Duggeek writes "There's been a lot of discussion lately about Valve, Steam and the uncertain future of the Windows platform for gaming. While the effect of these events is unmistakably huge, it raises an interesting question: Would Valve consider putting out its own Linux distro? One advantage of such a dedicated distro would be tighter control over kernel drivers, storage, init processes and managing display(s), but would it be worth all the upstream bickering? Would it be better to start anew, or ride on a mature foundation like Fedora or Debian? Might that be a better option than addressing the myriad differences of today's increasingly fracturing distro-scape?"
Make a difference in your data center. Sign up for SlashDataCenter Update newsletter now.
Krau Ming writes "After about eight years spent in research, I've made the decision to go back to school — medical school. When I last spent the bulk of my days sitting in lectures, I took notes with paper, and if the professor wasn't technologically impaired, he/she would have posted powerpoint slides as a PDF online for us to print and make our notes on. Since it has been so long, I am looking for some options other than the ol' pen and paper. Is there an effective way of taking notes with a laptop? What about tablet options? Are there note-taking programs that can handle a variety of file types (eg: electronic textbooks, powerpoint slides, PDFs)? Or should I just sleep in and get the lectures posted online and delay learning the course material until the exam (kidding)?"
First time submitter KateKintail writes "I'm being promoted to be a director of a computer/web services department at work with staff members (not yet hired) working under me. My workplace doesn't have a dress code 95% of the year. Is this the end of my days of jeans and enjoyably geeky t-shirts? Is there a way to dress professionally in the workplace as a boss (the kind that doesn't need to be defeated at the end of a level) while still showing my Browncoat or Whovian love as I crawl under cobwebby desks to check that equipment is properly plugged in?"
postermmxvicom writes "I have a friend who is a mechanic, but enjoys tinkering with software and hardware as a hobby. I want to get him a gift that will either broaden his horizons or deepen his understanding in these fields. He is proficient at soldering components and removing them from circuit boards. His programming experience is with a wide variety of scripting languages. He recently used teensy and arduino boards and an accelerometer to add some bells and whistles to a toy car he made. He also used his knowledge to help a friend find and correct weaknesses in his shareware (that would have let 'customers' share more freely than intended). He is fascinated that people can create chips to modify existing hardware. Do you know of any good books or kits (or even tools of the trade) that would appeal to a hobbyist and allow him to grow? Is there anything that might also play off of his handyman/mechanic abilities?"
An anonymous reader writes "I'm leaving my current job for a new one. I've been at this job for 10+ years so I'm sure there is tons of personal stuff stored on my machine. Since I can't take it with me does any one have a suggestions of tools or practices to clean off all of that data. I've already got my personal documents and files. I'm most worried about CC, debit card numbers and web site passwords I've used in browsers. Does clearing the cache, cookies, temp files do a good enough job? BTW it's a Windows 7 system if that makes a difference."
First time accepted submitter Quantus347 writes "I am trying to convince a number of people to give Linux a chance, arguing that it has come a long way on the road of consumer usability. Can you, oh Wise Ones of Slashdot, recommend a Lunix setup that will be as similar as possible to a Windows environment (Windows 7 or XP). These people hate and fear change, and so will latch onto nearly any noticeable differences, so I'm thinking in terms of both front end functionality and the look of the interface. It would also be very important for them to have to go to the command line as little as possible during daily use (meaning as close to never as can be managed)."
zwei2stein writes "My team of about 10 men (IT guys) is expecting a new colleague: a female one. It is guaranteed that there will be remarks, double entendres and innuendos with huge potential of getting worse. We already have women in teams who can somehow handle this (and deliver apropriate verbal slaps). How would you deal with this? We talked about some simple, fun ways — anyone who [acts inappropriately] will have to wear an embarassing tie, etc. — instead of swear jar, having a sexual innuendo jar and even fairly harsh punishments (like people losing their bonuses for the month or their extra vaccation days). I'd like to figure out a solution that would be effective, not call much attention to itself, and not be quickly abandoned." What has your workplace done to create a good culture on this front? And what hasn't worked?
