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Encryption

A New Benefit For Logged-In Readers: Meet Slashdot's ROT13 Initiative 261

Posted by timothy
from the is-he-gonna-shift-or-is-he-gonna-kill-us? dept.
We appreciate all the support we've gotten over the years from Slashdot's logged-in users. They take part actively in discussions, and in exchange for their active interest in the site, we like to give a few perks over and above what our beloved anonymous readers get. But we never want to deprive anonymous readers of the actual features of the site — whether you're a logged-in account holder, anonymous, a subscriber, or have a username but are browsing anonymously at any given moment, Slashdot has always been freely available to read for anyone with a browser and an uncensored Internet connection. It's a balance we try to maintain, too, Sure, we'd like you to login, and we think it has some worthwhile benefits (like tracking comment responses, building karma, and using the Zoo system to keep track of your friends and foes), but we'll never force you to. Today, we're building on this approach, by introducing a feature that benefits every logged-in user, but still leaves the page free to read for all. We'll be phasing in over the next few days a button that logged-in users and subscribers can click to decrypt the text of each Slashdot posting with the trivial transform known as Rot13. Read more, below!
Announcements

Experience the New Slashdot Mobile Site 384

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the tastier-than-bacon dept.
After many months of effort, today we've brought the new mobile site out of beta. Featuring an interface optimized for touch devices, we think it's a huge improvement over the old mobile interface. You'll find comments easier to navigate, the most popular stories highlighted at the top of the page, and a surprisingly pleasant interface for navigating old polls. We've also spiffed up user profiles, resurrecting and improving the friend/foe system in the process. And that's not all: we're pleased to announce that you can login to Slashdot in general using various social media accounts, so if you use Facebook or Google+ there's no excuse not to enjoy the benefits of being a registered user, without the hassle of creating yet another account. Our weblog has a few more details. As always, if you encounter any issues let us know by mailing feedback@slashdot.org.
The Almighty Buck

Slashdot Story Helps Raise $43,200 For the FreeBSD Foundation In Three Days 84

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-done-yet dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The FreeBSD Foundation has posted blog article article talking about the remarkable surge in donations they've received in the last three days following a recent Slashdot article reporting on weak fundraising this year. Deb Goodkin reports that the FreeBSD Foundation, as with many non-profits, receives more than 50% of its annual funds at the end of the US tax year, but that the Foundation has never seen this rate of donations before, and will hit a new record for unique donors this year. She comments that it was Slashdot readers that made the difference! She does, however, appeal for further donations noting that they have a long way to go on their full goal."
Handhelds

Slashdot Mobile: Now For Tablets As Well As Phones 123

Posted by timothy
from the ensmallening dept.
Gaurav Kuchhal (Head of Product, Slashdot) writes "Slashdot Mobile has finally made it out of the gates for tablets as well as phones. The Mobile site for phones launched some weeks back, but now you can take advantage of the changes we've made to read Slashdot easier to read through touch-screen devices on tablets as well as phones. That includes features we've folded in to the mobile version from the desktop-browser view of the site, so you can scan user profiles, sip from the Firehose, and keep up with notifications. See this blog post for more details, and keep the feedback coming. If you see a problem, please tell us about it!"
Biotech

Climbing 103 Floors On a 'Bionic' Leg 117

Posted by timothy
from the holy-moley! dept.
An anonymous reader writes "4 years ago I read about experimental targeted muscle reinnervation (TMR) surgery on Slashdot. 3 years ago I crashed my motorcycle and had my leg amputated — at which time I had TMR done. Today I climbed 103 floors of the Willis Tower in Chicago with a experimental prosthetic using TMR. Thanks, Slashdot."
News

A Fun Slashdot 15th Anniversary Get-Together in St. Petersburg, FL (Video) 47

Posted by Roblimo
from the let-loose-the-model-helicopters-of-war! dept.
A lot of people in a lot of places celebrated Slashdot's 15th anniversary by getting together with other Slashdot readers in person. In the Tampa Bay part of Florida, a small and humble meeting was sponsored by an open source company called Fextel at their St. Petersburg HQ. The catering was excellent, and it was a fun group of 12 or so who showed up, about half of whom knew each other from the Suncoast Linux Users Group (SLUG). So we had good food and good people. What else did we need? Remote control helicopter battles, of course! In retrospect, we now believe remote helicopters crashing into each other should be required at any event with a Slashdot theme. We may may just be saying this because we live someplace where the NFL won't let us watch any home games, so we are more entertainment-deprived than most Americans. Then again, maybe helicopter wars are just plain cooler than watching football, and the USA should have fewer NFL games and more Slashdot-based parties.
Slashdot.org

