The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested a computer programmer for allegedly stealing proprietary software code from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY). Bo Zhang, the man accused of stealing the source code, worked at the bank as a contract employee assigned to work on further developing a specific portion of the Government-Wide Accounting and Reporting Program (GWA), software which is owned by the Department of Treasury to track government spending.
Maybe it's the holiday season that has big corporations in a giving mood this month, but there's definitely something in the air that's spreading the love of open source software. Whatever it is, Hewlett-Packard caught wind of it last week and flipped the open source switch on webOS, and now Nvidia is announcing plans to provide the source code for the new CUDA LLVM-based compiler to academic researchers and software-tool vendors to help make it easier to add GPU support for more programming languages and support CUDA applications on alternative processor architectures.
Steve Jobs’s recent passing provoked not just a personal response, but widespread moaning about Apple’s future. Conspicuously missing, however, was speculation about the ways in which Jobs’s diminished role might improve Apple.
To some, any such speculation is heresy. Like everyone, however, Jobs was flawed. One flaw was well known but was mainly an internal company matter. Another was less recognized but may eventually harm Apple’s competitiveness.
Thank you Dennis Ritchie, for without you, our digital lives may have turned out far less awesome than what they are now. Ritchie, for anyone who doesn't recognize the name, created the C programming language, which is still popular today and is the basis for many other programming languages, and co-developed Unix with Ken Thompson, variants of which are all over the place, including Android and iOS.
Back in the pre-Cambrian era of programming for the personal computer, there were only two options: assembly language and BASIC.
Assembly language was a compiled language, producing object code that was the machine’s native language, but it was hard to learn and writing good code was a time-consuming process. Debugging it was even harder. BASIC was an interpreted language. It was easy to learn, but because each line of code had to be interpreted on the fly, it was slow. And it wasn’t a structured language with functions and procedures, all you had were subroutines, so you ended up with a lot of spaghetti code.
Then one day Turbo Pascal crawled up out of the primordial ocean and triggered a Cambrian explosion of software evolution.
Scoring a job in the video game industry might seem like a dream gig, and with many industry players looking to take on more talent, there's potential for a lot of dreams to come true this year. But while hiring is starting to pick up, salaries have remained flat.
"Overall, game salaries have risen 24 percent form an average of $60,883 in 2001, the first year we began studying developers' salaries," said Chris Remo, the co-director of Game Developer Research and Editor-at-Large at Gamasutra.com. "For the most part since then, salaries have either risen or remained flat on a year-on year basis, with the only exceptions being this past year, and a 1 percent decline from 2005 to 2006."
Should budding game developers be concerned about this? Not really. Even though this past year saw the first case on record of a big drop in the average salary, 2009 still ranked as the second-highest average salary year ever.
"it's not unusual for video game developers to be making $80,000 to $150,000 a year," said Dr. Peter Raad, executive director of The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University, a leading graduate level game design program. "That money typically comes from three different buckets, including base salary, profit sharing, and bonuses tied to a specific game."
Even as the economy picks up, it's a toucgh tech market out there, especially as company's look to trim staff and their IT budgets. What's a geek to do?
Learn Drupal. Drupal, as you're probably aware, is a free and open source content management system (CMS) that has been gaining traction in the last few years. According to CNET, Drupal has been downloaded more than 2 million times and is now found powering sites for some heavy hitters, including the White House, Warner Brothers, and right here at Maximum PC.
"I recently learned that there are more jobs available working with Drupal than there are employees to fill them," writes Dave Rosenberg, a regular CNET blogger and all around tech guru. "There's a clear need for bodies skilled in Drupal and other open-source software, including Linux."
For those looking to learn Drupal, the timing couldn't be better. Training at this year's DrupalCon conference will cost $150 to $350, way down from what it normally runs, which is $1,500.
Most of the tools that humans have invented are designed to increase physical ability. Only a few tools have been invented to increase mental ability—language was the first. Then math. Then books. And finally, computers. (If I’ve missed any, someone will happily point it out in the comments section. Thanks in advance.)
But a computer, by itself, is about as useful as a boat anchor in South Dakota. You don’t buy a computer to own a computer, you buy it to run software. And it’s not software you want either. What you want are the services that all that hardware and software makes possible.
You buy a computer and you fill it with software so you can expand your ability to process information, simulate situations, extrapolate possibilities, make informed choices, discover synergistic opportunities, access information. And communicate, so you can be informed, educated, and entertained. You use software to expand the reach of your mind, your identity, and your ability to affect your environment.
That’s pretty good for something that’s ultimately nothing more than a bunch of ones and zeroes. The real trick is knowing how to put the ones and zeroes in the right order. Remember, the plumber doesn’t get paid for banging on the pipes, he gets paid for knowing which pipe to bang.