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User Journal

Journal Journal: An open letter to Taco on Pudge's abuse of power. 6


An entry you wrote on the Slashdot FAQ states:

What sorts of anti-troll filters exist?

A handful of filters have been put into place to try to make sure that people don't abuse the system. The most important is that the same person can't post more than once every 120 seconds. Also, if a single user is moderated down several times in a short time frame, a temporary ban will be imposed on that user... a cooling off period if you will. It lasts for 72 hours, or more for users who have posted a ton.

The vast majority of you will never encounter any of these troll filters. If you do encounter one unfairly, let us know so we can fix it. This stuff is fairly beta code, so there are bound to be problems. [emph mine]

Yet Pudge can post a comment at 12:50, 12:51, 12:52 and 12:53.

In the same story, Pudge posted over 60 times (and counting!) in a five hour period, many times less than 120s since his last post.

I understand allowing the editors certain freedoms that you can't give to a wider audience, but allowing your own editors to troll the Slashdot readers and abuse the filters set to stop such behavior is frankly a little sad.

If you agree that Taco needs to revoke Pudge's editor account, please reply below.

User Journal

Journal Journal: does Adobe dis loyal customers?

I decided I should upgrade to Photoshop Elements 7. "7" has some features I'd like to use.

Okay, but does this make sense? The upgrade is more expensive than the full version!

Try it yourself. Go to their purchase page. Click the "upgrade" version, select Photoshop Elements 7, English, Download. Then click the "full" tab and select same thing.

I see $74.99 for the full version, $79.99 for the upgrade. WTH? Does this make sense to anyone but Adobe?


Journal Journal: I wrote a book. 3

Cool, I just wrote a book! (I wrote the seven new chapters.)

Two of the most popular editors are vi (and its work-alikes), and emacs. This is O'Reilly's first new edition of their classic "Learning the vi Editor" in ten years and it was an honor to be part of the new release. Love vi, love emacs, it doesn't matter, I'm glad O'Reilly committed to updating their entry for vi.

(and my name is not Arnold, and my name is not Linda.)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Stupid Web Formatting (Slashdot user pages)

Am I the only one that sees on his Slashdot home page, a set of "menu items" under Last Journal Entry that go vertical in the last column? That is, "Friends' Journals" appears vertically arranged, one letter per line, instead of horizontally, unless I make the browser window really quite wide (I'm guessing 800 or 1000 pixels). I shouldn't have to stretch the window so wide to get a rational view of the page.

Click here to see an example of what I see in Internet Explorer 7 when I view my page.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Recovering previewed posts after web browser failure

I just lost yet another draft post because of my browser losing ("Operation Aborted." after pressing Preview), and was unable to press Back on my browser to recover. And yet, I know the bits had gone to them, and with little effort they could be saving the preview until my next preview comes... perhaps even only if I'd set a profile option saying I was willing to let them do that, if they were worried about privacy.

Is there any reason at all that Slashdot couldn't allow me to see my unfinished drafts within a small (or large, if they could handle it) time after I return anew?

Am I the only person who's ever wished for this?

Linux Business

Journal Journal: the run on Wal-Mart PCs

What does the recent run on Wal-mart's $200 mean, to Microsoft, and to the PC universe in general?

Simply selling out of a product quickly doesn't testify to the product's quality or goodness. Wal-mart's recent sale of PCs loaded with a customized Linux for $200 each was probably a price for many households too good to not try. The litmus test comes after the purchase, and based on Wal-mart customer reviews on the Wal-mart web site this machine gets a solid thumbs up.

This is good news for Linux. Each interation for the Linux desktop delivers a more seamless platform, now apparently, good enough for the masses. It comes with tools necessary for what people need: word processing; spreadsheets; internet; and e-mail. To get a similarly loaded Microsoft (Vista) machine (beefed up to handle the processor hungry Microsoft versions of its applications) would require a minimum of $1000.

You would think this is bad news for Microsoft. It isn't. Microsoft is too big, and too far ahead to care. They should care. Instead, they continue to put out their notion of what users want, increasingly complex and resource heavy applications, expensive and unwieldy. They claim their software is simple and intuitive. Anecdotal experience and reviews say no.

Now, Wal-mart has seeded the market with a computer that "just works", much like Macs, but at a fraction of the price. With its price advantage over Apple, and Microsoft's new Vista foundering, this is an opportunity, maybe the beginning of a tipping point for Linux. It's a modest but encouraging start. Linux users, take heart! Microsoft, take note!


