Books

Amazon Restores Some Heft To Helvetica For Kindle E-Ink Readers (teleread.com) 84

David Rothman writes: Props to Amazon. The Helvetica font will be restored to a more readable weight than the anorexic one in the latest update for E Ink Kindles. Let's hope that an all-bold switch—or, better, a font weight adjuster of the kind that Kobo now offers—will also happen. I've queried Amazon about that possibility. Meanwhile thanks to Slashdot community members who spoke up against the anorexic Helvetica!
Books

Uborne Children's Books Release For Free Computer Books From the '80s (usborne.com) 117

martiniturbide writes: To promote some new computer coding books for kids, Uborne Children's Books has put online 15 of its children books from the '80s to learn how to code games. The books are available for free in PDF format and has samples to create your game for Commodore 64, VIC 20, Apple, TRS 80, Spectrum and other. Maybe you read some of them like "Machine Code for Beginners" or "Write your own Adventure Program for MicroComputers." Should other publishers also start to make their '80s and '90s computer books available for free?
Books

Amazon's Thin Helvetica Syndrome: Font Anorexia vs. Kindle Readability (teleread.com) 156

David Rothman writes: The Thin Helvetica Syndrome arises from the latest Kindle upgrade and has made e-books less readable for some. In the past, e-book-lovers who needed more perceived-contrast between text and background could find at least partial relief in Helvetica because the font was heavy by Kindle standards. But now some users complain that the 5.7.2 upgrade actually made Helvetica thinner. Of course, the real cure would be an all-text bold option for people who need it, or even a way to adjust font weight, a feature of Kobo devices. But Amazon stubbornly keeps ignoring user pleas even though the cost of adding either feature would be minimal. Isn't this supposed to be a customer-centric company?
Books

Interviews: Ask 'Ubuntu Unleashed' Author Matthew Helmke 59

Matthew Helmke (personal blog) is the author of the newly published 11th edition of Ubuntu Unleashed (published by Pearson); this updated edition of the book will cover the OS through Ubuntu's 15.10 and (forthcoming) 16.04 releases. Helmke is also a former Ubuntu Forum administrator, a musician, an entrepreneur, and a long-time Slashdot reader who now leads a "nice quiet life in Iowa." Ask Matthew about what it's like to be a Linux book author and community leader, and his thoughts on Canonical, the goods and bads of modern Linux distributions, and the future of Ubuntu -- especially relevant with the upcoming release of the first Ubuntu-based tablet. (Remember, Matthew isn't responsible for gripes you may have with either Ubuntu or Canonical, but he might have some good solutions to particular problems.) Ask as many questions as you'd like; we just ask that you keep them on-topic, and please stick to one question per post.
Entertainment

Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli Threatens Ghostface Killah 108

Martin Shkreli, of pharmaceutical drug price-gouging fame, threatens Ghostface Killah, whom he calls by his real name, in a recent video. The video features Shkreli threatening to destroy his rare Wu-Tang album and "erase him from the history books of rap." Shkreli, flanked by his masked associates, also demands a written apology from Ghostface Killah.

Shkreli was notoriously arrested on suspicion of fraud in December of 2015.
Math

Ask Slashdot: Math-Related Present For a Bright 10-Year-Old? 238

peetm writes: I have an above averagely bright nephew, aged 10, who's into maths and whose birthday is coming up soon. I'd like to get him a suitable present – most likely one that's mathematically centred. At Christmas we sat together while I helped him build a few very simple Python programs that 'animated' some simple but interesting maths, e.g., we built a factorial function, investigated the Collatz conjecture (3n + 1 problem) and talked about, but didn't implement Eratosthenes' Sieve – one step too far for him at the moment perhaps. I've looked about for books that might blend computing + maths, but haven't really found anything appropriate for a 10-year-old. I should be indebted to anyone who might suggest either a suitable maths book, or one that brings in some facet of computing. Or, if not a book, then some other present that might pique his interest.
Programming

