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Comment: Re:Why Care (Score 1) 199

by water-and-sewer (#46293303) Attached to: Facebook To Buy WhatsApp

The fact that there are no "Fuck Beta" articles at Soylent is irrelevant. There are none on the "Daring Fireball" blog either, for obvious reasons - that's not where you'd expect to find them.

Furthermore, while Soylent doesn't yet have a huge number of comments it's clear there is a committed community of interested readers that like the site. So it's got lots of hope and lots of promise. I think it's early to boast "Soylent has better comments" but there's certainly proof the gang is heading in that direction.

A bunch of us defected to Usenet too, and are hanging out at comp.misc where there has to date been some really interesting conversation.

In sum, there are now several competing forums run by different groups in different ways. Let the best site win! And to win, you need good articles, healthy commentary, and a committed community hoping to keep "their" place a good one to visit. I think that's kind of the way it should be.

Comment: Interesting (Score 1) 265

by water-and-sewer (#46293277) Attached to: Math Models Predicted Global Uprisings

I've read a lot of those old "doomsaying" articles and in general they're interesting. But the Malthusians have been preaching the same apocalypses for a long time now and they've generally failed to come true.

I agree resource scarcity is essentially at the root of most of our problems, and over at http://www.dictatorshandbook.n... the discussion basically revolves around the idea that religious wars are a proxy for resource grabs, while bad governments either prevent more violence or promote it to achieve short-term political gains.

Bring on the world war and let's get back out of everyone's face. And let the MiddleEast burn, so we can do something nice on the ashes.

Hey speaking of predicting uprisings, I'll bet Dice's models never predicted so many Slashdotters would bail out in disgust their commentary on the new Beta was ignored! See you on Usenet at comp.misc.

Comment: I'm in. See you at comp.misc in the meantime (Score 2) 40

by water-and-sewer (#46201773) Attached to: The Individual Midnight Thread

The more I visit alternatives to Usenet, the more I miss Usenet. It might not be forever, but during the Slashcott I'm going to need someplace to post and read and learn from other techies, and that place will be comp.misc on Usenet.

Anyone who doesn't know Usenet and wants to join the conversation, all you need is a news provider and a news client.

Android: NNTP Reader, Phonews
iOS: Newstap
Mac: Thunderbird, MT-Newswatcher, Unison, Pineapple, Hogwasher
Windows: Gravity, Xnews, Thunderbird
Linux/BSD: SLRN, Knode, Pan, TIN, Alpine, others

Servers:, AIOE,org, I like, because it has lower traffic and works great.

Anyway, on Usenet, I can determine your karma all by myself, and assign you points as I see fit. And you can do the same to me.

Bonus: No advertising, no javascript, just crusty old nerds discussing news that matters.

Comment: As seen on Usenet: comp.misc (Score 5, Informative) 168

by water-and-sewer (#46198159) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Distributed Online Storage For Families?

I've been reading Slashdot since 2000, so going on 14 years now. But I'll be stopping next week in support of the boycott, and maybe after that, if the interface catastrophe called "Beta" goes live.

See you on Usenet at comp.misc where old school commenting is happening: no mods, no karma, no whitespace, and no advertising. Just a lot of old geeks with killfiles and a keyboard.

Uck fay Eta bay!

Comment: Re:Looking for a good usenet newsreader. (Score 1) 150

by water-and-sewer (#46184439) Attached to: Quarks Know Their Left From Their Right

Thunderbird is a good cross-platform solution, though its competences are basic by the standards of people who love Usenet. But it's easy to get for Mac, Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, etc.

On the Mac, though you have to pay for it, there's Unison, which is nice. Otherwise you can google MT-Newsreader or Pineapple Newsreader, both of which have been updated from the old Mac OS9 days and are useful and good software.

There are a ton of newsreaders for Windows. A lot of people like Gravity or Forte, but I'm not on Windows so don't use either. At work, where I am not allowed to install software on my Windows box I use Sylpheed from a pendrive, and you can get it at

Finally, Usenet on a smartphone or tablet is awesome! If you have an Android phone, check out Phonews or NNTP Newsreader, both of which have free and paid versions. It's the number one thing I do with my smartphone. And on the Ipad there's Newstap, which provides a better UI but which I find a bit slow if you have a long list of groups that you read.

See you on comp.misc at Usenet.

