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Submission + - Dice Holdings buys Slashdot and other Geeknet websites for $20M (yahoo.com) 3

Angostura writes: Dice Holdings Inc. said Tuesday that it acquired Geeknet Inc.'s online media business, including its Slashdot and SourceForge websites, for $20 million in cash.
The New York-based careers website company said the acquisition of the technology websites is part of its strategy of providing content and services geared toward technology professionals.

Comment Re:It's from Microsoft and this is Slashdot... (Score 1) 1027

That's changing more and more - it only started out with the young and savvy. It is branching out to the older and less savvy who want the features and capabilities without all the widgets and whirlygigs. This is actually the segment where Windows Phone could make some headway, if their brand wasn't already in the toilet. Now I think Apple will scoop up most of the the late-bloomers due mainly to popularity and usability.

Comment Re:It's from Microsoft and this is Slashdot... (Score 1) 1027

Say rather that they were here before Windows Phone 7.

I don't count the prior iterations of WP OS as real competitors; it was a clumsy attempt to make a desktop on a phone and were rightfully consigned to the "other" shelf in stores along with Palm OS and the goofy pseudo-smartphones some manufacturers tried to invent. They did make a small amount of headway with business customers, but not much - Blackberry led that charge.

Comment Gaming led me into IT because... (Score 4, Insightful) 227

You used to have to learn everything about the computer just to get the damn games to run.

I literally started my IT career at age 13, hammering away at a shiny new 486SX/25 on a command line trying to get games to run properly. I learned very basic scripting/programming concepts working with batch files and optimizing autoruns so the sound would work in Wing Commander or Space Quest wouldn't crash. I learned hardware installing my first CD-ROM and sound card to play 7th Guest. I learned troubleshooting methodology trying to get Windows 3.1 to work just so I could play Myst.

Gamers today don't have to go through all that. Gaming is mainstream and a long way from the marginalized hobby for nerds that it used to be. Consoles took away all the need for know-how, now it's just insert disc and push buttons. When you don't have to understand the components to get the pretty-shinies to bleep-boop on the screen, you don't try to.

Having said all that, I do believe that PC gaming can lead to IT knowledge, if to a lesser extent than it used to. Hardware tweakers, framerate enthusiasts, and OCers will absolutely have the skills to jump into system building and optimization with both feet.

Comment Re:It's from Microsoft and this is Slashdot... (Score 4, Insightful) 1027

The rabies seems to have spread to the entire rest of the planet, too. 98 percent of smartphone buyers seem to "irrationally" not want Windows Phone phones whether they're slashdotters or not and despite the glowing reviews and spontaneous euphoria it induces in blog post commenters.

I believe this is mainly due to the entrenched market of Apple/Google OS phones. They were here first, there are more apps for them, their methodology and UI is ingrained in the minds of the 98% of smartphone buyers, who by now are likely on their 2nd or possibly even 3rd smartphone. People are used to them, they like them fine, they've integrated the way they work into their lives.

I think the newest iteration of the Windows Phone OS is great - the Zune, despite its flaws, had an excellent and intuitive interface and WP7 draws on that. I think it could've been a real competitor if it hadn't come out 2 years too late to make a splash. The old iteration of Windows Phone OS was absolutely horrible and tried to bring a desktop experience to the phone, which clearly isn't needed. The new version is fantastic by comparison, particularly for the non-technical user - it's easy to use, has a clean and elegant UI, and works smoothly and efficiently. Reputation and lack of saturation are all that's keeping the casual user market small - it's also hurting their app market which just drives it down further.

I think that WP7 might not be for most of the /. crowd, since it's more about broadened functionality than form or ease of use for many of us - we're all used to complex and responsive interfaces that maximize data/options while minimizing "helper" functions. Hence the trend towards Android devices. Also Micro$oft Raargh Smash.

Apple strikes more of a balance, with lots of options but more streamlined and rigidly controlled user experience. Anyone who loves their iPhone but doesn't really buy all that many apps and thinks that it's sometimes "too complicated", should probably look into a Windows phone.

Right now I think all that's holding MS back is their past, the OS is really great but they're late to the party and have a bad rep. I would consider Windows Phone if it had wider app support, but at this stage in the game that isn't very likely. I don't, however, ever want or need Metro on my desktop - prepare for the next flop in Win 8, MS.

Comment Re:What about cops? (Score 1) 299

Besides which, that's entertainment programming, not news.

