but I think she might be turned off by the English language. Having to learn English as well as a programming language at the same time might be just a little too much. I'd really like to have a programming language that is easy to learn, and localized or localizable. Preferably cross-platform, or browser-based, so she can show her work at school (Windows) as well as work on in at home (Debian Linux). By the way, she speaks Dutch and Danish, so preferably one of those languages (but if it's localizable I can translate it myself). Any suggestions?"
Politics

Ask Slashdot: What Planks Would You Want In a Platform of a Political Party? 694

Posted by Soulskill
from the mandatory-pi-day-celebration dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I am the Technology Manager of the Justice Party (sorry, no relationship to the Avengers). We are currently working on our Platform (version 2.0) and I would be interested to know what people in the science and technology field would like to see in a platform of a political party. For example, we are considering planks that relate to Open Government (data) access, science and maths promotion, space industries, promotion of open source, dealing with SOPA/ CISPA laws, improvement in user privacy and much more. Give us your comments so we can help build a more tech-savvy America."
Entertainment

Ask Slashdot: What Magazines Do You Still Read? 363

Posted by Soulskill
from the in-related-news,-magazines-apparently-still-exist dept.
AmiMoJo writes "Over on Slashdot Japan, there is a discussion about what magazines people still read (Google translation of Japanese original). Japanese people still tend to read a lot of periodicals, while in the west readership seems to be in decline. Do you read magazines regularly, or at all? Are websites a good substitute, or do print publications still offer something worth spending your cash on?"
Data Storage

Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Way To Preserve a "Digital Inheritance"? 191

Posted by samzenpus
from the won't-somebody-please-think-of-the-children? dept.
First time accepted submitter ron-l-j writes "The last few months a digital inheritance idea has been floating around in my head, and I am sure the thought has crossed your mind as well. With Google talking about the inactive account program it made me wonder, how do I make sure my children get my iTunes, and amazon movies? I have plenty of mp4 movies on my server that will just set itself to admin with no password after I do not log in within a 6 month time frame. But what about the huge amount spent on digital content every year? What's the best way to make sure your "digital inheritance" gets passed down?"
Java

Ask Slashdot: Building a Web App Scalable To Hundreds of Thousand of Users? 274

Posted by Soulskill
from the get-up-in-that-there-cloud dept.
AleX122 writes "I have an idea for a web app. Things I know: I am not the first person with a brilliant idea. Many others 'inventors' failed and it may happen to me, but without trying the outcome will always be failure. That said, the project will be huge if successful. However, I currently do not have money needed to hire developers. I have pretty solid experience in Java, GWT, HTML, Hibernate/Eclipselink, SQL/PLSQL/Oracle. The downside is project nature. All applications I've developed to date were hosted on single server or in small cluster (2 tomcats with fail-over). The application, if I succeed, will have to serve thousands of users simultaneously. The userbase will come from all over the world. (Consider infrastructure requirements similar to a social network.) My questions: What technologies should I use now to ensure easy scaling for a future traffic increase? I need distributed processing and data storage. I would like to stick to open standards, so Google App Engine or a similar proprietary cloud solution isn't acceptable. Since I do not have the resources to hire a team of developers and I will be the first coder, it would be nice if technology used is Java related. However, when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail, so I am open to technologies unrelated to Java."

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