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Appnovation Technologies: Simple Website Approach Using a Headless CMS: Part 1

Drupal Planet -

Simple Website Approach Using a Headless CMS: Part 1 I strongly believe that the path for innovation requires a mix of experimentation, sweat, and failure. Without experimenting with new solutions, new technologies, new tools, we are limiting our ability to improve, arresting our potential to be better, to be faster, and sadly ensuring that we stay rooted in systems, processes and...

erdfisch: Drupalcon mentored core sprint - part 2 - your experience as a sprinter

Drupal Planet -

Drupalcon mentored core sprint - part 2 - your experience as a sprinter 12.05.2018 Michael Lenahan Body:  Drupalcon mentored core sprint - part 2 - your experience as a sprinter

Hello! You've arrived at part 2 of a series of 3 blog posts about the Mentored Core Sprint, which traditionally takes place every Friday at Drupalcon.

If you haven't already, please go back and read part 1.

You may think sprinting is not for you ...

So, you may be the kind of person who usually stays away from the Sprint Room at Drupal events. We understand. You would like to find something to work on, but when you step in the room, you get the feeling you're interrupting something really important that you don't understand.

It's okay. We've all been there.

That's why the Drupal Community invented the Mentored Core Sprint. If you stay for this sprint day, you will be among friends. You can ask any question you like. The venue is packed with people who want to make it a useful experience for you.

Come as you are

All you need in order to take part in the first-time mentored sprint are two things:

  • Your self, a human who is interested in Drupal
  • Your laptop

To get productive, your laptop needs a local installation of Drupal. Don't have one yet? Well, it's your lucky day because you can your Windows or Mac laptop set up at the first-time setup workshop!

Need a local Drupal installation? Come to the first-time setup workshop

After about half an hour, your laptop is now ready, and you can go to the sprint room to work on Drupal Core issues ...

You do not need to be a coder ...

You do not need to be a coder to work on Drupal Core. Let's say, you're a project manager. You have skills in clarifying issues, deciding what needs to be done next, managing developers, and herding cats. You're great at taking large problems and breaking them down into smaller problems that designers or developers can solve. This is what you do all day when you're at work.

Well, that's also what happens here at the Major Issue Triage table!

But - you could just as easily join any other table, because your skills will be needed there, as well!

Never Drupal alone

At this sprint, no-one works on their own. You work collaboratively in a small group (maybe 3-4 people). So, if you don't have coding or design skills, you will have someone alongside you who does, just like at work.

Collaborating together, you will learn how the Drupal issue queue works. You will, most likely, not fix any large issues during the sprint.

Learn the process of contributing

Instead, you will learn the process of contributing to Drupal. You will learn how to use the issue queue so you can stay in touch with the friends you made today, so that you fix the issue over the coming weeks after Drupalcon.

It's never too late

Even if you've been in the Drupal community for over a decade, just come along. Jump in. You'll enjoy it.

A very welcoming place to start contributing is to work on Drupal documentation. This is how I made my first contribution, at Drupalcon London in 2011. In Vienna, this table was mentored by Amber Matz from Drupalize.Me.

This is one of the most experienced mentors, Valery Lourie (valthebald). We'll meet him again in part 3, when we come to the Drupalcon Vienna live commit.

Here's Dries. He comes along and walks around, no one takes any notice because they are too engaged and too busy. And so he gets to talk to people without being interrupted.

This is what Drupal is about. It's not about the code. It's about the people.

Next time. Just come. As a sprinter or a mentor. EVERYONE is welcome, we mean that.

This is a three-part blog post series:
Part one is here
You've just finished reading part two
Part three is coming soon

Credit to Amazee Labs and Roy Segall for use of photos from the Drupalcon Vienna flickr stream, made available under the CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 licence.

