Tech News Feed

Slashdot Asks: What Was Your First Programming Language?

SlashDot - 28 min 26 sec ago
This question was inspired by news that Stanford's computer science professor Eric Roberts will try JavaScript instead of Java in a new version of the college's introductory computer programming course. The Stanford Daily reports: When Roberts came to Stanford in 1990, CS106A was still taught in Pascal, a programming language he described as not "clean." The department adopted the C language in 1992. When Java came out in 1995, the computer science faculty was excited to transition to the new language. Roberts wrote the textbooks, worked with other faculty members to restructure the course and assignments and introduced Java at Stanford in 2002... "Java had stabilized," Roberts said. "It was clear that many universities were going in that direction. It's 2017 now, and Java is showing its age." According to Roberts, Java was intended early on as "the language of the Internet". But now, more than a decade after the transition to Java, Javascript has taken its place as a web language. In 2014 Python and Java were the two most commonly-taught languages at America's top universities, according to an analysis published by the Communications of the ACM. And Java still remains the most-commonly taught language in a university setting, according to a poll by the Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education. In a spreadsheet compiling the results, "Python appears 60 times, C++ 54 times, Java 84 times, and JavaScript 28 times," writes a computing professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, adding "if Java is dying (or "showing its age"...) it's going out as the reigning champ." I'm guessing Slashdot's readers have their own opinions about this, so share your educational experiences in the comments. What was your first programming language?

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The Galápagos Tortoise Next Door

Scientifc America - 42 min 26 sec ago
Gaps in federal wildlife laws mean easy access to exotic—sometimes endangered—reptiles, and offer scant protection against abuse

-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

YouTube will fight fake news by offering workshops to teens

Engadget - 3 hours 14 min ago
Google is already flagging fake news, but it knows that isn't always enough. People need to recognize what fake news is, too. To that end, its YouTube wing just launched an Internet Citizens program that will teach UK teens to spot fake news throug...

Should Archive.org Ignore Robots.txt Directives And Cache <em>Everything</em>?

SlashDot - 3 hours 33 min ago
Archive.org argues robots.txt files are geared toward search engines, and now plans instead to represent the web "as it really was, and is, from a user's perspective." We have also seen an upsurge of the use of robots.txt files to remove entire domains from search engines when they transition from a live web site into a parked domain, which has historically also removed the entire domain from view in the Wayback Machine... We receive inquiries and complaints on these "disappeared" sites almost daily." In response, Slashdot reader Lauren Weinstein writes: We can stipulate at the outset that the venerable Internet Archive and its associated systems like Wayback Machine have done a lot of good for many years -- for example by providing chronological archives of websites who have chosen to participate in their efforts. But now, it appears that the Internet Archive has joined the dark side of the Internet, by announcing that they will no longer honor the access control requests of any websites. He's wondering what will happen when "a flood of other players decide that they must emulate the Internet Archive's dismal reasoning to remain competitive," adding that if sys-admins start blocking spiders with web server configuration directives, other unrelated sites could become "collateral damage." But BoingBoing is calling it "an excellent decision... a splendid reminder that nothing published on the web is ever meaningfully private, and will always go on your permanent record." So what do Slashdot's readers think? Should Archive.org ignore robots.txt directives and cache everything?

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Linux PC Maker System76 Plans To Design And Manufacture Its Own Hardware

SlashDot - 7 hours 35 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes Liliputing: System76 is one of only a handful of PC vendors that exclusively sells computers with Linux-based software. Up until now, that's meant the company has chosen hardware that it could guarantee would work well with custom firmware and the Ubuntu Linux operating system... Starting in 2018 though, you may be able to buy a System76 computer that was designed and built in-house... CAD files for System76 computers will be open source, allowing anyone with the appropriate skills and equipment to build or modify their own cases based on the company's designs. "We're prototyping with acrylic and moving to metal soon," the company says in a blog post, adding "Our first in-house designed and manufactured desktops will ship next year. Laptops are more complex and will follow much later."

