Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Trust the World's Fastest VPN with Your Internet Security & Freedom - A Lifetime Subscription of PureVPN at 88% off. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. ×
User Journal

Journal Journal: A return from facebook 5

Hi world,

I'm currently trying out a new behavior trait: "going back to the way it was before." Sounds exciting, huh. Color me Facebook-less since 1.5 months and frankly, this is the first time since I feel the need to actually share something.

My idea was this: what if I would write down and re-visit the steps that lead up to that decision to leave the largest social network in the world? Why? Well, for one thing, I think the idea to go back to earlier practices (such as writing a full blown more than 140 character journal) is going to move slowly back into the center of our collective conscious over the next 5 years. People will start to realize it's the sane thing to do, or so at least that is my guess. But let's look into the dynamics of how I got there.

Many of us remember the so called "browser wars", the epic "os flame-wars", or even further down the burning question wether gnu or unix would be preferable, wether java would be worth it compared to c++, etc.. 30 or 40 years ago, these discussions were of a technical level and nerdism that few can aspire to imagine today. These discussions, much like today, were full of noise, trolls and the occasional insightful remark. These wars were fought in obscure IRC channels and BBS forums, but there was one thing pretty special about them. The technological limits were the only roadblock that stopped our brains from dumping their content in 7 or 8 bit streams that could be shared and read by our fellow peers and friends (and foes). After the browser war came the Napster incident, the BearShare and KaZaa incidents and many systems that predate our current torrent / tor p2p sharing infrastructure. Curiously, I never read about social network wars, which of course also happened. A quick look at the Wikipedia page shows a whopping 208 unique social network websites that attempt to capture our attention, every day life, pictures, personal data, emotions, furniture, love for smiling shit and everything else in between. Not every single one of them survived of course. Who remembers Myspace? Bolt? MS LiveSpaces? or Hyves? So yeah there were wars, but the concept of war was never prominently played, things just "evolved".

So there I was in December 2016, pondering if I still needed facebook. I struck me that I had refrained from posting personal things. In fact in multiple runs, I had slowly started to remove personal data, simply because it increasingly looked ridiculous. Would you start yelling your city of birth and birthday just about anyone in the street? Your marital status? Would you show all the pictures of all your travels and everything else to complete strangers? Of course not. Sure you can spend endless hours 'managing' all that information. Such fun. So much to re-post, so much 'news' to share.

Until you've had it with the latest policy change. Until you realize you are again indicating people they are sharing fake 'news' or hoaxes. Until you realize all your friends posts start with 'OMG'. Or that you can't include 2 images in one post that blatantly refute each-other, because, hey it's facebook. Until you realize that all posts shared say: "look, this is *really* interesting, but I'm just going to dump it here because I'm tired of pretending my shit is more interesting than yours. eat it or die."

Ego needs a cookie. I did truly post some interesting stuff. Stuff about stock markets that are indicative of how defunct our world is. Stuff from NOAA that says how fucked up our climate has become already. Stuff in research papers that tell something about the very structure of our universe. Stuff about brain functions, important findings on cellular level to fight disease, etc, etc.. Not that very many people ever reacted to 'my' shared crap. At best, people reacted because I reacted to their posts first.

On Januari 1st 2017, I stopped playing that pathetic me-me game, and went back to my previous behavior: I traded facebook with sleep. I read books. I started to play FinalFantasy again. I still check my news channels, but you know what.. somehow I'm getting better at finding new resources, new pointers. And I'm looking at much more meaningful content. See back of this post.

The date is not coincidental. On December 31st 2016, we were out for new-years-eve at my parents-in-law. It was a fairly modest get together with nice food, cozy dinner, and a bit of fireworks on TV. In Belgium and The Netherlands, there is a tradition to watch comedians that recount how they saw the past year, such as Wim Helsen or Michael Van Peel. Comparing them to John Stewart / Daily Show would do neither party any favors, but in my book they're equally good. In fact they're all best in their class.

While the evening shot past mid-night, we all wished each-other happy new year and stayed up for a while until the inevitable sleep and early morning came around. Nothing very shocking, but little did we know that at that very same time, somebody had cracked open the front door of our house and was going through all our possessions, stealing laptops, cameras, my bike I use daily with mounted child-seat, golden jewelry, and possibly other stuff, making a huge mess in the process. We were literally 100km south.

