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User Journal

Journal: Secrecy, Lies and Legislation

Journal by Tsar
HobbsOnline has broken an incendiary story about the circumstances surrounding the handling of SB3101, the latest version of Tennessee's "SDMCA," now on the Senate Judiciary Committee calendar for today's 3:30pm hearing. It appears that the opponents of SDMCA legislation, including Tennessee Digital Freedom and other organizations, may have been intentionally excluded from the process early on, with the intention of slipping this bill through the General Assembly with as little citizen involvement as possible. Wish TNDF luck in the hearing today!
News

Journal: MPAA Close to Another "Stealth Victory" in Ohio

Journal by Tsar
The Ohio State Legislature has passed House Bill #179 (PDF / HTML / Status) which, among other unrelated issues, makes it illegal to make an AV-recording in any theater or retail store where a motion picture is being displayed. Walk into a store that sells video gear and hit 'Record' on any camcorder, digital camera or PDA; the first click is a misdemeanor, the rest are felonies. Oh, and the janitor (or any employee) can detain you in or near the store until police arrive if they think you hit 'Record'. Actually recording any of a film (or even knowing that a film was being shown) is not required for a conviction. This bill now awaits Governor Bob Taft's signature--Ohioans, let him know what a bad law this is!
News

Journal: Tennessee's Super-DMCA Rises from the Grave

Journal by Tsar
Members of the Tennessee Digital Freedom Network turned out in force as Tennessee's Super-DMCA Bill, its hour come round at last, slouched back to Nashville's Legislative Plaza. The industry heavyweights made their pitches, but were thwarted by thoughtful, intelligent comments and questions from our Joint Committee on Communications Security. My favorite quote of the day: "I stand here before you as representing the MPAA, one of the leading advocates of First Amendment rights..." I think I blacked out for a minute after that.
News

Journal: World's Most "Offensive" Weapon Being Developed in Philly

Journal by Tsar
Stories in the Associated Press and London Times refer to an an article in this week's Chemical & Engineering News (paper subscription required), about the Monell Chemical Senses Center's contract with the Department of Defense to develop an "odor bomb," which could be used to quickly clear an area of human life, without directly causing injury (except death by trampling).
Privacy

Journal: We need an opt-out resource! 1

Journal by Tsar
What we need is some kind of clearing house of opt-out info, a la SpamCop, that would allow us to look up all the companies that we do business with and see what their real policies are. A nice feature would be the ability to generate legally binding letters of notification that we could send to those companies, preemptively opting out of all possible dissemination of our data.

Is this already available, or is someone working on it? If not, I'll get busy. Comments and suggestions welcome!
Science

Journal: Geeks Welcome in Rocket City, Alabama

Journal by Tsar
Thinking of moving south? CNN.com has a puff piece about Huntsville, Alabama, also known as "Rocket City," and how its high-tech economy has thrived through the recession. Interesting tidbits: One of every 13 people is an engineer, and 60% of the companies in town were started by former employees of NASA and the missile programs. The story gives Werner Von Braun the credit for bringing NASA and high-tech to this southern town, now a hotspot of aerospace, computer & telcom technology, as well as some cool websites and a huge rocketry club.
The Internet

Journal: The Register Has Disappeared - On Christmas Eve, No Less!

Journal by Tsar
This link at Nominet.uk gives the domain registration info of The Register, which appears to been detagged on Christmas Eve!

WHOIS query result:
________________________________________

Domain Name: THEREGISTER.CO.UK

Registered For: The Register

Domain Registered By: DETAGGED

Record last updated on 24-Dec-2001 by .

Domain servers listed in order:

WHOIS database last updated at 21:19:01 25-Dec-2001

The NIC.UK Registration Host contains ONLY information for domains
within co.uk, org.uk, net.uk, ltd.uk and plc.uk. Please use the whois
server at rs.internic.net for Internet Information or the whois server
at nic.ddn.mil for MILNET Information.

Is it only coincidence that this falls on the second anniversary of the Hotmail/Passport outage that gave Michael Chaney his fifteen minutes of Slashdot fame?

User Journal

Journal: Moderator: A Song by Tsar

Journal by Tsar
MODERATOR
(To the tune of "Operator" by Jim Croce)

Moderator, well, could you help mod up this post
See, the number of my karma is ten below now
I used to troll away
Now I'm bitch-slapped every day
I wish you guys would log off and just go home now

{Refrain}
But, isn't that the way Slashdot goes
But just forget my past
And mod this one comment if you can find it
So folks can read it and know that I'll climb to the cap
And overcome the slap
I've learned to read the polls
I only wish you guys couldn't see my trolls
'Til my thoughts have congealed
'Cause there's no court of appeals

Moderator, well, could you help mod up this post
Now it's scored so low that it's just infernal
There's something on my screen
You know I never think to clean
I might as well be posting this in my journal

{Refrain}
No, no, no, no, there's no court of appeals

Moderator, let's just forget about this post
There's no one out there who really wanted to read it
Crawl back in your pod
You guys should really just thank God
I can't meta-mod

{Refrain}
User Journal

Journal: My Comment History

Journal by Tsar
My First 67 Comments on Slashdot
Technology

Journal: Pentagon Seeking Out New Tech, New Weapons

Journal by Tsar
CBSNews.com has a story about the Pentagon's push for new advances in high-tech weaponry and battlefield technology for the War on Terror. Items on their shopping list include MAV's (micro aerial vehicles), retrofittable stealth nanotechnology in development at Clemson, Georgia Tech's "Bio-Gel" wound sealer, and smart clothing that can monitor your health and even change color to improve camouflage effects.
The Almighty Buck

Journal: Toshiba Latest Casualty of DRAM Price Wars

Journal by Tsar
ITWorld.com tells the story: Toshiba is getting out of the DRAM business. They had 6.2% of the world market last year, but soon their Manassas, VA facilities will belong to Micron, the Yokkaichi plant's DRAM production will be reduced to a trickle, and Toshiba will be out of the commodity memory market. Guess you can sell DRAM for a hundred bucks a gigabyte, but you can't make a living at it yet.
Slashdot.org

Journal: A Modest Karma Proposal 5

Journal by Tsar
A Parable of Karma

Joe Slashdotter signs in for an evening of /. reading, and catches a just-breaking story: the MicroWidget Corporation has just announced TeraWidget 1.0 (Open Source, of course, of course) and it's the greatest thing since punched cards. Joe happens to have some expertise in the HDW (High-Density Widget) field, so he posts a deeply insightful comment explaining his take on this development. He then settles in for a few hours of reading others' comments and responding thoughtfully and informatively to them. Everyone perceives Joe's insight, knowledge and incisive wit as a wonderful enhancement to the TeraWidget discussion, and continue to ply him for more. Before long, he's posted thirty comments, each with an initial score of 1, and an enthralled audience mods them up to an average of 4.5. His karma quickly caps at 50.

After the furor dies down, and folks begin to realize that TeraWidget 1.0 is really only GigaWidget 2.0 (or MegaWidget for Workgroups), later moderators won't perceive the same value in Joe's posts and mod them down as overrated. His thirty comments are reevaluated to an average of 2.5.

Now, look at what just happened. Joe has posted thirty comments today, which have now been modded up an average of 1.5 points each. His karma, though, now stands at -10, no matter what it was yesterday. His comments may now be initially scored -1, rendering him invisible to the vast majority of Slashdotters.

Is this scenario realistic? Perhaps not, but it happens all the time on a smaller scale, so it may happen periodically to this degree or something close to it. I just checked my stats: I've already made three comments today, and they were modded up to 3, 5 and 5 respectively. One of my comments was the site of a mod war which, after eight mods, brought it back down to 2. As a result, my karma now stands three points lower than it did this morning, even though my three comments for the day were modded up an average of 1 1/2 points.

Anybody else notice localized problems like this? I have a suggestion for a fix, though I'm sure there are better solutions:

Create a Glass Karma Cap. If a user is constantly pressed against it, with a large percentage of his comments being modded up, the pressure eventually causes the cap to yield. A secondary cap comes into play at 150, and the user can then post with a score of 1, 2 or 3 once he reaches 100 karma. If the user allows his karma to fall below 50, the cap reappears.

I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts on this idea, or why it won't work, or why another idea (or the current setup as it stands) is infinitely better.

Thanks,
Tsar

We are not a loved organization, but we are a respected one. -- John Fisher

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