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Apple Open Sources FoundationDB

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Apple's FoundationDB company announced on Thursday that the FoundationDB core has been open sourced with the goal of building an open community with all major development done in the open. The database company was purchased by Apple back in 2015. As described in the announcement, FoundationDB is a distributed datastore that's been designed from the ground up to be deployed on clusters of commodity hardware. Mac Rumors reports: By open sourcing the project to drive development, FoundationDB is aiming to become "the foundation of the next generation of distributed databases: "The vision of FoundationDB is to start with a simple, powerful core and extend it through the addition of "layers". The key-value store, which is open sourced today, is the core, focused on incorporating only features that aren't possible to write in layers. Layers extend that core by adding features to model specific types of data and handle their access patterns. The fundamental architecture of FoundationDB, including its use of layers, promotes the best practices of scalable and manageable systems. By running multiple layers on a single cluster (for example a document store layer and a graph layer), you can match your specific applications to the best data model. Running less infrastructure reduces your organization's operational and technical overhead." The source for FoundationDB is available on Github, and those who wish to join the project are encouraged to visit the FoundationDB community forums, submit bugs, and make contributions to the core software and documentation.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

White House Reportedly Exploring Wartime Rule To Help Coal, Nuclear

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: According to reports from Bloomberg and E&E News, the Trump Administration has been exploring another way to help coal and nuclear generators: the Defense Production Act of 1950. The Act was passed under President Truman. Motivated by the Korean War, it allows the president broad authority to boost U.S. industries that are considered a priority for national security. On Thursday, E&E News cited sources that said "an interagency process is underway" at the White House to examine possible application of the act to the energy industry. The goal would be to give some form of preference to coal and nuclear plants that are struggling to compete with cheap natural gas. If the DOE decides not to invoke Section 202(c), the president may turn to the Defense Production Act. According to a 2014 summary report (PDF) from the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the act would allow the president to "demand priority for defense-related products," "provide incentives to develop, modernize, and expand defense productive capacity," and establish "a voluntary reserve of trained private sector executives available for emergency federal employment," among other powers. (Some even more permissive applications of the Act were terminated in 1957.) Using the Act to protect coal and nuclear facilities would almost certainly be more controversial, as the link between national defense and keeping uneconomic coal generators running is not well-established. The Administration could apply the Act to "provide or guarantee loans to industry" for material-specific deliveries and production. "The president may also authorize the purchase of 'industrial items or technologies for installation in government or private industrial facilities,'" reports Ars.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

SmugMug Buys Flickr, Vows To Revitalize the Photo Service

Slashdot -

On Friday, Silicon Valley photo-sharing and storage company SmugMug announced it had acquired Flickr, the photo-sharing site created in 2004 by Ludicorp and acquired in 2005 by Yahoo. SmugMug CEO Don MacAskill told USA TODAY he's committed to revitalizing the faded social networking site, which hosted photos and videos long before it became trendy. Flickr will reportedly continue to operate separately, and SmugMug and Flickr accounts will "remain separate and independent for the foreseeable future." From the report: He declined to disclose the terms of the deal, which closed this week. "Flickr is an amazing community, full of some of the world's most passionate photographers. It's a fantastic product and a beloved brand, supplying tens of billions of photos to hundreds of millions of people around the world," MacAskill said. "Flickr has survived through thick-and-thin and is core to the entire fabric of the Internet." The surprise deal ends months of uncertainty for Flickr, whose fate had been up in the air since last year when Yahoo was bought by Verizon for $4.5 billion and joined with AOL in Verizon's Oath subsidiary.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Intel Is Giving Up On Its Smart Glasses

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Intel is planning to shut down the New Devices Group (NDG), and cease development on the Vaunt smart glasses project that was revealed earlier this year. The glasses are unique in that they use retinal projection to put a display in your eyeball. "There is no camera to creep people out, no button to push, no gesture area to swipe, no glowing LCD screen, no weird arm floating in front of the lens, no speaker, and no microphone," reports The Verge. Intel issued a statement announcing the plans: "Intel is continuously working on new technologies and experiences. Not all of these develop into a product we choose to take to market. The Superlight [the codename for Vaunt] project is a great example where Intel developed truly differentiated, consumer augmented reality glasses. We are going to take a disciplined approach as we keep inventing and exploring new technologies, which will sometimes require tough choices when market dynamics don't support further investment." From the report: It was always unclear how precisely Intel intended to bring the Vaunt glasses to market, though sources indicated that Intel wanted to find a partner with retail expertise to partner with. Jerry Bautista, the lead for Vaunt, told me back in December that Intel was "working with key ecosystem hardware providers -- whether they're frames or lenses and things like that. Because we believe there's a whole channel to people who wear glasses that's already there." The story was first reported by The Information.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Your Next Job Interview Could Be With a Racist Bot

