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Security

Journal: A short reflection to end the day. 4

Journal by masterwit

You hear it, "Year of the Linux Desktop", "Cloud Computing", "Internet Kill Switch", "Copyright Reform", and many other hot issues today.

No this year will be quite different my friends... I do believe this year will simply be known as the year companies began listening to their IT department's advice, and spent the time and money needed to remedy their security. (At least to some noticeable extent)

I see this year as the year in which security moved from an issue to a priority, from a recommended option to a requirement, and from an afterthought to foresight.

This year, security becomes paramount.

The Internet

Journal: There once was a dream that was "the Internet". You could only whisper it...

Journal by masterwit

I would like to tell you a story but I am afraid it does not end well. This is the story of the PC and the dream that is not but almost dead. A sad story you may ask - I don't want to listen to that!

Well sometimes you must listen because as the saying goes... "those that do not know history are doomed to repeat it." Now there are many things wrong with the world these days, hunger, famine, war, corruption, but if we were to focus on all of these at once... we would go completely batshit crazy. This need to focus one's anger and motivation towards good or evil has led to what we refer to today as extremism and it is a plague to both America and the rest of the world.

In order to be right, we all have to be really right these days... you know where anything less than an A+ makes one "tear up" for the immense failure of an A-... yes that level of achievement.

Back in the Golden Age, when the digital landscape we call the Internet was new, there was less activity online and the activity that did exist did so for unique needs. There were websites to search the web like AOL, shopping sites, and even MySpace pages... but most of these things came even later on. This was also the advent of computer gaming: the escape from the console environment to intellectual challenge, the freedom to manipulate software within reasonable bounds, and the move beyond 8-bit color. (I am young so people will tell of before this era, but I come from the 16 bit color era...)

A simple CD-key, if required, was all that was needed to install a game. When one bought a game, they did not require some company to stay in business to play their game in the future. In fact, after purchasing the software, people would consider the right to run the game theirs... There was a huge problem, however, as this Internet was structured around a loose set of rules (if you could call them that) that let most users chose whatever path they wish. Illegal copying became rampant and profitability of the PC-gaming market slumped. With no check on the super motivated individuals, shit hit the fan.

---

My journal today is me bitching about Steam. I will not present a Tron knock-off but rather I wish for another era, that of where a damn Steam client does not need root access to whatever the hell it wants on my "Windows" box. I went to GameStop (I know but it's close by) to by a PC game. They don't sell them. After Starcraft 2 was released, they figured their sales were done in the area and closed shop on the PC-games. Yes their counterpart EB-games still sells the lonely cardboard pyramid shelf of PC games next to the used xbox 360 titles, but the empire of PC gaming to me is dying despite all the World of Warcraft and other few titles. Each year "profitability" falls as the Internet is free.

This freedom has come at a price it seems, for all the freedom we enjoy on the net... it was the downfall of many aspects of software and perhaps the Internet itself. As the steam from the wreckage rises in the distance, I vent my anger on Slashdot that has more become sadness by the end of me writing this. It's ironic I guess - the principles on which the Internet and computing were established may have been the downfall of what "it" sought to uphold.

---

I did warn you, this story would not end well...

There once was a dream that was "the Internet". You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish, it was so fragile...

Now to get this damn Steam client under control and restrict the son of a bitch with a little bit of virtualization and C++...

User Journal

Journal: Ah politics...

Journal by masterwit

Politics or just curiosity? Yes I am talking about satire, but sometimes it is harder to tell...

Whatever this is a good laugh.

User Journal

Journal: Slashdot is acting weird? Likely just me... 3

Journal by masterwit

...so I log on and I get the achievement (because Slashdot is like xbox live) for the successful submission of a story. Now I donated a few bucks a while back so I am able to preview the stories before they are submitted, you know for that extra trollin' touch, but looking on the front page I did not see any stories that I had submitted and I have no filters applied. This means one or more of the following:

---I still do not understand how Slashdot works fully, as I may never truly grasp.
---That instead of posting news as soon as it happens, someone picked out a bunch of stories and will let them feed out at predetermined times. This makes it appear as if someone is still actively checking articles as they are submitted.