Thanks For the Logos; Help Us Choose a Winner 66

Posted by timothy
from the winner-gets-best-seat-in-the-wicker-man dept.
Over the course of October, we marked each day of our 15th anniversary month with a different reader-submitted graphic, instead of the usual Slashdot logo. (Thanks to all the artists who participated, whether or not your submission made it to the page: to keep it to one each day, we had to reluctantly cull a lot of great ones.) Now that all the selected graphics have had their day in the sun, we'd like your help in figuring out which one of the selected artists will receive a Nexus 7 tablet (in addition to one of our anniversary T-shirts). Take a look at the current poll and cast your vote. We've listed a handful of favorites as poll options, but feel free to pick the "some other" option and make a case for your favorite in the comments. As the note below all Slashdot polls warns, "This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane." So we'll take the results with a grain of salt ("advisory") — but as of this writing, four of the options are between 13 and 16 percent, which gives us an idea that it's working pretty well.
Editorial

The Greatest Battle of the Personal Computing Revolution Lies Ahead 291

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the google-vs-google dept.
As tablets and computer-phones flood the market, the headlines read: "The Personal Computer is Dying." But they are only half true: an artifact of the PC is dying, but the essence of the PC revolution is closer to realization than ever before, while also being closer to loss than ever before.
Slashdot.org

Making a Slashdot Omelet 101

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-alone-in-the-moonlight dept.
It's been said that the mix of stories on Slashdot is like an omelet: linux and tech, mixed with science and Legos, and a few reviews and sci-fi folded in. It's not just the stories that are a good mix, however, it's the people behind them. Through the past 15 years, an unusual cast of characters have been responsible for keeping the site up and running and bringing you the stories you want to read. We've asked a number of them to write a few words about their time working here and to share a few memories. Below you'll find that some of our former employees don't know what "a few words" means, and a collection of what bringing you news for the past 15 years has been like.
Open Source

The Growth of Google Summer of Code 20

Posted by samzenpus
from the 55-million-lines-and-growing dept.
I recently sat down with Chris DiBona to talk about the 15th anniversary of Slashdot. In addition to discussing the joys of heading an email campaign against spamming politicians, and the perils of throwing a co-worker's phone into a bucket, even if you think that bucket is empty, we talked about the growth of Google Summer of Code. Below you'll find his story of how a conversation about trying to get kids to be more active with computers in the summer has led to the release of 55 million lines of code.
Music

Jonathan Coulton Re-records 'Code Monkey' For Us 62

Posted by Soulskill
from the hat-tip-to-you-sir dept.
Back in 2006, we discussed Jonathan Coulton's 'Code Monkey,' a song about the plight of under-appreciated developers. In the years since, Coulton's efforts to produce geek-oriented songs have propelled him to a successful music career. To mark Slashdot's 15th anniversary, he was kind enough to do a brand new recording of 'Code Monkey' for us. The video is embedded below, and here's a description from the email he sent to CmdrTaco: "It seemed fitting to do a new version of that song. I have all these gadgets that I buy and barely learn how to play, and when I heard you guys were looking for videos and things, it inspired me to sit down and actually try to get some of them working. What you see is me doing a version of Code Monkey performed live on electric guitar and laptop. The grid with lights is a monome running Pages, Polygomé and mlrv on my mac. You’re also hearing some loops and noises from Ableton Live, controlled by footswitches, the monome, and the little keyboard, which is an OP-1. Back in 2006 I didn’t know what I was doing, and with all these gizmos, I still don’t. So that’s a relief." Thanks, Jonathan.
Open Source

Bruce Perens To Answer Your Questions 78

Posted by samzenpus
from the ask-away dept.
In the summer of 1999, Bruce Perens became our very first interview subject, answering questions about open source licensing. Almost 14 years later, Bruce is still one of the most influential programmers and advocates in the open source community. He's graciously agreed to answer all your questions about the state of things and what's changed in those 15 years. As with previous interviews, we'll send the best questions to Mr. Perens, and post his answers in a day or two. Ask as many questions as you'd like, but please keep them to one per post.
Slashdot.org

Linus Torvalds Answers Your Questions 326

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
Monday you had a chance to ask Linus Torvalds any question you wanted. We sent him a dozen of the highest rated and below you'll see what he has to say about computers, programming, books, and copyrights. He also talks about what he would have done differently with Linux if he had to do it all over again. Hint: it rhymes with nothing.
Slashdot.org

A Day in Your Life, Fifteen Years From Now 687

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-travel dept.
Fifteen years from now, your alarm goes off at 7:30 AM, pulling you out of a dead sleep. You roll over, grumbling a command, and the alarm obediently shuts up. You drift off again, but ten minutes later the alarm returns, more insistent. It won't be so easily pacified this time; the loose sensory netting inside your pillow will keep the noise going until it detects alpha waves in drastically higher numbers than theta waves. Or until it gets the automated password from the shower. Sighing, you roll out of bed, pull your Computing ID (CID) card from the alarm unit, and stumble out of the bedroom. Pausing briefly to drop your CID into your desktop computer, you make your way to the shower and begin washing. Your alarm triggered the shower's heating unit, so the water comes out at a pleasant 108 degrees, exactly your preference. (42 degrees, you remind yourself — the transition to metric still isn't second nature, after almost two full years.) You wash quickly to avoid exceeding your water quota, and step out refreshed, ready to meet the day. (Read on for more.)
Linux