Journal Journal: heat shield tiles, who needs them! 1

Well, after slicing a finger but still not emancipating my new mechanical pencil from its clamshell container, I'm having a V-8 moment.

NASA is looking in the wrong places for their solutions to protect the space shuttle. Heat shield tiles, who needs them! I say NASA simply talk to the vendors selling $5 crap and encasing said crap in inpenetrable and indestructible clamshell packages.

Encase the shuttle in one of these packages and NASA's good to go. (But watch your fingers when you try to get the astronauts out!)

User Journal

Journal Journal: what is the Microsoft chargeback code? 5

Another morning, another 30 minutes until my Windows XP box was ready enough for me to begin productive work. Today it was an automatic reboot I'd been trying to defer all day yesterday since I had some things I wanted to finish. Apparently over night Microsoft thought better of my wish to defer and rebooted.

Aside from time needed getting all my applications back online and in a state I wanted, I also had to re-configure and recover lost session work (minor, but an annoyance).

No matter the memory, no matter the CPU, no matter the patch level of Microsoft boxes, time and again I find my start up time eroded around the edges tending to Microsoft's rough edges. (Over the last couple weeks I've begun to get "low virtual memory" dialog from XP, even with a 2G machine, and the machine is barely asked to do much work (I mostly use it to support my cygwin Xwindows, and maybe one instance of Firefox), and ultimately I must reboot to get back responsiveness.)

This is standard operating procedure it seems in corporate PC America. This is what Microsoft has brought to the IT groupthink. This is not the way it always was. Sigh.

Thirty minutes here, ten minutes there, 5 minutes there... it all adds up (including the time to finally stop and write this journal entry), and anecdotally I know others in IT experience Microsoft platforms the same way. I wonder sometimes collectively what the world pays in lost slivers of time fixing and cleaning up Microsoft's mess. I'm betting it's more than the GNP of many small countries. I'd love to have a Microsoft chargeback code... If Microsoft wants to farm out their not-so-superior technology for the world to babysit, and rake in obscene profits with their tacit monopoly, I think it only fair we should be able to charge back our time to Microsoft for our time spent working for them.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Why all the freaks? 4

I've just looked at my 'freaks' on slashdot.

Why are there so many? I just don't understand.

Wouldn't all you freaks rather be my fans instead?

User Journal

Journal Journal: A dollar for Apple is a vote for the Democrats? 65

In the long lead up to the US Presidential Elections, there is something that I'm curious about.

How do slashdotters (and particularly conservative slashdotters) feel about Apple's overt and unequivocal support for the Democrats? If you're not sure what I'm talking about, consider the following:

  • During the last election. John Kerry had Steve Jobs' personal support and friendship, including Jobs' offering himself in the position of technical/PR advisor to the Kerry campaign.
  • Jobs has had the Clintons over to his house for an intimate dinner. The Clinton's returned the favor, inviting Jobs to stay a night in the White House's Lincoln bedroom, a privilege granted to big party donors.
  • Steve Jobs organised a fund raiser for Hilary Clinton at his Palo Alto home.

Has Apple's support for the Democrats changed your purchasing decisions?

Are you more or less likely to buy Apple knowing that a non-trivial percentage of your hard earned dollars are going to make there way into Democrat campaign funds?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Google "Mac Fanboy". 1

I'd just like to thank all the other whiney mac fanboys here on slashdot for linking to my slashpage.

Your tireless efforts have resulted in the slashdot wmf homepage becoming the number one google search result for mac fanboy.

Thanks again for all your hard work.



Journal Journal: Gates panned at CES 6

As per usual, I've submitted yet another article I expect to be rejected..., here it is for the unwashed:

Steve Johnson, a "web perspective" writer for the Chicago Tribune had a surprising review and some observations of Bill Gates' CES keynote address. He pretty much calls Bill out on the carpet for using the keynote as a platform for a pre-rollout Vista infomercial. From his (Steve's) notes:

Bill Gates, for his "keynote" presentation on the eve of the 40th Consumer Electronics Show, didn't pitch a real-estate sales scheme.

He wasn't on late-night TV.

And he didn't offer a three-easy-payment plan at the end.

But the Microsoft founder's address was nonetheless an infomercial, a blatant pitch for his new Windows Vista operation system that violated every notion of what a keynote address ought to be.

