Hugh Pickens writes writes "Bob Greene writes that flying, with jammed-to-the-groaning-point cabins and torture-rack legroom; fees for everything from checking your bags to being handed a paltry package of food; and the endless, we'll-X-ray-you-to-within-an-inch-of-your-dignity security lines, is too often such a dreary, joy-sapping slog that it's difficult to remember that it was ever any other way. But back in the 1930s, '40s and '50s — even the 60s, flying was a big deal. When a family went on vacation by air, it was a major life event. 'Traveling by air in those years wasn't like boarding a flying bus, the way it is today,' says Christopher Lynch, author of "When Hollywood Landed at Chicago's Midway Airport," a celebration of the golden years of commercial air travel in the United States. 'People didn't travel in flip-flops. I mean, no offense, Mister, but I don't want to see your toes.' The trains were still king in those years and the airlines wanted to convince people that flying was safe. 'People were afraid to fly,' Lynch says. 'And it was expensive. The airlines had to make people think it was something they should try.' That's where Mike Rotunno came in, photographer-for-hire at Midway Airport in Chicago where cross-country flights in those years had to stop to refuel. His pictures of Hollywood stars as they got off the planes made air travel seem to be glamorous, sophisticated, civilized, and thrilling. 'Think of his photos the next time you're shoehorned into a seat next to a fellow who's dripping the sloppy innards of his carry-on submarine sandwich onto your sleeve,' writes Greene. 'Air travel was once a treasured experience, exciting, exotic, something never to be forgotten. You, too, could travel like Elizabeth Taylor.'"
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gspec writes "I read less and less nowadays, but I realize I need to get back into my old reading habit. Would getting an ebook reader or a tablet help me to enjoy reading more? Would you recommend one over the other? A little relevant background about me: I probably can spare two hours a day to read. I do not travel a lot. I am not a fast reader; if I force myself, I could probably finish a standard length novel in a week. English is my second language, so a built-in dictionary would be nice. I enjoy Netflix, and I have bought many computer/technical eBooks from O'Reilly for reference. I have many technical reference PDFs. I have 300-400 bucks to spare for this. I'd like to hear opinions based on your knowledge and experience on reading using ebook readers/tablets."
jrepin writes "Awareness has been spreading among individuals, businesses and other organizations that DRM is a completely unnecessary restriction of freedom, and it drives people away. As that awareness spreads, going 'DRM-Free' becomes more and more valuable for patrons. To really build upon that image and to provide a resource for people to learn about why being DRM-Free matters, a logo was created for suppliers to proudly advertise that their files all come unencumbered by restrictive technologies. Some among early adopters are O'Reilly Media, ClearBits, Momentum Books, and ccMixter."
tmjva writes "Per BBC's Entertainment page, author Harry Harrison died today at the age of 87. His body of work included Make Room! Make Room!, (the inspiration for Soylent Green), The Stainless Steel Rat, and Bill the Galactic Hero. From the article: 'Harrison's first novel, Deathworld, was published in 1960, while the first book in the Stainless Steel Rat series was published a year later. The last of the series was published just two years ago in 2010 and the books are widely regarded as producing one of science fiction's great anti-heroes, Slippery Jim diGriz, aka The Stainless Steel Rat. The author also parodied the sci-fi genre in his seven Bill the Galactic Hero books, which were first seen in 1965. He saw his work as anti-war and anti-militaristic.'"
benrothke writes "In the documentary Scared Straight! a group of inmates terrify young offenders in an attempt to 'scare them straight'" (hence the show's title) so that those teenagers will avoid prison life. A 2002 meta-analysis of the results of a number of scared straight and similar intervention programs found that they actively increased crime rates, leading to higher re-offense rates than in control groups that did not receive the intervention. For those considering the use of social media in their business, it is quite easy to read Navigating Social Media Legal Risks: Safeguarding Your Business as a scared straight type of reference. Author Robert McHale provides so many legal horror stories, that most people would simply be too afraid of the legal and regulatory risks to every consider using social media." Keep reading for the rest of Ben's review.
First time accepted submitter Augury writes "I'm about to undertake a lengthy trip involving travel through dusty, damp and drop-inducing environments. When it comes to packing for such a trip, reading is a fundamental need, to help while away the inevitable hours spent in transit lounges, at bus stops and on beaches. The weight and bulk of the dead tree approach makes it impractical, so an e-book reader seems ideal — does anyone have any experience with ruggedising an e-book reader for such conditions?"
mvdwege writes "In the thread on the most depressing sci-fi, there were hundreds of posts but merely four mentions of John Brunner, dystopian writer par excellence. Now, given the normally U.S. libertarian bent of the Slashdot audience, it is understandable that an outright British Socialist writer like Brunner would get short shrift, but it got me thinking: what Sci-fi writers do you know that are, in your opinion, vastly underappreciated?"
gollum123 sends this excerpt from CNN: "The July heat wave that wilted crops, shriveled rivers and fueled wildfires officially went into the books Wednesday as the hottest single month on record for the continental United States. The average temperature across the Lower 48 was 77.6 degrees Fahrenheit, 3.3 degrees above the 20th-century average, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration reported. That edged out the previous high mark, set in 1936, by two-tenths of a degree, NOAA said. In addition, the seven months of 2012 to date are the warmest of any year on record and were drier than average as well, NOAA said. U.S. forecasters started keeping records in 1895. And the past 12 months have been the warmest of any such period on record, topping a mark set between July 2011 and this past June. Every U.S. state except Washington experienced warmer-than-average temperatures, NOAA reported."