Linus Torvalds Will Answer Your Questions 460

Posted by samzenpus
from the ask-away dept.
Linus Torvalds was (and still is) the primary force behind the development of the Linux kernel, and since you are reading Slashdot, you already knew that. Mr. Torvalds has agreed to answer any questions you may have about the direction of software, his thoughts on politics, winning the Millenial Technology Prize, or anything else. Ask as many questions as you'd like, but please keep them to one per post. We'll send the best to Linus, and post his answers when we get them back. Remember to keep an eye out for the rest of our upcoming special interviews this month.
Slashdot.org

15 Years of Stuff That Matters 145

Posted by Soulskill
from the here's-to-another-fifteen dept.
15 years is a long time on the internet. Many websites have come and gone over that time, and many that stuck around haven't had any interest in preserving their older content. Fortunately, as Slashdot approaches its 2^17th story, we've managed to keep track of almost all our old postings — all but the first 2^10, or so. In addition to that, we've held onto user comments, the lifeblood of the site, from 1999 onward. As we celebrate Slashdot's 15th anniversary this month, we thought we'd take a moment to highlight a few of the notable or interesting stories and discussions that have happened here in the past decade and a half. Read on for a trip down memory lane.
Slashdot.org

CmdrTaco Looks Back on Fifteen Years of Slashdot 178

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the hot-grits dept.
CmdrTaco sent in a link to his weblog post looking back on his experience running Slashdot for fifteen years: "For me the story of Slashdot is utterly inseparable from my own life. I built it while still in college: when normal people did their homework or had personal lives, I spent my evenings making icons in The Gimp, crafting perl in vim or writing a new story to share with my friends. I’ll never forget the nights spent tailing the access_log and celebrating a line from microsoft.com or mit.edu with friends like Jeff, Dave, Nate, and Kurt."
The Media

Jeff Bates On Niche Communities and Why Partisan News Is Normal 113

Posted by samzenpus
from the my-friends-are-better-than-yours dept.
I recently sat down with one of our co-founders, Jeff "hemos" Bates, to talk about Slashdot's 15th anniversary and the world of niche news. Because history was involved, Jeff had a lot to say about the growth of specialized news and the partisanship that groups make. Bates contends that what's old is new when it comes to media, and that people would rather be right than get along. Below you'll find a condensed version of his treatise on niche media and communities.
Announcements

Thanks For Reading: 15 Years of News For Nerds 229

Posted by timothy
from the some-of-you-weren't-even-born dept.
Slashdot turns 15 this month! You may have noticed that we’ve swapped out the usual logo for the first of the reader-contributed designs we'll be featuring this month. (If you think you have a better idea, we'd love to see it; all artists whose designs we choose to run will get Slashdot anniversary T-shirts, and one will get a Nexus 7 tablet.) We're also happy to announce an overdue feature here on Slashdot: a blog with information from the developers and editors. We'll use it to provide updates and background information about the site's development (for instance, new features or fixed bugs, or changes in the user interface), and try to answer reader questions about the site at greater length than the FAQ. Shameless tease: today, you can read about the launch of Slashdot mobile in the inaugural post. We might use the blog to expound on story choice or to make non-critical announcements, too. You probably don't come to Slashdot generally to read about Slashdot, though, so don't worry &mdash the blog will live safely and quietly in the background until you want to read it. Since this is a new feature, we're still working out exactly how it should best be used, so feel free to make suggestions below on what you'd like to see. Between now and the end of October, look for a passel of other treats, too, starting with an interview with Woz later today. We hope you'll get together with other readers at one of the many parties planned for later this month, also. Slashdot exists for and because of everyone who reads the site; thank you for being part of it.
Announcements

Reminder: Slashdot Anniversary Meetups, Free T-Shirts 46

Posted by Soulskill
from the nerds-with-shirts dept.
As you may have heard, Slashdot will be celebrating its 15th anniversary in October. As part of that celebration, we've set up a page to organize meetups for Slashdot users to hang out and shoot the breeze in meatspace for a change. We're going to be sending out bunches of free T-shirts to many of these gatherings, and we'll be printing them and sending them out pretty soon. So if you're planning on attending and haven't signed up yet, make sure you do so by the end of the day, so that we can be sure to have enough T-shirts on hand for you. (You can still sign up later, of course, but you may miss your chance at a free shirt.) Slashdot staff will be hosting parties in Ann Arbor, San Francisco, New York, and Raleigh [Edit: And Austin! :) ] (sign up for any of these, or others, on the anniversary party page by filtering for your preferred location). We hope to see you there, or hear about your own meetups!
Slashdot.org

