onyxruby writes: An open letter to the new overlords of Slashdot. Slashdot was once one of the Internet’s great sites. Once upon a time this was one of the largest watering holes for people in technology on the Internet.
Like many here, I would like to see that reoccur. Unlike many sites, your past and previous readers happen to include industry professionals who are more than happy to provide their expertise for free. All you have to do is stop pissing in their watering hole and clean up the mess previously made.
There were two primary changes that drove away many of the previous readers. Readers who were highly educated, highly paid and in positions of decision making authority at large companies if you prefer to think in marketing terms.
The first change was the forced change of the interface to Beta which took away functionality and choice. When you are working with people in technology taking away information and functionality is pretty much guaranteed to piss them off.
The bigger issue was hubris and treating the readership as the audience. The readers are your product, not your audience. People did not come to read the often plagiarized two paragraph story, they came for the community and industry insider knowledge about what something actually meant.
Here’s the short list of things people have been asking for here for years: Professional editors (no more plagiarism!) End to paid shills (HughPickens.com etc.) Links for paywalled or adblocked sites (e.g. Forbes.com — anti-ad-blocking) End the SJW barrage the previous management had
onyxruby writes: I have been watch for some time now as Slashdot has started beta testing a new version of the website. As you are well aware the new site would constitute a complete change to the look, interface and functionality of Slashdot.org.
Change happens, and for those of us who work with technology for a living it is the only constant. Change is a process and in and of itself is not a bad thing when it offers improvement. Unfortunately the change that has been offered negatively impacts the look, interface and most importantly the functionality of Slashdot. Many people have had trouble reverting back to the classic interface. The new interface simply does not offer the functionality of the old. Things like statistics, comments and layout are very difficult to find. You have a community that lives and breathes data and want to know their data. How is my comment ranked, how many people responded – it’s really all about the dialogue. Can I get the information that I want in a readily digestible format?
As you’re well aware the new site does not offer the very thing that people come here for. This in and of itself is not why your community has organized a boycott of Beta. The boycott was originated because the new version will be implemented whether the community wants it or not.
I want to explain why this change has gone down people’s throats about as well as Windows 8’s Metro interface. The reason has absolutely nothing to do with the interface and everything to do with the perception that the editors and management of Slashdot appear to have.
The message that has been consistently handed down is that we are “your audience”. We are not your “your audience” we are your product. People do not come to Slashdot for the news stories, there are untold other sites that provide those as well as professional and original writing about them. People come here for the community of insiders from across the industry.
Please respect the community and stop what you’re doing. You have commented that you don’t want to maintain two code bases. Your community works in the industry and understands this, which leads many to suggest you abandon the new code base entirely so that you are only maintaining once code base. Tell us what your trying to accomplish and I would imagine that a wide range of experts would be more than willing to help you meet your goals.
onyxruby writes: Microsoft is finally going to put Windows RT out to pasture. After ignoring pundits, the public, the press and industry and a staggering $900 writedown the subsequent lack of sales for the second edition of the RT have finally gotten the message through. Hopefully this is a sign that Microsoft is finally starting to listen and reign in their world class arrogance.
onyxruby writes: Microsoft has decided to end the war on their own employees and had made the decision to end Stack Ranking. At long last Microsoft employees will be able to focus on the their job and performance instead of everyone else. Stacked Ranking has long been blamed for holding back Microsoft from any number of markets and has arguably cost Microsoft billions of dollars in lost opportunities. This could arguably be even more important for the turnaround of Microsoft than the removal of Steve Ballmer and the recently instituted corporate reorganization.
onyxruby writes: The silk road website has finally been taken down and seized by the government. The criminal complaint against 29-year-old owner Ross Ulbricht can be found over at Krebs On Security.
Probably the largest question about the seizure of the Silk Road is what took so long? It can only be assumed that the site was being monitored for a period of time to facilitate additional cases. Other like kind competing sites already offer similar services and of course always lead to the question of, is this a trap?
onyxruby writes: Tom Clancy, author of books from Hunt for Red October to the Sum of All Fears has passed away. He was well known for a writing about a commercial aircraft being used to perform a terrorist attack before 9/11.
He wrote 17 number one selling books and was praised for working extensively for working with people for getting technical details about his novels correct. He was well known for works of fiction that often featured technology that could be or some claimed was in use and at points was even interviewed by the FBI or CIA to find out how he knew what he knew.
onyxruby writes: A Federal judge has taken the unusual step of re-opening a number of cases in Minnesota that may have also suffered fraud from Prenda lawfirm lawyers Paul Hansmeier, John Steele and Paul Duffy. This is a direct result of the Prenda decision that was handed down in May.
