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Comment Re:I might look into it. (Score 3, Insightful) 92

Unfortunately I'm finding it difficult to disagree with you.

When there wasn't an unlimited amount of screen or an unlimited amount of graphics capability, interface designers had to be very diligent in how they used what they had. With only eighty columns and twenty-five rows, or if you were lucky, one-hundred-thirty-two columns and forty-four rows, there wasn't a lot of room for waste or poor design.

Modern web designers have embraced the ooh-shiny parts of modern HTML specifications but haven't held on to the basic purpose, to efficiently convey information. Beta is an example, embracing eye-candy at the expense of that which the site's purpose is for, to convey information that's mostly text-based.

I also used to use Lynx/links/elinks as testing for what I wrote. I haven't written HTML in a big way in some time, but I imagine that most pages will fail the text-mode test.

Comment Re:Link broken? (Score 1) 1191

Yeah, I kind of like the classic, large-icon image on the corner of some stories, if anything is included at all. I don't see a need for pictures for the bulk of stories, it's like the use of stock footage on the evening news when they have something that's important but not visual.

Comment Re:Link broken? (Score 1) 1191

the news.google.com site looks loads better than this new thing.

Come to think of it, news.google.com looks a lot like the current Slashdot main page. A narrow, plain nav column on the left, a large body column in the middle, and a 25%ish column on the right.
The Internet

CERN Launches Line Mode Browser Emulator 92

itwbennett writes "As part of the project to preserve the world's first website and all of the accompanying technology, CERN last week launched a line mode browser emulator. To make the browser experience authentic, the developers recreated how terminals would draw one character at a time by covering the page in black and then revealing each character by erasing a character-sized rectangle from that cover, one-by-one, line-by-line. They also recreated the sound of typing on older keyboards, specifically an IBM RS/6000 keyboard, by using HTML5 audio elements."

Comment Things to do in /. before you're dead (Score 1) 1191

  • Fix the metamoderation (it hasn't made any sense since you were bought up)
  • Fix the search function (which has NEVER worked), with options to search the blurbs, the original linked to pages, the discussions, the discussions were you've posted, your own posts, etc...
  • Add a 'Like' button on individual posts. Not, not a fb 'like': a way to mark down other people's posts and have them all on your own page. And searchable too.
EU

Snowden Shortlisted For Europe's Top Human Rights Award 273

another random user sends this news from the BBC: "Edward Snowden, the fugitive American former intelligence worker, has made the shortlist of three for the Sakharov prize, Europe's top human rights award. Mr Snowden was nominated by Green politicians in the European Parliament for leaking details of U.S. surveillance. Nominees also include Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot in the head for demanding education for girls. Former recipients of the prize, awarded by the European Parliament, include Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi. Mr Snowden's nomination recognized that his disclosure of U.S. surveillance activities was an 'enormous service' to human rights and European citizens, the parliament's Green group said."

Comment Re:Link broken? (Score 5, Informative) 1191

I opened it. Unlike the current design, it did not scale to fit my 1400x1050 screen, leaving large whitespace borders on both edges. If that's what it does on a 4:3 screen with a narrower horizontal resolution than many modern widescreen "high definition" displays, then this is a bad thing.

Additionally there was less content on the initial screen than there is on the current design. Much of the time I skim the headlines, if I find one I find relevant I immediately read the blurb. If the blurb appeals then I follow the link(s) or read the comments. This new layout doesn't offer as much content on a given screen, and one thing I learned in design in general, if you don't grab your audience with little more than a glimpse, then you've lost your audience.

I did design for some ads for some fandom events, and within the form factor of the ad I had to answer who/what why, and when, and to a lesser extent, where. I had to name the event, give the viewer a reason to go to the event, give the date for the event, and for events that weren't in the normal venues or where the venue itself was an advantage, name the venue. All of this information needed to be conveyed in little-more than a snapshot.

While Slashdot or any bulletin board system is not the same as an ad, it is important to present the frame of the discussion in a format that allows the casual browser to see the important stuff pop out instantly. The current layout, with different presentations, reverse colors for somethings, etc, works to do that. The new format didn't give me the impression of being well organized in that regard. One needs the headline to convey the important "grabber' in a way that actually commands attention. The new system didn't do that for me.

Submission + - Virginia building its own TIA system? (timesdispatch.com)

schwit1 writes: Virginia is developing a master identity database of its subjects and it's called e-ID.