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An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Daily Beast: Companies across the nation are now using some rudimentary artificial intelligence, or AI, systems to screen out applicants before interviews commence and for the interviews themselves. As a Guardian article from March explained, many of these companies are having people interview in front of a camera that is connected to AI that analyzes their facial expressions, their voice and more. One of the top recruiting companies doing this, Hirevue, has large customers like Hilton and Unilever. Their AI scores people using thousands of data points and compares it to the scores of the best current employees. But that can be unintentionally problematic. As Recode pointed out, because most programmers are white men, these AI are actually often trained using white male faces and male voices. That can lead to misperceptions of black faces or female voices, which can lead to the AI making negative judgments about those people. The results could trend sexist or racist, but the employer who is using this AI would be able to shift the blame to a supposedly neutral technology. Companies are also having people do their first interview with an AI chatbot. "One popular AI that does this is called Mya, which promises a 70 percent decrease in hiring time," reports The Daily Beast. "Any number of questions these chatbots could ask could be proxies for race, gender or other factors."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Sooper Drupal Themes: Drupal 8 vs Drupal 7 Performance 2018: Drupal 8.5 Is Faster With Glazed Theme Main Demo! | 8 Days To Drupal 8 | Day 7

Drupal Planet -

We're counting down the days to the official SooperThemes Drupal 8 Release! Count with us as we will be writing a Drupal 8 related blog post every day for the next 8 days.

Drupal 8 is known for being heavier and slower than Drupal 7. However, Drupal 8 doesn't deserve this image and I think it got this image from lazy benchmarking: Testers just install Drupal's default profile, run some ab tests and call it a day. This is not a realistic test! Real Drupal websites will have hundreds of pages, menu items, configuration objects, more complex theming, more modules etc. 

I did some more extensive testing to compare our Drupal 7 products with the Drupal 8 versions that are to be released next week. The beautiful thing (for this test) about our products is that we maintain them with feature parity across Drupal 8 and 7. We provide installation profiles that combined have thousands of content items, menu items, and configuration settings that make them very close to real-world Drupal 8 & 7 websites. Perfect material for benchmarking!

Test 1: Drupal 8 vs Drupal 7 Cached Page Delivery

Drupal 8 default profile cached page benchmark. Drupal 7 255% faster than Drupal 8.

Ok let's get this over with first. Drupal 8 is built on a PHP core that is slower to parse than Drupal 7 and uses more memory. On an empty Drupal installation you will really notice this difference because the empty shell will act like a magnifying glass on the underlying architecture. In the chart above you can see that Drupal 7 is more than twice as fast at delivering cached pages to anonymous users. 

This test is what most people will refer to when saying Drupal 8 is slower than Drupal 7 but this is in fact the least interesting test for 2 reasons:

  1. Nowadays it is very easy to put a cache in front of Drupal. You can use Nginx, Varnish, or Cloudflare with the free plan to serve thousands of cached pages per second, regardless of whether Drupal 8 or 7 or anything else is behind the cache. 
  2. Any empty installation with Drupal's default profile is a bad model for a real website.
Test 2: Drupal 8 vs Drupal 7 Autenticated Views Portfolio Display 

Drupal 8 Glazed Main Demo views display benchmark. Drupal 8  is 228% faster than Drupal 7.

For this second test we use the Main Demo installation profile with our Glazed Theme and Glazed Builder products. This means we have a dropdown menu with 100+ items, a database with around 100 nodes, lots of views displays and contrib modules, and our Glazed theme is enabled which subthemes the bootstrap basetheme. This is a much closer simulation of a real-life Drupal website than the default profile is!

We're benchmarking a views display that draws fields from nodes and taxonomy terms, does some interesting templating and is then pulled into a page using Glazed theme to display the view along with peripheral content.

As you can see in the chart Drupal 8 is now twice as fast as Drupal 7. Despite the heavier core, Drupal 8 is faster when handling large amount of configuration, views, and heavier themes like Glazed and the Bootstrap basetheme. I suspect this is due to the more elaborate caching architecture in Drupal 8. Especially template files are now heavily cached and so are other important Drupal components.

Tested page: https://demo.sooperthemes.com/glazed-main/portfolio/premium1

Test 3: Drupal 8 vs Drupal 7 Autenticated Drag and Drop Page 

Drupal 8 Glaezd Main Demo views display benchmark. Drupal 8 12,5% than Drupal 7.

Our previous test showed an extreme example of Drupal 8 being faster due to its better handling of views. This 3rd test shows what we typically see when benchmarking Drupal 8: Drupal 8 is slightly faster in loading pages in our Glazed Theme demos. We see similar results when testing drag and drop pages, or other content types that don't use the drag and drop builder. In fact our Page Builder module does not significantly impact performance even when loading multiple Glazed Builder editors within the same page. 