The second option above disturbs me...why not just release the stories instantly after a number of people thumb them up? (There is no need to "fake updates") But like I said before, it could be I'm just retarded...hell one of my submissions had a terrible spelling error in the title! (funny)

User Journal

Journal: Polls, don't convert to integers! 6

Journal by masterwit
Ok, the latest poll looks at which Star Trek technology we all wish would be implemented. The only issue is I see 199 votes for "Phaser" at the time of me writing this with 0% total? Being the math geek (and future computer science) that I am I hate this!
Solution:
A simple request: if you must use an integer representation for the percentage of voters which chose a particular choice in the polls, please due so after calculating said value as a "double" or floating point and rounding!
---The percentages listed add up to 97% at the time of me writing this...
---I understand the concept of rounding down, I just cringe at it.

/endrant
User Journal

Journal: Apathy to impartiality in moderating

Journal by masterwit
I have been given another 15 points of moderation this time, and really I wonder if this is for the best? Before anyone ridicules me here I ask to hear me out:

I first would like to begin this strangely motivated journal of mine with a look that poisonous word: apathy. Apathy of the common voter, apathy this and that...to an actavist this is a curse word. But I would have to say this is my curse on moderating in Slashdot: I have a ton of apathy for other people's passions when moderating...

This might, at first glance, seem like a good thing, but it is anything but that. 15 moderator points, this will take me hours. Why you may ask? Because I have an odd system of moderation when I seem to be given these points frequently: Step 0: read the damn article Step 1: read all highly ranked comments and top tier posts for roughly ~50 posters Step 2: turn off ranking Step 3: find a comment with no previous moderation 1st or 2nd tier (no third tier comments yet) Step 4: ignore all comments made to that particular comment Step 5: look for positive qualities

...

Point being, this is a huge waste of time! Moderation is important, we all know this for a fact, but in my short time here I have come to understand the importance of properly moderated discussions: it saves both the reader time and avoids the Digg effect.

I just wonder if a lot of our moderation is in vain. If I see someone post a comment, even if it is relevant, but against my political views...I avoid moderation for the most part. Why? Because I am biased as hell and will readily admit that. We all know that one moderator point or more, in the past, has been spent unwisely by all of us.

I say now if we are to take a look at how moderator points are spent from birds-eye view, say for the entire population of Slashdot, you and I both know this is a scary thought. Internet meme-ing does not belong on intellectual discussions, ever. Sure the occasional joke is funny and will make me smile, but 25 +5 comments of jokes does not do me much good when I was looking to the discussion for insight.

Ridicule me if you may: "Looking to the discussion for insight! Ha is he an idiot?!?!" But I say to you is this not the ultimate design? Don't we want discussion, however intellectually based, to occur? I've spent a fairish amount of time looking over other forums and news discussions and I can say that the moderation system here is broken for this sole reason: user apathy.

This is not a matter of our best interest: our best interest is for the health and well being of this internet "nook". For the most part I can say many Slashdotters agree that they care about Slashdot's future. Instead consider apathy to be incidental here, not under our control. We are forced to read comments and entire discussions before applying that "sacred" +1 or "damn troll -1" mark. This. Is. Bad. To better understand where I am coming from, let us first consider Jury Duty (bear with me here!). Each time a potential candidate is called to perform Jury duty, it is in the hope that the media or other forms of "reporting" had not gotten to this individual first. Why? - because any individual makes up their mind, however small the degree, upon hearing some argument or reporting no matter how convincing.