Software Hall of Fame Member Ed Yourdon Dies (wikipedia.org) 67

New submitter andyjl writes: The software industry lost one of its pioneers on Tuesday, January 20, 2016 when Ed Yourdon died from post-operative complications. Ed was a pioneer of Structured Programming methodologies, and was a prodigious author of software-related books, including topics such as "death march" projects, and the problems of Y2K. He was also a personal friend and fellow forensic software analyst specializing in the analysis of failed software development projects and the lack of software development disciplines. He once told me that he read a item on the Internet (which I cannot find) that said, "whenever a programmer writes a GOTO statement, somewhere a Yourdon dies." I am forced to conclude that one of you programmers out there did indeed write a GOTO statement on Tuesday and I want to know who it was. Look at what you did! Did you really have to use a GOTO? Adds reader theodp: Yourdon was a successful author, whose Slashdot-reviewed books included Rise and Resurrection of the American Programmer, Death March: The Complete Software Developer's Guide to Surviving "Mission Impossible" Projects, Byte Wars: The Impact of September 11 on Information Technology, and Outsourcing: Competing in the Global Productivity Race. Yourdon's Time Bomb 2000!: What the Year 2000 Computer Crisis Means to You!, written with daughter Jennifer, was a Y2K best-seller.
Crime

Utah Bill Would Require IT Workers To Report Child Porn (ksl.com) 391

Mr.Intel writes: A Utah lawmaker wants computer technicians to face jail time if they don't immediately report child pornography they discover on someone's computer. The proposal would require computer technicians to report child pornography to law enforcement or a federal cyber tip line if they encounter the material, but they would not be required to go searching for it. If they find it and don't report it, they could be given up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. It would mirror laws already on the books in at least 12 other states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Books

Diary of Anne Frank Subject To Copyright Dispute (theguardian.com) 150

Bruce66423 writes: The Diary of Anne Frank, a Jewish teenager killed by the Nazis whose writing survived in the Amsterdam building where she had hidden, is causing problems. It has been 70 years since she died, making it public domain by European law. A French academic has made it available online with profits going to charity. However, the Anne Frank Fonds, the foundation established by Anne’s father Otto Frank, claims that: “Otto Frank and children’s author and translator, Mirjam Pressler, were inter alia responsible for the various edited versions of fragments of the diary” in 1947 and 1991. They add: "the copyrights to these adaptations have been vested in Otto Frank and Mirjam Pressler, who in effect created readable books from Anne Frank’s original writings."
Businesses

Apple Releases 2015 EEO-1 Diversity Data Over Weekend (qz.com) 112

theodp writes: Just days after it came under fire for dismissing a call for diversity as "unduly burdensome and not necessary," Apple quietly released its 2015 EEO-1 diversity report (dated 10/6/2015, reflects the 8/1 payroll). Like other tech companies' diversity disclosures, Apple's EEO-1 raw numbers can't really be reconciled to the percentages based on undisclosed raw numbers that grace the infographic-heavy diversity progress narrative CEO Tim Cook spoke to last August. As to why they keep two sets of diversity books, Apple explains, "The EEO-1 has not kept pace with changes in industry or the American workforce over the past half century. We believe the information we report elsewhere on this site is a far more accurate reflection of our progress toward diversity." Taking this stance allows Apple CEO Tim Cook to boast that "in the United States, we hired more than 2,200 Black employees — a 50 percent increase over last year," while ignoring Apple's EEO-1 report, which indicates that Black employees showed a year-over-year net increase of only 1,475 employees and accounted for only 1.9% of the 4,333 YOY net increase in "Professionals" at Apple (White employees accounted for 50.6%, Asian for 42.1%). If you want to check the math, Apple's EEO-1 data (typed in from the content-copy-not-allowed 2015 and 2014 PDFs) and additional charts can be found in this Tableau workbook.
Books

Interviews: Ask David Peterson About Inventing Languages 87

samzenpus writes: David J. Peterson is a language creator and author. He created the Dothraki and Valyrian languages for HBO's Game of Thrones, and more recently has created languages for the CW's The 100 and MTV's The Shannara Chronicles. His new book, The Art of Language Invention, details how to create a new language from scratch, and goes over some of the specific choices he made in creating the languages for Game of Thrones and Syfy's Defiance. David has agreed to give us some of his time to answer any questions you may have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
Hardware

