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Making a Slashdot Omelet

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the all-alone-in-the-moonlight dept.

Slashdot.org 101

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.Chris DiBona
Right after they had switched from being Chips & Dips to Slashdot, I was working at a company called VA Research. VA Research, at the time, shipped Linux hardware to dotcoms and other people and that was groovy. I liked Slashdot. It was fun. That was really the only place to go to find people who gave a crap about Open Source and free software at the time.

I said to them, "Hey. What if I just send you some hardware so that you can beef up the site a bit." They're like, "Oh my god. That'd be so helpful. Please send it." I did, they got the hardware and it was pretty helpful, it seems. They re-wrote the [Ad Foo], ad servicing system at that point and we were the base ad, so if they had no ad to show, it'd just show a VA Research ad as a thank you to us.

That went on for a year and a half, two years, I want to say, except for in classic Rob, Jeff, me style. It showed the same ad for two years and we would know that the site was broken, or Ad Foo was hosed, because it would show the ad with chips that were four years out of date. That's how I got involved and how I got to know the guys

Nathan Oostendorp
My only real association with the site is with the technology, and what I remember about Slashdot is that it was an entirely "seat of the pants" affair - there were no patterns laid down to follow, it's not like there were a hundred other sites using MySQL and there wasn't much precedent for using a database backend in the first place -- it was routinely even condemned as being risky. We had this feeling of "okay we've discovered that using Perl and MySQL to create pages of HTML is pretty awesome" so we played around a lot. Slashdot was the main thing, but there were a bunch of other projects like DJ Hernandez, which was I guess an early version of Spotify, and the original Everything (cum Everything2) which was kind of a proto-wiki system.

Fundamental to Slashdot was the Story submission and moderation system, and then the comment system, and the several dozen (what would now be called RSS feeds) for "Slashboxes" which at the time were a lot of HTML regex cron jobs from yours truly. We had idea that all the information on the internet was going to be accessible, and Slashdot could be the channel for it. The universe we were living in, everything was accessible and Slashdot could be the "geek lens" for everything to flow thru.

Very quickly we started realizing that we had to make money doing this business and so we created an "open source ad system" called Ad-fu (Inspired by one of the quote by the X-Files Lone Gunmen "my kung-fu is the best"). I spent an inordinate amount of time building this system, which was quixotically designed to put DoubleClick out of business -- once you've mastered mod_perl and databases, scheduling ads and counting the results should be easy, right? Ad-fu was several weeks of my full-time effort and got us through about 18 months and the acquisition by Andover.Net, at which point it was migrated to their Ad System which was written in C and flat files "for scalability"...

After the acquisition my relationship with Slashdot was intermittent -- the "ajax-y" single-page comment system was originally based on a hacked-up prototype I did in grad school in the mid-00s. I got my black belt in Perl, MySQL, and web programming thanks to Slashdot, and it's served me well as a practitioner in the ensuing 15 years.

Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda
15 years ago I spent every spare moment building a website hosted on the silliest domain name I could think of. I ran polls asking how many shots my roommate should drink. I posted stories detailing personal art projects, or explaining how our car broke down driving from Michigan to North Carolina. Somewhere between then and now, amidst all the movie & kernel releases, technological breakthroughs, and ceaseless threats from governments and corporations, I came to understand that Slashdot was itself made out of The Stuff that Matters. My heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who remembers.

Jeff "Hemos" Bates
One of the things people often have asked about over the years is, how did you guys know you wanted to build this business? Yeah, well we didn't, is the reality. There was no Machiavellian plan, there is nothing like that, it was absolute sheer evolution, I think that's a good way to put it. Which made for some particularly interesting discussions with BC's and people who wanted to buy it in the early years. Because, they would ask things like, well what is your burn rate. And I would say, well the landlord likes to be paid and I like to eat, so there isn't one.

I think in terms of things that Slashdot did that meant a lot to me or I am proud of, I think the post-Columbine stuff that John Katz did. I know I just said John Katz so we might as well just turn on the troll radar right now. I like John just for the record.

John is a great, very thoughtful guy. And I think that what he did during Columbine, for giving a voice to the freaks and weirdoes, and by no means am I saying that, I don't even remember their names, Eric and Dylan, I guess? That what they did was a good thing. Not at all, that was a terrible, terrible thing. But, I think that the writing that he did and the discussions that happened around that was fantastic. I think that that is a situation that is the epitome of why sites like Slashdot and social media sites are so important and meaningful. It was knitting together people all across the country, and all across the world where they didn't have a lot of people around them that they could talk about this with. They had to go online to find a community that understood what it was that they were trying to say.

