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Comment Re:What about English? (Score 1) 401

The Enterprise computer never complained about imprecise queries because that wouldn't have moved the plot forward (unless the plot was something like "a hostile alien has taken over the computer"). It would give the impression that the character who gave the query didn't know how to use the computer, which just slows down the story for no good reason and makes the character seem incompetent.

Comment Re:Yeah, right... (Score 1) 173

You may be thinking of Harper & Row v Nation Enterprises. The publisher of President Ford's memoirs sued the publisher of a magazine for printing a review of the book that contained about a page's worth of quotations from it. That much would normally be fair use (the book is about 500 pages), but the quotations contained the only information from the book that most people were really interested in - Ford's account of why he pardoned Richard Nixon.

Comment Re:The eternal meetings... (Score 1) 145

You could say that about a lot of things, but yes, Agile does seem to have more than its share of "you're doing it wrong."

The notion that if you have a fixed release date, you should sacrifice features for quality, seems counterintuitive to many. It's much easier for a sales or marketing person to say, "Our next release will be on this date and have these features," (and leave unsaid, "But we have no idea how good any of them will be.") than it is to say, "Our next release will be on this date, and we don't know yet what features it will have, but we promise they'll all be really good!"

Comment Re:The eternal meetings... (Score 1) 145

True. Fortunately we haven't found it necessary to limit an individual's speaking time - we just accept that some will be terse and some will be verbose, and it usually averages out. I sometimes deputise for our scrum master, and when I send him a report of the meeting, it's very rare that anyone gets more than one line, no matter how much they said.

Comment Re:The eternal meetings... (Score 1) 145

I have been at places where they go for 2-3 hours a day, with people doing little each day, and using "Wah, I'm blocked" as a way to blamestorm and shift responsibilities to other parties.

Then you're doing it wrong. Our company is officially agile (though really it's more like waterfall with daily status meetings), and the meetings rarely last more than 15 minutes. If person A says they're blocked waiting for person or team B to do something, we can normally trust them to sort it out themselves. Sometimes the scrum master will set up a meeting of just A and B (plus himself, to keep them honest), and then report the outcome of that to the rest of the team at the next stand-up meeting.

To be fair, I have been on agile teams where the stand-up meeting would last 30 to 45 minutes and tended to turn into a design meeting, with two or three people doing most of the talking. This was either because we hadn't understood the requirements well enough at the start, or had just got lazy and not done enough of the design upfront. The scrum master should've set up a separate meeting for the design work, or just told the rest of us we could leave once the design discussion started. I suspect the reason he didn't was because he was partly responsible for the design, so it was convenient for him to have just the one daily meeting. (Or he was coming up to retirement and had stopped caring about not wasting other people's time...)

Now, if someone is constantly using "I'm blocked" as an excuse to not do any work, that's a matter for their manager, not the team or the scrum master.

Comment Re:Digital hoarders (Score 1) 214

My music collection is almost exactly that size, most of it originally bought on CD over about twenty years. If I was to play all of it non-stop, it would take about 80 days.

As others have pointed out, the person in question is a composer, so I expect a lot of his collection would be recordings of his own compositions, at the highest available quality (uncompressed or losslessly compressed). There might be multiple takes or versions of them. If he recorded them as multitrack recordings (each performer or instrument is recorded into a separate file, so he can mix and edit later), that really adds up. 192kbit/s MP3 occupies about 1.5 megabytes per minute. Uncompressed 96kHz 24-bit audio occupies about 15 megabytes per minute in mono, double that for stereo.

Comment Re:There's an add-on for that.. (Score 1) 471

I'm not sure if this would help when you delete most or all of your cookies, but there is an option "Don't load tabs until selected". When combined with "restore previous session", that remembers all your open windows and tabs, and the URL that each of them was looking at, but doesn't load any of the URLs until it needs to display them. So if you're using a lot of sites where you have to log in every time you restart the browser, now you won't be prompted to log in to a site until you decide you need to use it and switch to its tab.

Comment Re:Wording indicates the problem (Score 1) 137

"Lawful intercept" is a term used in telecoms to refer to a feature of a communications system that allows the police or the government or the TLAs to monitor the communications of a specific endpoint (a person or an address or a device). The implication is that there's some judicial oversight to stop the authorities from abusing it, and some security to stop anyone who isn't the authorities from gaining access to it. The term also implies that the feature is there by design - it can't (or shouldn't) "accidentally" disappear when the vendor releases an update. Just calling it "intercept" or "interception" doesn't convey what it's for and how it works.

I agree that bragging that your product has this feature (even if it's always been there) is a pretty dumb idea, regardless of what you call it. Unless your target market is no longer the users of your product, but people who want to spy on the users and who are in a position to force them to use the product...

