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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Tell a Compelling Story About IT Infrastructure?

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the name-your-servers-after-game-of-thrones-characters dept.

IT 192

An anonymous reader writes "Every month we submit status reports to upper management. On the infrastructure side, these reports tend to be 'Hey, we met our service level agreements ... again.' IT infrastructure is now a lot like the electric company. Nobody thanks the electric company when the lights come on, but they have plenty of colorful adjectives to describe them when the power is off.

What is the best way to construct a compelling story for upper management so they'll appreciate the hard work that an IT department does? They don't seem particularly impressed with functioning systems, because they expect functioning systems. The extensive effort to design and implement reliable systems has also made IT boring and dull. What types of summaries can you provide upper management to help them appreciate IT infrastructure and the money they spend on the services it provides?"

Ask Slashdot: Practical Alternatives To Systemd?

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the going-forward dept.

Debian 533

First time accepted submitter systemDead (3645325) writes "I looked mostly with disinterest at Debian's decision last February to switch to systemd as the default init system for their future operating system releases. The Debian GNU/Linux distribution is, after all, famous for allowing users greater freedom to choose what system components they want to install. This appeared to be the case with the init system, given the presence of packages such as sysvinit-core, upstart, and even openrc as alternatives to systemd.

Unfortunately, while still theoretically possible, installing an alternative init system means doing without a number of useful, even essential system programs. By design, systemd appears to be a full-blown everything-including-the-kitchen-sink solution to the relatively simple problem of starting up a Unix-like system. Systemd, for example, is a hard-coded dependency for installing Network Manager, probably the most user-friendly way for a desktop Linux system to connect to a wireless or wired network. Just this week, I woke up to find out that systemd had become a dependency for running PolicyKit, the suite of programs responsible for user privileges and permissions in a typical Linux desktop.

I was able to replace Network Manager with connman, a lightweight program originally developed for mobile devices. But with systemd infecting even the PolicyKit framework, I find myself faced with a dilemma. Should I just let systemd take over my entire system, or should I retreat to my old terminal-based computing in the hope that the horde of the systemDead don't take over the Linux kernel itself?

What are your plans for working with or working around systemd? Are there any mainstream GNU/Linux distros that haven't adopted and have no plans of migrating to systemd? Or is migrating to one of the bigger BSD systems the better and more future-proof solution?"

Ask Slashdot: Beginner To Intermediate Programming Projects?

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the port-quake-3-to-my-microwave dept.

Programming 172

An anonymous reader writes "I've been teaching myself to code recently. I've made good progress so far, and I've written a bunch of little scripts to make my life easier. Here's the problem: most project ideas I come up with now either seem pretty easy or pretty impossible. I'm having trouble thinking of a project that'll stretch my skills without overloading them. I've tried finding open source projects to read through, but I run into the same thing: either it's straight-forward, or it requires reading a half-dozen dependencies, each of which has dependencies of their own. Anyone have suggestions on some intermediate-skill projects to undertake? Or some project files in an online repo that go beyond the basics without getting overwhelming? My language of choice is Python, but other languages are welcome."

Ask Slashdot: Joining a Startup As an Older Programmer?

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the ask-slashtot dept.

Programming 274

First time accepted submitter bdrasin (17319) writes "I've had a series of interviews with a late-term startup (approx. 300 employees) and I think there is a good chance they will make me an offer. The technology is great, my skills and interests are a good fit for the position, I think the company has a promising future, and I like they team. Frankly I'm damn excited about it, more so than for any job in my career. However, I'm worried about what could euphemistically be called 'cultural' issues. I'm a few years over 40, with a wife and kids, and all of the engineers at the company seem to be at least 10 years younger than I am. Being at the company's office gives me a distinct old guy at the club feeling. I don't think the overall number of hours the team works is more than I could handle, but the team does a lot of young-single-guy-at-a-startup group activities (rent-a-limo-and-go-clubbing night, weekends in Tahoe, Burning Man, in-office happy hour) that I wouldn't want or be able to participate in; I need to be home with my family for dinner most nights and weekends and so on. I'm wondering if anyone else has had the experience of working at a startup with, or as, an older programmer, and how it worked out?"

Ask Slashdot: Which VHS Player To Buy?

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the and-which-8-track dept.

Media 201

stkpogo (799773) writes "I have several old VHS tapes that I'd like to digitize but my old VHS machine died years ago. What's a good VHS player to get so I can make nice clean digital videos from my old tapes before they're gone? I have a few TV -> USB adapters." How would you go about this, especially with tapes (like old home movies) you might be worried about sticking into a low-end VCR? And with what number of tapes does it make sense to outsource the digitizing?

Ask Slashdot: How To Communicate Security Alerts?

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the your-computer-is-broadcasting-an-ip-address dept.

Communications 84

Capt.Michaels writes: "I need to start sending security alerts and warnings to employees at my somewhat sizable company. My problem: I'm not sure how to send these alerts without freaking everyone out and causing the help desk to get flooded with phone calls. For example, let's take the current Internet Explorer exploit that caused US-CERT to recommend switching browsers. I don't want everyone killing our limited help desk with ridiculous questions like, 'I downloaded $New_Browser, how can I get my toolbar? How do I bookmark things in this browser? Can you tell me which browser you recommend?' Simply put: some vulnerabilities are worth major changes, but many aren't. If we switched software every time a new vulnerability came out, we'd never get anything done. Sooner or later, a patch will come out, and everything will be back to normal. But how do I communicate to end users that they should be aware of an issue and take extra care until it's fixed, without causing panic?"

