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+ - Slashdot Beta Woes 16

Submitted by s.petry
s.petry (762400) writes "What is a Slashdot and why the Beta might destroy it?

Slashdot has been around, well, a very long time. Longer than any of it's competators, but not as long as IIRC. Slashdot was a very much one of the first true social media web sites.

On Slashdot, you could create a handle or ID. Something personal, but not too personal, unless you wanted it to be. But it was not required either. We know each other by our handles, we have watched each other grow as people. We may have even taken pot shots at each other in threads. Unless of course you are anonymous, but often we can guess who that really is.

One of Slashdot's first motto's was "News for Nerds" that Matters. I have no idea when that was removed. I have not always scoured the boards here daily, life can get too busy for that. That excuses my ignorance in a way. I guess someone thought it politically incorrect, but most of us "Nerds" enjoyed it. We are proud of who we are, and what we know. Often we use that pride and knowledge to make someone else look bad. That is how we get our digs in, and we enjoy that part of us too. We don't punch people, we belittle them. It's who we are!

What made Slashdot unique were a few things. What you will note here is "who" has been responsible for the success of Slashdot. Hint, it has never been a just the company taking care of the servers and software.

— First, the user base submitted stories that "they" thought mattered. It was not a corporate feed. Sure, stories were submitted about companies. The latest break through from AMD and Intel, various stories regarding the graphic card wars, my compiler is better than your compiler, and yes your scripting language stinks! Microsoft IIS has brought us all a few laughs and lots of flame wars to boot. Still, we not only read about the products but get to my second point.

— User comments. This is the primary why we have been coming here for as long as we have, many of us for decades. We provide alternative opinions or back what was given in the article. This aspect not only makes the "News" interesting, but often leads to other news and information sharing. It's not always positive, but this is the nature of allowing commentary. It also brings out the third point.

— Moderation. Moderation has been done by the community for a very long time. It took lots of trial and error to get a working system. As with any public system it's imperfect, but it's been successful. People can choose to view poorly modded comments, but don't have to. As with posting anonymous versus with our own handle it's an option that allows us to personalize the way we see and read what's on the site. And as a reward for submitting something worth reading, you might get a mod point of your own to use as a reward for someone else.

Why we dislike Beta and what is being pushed, and why this will result in the end of an era if it becomes forced on the community.

1. Bulky graphics. We get that Dice and Slashdot need revenue. I have Karma good enough to disable advertisements, but have never kept this setting on. I realize that Slashdot/Dice make money with this. That said, the ads sit away from my news and out of the way. I can get there if I want it (but nobody has ever gotten a penny from me clicking an ad... nobody!), but it's not forced into my face or news feed.

2. Low text area. I like having enough on my screen to keep me busy without constant scrolling. Slashdot currently has the correct ratio of text to screen. This ratio has never been complained about, yet Beta reduces the usable text area by at least 1/2 and no option for changing the behavior. I hate reading Slashdot on mobile devices because I can't stand scrolling constantly.

3. JavaScript. We all know the risks of JS, and many of us disable it. We also have an option of reading in Lync or non-standard browsers that many of us toy with for both personal and professional reasons. This flexibility is gone in Beta, and we are forced to allow JS to run. If you don't know the risks of allowing JS to run, you probably don't read much on Slashdot. Those that allow JS do so accepting the risk (which is admittedly low on a well known site).

4. Ordering/Sorting/Referencing. Each entry currently gets tagged with a unique thread ID. This allows linking to the exact post in a thread, not just the top of the thread. In Beta this is gone. It could be that the site decided to simply hide the post ID or it was removed. Either way, going to specific posts is something that is used very commonly by the community.

5. Eye candy. Most of us are not here for "eye candy" and many have allergic reactions to eye candy. Slashdot has a good mix currently. It's not as simple as the site starting with a r-e-d-i-t, which is good. That site has a reputation that keeps many of us away, and their format matches my attitude of them (s-i-m-p-l-e-t-o-n). At the same time, it's not like watching some other "news" sites with so much scrolling crap I can't read an article without getting a headache. The wasted space in beta for big bulky borders, sure smells like eye candy. Nothing buzzes or scrolls yet, but we can sense what's coming in a patch later.