We arrived home at 7PM, found some people in front of our house gesturing at the break-in. After the initial shock, my cool kicks in. The first thing to do was to verify the house, call the police and go through the whole procedure. Yes, it's nerve wrecking and sleep-inducing at the same time. Our hope that the police finds the culprit is virtually nil, while at the same time you're supposed to be angry and mad, hopeful and rational. I can't do that emotion very convincingly. I just kept going until everyone was asleep.

When I finally sat down for a few minutes (or hours - the door was badly damaged, so I kept guard the whole night in freezing temperatures) I had time go over all the events. Time gives me oxygen. I'm slow like that, I step on the brakes when I'm going too fast. Given that laptops had been stolen, I decided it was time to change passwords. We still had our phones after all, android, so pretty vulnerable if they could hack into our stuff first. And then it suddenly occurred to me that selling this 'event' in my life on facebook was really the last thing I ever would want to do. Much like all the other important events in my life which I did not share. And so I dropped facebook and Google+ overnight. I'm searching with duckduckgo now. I haven't had a single moment of regret. I sometimes am curious of what is going on there of course, but I imagine it's just the same shit again and again, in different colors.

So what makes me share all this here then, you wonder? Well, all of this is old news, it's also much more digested, no images, no screaming. It's a wall of text full of close to logical long sentences. Those looking for quick fixes will be off running to their click pools after half a paragraph. Those reading this will probably not care and never comment. So who is left? It's me. And that's just fine.

Much in concordance with my earlier post, I pledge for us all to go back to earlier times, pick up things that were loved but lost in the fabric of spacetime. Let's go back and be ace at it. Hello world!

Greets, .i

ps: Forget Trump, check this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEwuGHFF7qE&t=10s&index=1&list=LL4dYPyntjgFh1JxPMFxCOsw

User Journal

Journal Journal: Fringe Search

I don't expect anything from this site, this post, or you.

The only thing I offer is a gentle "Hi."

Yes. 2 more years of silence. I'm sure that time brought you various experiences of the short span of time we get to enjoy on this blue sphere, as it did for me. Like solving a giant puzzle game, with the solution running away in ever more dimensions with every step you take. Frustrations, yes, but no regrets, and rewards that warrant the journey.

The finality of the whole is gently setting in on me, which is probably why I came here to say hi. Take a break. It seems I often say hi without any finality involved..

I'm sure some neurons in my head are having a party now, as I'm typing in this old familiar all too often endlessly ranting journal. This is funny. To read my own age-old reflections again, I mean. So comforting.

Re-discover, then re-build once more. Embrace the change ad infinitum.

Wishing you the same, and kindness to all,

Little Darkness / Andr0meda / proud dad / loving husband / mad scientist / code dreamer

User Journal

Journal Journal: A long way from home 1

It's nearly the end of the year. I noticed I average about a post a year now on this once so fantastic news site that I barely check up on these days. I haven't seen the oodles of good posts that whooshed by, nor have I seen the inventive new types of trolls that lurked here since when I was in University. That's a perplexing 10 years ago by now.

Anyway, long introduction short to say my wife Isabelle and I are expecting our first kiddo in about 4.5 months from now. Things are still early so we're clinging onto pieces of wood all over the place, but the vibe is good! All sorts of new issues spring to life, such as daycare, home safety.. welcome to the real world it is :)

During the years I've seen millions of colleagues either getting pregnant themselves or making their spouses pregnant, spawning a fountain of kids and sending tons of birth-cards this way. Not without a bit of healthy envy did I wish for something fantastic like that to happen in my life too. And then you suddenly see the years tick away and settle for life without kids. I still loved to care for kids though. I must have bought truckloads of stuff for newborns of people I knew at the time. So finally it's time to change the tables. :)

The long wait for 2nd life in my wife's belly was generally first thought to be caused my clumsiness with the other sex, but after a while it became clear we had to resort to more scientific approaches to make a baby. Lot's of bruised identities and emotional roller-coasters later, it worked! It worked! Yeey! So we are incredibly proud and happy to be watching the echo monitor at the gynecologist's, different patches and shades of grey revealing what soon will roam this earth! Incredible! We even bought some sort of microphone to hear the baby's heart-rate and it's a steady 160 bpm, which we fall asleep with.