An anonymous reader writes with news that The Internet Archive has started seeding about 1,400,000 torrents. In addition to over a million books, the Archive is seeding thousands and thousands of films, music tracks, and live concerts. John Gilmore of the EFF said, "The Archive is helping people to understand that BitTorrent isn't just for ephemeral or dodgy items that disappear from view in a short time. BitTorrent is a great way to get and share large files that are permanently available from libraries like the Internet Archive." Brewster Kahle, founder of the Archive, told TorrentFreak, "I hope this is greeted by the BitTorrent community, as we are loving what they have built and are very glad we can populate the BitTorrent universe with library and archive materials. There is a great opportunity for symbiosis between the Libraries and Archives world and the BitTorrent communities."
50000BTU_barbecue writes "Usually sci-fi provides adventure with happy endings for everyone. But what story have you read that resonates years later because of some insight about human nature or society that's basically cynical or pessimistic? For me it's Fred Pohl's Jem, with its sharply divided resource-constrained future world driven by politics, and its conclusion that humans are just too destructive to handle contacting alien life, especially if humans have the technological upper hand. I'm wondering what other stories have stuck in people's minds. It can be a short story, a novel or an entire series of books."
twoheadedboy writes "Book lovers are increasingly turning to e-books, and in the UK Amazon has announced it now sells more e-books than physical copies on Amazon.co.uk. Kindle books surpassed sales of hardbacks in the UK back in May 2011 at a rate of two to one and now they have leapfrogged the combined totals of both hardbacks and paperbacks."
First time accepted submitter FractalFear writes "15 years ago I was programming in BASIC, and doing some C++, after a serious car accident barely making it out alive, my memory went to crud. I have no recollection of how to do anything in either of those languages any more. I've suffered some damage, and my memory isn't all that great. However if I do repetitive work it sticks to me. I've been in IT for 17 years as desktop support, and I fear I won't ever get much further in life due to my handicap. I am hard working and dedicated, I have been reading slashdot regularly for many years now, and I have faith in the Slashdot community advice. I recently bought Head First C#: 2nd Edition(A friend of mine that programs for a living suggested C# as an easier alternative to C++) the first 4 chapters were great, but after that everything just didn't make any sense. My question(s) to you guys is: What was the best way for you to get back into programming? School? Self taught? And what would be the best language for someone like me to get into? My goal is to make games as a hobby for now, but would like to enter into the market of XBOX Arcade, Steam, mobile etc, particularly 2D TBSRPG games like Shining Force. If you prefer self taught what are some really good books you suggest?"
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?"
thatpythonguy writes "Core Python Application Programming is the latest addition to a growing corpus of literature serving a growing number of Python programmers and engineers. This Prentice Hall book of 800+ pages covers some traditional areas and touches upon some new ones. I typically do not spend much time speaking about the author of the books that I review; however, this occasion warrants an exception. And it is not because Wesley Chun used Python over a decade ago to build the address book and spell-checker for Yahoo! Mail nor is it because he holds a minor degree in music from UC Berkeley in classical piano. Rather, it is because he is both an engineer and an instructor. In other words, he was not pulled from his geek duties and asked to become a pseudo-writer; he already does that for his consulting practice, authoring (or co-authoring) several books and articles on Python (including "Python Web Development with Django") as well as starring in his own training video (entitled "Python Fundamentals"). The result of that experience is a writing style that is technically sound, yet accessible." Keep reading for the rest of Ahmed's review.
MrSeb writes "An American gunsmith has become the first person to construct and shoot a pistol partly made out of plastic, 3D-printed parts. The creator, who goes by the name HaveBlue and is an AR-15/M16 enthusiast, has reportedly fired 200 rounds with his part-plastic pistol without any sign of wear and tear. HaveBlue's custom creation is a .22-caliber pistol, formed from a 3D-printed AR-15 (M16) lower receiver, and a normal, commercial upper. In other words, the main body of the gun is plastic, while the chamber — where the bullets are actually struck — is solid metal. ... While this pistol obviously wasn't created from scratch using a 3D printer, the interesting thing is that the lower receiver — in a legal sense at least — is what actually constitutes a firearm. This means that people without gun licenses — or people who have had their licenses revoked — could print their own lower receiver and build a complete, off-the-books gun." Here come the illegal shapes. Note that the legal fiction of receiver-as-firearm is true in the U.S., but may not be in other jurisdictions, and that no gun license is required in most of the U.S. to purchase or possess a semi-automatic weapon.