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Europe may harmonize how internet companies fight hate speech

Engadget - Sat, 2017-04-22 23:57
Internet companies are already taking action against hate speech, but it's no secret that they don't always tackle it in the same way. One may delete the hostile material immediately, while the other might spend days reviewing it before taking actio...

Artificially bright clouds might save the Great Barrier Reef

Engadget - Sat, 2017-04-22 22:31
Australia's Great Barrier Reef is dying due to changes in ocean temperature, and conventional attempts to save it (such as improving water quality or limiting fishing) haven't panned out. However, scientists might have an unusual approach that works...

Microsoft Will Block Desktop 'Office' Apps From 'Office 365' Services In 2020

SlashDot - Sat, 2017-04-22 22:05
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft is still encouraging businesses to rent their Office software, according to TechRadar. "In a bid to further persuade users of the standalone versions of Office to shift over to a cloud subscription (Office 365), Microsoft has announced that those who made a one-off purchase of an Office product will no longer get access to the business flavours of OneDrive and Skype come the end of the decade." PC World explains that in reality this affects very few users. "If you've been saving all of your Excel spreadsheets into your OneDrive for Business cloud, you'll need to download and move them over to a personal subscription -- or pony up for Office 365, as Microsoft really wants you to do." Microsoft is claiming that when customers connect to Office 365 services using a legacy version of Office, "they're not enjoying all that the service has to offer. The IT security and reliability benefits and end user experiences in the apps is limited to the features shipped at a point in time. To ensure that customers are getting the most out of their Office 365 subscription, we are updating our system requirements." And in another blog post, they're almost daring people to switch to Linux. "Providing over three years advance notice for this change to Office 365 system requirements for client connectivity gives you time to review your long-term desktop strategy, budget and plan for any change to your environment." In a follow-up comment, Microsoft's Alistair Speirs explained that "There is still an option to get monthly desktop updates, but we are changing the 3x a year update channel to be 2x a year to align closer to Windows 10 update model. We are trying to strike the right balance between agile, ship-when-ready updates and enterprise needs of predictability, reliability and advanced notice to validate and prepare."

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Nerds with words: Signs from Silicon Valley March for Science - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2017-04-22 21:10
Here's a look at thousands in San Jose, California, who marched to promote scientific research and to urge policies based on facts, not opinions.

March for Science goes to tech central: ​Silicon Valley - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2017-04-22 21:10
In San Jose, California, thousands of marchers promoted science and called for political choices to be based on facts, not opinions.

China proves its first resupply spacecraft can reach orbit

Engadget - Sat, 2017-04-22 20:59
China's space program just hit a milestone: according to Reuters, its first cargo probe has successfully proven that it can ferry supplies to orbit. Tianzhou-1 took off from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in the mainland on April 20th. In the e...

Can Geoengineering Drones Fight Global Warming?

SlashDot - Sat, 2017-04-22 19:54
MIT Technology Review reports: David Mitchell, a lanky, soft-spoken atmospheric physicist, believes frigid clouds in the upper troposphere may offer one of our best fallback plans for combating climate change... Fleets of large drones would crisscross the upper latitudes of the globe during winter months, sprinkling the skies with tons of extremely fine dust-like materials every year. If Mitchell is right, this would produce larger ice crystals than normal, creating thinner cirrus clouds that dissipate faster. "That would allow more radiation into space, cooling the earth," Mitchell says... Increasingly grim climate projections have convinced a growing number of scientists it's time to start conducting experiments to find out what might work. In addition, an impressive list of institutions including Harvard University, the Carnegie Council, and the University of California, Los Angeles, have recently established research initiatives... By this time next year, Harvard professors David Keith and Frank Keutsch hope to launch a high-altitude balloon from a site in Tucson, Arizona. This will mark the beginning of a research project to explore the feasibility and risks of an approach known as solar radiation management. The basic idea is that spraying materials into the stratosphere could help reflect more heat back into space, mimicking a natural cooling phenomenon that occurs after volcanoes blast tens of millions of tons of sulfur dioxide into the sky. "I don't really know what the answer is," says a former associate director at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. "But I do believe we need to keep saying what the truth is, and the truth is, we might need it."

