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Journal: Google Blocks Pings 2

Journal by Ash Vince

Google are now not responding to pings from the outside world so all of us who ping their servers to check if the internet is up now have to find any something else to ping instead.

Does anyone have any recommendations for a decent site you can ping to see if your local internet connection has crashed?

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Journal: Slashdot - Are you getting paid to read it? 3

Journal by Ash Vince

After reading the Media Defender email leak recently it got me wondering as to how many other companies actually pay their employees to read slashdot. In the case of media defender it seems as though they pay staff to read it but probably don't mind them posting the occasional comment as at one point they talk about a comment being friendly and ask if it was one them posting it.

This led me to wonder how many people actually read and post on slashdot through choice nowadays. Now don't get me wrong, this is not one of those moaning posts where people just carp on about dupes and the like, but I am curious as to how many other companies might have people in their public relations departments reading slashdot, digg and other tech sites to keep them appraised of how well received a particular campaign or product is.

We know there was the whole Intel section recently but alot of companies that are currently less well liked here amongst the regular users (I can think of one in Redmond in particular) would not want to draw any attention to their staff involvement, even if it was only supposed to be in an observational capacity. This also assumes that if you paid staff to read slashdot all day they would be able to resist the urge to post the occasional comment.

Then there are all the strangely modded comments. Even if you were only supposed to READ slashdot, if you happened to log in one day and noticed you had some points, would you not be tempted to use them? The more paranoid amongst us might even realise it would be possible to write a script which looked at a number of different slashdot accounts and inspected the HTML after they were logged in and flagged any that did have mod points. And this is assuming the captcha prevents automated account creation and has not been defeated as well.

If I was getting paid to read slashdot, I would not mind spending a few minutes each day signing up a new account. Then at the end of the day the account gets entered into a database and as soon as the random mod points come round, bingo. I would be very surprised if I am the first person to realise how easily this could be achieved.

Some of you regular readers will also remember that someone recently wrote an algorithm to rate how reliable an article on wikipedia is (http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/08/31/0259224&from=rss). So does anyone out there have any ideas how we would do this for slashdot to flag up corporate trolls in a similar way? Then they might me able to read, but any regular posting be counter productive if the site could flag your posts with who was paying you.

On another similar note, could any of the paid readers here tell me how they got into the gig, as I would really like to get paid to sit about and read slashdot too.

Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science.

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