C++ and the STL 12 Years Later: What Do You Think Now?

Unknown Lamer posted about 4 months ago | from the bringing-c-programmers-halfway-to-haskell dept.

Programming 435

profBill (98315) writes "Way back in 2002, Slashdot ran a story asking what people thought about C++ and the STL. Well, it's 2014 and C++11 is well out there with C++14 on its way.

I teach a second programming course in C++ with a heavy emphasis on the STL (containers and generic algorithms). I just wondered what people think about the situation today. Personally, I think C++11 has cleaned up a lot of problems, making it easier to use, but given all those who work with C++ for a living, I wondered what they thought today compared to then. Are people using C++11? Does it matter at all? I'd love to share the responses with my students! They are always curious about what practitioners are doing these days."

Ask Slashdot: How To Back Up Physical Data?

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the can't-sync-your-stone-carvings-over-dropbox dept.

Data Storage 245

An anonymous reader writes "After many years I now have a backup of all my digital data in (at least) two physical locations. But what do people recommend to back up my physical data? And then how to prove my identity? I call it the 'gas leak problem,' because a gas leak in my town caused an explosion that leveled a house. If it had been my house, it would have destroyed all my paperwork that proves who I am. If I'd come home from work and found my house was now a pile of rubble, how would I prove I lived there, knowing my key no longer fits the smoldering lock? If I'd left my wallet at home, my bank cards would have been destroyed so I couldn't withdraw money or book into a hotel. Or if I'd left my phone at the office, I wouldn't know anyone's number to call, or get anyone to vouch for me. What preventative steps can you take? Since having this nightmare, I've exported my phone's VCF file to an online repo, made online notes of all my bank account numbers and passport ID, I keep ICE numbers with me at all times (separate from phone/wallet), and I've hidden a spare mobile phone and house key in a box in a nearby field. But there must be more to do!"

Ask Slashdot: Intelligently Moving From IT Into Management?

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the no-snarking-about-impossibility dept.

Security 125

MightyMartian (840721) writes "I've been working for an organization now for over seven years, my best run yet. A couple of years ago, the company went through some major changes and I bought in as an owner and as a managing director; my responsibilities encompassing administration, finance and IT. It's a small (20 employee or so, plus nearly that many with subcontracting companies) organization so needless to say I retained my direct IT responsibilities.

My fellow board members have decided that I need to detach myself from the day to day IT operations and take over more management duties; in particular in the finance and budgeting end of things. Right now I'm in the process of interviewing a new IT system administrator who will, over time, take on most of my IT roles. However, since this has been a one-man shop for seven years; namely my shop, I confess some reservations about handing over the keys and moving permanently up to the top floor.

Does anybody have any suggestions on the level of permissions for servers, networks and infrastructure I should start with? Do I, for the moment, retain some of the critical functionality; like superuser passwords, and slowly move the new system administrator into his or her role, or do I move more quickly, give him the basics and then let him fly on his own?"

Ask Slashdot: Books for a Comp Sci Graduate Student?

Unknown Lamer posted about 4 months ago | from the suggesting-some-knowledge dept.

Books 247

peetm (781139) writes "Having visited with me and my wife recently, the girlfriend of an ex-student of mine (now taking an M.Sc. in pure CS) asked me to suggest useful books for her boyfriend: '... He recently mentioned that he would love to have a home library, like the one you have, with variety of good, useful and must-have books from different authors. ... Mostly, I was thinking your advice would be priceless when it comes to computer science related books, but .. I would appreciate any sort of advice on books from you. ...' Whilst I could scan my own library for ideas, I doubt that I'm really that 'current' with what's good, or whether my favorites would be appropriate: I've not taught on the M.Sc. course for a while, and in some cases, and just given their price, I shouldn't really recommend such books that are just pet loves of mine — especially to someone who doesn't know whether they'd even be useful.

And, before you ask: YES, we do have a reading list, but given that he'll receive this as part of this course requirement anyway, I'd like to tease readers to suggest good reads around the periphery of the subject."
I'll throw out Pierce's Types and Programming Languages (and probably Advanced Topics in Types and Programming Languages ), and Okasaki's Purely Functional Data Structures .

Ask Slashdot: How Can We Create a Culture of Secure Behavior?

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the start-giving-$50-citations-for-bad-passwords dept.

Security 169

An anonymous reader writes "Despite the high news coverage that large breaches receive, and despite tales told by their friends about losing their laptops for a few days while a malware infection is cleared up, employees generally believe they are immune to security risks. They think those types of things happen to other, less careful people. Training users how to properly create and store strong passwords, and putting measures in place that tell individuals the password they've created is 'weak' can help change behavior. But how do we embed this training in our culture?"

Ask Slashdot: Professional Journaling/Notes Software?

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the unexamined-life-not-worth-living dept.

Software 170

netdicted writes "At the very outset of my career the importance of keeping a daily journal of activities and notes was clearly evident. Over the years I've always had a college ruled composition notebook nearby to jot down important ideas, instructions, tasks, etc. Putting away the rock and chisel was not optional when the volumes grew beyond my mental capacity to successfully index the contents. Over the years I've tried countless apps to keep a digital journal and failed miserably.

In my mind the ideal app or solution is a single file or cloud app where I can organize personal notes on projects, configurations, insights, ideas, etc., as well as noting major activities or occurrences of the day. My original journals saved me on a number of occasions. Unfortunately my tenacity for keeping one has suffered from a fruitless search for a suitable solution. Currently I'm experimenting with Evernote and Tiddlywiki. They approach the problem from two different angles. What do you use?"

Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the not-my-sister's-smartphone dept.

Technology 702

itwbennett writes: "When you think about tech products these days, you probably think 'refresh cycle' more than 'built to last.' But there are plenty of tech products that put up with hard, daily use year after year. Here's a few to get you started: Logitech MX510 mouse, Brother black & white laser printer, Casio G-Shock watch, Alvin Draf-Tec Retrac mechanical pencil, Sony Dream Machine alarm clock. What's your longest-lasting, hardest-working device?"

Ask Slashdot: Which Router Firmware For Bandwidth Management?

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the but-the-neighbors-will-object dept.

Hardware Hacking 104

First time accepted submitter DeathByLlama (2813725) writes "Years ago I made the switch from DD-WRT to Tomato firmware for my Linksys router. I lost a couple features, but gained one of the best QoS and bandwidth management systems I have seen on a router to date. Admins can see graphs of current and historical bandwidth usage by IP, set minimum and maximum bandwidth limits by IP range, setup QoS rules, and see and filter graphs and lists of current connections by usage, class or source/destination — all from an elegantly designed GUI. This has allowed me to easily and intelligently allocate and adjust my network's bandwidth; when there is a problem, I can see where it's coming from and create rules around it. I'm currently using the Toastman's VPN Tomato firmware, which has about everything that I would want, except for one key thing: support for ARM-based routers (only Broadcom is supported). I have seen other firmware projects being actively developed in the last few years, so in picking a new 802.11ac router, I need to decide whether Tomato support is a deal-breaker. With solid bandwidth management as a priority, what firmware would you recommend? Stock Asuswrt? Asuswrt-Merlin? OpenWRT? DD-WRT? Tomato? _____?"

Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the get-along dept.

IT 294

thundergeek (808819) writes "I am the sole sysadmin for nearly 50 servers (win/linux) across several contracts. Now a Change Advisory Board (CAB) is wanting to manage every patch that will be installed on the OS and approve/disapprove for testing on the development network. Once tested and verified, all changes will then need to be approved for production. Windows servers aren't always the best for informing admin exactly what is being 'patched' on the OS, and the frequency of updates will make my efficiency take a nose dive. Now I'll have to track each KB, RHSA, directives and any other 3rd party updates, submit a lengthy report outlining each patch being applied, and then sit back and wait for approval. What should I use/do to track what I will be installing? Is there already a product out there that will make my life a little less stressful on the admin side? Does anyone else have to go toe-to-toe with a CAB? How do you handle your patch approval process?"

Ask Slashdot: What Good Print Media Is Left?

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the just-the-crap-in-my-mailbox-every-day dept.

Books 285

guises writes: "A recent story discussing the cover of Byte Magazine reminded me of just how much we've lost with the death of print media. The Internet isn't what took down Byte, but a lot of other really excellent publications have fallen by the wayside as a result of the shift away from the printed page. We're not quite there yet, though. There seem to still be some holdouts, so I'm asking Slashdot: what magazines (or zines, or newsletters, or newspapers) are still hanging around that are worth subscribing to?"

Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the what-you're-billed-and-what-you-owe-aren't-identical dept.

Government 386

April 15, 2014 isn't just a full moon: it's Tax Day in the U.S. That means most American adults have already submitted a tax return, or an extension request, to the IRS and -- except for a few lucky states -- to their state governments as well. I filed my (very simple) tax return online. After scanning the free options, since I live in a state -- Texas -- that does not collect personal income tax, I chose Tax Act's free services. That meant enduring a series of annoying upgrade plugs throughout the process, but I could live with that; I have no reason to think it was better or worse than TurboTax or any of the other e-Filing companies, but I liked Tax Act’s interface, and it seemed less skeevy in all those upgrade plugs than the others I glanced at. The actual process took an hour and 19 minutes once I sat down with the papers I needed. My financial life is pretty simple, though: I didn't buy or sell a house, didn't buy or sell stocks outside of a retirement account mutual fund, and didn't move from one state to another. How do you do your taxes? Do you have an argument for one or another of the online services, or any cautionary tales? Do you prefer to send in forms on paper? Do you hire an accountant? (And for readers outside the U.S., it's always interesting to hear how taxes work in other countries, too. Are there elements of the U.S. system you'd prefer, or that you're glad you don't need to deal with?)

Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the it's-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it-and-i-feel-disenfranchised dept.

Sci-Fi 737

An anonymous reader writes: "Young people, when choosing a profession, are often told to 'do what you love.' That's why we have experts in such abstruse fields as medieval gymel. But let's talk hypotheticals: if there's a worldwide catastrophe in which civilization is interrupted, somebody specializing in gymel wouldn't provide much use to fellow survivors. In a post-apocalypse world, medical doctors would be useful, as would most scientists and engineers. The bad news for Slashdotters is that decades without computers would render computer science and related professions useless. What do you consider to be the most useful and mostly useless post-apocalypse professions? How long would it take for society to rebuild enough for your profession to be useful?"

Ask Slashdot: How To Start With Linux In the Workplace?

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the sounds-like-mint-works-for-you dept.