This is the funniest comment on here - you haven't been watching much news lately I take it?

Boring news doesn't get watched, so even the most trivial, humdrum, day-to-day news gets jazzed up with alarmist angles and misleading headlines. The line between news and entertainment has been almost fully erased.

Comment Am I the only one.. (Score 2) 594

... who just didn't really like the game?

Maybe I'm just older and my tastes have changed, maybe I didn't give it enough of a chance, but for whatever reason I didn't really like Diablo 3.

I played in the Beta for a few weeks, on and off - it never really hooked me. It was prettier than Diablo 2, but it didn't seem graphically more impressive than WoW. The colors were wrong, too bright and bold - big departure from D1 and D2. The gameplay was... kinda boring and repetitive. I didn't really care why I was going to click these things to death, and even the act of clicking them to death got very tiresome very quickly.

The class system was stagnant and unfeatured, linear progression unlocks are dull - I did hear about using runes to change talents/skills, maybe that's where the spice is but I saw none of that. The enemies were very standard fare with zero challenge and no real hooks to keep me playing. Again, maybe that changed with the full release, but I just don't feel the need to pay $60 to find out.

Maybe I've been MMOing too much but I've come to expect a little more thought required and challenge from my games. Or maybe I'm just getting old. Either way I Loved Diablo 1 and 2, but this one just didn't have the magic juice in it for me.

Comment Companies are starting to listen (Score 5, Interesting) 109

I work in first-line management for a major telecom and this idea is really starting to take hold. And it's everything I imagined it would be.

If you aren't directly managing employees and/or it isn't necessary for you to have physical access to equipment, there is no reason why working from home won't work. My boss and all my team are scattered all over the country, we've never met each other face to face. All my meetings are over the phone and via web conference. Nothing requires that I be anywhere near an office, just that I have a quiet place with telephone and high-speed internet access.

We recently switched to allowing telecommuting 2-3 days a week. And let me tell you, it is Glorious. Those 2-3 days are the most productive ones I have, maybe because I'm comfortable and able to clearly think through issues, instead of being constantly interrupted by the asshole across the cube farm's ringtone or the loudmouth Sales guy on a call next cube over or a million other irritations at the office. And as far as the time-worn fears of slacking are concerned, honestly I have too much to do to slack off - any supervising manager would be able to tell pretty quickly whether or not their subordinates are abusing the privilege.

Now, this clearly won't work for everyone for obvious reasons - IT support staff, hardware maintenance, client/customer support, supervising managers; you can't really cash in on this goodness. But if you don't deal with face-to-face interactions and your work is mostly conducted electronically, there's no reason not to - that is, as long as you can easily get to the office should the need come up or should your environment prove disruptive.

Some people do abuse the shit out of it - I wanted to strangle the lady who was watching her kids while hosting a call; the kid was yelling and she was goo-goo talking to him and it was just grossly unprofessional. But most people who've been working from home have been extremely professional about it - in fact I usually never know who's at home and who's in the office.

I'm glad to see stories like this - telecommuting has taken tons of stress/aggravation out of my work week and it's had an unfair reputation pinned to it by traditional managers who think it's just too good to be true.

Facebook

Submission + - Gawker Media To Require Commenters' Facebook, Twitter, or Google Logins (gizmodo.com)

wynterwynd writes: In a move that seems to be in line with Gawker Media founder Nick Denton's opinion of his sites' commenters, some Gawker Media sites are now instructing their commenters that they will have to link their Gawker commenter ID with their Facebook, Twitter, or Google accounts in order to log in. Is this really a good idea, considering the security issues Gawker has had in the past? Per the article, for "security purposes" Gawker is "putting our account security layer in the hands of some of the best in the business — major sites with more security expertise and resources than anyone else on the web." To my mind, it's hard to see this as anything but a grab to milk Gawker commenters' social networking accounts for targeted ad revenue — which really shouldn't be a surpirse considering Denton's contempt for most of the Gawker community. Is this a step too far for an online community? Is it a cash grab or a genuine effort to encourage secure and responsible posting?

Comment Not every dramatic headline requires a law (Score 5, Insightful) 275

Isn't Facebook planning to sue companies that do this in a civil court? And aren't there laws in place that effectively prohibit this? (the Stored Communications Act and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act come to mind - especially since if you RTFA the Justice dept is already looking into whether these would apply)

I'm all for some Republican-bashing, but we should really consider whether we already have a law in place for this before we add new ones. The legal code is cryptic and mountainous enough as it is without adding unnecessary cruft.

