New submitter toxygen01 writes "Neal Stephenson, sci-fi writer mostly known for his books Snowcrash and Cryptonomicon, takes on revolutionizing virtual sword fighting with help of crowdfunding. Inspired by the little-known fictional universe of 'Mongoliad,' an interactive book he is collaborating on, his company is trying to develop hardware (low-latency motion controller) and software for realistic medieval sword fighting. From what is promised, it will try to be open for other developers by having API and SDK available for further modding." Very few Kickstarter drives have a steel longsword as one of the rewards for investing.
First time accepted submitter greglaw writes "Our company makes development tools, meaning that all our customers are programmers. If you'll forgive the sweeping generalization, on the whole good programmers don't make good salespeople and vice versa. However, it's important that our salespeople understand at some level the customers' problems and how exactly we can help. The goal is not to turn the salespeople into engineers, but just to have them properly understand e.g. what the customer means when he uses the term 'function call.' Most of our customers use C/C++. Does anyone have any recommendations for how best to go about this? Online courses or text books that give an introduction to programming in C/C++ would be great, but also any more general advice on this would be much appreciated."
MassDosage writes "Having developed software for nearly fifteen years, I remember the dark days before testing was all the rage and the large number of bugs that had to be arduously found and fixed manually. The next step was nervously releasing the code without the safety net of a test bed and having no idea if one had introduced regressions or new bugs. When I first came across unit testing I ardently embraced it and am a huge fan of testing of various forms — from automated to smoke tests to performance and load tests to end user and exploratory testing. So it was with much enthusiasm that I picked up How Google Tests Software — written by some of the big names in testing at Google. I was hoping it would give me fresh insights into testing software at "Google Scale" as promised on the back cover, hopefully coupled with some innovative new techniques and tips. While partially succeeding on these fronts, the book as a whole didn't quite live up to my expectations and feels like a missed opportunity." Read below for the rest of MassDosage's review.
dsinc was the first to note, but an anonymous reader writes "Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451, the dystopian novel about the logical conclusion of many trends in modern society, and many other works that have inspired fans of speculative fiction for decades, has died at the age of 91 in Los Angeles, California, Tuesday night, June 5th, 2012. No details on how he died were released, but I suspect it may have had something to do with the Earth orbiting the sun over 90 times since he was born. I guess we'll have to wait to be sure."
Med-trump writes "A petition to remove references to evolution from high-school textbooks claimed victory in South Korea last month after the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) revealed that many of the publishers would produce revised editions that exclude examples of the evolution of the horse or of avian ancestor Archaeopteryx."
jkauzlar writes "Believe it or not, it's been 18 years since Design Patterns by Gamma, et al, first began to hit the desks of programmers world-wide. This was a work of undeniable influence and usefulness, but there is criticism however that pattern-abuse has lead to over-architected software. This failure is perhaps due to wide-spread use of patterns as templates instead of understanding their underlying 'grammar' of this language such that it may be applied gracefully to the problem at hand. What's been missing until now is a sufficiently authoritative study of design patterns at this 'grammatical' level of abstraction. Jason McC. Smith, through a surprisingly captivating series of analytic twists and turns, has developed a theory of Elemental Design Patterns that may yet rejuvenate this aging topic." Keep reading for the rest of Joe's review.
New submitter sdoca writes "I am a Java developer and for the past number of years I have mainly been working on server side code. I have an idea for a webpage/application that I would like to develop. For the general public, it will be a site where they can view upcoming events, filter them by type, date etc. and view details of events they're interested in. There will also be an admin section to the app where organizations who want to post their events can log in and set them up. In the long term, writing a view-only version as an Apple and/or Android app is on the radar, but I want to focus on the generic web app for now. I'm not sure what languages/frameworks to look at using for the webpage portion of my project. Many (many!) years ago, I wrote some applets. After that I did some work in WebObjects and after that I tinkered with Wicket. I have no experience with PHP and would like to stay in my Java comfort zone as much as possible, but want to use the right tool. I'm concerned about browser compatibility issues. Chrome didn't exist when I last did web page development. I'm looking for good resources (books, internet) that will guide me through the potential issues and your recommendations for a web development framework."