The Drupal 8 and 7 installation profiles have near feature-parity but in fact the Drupal 8 version includes the Admin Toolbar module and the Drupal 7 profiles do not include an admin menu module. This means that each page comes with an additional 200 menu items in the Drupal 8 tests. In Drupal 7 I usually install the admin_menu module for faster administration, and this module is known to be significant burden on the server. The fact that Drupal 8 is faster in our tests despite loading the additional 200 menu items is impressive! 

Tested page: https://demo.sooperthemes.com/glazed-main/elements/layout-elements/columns

Conclusion: Drupal 8 Is A Heavier System With More Extensive Caching That Can Make It Faster Than Drupal 7 In Real-Life Situations

At the start of its life Drupal 8.0 got a lot of criticism for being slow. Now in 2018, Drupal 8.5 has seen a significant number of performance improvements and while it's still slower than Drupal 7 at the core, it's faster in complex situations that are more relevant to real-life Drupal websites.

Drupal 8 is faster where it matters, and more scalable! It's also important to add that both test installations did not have any special settings enabling caching of content, views, blocks, etc. Drupal 8 has a much more advanced and more granular caching system that lets you finetune and optimize your experience for logged in users on a grander scale than was every possible with Drupal 7. Notably there is the BigPipe module that gives you lightning fast loadtimes for your primary content and it can then separately lazy-load less important content, like the footer, menus, and sidebar blocks.

For sure this test brings good news to SooperThemes customers, who will enjoy a faster experience our of the box with our Glazed demo installation profiles. As a side note: importing demo content is also twice as fast in our Drupal 8 installation profiles versus Drupal 7.

What is your experience?

Drupal's performance is a complex thing to test and I'm sure you can get different results in varying situations, if you have any questions about the test or if you want to share your own experience with Drupal 8's performance let me know in the comments!

Silicon Valley Investors Wants to Fund a 'Good For Society' Facebook Replacement

Slashdot -

Silicon Valley angel investor Jason Calacanis just announced the "Openbook Challenge," a competition to create a replacement for Facebook. "Over the next three months, 20 finalists will compete for seven $100,000 incubator grants," explains long-time Slashdot reader reifman. "Their goal is to find startups with a sustainable business model e.g. subscriptions, reasonable advertising, cryptocurrency. etc. And they want it to be 'good for society.'" Jason Calacanis writes: All community and social products on the internet have had their era, from AOL to MySpace, and typically they're not shut down by the government -- they're slowly replaced by better products. So, let's start the process of replacing Facebook... We already have two dozen quality teams cranking on projects and we hope to get to 100... This is not an idea or business plan competition. We're looking for teams that can actually build a better social network, and we'll be judging teams primarily based upon their ability to execute... Keep in mind, that while ideas really matter, Zuckerberg has shown us, execution matters more. Calacanis has even created a discussion group for the competition...on Facebook. And his announcement includes a famous quote from Mark Zuckerberg. "Don't be too proud to copy."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Could We Fund a Universal Basic Income with Universal Basic Assets?

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Universal Basic Incomes aren't really the issue, argues Fast Company staff writer Ben Schiller. "It's how you find $2 trillion to pay for it." One answer may come in the form of "universal basic assets" (UBA). UBA can mean a fund of publicly-owned infrastructure or revenue streams -- like Alaska's Permanent Fund which pays residents up to $2,000 a year from state oil taxes. Or, it can mean actual assets that drive down the cost of living, like tuition-free education and free public broadband. There are lots of proposals going around now that fall into these two camps... Entrepreneur Peter Barnes has called for the creation of a Sky Trust that would both limit the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and provide revenue from carbon taxes. These "carbon dividends" solve two problems at once: income inequality and climate change. He would also tax corporations for using natural resources, on the thinking that the atmosphere, minerals and fresh water around us represent a "joint inheritance." He would also tax speculative financial transactions and use of the electromagnetic spectrum. The U.K. think-tank IPPR recently proposed a similar "sovereign wealth fund owned by and run in the interests of citizens." It would finance the fund with "a scrip tax of up to 3% requiring businesses to issue equity to the government, or pay a tax of equivalent value," sales of land owned by the U.K. monarchy, and higher inheritance taxes. Blockchain can help. Blockchain technology could offer a way to divide publicly-owned infrastructure so it's genuinely publicly-owned. We could issue tokenized securities in the assets around us giving everyone a stake in their environment. Then they could trade those tokens on exchanges, like they were cryptocurrencies, or use the tokens as collateral on loans.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

