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Journal: Notacon 2007 is coming: Get involved!

Journal by Myself

After three successful years, Notacon's 2007 event will also be host to Blockparty, a North American demoparty. In the past, Notacon has tackled its goal of being a creativity-oriented technology event by pushing themes of art, music, history, communication, community, and hacker culture. This year, there'll be talks from some of the biggest names in the demo scene, competitions, and even more great prizes. Also in the works is a talk given by a dead guy. (His sense of humor would totally approve.) There's a ham radio station planned for this year, plus the streaming-audio Notacon Radio. Oh yes, bring your contraptions for Anything but Ethernet, my absurd networking contest.

Now here's what makes it all interesting: Notacon just announced the first three speakers for the 2007 event, but the Call for Proposals is still open. Notacon's all about giving interesting ideas a venue, so if you have something to contribute to the milieu, write it up! Submit it! Do it today!

User Journal

Journal: A Prediction 4

Journal by orthogonal

If my prior comments on wikipedia are any guide, after the post drops off the front page, a wikipedia editor with mod points will mod-bomb all my (currently 5,5,5,4) comments in the Wikipedia story.

The wikipedia administration, for whatever reason, is extraordinarily defensive and hates to see criticism remain un-suppressed. If this is reminiscent of a cult, well, if the show fits....

User Journal

Journal: The Gold Museum 4

Journal by dada21

For those regulars who read my posts, I've started a Museum of Gold Coins and Gold Bars that I'll be updating daily for the next 2 weeks. I know many of my "fans" are starting to show interest in coins, and I hope this museum will eventually have enough facts on coins so that one can decipher the real deals from the "collectible" scams out there.

User Journal

Journal: Reply to bad stories with "mod STORY down" comments. 3

Journal by javaxman
I think I've finally reached the breaking point with regards to stories on slashdot that just plain suck. Stories which are dupes of very recent stories, stories which include ( often intentionally ) just plain wrong, inflamatory, trolling statements, stories that don't pass the "laugh test" for credibility.

Simply put, all to often these days, stories on slashdot end up being neither news, for stuff that matters. They often seem more like the most sensational, most-likely-to-generate-comments-and-page-views tripe of the day.

The problem is that we slashdot readers are at the mercy of the 'editors' here. Unfortunately, a good deal of the value in slashdot, aside from the insighful, informed comments from it's readership, is that the stories are somewhat limited in number and somewhat pre-culled from the insanely large amount of information available on the internet. By having fewer, better stories, Slashdot has the ability to be better than user-story-moderated sites like the oh-so-frequently compared Digg, but unfortunately it doesn't appear to be working out that way. I like having fewer stories, but if they're dupes or trolls designed for page hits, rather than interesting, informative stories, it hardly makes for a website worth visiting.

What to do about this problem?

I'm not sure. Since we have no story moderation, really our only options are

(a) vote with our feet / pageviews. Go to some other site. I might. Don't tell me to "just ignore lame stories", sometimes it's hard to tell, and if I want to skim stories and pick the interesting ones, I can go to Digg or even Yahoo/Google/whatever news feeds...

(b) Complain in comments. A lot. That's what I'm proposing. If a story is a dupe, meaning NO new information is contained, or a troll, meaning it contains simply wrong statements made for no reason other than to inflame opinion ( you have to be careful there, but sometimes it's obvious ), hit "REPLY" and type the subject "mod STORY down". Don't just leave the comment blank, explain why the story sucks.

Maybe if enough people do this, slashdot editors will pick up a clue. Even if they don't, you and I will be able to check the comments of a story for lots of ( likely low-moderated ) "mod STORY down" comments and we'll ignore it, depriving the trolling slashdot editor of his page views.

Will it work? If not, at least we tried. Will our karma be damaged by well-meaning moderators or vengeful 'editors' ? Do you really care about your slashdot karma that much ? I'd really have a slashdot with decent stories, myself.

Oh, and by the way... do people submit stories knowing they're basically trolls? What kind of person would be so anti-social as to do such a thing ?

Well, look at this comment to find out. It appears to just be a game to some, even though it really kinda spoils slashdot for others. Dang, mean people suck, don't they?

