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Comment: Re:Are you kidding me! (Score 4, Insightful) 2219

by macwhiz (#46188781) Attached to: Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

Ah, but with the new reality of ownership, we are not the client. We are the product. The advertisers are the clients.

One wonders if the clients will still buy a product that ceases to be profitable once the product delivery system is broken in the name of progress.

I don't really see how the new design truly benefits the advertisers, other than giving DICE's ad execs newer, bigger, louder ad spaces to tout. The fact that it reduces the audience for those ads doesn't seem to enter into the equation.

Comment: Re:Just be honest - it's not for *US* (Score 1) 2219

by macwhiz (#46185897) Attached to: Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

The first thing you should ask the design team:

Do you understand that—while most of your readers don't really care about the design—those who do care are the sort of people who take one look at a site that mixes multiple sans-serif fonts in its interface and immediately have a visceral, intensively negative reaction that strips you of all design credibility and makes them look away just as surely as if they'd seen goatse?

The excessive whitespace and awkward layout compounds the problem. There is a "right" amount of line spacing; it's a very well understood thing in the publishing industry. Any nerd understands that nerds tend to favor information density over "right" line-spacing. Therefore, incorporating excessive line spacing on a News For Nerds website simply shouts "incompetence" to the world.

Seriously, the visual aspect of the redesign is as if your web designers saw the style and popularity of Apple's Jonathan Ives' school of design (but not the typical Slashdot readers' reaction to such), and then hired the sort of people whose work is featured on Cake Wrecks to implement their own version.

Someone needs to be put in charge of this effort who has the understanding and the authority to say "our 'audience' does not want a custom, trendy font; they know that webfonts have to be loaded and will slow things down. They want whatever they've chosen as the body font in their browser's options."

Me, I'd start with the idea that Slashdot has to be minimally usable even if no CSS or JavaScript is loaded. It needs to have well-structured HTML that is content-based, not design-based. Then you can start layering design on top of that, in ways that allow for customization. If your guys want to have a CSS option that looks like a marketing MBA's WordPress wet dream (Beta), that's fine, as long as it's not the only choice—or, indeed, the default choice—and doesn't drive the bones of the site.

Scrap the Beta. It's a dead end. Start over after you draw up realistic specifications that include honest user research, not just advertising optimization hacks.

Comment: Re:Canon. (Score 1) 381

by macwhiz (#45211645) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best SOHO Printer Choices?

I agree. For an inkjet all-in-one, I'd recommend the Canon MX882 or its follow-on models. The printer is fast and high-quality, and has a bypass input slot and a duplexer. The scanner is as good as any standalone consumer-grade photo scanner you can find nowadays—which is not a given in the multifunction machines—and it has an automatic document feeder with duplexer. It has wired and WiFi networking, and it generally just works.

My place of work insists that I have a Brother MFC-J5910DW as a home-office printer. Next to the Canon, it's a piece of crap. The print quality is atrocious. The paper tray was designed by a sadist. It jams far too often—I don't think I've ever had a paper jam in the Canon. While it can duplex print, the ADF cannot duplex scan. Scans are washed out with poor color fidelity. The front-panel interface has a strong affinity for fax mode, even when there's no phone line connected: if the thing's been idle for any period of time, it's in fax mode the next time you try to use it... and if you push a different mode button to wake it up, it give you error beeps until it finishes waking up and starting fax mode. At least once every 48 hours, it startles you by entering a loud self-cleaning cycle that purges a little more ink from the system.

Comment: Re:So No then (Score 4, Informative) 464

Given that Thunderbolt carries not only the equivalent of a PCIe x4 connection, but also a DisplayPort connection... and that the new Mac Pro has six Thunderbolt 2 connections... it's obvious that the HDMI port is there as a convenience for those who would otherwise bitch about having to buy a Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort/DVI/HDMI/VGA cable. Since Apple has advertised the unit as supporting three 4K displays out of the box, obviously at least three of those Thunderbolt 2 ports can be used for DisplayPort video.

Comment: Price and usefulness (Score 2) 573

by macwhiz (#43033767) Attached to: Time Warner Cable: No Consumer Demand For Gigabit Internet

Yes, Time Warner's top-tier 50Mbps is priced beyond the reach of most customers. At $100/month, it's a luxury.

But there's another issue. Right now, the biggest reason to get big bandwidth at home is to support multiple users with diverse interests. There are a lot of potential uses where the upstream bandwidth just isn't there to justify a fatter pipe. Netflix may have a content-delivery network to support higher speeds... but TWC hasn't signed on for it. For most people who work from home, their employer doesn't have enough bandwidth to make a bigger pipe useful. If your employer has only a 45Mbps connection shared by all business needs, you're going to saturate any remaining bandwidth with a 50Mbps connection at home; why would you need gigabit to work from home? In that scenario, 50Mbps is only useful so the kids can Netflix without crimping your VPN speeds... And to get the higher return-path speeds that come with it.

Netflix and its rivals don't come close to using 50Mbps bandwidth per stream. They usually stream closer to 3Mbps. If they offered hire quality streams, or if there was a lot of 4K-resolution content out there, there'd be more demand.

The uses for ultra wideband bandwidth will come, but they're not here yet for most people... And especially not at those prices.