Can Your Hardware Top 18 Years and Ten Months? (theregister.co.uk) 332

DesertNomad points out this article at The Register "about a fairly aged Pentium-based server that lasted 18+ years without much in the way of service." Reminds me that I have a pair of working, occasionally used, Pentium-based notebooks (more like lug-books), one of which is a 1999 Thinkpad, and the other a 1996 CTX. I'm sure there are plenty of boxes out there that have survived at least 18 years and that are in daily or constant use. The fans are always the tricky part! What's your best personal hardware-survival stories? I have some keyboards in active service that were made in 1984, and probably some of them go back well before that, but keyboards should last that long.
Security

Ann Caracristi, Who Cracked Codes, and the Glass Ceiling At NSA, Dies At 94 (washingtonpost.com) 96

An anonymous reader writes with this story at The Washington Post about the life and death of Ann Caracristi. From the article: "Ann Caracristi, who became one of the highest ranking and most honored women at the code breaking National Security Agency after a career extending from World War II through much of the Cold War, died Jan. 10 at her home in Washington. She was 94. ... Ms. Caracristi formally retired from her intelligence career in 1982, after becoming the sixth deputy director of the NSA . . . She was the first woman to serve as deputy director. One of her strengths was reconstructing enemy code books, said Liza Mundy, a former Washington Post staff writer who is working on a book about U.S. female code breakers during the war. Admired for her early accomplishments as a young woman in wartime Washington, Ms. Caracristi was credited in her later career with providing leadership for new generations of code breakers and for her efforts to bring computers and technology to bear on the work. ... One of her jobs at the NSA was as chief from 1959 to 1980 of branches devoted to research and operations. Her honors there included the Defense Department's Distinguished Civilian Service Award and the National Security Medal, among other top federal honors. After retiring, she began serving on a variety of prominent scientific, defense and intelligence advisory boards and committees."
Open Source

Linux Kernel 4.4 LTS Officially Released 132

prisoninmate writes: January 10, 2016, will enter in the Linux history books as the day when the Linux kernel 4.4 LTS (Long-Term Support) has been officially released by Linus Torvalds and his team of hard working kernel developers. Prominent features of Linux kernel 4.4 LTS include 3D support in the virtual GPU driver, allowing for 3D hardware-accelerated graphics in virtualization guests, a leaner and faster loop device that supports Asynchronous I/O and Direct I/O, thus increasing the system's performance and saving memory, and support for Open-Channel Solid State Drives (SSDs) through LightNVM. Phoronix also took a look during the newest kernel's development cycle, and has an overview of 4.4's new features.
Books

A New, App-Based Format For Novels (theguardian.com) 57

HughPickens.com writes: The Guardian reports that Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey, plans to release his new novel, a historical drama set in London during the 1840s, in installments via an app. It's a tradition that dates back to Charles Dickens, but utilizes modern technology. Each of Belgravia's 11 chapters will be delivered on a weekly basis, and will come with multimedia extras including music, character portraits, family trees and an audio book version. "To marry the traditions of the Victorian novel to modern technology, allowing the reader, or listener, an involvement with the characters and the background of the story and the world in which it takes place, that would not have been possible until now, and yet to preserve within that the strongest traditions of storytelling, seems to me a marvelous goal and a real adventure," says Fellowes.

Publisher Jamie Raab says the format appealed to her precisely because of Fellowes's television background and his ability to keep audiences engaged in a story over months and even years. "I've always been intrigued by the idea of publishing a novel in short episodic bites. He gets how to keep the story paced so that you're caught up in the current episode, then you're left with a cliffhanger."