While I like the idea of Foeing people who submit bad/troll stories, that means I won't see their comments... but will see their stories. The problem is that sometimes, though the stories are terrible, the comments are reasonable. For example, here is a post from someone who submitted a hoax story without a 'funny' category or other disclaimer. But it seems their comments may occasionally be worthwhile. We should certainly start a campaign to get everyone to foe Beatles Beatles, though, there does seem to be a consensus there...

User Journal

Journal: Be Your Own Boss? 7

Journal by dada21

I've received numerous e-mail regarding how I run my businesses and the secrets to my success. Since so many of the e-mails are along the same vein, I decided to blog my responses and follow up in private e-mails for those who hate blogs.

http://yourownboss.blogspot.com

Toys

Journal: Innate Gender Preferences in Toys 25 Million Years Old? 2

Journal by orthogonal

Some 25 million years ago, humans and vervet monkeys diverged from a common ancestor. In very rough terms, perhaps one and a quarter million human generations, or five million vervet generations, have been brought forth upon the Earth since that common ancestor lived. Of course, many differences have evolved between humans and vervets in those 25 million years: among other things, human parents choose toys for their children; vervet parents do not.

But after all that time and genetic change, and despite studies attributing human children's toy preferences to adult stereotypes, a new study by Dr. Gerianne Alexander finds that vervet males, like human boys, prefer toy trucks and balls, while vervet females and human girls prefer dolls and toy cooking pots. What's more, the vervets play with the toys much as human children do: males roll trucks on the ground, females inspect dolls (apparently) for genitalia. Previously on Slashdot: Harvard president Larry Summers and his daughter's "baby truck", Gender and gaming.

[Submitted and, of course, rejected.]

User Journal

Journal: Slashdot fans! Help me! 9

Journal by orthogonal

I've got a number of fans, and I've never asked for anything other than that you appreciate my comments here.

But now I need your help.

A spark jumped from my finger and now my Touchstream LP keyboard is dead. Like the parrot in the Python skit. Dead.

Windows plug-and-play doesn't recognize it at all.

So I need your help.

Can anyone either

  • suggest possible repairs
  • or, tell me where I can get a replacement?

Neither of these are easy: the keyboard uses capacitance to track fingers, so the spark may have burnt those out, or -- since it doesn't respond at all -- the main circuit board may be fried.

And the manufacturer of the Touchstream has been bought up, and Touchstream keyboards are no longer manufactured.

Please, Obi-Wan, ^HHHH er, Slashdot fans, you're my only hope.

Portables

Journal: Laptop functionality in handheld form factor? 5

Journal by orthogonal

I'm playing around with the idea of getting a laptop and (geek warning) some sort of VR glasses instead of a screen.

Optimally, I'd like something with the form factor of a Sharp Zaurus, but with a hard drive and standard ports.

Basically, I want a "real computer" that I can put in my pocket. To use the VR glasses, I'd need standard USB ports and the ability to use a standard video card.

Is this too bleeding edge? What are my options for a really small laptop, possibly without a screen?

This is slashdot, so I know you guys have some good ideas, and a good sense of what's possible.

Slashdot.org

Journal: Why meta-moderating is fun...

Journal by javaxman
I've always found an odd pleasure in meta-moderating posts. Today, I realized a big part of why it's actually pretty fun :

These are the posts that other people found interesting, insightful, informative, funny, trollish, offtopic, and otherwise attention-grabbing. Someone bothered to moderate the posts you're looking at. So, right off the bat, it's a selection of the best, worst and most entertaining posts that you're looking at.

Then, there's the bit that pleases my short attention span : they're posts from all over, from whenever, probably stories and posts that you'll miss even if you read /. every day. Occasionally you have to check out the context to see what's going on, but mostly you're just jumping from random topic to random topic. That's pretty fun.

Of course, a key component of the fun of meta-moderating is in judging the judges. We all like to judge, and especially we like to judge the judgmental. Doing civic duty by bolstering the /. moderation system is just icing on the cake.

Data Storage

Journal: Your secret stash of ancestral DNA to the rescue?