NYT: Lynchings Around the World are Linked To Facebook Posts

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An anonymous reader quotes the New York Times: Riots and lynchings around the world have been linked to misinformation and hate speech on Facebook, which pushes whatever content keeps users on the site longest -- a potentially damaging practice in countries with weak institutions and histories of social instability. Time and again, communal hatreds overrun the newsfeed unchecked as local media are displaced by Facebook and governments find themselves with little leverage over the company. Some users, energized by hate speech and misinformation, plot real-world attacks. A reconstruction of Sri Lanka's descent into violence, based on interviews with officials, victims and ordinary users caught up in online anger, found that Facebook's newsfeed played a central role in nearly every step from rumor to killing. Facebook officials, they say, ignored repeated warnings of the potential for violence, resisting pressure to hire moderators or establish emergency points of contact... Sri Lankans say they see little evidence of change. And in other countries, as Facebook expands, analysts and activists worry they, too, may see violence. A Facebook spokeswoman countered that "we remove such content as soon as we're made aware of it," and said they're now trying to expand those teams and investing in "technology and local language expertise to help us swiftly remove hate content." But one anti-hate group told the Times that Facebook's reporting tools are too slow and ineffective. "Though they and government officials had repeatedly asked Facebook to establish direct lines, the company had insisted this tool would be sufficient, they said. But nearly every report got the same response: the content did not violate Facebook's standards."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Many Amazon Warehouse Workers are on Food Stamps

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Many of Amazon's warehouse workers have to buy their groceries with food stamps through America's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, reports the Intercept. In Arizona, new data suggests that one in three of the company's own employees depend on SNAP to put food on the table. In Pennsylvania and Ohio, the figure appears to be around one in 10. Overall, of five states that responded to a public records request for a list of their top employers of SNAP recipients, Amazon cracked the top 20 in four. Though the company now employs 200,000 people in the United States, many of its workers are not making enough money to put food on the table... "The average warehouse worker at Walmart makes just under $40,000 annually, while at Amazon would take home about $24,300 a year," CNN reported in 2013. "That's less than $1,000 above the official federal poverty line for a family of four." In addition Amazon uses temp workers who may also be on food stamps, notes the article, adding that in 2017 Amazon received $1.2 billion in state and local subsidies, while effectively paying no federal income tax. "The American people are financing Amazon's pursuit of an e-commerce monopoly every step of the way: first, with tax breaks, subsidies, and infrastructure improvements meant to lure fulfillment centers into town, and later with federal transfers to pay for warehouse workers' food."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

What Happens When Restaurants Go Cashless

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There's a new trend starting: restaurants that won't accept cash. USA Today reports: Restaurant owners say ordering is faster from customers who slap down plastic instead of dollars, cutting a few seconds out of the process. But most of the benefits appear to accrue to the restaurants: less time taken counting bills, reduced pilferage, no armored-car fees or fear of stickups. It's a risky strategy. For starters, upscale Millennials -- among the most coveted of diners because of their youth and affluence -- prefer to pay in cash, according to Bankrate.com data. Also, more than a third of Americans between the ages of 18 and 37 do not have a credit card. For customers, patronizing restaurants that don't take cash means one less payment option when they need a quick meal during an all-too-short lunch hour. Plus, it raises questions about whether it discriminates against cardless teens and the poor... A committee in Chicago is weighing Alderman Edward Burke's proposed requirement that merchants accept cash. Massachusetts has had a Discrimination Against Cash Buyers rule on the books since 1978... Lana Swartz, co-editor of the book Paid: Tales of Dongles, Checks, and Other Money Stuff, says "One of the cornerstones of American capitalism is everyone's money is equal." Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports: Many business owners would rather be cashless. Cash actually costs money -- banks charge fees for cash deposits and to handle coins... And counting and checking cash and preparing it for deposit takes up time a manager could spend with staff or customers... Millions of consumers use little or no cash. In a survey released last month by the financial services company Capital One, only 21 percent of 2,000 people questioned said cash was their most common way to pay for things. But going cashless isn't a slam-dunk. Some customers who want to use cash point to a statement on paper money: "This note is legal tender for all debts public and private." However, the Federal Reserve says on its website that private companies can make their own policies about cash unless there is a state law saying otherwise. One Houston restauranteur changed his mind about going cashless, saying "You can't compete if you think you're going to create a whole set of rules and expect people to follow them." One Chicago restauranteur admits that "it has generated the most negative pushback of anything we've ever done," estimating revenue fell 2% just from angry cash customers who never returned. But he persisted because his eight restaurants had experienced six burglaries, break-ins or armed robberies over the last eight years -- and got "dozens and dozens" of counterfeit bills from customers -- while by going cashless, he no longer has to pay for bank fees and armored car pickups.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Former Reddit Executive Sees 'No Hope' For Reddit

