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Journal: Mobile Slashdot is annoying

Journal by symbolset

Yeah, I get it - you have to serve mobile kids too. I don't like that interface. Have been using classic on Android since I got it. I browse logged in. There should be configuration preference for "never show me the mobile site again".

User Journal

Journal: Backblaze Box 3.0

Journal by symbolset

Apparently Backblaze has a third generation box out. Backblaze is a provider of online backup who has a fixed fee "all you can eat" price structure. Because of this they have to minimize the cost of providing their huge storage needs. They designed a 4U server to hold 45 drives some years ago and open sourced it. Netflix uses the design now for their CDN. Since then Backblaze has improved it some and it has been reported here.

Now there's a site where you can buy them for retail, and there's a new version out. If you want to put 180TB raw into 4U, there is no more efficient way to do it.

User Journal

Journal: It's about the people, stupid 1

Journal by symbolset

In Star Trek they have a great deal of amazing technologies. Warp drive, transporters, phasers, replicators, lots of cool stuff. Some of these things have been realized at least partially with technology. Tech people love Star Trek mostly, and adore the tech. Some think that this is what Star Trek is about. This technology stuff is what makes Star Trek science fiction. This is not what Star Trek â" nor any popular fiction â" is about.

The tech in Star Trek has almost never been the story, and certainly never in a good episode. The tech is a method where the storyteller sets his story in a place just different enough from the current day that the audience can view the story objectively rather than subjectively. It is a prop. With this diversion the moral play becomes not a threat to the viewer's established prejudices because it happened in a mythical place far away in space and time, opening the viewer to alter their prejudices and experience (pleasurable) personal growth. Every Star Trek show is a moral play showing conflicts arising between people, and how they resolved them. It is about educating people about conflict resolution and ethical behavior. This and only this is why we watch. Roddenberry was shameless in re-telling all of the basic stories of the past in his postmodern future â" even Aesop's fables and Shakespeare. It's about the people because how people engage with other people is what we, as humans, connect with on an emotional level. That is what makes it a good story.

In the technology world we focus on the widget. What its gigawhats and megathings are relative to the one that came before. How many FPS it gets on TradeBench. This is entirely the wrong approach. The technology world is not about gigawhats. It's about people. People who have wants and needs, aspirations and dreams. To a certain extent we acknowledge this in the marketing department where the people who sell the stuff we make live and bring the money that buys our sweet engineering gear. Marketing understands this is how you sell things: You associate the thing in the customer's mind with a greater affinity with his family, the public, the world â" you empower and enable him to do what he needs or wants to do, to be important, or at least convince him you will, and he gives you his money.

Somehow a one-way conceptual firewall has been built between engineering and marketing where this idea cannot pass back to the people who invent stuff. Engineering doesn't respect marketing, and is living in its own Star Trek world where they invent ever more widgets they think are really cool and then fling them through the Barrier to Marketing to make of them what they can.

If you start instead at âoewhat do people really want and needâ and build that you don't need marketing much at all. People will beat down your door to get it once they know you have it. Make it your engineering goal to understand what people want and need at a basic human level, and focus on inventing stuff around enabling and empowering them to have that.

So what do people want and need? After air, food and shelter they want to connect with their fellow humans, to share and partake of sharing of each others' lives. This is why Facebook and Twitter are so huge. They want to relax and enjoy life, and enjoy songs and stories â" so, Netflix and Pandora. They want fame and recognition, so: Facebook and Twitter. Notice Facebook doesn't have a âoedislikeâ button? Know why that is? Because the fear of negative feedback would ruin the sharing experience by including the risk of rejection. They want love without fear. Give them that and they are yours.

User Journal

Journal: +5 Troll 1

Journal by symbolset

Of all the achievements I've managed in my /. time, this one has escaped me: the moderation of +5 Troll. I believe this rare goal has been achieved, and would like a link to the incident.

User Journal

Journal: Shadowbanned? 6

Journal by symbolset

I'm starting to detect some deviation from the former regime. Posts are no longer as controversial. My comments are not moderated as frequently - or at all. The front page is not as timely. There's a chance my idle maunderings don't even appear to most folk. The 16 hour outage of Hotmail and such remain unreported here. Something is amiss.

It may be time to take my leave of /. It was a long wonderful run but when it's over, it's over.

User Journal

Journal: The Heymann Petition has met its quota

Journal by symbolset

The US Attorney Carmen Ortiz and the professional prosecutor Steve Heymann both have petitions on the whitehouse "we the people" site calling for their termination in the wake of the Aaron Swartz scandal. The Ortiz petition was filled almost immediately, but the Heymann petition took longer. Today the Heymann petition is also filled.

The whitehouse has promised to give a response to petitions which meet these thresholds. Now we will find out what the response will be, and what the reaction to that response will be.