Using Department of Motor Vehicles records as its core, the state government is quietly developing a master identity database of Virginia residents for use by state agencies. The state enterprise record — the master electronic ID database — would help agencies ferret out fraud and help residents do business electronically with the state more easily, officials said.

While officials say the e-ID initiative will be limited in scope and access, it comes at a time of growing public concern about electronic privacy, identity theft and government intrusion."It makes it easier to compromise your privacy," said Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia. "They're using DMV for some other purpose than driving."

Comment Re:pluses and minuses (Score 4, Informative) 1191

Luckily the layout can be fixed with a few lines of greasemonkey script, just turn off max width on the split-right container, turn off the background images and turn off the max width on the col-river pull-left div and things look MUCH better. I commented on the first day of the beta that the whitespace was horrendous but apparently they don't care, luckily HTML and CSS are client side so we can decide how to render the page =)

Announcements

Come Try Out Slashdot's New Design (In Beta) 1191

Slashdot's biggest redesign effort ever is now in beta and you're invited to help guide it. This redesign has been shaped by feedback from community members over the past few months (a big thanks to those of you who participated in our alpha testing phase!), and we'd like your thoughts on it, too. This new design is meant to be richer but also simpler to use, while maintaining the spirit of what Slashdot is all about: News for Nerds. Stuff that matters. Read on for the details of what's included, or read this blog post. Update: 10/02 19:16 GMT by T : Since this post went live, we've been reading through the comments below as well as your (hundreds!) of emails. These are all valuable, as we continue to implement our current features into the Beta. Keep 'em coming; we love the feedback. Please keep in mind that this is called Beta for a reason; we've still folding in lots of improvements. One important thing to bear in mind is that the images are optional: check out the Classic mode by clicking on the view selection widget (just above the stories) on the Beta page.

Comment Re:at&t guy came by my house the other day (Score 2) 230

Why does Austin have monopoly rules? I thought Texas was the land of the free market? My little piece of Democrat controlled Ohio has two cable companies, u-verse, multiple DSL providers (if you haven't gone u-verse yet), two fixed wireless providers, and Clear wireless as broadband options. Not many of those options are over 20Mbps, but honestly there's not a hell of a lot of content out there requiring that kind of bandwidth at this time.

Comment Re:professors (Score 2) 73

Most professors are hired not for their ability to teach but rather their ability to do research. In fact, some of the "best" professors are horrible teachers -- they may be experts in their fields, but aren't necessarily the best teachers. As such, I would guess that the role of professors will remain unchanged. If anything, it will free up the professors from teaching responsibilities and they will merely provide "support".

Plus, I think that is the way it should be -- some of my best professors have been those who've encouraged my interest in the subject and with whom I've taken classes for research credit. They haven't been great at teaching me, but they've been great to collaborate with on research and just give me a broader perspective on their fields of expertise.

I have since sold my soul to the corporate world, but I am looking forward to going back to school one of these days.

What I would really like universities to do is provide opportunities for part-time PhD programs for those of us who are interested in research, but cannot leave our jobs and relinquish family commitments and responsibilities.

So, here is my question for Professor Anant:

I would absolutely love to do a PhD part-time, but why is it that universities deter this practice? I have found that I accomplish more when I love something and do it out of passion, my other commitments and responsibilities notwithstanding. In many subjects, hobbyists and amateurs have made significant contributions -- so why isn't there an increased focus on encouraging more "virtual research"?

From an academic perspective, you get sufficient education in most master's programs anyway, a lot of which can be completed part-time (and increasingly online). So, why not support research that can be done remotely?

As an erstwhile grad student who decided to not complete the PhD route, I met with my advisor perhaps once a week, and the only time he really cared was during conference deadlines. So, why can't PhD programs be made available part-time and online? With the exception of some subjects (e.g. chemistry, experimental physics, or biology), there are a lot more that can be pursued virtually (e.g. computer science, math, economics, theoretical physics etc).

Wouldn't there be increased enrollment of students in doctoral programs if there were the case? You do not even need to lower the standards -- you can still keep the same standard of admissions, qualifiers, and research criteria. You can provide residency requirements, but support doing the doctoral research at your own leisure. Why is this not the case?

It almost seems like an entrenchment of academic elites to keep the vicious cycle of "doctorate --> post doctorate --> professor --> tenure" going, and minimizing the number of doctoral candidates.

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