Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment We're all old farts, and you're Fox News (Score 1) 410

I think your biggest problem is that most /. readers are either old farts or desperately wish they were (naturally, I include myself in that). Most people here seem to adhere to fairly conservative (whatever that means) technical views, i.e. Microsoft is evil, JavaScript programmers are script kiddies, the 'real world' should just go away and leave the Internet alone etc.

Unfortunately for you, that means you have a readership that has no interest in video or other 'modern' formats (just look at the arguments over ASCII art) and prides itself on holding somewhat contrarian views. On top of that, /. culture was born when everything on the internet was free; now it isn't any more, but you're scrambling to monetize a website based on the idea that a bunch of curmudgeons are entitled to bitch about whatever they like for nothing. Hence the endless debates over advertising, in its various forms. Good luck with that.

I'm not saying I have a solution (it's not clear if there's even a problem) but I think you have to accept that /. is now Fox News for Nerds. Like most news sources, it's used primarily by those who conform to its culture, and by those who want to be part of it. This is not a dynamic, cool site any more (if it ever was); it's for people who are tech conservatives and want to stay that way and regrettably for you, that position includes a rejection of 'commercial' culture.

Comment Re:I have to agree (Score 0) 728

Atheism certainly is a religion, in the (very broad) sense that it's a belief system based on scientifically unproven or unprovable claims. Atheism is unprovable because atheists believe that there are no supernatural deities; you can't prove a negative therefore it's purely a question of belief, not of logic or science. Religion on the other hand is provable, but in thousands of years of human history, not one person has succeeded in proving the existence of any deity. Or in hundreds of years of the scientific method, if you prefer, since apparently proving the existence of God/gods to other people was a lot easier until the scientific method came along: no major world religion has been founded in the scientific age.

There is nothing rational about being an atheist, so if you want to talk about a sceptical view of religion (and atheism) you would be better off describing yourself or others as agnostics.


Submission + - Windows 8 Secure Boot: MS is copying Apple (

MrSeb writes: "Over the last few days it has emerged that Windows 8 ARM computers, be it tablet, laptop, or possibly even desktop form factor, will be locked down via UEFI's Secure Boot and be unable to run any other, unsigned-by-Microsoft operating systems. This is in strong contrast to x86 Windows 8 PCs, which Microsoft has mandated must be able to run other operating systems. The response from tech pundits and open source advocates has been vitriolic to say the least — but if you look at the bigger picture, MS's position doesn't seem that unreasonable. The iPad, Windows 8's arch enemy, has a locked bootloader that restricts any other OS from loading. Ditto the Nook, Kindle Fire, and many other Android tablets. The fact is, Windows 8 ARM tablets, unlike x86 PCs, will be appliances — and it really is quite common to lock down appliances."

Submission + - World's Smallest Ear Can Hear Germs (

disco_tracy writes: A pin dropping is pretty quiet. But what about a bacterium? Hearing anything smaller than a certain size would ordinarily be tough to do. But not if you have "nano-ears." This kind of ear is a microscopic particle of gold trapped by a laser beam and can pick up sound a million times fainter than humans can usually hear.

Comment Stupid question, badly phrased (are you trolling?) (Score 2, Insightful) 736

So apparently you want to be taken more seriously, but you decide to drop "windoze" into your question? Do you really think that the people who hand out jobs - and titles - care about your personal prejudices? As a professional, if the best solution for your company is "Microsoft`s platform" then you deliver it, you don't spend time complaining about how no one respects you because your proposal to migrate Visual Studio to vi isn't taken seriously. If it makes sense, make a business case for it and argue for it, but if the guys upstairs decide against it then either shut up or get out. This is what happens every day in Sales, Marketing, Production, Finance etc., but you seem to believe that IT is different.

If you're so obsessed about a job title then insist on it your contract. As some people say, that may make sense if you're concerned about your next job, but how bad is this job if you're already thinking about the next one?