4 Years ago I started at the biggest game entertainment venture in BE, 2 years ago we got married, last year we rebuilt the back of our house (not a particular smooth ride but nonetheless super glad we did), this year we've made our first kid, and next year hopefully the sunlight reflects in 2 extra pretty eyes! Would have signed up for this if they showed it to me 10 years ago!

The gender ? That's still a classified secret which I hope I can announce in a few months, (and thus up the average of my posting here). I dare you all techies to try to crack the secret :) Cheers all!

User Journal

Journal Journal: in which i am a noob all over again 17

I haven't posted a journal here in almost three years, because I couldn't find the button to start a new entry. ...yeah, it turns out that it's at the bottom of the page.

So... hi, Slashdot. I used to be really active here, but now I mostly lurk and read. I've missed you.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Ask Slashdot: Where's the bugtracker? 11

Where's the bug tracker for Slashdot? I'd like to be able to file bugs and feature requests.

Bugs:

  1. Link to posting journals is difficult to find. At one time, it was nearly impossible to click, because it was part of a page footer that retreated every time you got near it. (The page body was getting filled with more content as one got closer to the bottom.)
  2. List of all my old Journal Entries is difficult to find without already knowing the URL.
  3. Enable SSL by default
  4. Enable "Public Terminal" checkbox by default, or replace with a "Remember me" checkbox like everyone else has.
  5. For some reason, <ul></ul> doesn't work, and I had to switch these lists to <ol></ol>

Feature requests:

  1. Offer an explicit programmatic API for managing my user settings, so I can crosspost my blogs to my /. journal, and my 'microblog' statuses to my /. signature.
  2. Support conveniently tying my account to major single-sign-on providers who use OpenID and OAuth. Most places will allow me to click a nice, big icon to automate filling in the needed details.
  3. Support post convenience features most other social networking sites (hey, remember zoo.pl? You were one of the first social networks on the market.) such as post-by-email, importing/exporting posts from/to some other popular sites/common APIs.

While some of the bugs have been fixed already, it'd have been a lot less grating if there was a good, visible way to report them and follow them as they got fixed.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Hey, I found the "write in journal" link! 8

Hey, for anyone who still reads this. Rosetta Code's doing awesome, content-wise, and we're starting to implement Semantic MediaWiki. (To what end? Not sure. I've got a couple ideas, but I'm more an opportunist than a front-end planner.) I've also been shooting a bunch of photos and putting them up online--even photos that aren't cosplay, if you can imagine that. (Which you probably can; I doubt many who read this were following me on Flickr back when I went to Anime Weekend Atlanta for the first time in 2007. If you want to read what I'm really thinking, either follow me on Multiply, or see the same stuff over on LiveJournal--but get your adblock armor up; it's a scary place. I'm also on Twitter, if you really care. I'm a minimal participant, really.

If I show up as a fan for you here, I do read your journals; the My Amigos RSS feed is still useful.

Why this collection of links to me at other places? Easy; I know there are still some of you here who never showed up in those other places, and I miss the interactions. I'd post my blogs here, too, but Slashdot has relegated itself to an incredible degree of backwater status. I was lucky to find the "Write in Journal" link. I'm tempted to find some Perl script to have it suck in blog posts via RSS, and post them to Slashdot. (That's how I'm inducting my blog posts into Facebook, too.)

I miss what this place used to be. I miss the people this place used to have. I still see some of them on two or three other social networks, and some of the bonds there are tighter than they ever were here, but there's still a bunch of you missing.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Everywhere is home

Watery steps across the sky,

drops of naked new surprise,

smiled into the megaphone,

home onto my mind's throne.

User Journal

Journal Journal: D&D, pics, inspiration and scheduling philosophy

I happened across Pixdaus while following someone's friendfeed, and I subscribed to its RSS feed.

It's a fast, fast RSS feed, and it's difficult to keep up with. However, I've been trying...A lot of what I've been seeing in it has been giving me genuine inspiration for settings, encounters, props and even campaigns for D&D. That, along with a blog post I recently read where the DM's roleplaying the giggling of some minor monstors got her players greatly and emotionally engaged in the combat. Roleplaying monster sounds? Why didn't I think of that? That could give me something about the combat side of things that I could enjoy.

It's sparked my interest in DMing again, and I'm slowly assembling a campaign in my mind. The next step is finding players and a suitable environment; GrandLAN, for its rich perpetual presence of players, was normally too noisy or cramped for comfortable play. I'm tempted to do hold it in my basement, where I can use my TV and sound system for still imagery and auditory props, but then I've got to worry about who can make it and when.

