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User Journal

Journal Journal: Follow Slashdot on Google+ 7

Slashdot is finally back on Google+. Follow us if you're interested in keeping up with new posts via Google+. The old page was lost a couple of years ago by the previous ownership, but we are back and every post on Slashdot will appear on our Google+ page.

You can keep up with all our changes and improvements at the Slashdot blog.

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Journal Journal: Hord Tipton of ISC2.org Talks About Getting into the IT Security Field (Video)

IT Security is an ever-growing field. Every year more hackers and crackers try to steal you bank PIN number, mess up your nuclear fuel centrifuges, jam your attack dronesâ(TM) control signals, steal your company passwords an other secrets andâ¦. it goes on and on, to the point where, Hord says, over two million (2,000,000) new IT security people will be needed in the next few years. Should you be one of them? Do you have the skills to be one of them? If not, can you acquire those skills? Read the rest and see the video

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Journal Journal: Slashdot Replatforming Complete 26

As of 3:26 PM EST on Wednesday February 1st 2012, Slashdot is now running completely on its new platform!
There were a few rough and long days in the last week completing the final capacity testing and roll out procedure, but it is now complete, and (*knocks on wood*) running smoothly. I owe many thanks to my team of engineers and the site operations team for all their help and support. The Editors here at Slashdot also deserve thanks for their help in testing, and their patience with me as I worked through the more complex pieces of functionality in the site. Though this project took a lot of work, I honestly believe that it was needed in order to allow us to keep Slashdot running, as well as to provide us the structural support we will need to build new features that will allow us to better serve our community into the future.
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Journal Journal: Long Week - Small delay in launch 2

Well its been a very long week. Last weekend's move of our back-end database on to a modern MySQL version, and totally updated hardware went very smoothly. I know the editors, my team, and even some of our readers have noticed the improvement in site performance and stability. Awesome.
This weekend we were going to push our luck and try for two in a row, but we have decided to back off slightly, and delay the Apache 2.2 upgrade until the beginning of next week (probably Monday). During the course of the last week we were hitting all of our milestones in getting prepped for the launch, and things were looking good. However our first attempt at putting a fully load of traffic through the new system yesterday uncovered a few minor issues. Some late night coding and lots of caffeine got us ready for a second round of load testing the new setup today. While today's test did show marked improvement over yesterday's, there were still a few issues I was not able to resolve with sufficient confidence today. Another late night and more caffeine, and I could probably have everything ready to launch tomorrow, but I think it is wise to back up a bit, take our time, and be 100% sure that when we roll this launch out it will be rock solid.
On a fun note:
I just loved Spark Fun's new product video for today. I grew up in Boulder, and seeing the fun it looks like these guys get to have at work, if I ever move back to Colorado, that's where I want to work.
But working for Slashdot can be pretty fun too... I'm hoping the coming weeks will include a few episodes of Slash TV that I'll be helping out with... Going to check out The Maker Works here in Ann Arbor, and perhaps some fun with Lasers in the Slashdot/SourceForge parking lot in Dexter.
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Journal Journal: Hello Apache 2.2 and Mod Perl 2.0 3

This is a journal entry testing our first release moving Slashdot on to modern versions of apache and ModPerl. Though this test instance is not available to the public yet, it will be comming soon... (this weekend provided all tests go smoothly between now and then).
Horray for modern software!
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Journal Journal: New DB 1

Slashdot is now running on upgrade database backend software, and new hardware. Anecdotal evidence suggests improved performance. Was anybody worried? I wasn't. Next week, updated front end web servers!

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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.

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Journal Journal: Go Timmy!

Sorry for the meta moment, but just wanted to call attention to the hard work my colleauge Vroom has been doing.
Hop over to his journal to check out some of the improvements coming out.
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Journal Journal: Structural Changes 7

Update on ModPerl2, Apache2.2 port

Well I got through the problems with Apache2::Module::get_config. Aparently the object which comes as the first argument to the method for the custom config directive is not where the config parameters should be stored. Looking back at the documentation http://perl.apache.org/docs/2.0/api/Apache2/Module.html, I can see that it is clearly shown that $srv_config is being fetched via a call to get_config from within the custom directive subroutine, and that apparently is where the config should be stored... but it does seem kind of counter intuitive to me. But no use second guessing that now, at least I got it.

On a positive note: before I discovered my mistake with get_config, I thought perhaps it was getting mangled by Apache2::compat, so I spent much of the day finding and jumping through hoops to get everything to run without that. Though that effort didn't fix the problem I was chasing, it will be better in the long run to not need Apache2::compat, as that would drag down response times.

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Journal Journal: Apache2::Module::get_config

In my ongoing efforts to port slashdot onto modern revisions of Apache and ModPerl, I've made significant strides. This weekend I put in a few extras hours of work, just because it was on my mind.

Currently I am banging my head against Apache2::Module::get_config. I thought I had appropriately adjusted the code to use the new simplified mechanism for defining and handling custom apache config directives. Having added plenty of "print STDERR" debuging into my modules, I can see that the new directives are being read, and the associated sub routines to handle them are being called at server start time. However, calls to get_config from inside a request handler are always returning either 1 or undef. As far as I can tell from reading the documentation, it should be working. As I type this, it occurs to me that it could be getting fubared by Apache2::compat...

Off to test that theory!

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Journal Journal: Comment Families (Threads)

As my colleagues are working to improve the comment system, I'm thinking about it. I had an idea today, and I'd love to hear what anybody reading my journal thinks about it:

Would it be useful to have a control that would either expand or collapse all of a comments ancestors, descendants, or siblings?

So, what do you think?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Every little bit counts 1

I am continuing forward with the re-platforming effort to move to Apache2.2 and ModPerl2. I have in the last few months be doing little bits here and there where I could squeeze it in between other projects, but today I got a good half day put into it. Before today I had updated the Makefile.PL's where appropriate to move away from Apache::ExtUtils, and instead use ModPerl::MM. I spent much of today finding all the CPAN modules that we rely on, and getting them built under the proper version of perl. After that I spent an hour or so tweaking config files where needed for the newer version of apache. Before heading home for the day I was actually to the point of trying to start Apache. It almost started, but I apparently missed something in updating the system to use Apache2::Module::add to handle the custom Apache config directives. But that will have to wait for tomorrow.

In comment system news: my colleagues are currently working on mock-ups for a few new controls to allow greater control over how many comments get loaded on an article page. Also trying to brainstorm around an easier/more intuitive way to handle setting thresholds for comment visibility (the current implementation is the "slider" widget with the two handles at the right side of the comment section header).

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Journal Journal: Let there be comments

And there were, and it was good, for a while.

The comment system, and the discussions that take place in it, are a very important part of what makes slashdot what it is. I think it is a very powerful system, into which lots of time, thought, tests, trial and error, blood, sweat, unicorn meat, and tears have been put over the years. It is currently very complicated, somewhat fragmented and not well understood my a large number of readers. As I mentioned in a reply in one of my previous journal entries, the comment system is due to receive some much needed attention in the coming weeks. To that end, I am pleased to note that a release will be coming out today to address an issue we've found in the dispersal of moderation points. More than one or two readers have asked if there was something broken, or if they had somehow lost "moderation privilege", and I do believe that starting tomorrow, that issue should be resolved (thanks to the hard work of my friend/colleague vroom.)

Stay tuned for news of more love to come. (And feel free to let me know if you have special requests or concerns about the comment system)

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