Businesses 452

An anonymous reader writes "Recently my boss has asked me about the advantages of Linux as a desktop operating system and if it would be a good idea to install it instead of upgrading to Windows 7 or 8. About ten boxes here are still running Windows XP and would be too old to upgrade to any newer version of Windows. He knows that i am using Linux at work on quite outdated hardware (would have gotten a new PC but never requested new hardware — Linux Mint x64 runs quite well on it) and i always managed to get my stuff done with it. I explained to him that there are no licensing issues with Linux, there is no anti-virus software to deal with and that Linux is generally a bit more efficient on old hardware than operating systems from Microsoft. The boss seems interested." But that's not quite the end; read on for this reader's question.

Ask Slashdot: Which NoSQL Database For New Project?

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the mo-sql-mo-problems dept.

Databases 272

DorianGre writes: "I'm working on a new independent project. It involves iPhones and Android phones talking to PHP (Symfony) or Ruby/Rails. Each incoming call will be a data element POST, and I would like to simply write that into the database for later use. I'll need to be able to pull by date or by a number of key fields, as well as do trend reporting over time on the totals of a few fields. I would like to start with a NoSQL solution for scaling, and ideally it would be dead simple if possible. I've been looking at MongoDB, Couchbase, Cassandra/Hadoop and others. What do you recommend? What problems have you run into with the ones you've tried?"

Slashdot Asks: Will You Need the Windows XP Black Market?

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the undead-is-more-like-it dept.

Windows 245

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) writes "As Whoever57 pointed out, there are some who will still get support for Microsoft Windows XP — the 'haves'. However, most will be the 'have nots.' Anytime you have such market imbalance, there is opportunity. Since Microsoft clearly intends to create a disparity, there will certainly be those who defy it. What will Microsoft do to prevent bootleg patches of XP from being sold to the unwashed masses? How will they stop China from supporting 100 million bootleg XP users? And how easily will it be to crack Microsoft's controls? How big will the Windows XP patch market be?" There are a lot of businesses still on Windows XP; if you work for one of them, will the official end of life spur actually cause you to upgrade? (And if so, to what?)

Ask Slashdot: User-Friendly Firewall For a Brand-New Linux User?

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the perfect-security-on-the-way dept.

Security 187

An anonymous reader writes "I am a new Linux user; I'm on 2nd day now. Currently I am trying out Ubuntu, but that could change. I am looking for a user friendly firewall that I can set up that lets me do these things:1) set up a default deny rule 2) carve out exceptions for these programs: browser, email client, chat client, yum and/or apt. 3) carve out exceptions to the exceptions in requirement 2 — i.e. I want to be able to then block off IPs and IP ranges known to be used by malware, marketers, etc., and all protocols which aren't needed for requirement 2. It also needs to have good enough documentation that a beginner like me can figure it out. Previously, I had done all of the above in AVG Firewall on Windows, and it was very easy to do. So far, I have tried these things:1) IPTABLES — it looked really easy to screw it up and then not notice that it's screwed up and/or not be able to fix it even if I did notice, so I tried other things at that point... 2) searched the internet and found various free firewalls such as Firestarter, GUFW, etc., which I weren't able to make meet my requirements. Can someone either point me to a firewall that meets my needs or else give me some hints on how to make firestarter or GUFW do what I need?"

Ask Slashdot: the State of Open CS, IT, and DBA Courseware in 2014?

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the education-is-cheap,-it's-that-one-piece-of-paper-that's-expensive dept.

Education 84

xyourfacekillerx writes "Not long ago, Slashdot readers answered a question for someone seeking to finish a BS in CS online. I am in a similar situation with a different question. I have spent five years frivolously studying philosophy at a very expensive university, and now I want to start towards an Associate's in CS, and then perhaps a Bachelor's (I want to program for a living; I write code daily anyways). After four hours of combing through Google results, I still don't have much useful information. Problem 1: I am out of money and I have an 8 to 5 job, so on-campus enrollment is not an option. Problem 2: and I have very little to transfer due to the specificity of my prior studies: I don't even have my core English/Language or even math cores to transfer. My questions are: 1) Just where are the open CS courses? Who offers it in a way that's more than just lecture notes posts online? 2) Can any of it help or hinder me getting a degree (i.e. does any of it transfer, potentially? Is it a waste of time? Additionally, any tips about accredited online universities (preferably self-paced) where I can start to get my associates and/or bachelor's in CS at low cost would be useful. I intend to be enrolled online somewhere by Fall, and I am starting my own search among local (Colorado) junior colleges who don't demand on-campus presence like most four-years schools do."

Ask Slashdot: Do Any Development Shops Build-Test-Deploy On A Cloud Service?

Unknown Lamer posted about 5 months ago | from the raining-dev-builds dept.

Cloud 119

bellwould (11363) writes "Our CTO has asked us to move our entire dev/test platform off of shared, off-site, hardware onto Amazon, Savvis or the like. Because we don't know enough about this, we're nervous about the costs like CPU: Jenkins tasks checks-out 1M lines of source, then builds, tests and test-deploys 23 product modules 24/7; as well, several Glassfish and Tomcat instances run integration and UI tests 24/7. Disk: large databases instances packed with test and simulation data. Of course, it's all backed up too. So before we start an in-depth review of what's available, what experiences are dev shops having doing stuff like this in the cloud?"

Ask Slashdot: Experiences With Free To Air Satellite TV?

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the old-hobbies-are-best-hobbies dept.

