Music

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video Introducing SlashBI Screenshot-sm 339

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

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

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

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

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.

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