Jon Katz
Slashdot was an important place for me, if not a great fit. I loved the energy of the site, and the Linux ethic looks stronger now even than it did then. After Columbine, I wrote a series on the site called "Voices From The Hellmouth" and it was one of the most important pieces I ever did. If convention media had followed the idealism and values of Rob and Jeff, they might not now be such a shambles. Slashdot was a revolutionary website, a landmark in Internet history. I was very proud to have written there.

Emmett Plant
“You wrote for Slashdot?”

I get this a lot, even twelve years after I’d written my last piece. It happened again just two weeks ago, talking to a guy from InfoSec.

I was young, idealistic and had no idea what I was doing. I imagine that for most of us, this is still true. We didn’t write for a market or to capitalize on a trend. We wrote about things we liked, and tried to get other people to like them, too.

A cynical perspective could see Slashdot as a place where angry nerds gather and rant anonymously about the topics of the day, but it misses the point. It’s actually a place where hundreds of thousands of people show up to say, ‘Hey, look at this thing, isn’t it cool?’

Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes it’s hell-no, but there’s always an answer.

Nerds are some of the weirdest people you’ll ever meet. They also tend to be intelligent, opinionated and enthusiastically kind. Twelve years later, Slashdot still makes that obvious -- Even when the readers are loudly complaining about software patents, arguing about intellectual property and demanding new Firefly.

“What was it like?”

Rob Malda had managed to learn most of Darth Maul’s moves, and was terrifying with a dual-bladed lightsaber toy. We knew every word to ‘Cowtown’by They Might Be Giants, and we broke out into song while driving down a highway in Michigan. The ‘geek compound’was actually a few houses at the end of a suburban cul-de-sac. Jeff Bates did a killer Dr. Evil impression, and was able to eat clementines at a terrifying pace. The one-and-only time I’d ever visited the aforementioned ‘compound,’I had a flu and was taking a terrifying amount of medication for it, which led to me saying wildly inappropriate things to people I’d just met. No one really seemed to care. I slept on CowboyNeal’s couch, and learned that Rob and I had not only run BBSes ‘back in the day,’but ran them on the same software as well.

I wrote a lot of pieces that I still enjoy to this day. I also wrote a lot of pieces that I’d prefer to never see again. I approved some stories that I shouldn’t have, and rejected a lot of stories that probably should have gotten more attention. Have I mentioned that I had no idea what I was doing?

I enjoyed my time at Slashdot tremendously, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. It’s unsettling to know that what you’re typing in vi tonight is going to be in front of more than a million smart people tomorrow morning. Then those smart people will be encouraged to comment on what you write, telling you exactly how much of an unparalleled genius/complete moron you are. They may even make a chart.

No matter what we had to say on the site back then, everything at the time was colored by money. The dot-com investment mania was at full strength, and there was a wildly inaccurate assumption that we were all hip-deep in filthy lucre. Writing about technology isn’t terribly lucrative, even if you’re writing for one of the most popular sites on the planet. Putting the technology to use is considerably more valuable: When I left tech writing and journalism to go back to work as an engineer, my income more-than-doubled.

“All good things...”

I left Slashdot to take over as the editor-in-chief of Linux.com, which ended up being a beautiful disaster. I went back to engineering for about a year, then took over as the CEO of the Xiph.org Foundation for a while, and then went back to engineering again. I started a production company and was able to fulfill childhood dreams by working on Star Trek and writing a lot of music for video games. My current time is divided between working in systems engineering, managing my production company and training for my private pilot certificate here in the Valley of the Sun.

I still love tech, and I still love sharing cool new things with people I barely know.

I still run Linux machines at home, at work and in outside projects.

I still think the DMCA is a terribly stupid piece of legislation.

I still throw down with pudge on political matters.

I still read Penny Arcade, run a BBS and hang with trekkies.

...and I’m on IRC right now.

Jonathan "CowboyNeal" Pater
My fondest memories of Slashdot are always those that surround the events when people came together to effect a positive change. Starting already in the site's infancy when there was a real push among our readers, spurred on by one of CmdrTaco's editorials, to open the source of Netscape. When it actually came to pass, it was clear that in addition to being a fun way to keep up on the news and waste some time during coffee breaks and slow work days, Slashdot could be a force for good as well. Years later, we still haven't been able to influence any sort of software patent reform, but, we can keep hoping.

