New submitter penmanglewood writes "I am a developer at a small IT company, and we primarily make software and games for the education market. I used to work with a team of developers, but for reasons outside the scope of this question, my boss and I are the only ones left. My boss says that our new strategy is to use outsourced developers to do the 'monkey work' for us. To me, this sounds like a bad idea. Do we give the developers access to our internal libraries? How will they be able to work on parts of our product without having access to our repository. I could think of a hundred more objections, but maybe I'm looking at it the wrong way. Is there a smart way to outsource development, or is it just a bad idea?"
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mcleland writes "I'm not getting the bandwidth I paid for from my DSL connection. My '3mbps' fluctuates between about 2.7 during the day down to 0.1 or 0.2 in the evening according to speedtest.net. Let's assume DSL is the only viable option for broadband at my house and I can't really move right now (rural area, on north face of the mountain, no cable service, very poor cell coverage). This was discussed 6 years ago, but I'd like to see if there are any current thoughts on whether I'm just stuck or if there is some way to make the ISP hold up its end."
New submitter ancientt writes "As a thought experiment, what if the constitution of the U.S. was amended so that no idea (with exceptions only for government use, like currency) could be protected from copy or use beyond January 1, 2035 for more than a five-year period. After a five-year span, any patent, software license, copyright, software NDA or other intellectual property agreement would expire. (This is not an entirely new idea, but would have had significant recent ramifications if it had been enacted in the past.) Specific terms are up for debate, but in this experiment businesses must have time to try to adjust to sell services and make the services good enough to compete with other businesses offering the same basic products. Microsoft can sell a five-year-old variant of OSX, Apple can sell Windows 2030. Cars, computers and phones would, or at least could, still be made, but manufacturers would be free to use any technology more than five years old or license new technology for a five-year competitive edge. Movie, TV and book budgets would have to adjust to the potential five-year profit span, although staggered episode or chapter releases would be legal. Play 'What if' with me. What would be the downsides? What would be the upsides?"
New submitter mmmmdave writes "My parents love to Skype with my kid. My kid loves to mash laptop buttons and drool on the screen. And because we don't want to spend forty minutes every night holding the laptop outside of baby arms' length, we're looking to build some sort of wall-mounted monitor + webcam thingy. I'm sure there's a much cheaper option than sticking an iPad on the wall; what's more, non-touchscreen is probably better, so my daughter can't hang up the calls. Any ideas?"
An anonymous reader writes "I used to travel with a book and some clothes in a backpack, and now my entire life fits into my briefcase. I have a laptop, a tablet, and a cell phone with access to all of my documents through Dropbox, and all the books I own are on my kindle. Aside from having about four grand in electronics, the bag has everything of value that I own. If that bag is stolen while I'm traveling, it will be more trouble than if my apartment burns down (while I'm not in it). What can I do to secure my life-in-a-briefcase?"
Qbertino writes "I'm in my early 40s, and after a little more than 10 years of web, scripting and software development as a freelancer and some gigs as a regular, full-time employee, I'm seriously considering giving my IT career a boost by getting a degree. I'm your regular 1980s computer kid and made a career switch to IT during the dot-bomb days. I have quite a bit of programming and project experience, but no degree. I find myself hitting somewhat of a glass ceiling (with maybe a little age discrimination thrown in there). Since I'm in Germany, degrees count for a lot (70% of IT staff have a degree) so getting one seems fitting and a nice addition to my portfolio. However, I'm pondering wether I should go for Computer Science or Business Informatics. I'd like to move into Project Management or Technical Account Management, which causes my dilemma: CS gives me the pro credibility and proves my knowledge with low-level and technical stuff, and I'd be honing my C/C++ and *nix skills. Business Informatics would teach me some bean-counting skills; I'd be doing modelling, ERP with Java or .NET all day. It would give me some BA cred, but I'd lose karma with the T-shirt wearing crew and the decision-makers in that camp. I'm leaning toward Business Informatics because I suspect that's where the money is, but I'm not quite sure wether a classic CS degree wouldn't still be better — even if I'm wearing a suit. Any suggestions?"
An anonymous reader writes "I work in a network environment that requires multiple people to have access to numerous Wireless Access Keys, iTunes/iCloud accounts/passwords, hardware appliance logins, etc. I'm attempting to replace the ever popular 'protected' excel spreadsheet that exists in almost every network with all usernames and passwords just waiting to be discovered. Are there any open source, multi-user, secure and preferably Linux-based password management tools that the Slashdot community would recommend?"
ananyo writes "Evidence is mounting that research is riddled with positive bias. Left unchecked, the problem could erode public trust, argues Dan Sarewitz, a science policy expert, in a comment piece in Nature. The piece cites a number of findings, including a 2005 paper by John Ioannidis that was one of the first to bring the problem to light ('Why Most Published Research Findings Are False'). More recently, researchers at Amgen were able to confirm the results of only six of 53 'landmark studies' in preclinical cancer research (interesting comments on publishing methodology). While the problem has been most evident in biomedical research, Sarewitz argues that systematic error is now prevalent in 'any field that seeks to predict the behavior of complex systems — economics, ecology, environmental science, epidemiology and so on.' 'Nothing will corrode public trust more than a creeping awareness that scientists are unable to live up to the standards that they have set for themselves,' he adds. Do Slashdot readers perceive positive bias to be a problem? And if so, what practical steps can be taken to put things right?"
First time accepted submitter kmoser writes "Like most people, I have a couple of surge protectors for sensitive/important electronics, and even a UPS for a couple of items like computers. But I don't have surge protector on all outlets, and these consumer-grade devices don't cover things like 220 volt appliances. Add to that the fact that I live in a lightning-prone area and it's only a matter of time before one of my expensive devices has a major meltdown. I've looked into full-home surge protectors that install next to the fuse box but the prices vary widely and I have no idea how reliable they are or what brands are good. An electrician friend tells me they can still blow out, and when they do they're difficult to replace if they were installed behind a wall. Can anybody shed some light on the best options for protecting all the electronics in my house with a single surge protector?"
rrossman2 writes "With the birth of our son (who is now just over two), we have snapped and accumulated a ton of pictures — on Panoramio, Picasa, Facebook, etc. What is the best option for bulk printing the photos to a physical format? We all know how fast technology advances, as well as how fast sites come and go; I want a way to have these pictures for my son when he is older... just like my grandfather has photos of himself from World War II, my parents have photos of me when I was little, etc. Are there any affordable services that you can upload the photos to that print and deliver long-lasting pictures? How well do today's photo ink jets last, and what's the best type of paper? I do have a cheaper Samsung color laser printer, but color lasers don't make the most color-rich prints, and using normal photo paper you can find in big box stores doesn't work out too well, as the laser toner seems to peel off on the rollers and gum things up. (Is there a good long lasting paper that seems to work well with laser printers?) I can see what's going to happen in the future: all of the digital photos people take now are going to either end up on a website that won't be around in 20+ years, or get stuck on disks or flash memory that won't last, or for which interfacing with the media will become difficult or impossible."
Volanin writes "Currently I use a triple boot system on my Macbook, including MacOS Lion, Windows 7, and Ubuntu Precise (on which I spend the great majority of my time). To share files between these systems, I have created a huge HFS+ home partition (the MacOS native format, which can also be read in Linux, and in Windows with Paragon HFS). But last week, while working on Ubuntu, my battery ran out and the computer suddenly powered off. When I powered it on again, the filesystem integrity was OK (after a scandisk by MacOS), but a lot of my files' contents were silently corrupted (and my last backup was from August...). Mostly, these files are JPGs, MP3s, and MPG/MOV videos, with a few PDFs scattered around. I want to get rid of the corrupted files, since they waste space uselessly, but the only way I have to check for corruption is opening them up one by one. Is there a good set of tools to verify the integrity by filetype, so I can detect (and delete) my bad files?"
An anonymous reader writes "I was a consultant for nearly 20 years and I got into projects where I had to work with a huge variety of software, operating systems, hardware, programming languages, and other assorted technologies. After retiring from that I have spent the last 10 years in a completely different sector. Now I find myself wanting to really focus on coding for personal reasons. You can imagine how out-of-touch I am since I never really was more than a hack to begin with. I can learn syntax and basics in a weekend, question is, what Language should I become native to? Never liked anything 'lower-level' than C, and I don't have the funds to 'buy' my development environment....help me Slashdot, you're my only hope."
New submitter brabq writes "Now that I have a couple of CableCard tuner devices in the house (including the network-based HDHomeRun Prime), I'm thinking of buying one of those all-in-one touchscreen PCs for our kitchen (yeah, something I've always sworn against for future repair reasons). The idea is that it would be used primarily for (1) watching TV, via the aforementioned Prime and WMC, and (2) light web surfing (recipes, some sort of video chat possibly). Does anyone have any experience with these types of devices in a kitchen-like setting (where I'd like to use a touchscreen over having a keyboard/mouse on a kitchen counter)? I keep hearing that Windows 8 is going to have some added benefits to this type of setup — is it worth waiting for its release? My end goal is it has to have a high WAF ... if my wife doesn't like its appearance on the counter or finds it useless, then the whole thing will be a waste."
An anonymous reader writes "I have at least 10 assorted hard drives ranging from 100 GB to 3 TB, including external drives, IDE desktop drives, laptop drives, etc. What's the best way to setup a home NAS to utilize all this 'excess' space? And could it be set up with redundancy built-in so a single drive failure would cause no data loss? I don't need anything fancy. Visibility to networked Windows PCs is great; ability to streak to Roku / iPad / Toshiba etc would be great but not necessary. What's the best way to accomplish this goal?"
mcmadman writes "The multi-zone audio player I'm working with uses an almost decade old card/software combo that is prone to crashes and other anomalies. I would like to know if there are open source (read 'free') or other alternatives that would allow multiple simultaneous playlists played through the myriad of audio interfaces out there. The line outs are then plugged into a CobraNet matrix, which handles the distribution of the music/sound to their respective areas. I'm looking at eight channels minimum, timed playlist start/stops, and triggered announcements. So far the only software and hardware I've found are proprietary broadcasting solutions which tend to be a bit heavy on the wallet or meant for home use."