Today, on the last day of our 10 year anniversary navel gazing spectacular, I present the final (thank god!) chapter in my 4 part history of Slashdot. I've written about the creation, the explosion, and the corporatization. Today I talk about where we are today, and what I see as our future, and how I feel about it. Clicky click the magic link below to read the last "thrilling" chapter, and celebrate with me the fact that I won't have to spend this much time writing about Slashdot for another decade.
NewsCloud writes "Since last December, Facebook has grown from 12 to 47 million users and third-party developers have launched more than 6,000 applications with its API. While privacy advocates have been concerned about Google for the past several years, most of us are just beginning to comprehend Facebook's growing impact on who, when, what and how we connect with friends. Microsoft's recent $240 million investment in the company gives it all the capital it needs for further growth. Last August, Wired published two unusual stories describing how consumers might link together a variety of third-party services to emulate Facebook, and ultimately calling on the open-source software community to build alternatives to the service. Inspired in part by Wired, I've posted some ideas describing what would be needed for an open source architecture for social networking."
Enselic writes "After almost three years since the release of GIMP 2.2, the GIMP developers have just announced the release of GIMP 2.4. The release notes speak of scalable bitmap brushes, redesigned rectangle/ellipse selection tools, redesigned crop tool, a new foreground selection tool, a new align tool, reorganized menu layouts, improved zoomed in/zoomed out image display quality, improved printing and color management support and a new perspective clone tool."
An anonymous reader writes "It's been widely reported that Comcast is engaged in a sneaky form of Internet filtering. The company is terminating its customers' BitTorrent sessions by sending misleading data onto the network. The end result is that instead of targeting key heavy users, Comcast is instead engaged in an all out war against P2P protocols. In an interview with CNET, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Fred von Lohmann states that Comcast is 'throwing a spanner in the works of the Internet, hoping that this will somehow reduce bandwidth usage overall.' Other lawyers seem to have smelled blood, and are circling in the water. Lohmann reveals that '[The EFF has] already been contacted by attorneys who are considering legal action against Comcast.' Could Comcast be facing a class-action?"
FuriousBalancing writes "MacNN is reporting that Canadians may soon pay a small tax on every legal music store download. This fee is the work of a measure proposed by the Copyright Board of Canada. About two cents would be added to every song downloaded, with 1.5 cents being added to album downloads. Streaming services and subscriptions would also be taxed, to the tune of about 6% of the monthly fee. Most interesting - the tax would be retroactively applied to every transaction processed since 1996. 'The surcharge would help compensate artists for piracy, according to SOCAN's reasoning. The publishing group draws similarities between this and a 21-cent fee already applied to blank CDs in the country; the right to copy a song from an online store demands the same sort of levy applied to copying a retail CD, SOCAN argues. The tax may have a significant impact for online stores such as iTunes and Canada-based Puretracks, which will have to factor the amount both into future and past sales.' The full text of the measure is available in PDF format."
redwoodtree writes "An article on the site for the Tri-City Herald sums it up perfectly: 'Contrary to popular belief, not a significant amount of research goes into cockroach radiation.' To test the old saw about 'the cockroaches being the only survivors of a nuclear war' Discovery Channel's Mythbusters are going out to Hanford Site, where plutonium was manufactured for the first nuclear bomb. It's the single most polluted nuclear waste site in the U.S. The Mythbusters are going to take cockroaches and other insects and apply successively higher doses of radiation in a controlled setting."
NetDanzr writes "TV Links, a Web site that provided links to hundreds of movies, documentaries, TV shows and cartoons hosted on streaming media sites such as Google Video and YouTube, has been raided by UK authorities. The site's operator was also arrested, The Guardian reports. Even though the site has not hosted any pirated content, it was a thorn in the side of movie and TV studios, thanks to having links to newest movies and TV shows. As the largest site of its kind, it showcased the power of user-driven Internet, with the site's visitors helping to keep links to content constantly updated."
