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+ - Calling upon the Slashdot long term memory

Submitted by BenoitGirard
BenoitGirard (927897) writes "Several years ago, there appeared in magazines and web sites such as Slashdot an ad for a computer related product I unfortunately can't remember. To attract the attention of programmers, the ad relied on a short text that summarized admirably all that is good about geekness. The text spoke about choosing substance over ephemeral fashion and a couple other central caracteristics of being a geek. It was a unique and striking definition of geekness never attempted before or since and, therefore, quite identifiable for those who have been exposed.

I'm desperately trying to lay hands on this text which, I consider, should be framed and put on the wall. Do you happen to remember this ad? Did you, at the time, copy down the exact text of this definition of geekness? Can you help me track it down in any way? Thanks."
The Media

German Publishers Want Monopoly On Sentences 158

Posted by Soulskill
from the oh-the-possibilities dept.
Glyn Moody writes "You think copyright can't get any more draconian? Think again. In Germany, newspaper publishers are lobbying for 'a new exclusive right conferring the power to monopolize speech e.g. by assigning a right to re-use a particular wording in the headline of a news article anywhere else without the permission of the rights holder. According to the drafts circulating on the Internet, permission shall be obtainable exclusively by closing an agreement with a new collecting society which will be founded after the drafts have matured into law. Depending on the particulars, new levies might come up for each and every user of a PC, at least if the computer is used in a company for commercial purposes.' Think that will never work because someone will always break the news cartel? Don't worry, they've got that covered too. They want to 'amend cartel law in order to enable a global "pooling" of all exclusive rights of all newspaper publishers in Germany in order to block any attempt to defect from the paywall cartel by a single competitor.' And rest assured, if anything like this passes in Germany, publishers everywhere will be using the copyright ratchet to obtain 'parity.'"
Education

+ - Care and Feed of Computer 101

Submitted by
BenoitGirard
BenoitGirard writes "Like many, here, I act as the unofficial tech support department for my whole family and a substantial amount of friends too. Over the years, I've come to realize that many things that you and I take for granted and that form a mental model of what goes on in a computer while we work with it are simply not known to the common folk. They lack the basic knowledge they need to anticipate and solve problems before they amplify and become unsolvable.

On Christmas day, I found myself discussing internet security and one of my nieces said "Everybody always tell us to be careful, but nobody tells us what it means and how to be careful." There is a universe implicit in that statement. So I found myself dragged into offering to prepare a one day course that would systematically cover the basics. A kind of "Care and Feed of your Windows Personal Computer 101", if you will.

They enthusiastically accepted the offer and I am now brainstorming about the content of this course. I'll certainly talk about basic architecture (from the user point of view) that is, the distinction between OS and applications, installing and uninstalling applications, drive navigation, configuration of applications preferences, etc. Security as a process, will definitely be in. A list of open source alternatives to commonly used applications (Firefox and Thunderbird vs IE and Outlook Express, for instance). Some common resources on the Web and a substancial further reading list.

I am pondering the opportunity of including an introduction to the politics of IT and Internet (copyright, CC, net neutrality, free vs proprietary, Open source movement, Linux, etc.) but I'm not sure yet.

Anything that I'm missing and that should definitely be included?"

Comment: Blackbox no, I/O yes (Score 1) 164

by BenoitGirard (#19159063) Attached to: Better Communication with Non-Technical People?
Since they are not technical people, it's a waste of time to try to explain what's in the Blackbox at hand. Focus instead on the consequences of the choices offered. As in "If you go with choice number 1, it'll cost the company 2 millions dollars and there is a high risk of delay. Choice number two, on the other hand, means good integration with our infrastructure, cost less and offers better chances of success." They can understand these choices.

Computers will not be perfected until they can compute how much more than the estimate the job will cost.

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