Journal by orthogonal
(A)bort, (I)gnore, (R)evert to Grandma's DNA A jaw-dropping revision to Mendelian inheritance: bad genes can be replaced from a secret ancestral stash. (Is the stash in RNA? DNA? A gzip file? We don't know.)

The same researchers have previously mentioned other ways to get around Mendel. See abstract #34.

Almost as interestingly, this discovery could undercut the deleterious mutation hypothesis theory of why sexual reproduction is useful, useful despite what John Maynard Smith termed its "two-fold cost", and explain the eighty-million years of asexual reproduction without extinction in bdelloid rotifers.

Also, brought to you by the letter... 3FB? DNA gets a fake fifth letter.

(This was submitted to Slashdot and rejected, so you get to see it exclusively in my journal, or over on MetaFilter.)

User Journal

Journal: The Dangling Conversation (apologies to Simon & Garfunkel)

Journal by orthogonal

"When you wanted me, I figured I had, or would have down the road, better prospects than you. Um, things didn't work out as bright and shiny as I hoped. Now I'd, you know, be willing to settle.

"Ok, actually, I really don't even think of you anymore, and your name doesn't still make me pause and wonder 'what if', if it ever really did, (it doesn't, even though the mere thought of me is still like a fresh punch in the gut for you after all these long withered years).

"But if it consoles you to think that you cross my mind on lonely white nights at three a.m. and I feel some sort of vague formless regret -- honestly, any regret I feel is more for my lost youth than for you per se, at this point you just kinda symbolize that lost youth for me, like an old 'Letter' sweater from highschool or a copy of the program for that play we were in together, or those pictures of guys with long sideburns that you know instantly are from the time of the Nixon Administration --, well, you always were the sentimental sort who wrote poetry and believed bathetic crap like 'true love', so keep on with what's essentially your form of mental masturbation if it makes you feel better."

"Ok, stop crying, it always annoyed me when you cried because it made me feel like I was supposed to do something and what did you want me to do, I mean, you were nice and fun and all that --- yes the sex was good, why do you always ask about that --but, come on, we never -- hell, you especially never really expected it to last, I mean we travelled in different circles and you weren't Jewish, not that that's a big deal to me, but Jesus, your family -- please stop crying, ok, so sometimes on occasion I miss you, is that what you wanted to hear?

"Ok, so sure, sometimes I think of you, but really, if I'm the 'one who got away' for you, don't you sometimes stop to think there's one who got away for me too, and it's only natural that rather than think of you when I'm lonely -- yes, yes, yes, sometimes I do think of you, and you were really nice. Yes! Yes I mean it! Why would I lie now?? Really. I do mean it.

"Yes, you were really nice. Ok?

"And it was great talking to you. Sure, sure, same time, next year, give me a call like always. No, I do like hearing from you. I do.

"Ok, you have a nice night too."

Businesses

Journal: Track stocks of companies that slashdot hates/loves! 1

Journal by javaxman
Lord Dwoemer gets credit for inspiring my first /. journal entry! He wrote :You know, someone should set up a Slashdot fund and make it available to view on a website. Just a fantasy stock market thing that would track the stock prices of all the companies Slashdot loves to hate.

I think this is actually a great idea... I'd like to expand it a bit to have a separate list of companies we like, but that's less important.

Here's a start, for the list we all know is most important, the "hate" list :

MSFT SCOXE SCOX IFLB.OB SNE RNWK TWTC

Honestly, the "love" list is ( oddly enough ) likely to be longer just because of the number of companies that now support Linux, along with the companies that just generally make nice with OSS. I'll save that list for a later entry, though, because we all know it's more fun to kick SCO than to talk about IBM, Novell and Red Hat...

If you've read this far, can you take a couple of minutes to look up the stock symbol of a company which should be on either list but hasn't been mentioned yet, and share that symbol in the comments below? Thanks. You guys rock... but then, you knew that...

Does anyone have or know of a site that will host these lists for us, collecting and displaying the market data? For the time being, I'm going to just track them in my own "my yahoo" page, just because I can't think of a different place to get the data, but if there was a page everyone could look at... well, you might get some traffic...

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -- Albert Einstein

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