It remains to be seen if they will face further repercussions for seeding their own torrents as they were often the ones who put their films on the Internet to begin with.
onyxruby writes: The FAA has been re-examining their Luddite policy against the use of some personal electronic devices (not cell phones) being used on aircraft during takeoff and landing. The policy has been flouted for decades by passengers that have considered it unrealistic. With thousands of flights daily having personal devices left on the evidence against this piece of security theater has long been settled in the public mind. At this point many experts are now also doubting the validity of the decades old policy in the modern world.
onyxruby writes: In a move that will remind many of Apple in the 80's Microsoft is going to start dumping Surface RT computers to educational institutions. In a further effort to try to gain mind share for their disastrous Surface RT platform Microsoft is giving away 10,000 Surface RT's to teachers through the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education).
The strategy of flooding the educational market was quite successful for Apple. Unfortunately for Microsoft today's computers require management and the Surface RT presents significant management challenges in terms of the inability to join the computer to a domain or available management tools.
onyxruby writes: Sony has had more than it's share of scandals and been rightly vilified by the public for a series of anti-consumer policies. A company that starts to treat their customers as the enemy tends to enter a death spiral (Circuit City etc). Sony has been having financial trouble for some time and needs to turn things around.
Sony appears to be making a sincere and earnest attempt to do exactly this with the latest PS4. The Verge covers how Sony has made the PS4 and crafted policies explicitly to make the PS4 consumer friendly to the public. They make the case that the PS4 will be superior in nearly every way by not requiring an Internet connection, not restricting used games, supporting indie developers and selling for $100 cheaper than the Xbox One.
onyxruby writes: U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has inserted language into the comprehensive immigration bill that may be used to massively increase the number of H1B visa workers allowed into the United States. In a rare move at actually trying to preserve American jobs a national jobs database will be set up that will be used for posting jobs before allocating them to H1B visa holders.
The database would be operated by the Labor Department and employers would have to list jobs for 30 days prior to filling them with H-1B workers. The requirements for the listings are sparse, requiring only that an employer disclose the positions title, description, location, wages, education, experience needed, name and zip code of the employer the and the process for applying for the job.
The implications of having a jobs database that can be used to help unemployed and underemployed Americans obtain jobs are huge. The implications for having something that could potentially be used to enforce any level of accountability are effectively unprecedented.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has been focusing on adding as many H1B visa holders as possible and adamantly opposing measures that could be used to ensure employers actually make an effort to hire Americans for jobs first. He has also led the fight to limit the power the U.S. Labor Department and other agencies to audit and enforce H1B visas.
onyxruby writes: Microsoft is considering slapping the face of the millions demanding the return of the Start Menu in Windows 8. Apparently they are seriously considering using the Start Menu button as nothing more than a shortcut to the metro UI. Microsoft simply doesn't get their customers or understand what they want.
onyxruby writes: EA shutdown another round of less profitable games today, including a variation of Sim City. These games could only be accessed by playing online and no offline mode will be made available to players. Real world money that was spent by players on the game for adds on will be lost with only two months left to spend it or lose it.
EA continues to be oblivious as to why online only requirements to play games like Sim City are a significant issue and refuses to change their policy. Perhaps it takes people who are not traditional gamers getting screwed over by the publishers to change an otherwise apathetic public's mind over the issue?
onyxruby writes: Rumors have abounded today Microsoft may be trying to salvage Windows 8 and is testing the restoration of the start button and the ability to boot directly to the desktop. Both of these design decisions have been widely criticized with many people openly blaming these choices for the previously unheralded downfall of the desktop market itself. Even Windows Vista had a higher deployment rate than Windows 8 has had and enterprises made very clear that absolutely would not deploy Windows 8 until these issues were resolved. Hopefully Microsoft finally listened to the markets (PC manufacturers, enterprises and consumers) and will never again make such a foolish decision.
onyxruby writes: "On December 29th of last year a comet exploded over Sri Lanka. When examined by Cardiff University one of the comet samples was found to contain micro-fossils akin to plankton. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center tested additional samples with similar results. The research paper was published in the Journal of Cosmology.
In practice this means that the argument that life did not start on Earth has gained additional evidence."