Television 219

Dishwasha (125561) writes "Just a few days ago I incidentally discovered a little known secret called free-to-air. Amazingly enough even in the depths of Slashdot, there appear to have been no postings or discussions about it. Just like over-the-air programming, there is free programming available via various satellite systems that only requires a one-time cost of getting a dish and receiver. Both Amazon and Ebay appear to have a plethora of hardware out there. I personally settled on the Geosatpro MicroHD system with a 90cm 26lbs light-weight dish (queue lots of comments about my describing 26 lbs as being light-weight) and I should be receiving that in just a few days. I'm curious, who else is using satellite FTA? What are your setups? Has anyone hacked on any of the DVR/PVR devices available? Besides greater access to international programming, what are your channel experiences?"

Ask Slashdot: How To Handle Unfixed Linux Accessibility Bugs?

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the linux-on-the-desktop dept.

Bug 266

dotancohen (1015143) writes "It is commonly said that open source software is preferable because if you need something changed, you can change it yourself. Well, I am not an Xorg developer and I cannot maintain a separate Xorg fork. Xorg version 1.13.1 introduced a bug which breaks the "Sticky Keys" accessibility option. Thus, handicapped users who rely on the feature cannot use Xorg-based systems with the affected versions and are stuck on older software versions. Though all pre-bug Linux distros are soon scheduled for retirement, there seems to be no fix in sight. Should disabled users stick with outdated, vulnerable, and unsupported Linux distros or should we move to OS-X / Windows?

The prospect of changing my OS, applications, and practices due to such an ostensibly small issue is frightening. Note that we are not discussing 'I don't like change' but rather 'this unintentional change is incompatible with my physical disability.' Thus this is not a case of every change breaks someone's workflow."

Ask Slashdot: Preparing For Windows XP EOL?

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the stock-up-like-y2k dept.

Windows 423

An anonymous reader writes "As most of us working in IT may know, Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP on April 8th, 2014. Although this fact has been known for quite some time, XP is still relatively popular in companies and also enjoys noticeable marketshare for home users. Even ATMs are running XP and will continue to do so for some time. A lot of companies/users don't want to change because they see no additional benefit to do a costly upgrade, no reason to change a running system, and they may in some cases be right with their assumptions. So what is the best way to secure this remaining Windows XP systems? Installing the latest security patches, checking firewall status and user permissions etc. should be fairly obvious, as Microsoft Security Essentials may also not receive updates anymore, changing antivirus programs seems a sensible thing to do."

Ask Slashdot: What Do You Consider Elegant Code?

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the link-it-if-you've-got-it dept.

Programming 373

lxrslh writes: "Since the dawn of computing, we have read about massive failed projects, bugs that are never fixed, security leaks, spaghetti code, and other flaws in the programs we use every day to operate the devices and systems upon which we depend. It would be interesting to read the code of a well-engineered, perfectly coded, intellectually challenging program. I would love to see the code running in handheld GPS units that first find a variable number of satellites and then calculate the latitude, longitude, and elevation of the unit. Do you have an example of a compact and elegant program for which the code is publicly available?"

Ask Slashdot: Fastest, Cheapest Path To a Bachelor's Degree?

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the assume-the-identity-of-a-current-holder dept.

Education 370

First time accepted submitter AnOminusCowHerd (3399855) writes "I have an Associates degree in programming and systems analysis, and over a decade of experience in the field. I work primarily as a contractor, so I'm finding a new job/contract every year or two. And every year, it gets harder to convince potential employers/clients that 10-12 years of hands-on experience doing what they need done, trumps an additional 2 years of general IT education.

So, I'd like to get a Bachelor's degree (preferably IT-related, ideally CS, accredited of course). If I can actually learn something interesting and useful in the process, that would be a perk, but mainly, I just want a BSCS to add to my resume. I would gladly consider something like the new GA Tech MOOC-based MSCS degree program — in fact, I applied there, and was turned down. After the initial offering, they rewrote the admissions requirements to spell out the fact that only people with a completed 4-year degree would be considered, work experience notwithstanding."

3D Printing: Have You Taken the Plunge Yet? Planning To?

Unknown Lamer posted about 5 months ago | from the well-have-you? dept.

Printer 251

First time accepted submitter mandark1967 (630856) writes "With recent advances in working with different filaments (Wood filament, Nylon, etc) and price drops seen lately, I'm curious to know how many of you have decided to take the plung and get into 3D Printing. There are several kits available now or even assembled units that are in the same cost range as a 'gamer' video card (DaVinci 1.0 for $499, Printrbot Simple 2014 — $399, 3d Stuffmaker — $499).

I'm wondering if any of you have purchased a 3D printer and how you like it so far. I've been in the computer field since the 80's but never did CAD work before so I was very hesitant to take the plunge, fearing the steep learning curve of mastering programs like Blender or AutoCAD. What I found, however, was programs like TinkerCAD and 123Design made it very easy to learn basic CAD so I decided to pick up a 3D Printer last week. After a week or so of design work and printing out many items, I think I've picked up a few skills and I can actually see myself making a little money on the side creating and selling items. I don't think I'd trade my current job for one designing and printing items, but it is nice to have a little income on the side if I choose to do that."

Ask Slashdot: Moving From Tech Support To Development?

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the which-flavor-of-ice-cream? dept.

Programming 133

An anonymous reader writes "My eastern European tech-support job will be outsourced in 6 months to a nearby country. I do not wish to move, having relationship and roots here, and as such I stand at a crossroads. I could take my current hobby more seriously and focus on Java development. I have no degree, no professional experience in the field, and as such, I do not hold much market value for an employer. However, I find joy in the creative problem solving that programming provides. Seeing the cogs finally turn after hours invested gives me pleasures my mundane work could never do. The second option is Linux system administration with a specialization in VMware virtualisation. I have no certificates, but I have been around enterprise environments (with limited support of VMware) for 21 months now, so at the end of my contract with 27 months under my belt, I could convince a company to hire me based on willingness to learn and improve. All the literature is freely available, and I've been playing with VDIs in Debian already.

