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Editorial It's funny.  Laugh.

CodeCon, Placebos, Fear, Yoyo-hacking, Dune, etc. 108

doom writes "Annalee Newitz rambles about CodeCon, placebos, random numbers, fear, yoyo-hacking, Dune and more. This is what it means to be a geek: Techsploitation."
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CodeCon, Placebos, Fear, Yoyo-hacking, Dune, etc.

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  • No... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Wiser87 ( 742455 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @07:41AM (#8428027) Homepage
    A true geek would've also taken the time to personally post their article on slashdot.
    • Re:No... (Score:2, Funny)

      by Gil2796 ( 585952 )
      I think the author is trying to /. a foe's website. A clever ploy! By the end of the day, his webserver will be no more than a pile of steaming slag!

      Good tactic, fitting of a true geek!
  • by DanThe1Man ( 46872 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @07:43AM (#8428038)
    Is yo-you hacking like cracking severs while lissening to Vanilla Ice?
  • by Ratface ( 21117 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @07:43AM (#8428039) Homepage Journal
    *sighs contentedly*

    Takes me back to the days when internet connections were text-based and being a hacker meant being a proud explorer of a new frontier.

    Where has all the magic gone eh? Thank goodness there are people out there who are keeping the magic alive!

  • by arcanumas ( 646807 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @07:44AM (#8428046) Homepage
    For those wondering what placebos, yoyos , random numbers, fear , CodeCon and Dune have in common:

    Only on slashdot have these been combined in a single sentence.

    • by onyxruby ( 118189 ) * <`onyxruby' `at' `comcast.net'> on Monday March 01, 2004 @07:49AM (#8428063)
      And only on slashdot would they have a good chunk of the readers never bat an eye at such a combo.
      • That's usually because we don't read the article before we set out on our karma gathering expeditions! :)

        People like me should be given karma points for not posting!

        Ok ok, I'll metamoderate! Please don't hurt me anymore :(
    • The use of placebo was a bit qute though. Like that new winXP disc is just one big shiny placebo pill. Which is kind of true.
    • Hey! (Score:3, Funny)

      by asr_man ( 620632 )
      You broke my googlewhack!
    • The placebo effect is an amazingly powerful tool that western science is just starting to open up to.

      Think about it -- a sugar pill can help alleviate pain (and help heal a wide range of disease) with ZERO side effects. Isn't that the ultimate goal of any pharmacologist? This is an area of research we should all embrace, though it requires an open mind to do so. The mind has far more control over our body than medical science has been willing to admit.

      More on Integrative Medicine [arizona.edu]

      • It's one of the great mysteries of science. I read somewhere - Fortean Times, I think - that there is even evidence that it works on animals. I don't have a link, dammit, but that's quite incredible if true.
      • Nah, people will just imagine the side effects too.

        I was wondering the other night why placebos aren't used more widely (at least when all other treatments have failed). And then I realised: they probably are. Doctors just don't talk about it because placebos would stop working if people knew about them. At last, a benign conspiracy theory!

        • I'm not sure about internationally, but I know they are regularly dispensed at sporting events here in Australia. I had a friend who regularly worked at such events and spectators complaining of headaches were dispensed a sugar pill or two and a large bottle of water. In most instances they were simply dehydrated (running/yelling & drinking alcohol & hot weather not a real good combination) but informing them they were dehydrated usually caught the ire of the person. As such they are administered th
      • Western science can open up to placebos all the like. Lawyers will not.
        Lawyer:And on the day of June 2nd, 2003, did your client not come into your office complaining of backpain?
        Doctor: Yes.
        Lawyer: And what did you prescribe to her?
        Doctor: Well her complaints were very general, so I gave her a placebo.
        Lawyer: In lieu of Actual medicine?
        Doctor:No, you see, the placebo effect is actually a well understood and practic...
        Lawyer: No further questions for this witness your honor.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 01, 2004 @07:45AM (#8428053)
    Is that when you hack a server to bring it down, wait for it to come back up again then down, up, down...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 01, 2004 @07:46AM (#8428054)
    There's a link to "Nude Beaches" on the same page, which has got to be a lot more inteersting than guys modifying yo-yos :-)
  • is that it ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 01, 2004 @07:47AM (#8428057)

    i know /.'ers have a short attention span but 200 words of thin rambling doesnt really make an article

    if i wanted articles of this level of intelectual calibre i would get my lowdown from "TechTV" or "the Screensavers"

    • Re:is that it ? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kmonsen ( 606584 )
      There is another article on slashdot about how 50% or something of americans with net access publish their own stuff. This is an example of why this does not need to be a good thing.