Get Your 15 Years of Slashdot Shirt (For free, Depending) 146

Posted by timothy
from the test-of-free-will-and-determinism dept.
We'll be sending a passel of shirts to the crowd-sourced parties that we hope you'll get to, and to any artists whose Slashdot logo suggestions we end up selecting. (There are nearly 30 parties planned so far, in places as far-flung as Latvia and Nigeria!) But starting today the limited edition Slashdot anniversary shirt is also available from our brethren and sistren at ThinkGeek (still, for now, serving the same corporate overlord as Slashdot). So if you can't land one of the swag ones (sorry!), you can still swathe yourself in the Slashdot livery, which isn't so different from the colors of the Vogon constructor fleet. We'll only turn 15 once, but a clever T-shirt is forever. Update: 09/21 17:12 GMT by T : If you want to come hang out with the folks who post the stories to Slashdot day-to-day, note that Unknown Lamer is hosting a party in Raleigh, NC, Soulskill and Samzenpus will both be in Ann Arbor, and timothy will be at parties (coffee shops are awesome!) in Houston and Austin.
Announcements

Slashdot Turns 15, What Are You Doing Later? 247

Posted by samzenpus
from the party-like-it's-2012 dept.
October marks Slashdot's 15th birthday. That's right, we're almost old enough to drive the PT Cruiser. Throughout October we'll be running a number of meta news articles about our history, plans for the future, and special interviews. We're also giving away T-shirts to people willing to organize and host the biggest Slashdot parties. It's easy to get started. Just visit the Slashdot Anniversary Party Web Page. Sign up to go to a party, or if there aren't any in your area, create your own during the official party period of Oct. 20-30. The details of your local parties are up to you. Each has a corresponding discussion so you can work it out amongst yourselves. Wherever several Slashdot readers gather, we'll attempt to mail shirts until we run out. Geeknet will host parties in San Francisco, New York, and Ann Arbor. To be eligible for schwag, you need to schedule your party by September 27, or sign up to attend one by September 28. This will give us time to figure out where to send the shirts, and time to send them. Help us celebrate 15 years of news for nerds and stuff that matters.
Businesses

Dice Buys Geeknet's Media Business, Including Slashdot, In $20M Deal 466

Posted by timothy
from the always-the-last-to-know dept.
wiredmikey writes with the press-release version of news that we'll probably be updating as more details trickle down to the editors: "Dice Holdings (Owner of job sites including Dice.com) reported this morning that it has acquired Geeknet's online media business, including Slashdot and SourceForge. 'We are very pleased to find a new home for our media business, providing a platform for the sites and our media teams to thrive," said Ken Langone, Chairman of Geeknet. 'With this transaction completed, we will now focus our full attention on growing ThinkGeek.' Dice Holdings acquired the business for $20 million in cash. In 2011, the online media properties generated $20 million in Revenues." The AP has a small piece with the news, too. Update: 09/18 16:16 GMT by T : Ars Technica has a story up as well.
Announcements

Want to Change the Slashdot Logo? For 1 Day in October, You Can 128

Posted by timothy
from the small-canvas-for-big-ideas dept.
The Slashdot logo has been around for a long time now; the truth is, we're rather fond of it, and have only rarely introduced substantial changes. But for the month of October, as a way of celebrating the site's 15 years of delivering News for Nerds, we invite you to help us temporarily change it. If you have an idea of what the Slashdot logo should look like for one day in October, this is your chance to see it on the page. Starting September 15th, we'll be accepting entries, and sending limited edition anniversary T-shirts to the artists we pick to show off on the page throughout the month. (And a Nexus 7 tablet to the artist who ranks best in show.) Click through for information on what we're looking for, how to enter, and the long list of rules that the legal department has provided for your reading pleasure; we look forward to seeing and sharing your ideas.
The Media

Rob CmdrTaco Malda AMA On Reddit 101

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the mirror-universe dept.
TheNextCorner writes with news on where CmdrTaco has been hiding. Quoting Malda's IamA blurb over at that Reddit thing: "In 1997 I started Slashdot.org. For several years, we pioneered news aggregation and on-line communities while exploring our niche of the 'net under the slogan, 'News for Nerds, Stuff that Matters.' Our work was later expanded upon at countless other more successful sites including Reddit and the Huffington Post. I left Slashdot last year, took a long time off, and then started work at the Washington Post Co's WaPo Labs their digital media R&D skunkworks group. I work as their Chief Strategist and Editor-at-Large, contributing what I can to a variety of projects ranging from their Social Reader, to some projects under development. From here I am able to continue to explore my interests in news, journalism, technology, and communities. ... I'll hopefully be answering from 2pm-5pm ET"
Slashdot.org

Introducing SlashBI 339

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-it-out dept.
By now you’ve noticed that Slashdot is growing. We recently introduced Slashdot TV, which offers up everything from “amateur” rocket launches to the return of Leisure Suit Larry. We revamped our newsletters. Now we’re launching some new sites devoted to very specific corners of tech. Our first one, SlashBI, focuses on the fast-changing world of business intelligence, and features articles and opinion pieces on everything from how Big Data and analytics could make salespeople extinct, to B.I. apps for your iOS device, to choosing the right database for a business. No matter what your background, chances are good you’ll find something of interest here. Swing on over, give it a look-see, and let us know what you think.
Slashdot.org

Slashdot Coming Attractions 410

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-we've-done-and-what-we're-going-to-do dept.
We've been busy at Slashdot. As you have probably noticed, we've added a couple of new Slashboxes recently:
  • Most Discussed: Highlighting recent stories with the most active discussions
  • This Day on Slashdot: Featuring the biggest Slashdot stories of the day all the way back to the beginning.