My situation is as follows: all living expenses except food, luxuries and entertainment is covered by the wage of my girlfriend. That would leave me in a situation where we would be financially alright, but not well off, if I were to earn significantly less than I do now. I am convinced that I would be able to make it in system administration, however, that is not my passion. I am at an age where children are not a concern, and risks seem to be, at first sight, easier to take. I would like to hear the opinion and experience of fellow readers who might have been in a similar situation."

Ask Slashdot: Re-Learning How To Interview As a Developer?

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the I'm-a-people-person! dept.

Businesses 218

An anonymous reader writes "Earlier in my career, when I switched jobs every year or so, I was pretty good at interviewing. I got offers about 75% of the time if I got to a in person. But times have changed... my last 2 jobs have been, longer term gigs.. 5 and 3 years respectively, and I am way out of practice. My resume often gets me the phone interview and I am actually really good at the phone screen.. I am 12 for 12 in the last 6 months phone screen to in person interview. It is the in person interview where I am really having issues. I think I come off wrong or something.. I usually get most of the technical questions, but I am not doing something right because I don't come off very likeable or something. It is hard to get very much feedback to know exactly what I am doing wrong. I have always gotten very good performance reviews and I am well liked at work, but if there is one area for improvement on my reviews it has always been communication. So I ask, can anyone give out some advice, I have tried toastmasters a few times, but does anyone have other tips or ideas? Has anyone else had a similar experiences?"

Ask Slashdot: Will Older Programmers Always Have a Harder Time Getting a Job?

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the recommendation:-stop-aging dept.

Programming 379

Theseuss writes "Given the strong youth culture associated with the modern day Silicon Valley startup scene, many times it falls to the 40-year-old programmer to prove that he can still use the newest up-and-coming technology. Yet the rate at which the tech sector is growing suggests that in 20 years there will be a an order of magnitude more 'old-hat' programmers in the industry. As such, do you think the cultural bias towards young programmers will change in the near future?"

Ask Slashdot: Can an Old Programmer Learn New Tricks?

Unknown Lamer posted about 5 months ago | from the new-and-exciting-skills dept.

Programming 306

An anonymous reader writes "I have been programming in some fashion, for the last 18 years. I got my first job programming 15 years ago and have advanced my career programming, leading programmers and bringing my technical skill sets into operations and other areas of the business where problems can be solved with logical solutions. I learned to program on the Internet in the 90s.. scouring information where ever I could and reading the code others wrote. I learned to program in a very simple fashion, write a script and work your way to the desired outcome in a straight forward logical way. If I needed to save or reuse code, I created include files with functions. I could program my way through any problem, with limited bugs, but I never learned to use a framework or write modular, DRY code. Flash forward to today, there are hundreds of frameworks and thousands of online tutorials, but I just can't seem to take the tutorials and grasp the concepts and utilize them in a practical manner. Am I just too old and too set in my ways to learn something new? Does anyone have any recommendations for tutorials or books that could help a 'hacker' like me? Also, I originally learned to program in Perl, but moved onto C and eventually PHP and Python."

Ask Slashdot: Best Management Interface On an IT Appliance?

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the one-you-never-need dept.

GUI 114

tippen writes "The management user interface on most networking and storage appliances are, shall we say, not up to the snuff compared to modern websites or consumer products. What are the best examples of good UX design on an IT appliance that you've managed? What was it that made you love it? What should companies (or designers) developing new products look to as best-in-class that they should be striving for?"

Ask Slashdot: Easiest To Use Multi-User Map Editing?

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the just-need-enough-highlighters dept.

Cloud 52

Lordfly writes "I'm part of an online group of local hobbyist, semi-pro, and professional photographers. I want to start an editable map that showcases interesting places to shoot photos — parks, old buildings, interesting infrastructure, etc. Ideally I'd like to be able to tag/organize the markers (public/private property), as well as add example photos for each location to give people an idea of what the place looks like.

I've used the Google Maps 'Create a Map' feature, but have found that sharing for other users to see/edit is a bit ... off. Also, given Google's propensity for dropping features without much pretext, it makes me wary to sink time and effort into a possibly ephemeral map. It does most of what I'm looking for it to do, but are there more robust alternatives out there I'm not finding?"

How Do You Backup 20TB of Data?

Unknown Lamer posted about 6 months ago | from the upload-it-to-ftp-and-... dept.

Data Storage 983

Sean0michael writes "Recently I had a friend lose their entire electronic collection of music and movies by erasing a RAID array on their home server. He had 20TB of data on his rack at home that had survived a dozen hard drive failures over the years. But he didn't have a good way to backup that much data, so he never took one. Now he wishes he had.

Asking around among our tech-savvy friends though, no one has a good answer to the question, 'how would you backup 20TB of data?'. It's not like you could just plug in an external drive, and using any cloud service would be terribly expensive. Blu-Ray discs can hold a lot of data, but that's a lot of time (and money) spent burning discs that you likely will never need. Tape drives are another possibility, but are they right for this kind of problem? I don' t know. There might be something else out there, but I still have no feasible solution.

So I ask fellow slashdotters: for a home user, how do you backup 20TB of Data?"
Even Amazon Glacier is pretty pricey for that much data.