      I mean how many blogs with personal info do we really need?

  • Anallee Newitz? (Score:2, Informative)

    by mikeophile ( 647318 )
    Ummm, put down the porn for two seconds to spell check, ok?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 01, 2004 @07:50AM (#8428067)
    Is it such a slow day at Slashdot? Why is this dump of mental diarrhea "news for nerds" or "stuff that matters"? Someone is at some geek conference, throws a bunch of sci-fi references with a couple of buzzwords and some piece about a software that doesn't work but "will do soon" and suddenly we have a truly wondrous article about how good it is to be a geek.
    • by lutefish ( 746659 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @07:59AM (#8428109)
      It's a column. She writes chatty, informal bits on tech and geeks for the SF Guardian. Columns suceed precisely because of their individual tone; although writing in a tech-heavy area, there are still the unwired masses that she reaches, as well.

      Although she's been writing for the Guardian for a while, she's been writing, at least occasionally, on geek subjects/the web since Bad Subjects, 1995 [eserver.org]. If you want to fault /. for posting it, why bother commenting on how, presumably as a 'true' geek, that you're completely and utterly unimpressed with Newitz's writings/geek credentials?

      • If she is the same Annalee Newitz I went to high school with (and I am pretty sure she is) then she writes to satisfy her own ego more than anything else.

        Your interest in the subject is a lot less important than the fact that she is a "writer" and sees things published with her byline.

        Of course, I am an asshole so what I write (especially on Slashdot) is not particularly relevant either.
    • by Vintermann ( 400722 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @08:45AM (#8428310) Homepage
      "Is it such a slow day at Slashdot? Why is this dump of mental diarrhea "news for nerds" or "stuff that matters"? Someone is at some geek conference, throws a bunch of sci-fi references with a couple of buzzwords and some piece about a software that doesn't work but "will do soon" and suddenly we have a truly wondrous article about how good it is to be a geek."

      Not every article on slashdot is revolutionary brilliant. Neither are all replies. Get over it. I for one can't see what's so insightful about your whining.
  • Erm (Score:1, Insightful)

    by cca93014 ( 466820 )
    What the fuck is this? News for 12 year olds?

    Sorry to be a troll, but really.

    Next on Slashdot...K1nd3rg4rt0n hax0r5!!!
  • ... what is not journalism. It's mostly a rambling trend of thought that, unfortunately, is very publishable on the internet.

    "Hacking YoYos" ??? Hardly. That's not new, and it certainly wasn't invented at this conference. People (and self) have always 'modified' a yoyo when it wasn't performing well.

    I won't even go into the logic the writer espouses while complaining that doctors are allowed to cause pain in the name of science. Anyone remember the 'call for volunteers' that NASA wanted to lay on their back at a negative incline for months to simulate weightlessness? That's a hell of allot more intrusive and damaging than being poked or heated.

    Enough New-Age crap.
    • by D-Fly ( 7665 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @12:42PM (#8430842) Homepage Journal
      ...humorless literalism.

      It's foolish and ill-informed when people accuse columnists (or anyone else who isn't a journalist) of being poor journalists. Columnists aren't journalists in the same way that a reporter is: they have a much wider ambit--commentary, opinion, whatever.

      Annalee Newitz's job isn't to go to a conference and report the facts: it's to ramble, amuse and, yeah, maybe inform a little.

