Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×
User Journal

Journal Journal: Ping

I haven't written here in 5 years or so...thought I would throw a pebble in and see what ripples come back to me.


Journal Journal: Bill Gates Apologizes for Windows, Offers Compensation.

Today, Bill Gates apologized to everyone in the world for the "horrible, terrible piece of shit" that is Windows. He is also offering compensation to users for "that fucking time vampire" in the form of coupons good for one free visit to The Fellatio Barn for every time a user has had to reinstall Windows or experienced any kind of problem, and is offering one million dollars to each tech worker, even if they don't work directly with Windows or any other Microsoft product, due to what Mr. Gates has dubbed "The uber retard-o factor" which is a form of contagious stupidity brought on by proximity to Windows.

What? It's funnier than some of the stories I've seen. =)


Journal Journal: HP BIOS update still killing laptop wireless cards 2

A BIOS update distributed over HP Update is murdering HP laptop wireless cards. HP refuses to admit responsibility or to correct the error in any way. The only solution is to replace the motherboard, which HP will not cover under their warranty. This has been going on for months but I saw another dozen HP laptops with deceased wireless cards this week so I figured I'd mention it again.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Open Source Utility CD Software?

I work for a small computer store. We give away utility CDs to our customers (or anyone else who wants one) packed with free-to-use or preferably open-source software to go with their Vista computers. (...I know...) Previously, I used CD Interface Studio, but it looks like the suck in Vista and is no longer updated. I tried poking the source code with a stick, but that didn't help.

Does anyone have any recommendations for free-to-use or open-source catalog/utility CD software that would fill the gap? I realize I could just make an html file with links to the installers, but I was hoping for something a little more pro than that.

For the curious, the list of included software: (All of which are free to use, or the free version of that program, or straight up open-source.)

7-Zip, Acrobat (reader), Ad-aware, A-squared, AVG, CCleaner, CDBurnerXP, CDI-Studio, DirectX, DVD Utilities (absolutely does NOT contain DVD Shrink or DVD Fab HD Decrypter, nope not at all), Filezilla, Firefox, foobar2000, Free Download Manager, GNUCash, the hosts file from, Irfanview, ISOBuster, iTunes, K-Lite codec pack, a bunch of MS Powertoys (yay tweakui!), Notepad++, OpenOffice, Opera, Par utilities (testing), a folder with some free/open source RPG utilities, Speedfan (regretting this, one nub already borked his computer with it, apparently he thought my "Expert Users Only" warning didn't apply to him), Spybot, TCPView, Thunderbird, Trillian, links to the Tweak Guides, utorrent+installer, VLC, Waste, Winamp, and XNView. Whew. Ohyeah and the tiny windows-based installers for Ubuntu. (8.04 and the new one)

Suggestions for additional software to include on the CD are welcome, too. Just keep in mind it's a CD so it won't be holding full DVDs of Linux any time soon. Other tiny windows-based Linux installers may find their way on there though. ;)

First Person Shooters (Games)

Journal Journal: Marshie Attacks - Halloween Project 3

If you came to my house for Halloween this year the first thing you noticed was 18 inch tall green vampire marshmallows moving around on a 8 foot tall screen hung from the garage door. The next thing you noticed was that a laser assault rifle was placed into your hands and you were commanded to kill Marshie for candy. Ok, by laser assault rifle I mean a laser pointer put into a bunch of PVC, but it looked pretty cool. When a dot appeared on the screen it was detected by my iSight camera and Marshie exploded. If you're interested there are more details including a movie posted here.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Working with Jazkarta

I haven't written here in a while. For the most part I'm writing in my Blog.
I graduated from the Berklee College of Music last year (2006).
I am now working as office manager for Jazkarta, a Plone consulting firm based in Cambridge MA. It's a great job and I'm really enjoying it. We are located in the Betahouse, a loft style shared office space that has been featured in the Boston Globe recently.
Well, that's all for now.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Notepad bug still exists in Vista

The Notepad Bug still exists in vista.

Here's how to do it:
Open up Notepad, of course. Turn on 'word wrap'. Start typing. Enter some huge lines of text, ones that wrap several times. Save the document. Did you notice that the cursor position changed? Start typing again. Things get even more weird from there. Lines will no longer wrap properly. The text may get scrambled. Problems may occur. Your document may even get corrupted.

That's right, microsoft fucked up a featureless text editor.

The Internet

Journal Journal: Comcast gets tough on HighSpeed Internet Customers.

I've been a Comcast customer nearly 4 years and have had a pleasant experience with them until recently. We received a phone call in December from someone claiming they were a Comcast rep to warn us of excessive bandwidth usage. After multiple calls to Comcast Customer Service that same day, we were told to ignore the call since their records said our account showed no issues.

Even the reference number provided in the call wasn't found in their databases. They mentioned it was probably someone trying to scam us. Now we've been disconnected. No follow up call or letter of concern and no internet service for 12 months. You get a single call then you're gone.

It seems other companies such as Verizon are having similar problems with the word unlimited. At this point I'm back to dial up as Comcast has no competition in my area. I've created a blog to help spread the word and warn people. Everyone in my neighborhood still thinks they have an unlimited residential account. I've educated them recently with articles such as this.

This has become such a problem that dslreports now has dozens of articles discussing this situation. Personally I'm ok with whatever the limits are. What's frustrating is Comcast reps are "not allowed to divulge data transfer limits" and cite a fuzzy AUP/TOS link which is helpful only to lawyers (no offense those who are lawyers).