PerlJedi tips a story that highlights one of the downsides to ebooks. A blogger who recently read Tolstoy's War and Peace on his Nook stumbled upon some odd phases, such as: "It was as if a light had been Nookd in a carved and painted lantern..." After seeing the word 'Nookd' a few more times, he found a dead-tree version of the book and discovered that the word was supposed to be 'kindled.' Every instance of the word 'kindle' in the ebook had been replaced with 'Nook.' "The Superior Formatting Publishing version isn’t a Barnes and Noble book, so this isn’t the work of a rogue Nook marketer from B&N. Rather, it’s likely that Superior Formatting Publishing ported its Kindle version of War and Peace over to the Nook — doing a search and replace to make sure that any Kindle references they’d inserted, such as in the advertising at the end of the book about their fine Kindle products, were simply changed to Nook. The unwitting hilarity of a publisher doing a 'find and replace' and accidentally changing the text of a canonical work of Western thought is alarming. Many versions of e-books are from similar outfits, that distribute public domain works formatted for Kindle or Nook at the lowest possible prices. The great democratizing factor of the ebook formats – that anyone can easily distribute – can also mean that readers can never be quite sure that they are viewing the texts as the author intended."
theodp writes "Simply giving your mother an e-book for her birthday could constitute patent infringement now that the USPTO's gone and awarded Amazon.com a patent on the 'Electronic Gifting' of items such as music, movies, television programs, games, or books. BusinessInsider speculates that the patent may be of concern to Facebook, which just dropped a reported $80 million on social gift-giving app maker Karma Science."
theodp writes "Q. What do you get when you surround the image of Men in Black star Will Smith trying on sunglasses with a pitch for 'MIB Bill Smith Dark Shades'? A. U.S. Patent No. 8,180,688. 'Many people consume broadcast media such as television shows and movies for many hours a week,' Amazon explained to the USPTO in its patent application for a Computer-Readable Medium, System, and Method for Item Recommendations Based on Media Consumption. 'The consumed broadcast media may depict a variety of items during the course of the transmission, such as clothing, books, movies, accessories, electronics, and/or any other type of item.' So, does Amazon's spin on As Seen on TV advertising deserve a patent?"
benrothke writes "Elementary Information Security, based on its title, weight and page length, I assumed was filled with mindless screen shots of elementary information security topics, written with a large font, in order to jack up the page count. Such an approach is typical of far too many security books. With that, if there ever was a misnomer of title, Elementary Information Security is it." Read below for the rest of Ben's review
eldavojohn writes "The Logic of Chance: The Nature and Origin of Biological Evolution is a comprehensive snapshot of the latest research of biological evolution. The text is written by Eugene V. Koonin, an editor for a journal and researcher at NCBI. The book, although lacking in foundational knowledge and often foregoing explanation of research, presents a comprehensive and well-referenced view of modern evolutionary research. It is heavily laden with acronyms and jargon specific to biology and evolution. As a result, reading it requires either prior knowledge or a high tolerance for looking up these advanced topics with the reward of it being an extremely eye opening and enjoyable read worthy of your time." Keep reading for the rest of eldavojohn's review.
McGruber writes with news of a ruling in a copyright case brought against Georgia State by several publishers over the university's electronic reserve system: "The Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting that a federal judge has ruled in favor of Georgia State University on 69 of 74 copyright claims filed by Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and SAGE Publications. In a 350-page ruling, Senior U.S. District Judge Orinda Evans found that 'fair use protected a Georgia State University professor's decision to allow students to access an excerpt online through the university's Electronic Reserves System.' While the 69 of the 74 claims were rejected, the judge also found that five violations did occur 'when the publisher lost money because a professor had provided free electronic access to selected chapters in textbooks.' SAGE Publications prevailed on four of these five claims, while Oxford University Press won the fifth claim. Cambridge University Press lost all its claims." From Inside Higher Ed: "And the judge also rejected the publishers' ideas about how to regulate e-reserves — ideas that many academic librarians said would be unworkable. At the same time, however, the judge imposed a strict limit of 10 percent on the volume of a book that may be covered by fair use (a proportion that would cover much, but by no means all, of what was in e-reserves at Georgia State, and probably at many other colleges). And the judge ruled that publishers may have more claims against college and university e-reserves if the publishers offer convenient, reasonably priced systems for getting permission (at a price) to use book excerpts online. The lack of such systems today favored Georgia State, but librarians who were anxiously going through the decision were speculating that some publishers might be prompted now to create such systems, and to charge as much as the courts would permit."
Sasayaki writes "Hugh Howey's Wool, the self-published sci-fi story that's made him the best selling Indie sci-fi author of 2012 and currently the best selling sci-fi author on Amazon.com, has found its way into the hands of Ridley Scott (director of Alien, Prometheus and others)... who loved it. Rumor is the Hollywood movie will be coming to cinemas in 2013 or 2014. With Fifty Shades of Grey and now Wool getting the attention of Hollywood, it's clear the self-publishing revolution is here to stay."
An anonymous reader writes "I used to travel with a book and some clothes in a backpack, and now my entire life fits into my briefcase. I have a laptop, a tablet, and a cell phone with access to all of my documents through Dropbox, and all the books I own are on my kindle. Aside from having about four grand in electronics, the bag has everything of value that I own. If that bag is stolen while I'm traveling, it will be more trouble than if my apartment burns down (while I'm not in it). What can I do to secure my life-in-a-briefcase?"