      And it's not merely "publishable on the internet," purdue. As far as I'm concerned, she's one of the few reasons to pick up the Bay Guardian, a very much dead-trees-and-ink city weekly.
  • by Zakabog ( 603757 ) <<moc.guamj> <ta> <nhoj>> on Monday March 01, 2004 @07:56AM (#8428097)
    ... as soon as the site loaded I couldn't help from clicking the "Nude Beaches" link.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 01, 2004 @07:58AM (#8428107)
    I have no idea what that article was about. What is CodeCon? Nevermind the shiny LED's and the yo-yo's, someone find that writer an editor. In fact, speaking of editors, how the hell did this get posted in the first place?

    Oh, and for some reason, the Shmoo site is down. *goes in search of a mirror*
    • by Zakabog ( 603757 ) <<moc.guamj> <ta> <nhoj>> on Monday March 01, 2004 @08:10AM (#8428163)
      What is CodeCon?

      I think this gives a decent picture of what to expect at CodeCon: That's sort of the beauty of CodeCon: people come here to share their weird creations, even if all the bugs haven't quite gotten worked out yet. A place people come to share their weird creations. And if you read the entire article it seems like they're tech related creations, with a ton of geeks around. The yo-yos aren't important, they're mentioned because of the REACTION to the yo-yos, the people their were true crackers, trying to figure out how the yo-yos worked, taking them apart, making them better. That was why it was mentioned, not that there was anything special about them. Sure the article does swing between so many different topics (placebos, dune, codecon, geek habits) but it's a little interesting (although I also don't understand how it got posted, there really isn't much of a point to the story.)
      • The yo-yos aren't important, they're mentioned because of the REACTION to the yo-yos, the people their were true crackers, trying to figure out how the yo-yos worked, taking them apart, making them better.
        I think you mean true hackers; if the subjects were crackers the yo-yos would have been spat upon, stomped, kicked around, and probably thrown into the hotel pool. (Or, if they were the script kiddie kind, simply stared at slack-jawed with an "ooOOhh, teh 5h1nej!!!1!")
      • people come here to share their weird creations, even if all the bugs haven't quite gotten worked out yet.

        Well, this "article" certainly qualifies as both weird and buggy. I guess it's better than another NYT op-ed posting.

  • This is not good... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by miketang16 ( 585602 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @08:03AM (#8428129) Journal
    I read the "article" and then I read the replies and noticed everyone talking about how horribly written and short it was.

    I liked it.
    • I liked it too. When has a reporter/journalist gone to one of these conventions, and moreover, written about it? This article was a nice way to relax for a bit between classes (having a 7:30 English class), and was amusing to read. Maybe I'm not a 'true geek', but Slashdot doesn't have to just be 'news'. Sometimes I read the comments just for the 'Funny' ones to lighten up my day.
  • by prat393 ( 757559 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @08:19AM (#8428200)
    She does make a good point about how arbritrary perceptions are. I think the most interesting thing she said was that the brain ceases to interpret pain as pain, because this indicates some understanding that the signals are still being processed, just not in the normal way. Thing about it for a second. That's not even the normal "ignore your pain" ideal, it goes even further. What if we really do have the ability to interpret our senses as we see fit?
  • by FraggedSquid ( 737869 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @08:23AM (#8428225)
    Using glue, you can install Linux on your yoyo.
  • by coolguy81 ( 322371 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @08:33AM (#8428263) Homepage
    ...good thing the FBI wasn't around. With the DMCA, he could of gotten into big time trouble with that yoyo.
  • linkage (Score:5, Informative)