We also pushed through a number of fixes to the user experience and upgrades to the site infrastructure in recent months including:

  • Upgrading Slashdot to modern hardware and new versions of MySQL and Apache
  • Cleaning up the topics pages
  • Improving methods for sharing submissions
  • Thumbnails for articles with videos
  • Flag-a-comment abuse reporting
  • Removal of old and unused Slashboxes
  • A much overdue overhauling of the FAQ
  • Fixes to user preferences
  • The launch of the Slashdot Hall of Fame (that little badge icon next to the logo)
  • Fixes to the D2 comment system. Highlights include bug fixes to the comment score slider, a better abbreviated view (if you quote the parent, that's removed so people can see your first sentence instead), and general reliability improvements to the AJAX magic
  • And many more...

In addition, we're working on modules to highlight top submissions and we've launched Slashdot TV at http://tv.slashdot.org/ . We plan on launching more in the weeks to come. Some of these new sections will feature original content that isn't normally run on the front page. We're also planning a new mobile experience and we'll need your feedback to help us with the look and usability. Our goal through all these changes is to make your Slashdot experience a good one. We are listening to your complaints and concerns and promise to keep giving you News for Nerds and Stuff that Matters.

So, readers, what do you want to see in the coming months?

Bug

On Slashdot Video, We Hear You Loud and Clear 263

Posted by timothy
from the what've-you-got-against-synergystic-deliverables? dept.
You complained; we heard you. We're making some adjustments to our ongoing experiment with video on Slashdot, and are trying to get it right. Some of the videos just haven't gelled, to put it lightly, and we know it. We're feeling out just what kinds of videos make sense here: it's a steep learning curve. So far, though, besides a few videos that nearly everyone hated, we've also seen some wacky, impressive, fun technology, and we're going to keep bringing more of it, but in what we intend to be smarter doses, here on the Slashdot home page. (A larger selection will be available on tv.slashdot.org.) We're also planning to start finding and documenting some creative means of destruction for naughty hardware; suggestions welcome. We have also heard you when it comes to improving the core Slashdot site experience and fixing bugs on site. We're working on these items, too. As always, suggestions are welcome, too, for other things worth getting on camera or publishing on Slashdot.
Input Devices

Slashdot Asks: How To Best Record Remote Video Interviews? 96

Posted by timothy
from the otherwise-we-will-torture-you dept.
You've probably noticed that Slashdot's been running some video lately. There are a lot of interesting people and projects in the world we'd like to present in video form, but some of them are too far away for the corporate overlords to sponsor travel to shoot footage in person. (Another reason my dream of parachuting to McMurdo Station will probably never manifest.) We've been playing around with several things on both the software and hardware side, but in truth, all of them have some flaws — whether it's flaky sound (my experience with the otherwise pleasing RecordMyDesktop on Linux), sometimes garbled picture (Skype, even on seemingly fast network connections), or video quality in general. (Google Hangouts hasn't looked as good as Skype, for instance. And of the webcams built into any of the laptops we've tried, only Apple's were much worth looking at. Logitech's HD webcams seem to be a decent bargain for their quality.) We've got a motley bunch of Linux, OS X, and Windows systems, and can only control what's on our side of the connection: interviewees may have anything from a low-end laptop with a built-in webcam to elaborate conferencing tools — which means the more universal the tools, the better. (There may not be any free, open source, high-quality, cross-platform video conferencing tools with built-in capture and a great UI, but the closer we can get, the better.) With all that in mind, what tools and workflow would you suggest for capturing internet conversations (with video and sound), and why? Approaches that minimize annoyance to the person on the other end of the connection (like the annoyance of signing up for an obscure conferencing system) are especially valuable. We'd like to hear both sides, so please chime in if you've had especially good or bad experiences with capturing remote video like this.
Slashdot.org

Upcoming Changes To 'Ask Slashdot' 230

Posted by Soulskill
from the step-the-first dept.
We're pleased to announce that changes are coming to the Ask Slashdot section. Ask Slashdot is a place to get your technical questions answered, show off your big brain by helping others, debate products and practices, and occasionally talk directly to companies about their offerings. Over the years, we've posted more than 7700 questions, on everything from workplace relations to home networking to evading censorship from unfriendly regimes. Starting tomorrow, you'll see that some Ask Slashdot questions have their own sponsors; the sponsors don't pick the questions, but experts from each sponsor will stick around for the discussion. Next up: we're making it easier for you to submit questions. Our goal is to make Ask Slashdot your "go-to" place for answers to your pressing nerd questions. So please post your questions, put on your answering hats, and come along for the ride.
Announcements