Several readers pointed us to Torrentfreak's coverage of the RIAA's latest move: the major record labels have launched a copyright infringement lawsuit against Usenet.com. The complaint, filed in the federal District Court in New York, accuses Usenet.com of providing access to millions of copyright-infringing files and slams it for touting its service as a "haven for those seeking pirated content." Usenet.com has been refusing the labels' requests to block access to alleged "copyright infringing groups."
Fudgie writes "My boss claimed it was pretty much impossible to create an entertaining way to visualize server traffic and events in a short time frame, so of course I had to prove him wrong. A weekend of neglecting my family produced a small ruby program which connects to your servers via SSH, grabs and parses data from Apaches access log and Ruby on Rails production log, and displays your traffic and statistics in real-time using a simple OpenGL interface (tested under Linux and Mac OS/X). It's a bit hard to explain over text, so please have a look at fudgie.org for an example movie, and more information."
Penguinsh*t writes "Though the movie version of Knight Rider has remained 'up on chocks' for the better part of the last decade, Knight Rider, the TV show is revving into high gear. 'The premise of the show will essentially remain the same as the original, which centered on a mulleted man righting wrongs with the help of a particularly chatty and souped-up automobile. No word yet on who will play the hero this time around, but the Peacock is looking for some new blood.' Besides which, 'the Hoff' is busy."
Many readers informed us about the opinion of Lord Justice Sedley, a senior UK Appeal Court judge, who said that everyone in the UK should have their DNA recorded in the national database — including visitors. Reader ChiefGeneralManager writes, "Sedley calls the current database 'indefensible' because it contains a hodge-podge mix of people, including children and those who have been in contact with the police. His view is that we should make it compulsory for all DNA to be recorded to remove this anomaly. The UK Information Commissioner has expressed some concerns, but not dismissed the idea outright." And reader john.wingfield adds, "Just under two weeks ago, the Independent reported that the Government has admitted that an eighth of all records on the DNA database are false, misspelled, or incorrect — over half a million records. This raises the possibility of a breach of the 4th data protection principle of the Data Protection Act 1998: 'Personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date.'"
sheean.nl writes "A Belgian prosecutor recommended after a 10-year investigation that the government prosecute the church of Scientology. The church is accused of being a criminal organization involved in extortion, fraud, unfair trading, violation of privacy laws, and unlawfully practicing medicine. Both the Belgian and the European branches of the church should be brought to court, according to the authorities. The investigation was started in 1997 after former Scientologists complained about intimidation and extortion by the church. Other European countries such as Germany have problems with Scientology, but in the US it is officially recognized as a religion. Scientology has 10 million members including high-profile followers such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta." Scientology has long used heavy-handed legal and other tactics to suppress opposition on the Net.
mrcgran writes "Users of Skype for Linux have just found out that it reads the files /etc/passwd, firefox profile, plugins, addons, etc, and many other unnecessary files in /etc. This fact was originally discovered by using AppArmor, but others have confirmed this fact using strace on versions 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168. What is going on? This probably shows how important it is to use AppArmor in any closed-source application in Linux to restrict any undue access to your files."
DogBotherer writes "The BBC is reporting that the film Serenity has been voted the number-one Sci Fi film of all time. Serenity is a followup to the series Firefly. The 2005 film beat out Star Wars better than two-to-one for the top honors. This result came in a poll of 3000 readers of SFX magazine.
Heinen writes in about the X Prize Foundation, which spurred innovation by offering US $10 million for the first privately built spacecraft. The Foundation now plans to offer millions for the first practical car that increases mileage five-fold. The specs for the competition are out in draft form amd call for cars in two categories that are capable of 100 MPG in tests to be run in 2009. The categories are: 4-passenger/4-wheel; and 2-passenger/unspecified wheels. The cars must be manufacturable, not "science projects. The prize is expected to top $10 million. The X Prize Foundation says that so far it has received more than 1,000 inquiries from possible competitors.