Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Monetary Reward : Bad Idea (Score 4, Insightful) 412

The little I know of economic theory suggests that replacing intrinsic rewards - like the warm fuzzy feeling you get from contributing - with a small cash reward means that people will value contributing to Wikipedia at the price of the small cash reward. This is invariably less than the dollar amount they'd attach to an act of charity that also spreads knowledge.

tl;dr: don't offer cash rewards for people doing things for fuzzy emotional reasons. It doesn't work.

The Media

Are Newspapers Doomed? 338

Ponca City, We love you writes "James Surowiecki has an interesting article in the New Yorker that crystalizes the problems facing print newspapers today and explains why we may soon be seeing more major newspapers filing for bankruptcy, as the Tribune Company did last week. 'There's no mystery as to the source of all the trouble: advertising revenue has dried up,' writes Surowiecki, but the 'peculiar fact about the current crisis is that even as big papers have become less profitable they've arguably become more popular,' with the blogosphere piggybacking on traditional journalism's content. Surowiecki imagines many possible futures for newspapers, from becoming foundation-run nonprofits to relying on reader donations to deep-pocketed patrons. 'For a while now, readers have had the best of both worlds: all the benefits of the old, high-profit regime — intensive reporting, experienced editors, and so on — and the low costs of the new one. But that situation can't last. Soon enough, we're going to start getting what we pay for, and we may find out just how little that is.'"

Comment Re:If only most MUDs had the puzzle solving aspect (Score 1) 149

Part of the problem with team-based puzzles is that they're very difficult to do in a persistent world. Once they're solved, they're solved. Do you put them back? The person who knows the solution is wandering around some place, and is free to post the solution on the Internet. If you don't, then players not at the cutting edge of the game essentially play clean-up -- assuming, of course, that one *has* a cutting edge. An ARG is essentially a kind of MMO - it has a persistent world that's shared amongst all players, after all, and they assume that players are working together, and so are free to make the puzzles as tough as they can, confident that players will eventually find a way through.

To WoW's credit, most of the bosses in the dungeons in the two expansions require players to work out and execute on a strategy to defeat them. Unfortunately, the strategy is generally worked out during the beta testing, well before most players reach it, and players generally don't have the luxury of figuring out the strategy on their own.

Someone will eventually crack the way to do a persistent world with puzzles and discovery while being able to renew solutions. I expect it'll be done by designing a class of puzzle that the game can assemble hundreds of unique variations on, but players can't solve by building their own solver.

Comment Re:Voluntary (Score 2, Interesting) 231

I'm confused: as far as I can see, about the only people who want this implemented are Stephen Conroy and Family First. The Liberals don't want it, the Greens don't want it, citizens don't want it, child protection groups don't want it, and ISPs are only doing it to prove to the government that they're lying about the speed impact.

Comment Re:Javascript (Score 1, Troll) 475

And, of course, the ability to write a app for web deployment using C#.

Really, Slashdot, I'm disappointed. You go for the knee-jerk "fuck Microsoft" when really we're looking at Microsoft's attempt to cede the Windows monopoly and rebuild the Win32 API lock-in that delivered that monopoly across the Internet? That's a much scarier prospect, especially seeing as .Net is the only product of theirs they haven't run into the ground yet.

Of course, it's also much more unlikely, but Slashdot's record on predicting the future of technology is the stuff of legends. Only on Slashdot do you find people claiming for half a decade that Linux would finally make inroads on the desktop then turn around and claim the iPod'll never take off.

Comment Re:The third "E". The other browser. (Score 5, Interesting) 410

Ballmer pretty much confirmed (was there yesterday) that was the strategy later on in his answer - to beat the standards bodies to new features. The entire strategy they presented was building a new Microsoft-only Web stack built on .Net, and then trying to lock people in with IE8+.

Tim Bray Says RELAX 180

twofish writes to tell us that Sun's Tim Bray (co-editor of XML and the XML namespace specifications) has posted a blog entry suggesting RELAX NG be used instead of the W3C XML Schema. From the blog: "W3C XML Schemas (XSD) suck. They are hard to read, hard to write, hard to understand, have interoperability problems, and are unable to describe lots of things you want to do all the time in XML. Schemas based on Relax NG, also known as ISO Standard 19757, are easy to write, easy to read, are backed by a rigorous formalism for interoperability, and can describe immensely more different XML constructs."

Slashdot Top Deals

Everything that can be invented has been invented. -- Charles Duell, Director of U.S. Patent Office, 1899