Help Shape the Future of Slashdot 763

Posted by timothy
from the come-on-it'll-make-you-feel-good dept.
Long-time readers will know that we try not to clutter the front page of Slashdot with much stuff about the site itself; this is a rare exception, but we hope you'll like the reason: we want your opinions. You should see above a link to take a survey about Slashdot, and (just to be heavy handed) here's the direct link. The questions there are simple, but we're going to read the answers carefully. The reminder bar up there will remain active for some time, but this story will scroll down the page like all Slashdot stories. Comments are welcome below; surveys have their limitations, after all, but please don't comment without also giving the survey a visit — if it makes sense, feel free to cut-and-paste any answers from there as comments, too. The engineers who build this site (and the editors, too!) are counting on your honest opinions and hoping for some great ideas; ideas outnumber the hours we have to do things, so we hope you'll make a case for the ways that Slashdot should change (and the ways it shouldn't!).
Slashdot.org

So Long, CmdrTaco, and Thanks For All The Posts 238

Posted by timothy
from the gonna-let-you-finish-but dept.
With CmdrTaco moving on to his temporary retirement home, the Slashdot editors who will continue to poke and prod at reader submissions (the heart and soul of this site: without readers, there'd be nothing to talk about as well as no one to talk about it) would like to offer an extended 'Thank You' to Rob, and offer some thoughts on the years so far, as well as what comes next. (Of late, though, we're lucky to have the growing contributions of Clinton Ebadi, aka Unknown Lamer, who got an oddball start on the Slashdot page a long time back.) Read on for a few words from Samzenpus, timothy, and Soulskill.
Slashdot.org

Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda Resigns From Slashdot 1521

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the steve-got-front-cutsies dept.
After 14 years and over 15,000 stories posted, it's finally time for me to say Good-Bye to Slashdot. I created this place with my best friends in a run down house while still in college. Since then it has grown to be read by more than a million people, and has served Billions and Billions of Pages (yes, in my head I hear the voice). During my tenure I have done my best to keep Slashdot firmly grounded in its origins, but now it's time for someone else to come aboard and find the *future*. Personally I don't have any plans, but if you need to get ahold of me for any reason, you can find me as @cmdrtaco on twitter or Rob Malda on Google+. You could also update my mail address to be malda at cmdrtaco dot net. Hit the link below if you want to read some nostalgic saccharine crap that I need to get out of my system before I sign off for the last time.
Movies

CmdrTaco Visits Pixar 128

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the sometimes-my-job-rocks dept.
A couple of weeks ago I scored a visit to Lucasfilm and half jokingly challenged the Slashdot audience to invite me to other cool places. Two brave Pixar employees took me up on my offer and showed me around for Slashdot T-Shirts. It's an amazing campus. Thanks to Mark Harrison and Ralph Gootee for showing me "0% of the render-farm" and making me wish that I was talented enough to have a place in such an amazing world. Soon I'll have a cool story to post about the crazy work Mark is doing with mind boggling volumes of data, but for now I have a picture of me next to a giant Luxo Lamp. Also thanks to Heidi Parmelee who gave me a Woody doll to give to my son and made me a hero. So now the gauntlet has been doubly thrown: Who out there in Slashdot-land works somewhere super cool and can give me a tour in exchange for a T-Shirt?
Slashdot.org

SlashTweaks Let YOU Micro-Edit Slashdot 257

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the do-my-job-for-me dept.
Here at Slashdot, we watched as Twitter discourse to just the perfect 140 characters, while showed us that everyone's voice mattered equally when creating the experience. We've taken the next step with SlashTweaks. Within each Slashdot you will be presented with several opportunities to make micro-edits: ranging from factual errors or tonal shifts to simple typos. Since Tweaks are just a single word, there is very little barrier to entry... you have no excuse not to participate. Stories will incorporate the highest rated socially and mathematically guaranteeing the best story possible. Our highest users can start new tweaks on individual words, while everyone else will be rating existing tweaks. Thanks for your participation and patience while we iterate on this, making sure that we are able to stay ahead of the edge of webbovation!
Slashdot.org

Slashdot Launches Re-Design 2254

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the lookit-all-that-shiny dept.
Today we are pleased to announce the launch of the third major re-design in our 13.5 year history, and I don't think it looks half bad. The new theme represents a serious gutting of the underlying HTML and CSS, as well as all-new graphics. There will be many design wiggles, bug squashes, and compatibility glitches that survived testing, so bear with us for a bit. Please direct your bug reports and feedback (good and bad!) to Garrett Woodworth who is currently in charge of such things. Thanks to him, Wes, Vlad, Dean, Phil and Tim, who have each worked hard to get this out the door. Juggling the needs of users, editors, and various business functions is a hard job, and you guys did good.
Social Networks

