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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."
Security

Ask Slashdot: Why Do Firms Leak Personal Details In Plain Text? 252

Posted by timothy
from the more-exciting-that-way dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Having entered my personal details (full real name, home address) to websites with an 'https://' prefix in order to purchase goods, I am still being sent emails from companies (or their agents) which include, in plain text, those same details I have entered over a secure connection. These are often companies which are very keen to tell you how much they value your privacy and how they will not pass your details on to third parties. What recourse does one have to tell them to desist from such behaviour whilst still doing business with them if their products are otherwise desirable? I email the relevant IT team as a matter of course to tell them it's not appropriate (mostly to no avail), but is there any legislation — in any territory — which addresses this?"
Supercomputing

+ - Spintronic Microprocessors

Submitted by
eldavojohn
eldavojohn writes "IEEE is running an article on MIT's efforts to create a microprocessor that uses the spin of electrons for computations. The big step they're working on is using a magnetically charged material to be able to use the electrons at room temperature. Prior to this, the electrons needed to be cooled below -120 Celsius in order for their magnetic properties to take hold. Slashdot covered the discovery of this material in 2004 as well as a follow up story and also research on possibilities about using it for quantum computing. Now MIT is working on implementing its use in processors but there still are some barriers to overcome. Spintronics has also been applied to data storage and memory."
Announcements

+ - IEEE's Winners & Losers of 2006

Submitted by
eldavojohn
eldavojohn writes "As far as technologies go, there are clear winners and clear losers. This month's IEEE Spectrum issue contains (in my opinion) an interesting list of winners and losers from 2006. Among the winners are a new radio technology, IP phone networks & memory technologies along with ethanol from sugarcane. Among the losers are tongue vision, LEDs in clothes, a flying car and (interestingly enough) ethanol from corn. I've seen some (if not all) of these technologies covered on Slashdot with some pretty heated debate on the amount of energy used versus the amount of energy consumed in biofuel production. Well, there's always 2007."
Operating Systems

+ - Linux KVM Virtualization Performance

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The Linux Kernel-based Virtual Machine is one of the features that will be introduced with the Linux 2.6.20 kernel. KVM (unlike Xen in para-virtualization mode) supports full virtualization on supported Intel and AMD processors so it does not require any modifications to the guest operating system. KVM also supports running Microsoft Windows XP 32-bit "out of the box". Phoronix has taken a look at the Linux virtualization performance as they compare the Kernel-based Virtual Machine to Xen 3.0.3 and QEMU with its binary-only kqemu accelerator."
Space

+ - 3D map of the dark matter in the Universe

Submitted by HarveyTheWonderBug
HarveyTheWonderBug (711765) writes "An international team of astronomers has created the first three-dimensional map of the large-scale distribution of dark matter in the universe [Nature]. Using 575 orbits of Hubble Space Telescope time, they have observed a 2 square degree region of the sky and determined the shape of half a millon of galaxies [NASA] [ESA]. Using weak lensing techniques [Wikipedia], they have determined the distribution of dark matter in this patch of the universe. From the press release:
This new map provides the best evidence to date that normal matter, largely in the form of galaxies, accumulates along the densest concentrations of dark matter. The map reveals a loose network of filaments that grew over time and intersect in massive structures at the locations of clusters of galaxies... Researchers created the map using the Hubble's largest survey to date of the universe, the Cosmic Evolution Survey, otherwise known as COSMOS. The survey covers an area of sky nine times the area of the Earth's moon. This allows for the large-scale filamentary structure of dark matter to be evident. To add 3-D distance information, the Hubble observations were combined with multicolor data from powerful ground-based telescopes, Europe's Very Large Telescope in Chile, Japan's Subaru telescope in Hawaii, the U.S.'s Very Large Array radio telescope, New Mexico, as well as the European Space Agency's orbiting XMM-Newton X-ray telescope.
"
The Internet

YouTube Blocked in Brazil 387

Posted by Zonk
from the down-with-love dept.
keeboo writes "The popular video sharing site YouTube is now blocked in Brazil due to a local court decision last Thursday. The site was ordered to block the uploaded sex videos of Brazilian media starlet Daniela Cicarelli and, although it complied, many users kept re-uploading it to the site. After the failure of YouTube to keep the video off of the site, the domain was blocked nationwide at a DNS level. Predictably, many Brazilians are annoyed and I've started to receive even SPAMs protesting on this blocking. From the article: 'The case now goes automatically to a three-member panel of judges who will decide whether to make the order permanent and whether to fine YouTube as much as US$119,000 (euro91,000) for each day the video was viewable, said Rubens Decousseau Tilkian.'"
Education