I always enjoy the Slashdot interviews. We've been able to interview a diverse group of people that ranges from David Korn and Rob Pike, to mc Chris and Warren Ellis. I feel that that diversity is something that makes Slashdot more interesting than just a technology news site, and the ability to pass questions on to the interviewees from our readers makes for an interesting article.

The other memory foremost in my mind, is of the infamy of being the most ubiquitous Slashdot poll option of all time. I read not long ago via Wikipedia that this was because I was in charge of the polls, and had inserted myself into them. This isn't true at all, but because Wikipedia needs a source to quote, I feel that now for our 15th anniversary, is a good time to set the record straight. While I've never been fully "in charge" of the polls, I did make plenty of polls over the years, but I never put myself into one. The honor and prestige of starting that tradition belongs to Chris DiBona, and even after he moved on from Slashdot, the other editors managed to keep it alive. I'd like to both thank and forgive him, for starting the tradition. I never kept track if I ever won any of the polls, but I have to assume I won at least one of them. That time, whenever it might have been, was pretty sweet too.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who ever emailed me over the years. To be sure, it's often been a deluge of stuff to wade through every morning. I may or may not have had time to respond to your particular email, but I read all of them eventually, even the nasty ones. Thanks for writing me, but most of all, thanks for reading the site. It's the readers that make everything possible.

cancel ×

101 comments

Can we get their userids next to their names? (1)

parallel_prankster (1455313) | about 2 years ago | (#41707421)

I could only get Hemos, CowboyNeal and CmdrTaco.

Re:Can we get their userids next to their names? (5, Informative)

Jose (15075) | about 2 years ago | (#41707673)

Chris DiBona
chrisd (1457)

Nathan Oostendorp
oostendo (5530)

Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda
cmdrTaco (1)

Jeff "Hemos" Bates
Hemos (2)

Jon Katz
JonKatz (7654)

Emmet Plant
emmet (70481)

Jonathan "CowboyNeal" Pater
CowboyNeal (4)

Re:Can we get their userids next to their names? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41708341)

Who's user #3, and why wasn't he interviewed?

Re:Can we get their userids next to their names? (2)

game kid (805301) | about 2 years ago | (#41708397)

No one cares about the third wheel. :(

Re:Can we get their userids next to their names? (1)

Ogi_UnixNut (916982) | about 2 years ago | (#41709051)

Maybe #3 is Anonymous coward ;) (I presume that they still need a valid account ID for AC, even if it used by everyone. )

Re:Can we get their userids next to their names? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41711127)

3 - http://slashdot.org/~drendite/

Re:Can we get their userids next to their names? (1)

Zilog (932422) | about 2 years ago | (#41707757)

It's simple : http ://slashdot.org/~{poll's addicted surname} example : http://slashdot.org/~cowboyneal [slashdot.org]

Re:Can we get their userids next to their names? (1)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | about 2 years ago | (#41708441)

Where's Roland Pickabarrelofcotton or whatever his name was? Or the Duel Overhead Dawsons? Those three (two?) received an astounding amount of vitriol, deserved or otherwise. Seemed like (the?) Dawson(s?) did an enormous amount of contribution, too, so I figured they'd be likely to show up at this Celebrity Roast or whatever this is all about.

Never figured out if Mike Dawson was also kdawson, or his evil twin, or very poor nom de plume. Noticed a "Mike Dawson" posting over at the Oil Drum of late, have thought about asking him "Are you Gay? Are you a" well you know the rest.

Re:Can we get their userids next to their names? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41709089)

If you are referring to Roland Piquepaille, he's dead - passed away in 2009. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roland_Piquepaille [wikipedia.org]

Slashdot is dead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41707433)

Long live Slashdot!

Re:Slashdot is dead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41707623)

PS IT WOULD NOT BE HARD TO FIX IT

Just read the archives and start doing it like that again.

You are on a short timeline for this. The end is nigh. You are killing what a million people spent half a decade building: the community, the brand, idea.

I don't know why you would want to do that.

Re:Slashdot is dead. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41708795)

So what you're trying to say is that you have no chance to survive make your time.

No one cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41707435)

Slashdot is a pale husk of what it use to be. All the good-old-day stories isn't going to make long time users feel any better about how badly this train has left the rails.

Re:No one cares (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41707505)

At least we have tons of users complaining all the time. That'll make it better and more enjoyable to read.

Re:No one cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41708147)

It's Bush's fault.

Re:No one cares (1)

Medievalist (16032) | about 2 years ago | (#41709601)

And if we repeal Obamacare everything will be OK again.

Re:No one cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41710281)

And if we repeal Obamacare everything will be OK again.

Who is 'we'? Obama won't repeal it. Romney implemented his own version while he was governor. Did I miss something and Ron Paul suddenly showed up at the debates?

You're kidding, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41707467)

linux and tech, mixed with science and Legos, and a few reviews and sci-fi folded in.

Yeah, in the past maybe. Today's there's far more stories about apple than linux, facebook over legos.
It's like adding shit to an omelet, no one wants that.

Re:You're kidding, right? (5, Funny)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 2 years ago | (#41707557)

linux and tech, mixed with science and Legos, and a few reviews and sci-fi folded in.

Yeah, in the past maybe. Today's there's far more stories about apple than linux, facebook over legos.

It's like adding shit to an omelet, no one wants that.

Lets not forget pedantry.

ITS LEGO. NOT LEGOS (SIC).

Re:You're kidding, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41707635)

Careful with the pedantry there. Typo's ahoy!

Re:You're kidding, right? (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 2 years ago | (#41709135)

Careful with the pedantry there. Typo's ahoy!

I had to leave a little room for others to have fun, too...

Re:You're kidding, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41708143)

It's actually LEGO bricks; LEGO is the company.

Re:You're kidding, right? (1)

madprof (4723) | about 2 years ago | (#41710483)

It's "Let's not forget...", not "Lets not forget".

HTH :)

Re:You're kidding, right? (1)

LinuxIsGarbage (1658307) | about 2 years ago | (#41714745)

Muphry's Law [wikipedia.org]

Re:You're kidding, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41707681)

Today's there's far more stories about apple than linux, facebook over legos.
 
That's what gets the neckbeards beating their chests. The marketing crew of Slashdot understands that hate and FUD gets more page hits than honest discussions about technology.
 
Slashdot is all about the dollars and the exodus of the user base shows this well. Just look at the science articles.... lame jokes and hateful trolling. Don't you even think you can write a post that contains real code or command line fodder, no one would bother to read it.
 
This isn't a tech site anymore. Not by a longshot. I've seen more insightful science and technology postings on the ramblings of the Newsvine (nbcnew's forum system).

Re:You're kidding, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41708695)

The next time you feel like posting this, shut the fuck up and go away.

Re:You're kidding, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41714153)

hah! make me

Don't forget me..... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41707489)

What about Anonymous Coward? I'm a huge contributor....

Re:Don't forget me..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41709005)

I even talk to MYSELF in discussions! That's got to count for something, right? Right?

Re:Don't forget me..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41709641)

I'm just the voice in your head.

Re:Don't forget me..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41712665)

Really? Which one? You cannot be all of them.

What Happened to linux and tech?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41707517)

These days, slashdot hardly features linux or tech as its main focus. It has turned into an endless barrage of political, legal, and social troll posts, with the occasional tech post thrown in. It has strayed far from its roots, to its detriment. Being in a presidential election season this year also hasn't helped the quality of posts around here.

Re:What Happened to linux and tech?? (1)

Revotron (1115029) | about 2 years ago | (#41707685)

You're mostly correct, but that occasional tech post is more like "some guy posts a link to his Kickstarter project", "somebody links to some lame DIY hack", or "some genius summarizes his dissertation on a topic that only 0.0001% of the readers can actually comprehend".

Re:What Happened to linux and tech?? (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 2 years ago | (#41708435)

Speaking of Kickstarter, the danger of investing in the projects has has come to light [bbc.com] .

Looks like there's only so much people are willing to put up with before they realize they're not getting paid for their work.

Re:What Happened to linux and tech?? (2)

Jeng (926980) | about 2 years ago | (#41708149)

A lot of the linux enthusiasts have moved to OSX, hence the reduction of linux stories and more apple stories.

Imagine (4, Funny)

axehind (518047) | about 2 years ago | (#41707519)

A beowulf cluster of.... oh wait, it's 2012.

Re:Imagine (3, Funny)

cultiv8 (1660093) | about 2 years ago | (#41708879)

oh wait, it's 2012

Right. A cloud-based beowulf cluster....

Can't make omlette without snot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41707523)

Slashdot is the home of taco snotting [slashdot.org] . Now mix with some hot grits and serve in a Goatse.

Thanks (5, Insightful)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | about 2 years ago | (#41707535)

to people who generally have a thankless task.

Re:Thanks (3, Interesting)

Inda (580031) | about 2 years ago | (#41709239)

So many websites have come and gone over the years. Bookmarks have been entered and deleted. Forums have come and gone. Websites, including my own, came and went. And in all that time, Slashdot has remained online. It's the oldest website I know.

I haven't been here since the beginning, almost if you count a year or so, but Slashdot has remained a daily visit since the day I found it.

Thanks.

Thanks for providing this website.

Thanks for the jokes. They make me smile and snort at inappropriate moments.

Thanks for the tips and tricks. The knowledge on here is outstanding.

Thanks for the personal stories. I like them a lot.

Thanks for the trolls. I'm a more rounded person for reading their posts, as nasty as some of them can be.

Thanks.

Re:Thanks (1)

Yobgod Ababua (68687) | about 2 years ago | (#41714535)

Agreed-ish, in general, on the thankfulness at least.

I've starting reading /. back in the mad mid-90's, eventually overcame my fear-of-registration, and have been a (semi) contributing member ever since.

Oddly, my only request these days would be to find a way to post -fewer- stories. I can't keep up with the current deluge and the "themes/tags" don't help because my actual interests don't break down cleanly into existing tags and I can't spend the time to be the first person to curate a new tag and filter it out. In the beginning, /. itself WAS that filter... if it made it in I could be assured that it was probably worth a few minutes of my time. The problem now isn't /., it's that there's just TOO MUCH STUFF happening all the time, and we know about ALL OF IT.

I do (and will continue to) keep /. in my RSS reader (with all my other visited blogs, internet entertainment, and newsy sites), but it has been becoming increasingly less attractive and somewhat redundant compared to other (more or less) curated news sources like TheRegister or ArsTechnica. I don't know what might be done differently, and I certainly don't know if those changes would make advertisers and investors happier, but I'm just throwing that out there as the sad, lone datapoint that it is.

Carry on Slashdot. Carry on.

Re:Thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41709523)

They're getting paid for it. I'm sure I can think of others who have a much more thankless job.

Re:Thanks (1)

junglee_iitk (651040) | about 2 years ago | (#41720531)

I know... A big thanks to the meta moderators!

Nate "MIXMASTER" Oostendorp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41707637)

I guess Nate still doesn't like his nickname!

Slashdot is an omelet... (-1, Troll)

Revotron (1115029) | about 2 years ago | (#41707643)

...hastily made in the back of a Waffle House filled with cold ham, some moldy cheese, and some strands of the chef's hair.

Wait, I have a better one - Slashdot is so biased, it's not an omelet - it's an Obamalet.

Nah, the first one was better.

Re:Slashdot is an omelet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41707743)

"...hastily made in the back of a Waffle House filled with cold ham, some moldy cheese, and some strands of the chef's hair."

Maybe, but you eat here every day, and that counts for something (I guess)

As well you can go eat at McRomney's any morning you want.

Re:Slashdot is an omelet... (2)

Revotron (1115029) | about 2 years ago | (#41707793)

I'm just here for the witty commentators and ACs. :) It gets me through the day.

Rob's comment reads like a goddam obituary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41707657)

What the fuck guys?

What MBA hole filler decided to fuck this up for everyone?

Personality (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | about 2 years ago | (#41707667)

One of the things I liked about the late 90s / early 2000s Slashdot was it seemed more personal, there would be articles about interesting stuff with the added benefit of the editor actually having a real interest in the subject and maybe geeking out a bit about it.

Obviously there seems to be a lot more stories posted now than back then so maybe not as intimate as before but still, it has always been the people that make Slashdot something I like to read, be they editors or comment authors.

What is with the constant circlejerk? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41707769)

We get it, slashdot has been around for 15 years, you can stop posting about it now.

"You wrote for Slashdot?" -- Unabridged (2, Interesting)

Emmettfish (573105) | about 2 years ago | (#41707787)

“You wrote for Slashdot?”

I get this a lot, even twelve years after I’d written my last piece. It happened again just two weeks ago, talking to a guy from InfoSec.

I was young, idealistic and had no idea what I was doing. I imagine that for most of us, this is still true. We didn’t write for a market or to capitalize on a trend. We wrote about things we liked, and tried to get other people to like them, too.

A cynical perspective could see Slashdot as a place where angry nerds gather and rant anonymously about the topics of the day, but it misses the point. It’s actually a place where hundreds of thousands of people show up to say, ‘Hey, look at this thing, isn’t it cool?’

Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes it’s hell-no, but there’s always an answer.

Nerds are some of the weirdest people you’ll ever meet. They also tend to be intelligent, opinionated and enthusiastically kind. Twelve years later, Slashdot still makes that obvious -- Even when the readers are loudly complaining about software patents, arguing about intellectual property and demanding new Firefly.

“What was it like?”

Rob Malda had managed to learn most of Darth Maul’s moves, and was terrifying with a dual-bladed lightsaber toy. We knew every word to ‘Cowtown’ by They Might Be Giants, and we broke out into song while driving down a highway in Michigan. The ‘geek compound’ was actually a few houses at the end of a suburban cul-de-sac. Jeff Bates did a killer Dr. Evil impression, and was able to eat clementines at a terrifying pace. The one-and-only time I’d ever visited the aforementioned ‘compound,’ I had a flu and was taking a terrifying amount of medication for it, which led to me saying wildly inappropriate things to people I’d just met. No one really seemed to care. I slept on CowboyNeal’s couch, and learned that Rob and I had not only run BBSes ‘back in the day,’ but ran them on the same software as well.

I wrote a lot of pieces that I still enjoy to this day. I also wrote a lot of pieces that I’d prefer to never see again. I approved some stories that I shouldn’t have, and rejected a lot of stories that probably should have gotten more attention. Have I mentioned that I had no idea what I was doing?

I enjoyed my time at Slashdot tremendously, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. It’s unsettling to know that what you’re typing in vi tonight is going to be in front of more than a million smart people tomorrow morning. Then those smart people will be encouraged to comment on what you write, telling you exactly how much of an unparalleled genius/complete moron you are. They may even make a chart.

No matter what we had to say on the site back then, everything at the time was colored by money. The dot-com investment mania was at full strength, and there was a wildly inaccurate assumption that we were all hip-deep in filthy lucre. Writing about technology isn’t terribly lucrative, even if you’re writing for one of the most popular sites on the planet. Putting the technology to use is considerably more valuable: When I left tech writing and journalism to go back to work as an engineer, my income more-than-doubled.

“All good things...”

I left Slashdot to take over as the editor-in-chief of Linux.com, which ended up being a beautiful disaster. I went back to engineering for about a year, then took over as the CEO of the Xiph.org Foundation for a while, and then went back to engineering again. I started a production company and was able to fulfill childhood dreams by working on Star Trek and writing a lot of music for video games. My current time is divided between working in systems engineering, managing my production company and training for my private pilot certificate here in the Valley of the Sun.

I still love tech, and I still love sharing cool new things with people I barely know.
I still run Linux machines at home, at work and in outside projects.
I still think the DMCA is a terribly stupid piece of legislation.
I still throw down with pudge on political matters.
I still read Penny Arcade, run a BBS and hang with trekkies.
...and I’m on IRC right now.

@EmmettPlant is a composer, systems engineer, ‘Star Trek’ producer and amateur aviator who wonders why there aren’t any fat dudes on ‘The Big Bang Theory.’ He lives in Arizona.

Re:"You wrote for Slashdot?" -- Unabridged (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41708117)

Did anyone as for the unabridged version?

"@EmmettPlant is a composer, systems engineer, ‘Star Trek’ producer and amateur aviator who wonders why there aren't any fat dudes on ‘The Big Bang Theory.’ He lives in Arizona."

Pretty full of yourself...

Re:"You wrote for Slashdot?" -- Unabridged (2, Interesting)

Emmettfish (573105) | about 2 years ago | (#41708255)

The original post had half of my original piece cut away from it, the links stripped out and my name spelled incorrectly. I'd posted the full version of what I'd sent in within the comments -- Then the full version of what I'd submitted was re-edited into the original post, making the unabridged version in the comments completely redundant.

But I'm glad some traditions are alive and well at Slashdot... :)

M

Re:"You wrote for Slashdot?" -- Unabridged (3, Funny)

baegucb (18706) | about 2 years ago | (#41708721)

Don't worry. The article will be re-posted tomorrow ;)

Re:"You wrote for Slashdot?" -- Unabridged (3, Funny)

Iskender (1040286) | about 2 years ago | (#41710333)

I was actually somewhat disappointed when I realised this was the reason for your post. I was hoping it was one of those classic AC trolls where the text is re-posted almost verbatim, the only change being an added reference to sodomy, preferably among the Slashdot editors.

But I guess in the name of Slashdot trolling culture I'll refrain from reading your post in detail and imagine that you yourself posted your own text with such an alteration! Man I love Slashdot in any case...

Re:"You wrote for Slashdot?" -- Unabridged (4, Funny)

Emmettfish (573105) | about 2 years ago | (#41710449)

One of the common threads back then was when people would repost sex stories with the names run through sed, and we weren't exactly privacy nuts -- People knew our real names, but usually also the names of our significant others. My wife-at-the-time saw one of these comments in which she was named as a participant in an explicit story, performing unspeakable acts on myself, Rob, Jeff... I thought she was going to be horrified, but she exclaimed, "I might be the new Natalie Portman!"

M

Re:"You wrote for Slashdot?" -- Unabridged (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 2 years ago | (#41711277)

Your wife is hot.

Re:"You wrote for Slashdot?" -- Unabridged (1)

olau (314197) | about 2 years ago | (#41713405)

:D

Damn, where are the mod points when you need 'em.

Re:"You wrote for Slashdot?" -- Unabridged (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41708787)

A cynical perspective could see Slashdot as a place where angry nerds gather and rant anonymously about the topics of the day

Sounds like the makings of a new slogan, if the Dice overloads are paying attention.

Fond Memories =/= Stagnation (3, Insightful)

some old guy (674482) | about 2 years ago | (#41707789)

Is ./ different from the free-wheeling "I had a beer with Linus yesterday" days? Of course. Slashdot has evolved. Everything evolves.

Whatever your subjective view of what /. is now, there is no harm in recalling, and appreciating the creators of, the "good old days".

As several of the authors in TFA said, ./ is what the users make it. It's up to us to add the energy and flavor we want, not the editors. Don't like the article selections? Submit some.

Personally, I'm a lot more interested in pure geekspeak than business, law, or politics, but that's just me. It is, after all, a community.

Hail Slashdot!

Re:Fond Memories =/= Stagnation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41712575)

Google, Linux, Apache, everything seems to be grown up now. There are plenty of startups, but most of them seem to be about worshiping the almighty buck with the next social media/big data play.

Ah, history (2)

Custard (45810) | about 2 years ago | (#41707847)

JonKatz was the reason I got a /. login. I had stopped reading because his blatherings annoyed me too much. Someone let me know that if you had a login you could filter out his crap.

It is fitting that his reminiscence is a grammatical and logical train wreck. "If convention media had followed the idealism and values of Rob and Jeff, they might not now be such a shambles."

If he had started writing sooner I could have gotten a four digit ID

Re:Ah, history (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41708185)

Thanks for posting that... so damned true. His articles were the worst, and he was the target of the troll's hatred more often than not.

JonKatz stole my comment for his book! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41709259)

goddamn it, why overlook Juni's insightful reporting on the liberation of Afghanistan and the Arab Spring?!!

Re:Ah, history (1)

DG (989) | about 2 years ago | (#41709241)

Four digits?

N00b

DG

Re:Ah, history (1)

madprof (4723) | about 2 years ago | (#41710547)

It just means you signed up on that day slightly earlier. Remember that there was plenty of discussion before accounts got created. Naughty DG.

Re:Ah, history (1)

Xaedalus (1192463) | about 2 years ago | (#41710661)

Elder spawn.

Re:Ah, history (1)

corychristison (951993) | about 2 years ago | (#41712085)

If you held out a little longer you may have received the holy grail UID 1337.

Re:Ah, history (1)

DG (989) | about 2 years ago | (#41723203)

Meh. I have a 3 digit palindrome. And a 2 letter nick. That's hard to top.

DG

Re:Ah, history (1)

hawk (1151) | about 2 years ago | (#41716191)

Some of us held out and didn't create accounts over cookies . . .

Eventually, I just *had* to comment on something, broke down, and took the account (but with great hesitance).

I don't remember if I used a separate browser instance for it back then. eventually, this and a few others (very few) were allowed to have cookies

hawk

Harvey Keitel said it best (4, Insightful)

mooingyak (720677) | about 2 years ago | (#41707895)

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.

and now quoting from Pulp Fiction:

"Let's not start sucking each other's dicks quite yet."

Re:Harvey Keitel said it best (1)

Tailhook (98486) | about 2 years ago | (#41708127)

linux and tech, mixed with science and Legos, and a few reviews and sci-fi folded in.

Notice the polite omission of freetard controversy and privacy hysteria?

Thanks, guys! (2)

charnov (183495) | about 2 years ago | (#41707913)

Slashdot has always been a comfortable port in the storm of the IT world for me. As a contractor for nearly 20 years, I worked mostly alone with no one to speak geek to. You were always there.

Katz? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41707949)

There's no way that blurb was written by Jon Katz. It's not nearly long, rambling, or pointless enough, to have come from him.