The thing is, the community cares about Slashdot. We come here because we care. We submit stories because of that, we vote because of that, we moderate because of that, and we comment because of that. At the same time we realize that without the community Slashdot loses most of its value. We respect that we don't host the servers, backup the databases, or patch the servers. Slashdot/Dice provide the services needed for Slashdot.

It's a give give relationship, and we each get something in return. Slashdot gets tons of Search hits and lots of web traffic. We get a place to learn, teach, and occasionally vent.

Look, if you want to change default color scheme or make pre-made palettes for us to choose from, we would probably be okay with that. If you want to take away our ability to block ads by Karma, or move the ads to the left side of my browser window, I would be okay with those things too.

If you want to make drastic changes to how the site works, this is a different story all together. The reason so many are against Beta is that it breaks some of the fundamental parts of what makes Slashdot work.

User input until recently has not been acknowledged. The acknowledgment we have received is not from the people that are making the decision to push Beta live. We told people Beta was broken, what it lacked, and we were rather surprised to get a warning that Beta would be live despite what we told people. People are already making plans to leave, which means that Slashdot could fade away very soon.

Whether this was the goal for Dice or not remains to be seen. If it is, it's been nice knowing you but I won't be back. A partnership only works when there is mutual respect between the parties. A word of caution, us Nerds have good memories and lots of knowledge. The loss of Slashdot impacts all of Dice holdings, not just Slashdot. I boycott everything a company holds, not just the product group that did me wrong.

If that was not the goal of Dice, you should quickly begin communicating with the user base. What are the plans are to fix what Beta has broken? Why is Beta being pushed live with things broken? A "Sorry we have not been communicating!", and perhaps even a "Thank you" to the user base for helping make Slashdot a success for so many years."

+ - Slashdot users give new beta design a huge Bronx cheer 2

Submitted by Presto Vivace
Presto Vivace (882157) writes "Alice Marshall reports that:

Slashdot users are extremely unhappy with the new Slashdot Beta design. The comment section of every single post is devoted to dissatisfaction with the new design. ... ... The thing to keep in mind about community sites devoted to user generated content is that the users generate the content.

"

+ - Dice runs scared. 6

Submitted by cfulton
cfulton (543949) writes "Slashdot management was found hiding under their desks today after a full scale nuclear meltdown on their site. Unable to post a reasonable reply to the thousands of negative comments on their BETA format, they simply modded down all the relevant comments. Then after running around the office for a while they all hid under their desks hoping it would all just go away."

Comment: Yep, it's DRM (Score 4, Insightful) 144

by Kunedog (#45893827) Attached to: Sony Announces Game Streaming Service
Imagine if the Ubisoft always-on DRM were an inherent, unremoveable aspect of the game system rather than just something tacked on to a few individual games after the fact, such that Ubisoft couldn't even begrudgingly neuter it in a patch. Well, this is even worse than that would be.

The game doesn't even run locally. All you get is streaming video/audio and all the lag you'd expect (including controller lag), which is a recipe for disaster in North America (before you even consider data caps).

Let's say you're lucky enough to have a 30mb/s connection. Why would you want to use it to transfer your game's video instead of, uh, a DVI cable, which is capable of 4 Gb/s? The people who developed DVI apparently understood that that 1920 x 1200 pixels w/ 24 bits/pixels @ 60Hz results in bandwidth well over 3 Gb/s. The people who push this stuff seem very, very confused (at best).

Some people consider IPS monitors unsuitable for games requiring fast reflexes (i.e. FPSes) due to their double-digit response times. Internet latency is often worse and certainly more unpredictable than LCD monitor response time, and with this tech it applies to audio and keyboard/controller/etc input too.

Those of us who know anything about bandwidth and compression and (especially) latency can see the enormous technical obstacles facing a service like this, and no one has ever done anything to explain how they intend to solve them. Onlive did everything they could to lock out independent reviewers with NDAs and closed demonstrations. A friend of mine described it as the gaming equivalent of the perpetual motion scam, and IMO that's spot on (except that it would still have the draconian DRM issues even if it worked perfectly).

Streaming games appear designed from the ground up to benefit the game publishers and fuck the customers, exactly what you'd expect from any DRM system.

Comment: Re:Same as lost luggage... (Score 3, Interesting) 894

One tactic I've heard of in the US is to buy a part to a gun (something small and convenient like a grip or a trigger or something). Then get a nice big lockable gun case and place it and everything else you care about inside.

