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Comment Re:Random list (Score 1) 1822

FWIW the default site works largely perfectly for me on mobile (Android, Chrome).

The only significant change I'd make is slightly increase the size of the story font, but it's usually not a problem for me as I've read the story via RSS already anyway.

Comment Small, iterative changes (Score 1) 1822

The biggest screaming here over the many years I've been reading has undoubtedly been because of beta. I've been involved in a bunch of web projects where there was direction for a "new fresh design" so I understand the process - but /every time/ it resulted in massive community backlash.

Never more so than on Slashdot where the community is really the most significant part of the site.

There were some really confusing design decisions - removal of the 'read more' link to replace them with the social media bar, for example. I'm sure other /. readers would agree this really demonstrates a lack of understanding about the userbase & how people used the site.

For comparison though there were a few minor design touch-ups that I thought were quite nice - simple little aesthetic changes that DID NOT affect usability.

Ultimately I think very little change is required. Maybe winding back some of the recent changes. Ditching beta in its entirety.

Comment Re:A hundred million? (Score 1) 95

I've tried watching it...and BOOOORING.

Just back and forth, hardly any scoring, no serious risk of someone getting a concussion or something broken....

Yeh the back and forth of soccer is pretty boring - except when compared against the 11 minutes of actual gameplay in your typical three hour American football match.

Comment Re:Onions (Score 2) 146

My question is, are you really that scared? Are you that scared of your driving ability to avoid wrecks? Are you that worried about people around you?

I am generally way more scared of driving and being in cars than I am of, say, terrorist attacks - something which everyone probably should be given the statistical risks.

I've lost way more freedom due to the war on terror bullshit. I'd be way more happy losing whatever driving freedoms if it leads to an actual improvement in safety (even better if those costs are borne by the private sector and not my tax dollars, like they are with the war on terror!),

Comment Re:Not an issue. (Score 1) 55

So I come from a webdev background; our formal practices for clients involve good release and change management, so I'm not a stranger to them.

However, while things like Drupal and WordPress are often used as the basis for client projects by companies that do that sort of "best practice", I think it's important to remember that for many users, it's basically the equivalent of installing a new application on their desktop computers - they just click a bunch of things and presto, it is online.

I guess there's an analogy to enterprise desktop environments where the desktops are locked down by IT and users can't install anything on there until it has gone through an extensive process.

Their shiny new Drupal or WordPress or whatever is now just an application running on someone else's computer. Like most desktop software it's a fully functioning "production" instance.

This is largely because of cheap hosting, the general "cloudification" of everything, and the externalities of many common hosting problems (e.g., spam, compromised sites being used as botnets, etc).

Just like casually installing Notepad++ on the desktop, there are plenty of times where setting up a production-only instance of Drupal/WordPress/etc is fine. We can't expect the average user to be an expert in web hosting, or Windows desktop management, or Linux firewall rules, or whatever.

Comment Another terrible Google chat tool? (Score 1) 52

As Marc Andreessen said yesterday on Twitter, "Google employees will really enjoy using this"!

I too have little confidence in Google's ability to make a messaging app that people will use.

For such a giant tech company with so many smart people I can't fathom how they've managed to screw up instant messaging so, so badly. They could have easily had the dominance they have with email if they'd just built a nice, simple, cross-platform version of the old Google Talk client.

Instead it mutated awkwardly into Hangouts, something which seems weirdly present in different forms on different devices and embedded into certain of their web applications, with varying levels of functionality.

It bugs me that there's no native Windows desktop client, just some Chrome "app" thing. It really bugs me that the mobile application is is kind of worse than ICQ was back in the 90s - the user list does not distinguish between users that are online, away, or offline. The default view is just a list of your previous conversations. It bugs me that they've hidden the logout option (Settings -> Account settings -> scroll to bottom -> sign out) to basically trick you into running it all the time.

I am very sure all of these 'features' are intentional and the result of UX experts studying how people use the application combined with how their biz people want people to use it. I know their goal was to make Hangouts more like an SMS tool - they want people sending messages regardless of online status. (I've never been a big SMS user so I don't know how important the SMS integration for an Internet-based messaging app is to civilians; maybe it's a bigger deal than I think?)