First time accepted submitter sprior writes "I'm looking for preferably open source software that a business would use to track vacation/sick days for employees and so far have come up empty. I found WaypointHR which looks defunct and I'm looking at OrangeHRM which looks half defunct, half bait and switch, and half strange in general with a bunch of website bugs thrown in. Along the way I've seen a couple of other OS projects which look defunct as well. I realize that a solution might be more than just vacation tracking because once you configure the employee info for a company you tend to want to use that for more than one thing. Paid solutions are a possibility."
ananyo writes "In an opinion piece for Nature, science writer Trevor Quirk argues that researchers use jargon to 'capture the complexity and specificity of scientific concepts.' Avoiding jargon might mean that a piece ends up easier to read, but explaining a jargon term using everyday language 'does not present the whole truth,' he says. 'I find it troubling that the same antipathy that some writers express towards jargon has taken root in the public's general attitude towards erudite language. I submit that this is no coincidence. People seem to resent not just specialized language, but any language that requires a large degree of labour to understand, appreciate and use,' he writes. 'The world increases in complexity every day, and we should not let shrink our capacity to describe it.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Like most web users these days, I have enough accounts on enough websites – most of which have *inconsistent* password syntax restrictions — that when I need to log into a site I don't visit very often, I now basically just hit the "Forgot Password" button immediately. Microsoft's "Passport" gave us the promise of a single web sign-on. What happened to that idea? Why hasn't some bright spark (or ubiquitous web corporation) already made a fortune standardizing on one? I can now buy my coffee with my phone. Why do I have to still scratch my passwords on the underside of my desk?"
An anonymous reader writes "I am choosing a smartphone for work, moving up from a long history of just-a-phone phones. This coincides with moving into an environment where I will have a desktop machine in my office, rather using my laptop — so I'll VPN in from home, and am looking forward to not trucking my laptop around everywhere. BUT ... this means I now won't have my laptop all the time. I have gotten used to scripting various little things that make my life easier, and would like to carry that over to the phone. For example, periodically check that a certain machine is online and backing things up the way it is supposed to; if the lab monitoring system sends me an email that the -80 freezer is up to -50, play a sound and run the vibrate system in a specific, arbitrarily chosen pattern; when I press this button, record an MP3, when I release it prep an email with it attached, that sort of thing. Does such a beast exist? Has anyone used one and if so what do you think? Bonus points if you know if I can use it with Rogers (Canadian wireless provider used by my workplace)." I've heard good things about (but never used) the payware Android app called Tasker; what other recommendations do you have for running the world from a smartphone?
First time accepted submitter rawket.scientist writes "I'm a full time lawyer and part time nerd doing most of the IT support for my small (~10 person) firm. We make heavy use of our old Windows Server 2003 machine for networked storage, and we use it as a DNS server (by choice, not necessity), but we don't use it for our e-mail, web hosting, productivity or software licensing. No Sharepoint, no Exchange, etc. Now old faithful is giving signs of giving out, and I'm seriously considering replacing it with a NAS device like the Synology DS1512+ or Dell PowerVault NX200. Am I penny-wise but pound foolish here? And is it overambitious for someone who's only dabbled in networking 101 to think of setting up a satisfactory, secure VPN or FTP server on one of these? We've had outside consultants and support in the past, but I always get the first 'Why is it doing this?' call, and I like to have the answer, especially if I was the one who recommended the hardware."
New submitter accet87 writes "We are celebrating the Silver Jubilee of our graduation next month and have come up with an idea where we will build an air-tight chest in which each of us will deposit something and will open the chest only on our Golden Jubilee, i.e. after another 25 years. I want to understand what kind of items can be safely stored for 25 years and what kind of precautions are required to be taken. I am sure things like paper, non-ferrous metallic objects, wood, etc., will hold up well. What about data storage electronically? I don't think CD/DVDs, etc., will be usable. Even if the data is retained, reading it in 2037 may be a challenge."
An anonymous reader writes "With threats to network neutrality, such as Verizon's recent lawsuit, I've been thinking of creating a map plotting all the locations where telecommunications companies currently use public lands via right-of-way laws. It seems that this would convey just how much telecommunications depends on public infrastructure. However, it's been difficult identifying where these locations are. Short of crowdsourcing, does anyone know of resources that could be used to create such a map?"