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+ - Slashdot's new interface could kill what keeps Slashdot relevant->

Submitted by Bob Verkouteren
Bob Verkouteren (3535047) writes "TECHNOLOGY LAB / INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Slashdot’s new interface could kill what keeps Slashdot relevant
Flashy revamp seeks to draw new faces to the community—at the cost of the old.

by Lee Hutchinson — Feb 12 2014, 6:55pm RST
WEB CULTURE
51
In the modern responsive Web Three Point Oh Internet, Slashdot stands like a thing frozen in time—it's a coelacanth stuck incongruously in an aquarium full of more colorful fish. The technology news aggregator site has been around since 1997, making it positively ancient as websites are reckoned. More importantly, Slashdot's long focus on open source technology news and topics has caused it to accrete a user base that tends to be extremely technical, extremely skilled, and extremely opinionated.

That user base is itself the main reason why Slashdot continues to thrive, even as its throwback interface makes it look to untrained eyes like a dated relic. Though the site is frequently a source of deep and rich commentary on topics, the barrier for new users to engage in the site's discussions is relatively high—certainly higher than, say, reddit (or even Ars). This doesn't cause much concern to the average Slashdot user, but tech job listing site Dice.com (which bought Slashdot in September 2012, along with Sourceforge and a number of other digital properties) appears to have decided it's time to drag Slashdot's interface into the 21st century in order to make things comfortable for everyone—old and new users alike.

And the Slashdot user base is not pleased.

Change for change’s sake?

Slashdot's interface has been modified a few times over the years, and each time there has been some amount of protest. However, no prior redesign has included as many sweeping alterations as the Slashdot Beta. In 2006, a major interface update that brought rounded edges to many of the site's visual elements and stuffed JavaScript under the hood caused major upset—the engineering- and programming-focused Slashdot community is collectively not a fan of change for change's sake.

The rage over the new Slashdot Beta, though, makes any previous instances of interface outrage look positively pedestrian. This time, the upset isn't over JavaScript or rounded corners, but over what many Slashdot users see as a removal of the site's most vital features."

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The Internet

+ - Vint Cerf Questions Whether Internet Access Should->

Submitted by Gallenod
Gallenod (84385) writes "In an op-ed for the New York Times (registration/subscription required), Vint Cerf writes that civil protests around the world, sparked by Internet communications, 'have raised questions about whether Internet access is or should be a civil or human right." Cerf argues that "technology is an enabler of rights, not a right itself," and contends that for something to be considered a human right, it "must be among the things we as humans need in order to lead healthy, meaningful lives, like freedom from torture or freedom of conscience. It is a mistake to place any particular technology in this exalted category, since over time we will end up valuing the wrong things.'"
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Hardware

+ - Looking back at the Commodore 64->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "It's the 30th anniversary of the Commodore 64 this week — news that has made more than a few gaming enthusiasts feel their age. This story looks back at some of the peculiarities that made the machine so special — a true mass-market computer well into the era where a computer in every home was a novelty idea, not a near reality."
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Comment: Re:News? (Score 1) 569

by jspayne (#37834542) Attached to: HPV Vaccine Recommended For Boys
Sorry friend - you lost your Libertarian cred here.

What they are talking about are the market relevant forces: Insurance companies will pay for prevention if and only if it is cheaper than paying for the treatment/cure. Since 9 times in 10 the vaccine will be paid for by an insurance company (as opposed to the consumer), Merck is charging what the market will bear.

You also seem to forget that drug companies have to research dozens of drugs before they ever get one to market - that $11bn gross looks impressive until you factor in what they paid to get there, and what they'll have to pay before their next big marketable drug.

Comment: Re:Opensource and open standards are different thi (Score 5, Insightful) 90

by jspayne (#37375604) Attached to: UK: Open Standards Must Be Restriction Free

As archivist I am a full supporter of open standards but don't really care whether my software is opensource or closed... as long as I can still look at my archives in 10-20-50 years.

And how useful is that standard to you if no one can afford to pay for the license required to implement the software to read your archives?

Comment: Re:Stop the FUD. Be cause and research. (Score 3, Informative) 349

by jspayne (#35529722) Attached to: Heroism Is Part of a Nuclear Worker's Job
I was actually impressed with his earlier article, until his true colors as a nuclear shill started to show. He made excellent points about the successes of the safety systems and layers of protection, but then pissed all his credibility away by saying:

At Chernobyl, this actually happened inside the containment vessel and the resulting explosion ruptured the vessel, leading to a serious release of core radioactives – though this has had basically zero effect on the world in general nor even much impact on the area around Chernobyl.

*faceplam*

I'm pretty pro-nuke/anti-hysteria, but this is just irresponsible. If you want the straight-up story, go to the IAEA page or see the analysis by Ars.

...when fits of creativity run strong, more than one programmer or writer has been known to abandon the desktop for the more spacious floor. - Fred Brooks, Jr.

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