It also may not have been appropriate as an amendment to this particular bill - note that the article states that Republicans would consider separate legislation.

Comment Says the guy with a terrible comment system (Score 4, Interesting) 429

I'm quite sure Nick Denton doesn't like user comments. Gawker doesn't like opinions that they weren't paid to show on their site. And they REALLY hate it when you tell them their site redesign was awful, or that time-sloting Kotaku was a moronic idea. And they have just about the worst commenting system out there.

All bitching about Gawker sites aside, their comment system was truly abysmal. Anyone can comment, but if you don't create an account your comment goes into a deep hole for potential approval by an unknown entity on the 5th of Never. Then if you make an account, your comment will show but it won't show by default unless it's been "featured" by having a starred member promote it at whim or reply to it. And if you're VERY lucky and catch an author on a good day and agree completely with him, you might even get elevated to a star of your own. And then you get some kind of moderation power, assuming you don't get it removed for not kissing Gawker's ass enough. And before you say it, yes I have a star and no it hasn't been removed (at least until an editor reads this, I suppose).

There is no system for obtaining or losing a star that I can tell aside from author/editor whim. There are no obvious rules for promoting comments. There are no guidelines given if you get a star. The community guidelines are open to potentially abusive interpretation that doesn't always reflect the clear intent. The entire thing is a mystery box that panders to Gawker and censors anything they don't like.

The system here at /. is much more orderly, I can eliminate all the chum comments just by browsing at +1 or +2. And moderation is clearly defined and passed around in time to everyone who joins the club. We have freedom to post, clear self-policing, and even reward consistent quality. Plus, you get similar article quality and policing of content (with its own slant, but then that's what communities are all about).

I do think Reddit has probably the most pure and free-form overall model for generating, filtering, and promoting user-generated content, but the quality mileage does vary and there's practically no fact-checking. Something like a "front page" with editor-approved threads might help the mainstream web surfers more easily accept it.

I just wish I didn't find Gizmodo/Kotaku articles as entertaining as I do. They do bring me bite-sized news with entertaining content and more often than not are teh funny. I can't stand Nick Denton though - he's a greedy shithead whoring out the integrity of his editors/writers with every ad-article, bad design, and site-wrapper he shoves down their throats.

Comment Re:scare tactics (Score 0) 260

Lovely thought, but all these magical screens that come up when you type in URLs cost real money.

Servers cost money. Hardware, software, maintenance, and electricity just off the top of my head to say nothing of the MUCH higher costs to them of commercial bandwidth. And the big sites? Multiply that by about 100x for re-hosting providers. And that's just the physical capability to put a "hello world" on your screen when you type in catlolzmemes.com.

Then there's the people who design professional sites, who think up and write content like the article you may have read that led you to "collaborate" with us. That text box you typed this in? Someone got paid to build that and used it to provide for their family / self / WoW account access. Just because you don't pay the bills personally doesn't mean they don't get paid by someone. And that someone makes their money back off ads. And there's a thousand other costs I haven't mentioned that are associated with a site or publication or blog or any website. Someone pays for them, and 8/10 times they are ultimately paid for with ads.

The "Money making distribution system" is the blood that pumps through the fiber, keeping all this from flaking out. It makes your internet access and content faster, more flexible, and stronger. Communal ownership of the Internet sounds great in your freshman philosophy of technology classes, but there are real costs that have to be shouldered or it all breaks down. And it could be a lot worse. If ISPs used their theoretical power to push and sell targeted advertising, you wouldn't be able to avoid the ads at all - period. You might even have to pay for tiered Internet access (and it's been tried several times before). At least now we have some way to control how these ads come to us without restricting sites too egregiously.

The days of the internet being only "a collaborative medium" are long past. Now it is how we all communicate globally. And one of the most basic reasons to foster communication in any civilizations is trade. Hence, advertising.

If anything should be done to prevent it, we should target the most hideous and blatantly invasive ad and tracking formats that are out there today - then marketers can come up with less offensive and sneakier methods to do the same thing. It WILL happen though, the illusion of the Internet being "free" is just that. Time to grow up a bit and realize that just because YOU didn't pay for it directly, doesn't mean that it's all just free.

TANSTAAFL.

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