Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.