MrAndrews writes: After reading a Slashdot story about adblocking and the lively discussion that followed, I got to wondering how else sites can support themselves, if paywalls and ads are both non-starters. Microtransactions have been floated for years, but never seem to take off, possibly because they come off as arbitrary taxation or cumbersome walled-garden novelties. Still, it seems like the idea of microtransactions is still appealing, it's just the wrapping that's always been flawed. I wanted to know how viable the concept really was, so I've created a little experiment to gather some data, to put some real numbers to it. It's a purely voluntary system, where you click 1, 2 or 3-cent links in your bookmark bar, depending on how much you value the page you're visiting. No actual money is involved, it's just theoretical. There's a summary page that tells you how much you would have spent, and I'll be releasing anonymized analyses of the data in the coming weeks. If you're game, please check out the experiment page for more information, and give it a go. Even if you only use it once and forget about it, that says something about the concept right there.
MrAndrews writes: "It's taken a long time, but the cartoon I created is finally coming to American TV! I've been working on this project for half of my time at Slashdot, so it's heavily influenced by geek culture. For example: the Zurasho tribe (originally called SlashBots) features in an early episode, where we meet their leader Commander Octo, and see them get into a fight about who put down the first post in a construction zone. Oh, and the central route through the city is called the RMS. And one episode is all about the dangers of DRM.
Because ratings are key to my continued survival, I'm running a little challenge: if the ratings for the first episode are good enough, I'll release my next book under a CC0 license (essentially public domain), and donate my scripting fee for the first episode of a hopeful season 2 to the EFF.
If you have kids and want to show them some good, geek-friendly eye candy, made by someone you may very well have flamed in years past... this is it. Please watch!"
MrAndrews writes: "My kids have had a fairly geeky upbringing so far, learning the evils of DRM at a young age, configuring new drives of anime for XBMC, and Creative Commons licensing their crayon drawings. But I feel like there's more education I could be doing, so I'm planning to create a series of short digi-fables that will prime them for life. I've already done DRM, patents, censorship and bullying, but there are probably lots of other topics out there that need covering, like net neutrality. Or SQL injection. Or... stuff. I've heard rumours that Slashdot is a fairly geeky place, so I put it to you: what are the most important lessons you can teach a geek-in-training?"
MrAndrews writes: ""RollBots" is an animated series in the same vein as classic Transformers, but created from a tech geek angle. There are 301 Redirects, the city is divided into areas like the Boot Sector and Quartz Sector, and the main thoroughfare is called the RMS. It premieres February 7 at 7:30AM on YTV in Canada, and on the CW4Kids in the US later this month. You can see more on the official site, including the trailer I made for it. Full disclosure: I'm a long-time Slashdot reader and have worked like crazy to make sure this series is both fun and informative for the next generation of nerds. There should be enough subtle jokes to keep you entertained while the kids watch robots do kung fu on roller coaster tracks."
Richmond Sayers writes: Tech columnist John C. Dvorak unveiled a new computer operating system today, as an option for users who feel shunned by Windows, Mac and Linux alternatives. Dubbed "DvorOS", the software is built on a mixture of Assembly, AJAX and Hypercard, and can be run on any digital device from top-of-the-line Dells to rice cookers. "When I looked at all the crap OSes out there, it made me want to vomit, frankly," said Dvorak in a press conference from his garage, "So I hired two kids in India to build something better. And it's the best $1.45 I ever spent, let me tell you."
MrAndrews writes: "Michael Geist reports on a predictable-but-sad development from the Canadian Speech from the Throne: as expected, the Conservative government is bowing to pressure from the American music and movie industries, vowing to "improve the protection of cultural and intellectual property rights in Canada, including copyright reform". It looks as though a Canadian version of the DMCA is on the way, and it's uncertain if any of the major parties will want to put up a fight to stop it. Where's the Canadian Pirate Party when you need them?"
MasterThief writes: The anti-DRM kid's book The Pig and the Boxis getting a special edition! The rights have apparently been sold to Random House, and a film's in the works too. With the distribution deal came some content changes, however... for example, the original ending, where the Pig realizes that DRM causes everyone pain has been replaced with:
Pig was so upset he sat down and started to cry: "This magic box is nothing but trouble!"
"Oh, Pig!" said Duck, "don't feel bad! It's not your fault! It's OUR fault for not using the buckets according to the terms and conditions set forth in the End User License Agreements we signed upon receipt of the merchandise!"