Ask Slashdot: College Club Fundraising On the Fly?

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the but-if-everyone-sold-their-plasma-for-a-year dept.

Communications 89

An anonymous reader writes "As luck would have it, I was video-attending the monthly meeting of my alma mater's amateur radio club last night and learned that a local Alumnus had passed, leaving a significant amount of equipment to the club, including a 'Big Bertha' tower that the club does not have a home for. This particular 'Big Bertha,' as it is called, is a 115 foot tall, self-supporting rotatable pole that can support an enormous number of antennae. There are thought to be only a small number of them in civilian use, and this was one of them. I also happen to be a member of the local University's amateur radio club, and our local meeting was right after the Georgia Tech meeting, so upon learning of the availability I immediately informed them that this tower could be had so long as they could support the logistics of moving the tower approximately 100 miles.

After discussing the logistics, and the fact that construction crews would be required on both sides, we came to the conclusion that a significant amount of money would be required, and that your typical intramural basketweaving team bake sale would not do the job. The use case for such a tower is not difficult to make with the University, or with local emergency services who would no doubt love to have space on such a tall tower in such a prime 'top of the hill' geographical location. Zoning will also not be an issue owing to the location having one other taller tower belonging to the college radio station, and a water tower on site. However, with most governments being cash-strapped and unlikely willing to contribute to the project, we need some more ideas on how to raise the needed funds.

So if you're a small University club, and need to raise $30-40K in a hurry, how do you do it? They are working on some small grants from local corporations, and also contacting the manufacturer to see if there is any goodwill there. But, many more ideas are needed. Thanks in advance."

Ask Slashdot: How Can I Prepare For the Theft of My Android Phone?

Unknown Lamer posted about 6 months ago | from the self-destruct-fuse dept.

Android 374

New submitter Adam Jorgensen writes "Last week my 4-week old Moto G phone was stolen while getting onto the train at Salt River in Cape Town, South Africa. That in itself is no big deal. Cellphone theft is a huge problem here in South Africa and I've had at least two previous cellphones stolen. The big deal this time, for me at least, was that this was the first time I've lost an Android phone to theft. When I actually sat down and thought about it, losing a fully configured Android phone is actually a big deal as it provides ready access to all kinds of accounts, including ones Google account. This could potentially allow the thief to engage in all kinds of malicious behavior, some of which could have major implications beyond the scope of the theft.

Luckily for me it seems that the thief did the usual thing: Dumped the SIM card, wiped the phone, and switched it off. It's probably had its IMEI changed by now and been sold on to some oblivious punter, possibly some oblivious punter in another country. Still, the potential for serious issue is making me have second thoughts about replacing the phone with anything capable of doing much more than calling. My question is this: Are there any serious solutions out there for Android that secure against theft?"

Ask Slashdot: Online, Free Equivalent To a CompSci BS?

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the yes-but-how dept.

Education 197

An anonymous reader writes "I am a middle school math teacher and I also run a programming club. I recent completed my M.Ed in math education and was inspired to try to do the new GT online MS in Computer Science in a couple of years. I have some background in programming: two intro to comp sci courses, Java, C++, Python, the main scripting languages, and a bunch of math background. I also read through this great article on getting these pre-requisites completed through Coursera but unfortunately you need to wait for courses to enroll. I would like to just learn these on my own time, no credit necessary. Suggestions?"

Ask Slashdot: What's New In Legacy Languages?

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the why-in-my-day-we-didn't-have-feet dept.

Programming 247

First time accepted submitter liquiddark writes "I was listening to a younger coworker talk to someone the other day about legacy technologies, and he mentioned .NET as a specific example. It got me thinking — what technologies are passing from the upstart and/or mainstream phases into the world of legacy technology? What tech are you working with now that you hope to retire in the next few years? What will you replace it with?"

Ask Slashdot: Linux For Grandma?

Unknown Lamer posted about 6 months ago | from the gnu-slash-grandma dept.

Linux 287

First time accepted submitter BlazeMiskulin writes "With XP approaching end-of-life, I find myself in a situation that I'm guessing is common: What to do with Mom's machine (or 'grandma's machine' for the younger of you). Since a change has to be made, this seems like a good time to move to a Linux distro. My mother (82) uses her computer for e-mail and web-browsing only. I know that any distro will be able to handle her needs. I've been using Linux (Ubuntu, CentOS, and Redhat--usually with KDE interface) for about 10 years now, but I know that my preferences are quite different from hers.

I have my own ideas, but I'm curious what others think: What combination of distro and UI would you recommend for an old, basic-level user who is accustomed to the XP interface and adverse to change?"
My Grandmother seems happy running KDE on Debian.

Ask Slashdot: How Do I Change Tech Careers At 30?

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the question-is-will-you-trust-yourself-next-year? dept.

Education 451

First time accepted submitter possiblybored writes "I'm 30, and I am a technology teacher and the school's technology coordinator. I like my job, but I have been having thoughts about switching careers and focusing more on technology in the private sector. I like Microsoft products and would head in that direction, probably. Is it too late for me to think about this? What is the best way to get started on this path? I'm not so much interested in programming (though I'd like to learn a language some day) as much as I am intrigued by topics like setting up e-mail servers, reading about cloud stuff like Office 365, and looking at information on collaborative technology. I'm a good teacher and excel at explaining things as well. Any advice the community could offer would be greatly appreciated!"

Ask Slashdot: Reviewing 3rd Party Libraries?