    by doom ( 14564 ) <doom@kzsu.stanford.edu> on Monday March 01, 2004 @10:30AM (#8429044) Homepage Journal
    If you were wondering what this is all about...
    Annalee Newitz (with two N's) is the author of a regular print-media column called "Techsploitation", of which this story was an example. More on that:
    http://www.techsploitation.com/writing/ [techsploitation.com]
    http://www.alternet.org/alsoby.html?Author=2188 [alternet.org]
    More about CodeCon:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CodeCon [wikipedia.org]
    http://www.codecon.org/2004/ [codecon.org]
    http://www.oblomovka.com/search.php3?q=%3Cspan%20c lass= [oblomovka.com]
    http://www.financialcryptography.com/mt/archives/0 00050.html [financialc...graphy.com]
    The Schmoo Hacker Group: "The Shmoo Group is a non-profit think-tank comprised of security professionals from around the world who donate their free time and energy to information security research and development."
    http://www.shmoo.com/ [shmoo.com]
    Wi-Fi Remains a Work in Progress [newsfactor.com]
    A latte, a Wi-Fi link and a hacker [computerworld.com]
    Wireless network worries? Get a dog! [geek.com]
    "Need To Know" (a zine in fixed-width font, the way god intended the net):
    http://www.ntk.net/ [ntk.net]
    Ken Schalk, yo-yo hacker, is the author of Vesta: "Vesta is an advanced system for source code control, versioning, configuration management, and building. It is an alternative to CVS+make."
    http://freshmeat.net/projects/vesta/ [freshmeat.net]
    http://sourceforge.net/project/shownotes.php?relea se_id=156198 [sourceforge.net]
    http://www.milkycat.com/toiletree.htm [milkycat.com]
    Jonathan Moore evidentally did a bunch of wifi networking down in Santa Cruz, and is the author of the MobileMesh software
    http://wiki.haven.sh/index.php/WikiWikiWan [haven.sh]
    Jonathan Moore's CodeCon presentation was about: "Hacking Social Networks part II (Don't search private data)"
    http://more.theory.org/archives/000110.html#more [theory.org]
    Science Magazine is put out by the AAAS, and does great in-depth coverage of general science (and insanely detailed minutia about biology):
    http://www.sciencemag.org/ [sciencemag.org]
    http://placebo.nih.gov/ [nih.gov] Oh, and about "GenToo 2004":
    http://www.gentoo.org/news/20031203-news.xml [gentoo.org]

    Heh... note the email address Annalee Newitz is using here... she evidentally creates a new mail alias for every column: sugarpill@techsploitation.com

    Ah, slash ids pushing a billion and whining about what a sewer it's become...

    • Re:linkage (Score:5, Informative)

      by [Xorian] ( 112258 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @03:06PM (#8432911)
      Ken Schalk, yo-yo hacker, is the author of Vesta

      Maintainer, yes. Person who ported it to Linux and got it released as free software, yes. Author, no. (I am Ken Schalk, so I should know. :-)

      Vesta was written by researchers at the Digital/Compaq Systems Research Center in Aplo Alto, CA. I've certainly tried to make a useful contribution, but I did not create it.

  • Great Article! (Score:5, Informative)

    by burris ( 122191 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @10:34AM (#8429096)
    I loved this article! Of course, I was at CodeCon, at the Google reception, and I stuffed my face at Sparky's. Would anyone like some origami paper (or foil?), I always have some with me...

    In case anyone is wondering, CodeCon is what Bram Cohen (of BitTorrent fame) started after getting tired of conferences where you pay a ridiculous fee to hear some marketeer ramble on about some vaporware that won't ever see the light of day. CodeCon is a conference for hackers to show off their projects; the presentation must be made by a developer and you must demo some working code. It was also less than $100 for three days of presentations.

  • yo-yo hack? no. (Score:3, Informative)

    by ayeco ( 301053 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @10:50AM (#8429300)
    The first thing you do to a new yo-yo is adjust the string. "mod", "hack", whatever - memes getting old, fast.
  • Dune (Score:5, Funny)

    by damiena ( 263598 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @11:07AM (#8429507)
    it reminds me of that cool scene in the movie Dune, when Paul sticks his hand in the pain box for a really long time and you hear that spooky voice-over intoning, "I will not fear; fear is the mind-killer."

    Yeah, it was a great movie... Now if only someone would write one of those novelized adaptations. That would be great!
  • Give a linux box with XPde [xpde.com] to a ms-windows user and tell him/her it's XP Reloaded...

I like work; it fascinates me; I can sit and look at it for hours.