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An anonymous reader quotes former Reddit product head Dan McComas: I think, ultimately, the problem that Reddit has is the same as Twitter and Discord. By focusing on growth and growth only and ignoring the problems, they amassed a large set of cultural norms on their platforms. Their cultural norms are different for every community, but they tend to stem from harassment or abuse or bad behavior, and they have worked themselves into a position where they're completely defensive... I really don't believe it's possible for either of them to catch up on the problem. I think the best that they can do is figure out how to hide this behavior from an average user. I don't see any way that it's going to improve. I have no hope for either of those platforms. I just think that the problems are too ingrained, in not only the site and the site's communities and users but in the general understanding and expectations of the public... I don't think that they're going to be able to turn these things around... I fundamentally believe that my time at Reddit made the world a worse place. And that sucks, and it sucks to have to say that about myself... I've got a lot of advice for start-ups, and it's not very fucking complicated. It's just: Think about the impact that you want to have on your users and on the people consuming your content and do the right thing... Don't be idiots about it. You're people, you see what's going on, you see trends that are forming, just fucking do something. It's not that hard.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Eventbrite Claims The Right To Film Your Events -- And Keep the Copyright

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Eventbrite lets you sell tickets online for your events. An anonymous reader reports on Eventbrite's newly-updated merchant agreement. The merchant agreement specifies that you "grant permission to Eventbrite and its agents to enter onto and remain on the premises (including real property, fixtures, equipment, or other personal property) where your event is hosted...with personnel and equipment for the purpose of photographing and recording the Premises, both internally and externally in connection with the production of digital content on the date of your event(s) and any other dates reasonably requested by Eventbrite (for example, during setup and breakdown for the event) (the 'Shoot')." But in addition, you're also granting them permission to record and use footage of all your attendees and speakers, "in any manner, in any medium or context now known or hereafter developed, without further authorization from, or compensation to." And after that Eventbrite "will own all rights of every nature whatsoever in and to all films and photographs taken and recordings made hereunder, including without limitation of all copyrights therein and renewals and extensions thereof, and the exclusive right to use and exploit the Recordings in any manner, in any medium or context now known or hereafter developed..." You're even responsible for obtaining all the clearances and licenses "necessary to secure Eventbrite the permissions and rights described above," and you also release Eventbrite from any claims that may arise regarding use of the Recordings, "including, without limitation, any claims of defamation, invasion of privacy, or infringement of rights of likeness, publicity or copyright." "So, yeah. No," tweeted Ars Technica's national security editor. "Eventbrite is now off my list for recommended event organizing tools."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

GitHub Launches Bot-Powered Learning Lab for New Developers

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An anonymous reader quotes VentureBeat: GitHub is launching a new bot-powered learning lab to help budding developers get up to speed on all things GitHub... The GitHub Learning Lab, which officially launched Thursday, builds on GitHub's prior history of training people, except this time GitHub is using bots to expedite the learning process. There is no videoconferencing or webcasts here. "After training thousands of people to use Git and GitHub, the GitHub Training Team has established a tried-and-true method for helping new developers retain more information and ramp up quickly as they begin their software journeys," the company said in a blog post. "And now, we're making those experiences accessible to developers everywhere with GitHub Learning Lab." The bot helps users work through issues in a repository environment, passing comment on any work that you do while checking over pull requests -- notifications of changes you've made -- in a similar fashion to how a human project lead might do. If the bot isn't able to help with a specific question you have, there are humans on hand too via the GitHub Learning Lab forum, which includes outside experts and members of GitHub's in-house training team.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Lycos Finally Discontinues Its Free Email Service