I have just watched the 90 minute video, and I'd have to agree, the presentation didn't seem to be about where technology was and where it was going as much as it was about Bill and co's excitement about the "fantastic" (a favorite Bill word) new computing Vista brings, and how Microsoft was poised to take over your digital living room, and house, and car...

Is it really necessary to shill for your own company front and center of CES when you're pretty much guaranteed the market share? Does Bill really add value to CES?

Internet Explorer

Journal Journal: IE7, a virus? 15

Recently I sent a rant to an on-line photo printer because their free downloadable software insisted on firing up IE7 on my computer, even though Foxfire is my default browser (translation in my book: I don't want IE running on my computer. Ever, if possible.

To verify their gaffe, I downloaded their software on my other computer with similar results. Bummer.

Okay, here's the scratchy-head part: I've noticed other applications, other interactions with both computers whereby IE7 is started in lieu of Foxfire. And, the other incidents seem strangely unrelated. I checked my file associations just in case that had anything to do with this, all html, htm, etc. are associated with Foxfire. WTH? (e.g., bringing up Google Desktop Indexing status fired up IE7...)

Has anyone else noticed unauthorized/unexpected intrusions (as far as I'm concerned) by IE7 since the Microsoft update?

User Journal

Journal Journal: for those who care 2

(pictures here.)

I recently asked for input on ideas for new personalized plate. My mini-dilemma was my new state (Illinois) didn't have "GOOGLE", or "UNIX" as options, two of my past faves (more on that in a second).

You can read the journal entry and associated comments, but to briefly summarize:

Slashdot members Short Circuit, nizo, Degrees, Acid-Duck, and Denial93 all chipped in with suggestions. The list (including mine):

  • ubuntu
  • unix
  • linux
  • un star x
  • dr linux
  • linux dr
  • linux rx
  • multics (short circuit)
  • tuxracr (short circuit)
  • firefox (nizo)
  • nix geek (nizo)
  • nix nerd (nizo)
  • got root (nizo)
  • gnu linux (degrees)
  • vmlinuz (acid-duck)
  • vmlinux (acid-duck)
  • uname (anonymous)
  • slashdot (denial93)
  • use unix (denial93)
  • vi 4ever (denial93)
  • go emacs (denial93)
  • trolling (denial93)
  • penguins (denial93)
  • opensrc (denial93)

I hope that's the complete list, apologies if my record-keeping lapses.

I thank all who commented and offered suggestions, they all were great. Two of my faves (and others seemed to provide concensus) were "got root", and "ubuntu". I came very close to "ubuntu" as it grew on me over time. Still think it would've been a good one and while "got root" was kind of an insider's joke, I loved it.

So, in the process of checking for available combinations the state of Illinois rolled out their new "cyberdriveillinois" site making things not only much easier but offering unknown additional options.

Illinois offers many specialty plates, and it turns out a combination already "taken" for regular plates can still be used for specialty plates. I started "poking" at the different options, and found UNIX available for almost all of them. Since I originally had WA UNIX plates, they were a nostalgic fave. I found one specialty plate to especially meld with the notion of UNIX, the "Route 66" memorial plates.

So, pictures here, I think they're very cool. I love the UNIX with the "Where the road begins" beneath. And the plates look nice. All this on a Honda Ridgeline (like UNIX, reliable, multi-purpose, rock solid, easy to use...).

Again thanks to all who offered suggestions.


Journal Journal: age DOES matter, according to Gartner 2

NOTE: I am creating a journal entry for an article I just submitted. Since I've never had an article accepted and I think this article has a certain gravitas, I make it available to any who might read it. Enjoy.

A smbsearch article says when it comes to IT, age does matter, this according to Gartner.

How many times have you heard how old and out of it you are?

It appears analysts here at Gartner Inc.'s Symposium/ITxpo think you haven't heard it enough, because the age theme threaded its way through many of the analysts' sessions here Monday.

Analyst Thomas Bittman:

It's not the technology; it's not the process that's holding us back. It's the culture," Bittman said. "I know this is probably discriminatory, but there is a different attitude, at different ages, based on what technology can provide."

I guess I give Bittman points for "admitting" discrimination -- I wonder that so powerful an institution as Gartner (in some people's opinion) would, could, or even should be delivering this message. As a 50+ slashdotter, I'm still writing lots of new code, creating new applications and staying in touch with the bleeding edge of technology. How about the rest of the over the hill gang?

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I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman