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 stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.
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.
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!
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).
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Everyone likes to belong to something. Whether it be for fun, a sense of belonging, or a need for attention, a group gives you a feeling of solidarity. Surrounding yourself with people that share common goals and ideas can be comforting. Sometimes however, you realize that you hate the people you've surrounded yourself with. Your religion doesn't allow you to read anything that has profanity or you've subscribed to Slashdot thinking you could learn more about hockey. This week's collection is composed of people who don't want to play, read, or be associated with us anymore. Read below to find out how bad they want out.
There is an old Japanese proverb that goes, "Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher." This week's mail is all about teaching. Whether it is about the seriousness of psychic ability, a short history of trolls or explaining how much free time and malice your dad's attorney has, these people just want to impart information. If what they sent me is any indication, they had a lot of sick days. Click on the link below to become enlightened.
In this week's Disagree Mail, I try to show the range of messages I get. It's not all angry or insane, sometimes it's sent to us for no apparent reason. We start off a little mad, slip into a whole bunch of crazy and finish with someone who has a complaint about racism at his favorite restaurant. Read below to get started.
I am responsible for reading most of the help requests sent to Slashdot. Most of the mail I get in a day is what you would expect, comments and concerns about postings, user accounts and Slashdot itself. There are a very special group however that get passed around the office due to the inordinate level of anger, lack of understanding and just plain weirdness they possess. Through the years I've collected many and still get such gems on a regular basis. We thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite rants, ramblings and ruminations with the rest of you. I give to you the first of many installments of Slashdot's disagree mail. The names have been changed to protect the idiot — hit the link below to drink it in.
This week we have a few new functions for you comment readers guaranteed to amaze and enchant. Or at least to make your day a little more efficient. The biggest update is that the system should remember what comments you've already read (for a few weeks anyway) but there's some other less interesting stuff as well. Hit the link below to read more.