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Long-time Slashdot reader williamyf writes: You may think of it as the end of an era, or as the final nail in the coffin. Today Lycos, one of the pioneering web portals of the '90s, notified all it's users that "On May 15th, 2018, we will no longer be offering free Lycos Mail accounts." They have been very upfront about the reason: "Q: Why are you doing this? A: Providing mailboxes costs us money, and we no longer make enough from ads to support the cost of the mailboxes." At it's heyday, Lycos was acquired by Terra Networks (a division of Telefonica), then sold to Daum Communications in Korea and then to Ybrant Digital in India. The search engine and other parts (like Angelfire, Tripod and Gamesville) continue working. In the meantime, instructions are provided to download all your mail via POP3 for offline archiving, or to upgrade to Paid Accounts.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Doctors Tried To Lower $148K Cancer Drug Cost; Makers Tripled Its Price

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Slashdot reader Applehu Akbar writes: Imbruvica, a compound that treats white blood cell cancers, has until now been a bargain at $148,000 per year. Until now, doctors have been able to optimize dosage for each patient by prescribing up to four small-dose pills of it per day. But after results from a recent small pilot trial indicated that smaller doses would for most patients work as well as the large ones, its manufacturer, Janssen and Pharmacyclics, has decided on the basis of the doctors' interest in smaller dosages to reprice all sizes of the drug to the price of the largest size. This has the effect of tripling the price for patients, and doctors have now put off any plans for further testing of lower dosages. The researchers are retaliating by urging clinical investigators to test whether the expensive pill could be safely given every other day -- and by calling on America's public health regulators to investigate the drug's pricing.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Lyft Announces It Will Make All Rides Carbon Neutral

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Lyft announced it will spend millions of dollars to make all its rides carbon neutral. An anonymous reader quotes CNN Money: The San Francisco-based ride-hailing company announced Thursday that it will pay for a range of environmentally beneficial projects to compensate for the emissions from the millions of car journeys it provides every week. The tactic, known as carbon offsets, is a way for Lyft to do something about climate change without changing its business model. Lyft will fund initiatives including forestry projects, renewable energy ventures and capturing emissions from landfills. The efforts will put Lyft among the 10 largest voluntary offset programs in the world, according to 3Degrees, the renewable energy company Lyft is partnering with to find suitable projects... Lyft will track how many miles its drivers cover -- and the make and model of their vehicles -- to calculate exactly how many emissions it must offset. The company will not limit itself just to the carbon footprint from when passengers are in Lyft vehicles, but will also include the mileage its drivers rack up on their way to pick people up. Lyft co-founder John Zimmer believes that within their first year they'll offset over a million metric tons of carbon -- "equivalent to planting tens of millions of trees or taking hundreds of thousands of cars off the road." Zimmer told CNN that "With great scale comes great responsibility."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Can Tesla's Batteries Power Puerto Rico?

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An anonymous reader quotes Electrek: Almost 1 million ratepayers of the Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority on the island of Puerto Rico were reportedly without power Wednesday during an island-wide blackout. But a few hundred locations with Tesla Energy storage systems were able to keep the lights on, according to CEO Elon Musk... Some of those locations include very critical services. For example, Tesla deployed a series of Powerpack systems on the Puerto Rican islands of Vieques and Culebra for a sanitary sewer treatment plant, the Arcadia water pumping station, the Ciudad Dorada elderly community, the Susan Centeno hospital, and the Boys and Girls Club of Vieques. Furthermore, the automaker's energy division also deployed a solar+battery system at a hospital in Puerto Rico... It was also reported that the Puerto Rican government was considering Tesla's plan for a series of microgrids to help bring back power on a larger scale. The government has confirmed that they "presented several projects in remote areas that would allow entire communities to be more independent" and they also "presented a proposal to the Authority for Public-Private Partnerships for the deployment of a large-scale battery system designed to help stabilize the entire Puerto Rico electricity network." The proposal, involving de-centralized local solar farms, "should prove more resilient to natural disaster," Electrek reported earlier, adding " and of course, it would be a lot cleaner than their currently mostly fossil fuel-based power generation." Already Tesla batteries are "live and delivering power" at 662 locations, Elon Musk tweeted Wednesday. Meanwhile, CNN reports that one Puerto Rico resident spent three weeks building his own solar power system using $7,500 in parts -- which will ultimately prove cheaper than the $350 a month he was spending to run a gas generator (and waiting as long as six hours in the long gas lines). They're not revealing his name "because he's concerned someone may try to steal his new system."

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