Cow Clicker Boils Down Facebook Games 237

Posted by timothy
from the lo-to-their-gelatinous-end-stage dept.
mjn writes "Game designer and academic Ian Bogost announces Cow Clicker, a Facebook game implementing the mechanics of the Facebook-games genre stripped to their core. You get a cow, which you can click on every six hours. You earn additional clicks if your friends in your pasture also click. You can buy premium cows with 'mooney,' and also use your mooney to buy more clicks. You can buy mooney with real dollars, or earn some free bonus mooney if you spam up your feed with Cow Clicker activity. A satire of Facebook games, but actually as genuine a game as the non-satirical games are. And people actually play it, perhaps confirming Bogost's view that the genre of games is largely just 'brain hacks that exploit human psychology in order to make money,' which continue to work even when the users are openly told what's going on."
Slashdot.org

Slashdot Discussions Now Include Roulette Video Chat 192

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the let's-keep-this-rated-pg dept.
It's been a long time coming, but we're pleased to announce the latest updates to our discussion software. We've been paying a lot of attention to what other websites have been doing in the space, and as we are only too happy to steal good ideas, from now on all Slashdot stories will now be accompanied by a Roulette-style webcam video chat. In testing, we've discovered that Slashdot users are amazingly likely to engage in informative, troll-free discussion when presented with the video image of one of their peers. This new addition to Slashdot nicely rounds out and improves the discussion experience for all users.
Slashdot.org

Slashdot Turns 100,000 443

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the has-it-been-that-long-already dept.
This entry represents the 100,000th story posted on Slashdot. Technically this is a bit late since we're missing the first few months of stories from the DB, but there are now 100k items in the story database and I thought that milestone was worthy of sharing with the universe. We've come a long way in the last 12 years, and while the site isn't always exactly what I want it to be, I'm very proud of the work done by our thousands of submitters and by the editors our readers have "affectionately" referred to as "The Slashdot Janitors" for so many years. Special grats to timothy who is just short of his 17,000th story and is far and away the most prolific person here. The hall of fame has a few other bits of trivia.
Star Wars Prequels

The Star Wars Christmas Special Still Exists 316

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the truth-is-out-there dept.
rapturizer noted the critical news that "Fans of "Star Wars" have a chance to see a free screening of the notoriously bad 'Star Wars Holiday Special' next week in Minneapolis." Nothing brings out the Christmas spirit like watching what may very well be the worst TV ever produced. Sadly however, I'm not sure that this is the worst *Star Wars* merch ever made.
Slashdot.org

Updated Slashdot Story Submission Bookmark 48

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the throw-us-a-bone-here dept.
We recently redesigned the Submission Form to make it (hopefully) a little easier for you to shovel news our way. The new system also will allow you to tag your submissions. A reminder that you can participate in rating stories and filtering spam from the recent submissions page. And by bookmarking this convenient bookmarklet you can submit stories from the comfort of whatever web page you are browsing.
Slashdot.org

Achievements and Optimizations 294

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the because-we-can dept.
This week's code refresh has added a number of really irritating story display bugs that we're working on. But, it also added a number of cool optimizations that should improve performance for a lot of readers. Tap that link below to read a brief description of them, and also a few serious notes about the achievement system we launched last Wednesday.
Slashdot.org

Slashdot Launches User Achievements 1582

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the can't-believe-it-took-so-long dept.
In a concerted effort to compete with more popular MMOs like World of Warcraft, we've decided to add an Achievement system to Slashdot. We've retroactively granted around 900,000 achievements to our logged in users. You can view them from your user page, or you can see my list if you're curious what a REAL achiever looks like. Many achievements have been sprinkled throughout the system and are awaiting discovery by dedicated Slashdot users, but a starter list of achievements is in the FAQ. I'll toss you one freebie: you can register your wow main for points if you're that kind of person. Now go forth and achieve!
Slashdot.org

Slashdot Keybindings, Dynamic Stories 220

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the we're-still-here dept.
We've been working hard on the new dynamic Slashdot project (logged in users can enable this by enabling the beta index in their user preferences). I just wanted to quickly mention that there are keybindings on the index. The WASD and VI movement keys do stuff that we like, and the faq has the complete list. Also, if you are using Firefox or have Index2 beta enabled, you can click 'More' in the footer at the end of the page to load the next block of stories in-line without a page refresh. We're experimenting now with page sizes to balance load times against the likelihood that you'll click. More features will be coming soon, but the main thing on our agenda now is optimization. The beta index2 is sloooow and that's gotta change. We're aiming for 2 major optimizations this week (CSS Sprites, and removing an old YUI library) that I'm hoping will put the beta page render time into the "Sane" time frame (which, in case you are wondering, is several seconds faster than that "Insane" time frame we're currently seeing).
Announcements