User Journal

Journal: Aaron Swartz: Steve Heymann needs to go too

Journal by symbolset

There are plenty of signatures on the Whitehouse petition to fire US Attorney Carmen Ortiz but she's just a politician. The frontline prosecutor who drove this case was Steve Heymann. He needs to go too, but his petition isn't trending to enough votes to get it done. We need to be rid of him too.

So do your part and do him in:

User Journal

Journal: Is it a decade already?

Journal by symbolset

Just got notified that it's been 10 years since I created this /. account. Had a prior account long since lost, and lurked for a while before that. But wow. 10 years. Nerd world has changed a lot in 10 years. Should do a retrospective.

User Journal

Journal: Her name is Carmen Ortiz 1

Journal by symbolset

The prosecutor who hounded Aaron Swartz to death, impoverishing his family and guaranteeing he would spend the rest of his natural days in federal prison because they had not enough to defend him properly: her name is Carmen Ortiz. She is the one who would do this to him - not for killing somebody, or stealing something, but for accessing information he was entitled to access manually in an automated way. Building scripts was his crime. Carmen Ortiz was his prosecutor. She killed him.


Journal: Windows 8 falls behind Vista adoption pace at month 2 1

Journal by symbolset

Computerworld's Gregg Keizer reports that based on NetApplications current adoption statistics for Windows 8, the operating system is not achieving market share as fast as Windows Vista. At the 2 month point Vista was at 2.2% of all Windows devices. 2 months past Launch Windows 8 has achieved a share of only 1.6%. In a related note, Fujitsu President Masami Yamamoto has joined the chorus of PC OEM executives complaining of poor sales. Pointedly Yamamoto blames Windows 8 for Fujitsu missing their annual projected sales targets.

User Journal

Journal: is Comscore tracking

Journal by symbolset

The script that's taking forever to load on slashdot these days is used for usage tracking. It's harmless. But the server is so overloaded that it's taking pages forever to load.

User Journal

Journal: Making the turn

Journal by symbolset

It's time to talk about the hard turn.

Change has been in the wind for a while now. The times, they are a-changing. We are going mobile. Windows PCs undersell mobile devices now by a rate of 1:2, and the change is logarithmic. This isn't some fad: real change is happening.

Some have read the weather well. Samsung especially, but Acer, Asus, Philips, Sony and Lenovo too. HP and Dell, not so much.

We're entering a new world now, that doesn't have legacy bindings holding us back. Let us make the most of it.


Journal: The $100 Android tablet

Journal by symbolset

In the run up to Santa season I see dozens of 7-9" Android tablets in the retail market with Android 4.0, capacitive touch screen and decent performance. A lot of them now marked "sold out". I think it's amazing that so much technology can be made so cheaply in such a small package. This is awesome.

User Journal

Journal: Why I pirate

Journal by SmallFurryCreature
On 9 October 2012, the game XCOM: Enemy launched... launched in the US. Unknown to me, the EU launch date was to several days layer, 12 October 2012. Maybe. Yet, 9 October 2012, I received an SMS from a dutch gaming retailer chain, that my copy was ready to be picked up. So I left work early that day to arrive 17:54 in front of the store. Doors pulled almost shut, store had already closed and refused to serve me. Very well, I thought there are other stores in the world, so I bought it the next day at Free Record Shop in Amsterdam. Then when I came home, I tried to install. First I had to install steam, which crashed, crashed and crashed some more but finally I got it working and had to create an account. Then activate my email. Then I installed the game and was told it was not released. What? If the game was not released, what was I holding in my hand? Note the error message mentioned nothing about a region or what would be the release date. Just not released. By google came to my aid and I found that throughout Europe, the game was available for sale but not yet ready for install. I read this from angry users posts. Not a single forum had an official answer yet. Not yet and counting. Even the official release date was less then clear. But I know my Internet, if Steam, Dutch retailing, 2kgames/firaxis couldn't/wouldn't help me, maybe some pirates would? thepiratebay itself is of course famously blocked in holland but there plenty of mirrors around. So I checked and yes, full downloads were available in various flavours for a total cost of ZERO bucks! And if you had issues, then the supplies answered your question in minutes. Not like the hours, days and counting before getting a reply from people I had payed money too. Many a reply to a piracy story has had comments similar to my story, so what is so special about it? Nothing. Just that after years of downloading, I have with MMO's gotten used again to paying and I didn't have any issue with paying for this game, if it had worked. But I do have an issue with paying 50 euro's for a game that can't be played and that now that I have read the forums I have seen is filled with bugs. Bugs the official forums have no answers for but that are fixed on piracy forums. To repeat myself, for this game the people that wanted me to pay did:
  • Act as if my giving them money is a favor they are doing me and only when they feel like it, opening hours be damned.
  • Not reply in a timely manner (or at all) to complaints
  • Treat Europeans as second rate customers for no reason (what are they afraid of, that a world-wide release will overload the servers)
  • Break consumer laws by selling a product not fit for its purpose (a game that can't even be installed is obviously not a fit product)

Meanwhile, the pirates offer:

  • Early access
  • No charge
  • Free, fast useful support by computer experts.
  • Service available any day of the week at any hour.