While apologetic, Comcast Abuse department originally suggested we upgrade to a business account. Now we're told we should upgrade to a commercial account. The connection fee alone is $1700 and $1000 monthly for the line! Seems Comcast hasn't passed the word to their customer service either. I called them asking what the limits were, they will still tell you they have none. shows the Comcast advertisement we received when we signed up

Personally I'm hoping Utopianet will become available in my area. After this experience, I'd love to get rid of Comcast permanently. I'm also hoping to encourage broadband competition so companies (such as Comcast) will feel the pinch financially when they become this arrogant.

A word of warning. Make sure you are fully aware of what your provider offers. If it's unclear then get it in writing or find another provider if possible.


Journal Journal: Pete Ashdown, geek candidate, needs your help

Senator Barbara Boxer is giving away free money to candidates that are challenging incumbents. The catch is that you have to vote for who you want the money to go to. Pete Ashdown is not only running to unseat Senator Hatch (enemy of geeks everywhere) but is tech savvy himself, given that he is the founder of Utah's oldest ISP. His positions on tech issues should be of interest to many a slashdotter. So if you have a moment, click on the link below and vote for him to get some free money.

Vote for Pete Ashdown.


Journal Journal: CleanFlicks should be championed by /. 5

Journal Journal: Tagging Slashdot Stories?

I just noticed a new Slashdot feature: tagging.


I like tagging when it is appropriate. But tagging slashdot stories is not going to work well. For tags to work they must have some benefit to the individual and some use to the group. The two places they work the best are and flickr. In both cases you organize your data by your tags. Your data is bookmarks and photos respectively. As a side result, you can get statistics about the most popular things with different tags. People don't tag things for the good of the community, they tag things to organize data in some way that is relevent to them.

Take a tagging system that is a failure: product tags. Amazon introduced tagging in hopes of getting some new ways of slicing their product database. It turns out that are using the tags mostly for who on their gift list might want the thing. So you end up with lots of tags like "Bob", "Sue", and "Caroline". These tags have almost no use to the larger community. Amazon makes it worse by displaying the top tags for a product even when there are only one or two folks that have tagged something that way.

So why is it bad for Slashdot? Slashdot's implementation doesn't do anything at all for the end user

. The tagging system seems to be designed only around the group aspects. Features that would be needed to make this work:

  • Ability to see your articles as your have tagged them.
  • See what tags you have specified for a specific article

Without those, people just have no incentive at all to tag anything.

If Slashdot actually changed the page because of how you tag stories the results might be better. For example if somebody tags something "dupe", or "boring" it would be removed from that person's front page. On the other side, if it was tagged "cool" it would remain on the front page for longer.

As it is, I'll probably be tagging stories as to how I feel about them to start with and see if anybody notices. If nothing happens, I'll probably stop tagging altogether.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Tell Congress/WIPO: No B'cast Treaty Without Representation

Please read the alert here. The Broadcast Flag is back, this time as a WIPO treaty, and if you don't speak up, it'll be decided by bureaucrats without any democratic input at all.

The alert provides a web form to write to your congress person. Please do that. And please put the alert up elsewhere, so that other people can help too.

I'm in Washington DC working on this today, and your support will help.



User Journal

Journal Journal: Why do I dislike Microsoft?

Why do I dislike Microsoft? It's not because they're so damn big, or charge so much for their OS, or pretend not to be a monopoly, or stifle innovation, or refuse to release the source to their OS. They're a company, companies are expected to try and suck as much money out of the economy as possible. So they make business decisions in line with that singular goal.

No, it's because they're goddamned assholes.

New features developed for their next OS, ones that AREN'T deal-breakers and WOULDN'T keep people from buying the new products, somehow never seem to make it into patches or updates for the older versions of Windows.

An Example: "Lock the Taskbar" was a rather nice and useful feature they added in WinXP. But how hard would it be to add that feature to Win2k? A tiny little patch right? It's not THAT complex, since after all it's just an option that breaks the resize functionality of the taskbar. If there wasn't a switch for it and it happened seemingly at random, it would be called a bug.

There are many other examples of that.

Their refusal to admit that bugs or problems even exist with their OS also ticks me off. It's not that hard either. "Our bad, we screwed up and we're fixing it/have fixed it." Not that hard to say.

I'm sure anyone who's played around with Windows to any extent and kept track will have a nice list of problems they've encountered, but here's my favorite:

There's a bug in Notepad. Roll that around on your tongue. THERE'S A BUG IN NOTEPAD. That's right, they fucked up a featureless text editor. The bug still exists even in Windows XP.

Here's how to do it:
Open up Notepad, of course. Turn on 'word wrap'. Start typing. Enter some huge lines of text, ones that wrap several times. Save the document. Did you notice that the cursor position changed? Start typing again. Things get even more weird from there. Lines will no longer wrap properly. The text may get scrambled. Problems may occur. Your document may even get corrupted. To fix it, you have to turn word wrap off and then back on.

Now, I could understand if this was a bug that only occurred when doing something really bizarre or unexpected or unintended. But this isn't THAT unusual of a series of events. Typing with word wrap on. Saving the document. These are all the usual things I would expect to be able to do with a text editor. Am I wrong?

Slashdot Top Deals

If this is a service economy, why is the service so bad?