+ - How To Go To MIT For Free

Submitted by
theodp
theodp writes "Can't scrape up the bucks for junior college tuition? Don't worry, there's always MIT. By the end of 2007, the contents of all 1,800 courses taught at MIT will be available online to anyone in the world, anywhere in the world thanks to OpenCourseWare (OCW). Learners won't have to register for the classes, and everyone is accepted. The cost? It's all free of charge."
KDE

+ - Factual Inaccuracies in Posted KDE Preview Article

Submitted by
Troy Unrau
Troy Unrau writes "(put this in your backslash please)

Regarding the KDE Features Sneak Preview article that was posted here earlier, I have a few corrections to make of that authors article (and one complaint). First, the screenshot shown of the K-Menu that is supposedly for KDE 4 is not accurate. That shot is of kickoff, a SuSE linux customization for KDE that is already available for KDE 3.5.5 for SuSE and other users. Second, it states of Plasma "And the surprise of all things is that it will be possible to run the beautiful Dashboard widgets of Mac OSX in KDE 4.0." which is not true. It will run desktop widgets, but not the Mac OSX ones. And lastly, the first portion of the article is a blatant ripoff of an article I had previously written for dot.kde.org about SVG in KDE... of which he stole some screenshots without any credit whatsoever, not even a link. In fact, the whole article contains nothing but derivative, uncredited material, factual inaccuracies, and ads. Thankfully for him, he got posted to slashdot so his adstream should go up. Please note that dot.kde.org is running a series called "The Road to KDE 4" which is exposing features of KDE 4 on a weekly basis that are carefully checked for accuracy by the members of KDE actually responsible for each of those features."
Red Hat Software

+ - No more Fedora Core, Extras

Submitted by
netbuzz
netbuzz writes ""It's time to bite the bullet," says Red Hat engineer and Fedora Project board member Bill Nottingham. "Starting with Fedora 7, there is no more Core, and no more Extras;
there is only Fedora. One single repository, built in the community
on open source tools, assembled into whatever spins the Fedora community
desires." There are 28 new features being targeted for the release, which can be seen at http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Releases/7/Features.

Finally, Nottingham says of Fedora 7: "Name TBD, but probably not 'Bride of Zod'."

http://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2 007-January/msg00091.html"
Sony

+ - French court slaps down Sony DRM

Submitted by john-da-luthrun
john-da-luthrun (876866) writes "A French court has ruled that Sony's CONNECT Store infringes French consumer law, reports the TechnoLlama IP blog. Under French law, it is illegal to tie the purchase of a service (such as downloading a music file) to the purchase of a another product, so Sony were held to be breaking the law by selling music files that required a Sony player in order to access them. The court also found that Sony had failed to inform customers that its ATRAC 3 files can only be played on Sony digital players. A similar case in France involving Apple's iTunes/iPod tie-in is ongoing."
Windows

Maintaining Windows 2000 for the Long Term? 110

Posted by Cliff
from the an-EOL'd-OS-on-life-support dept.
MarkWatson asks: "I keep two Windows machines: a Windows 2000 laptop (bought with XP, but installed an old Windows 2000 license and Linux) and a desktop with XP (dual boot to Linux). I would like to avoid ever buying a PC with Vista, a situation that looks good because I believe both my Windows systems are reliable, fast, and will service my Windows needs for the long term. My problem is this: I like Windows 2000 better for a few reasons, but mainly because the license is transferable. I would like to still be using Windows 2000 5 years from now in a secure and reliable way (again, just for when I need Windows). Since I am far from a Windows expert, I would like to know your strategy for archiving Microsoft's latest Windows 2000 updates, and generally dealing with security issues. My strategy is to set my firewall up to run in stealth mode and not use Windows for general web browsing. Any suggestions will be appreciated!" How would you keep an old Windows OS (like Win98, and WinXP in another year or two) running long after official support for it has ended?

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