Here is a video explaining this:
http://deviating.net/firearms/packing/

and a video presentation of the same:
http://vimeo.com/3923535

Comment: Re:Balked on Openness (Score 1) 88

by Kunedog (#45242091) Attached to: Ouya Developers Share Their Experiences

Which is probably a fair enough comment, given we are not talking about some vast multinational company here.

But compare it to the Kickstarter page:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ouya/ouya-a-new-kind-of-video-game-console

Hackers welcome. Have at it: It's easy to root (and rooting won't void your warranty). Everything opens with standard screws. Hardware hackers can create their own peripherals, and connect via USB or Bluetooth. You want our hardware design? Let us know. We might just give it to you. Surprise us!

After people began calling Al Sutton out over this, he made things even worse by implying that root access was a priviledge and Ouya hadn't promised much of anything (instead attempting to compare the console's openness to that of consoles you can buy at Gamestop).

As for "Open"; Well, a year or so ago the idea of going into a gaming centric store like GameStop or Game, buying a console, taking it home, writing a game on it, and publishing it without spending big money on development kits, licensing, and the like was pretty much non-existant. That's where OUYA is open; It's open to anyone to write games and apps without having to pay dev kit and licensing fees, it's open in that once you have your console you can code for it.
The reason you can still simply get root access is that I've seen people want to tinker beyond what most users would do. OUYA could stick to what was originally put on the Kickstarter page and take away root from non-devkits, but I, for one, would be against that, because I've seen that people do use it constructively and responsibly, and not everyone bricks their device then raises a support ticket to try and get OUYA to fix it.

So yes, I'll stick to calling it "shocking."

PS. A functioning non-OS-dependant recovery mode isn't just important for hackers. It could also be the difference between a faulty official update merely inconveniencing you, or outright bricking your console.

Comment: Balked on Openness (Score 2) 88

by Kunedog (#45232717) Attached to: Ouya Developers Share Their Experiences
I decided to never buy one after I learned that the company didn't support a genuine end user recovery mode, and witnessed an Ouya employee (Al Sutton) berating and insulting the customers who insisted on one.

His attitude about custom firmware was shocking as well.

http://ouyaforum.com/showthread.php?3193-Let-OUYA-know-we-NEED-to-be-able-to-boot-to-recovery

I'm keeping a track of how many requests we get relating custom firmware, and from what I'm seeing the user base is not as interested in custom firmware as you might think, which is echoed by this thread (we've shipped 60,000+ units, and less than 10 people have commented in the last month in this thread about getting access to recovery mode).That doesn't mean that we're shooting the idea down, you need to keep in mind that in terms of priorities this is way down the list as you'd expect from any feature where it's being requested by less than one tenth of one percent of the user-base.

It really floored me to read this a week before Ouya's launch, given the kickstarter page's promises of hackability. Anyone with a reflashable phone (or any pretty much any other Android device whatsoever capable of using custom ROMS) knows that a real recovery mode is absolutely essential, in case the OS/kernel gets borked. Ouya's supposed "recovery mode" relies on an already-bootable OS, so it's useless.

Comment: New York (Score 1, Offtopic) 238

by Kunedog (#44234023) Attached to: Florida Law May Accidentally Ban Computers and Smartphones
In their rush to infringe on the 2nd Amendment, New York unwittingly banned cops from carrying certain guns earlier this year:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NY_SAFE_Act#Criticisms

Poorly thought-out authoritarian extra-constititutional power-grabs aren't solely a left- or right-wing thing.

Comment: The Reason I Buy Intel SSDs . . . (Score 1) 72

by Kunedog (#38948951) Attached to: New Intel 520 Series SSD Taps SandForce Controller
The reason I always bought Intel SSDs was because they always had Intel controllers, and Intel controllers were always stellar. Intel for years prioritized random access and did it better than anyone else. The 510 series, the first to be released with a non-Intel (Marvell) controller, seemed like such a pointless drive, with worse random performance than the 2 year old X25-M.

The problem is that sequential numbers are always faster and therefore easier to market to people who don't know any better. The 510 served a marketing need, not an engineering one.

I don't follow the market as closely anymore so I don't know if the 520 series makes any more sense, but if we know that Intel was willing to sacrifice random access performance to use a Marvell controller. What will they sacrifice for a Sandforce controller? Reliability?

"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers." -- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a particularly vivid fantasy)

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