There is a simple fix, however, augmented moderation: Upon entering a discussion board a user is either assigned to dupe/troll duty or only given 3 comments to moderate (two with at least 1 followup comment). In this way the user is blinded from the rest of the discussion. Moderation points (up to 3 per article) may be applied as seen fit for these three threads, or the user may chose to not moderate on the given article / exit early. Upon early exit or finishing of those 3 comments, the discussion board would open to normal moderation. Now 3 is an arbitrary number here, I do not know what would work best...but the idea that preliminary points should be considered without regard to the rest of the discussion allows for the initial impartial view...and then the mob view later if needed.

An intro screen to moderation for articles would help Slashdot achieve it's goal for effective distributed moderation without loss of the normal moderation we have come to find effective to many regards. Hell, we all know meta-moderation is too shallow of a view to know the context of how to moderate (honestly one has no idea if sarcasm is applied half the time!) and people enter an article not impartial to the current ratings too often.

Hell ignore what I've said here right? This is only a modest proposal that will be completely forgotten and unnoticed (not to say my idea is perfect - it needs tweaking), but it is a damn shame seeing the meme-a-fying** of this place. **(yes it is a word!)
...
So you the reader, before you break down my individual quotes with one sentence comments, what do you think of this idea? Do you find this an issue also...why or why not? I would like to see why the current system exists...for no-one, yes not one person, has really given or shown me a rundown of why our current moderation system makes sense.
User Journal

Journal: Interesting...mod points. 2

Journal by masterwit
Slashdot why do you keep on giving me mod points? I take time to read everyone's comments but that does not mean I always have the time. 25 points over the past week with 15 this time? I didn't even know they had the Costco deal...well there goes 30-45 minutes.
I have a habit of only modding people up with no previous mod points, makes finding comments a bit more hard and takes much more of my time.
...
Does anyone else seem to get mod points in "groups of days" and then go for weeks without mod points? - I still do not know quite how this system works here.
User Journal

Journal: Question regarding SSH 4

Journal by masterwit
I do not have much experience in ssh, but I would like to set up my home computer to run as a "server" so that I can carbon copy my usb drive after sessions working away from home (I lose the damn things every so often). I have been using ftp for a little bit, but it really isn't that secure and I do not want to transmit a non-encrypted password etc etc.

Anyone have a recommendation for a preferably freeware lightweight program I could use? I have been filtering lightly through the internets, but it would really be helpful if I knew what I was looking for...
(I have the client side issue resolved, that is the easy part)
Thanks :)
User Journal

Journal: Ah it comes again

Journal by masterwit

After a late night with the friends, I am eager to begin the final parts of my "education" this coming week...go JMU dukes.

User Journal

Journal: A simple wish for Slashdot

Journal by masterwit
I know there are many wishes we can list out there for a website, but this one is regarding the feed and related comment system here at Slashdot. I feel that articles going through the "fire-hose" that receive comments should be able to be filtered higher...that way perhaps more debatable or insightful topics find their way to the top. Perhaps a two-fold weighting and comment hybrid could help with the filtering.
Sidenote: if there is a way to already view recent articles with a "color" threshold ranked with comments, I'd be interested in where I can find the sorting options, because I must have missed it...thanks
Data Storage

Journal: Question: storage, backup, and the affordable solution

Journal by masterwit
Here is a question to anyone who is willing to provide input:
After recently experiencing the "joy" of a PSU trashing my 2 hard-drives and losing all my 1's and 0's, I am searching right now for a "backup storage solution" to avoid this fallout in the potential future. However simple this may seem, I am looking for an independently powered backup (RAID 1 is useless if the PSU goes beserk!) Additionally I would prefer at least a 2TB backup size. My question is what is the smart solution?
(A) an external enclosure that could support multiple drive bays (must be independently powered) that runs of e-sata or usb
(B) network attached storage, although I am unfamiliar with the performance of this alternative
(C) building my own case, adding some type of power supply and cheap processor,etc, and then putting this on the network as a computer devoted to storage
Any advice to a modern day affordable solution or even an alternative that I did not present above would be greatly appreciated.

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