Comment: Re:Effectiveness of "Do Not Call"? (Score 1) 235

by macwhiz (#43000223) Attached to: 'This Is Your Second and Final Notice' Robocallers Revealed
I had a better solution for long-distance sales calls for a while before Do Not Call. I worked for a telecom company. When the marketer would call and assure me that he could save me money and beat my current rates, I could truthfully reply "Well, I work for XYZ Telecom, and so I get free long distance. So how much are you willing to pay me to use your service?" This would reliably end the call...

Comment: Re:Among others... (Score 1) 416

by macwhiz (#42128707) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Server Room Toolbox?
Oh, and unless you have a minimum of three able-bodied people on site at all times, some sort of server lift is a must. Preferably one that is electric, has no fluids to leak, and has a shelf that slides to ease insertion and removal of servers. They are expensive, but they turn three-man jobs into one-man jobs... And prevent worker's-comp cases.

Comment: Among others... (Score 1) 416

by macwhiz (#42128685) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Server Room Toolbox?

A label maker designed to make cable labels. That means it's designed to use wide tape and print on it sideways, and it will take flexible vinyl tape. The best ones print on "self-laminating" labels that are opaque where the label is printed, but clear at the end, so the overlap protects the printing.

At least one, and preferably two, USB 2.0 to IDE/SATA converters. There are plenty of ways in which you can find yourself with a bare drive you need data from, and no good way to plug it in. Also, in a pinch, a bare CD-ROM can become an external drive for a server with no drive. These things are cheap, and when you need one, you REALLY need one right now.

Comment: Re:Ridiculous, Impossible, Etc. (Score 1) 398

by macwhiz (#40088047) Attached to: Legislation In New York To Ban Anonymous Speech Online

You must be trolling; surely you're not so thick as to not grasp the meaning of "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States"?

The First Amendment guarantees your right of freedom of speech. The Fourteenth Amendment, as quoted above, says no state can pass a law that takes away rights granted by the United States Constitution. Being part of the United States, New York, like the other 49 states, is bound by the United States Constitution, including the Fourteenth Amendment... and thus, by extension, the First Amendment. QED.

Comment: What, more nuclear bits? (Score 1) 169

by macwhiz (#40001881) Attached to: Kodak Basement Lab Housed Small Nuclear Reactor
So there was a tiny 3kg uranium pile at Kodak Park... that'd be south and a bit west of the nuclear power plant, and more or less due north from the University's massive laser-pumped fusion reactor that generates temperatures of 200,000,000K. Somehow, I think those of us living in Rochester were already aware of the possibility of an atomic disaster. ;)

Comment: Re:sigh... (Score 4, Informative) 169

by macwhiz (#40001821) Attached to: Kodak Basement Lab Housed Small Nuclear Reactor

And you have to realize that Kodak Park, back then, was big enough to have its own fire department. Not a fire engine. Not a fire house. A fire department with multiple stations throughout the Park, all trained to handle utterly massive hazmat incidents and fires. Kodak Park was the biggest chemical-processing facility this side of the Mississippi... which, of course, includes all of New Jersey. When local fire departments needed hazmat training, they went to Kodak. I worked there; trust me, three kilograms of uranium was probably one of the smallest disaster risks inherent in the operation. Miles of pipelines carrying acids and solvents, massive steam works from a power plant big enough to run a small city... Every day I drove past this gleaming stainless steel tank, think a milk tanker stood on end, labelled "LIQUID NITROGEN—NOT COMPATIBLE WITH LIFE". That was fun on windy days when it would sway, and images from Terminator 2 unavoidably came to mind.

Kodak has its problems and warts, but anyone accusing Kodak of disdain for Rochester is exhibiting an utter ignorance of the histories of Rochester, Kodak, and George Eastman. I'd frankly be hard-pressed to come up with an example of a company that's done more for their community. (Recent run-into-the-ground years excepted...)

Comment: Re:Canada Here I Come (Score 1) 747

by macwhiz (#39562683) Attached to: Supreme Court Approves Strip Searches For Any Arrestable Offense
Not effectively, as they cannot arrest someone claiming self-defense without provable probable cause that it wasn't self-defense. Since there's often no other living witness than the shooter, and you can't compel the shooter to provide evidence without an arrest, there's damned little investigation possible. See, e.g.,

Comment: Re:Canada Here I Come (Score 1) 747

by macwhiz (#39562207) Attached to: Supreme Court Approves Strip Searches For Any Arrestable Offense

Except that's not true.

In "duty to flee" states, you must run from a conflict if you are sure it is safe to do so. In most cases where you would need to use force in self-defense legitimately, it is not clearly safe to run away. In duty-to-flee states, if you're cornered, you're free to use as much force as necessary in self-defense.

The problem with Florida's law is that it takes self-defense from being a defense against a charge of homicide, and turns it into utter immunity from arrest or prosecution for anyone with even a barely-plausible claim of self-defense. The police can't investigate, because it could lead to violating that immunity. The previous law, which still protected you from legitimately shooting first in self-defense, at least let the police detain you to make sure your story was legit and collect evidence to back it up. Not so with the new law.

COBOL is for morons. -- E.W. Dijkstra