I still think that a "regularly scheduled" game is a bad approach. You can either count on a schedule, or you can count on the presence of players. Not both. Also, having variable time between games offers more opportunity to prepare and ensure an enjoyable session. I don't have a need to kill time; Like anybody else, I have precious little of that already. I have a desire to enjoy the game.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Just testing out some journal submission changes 8

I don't actually have anything to say. Kathleen is due any day, and I'm looking forward to a few weeks of staying home, getting poor sleep, and changing diapers.
But mostly I'm testing to see if journal saving works properly.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Updates to Journal System 13

We've made some significant updates to the submission/journal system. Visiting Submissions and Journals yields a new form that allows stuff like tags to the data types. There are a number of annoying bugs, but for the most part the dust is starting to settle. More notes will be coming, but this journal entry is really just me putting the final test on the new Journal form.

User Journal

Journal Journal: a return which is long overdue (plus achievements!) 17

I've lurked at /. without posting for ages, mostly because I just don't have the time to interact like I used to.

But I've been clicking through the old RSS feed more and more lately, and when I saw the PAX Plague thread today, I came over to comment, since I'm kind of affected by the whole damn thing. I thought I'd take a look around since I haven't been here in awhile, and I saw that there are freaking ACHIEVEMENTS associated with our accounts. It's silly, and I'm sure it's been here forever, but I thought it was awesome and I was delighted when I read it.

I didn't realize how much I missed Slashdot until I spent some time here today, and I bet that anyone who joined in the last 2 years doesn't even give a shit about my stupid comments or anything, but it felt good to come back here, and feel safely among my people again.

Programming

Journal Journal: On syntax highlighting and artificial intelligence

So on Rosetta Code, we use GeSHi for syntax highlighting. The relationship between Rosetta Code, GeSHi, a programming language and the code written in that language is fairly simple. (The exact order of events inside GeSHi might be slightly different; I haven't delved deeply into its core)

Rosetta Code (by way of a MediaWiki parser extension) gives GeSHi a few pointers about how it wants the code formatted, the language the code sample will be in, and, finally, the code sample itself.

GeSHi takes the code example, and loads the language file named after the language in question. Each language file defines a PHP associative array that contains(among a couple other things) simple rules for how GeSHi can apply formatting to the code in a way that will clarify it to the viewer. These rules include lists of known keywords of various classifications, symbols used for normal commenting conventions and optional regex matching rules for each, among other things.

It's a perfectly reasonable, fairly static approach that allows syntax highlighting to cover a broad variety of languages without knowing how to parse that language's actual syntax, and so avoiding having a syntax error break the whole process.

Unfortunately, it requires Rosetta Code to be able to tell GeSHi what language a code sample is written in. It also leads to odd scenarios where a supported language and an unsupported language are so closely related that examples written for the unsupported language can be comfortably highlighted using the the rules for the supported language.

And I have yet to learn of a good way to do syntax highlighting for Forth. (The Forth developers appear to pretty much keep to their own community, and don't seem to do much in the way of outreach, which makes finding a solution relatively difficult, but I digress...)

So what does this have to do with artificial intelligence? Well, in identifying a language without being told what it is, of course!

A few solutions have been discussed. One approach that has been attempted had something to do with Markov Chains. The code is in the GeSHi repos, and I haven't looked at it.

One solution I suggested was to run the code example through all the supported languages (Yes, I know, that's expensive. Not something to be done in real time.), and select the ruleset based on how many rules(X) were matched for a language and how much of the code sample was identified(Y). Using a simple heuristic of (a*X)/(b*Y), you can account for a number of matched rules while hopefully accounting for an overly-greedy regex rule.

How can we take this a step farther? How about formatting languages we don't know about?

Well, many, many languages have rules in common. Common keywords, common code block identifiers, common symbols for comments, common symbols for quotation, etc. This tends to result from their being derived or inspired in some way by another language. For the sake of avoiding pedantry, I'll just say that C, C++, Perl, Python, PHP, Pascal and Java all have a few common ancestors.

One way would be to note the best N language matches, take an intersection of their common rules, and apply that intersection as its own ruleset. This would certainly work for many of the variants of BASIC out there, as well as specialized variants of common languages like C and low-level ISAs.

Slashdot Top Deals

You can do more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word. - Al Capone

Working...