If you need a newsgroup/usenet provider I recommend It's a site that takes advertising but it's run by guys who love Usenet. I personally pay for a provider, as it's better quality. I got a great deal at Blocknews. is better quality because they keep it spam-free, but they don't carry all the groups, and comp.misc is one they don't carry. There are free providers out there, but I find they are often choked with spam and occasionally drop posts. That was the case for AIOE a while ago. is better, and eternal-september is also good.

Comment: Re:We are not an audience (Score -1, Flamebait) 150

by water-and-sewer (#46184399) Attached to: Quarks Know Their Left From Their Right

You're also ruining the one good thing about this site: the discussion system and the comments of the people who use and like it.

Ever heard the story about killing the golden goose?

Uck-Fay Eta-Bay. Let's see what your corporate statement over at has to say when your page views drop to single digits. I for one won't be visiting.

Going to be a quiet week, Timothy. Use that silence to reflect deeply on the asshatted-decision that led you to this situation.

Comment: Re:Resurrecting (Score 1) 2219

by water-and-sewer (#46184187) Attached to: Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

On behalf of a lot of people, let me just say: if you build it, we will come. I just bookmarked your site. Give us a place to call home and we'll make it a place worth coming to.

Meanwhile, I support the boycott, and am hanging out on Usenet at comp.misc in the meantime.

The beta sucks donkey balls, so this "excellent karma" reader says to Dice: "Fuck Beta!" I'm outta here.

Comment: I'm in. (Score 2) 23

by water-and-sewer (#46174319) Attached to: CowboyNeal Locked In Basement For Opposing Slashdot Beta

I don't code, but could do other things and am a big lover of Web 1.0. Web 2.0 can suck it, and frankly I'm still a big fan of Usenet, so let's concentrate on making it fun and easy to comment, and decide to ignore the new trend in AJAXy, eye-candy fluff at the expense of quality and content. If I can't read it in a terminal, I don't want to read it.

Comment: Re:Could be the "least bad" move (Score 1) 293

by water-and-sewer (#46150457) Attached to: Satya Nadella Named Microsoft CEO

I also wish him the best and agree he has a lot to do. But he's just made it a lot harder on himself by volunteering to attach the boat anchor of Bill Gates around his ankle before starting the race.

Lots of people have said the whole culture of "do anything but touch Office/Windows cash cows" led to a lot of the dysfunction, and that was very much the doing of Gates and Ballmer. In fact, at one point - don't know if that's how it played out - people were complaining that with Gates on the hiring panel they would be unlikely to find and hire a true reformer, and would be more likely to hire just a "rearrange the deck chairs on the Office/Windows" Titanic guy.

Maybe that's what has happened?

If Satya is smart and bold and aggressive, he'll tear Microsoft into a thousand pieces and throw them all into the shark pool, then only fish out the survivors. That place is a mess, with an entrenched "culture" that will take it at high speed to FAILville. That means really taking out the chainsaw and letting the blood flow.

Meanwhile, he'll have Bill Gates humping his leg, pouting "don't touch Office, don't touch Windows waa waa waa."

Comment: Re:So now... (Score 2) 259

You can't coerce an open vote? The hell you can't. Go read the Dictator's handbook ( if you haven't already. There's a forty page chapter on ways to trick-out Elections alone (URL:>). The last election in Venezuela was a fiasco. Yes, it was a legitimate election and even electoral monitors found it hadn't been falsified in any way. But the Chavez government went to great lengths to make people suspect their votes were being recorded and tracked, and that those who had voted for the "other guy" would eventually suffer repercussions. That's a big deal in a country where 90% of the jobs come from the government. If the govt figures out you voted "wrong," you'll never get hired, or if you've already got a job, you'll get fired. Or your daughter won't get into the good school, or your son won't get a scholarship. Or in one of hundreds of other ways, something you need from the government will be denied you.

The game is simple: give everyone a vote, but make sure they are under intense pressure to "spend it" the way you want. Ta-da! You're a democracy, but you're not.

I wouldn't touch an ipad/android voting machine at all. They're already tracking me six ways to sunday; it would be a piece of cake for that voting software to also send to the "right people" how I voted. Game over man, game over.

Comment: Kontact (Score 1) 44

by water-and-sewer (#45744305) Attached to: KDE Releases Applications and Development Platform 4.12

KDE is definitely a nice desktop environment, though I confess I'm still a big fan of KDE3 (and even Windowmaker). There are still a couple of things I just don't get though, so there's still some room for reason to prevail as the KDE4 platform matures. (I'm using opensuse 12.3, for the record).