Comment Re:Here we go again... (Score 4, Interesting) 296

In the computer room at my college, many years ago, there was the following sign:

Rule 1: Always make a backup.
Rule 2: Always make a backup. (This is a backup of Rule 1)

Just because things are now on Web 2.0 services over the internet doesn't change the fundamental dictum. If you care about the data, it is you who needs backups. If you don't make backups, obviously you don't care (enough)...

What about Rule 0:

Rule 0: the following rules apply only to techies, who are the only people capable of understanding even the basic issues involved

Seriously, if you provide a consumer service of any kind, and you expect the consumers to do anything more than just use the service, you are seriously deluded. People - including, I suspect, many techies - will never do anything more than chat/download/email/surf/whatever.

My bank doesn't tell me to back up my account details in case their internet service goes down, why should anything else be different? Yes, that's a rhetorical question, and of course you and I understand the difference, but why should anyone else?

Anyway, the point is that this is not even a technical issue: it's a business one. How do you persuade people to start paying not only for "free" services (Facebook) but "worthless" invisible ones (a backup of your Facebook data)?

If you can solve that, let us know. Until then, going on about backups is only preaching to the choir. Most of whom have probably had a nasty experience with things going wrong already... :-)


Where's the "IronPerl" Project? 390

pondlife writes "A friend asked me today about using some Microsoft server components from Perl. Over the years he's built up a large collection of Perl/COM code using Win32::OLE and he had planned on doing the same thing here. The big problem is that as with many current MS APIs, they're available for .NET only because COM is effectively deprecated at this point. I did some Googling, expecting to find quickly the Perl equivalent of IronPython or IronRuby. But to my surprise I found almost nothing. ActiveState has PerlNET, but there's almost no information about it, and the mailing list 'activity' suggests it's dead or dying anyway. So, what are Perl/Windows shops doing now that more and more Microsoft components are .NET? Are people moving to other languages for Windows administration? Are they writing wrappers using COM interop? Or have I completely missed something out there that solves this problem?"

Submission + - SPAM: Study: H-1Bs Go Hand-in-Hand with Job Creation 8

narramissic writes: "A new study by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), a pro-immigration think tank finds that between 2002 and 2005, for every H-1B position requested, tech companies listed on the S&P 500 stock index increased their employment by five workers. For tech firms with fewer than 5,000 employees, each H-1B request corresponded with an average increase of 7.5 workers, the group said."
Link to Original Source

Submission + - SPAM: FAA mandates major aircraft "Black Box" up

coondoggie writes: "The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today mandated significant upgrades to aircraft cockpit voice and flight data recorders in an effort to help investigators retrieve more and better data from airplane accidents and mishaps. Today's mandate means manufacturers such as Honeywell and L-3 Communications as well as operators of airplanes and helicopters with 10 or more seats, must employ voice recorders, also known as black boxes, that capture the last two hours of cockpit audio instead of the current 15 to 30 minutes. The new rules also require an independent backup power source for the voice recorders to allow continued recording for nine to 11 minutes if all aircraft power sources are lost or interrupted. Voice recorders also must use solid state technology instead of magnetic tape, which is vulnerable to damage and loss of reliability, the FAA said. [spam URL stripped]"
Link to Original Source

Submission + - India enters the supercomputing race

fermat writes: India has entered the super computing race with its very own EKA (meaning "One" in Sanskrit).It is ranked 4th fastest in the world and is the fastest in Asia with a peak performance of 170 teraflops. It was built in the Indian city of Pune by Computational Research Laboratories in collaboration with HP. CRL is owned by Tata Sons,a large business conglomerate with over $21 billion in revenue.
Operating Systems

Submission + - VMS operating system turns 30 years old

Stony Stevenson writes: The venerable vms operating system from Digital Equipment Corp. just turned 30 years old and hardly anyone noticed. Well, itnews did and is running a brief history of the hearty operating system that counts the Deutsche Börse in Germany, the Australian Stock Exchange, and amongst its users.

