rueger writes: After the initial flurry of activity, especially in their forums, it appears that the rapidly growing altSlashdot community is moving to a new URL: http://soylentnews.org There's no confirmation yet, but the whiff of Dice lawyers seems to be in the air.
Meanwhile work continues apace to create a Slashdot fork for people that feel that the proposed Beta format won't serve their needs.
rueger writes: "Dozens of "Game of Thrones" fans were taken into custody last Sunday morning after a midnight battle reenactment at turned ugly. The trouble began on Saturday when throngs of participants arrived in medieval armor, along with swords, battle shields, ballistas and 6 war horses. It was supposed to be an evening of friendly rivalry between the Keswick and Newmarket “armies” featuring displays of swordsmanship, battleaxe ice-carving and a reenactment of the Battle of the Blackwater.
The actual battle was intended primarily as a photo session, a chance for both armies to show off their costumes and strike fearsome poses for the cameras. Unfortunately, the Keswickians had prepared several 40-gallon barrels of green Jello to be used as “Wildfire”. Several witnesses said that Joffrey Baratheon, a 15-year-old Tim Hortons server from Keswick, escalated the conflict when he ordered his forces to pour the green goo into a replica catapult and launch it at the Newmarket ranks."
(it's considered by many that there something serious wrong with the water supply in Keswick, Ontario)
rueger writes: We live and breathe Netflix, but sometimes want to watch programs downloaded from the 'net. I've been carrying them downstairs on a USB stick, but would prefer to run a small media server on my Mint Linux box.
As usual, I thought this would be simple. Install a package on my PC, and use our Netgear NeoTV Max box to play stuff off of the server.
Plex was highly recommended, and installed easily, but will see some mkv files, but not others, for no obvious reason. The one file that does show up plays fine, except that subtitles don't work. And it completely refuses to see the partition full of music. A quick tour of the Plex forums suggests that making this work would take more hours than I'm prepared to spend.
Serviio looked good too, and "sees" my music, and sees the movie folders that Plex couldn't, but won't show the actual mkv files. And again, it looks like configuring the thing could consume half of my life.
So I'm asking — is there a fairly simple, works right out of the box, fairly resource friendly, media server that will just allow me to play movies that I download without a lot of headaches?
(Notes: one obvious issue is that movies and TV shows downloaded can be in a any of a dozen formats. I'd love it if the server dealt with that. Second note: Used to own Apple hardware, and don't care for it, especially iTunes. Third note: I'm also open to suggestions for a Roku style box that does Netflix well, but which will also play nicely with a media server. And if any or all of these things can also let me play streaming video off the web (like BBC Iplayer content) I'll be in heaven.)
rueger writes: Adulterous dating site AshleyMadison.com is being sued by a former employee to the tune of $20 million. Doriana Silva is seeking $20-million from Ashley Madison for what she calls the company’s “unjust enrichment” at her expense, plus another $1-million in punitive and general damages. Her job was to "create 1,000 “fake female profiles” meant to lure men to the new Brazilian Ashley Madison site – and given only three weeks to complete the work, the document alleges." The result was an RSI injury that has left her disabled.
rueger writes: I can remember trading up from a daisy-wheel printer to dot matrix, and can remember when Jerry Pournelle used to say "Buy the most expensive HP printer you can afford." Mine was a 4P. Times have changed though, and I'm looking for trustworthy advice before buying a couple of new printers.
Specifically, a B&W Laser with sheet feed scanner, and a color inkjet with a solid flatbed scanner for copying music. We want solid, reliable machines that will give a few years of small office service, that have reasonably cheap consumables, and that will "just work" with Windows and Linux. Network ready of course.
Let me expand. These days there seems to be no market leader in printers — they tend to be cheap disposable items. Part of the reason is that it is hard to find any real user reviews of these machines — most of the comments on Best Buy or other sites are full of fanboy enthusiasm, or extreme negativity — nothing that can be relied on. Between those, and the sock puppets, and the astroturfing, there's nothing I'd trust.