1. It annoys and scares me that all of the Plasma desktop widgets seem to have an option where they can be controlled remotely. I absolutely don't understand the point of that, worry about its security implications, and find it a waste of disk space.

2. No offense (and this is coming from a guy who prefers KDE over Gnome) but a lot of Plasma desktop applets are really useless. I can dig the newstickers, RSS feeds, comic-of-the-day stuff, etc. But what's up with the red bouncy ball? What's the point of that?

3. I'm a bigger fan of the KDE4 apps than I am of the Plasma desktop (even if I do respect and agree with how they've made it into a system that can produce different screen/work environments for tablets etc. instead of the Gnome "stuff-it-down-your-throat approach; Win8 as well). And there are some great KDE4 apps. But Kontact is not one of them. I anxiously install and run it on every new desktop, thinking "this time, it's going to work." And it never does. Kontact on my opensuse box regularly gets hung trying to open a "choose a file" dialog box (say, if I'm attaching something to an email). I blame its ridiculous database and akonadi semantic crap foundation. I find myself using Sylpheed or Thunderbird, but more often I just go to Mutt, which remains unsurpassed for the power emailer. But Kmail/Kontact has so much promise. Why can't they ever get it right? (by the way, a QT alternative I like more and more is Trojita. It's standalone, super fast, and interesting.)

Comment: Good morning, America (Score 1) 277

by water-and-sewer (#45717945) Attached to: Surviving the Internet On Low Speed DSL

You know, just noticed something about most of the responses to this article: most people saying "I live near a major city and still only have X.Y bandwidth" are American.

This seems to be a reminder that lots of the world has awesome broadband (S. Korea anyone?) while the United States of Dysfunctional America is still struggling with crappy bandwidth and monopoly provider ISPs.

You'd think the NSA would lobby for better bandwidth so they have more interesting stuff to listen to.

Comment: Cry me a river: try 56K (Score 3, Insightful) 277

by water-and-sewer (#45717857) Attached to: Surviving the Internet On Low Speed DSL

It's an interesting article, but I have trouble sympathizing with anyone "suffering" with low speed DSL. I lived and worked in Benin, West Africa for four years, with a DSL connection that was barely any faster than dial-up. I even got myself a dial up connection as well, to compare, and found them nearly equivalent during most of the day.

Here's what I learned about it:

I can tell you one thing, the idea of downloading an ISO and burning it just disappears. Youtube is not an option (I don't even bother clicking on the links). And most crappy webpages stuffed to the gills with scripts, javascript, counters, ad displayers, and the like, are useless. I did a lot of websurfing with Lynx, which I'm surprised to say was a better experience for many sites, including sometimes this one.

Good luck with your DSL, buddy. I hope you don't suffer too much during the drone wars.

Comment: Once bitten, twice shy (Score 5, Insightful) 39

by water-and-sewer (#45399017) Attached to: Digital Textbook Startup Kno Was Sold For $15 Million

This doesn't bode well for the electronic textbook industry, and it's their own damned fault.

In theory, I'd personally love digital textbooks. Searchable, I could carry them all with my on an appropriate gadget or gadgets the way I can access my Barnes&Noble books either on my Nook or my Nexus 7 on a Nook app, etc. I didn't think I'd like ebooks since I like the paper versions so much, but over the past two years I've actually come around to the idea and now like it very much.

But look at the history of textbook selling. Over the past twenty years they've gone to desperate measures to destroy the resale value of books that are otherwise perfectly resellable, via once-only mandatory digital downloads, problem sets that are only on line and that expire, and tricks like that. That is an unholy annoyance to any person with a sense of dignity, and it's all to inflate profits for publishers that want to sell a physics 101 textbook for $100, and then sell it again a year later regardless of how little the content has changed.

So if this is the "company" you're doing business with, why would any rational consumer be stupid enough to accept going to a digital format? If that's the way you do business you can guarantee it will be DRMed out the whazoo, be untransferrable to other devices, expire/disappear if they can make it happen, and all that other funny business. And that industry would LOVE to sell you the digital version for the same $100 they sold the paper version.

I'm glad to see the digital textbook business die at the moment, but every failed attempt is another nail in the coffin for these rapacious publishers intent on surviving by screwing over the consumer. Once they've crashed and burned, the market will be ripe for a more honest textbook seller interested in a different business model. The sharks on the market now? They can all go piss off.

Never under estimate the power of "a free an unfettered marketplace" to encourage rapacious companies to live well by screwing the consumer.

When all else fails, read the instructions.