After 30 years, can this operating system go on forever? "We always said we would move away from VMS when something better came along," says Gareth Williams, associate director of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Minor Planet Center since 1990. "There isn't anything better."
Data Storage

Submission + - World's 5 Biggest SANs

An anonymous reader writes: ByteandSwitch is searching the World's Biggest SANs, and has compiled a list of 5 candidate with networks supports 10+ Petabytes of active storage. Leading the list is JPMorgan Chase, which uses a mix of IBM and Sun equipment to deliver 14 Pbytes for 170k employees. Also on the list are the U.S. DoD, which uses 700 Fibre Channel switches, NASA, the San Diego Supercomputer Center (it's got 18 Pbytes of tape! storage), and Lawrence Livermore.
United States

Submission + - Taxing you for getting healthy

An anonymous reader writes: Earlier this month you read about "Charging the Unhealthy More For Insurance". Well now the state of Michigan, one of the most obese states, and a state that contains one of the most obese cities in the United States is considering changing residents for getting healthy. In a state ranked with a 60.4% obesity rate, due to the budget shortfall this year, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm is considering proposing an expansion of the sales tax to include health club services. The expansion would also likely include other items such as sport, concert and movie tickets, and golfing and bowling fees. is taking up the issue and working to try to get people to mail their congressman, to oppose this "proposed expansion" Some more information can be found at

Submission + - NASA/JPL "unswerving loyalty" background c (

An anonymous reader writes: NASA administrator Michael Griffin has ordered all JPL employees to be put through intrusive background investigations. The background checks will be conducted for all employees, whether or not they are working on anything sensitive. For example, in addition to the scientists and engineers, they will be performed for landscapers, construction workers, and consulting faculty members. The checks ostensibly will determine "unswerving loyalty" to the United States. Employees must fill out forms ask about drug usage, selective service registration, residences, employment, degrees, and names of at least 5 references (supervisors, neighbors, personal). The listed references are then sent forms which ask for information about the person's financial integrity, mental and emotional stability, and drug usage. Employees must also sign a release allowing any federal agent to request any information about the employee from anyone, for an investigation scope that in their words is "not limited." After the investigation, a determination of suitability for federal employment is made. For this purpose, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has an "issue characterization chart" that categorizes bad deeds which alone or in combination would debar someone. For example, three instances of "attitude" within three years would debar someone. Curiously, "breaking and entering" alone does not debar someone. "Carnal knowledge" is an automatic debarment. I'm perhaps not current with my euphemisms, but that seems to debar anyone who lists children on their investigation forms. Also "sodomy" is an automatic debarment. JPL employees have been notified that they must fill out and sign the release forms and get fingerprinted and photographed by October 27, 2007, or they will be considered to have "voluntarily" resigned (i.e., no severance pay). Employees who agree to participate but whose paperwork does not make it through the bureaucracy by October 27 will be placed on leave without pay. This program is in accordance with George W. Bush's Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12), which asked the Dept. of Commerce to develop an identification standard for federal employees and contractors. DoC came back with a standard, FIPS 201-1, whose literal wording does not exclude the possibility of a colonoscopy as part of the investigation. This rebadging effort is costing JPL $6 million, which it must eat out of its own burden funds which normally pays for operating the lab and funding internal research and development. Overall, NASA is spending $112 million to $160 million to implement the program. The investigations must be repeated every five years. Morale is at an all-time low at JPL, and employees are protesting weekly in front of the entrance gates. A legal challenge is planned, but most people are too scared for their jobs to be part of it. They have created a web site and discussion forum about it at

Submission + - Skype blames Microsoft Patch Tuesday for Outage (

brajesh writes: "Skype has blamed its outage over the last week on Microsoft's Patch Tuesday. FTA — "The abnormally high number of restarts affected Skype's network resources. This caused a flood of log-in requests, which, combined with the lack of peer-to-peer network resources, prompted a chain reaction that had a critical impact." Previsously, it was speculated that Skype outage may have been caused by a Russian hack attempt. Further FTA- "The issue has now been identified explicitly within Skype. We can confirm categorically that no malicious activities were attributed or that our users' security was not, at any point, at risk." Butterfly effect?"

Slashdot Top Deals

If this is a service economy, why is the service so bad?