Slashdot.org Self-Slashdotted 388

Posted by kdawson
from the disturbances-in-the-fabric dept.
Slashdot.org was unreachable for about 75 minutes this evening. Here is the post-mortem from Sourceforge's chief network engineer Uriah Welcome. "What we had was indeed a DoS, however it was not externally originating. At 8:55 PM EST I received a call saying things were horked, at the same time I had also noticed things were not happy. After fighting with our external management servers to login I finally was able to get in and start looking at traffic. What I saw was a massive amount of traffic going across the core switches; by massive I mean 40 Gbit/sec. After further investigation, I was able to eliminate anything outside our network as the cause, as the incoming ports from Savvis showed very little traffic. So I started poking around on the internal switch ports. While I was doing that I kept having timeouts and problems with the core switches. After looking at the logs on each of the core switches they were complaining about being out of CPU, the error message was actually something to do with multicast. As a precautionary measure I rebooted each core just to make sure it wasn't anything silly. After the cores came back online they instantly went back to 100% fabric CPU usage and started shedding connections again. So slowly I started going through all the switch ports on the cores, trying to isolate where the traffic was originating. The problem was all the cabinet switches were showing 10 Gbit/sec of traffic, making it very hard to isolate. Through the process of elimination I was finally able to isolate the problem down to a pair of switches... After shutting the downlink ports to those switches off, the network recovered and everything came back. I fully believe the switches in that cabinet are still sitting there attempting to send 20Gbit/sec of traffic out trying to do something — I just don't know what yet. Luckily we don't have any machines deployed on [that row in that cabinet] yet so no machines are offline. The network came back up around 10:10 PM EST."
Supercomputing

Roland Piquepaille Dies 288

Posted by kdawson
from the in-memoriam dept.
overheardinpdx writes "I'm sad to report that longtime HPC technology pundit Roland Piquepaille (rpiquepa) died this past Tuesday. Many of you may know of him through his blog, his submissions to Slashdot, and his many years of software visualization work at SGI and Cray Research. I worked with Roland 20 years ago at Cray, where we both wrote tech stories for the company newsletter. With his focus on how new technologies modify our way of life, Roland was really doing Slashdot-type reporting before there was a World Wide Web. Rest in peace, Roland. You will be missed." The notice of Roland's passing was posted on the Cray Research alumni group on Linked-In by Matthias Fouquet-Lapar. There will be a ceremony on Monday Jan. 12, at 10:30 am Paris time, at Père Lachaise.
Image

Slashdot's Disagree Mail 206

Posted by samzenpus
from the the-old-ball-and-chain dept.
Being in a relationship is not easy, more than half of all first marriages fail in this country. That statistic doesn't improve if you spend most of your time reading your favorite website and not tending to the needs of your family. Instead of asking me to help fix your relationship maybe you should try playing with your kids, talking to your wife, and not staring at a computer screen all day. You should realize that the help link doesn't provide help with your life. It's mostly for getting passwords and stuff. Below you'll find a collection of people that should have reached out to Dr. Phil and not Dr. Sam.
Image

Slashdot's Disagree Mail 167

Posted by samzenpus
from the crazy-is-as-crazy-does dept.
I get a lot of mail from obviously unbalanced people. Enough in fact, that I've often wondered if there was a institution that allowed their patients to only read Slashdot. We've even had a few visits from some questionable individuals. A man who tried to bribe me with a car if I let him "reverse engineer" Rob Malda's Life comes to mind. He insisted on Rob being present for the process and couldn't explain to me what it entailed, so I suggested he leave. The personal visits are rare, however, compared to the amount of mail I get. Here are a few of my favorites; let's hope these people have started to take their medication. Read below and don't be worried if you don't understand all of it.
Image

Slashdot's Disagree Mail 251

Posted by samzenpus
from the sell-outs dept.
There is no shortage of comments about us selling out or running advertisements as stories. As you might expect there is no shortage of mail with the same theme. What I enjoy most about them is all the different corporate entities and sometimes political parties, that we are supposedly working for. If even half of them were true, I would have a stack of W-2s as long as my arm every year for the tax man. The truth of the matter is, nobody here sits in their Microsoft smart chair, talking on their minion iPhone, while playing in the Google money pool. (If someone knows how to get into the Google money pool, please send me a mail.) Conspiracy theories have been around as long as man, so I guess it should come as no surprise that Slashdot has a few of it's own. Read below to find out who is pulling our strings.
Image

Slashdot's Disagree Mail 188

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-want-back-in dept.
Since we covered people who wanted out of Slashdot last week, I thought we'd look at some people who wanted back in. These users found that living without Slashdot was a lot harder than they thought. Maybe you've just been married and are finding out your wife is less interesting than Slashdot or maybe you were bad and want to make amends. These people found out it's hard to make it without your favorite website. Keep reading to find out what they'll do to get back.

"The Street finds its own uses for technology." -- William Gibson

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