Comment Re:DMCA reform (Score 1) 224

I'd be surprised if it was against anti-spam laws. CAN-SPAM applies specifically to messages advertising a commercial service or product, though I suppose this tactic could fall foul of other countries' laws. I'm curious as to how you'd get around them if it did. Claim you have an existing business relationship with Vimeo because you watched a video that someone posted there?

Comment Re:DMCA reform (Score 1) 224

There are penalties, but only for things that aren't usually in dispute. When you send a DMCA takedown notice to YouTube or Vimeo or wherever, you're essentially saying, "I own the copyright in work X (or am the authorised representative of the owner of X). You are hosting work Y, which infringes the copyright of work X, and I demand that you remove Y." If you're not the owner of X or his authorised representative, that's perjury. But if Y doesn't actually infringe the copyright of X, that's just, "Oh well, c'est la vie." I suppose the thinking is that the question of whether you own the copyright in X is a matter of public record (look it up at the Copyright Office), but the question of whether Y infringes on X's copyright (if X and Y aren't the same thing) is a matter for a court to decide.

So other than the overhead of doing the paperwork (very small if you program your computer to file the notices) and possible bad publicity (which probably comes out of some other department's budget), there's no disincentive to filing millions of bogus notices. Of course, since Vimeo don't seem to be doing any checking of the notices Columbia are sending, that suggests it wouldn't be too difficult for disgruntled independent filmmakers to disrupt the online publicity for Columbia's next big release...

Submission + - Could the Slashdot community take control of Slashdot? 10

turp182 writes: This is intended to be an idea generation story for how the community itself could purchase and then control Slashdot. If this happened I believe a lot of former users would at least come and take a look, and some of them would participate again.

This is not about improving the site, only about aquiring the site.

First, here's what we know:
1. DHI (Dice) paid $20 million for Slashdot, SourceForce, and Freecode, purchased from Geeknet back in 2012:
2. Slashdot has an Alexa Global Rank of 1,689, obtaining actual traffic numbers require money to see:
3. According to Quantcast, Slashdot has over 250,000 unique monthly views:
4. Per an Arstechnia article, Slashdot Media (Slashdot and Sourceforge) had 2015Q2 revenues of $1.7 million and have expected full year revenues of $15-$16 million (which doesn't make sense given the quarterly number):

Next, things we don't know:
0. Is Slashdot viable without a corporate owner? (the only question that matters)
1. What would DHI (Dice) sell Slashdot for? Would they split it from Sourceforge?
2. What are the hosting and equipment costs?
3. What are the personnel costs (editors, advertising saleforce, etc.)?
4. What other expenses does the site incur (legal for example)?
5. What is Slashdot's portion of the revenue of Slashdot Media?

These questions would need to be answered in order to valuate the site. Getting that info and performing the valuation would require expensive professional services.

What are possible ways we could proceed?

In my opinion, a non-profit organization would be the best route.

Finally, the hard part: Funding. Here are some ideas.

1. Benefactor(s) — It would be very nice to have people with some wealth that could help.
2. Crowdfunding/Kickstarter — I would contribute to such an effort I think a lot of Slashdotters would contribute. I think this would need to be a part of the funding rather than all of it.
3. Grants and Corporate Donations — Slashdot has a wide and varied membership and audience. We regularly see post from people that work at Google, Apple, and Microsoft. And at universities. We are developers (like me), scientists, experts, and also ordinary (also like me). A revived Slashdot could be a corporate cause in the world of tax deductions for companies.
4. ????
5. Profit!

Oh, the last thing: Is this even a relevant conversation?

I can't say. I think timing is the problem, with generating funds and access to financial information (probably won't get this without the funds) being the most critical barriers. Someone will buy the site, we're inside the top 2,000 global sites per info above.

The best solution, I believe, is to find a large corporate "sponsor" willing to help with the initial purchase and to be the recipient of any crowd sourcing funds to help repay them. The key is the site would have to have autonomy as a separate organization. They could have prime advertising space (so we should focus on IBM...) with the goal would be to repay the sponsor in full over time (no interest please?).

The second best is seeking a combination of "legal pledges" from companies/schools/organizations combined with crowdsourcing. This could get access to the necessary financials.

Also problematic, from a time perspective, a group of people would need to be formed to handle organization (managing fundraising/crowdsourcing) and interations with DHI (Dice). All volunteer for sure.

Is this even a relevant conversation? I say it is, I actually love Slashdot; it offers fun, entertaining, and enlightning conversation (I browse above the sewer), and I find the article selection interesting (this gyrates, but I still check a lot).

And to finish, the most critical question: Is Slashdot financially viable as an independent organization?

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"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"