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Verizon's Galaxy S8 won't help you shop on Amazon

Engadget - Sat, 2017-04-22 19:25
Samsung already gave a heads-up that Bixby wouldn't be complete when the Galaxy S8 launched, but Verizon customers will have to make do with less than most... for a while, anyway. The American carrier has confirmed to CNET that its version of the S8...

American Airlines video shows flight attendant losing it - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2017-04-22 19:10
A clip posted to Facebook shows a member of the flight crew, who allegedly mistreated a female passenger, going all aggro with a man who called him out.

Steve Case On How To Get Funded Outside Tech Corridors

SlashDot - Sat, 2017-04-22 18:49
Long-time reader Esther Schindler writes: Innovation occurs outside the Bay Area, New York, Boston, and Austin. So why is it so hard for a startup to get attention and acquire venture capital? Steve Case and Kara Swisher discussed this never-ending-topic recently, such as the fact 78% of U.S. venture capital last year went to just three states: California, New York, and Massachusetts. Case sees a "third wave" of venture capital funding and through his VC firm is investing in startups based outside major tech centers. But, points out Stealthmode's Francine Hardaway, if you're in Boise or Baltimore you don't have to wait for Case to come to town. She shares advice about what's worked in other startup communities, focusing on the #YesPhx efforts. Conventional wisdom says you should be in a major tech center to get funding, but the article offers an encouraging counterargument. "Never rely on conventional wisdom if you're an innovator. Money follows real innovation."

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Britain has its first day of coal-free power in 135 years

Engadget - Sat, 2017-04-22 17:56
Coal power has been a fixture of British culture ever since the country's first plant went live in 1882. It shaped the Industrial Revolution (and the air pollution that followed), was involved in major labor disputes and even led to a famous album c...

Verizon.net 'Gets Out Of The Email Business'

SlashDot - Sat, 2017-04-22 17:44
"We have decided to close down our email business," Verizon has announced -- in a move which affects 4.5 million accounts. Slashdot reader tomservo84 writes: Strangely enough, I didn't find out about this from Verizon, itself, but SiriusXM, who sent me an email saying that since I have a Verizon.net email address on file, I'd have to update it because they were getting rid of their email service. I thought it was a bad phishing attempt at first... Network World reports that customers are being notified "on a rolling basis... Once customers are notified, they are presented with a personal take-action date that is 30 days from the original notification." But even after that date, verizon.net email addresses can be revived using AOL Mail. "Over the years we've realized that there are more capable email platforms out there," Verizon concedes. "Migration is going well," a Verizon spokesperson told Network World. "I don't have any stats to share, but customers seem to appreciate that they have several choices, including an option that keeps their Verizon.net email address intact."

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Anbox Can Run Android Apps Natively On Linux (In A Container)

SlashDot - Sat, 2017-04-22 16:39
Slashdot user #1083, downwa, writes: Canonical engineer Simon Fels has publicly released an Alpha version of Anbox. Similar to the method employed for Android apps on ChromeOS, Anbox runs an entire Android system (7.1.1 at present) in an LXC container. Developed over the last year and a half, the software promises to seamlessly bring performant Android apps to the Linux desktop. After installing Anbox (based on Android 7.1.1) and starting Anbox Application Manager, ten apps are available: Calculator, Calendar, Clock, Contacts, Email, Files, Gallery, Music, Settings, and WebView. Apps run in separate resizeable windows. Additional apps (ARM-native binaries are excluded) can be installed via adb. Installation currently is only supported on a few Linux distributions able to install snaps. Contributions are welcome on Github. In a blog post Simon describes it as "a side project" that he's worked on for over a year and a half. "There were quite a few problems to solve on the way to a really working implementation but it is now in a state that it makes sense to share it with a wider audience."

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Pretty power: Can unicorn frap protect phone in drop test? - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2017-04-22 16:32
Sure, unicorns are magical, but can they save a smartphone from Starbucks' loopy new drink?

Don't be blue: Four 'Avatar' sequels now have release dates - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2017-04-22 16:31
But don't book a ticket for Pandora yet -- the next one isn't until close to Christmas of 2020.

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