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the discovering-you-trusted-something-way-too-much dept.

Programming 88

Carcass666 writes "It is usually good to use existing libraries, rather than reinventing the wheel, especially with open source. Unfortunately, sometimes we have to work with closed source implementations. Recently, we were diagnosing a .NET assembly and, after getting nowhere with the vendor, ran it through a decompiler. The code was a morass of SQL concatenation, sloppy type conversions, and various things that are generally thought of as insecure.

My question is: What are Slashdot readers' preferred tools for analyzing .NET and Java compiled libraries (not source code) for potential security vulnerabilities? Ideally, I would like to know if a library is a security liability before I code against it. For example, Microsoft used to have something called FxCop, but it hasn't been updated for current versions of the .NET framework."

Ask Slashdot: Does Your Employer Perform HTTPS MITM Attacks On Employees?

Unknown Lamer posted about 6 months ago | from the padlock-icon-says-I'm-good-right dept.

Security 572

New submitter Matt.Battey writes "I was recently on-site with a client and in the execution of my duties there, I needed to access web sites like Google Maps and my company's VPN. The VPN connection was rejected (which tends to be common, even though it's an HTTPS based VPN service). However, when I went to Google Maps I received a certificate error. It turns out that the client is intercepting all HTTPS traffic on the way out the door and re-issuing an internally generated certificate for the site. My client's employees don't notice because their computers all have the internal CA pushed out via Windows Group Policy & log-on scripts.

In essence, my client performs a Man-In-The-Middle attack on all of their employees, interrupting HTTPS communications via a network coordinated reverse-proxy with false certificate generation. My assumption is that the client logs all HTTPS traffic this way, capturing banking records, passwords, and similar data on their employees.

My question: How common is it for employers to perform MITM attacks on their own employees?"

Ask Slashdot: Automatically Logging Non-Computerized Equipment Use?

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the bar-codes-and-magnets dept.

Science 130

First time accepted submitter Defenestrar writes "I've recently taken a job at a large state university where I manage the laboratories for a couple of departments. We have a good system to pro-rate costs for shared use of big ticket items, but don't have anything in place for small to medium expense pieces which don't require software control (i.e. AD user authentication logs). It is much more efficient to designate a common room for things like water purifiers and centrifuges, but log books have a history of poor compliance. Also, abuse or neglect of communal property has been an issue in the past (similar to the tragedy of the commons).

Do any of you know of good automatic systems to record user/group equipment usage which would allow for easy data processing down the line (i.e. I don't want to go through webcam archives). Systems which promote accountability and care are a bonus, but for safety reasons we don't want the room's door locked (i.e. no pin/badged access). Most of these systems also require continuous power — so electrical interlocks are not a good option either.

I call on you, my fellow Slashdotters, to do your best and get quickly sidetracked while still including the occasional gem in the comments."

Ask Slashdot: Modern Web Development Applied Science Associates Degree?

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the teach-them-well dept.

Education 246

First time accepted submitter campingman777 writes "I am being asked by students to develop an associates of applied science in modern web development at my community college. I proposed the curriculum to some other web forums and they were absolutely against it. Their argument was that students would not learn enough higher math, algorithms, and data structures to be viable employees when their industry changes every five years. As part of our mission is to turn out employees immediately ready for the work force, is teaching knowledge-based careers as a vocation appropriate?"

Ask Slashdot: What Software Can You Not Live Without?

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the pacemaker-firmware-does-not-count dept.

Software 531

An anonymous reader writes "Whenever I install a fresh operating system on my computer, I immediately grab a handful of programs that I simply must have. After that, I generally wait and install other pieces of software as I need them. My list of known, useful programs has dwindled over the past few years as projects died, ownership transferred, and functionality changed. At the same time, I've begun to have use for certain types of software that I've never needed before. It can be time-consuming and risky to install and evaluate every single option. So, I'm curious: what pieces of software do you find the most useful and reliable? Don't feel the need to limit yourself by operating system, platform, or hardware. If you're so inclined, a brief description about what makes the software great would be helpful, too."

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Sort?

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the sort-of-slowly dept.

Math 195

camperdave writes "I was recently going through a pile of receipts and other papers to put them into order by date. Lacking one of those fancy sorting sticks they have at the office, I wound up with all sorts of piles and I was getting confused as to which pile was for what. Finally, it struck me: Why don't I use one of the many sorting algorithms I learned back in my computer science classes? So I swept all the papers back into the box and did a radix sort on them. It worked like a charm. Since then, I've had occasion to try quicksorts and merge sorts. So, when you have to physically sort things, what algorithm (if any) do you use?"

Ask Slashdot: Do You Still Trust Bitcoin?

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the who-can-you-trust? dept.

Bitcoin 631

Nerval's Lobster writes "It hasn't been a great week for Bitcoin. Cruise the Web, and you'll find stories from people who lost thousands (even millions, in some cases) of paper value when the Mt.Gox exchange went offline for still-mysterious reasons. (Rumors have circulated for days about the shutdown, ranging from an epic heist of the Bitcoins under its stewardship, to financial improprieties leading the exchange to the edge of bankruptcy.) But as one Slashdotter pointed out in a previous posting, Mt.Gox isn't Bitcoin (and vice versa), and it's likely that other exchanges will take up the burden of helping manage the currency. Even so, all currencies depend on a certain amount of stability and trust in order to survive, and Bitcoin faces something of a confidence crisis in the wake of this event. So here's the question: do you still trust Bitcoin?"

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