Before Hangouts almost everyone I know was on Google Talk. My relatives around the world used it as a standard communications tool for quick chats and voice chat. Since it has gone to Hangouts they have all (except for one uncle) abandoned it more or less completely - I never see them online any more and I never get any Hangout requests. They've all moved to Skype for voice chat. No idea what they use for messaging.

I don't want an intelligent assistant. I want to be able to send quick messages to people on my list. I want to know in advance if they're online, away, or offline. I want to be able to set my status to any of those states. I want it to be secure and preferably open source (... realising the latter is a long shot). I want it to NOT CHANGE every few months when some new UI/UX person gets a hold of it. I want it to be simple, stable and reliable.

Please start here Google!

Comment Re:If they wanted a movie about a city on the moon (Score 1) 73

Yes, but I'd like to see a modern take on what technology might actually be applicable in the near future - rather than future tech envisioned in 1966

Not that I disagree, but I just find it interesting to note that 1966 is a lot closer to when we as a species were last on the moon compared to now with all our new-fangled modern technology.

Comment Re:Answer the goddamn question (Score 1) 388

Hmm, I run Thunderbird on Windows 8.1 and don't really have slow performance problems. I wouldn't say it's super lightning fast but it's not too bad. The biggest problem I have is my main mail server is on the other side of the planet so the latency sometimes leads to weirdness, but when I'm local and using it it's fine.

I've got (as I discovered yesterday doing some maintenance) over 17GB of email in there dating back over 10 years. I'm actually generally more impressed with performance.

I still want to see a shitload more work on Thunderbird though. I totally agree with the rest of your post; there are few alternatives and most of the other "solutions" are useless. I was intrigued by the comment about the Pale Moon team fork but not enough to try it (yet).

Comment What are we even talking about this for (Score 2) 345

I mean I guess I can imagine Carly Fiorina, as a mere ex-CEO of one of the largest technology companies in the world, might not have any idea how, like, technology actually works. But this whole conversation is so stupid.

What are these people anticipating? First of all they need to legislate that all crypto software has to have a back door. Leaving aside the security implications of that (which are immense), it means that any company that wants to make and sell crypto in the US will need to change their product lines.

Then to actually make this effective, they'd need to legislate that any company that wants to use crypto within the US must use software that meets this requirement. Without that, then any company that wants actual security will just be buying products (that actually are secure) from overseas and using them in the US.

I don't even know what would happen with people currently using non-crippled open source crypto. Would they be expected to pull it out and replace it with a government approved commercial solution? Would someone create a fork of the open source products that had some back door?

To me every comment made by these clowns just demonstrates a complete lack of awareness about how software works, what open source is, and how tech people think.

Good luck, USA. You're going to need it.

Comment Mind boggles (Score 1) 159

Seems bizarre that a company in Yahoo's situation would be doing M&As with companies that are not clearly wildly profitable. Trying to pick winners in startup space is something VCs should be doing; I'd not be impressed if I was a Yahoo shareholder.

All their acquisitions should be being done because it's more effective for them to invest shareholder money in the acquisition than it is to developed the equivalent product/revenue stream/service internally.

It's not really clear if the acquisitions of startups are really dice rolls from this document, which is pretty high level - it doesn't really show how they align with Yahoo's core business, etc. But it's certainly the implication.

If you're going to be playing M&A games with random startups, probably better to be doing it in the really really early stages so you're not spending millions per acquisition.

I was an original Yahoo search user back in the day, but I can't remember the last time I used a Yahoo product.

Comment Forgetting Firefox (Score 1) 418

Everyone on Slashdot already knows Mozilla seem to have lost their way. I wrote Forgetting Firefox a while back (which ran on Slashdot), bemoaning the problems - but more to the point, trying to draw attention that mail and groupware should be the next big challenge Mozilla pick up.

Sadly, this new statement implies they're going in the opposite direction.

Mozilla, you already won the browser wars. There's a lot of other work to do.

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Is it possible that software is not like anything else, that it is meant to be discarded: that the whole point is to always see it as a soap bubble?