I do trust Slashdot though for things like this. People here are able to offer realistic advice and experience that can usually tell the story.
rueger writes: The NSA ( or your local variant) can capture or watch everything that you do on-line. Hacker/hacktivist/script kiddie groups shut down or deface large websites on a regular basis. Large companies attain market dominance then arbitrarily change terms and conditions, eliminate features and tools that millions of people use, and then sell your private information to the highest bidder. Companies as big as Adobe and as small as the town that I live next to get hacked, with customer data disappearing into places unknown. And we, the end users, are forced into computational gymnastics trying to satisfy password, user ID, captcha, and multi level authentication requirements that offer more of an obstacle than a protection.
There are now web sites that I don't use because of pop-ups; because I can never manage to actually remember the obscure password that I had to create, because they're paywalled, or because they've totally ruined their interface in the name of progress. Or that haven't bothered to update their code so that it functions on a mobile device. Or that bury real content under a deluge of advertising.
And of course there's The Cloud, a non-existent place where data floats around under the control of some other corporation, and where there's always a more than minimal chance that one morning the company, or just your data, will disappear. As in, what happens when the imps that hacked Adobe, or a government web site, manage to get into Amazon or Microsoft's cloud operations?
So, I ask. just how broken is the Internet today? And what can be done to fix it?
rueger writes: The author of the very excellent Social Fixer browser plug in is bowing to legal threats from Facebook and removing the core functionality that made his tool so great. I like Social Fixer a lot. It makes Facebook at least three or four times more usable.
The author Matt Cruze says "Any threat of legal action is a big deal. I am a one-man operation. If I were sued for whatever reason, I would find it very difficult to defend myself, even if it was without merit. I would be risking my personal life to maintain a tabbed news feed for users. As much as I’d like to be your Robin Hood, I just can’t do that to my family."
Bizarrely, when he asked Facebook why they don't also threaten Ad-Block, the Facebook rep claimed to have never heard of it.
rueger writes: It's a small thing maybe, but speaks volumes. One of the apps on my Android phone that I really used was AKNotepad, from catch.com. It was small, and simple, and just worked.
Last week I had to reinstall the Android OS on my phone. When I went to sync AKNotepad to download my notes it just hung and never finished. I find today that the company behind it shut down their servers last week. If they e-mailed to warn users I can't find it in my Gmail archive. Their page on the Play site STILL lists the app and the cloud back-up features.
Time to start moving my e-mail, calendars, and whatever else out of the cloud and back onto my own machine.... in the meantime, is it reasonable to expect that companies will maintain servers like this for a decent amount of time instead of dropping users with little or no notice?
rueger writes: My trusty Nexus S is getting pretty battered up, so I'm phone shopping. It still does everything that I need — Gmail, Calendar, GPS, and some pictures, just showing signs of age. My evil cel provider wants $400 to $700 for a new phone, so I'm looking at some of the cheaper than cheap Chinese smart phones. Obviously the build quality might suffer, but for $75-100 I can use it for six months and replace it and still come in cheaper — a LOT cheaper. I'm wondering what cheapo phones people have bought and liked.
rueger writes: If, as many suggest, Facebook has peaked, and is due to be replaced by the next, newest social media thing, it's reasonable to assume that the New Thing is already here.
Where will all of the Facebook users move to? So far it doesn't look like Google+ or any of the Open Source social media platforms have attracted the large numbers of the Mom and Pop users that Facebook enjoys.
Is there a new commerical social media service around that will be the next Facebook?
rueger writes: Reading about the end of AltaVista, I was more interested in the number of comments suggesting that Google just isn't delivering the way it used to.
My own experience suggests that it's increasingly less likely that a Google search will generate a page of results that's immediately useful. At least if "useful" excludes ask.com, bad computer "experts", and shopping sites.
So, hard core search engine users: what's out there that matches the Google of five years ago, or which could be the next big thing?