Books

Ask Slashdot: Composing an e-Book With a Couple of Bells and Whistles 148

New submitter Cbhihe writes: I want to edit an e-book, a scientific textbook to be distributed on the Kindle tablet to be exact. The book is written. For that I used LibreOffice.
It comes complete with index, drawings, pictures, formulae and its present look and feel is no different from the majority of scientific text, you might be accustomed to browsing. I need advice for the next step, which consists in making this digital pile of data suitable for an e-book.. with a slight twist. The e-book should allow for:
— picture zoom-in in pop-ups on screen
— allow in-text basic interactivity, e.g. when in a exercise, multiple answers are proposed, each answer when clicked should display "Right" or "Wrong" (for instance).
Can you recommend, if not a commercial package that allows such features right out of the box, then at least and preferably open-source technology needed for me to achieve what I want ? I am willing to get down to moderate programming to use your suggested solution. I am conversant in C, C++ and getting there with Python.
Books

Copyright Expires On Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf 420

HughPickens.com writes: Adolf Hitler's Nazi manifesto Mein Kampf was originally printed in 1925 — eight years before Hitler came to power. After Nazi Germany was defeated in 1945, the Allied forces handed the copyright to the book to the state of Bavaria who refused to allow the book to be reprinted to prevent incitement of hatred. Now BBC reports that under European copyright law, the rights of an author of a literary or artistic work runs for the life of the author and for 70 years after his death — in Hitler's case on 30 April 1945, when he shot himself in his bunker in Berlin, so for the first time in 70 years, Mein Kampf will be available to buy in Germany.

Authorizing the book's release into the public domain has been a tortuous process. In 2012 it was agreed, after much consultation between Bavarian authorities and representatives of Jewish and Roma communities, that a scholarly edition should be planned in an attempt to demystify the book. Munich's Institute of Contemporary History will publish the new edition with thousands of academic notes, will aim to show that Mein Kampf (My Struggle) is incoherent and badly written, rather than powerful or seductive. From the original book's 1,000 pages, the publisher has produced a two-volume book that is twice as long as the original, with 3,700 annotations. Christian Hartmann, one of the team of five historians who spent several years working on the academic edition, described his relief at being able to analyze the text, even if he felt in need of regularly airing his tiny Munich office in order to cope with the task. "It is a real feeling of triumph, to be able to pick over this rubbish and then to debunk it bit by bit."
The Internet

How the Internet Changed the Way We Read (dailydot.com) 148

An anonymous reader writes: UC Literature Professor Jackson Bliss puts into words something many of you have probably experienced: the evolution of the internet and mobile devices has changed how we read. "The truth is that most of us read continuously in a perpetual stream of incestuous words, but instead of reading novels, book reviews, or newspapers like we used to in the ancien régime, we now read text messages, social media, and bite-sized entries about our protean cultural history on Wikipedia."

Bliss continues, "In the great epistemic galaxy of words, we have become both reading junkies and also professional text skimmers. ... Reading has become a relentless exercise in self-validation, which is why we get impatient when writers don't come out and simply tell us what they're arguing. ... Content—whether thought-provoking, regurgitated, or analytically superficial, impeccably-researched, politically doctrinaire, or grammatically atrocious—now occupies the same cultural space, the same screen space, and the same mental space in the public imagination. After awhile, we just stop keeping track of what's legitimately good because it takes too much energy to separate the crème from the foam."

Technology

Ask Slashdot: Predictions For 2016? (slashdot.org) 239

An anonymous reader writes: Ok folks, it's been ten years since we've done this. What are your tech/science/nerd/misc predictions for 2016? Is VR going to be the bombshell it's being hyped as? Are wearables going to come into their own? Which tech companies are going to implode, and which are going to blossom? What discoveries are we going to make this year? Will people ever shut up about Donald Trump? Which new movies, books, games, and TV shows are going to be awesome? Which are going to suck? How will our privacy and security erode in 2016? And anything else you'd care to forecast.
Programming

Scott Meyers Retires From Involvement With C++ (blogspot.com) 112

An anonymous reader writes: If you've studied C++ any time in the past 25 years, you've probably read something by Scott Meyers. He wrote Effective C++, regarded by many as one of the top two books for learning to work with the language. He also wrote similar books about changes in C++11 and C++14, as well as making good use of the Standard Template Library. He's been a seemingly endless source of instructional videos, articles, and helpful answers on Usenet and StackOverflow. Unfortunately for us, Meyers has now decided to move on. "25 years after publication of my first academic papers involving C++, I'm retiring from active involvement with the language. It's a good time for it. My job is explaining C++ and how to use it, but the C++ explanation biz is bustling. ... My voice is dropping out, but a great chorus will continue." Thanks for all the help, Scott.

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