Sometimes the anti-piracy people complain the content industry can't compete with free. But come ON! I had PAYED already and the companies just said "no". Meanwhile the group that doesn't want money, said "yes". This is like paying a hooker to have an headache while your wife is stuffing your wallet full of money and begging for sex. Something ain't right!

And this is why I pirate. Because how else can I send the signal that I am not a sheep who will just keep turning the other cheek? Sure, there are sheep who advocate just that, just wait 3 days, it is not the developers fault etc etc. FUCK THAT! Nothing is every anybodies fault and I as a consumer should just take it all and keep quiet.

NO! And that is my reason why I post about being a pirate. Because just downloading alone isn't enough. Consumer boycotts don't work, there are to many sheep drowning out the silent protest of people like me who just see no other option but to not pay to make it clear I expect more service for my cash.

Because I see no other option. Mails go unanwered, forum posts get ignored, I can get my money back from the store and the sales clerk don't care, not his problem. How can I HURT that manager who thought it was a good idea to do a staggered release, hurt that Steam admin who didn't just flip a switch to prevent customers getting angry. How can I even get the companies involved to acknowledge my existence?

I can't. But I can keep my money in my pocket. That doesn't solve anything but it is a lot more fun having impotent nerd rage with cash then without.

Anyone want a beer over the backs of game developers who haven't learned that if they want an income, they need to tell their managers to not upset their customers?


Journal: Intel, AMD "Windows only" chips are about software patents 3

Journal by symbolset

Both Intel and AMD came out last week with chips that are focused on "Windows 8 first" and don't even pretend to be openly documented or available to all. That both would so suddenly reverse course on being open was a surprise. There are good reasons why Microsoft needs advanced access to integrate their software with innovative new processor technologies, and why AMD and Intel might be persuaded to cooperate. Together they are defending the "Wintel PC" ecosystem against the world's largest corporation by market capitalization, Apple, who is engaging in "vertical integration" by designing software and processor and other platform technologies together in a way that optimally balances the tradeoffs between what hardware best does and software best does. That is powerful leverage. But for Intel and AMD - and you and I - this is a trap and the consequences of this solution are dire.

It's about software patents. By Microsoft convincing Intel and AMD to focus on Windows only for the launch of these new power technologies, to secretly work with Microsoft on development, Microsoft get a jump start on the software patents. While the hardware interface is obfuscated Microsoft has six months to a year to file for patents on every possible software use of the hardware interfaces they can think of to use it. You can bet they're churning out patents by the hundred as I type this on things anybody reading the plain specifications would find obvious but the patent office will not. Microsoft will own utterly all the software uses of this hardware innovation, and by extension prevent all progress it enables that Microsoft does not control. Because of the ridiculous way patents work, this hands Microsoft complete control not only of these innovations but the entire systems which use them, of which they compose only a miniscule part.

Then when the facilities are openly documented and the open systems come out that leverage these technologies: BAM! Software patent lawsuits out the wazoo, and the Windows monopoly is protected against competition and progress for another human generation - unless Intel and AMD are killed utterly. Much like Samsung makes the touchscreen and owns huge patents on the technology, and then Apple and Microsoft sue Samsung for making devices incorporating touchscreens because they patented software that interprets certain software implementations of swiping and tapping.

As an unintended consequence Intel and AMD -only- get to move forward if Windows moves forward since Microsoft has all the patents on using the technologies they invented. By selling Microsoft this advantage for whatever they got in return, they've mortgaged their future to a single vendor and lost their ability to compete in open systems against ARM and Android. They've sunk their own boat. They can expect that Microsoft will use that lever to best advantage against their "partners" Intel and AMD, as Microsoft never misses a trick in that regard.

Intel has announced that "future platforms" with their technology will be open to Linux. AMD has announced that "Hondo" is being retrofitted with Android. Unfortunately, it is already too late. They have been cooperating with Microsoft secretly for many months before these announcements. The first patent applications on the most obvious uses of this hard-won hardware innovation are almost certainly already filed, with more to follow.

Don't pay to make yourself a victim again. Avoid these chips and anything tainted with this technology. Make AMD and Intel start from scratch, open from the start, if they want your money. At least then the open software implementations have a fair shot at establishing free and open prior art before Microsoft's lawyers have a chance to file their stupid software patents. Only with open hardware with well-documented interfaces available from the start can progress move forward, and even then only if the people who want to do interesting useful stuff step up and publish at least one way to use it before somebody who wants to control it utterly and prevent others from using it can whip up their patent thicket applications and beat them to the patent office.

The person who's taking you to lunch has no intention of paying.