FTFY (1, Troll)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#41708043)

It's been said by barely literate shit-thick obese cuntards that the mix of stories on Slashdot is like an omelet: linux and tech, mixed with science and Legos[sic]

FTFY

I guess... (2)

emag (4640) | about 2 years ago | (#41708177)

... no one wanted to hear from Roblimo?

Re:I guess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41708575)

This article was about former Slashdot people. I'm still here, although mostly retired and only working part-time. :)

Re:I guess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41709339)

... no one wanted to hear from Roblimo?

Nope, nobody cares about that a-hole. He's a jackass.

Love it or Hate it (1)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | about 2 years ago | (#41708431)

You either love slashdot or hate it, but it's like a bad drug, you can't keep from coming back.

A beverage to go with that omelet (1)

superflippy (442879) | about 2 years ago | (#41708463)

I don't know about a "Slashdot omelet," but I've been enjoying this recipe for Slashdot chai [superflippy.net] for years now. I haven't been able to find the original comment I copied it from, but to that long-lost Slashdotter who posted the recipe in the first place, thanks for the many cups of spicy chai I've enjoyed.

Re:Slashdot Chai (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 2 years ago | (#41709599)

This one?

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=52692&cid=5217611 [slashdot.org]
Advanced Search is a beautiful thing. I got this post in about 12 seconds because I knew it would be the only post with "4 green cardamom pods" in Slashdot.org.

-----

Re:Coffee Sucks! :P (Score:4, Informative)
by jpsst34 (582349) Alter Relationship on 04:47 PM February 3rd, 2003 (#5217611) Journal

Chai is a spiced tea, generally associated with Indian cuisine. It is basic black tea with milk and honey or sugar.

That's: Milk * (Honey + Sugar)

But what makes it so good is the (traditionally indian) spice blend: cinnamon, clove, ginger, cardamom, and black pepper.

To make 2 latte mugs worth:

Pour 1.5 latte mugs worth of water into a small sauce pan. Add two 2" cinnamon sticks, 6 whole cloves, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 4 green cardamom pods, and a few grinds of black pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat, covered, for 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup sugar and 2/3 latte mug of milk, stir well, and return to a near-boil. Turn off heat. Now add 3 or 4 black tea bags, cover, and steep for about 7 minutes. Strain into your latte mugs and enjoy.

Ye gods this sux on my iPad (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#41708495)

Seriously, no pinch and expand, no rotate and twirl, it's like an http shell over an FTP site.

(Ducks)

Quack.

Re:Ye gods this sux on my iPad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41708657)

Mbeta is even worse on mobile (see: unusable). I couldn't even scroll down cause it was interpreting scrolls as clicks.

Re:Ye gods this sux on my iPad (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#41708707)

Haven't got it to scroll yet.

Let me try that - on my Win box - 1 sec

And liberal politics (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#41708645)

Don't forget a liberal amount of politics. No not liberal slant on politics, but a liberal amount of politics (but the ample Libertarians would assert it's all liberals, and the liberals would assert it's all conservatives).

Re:And liberal politics (0)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41709211)

Libertarians don't downmod liberal opinions. Liberals downmod libertarian ones.

Any libertarian can tell you it's because the liberal mindset has a lot more emotionql investment in their opinion, with a gut feeling that anyone who disagrees isn't just wrong, but deliberately evil.

Libertarians, on the other hand, just feel liberals (and everyone else, really) is just stupid so if you talk slowly enough, you'll force them to see the light.

There is no attempt by libertarians to apply social pariah status to opponents, unlike the liberal mind which has that heavily integrated into their memetic worldview.

I expect a liberal to be flexing their index finger to dowmod this post even though is says nothing that wasn't written 10 years besore Slashdot started.

But before you downmod, consider this: Theories that make predictions repeatedly are more likely to be correct. Prove me wrong via upmod.

Re:And liberal politics (0)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41709237)

Why yes. I do relish this. Why do you ask?

Slashdot omelet (2)

JestersGrind (2549938) | about 2 years ago | (#41708687)

You can't make a Slashdot omelet without breaking a few eggheads.

Katz hits it on the head... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 years ago | (#41708887)

Slashdot was a revolutionary website, a landmark in Internet history.

Katz hits it on the head here... was. Then, the commercial web really took off and Slashdot slowly dwindled into an irrelevant niche site that few have ever heard of. This blizzard of self indulgent tripe over the anniversary is a reflection of how far things have fallen under the reign of Slashdot's corporate masters... And of the blinkered worldview that allows them to believe the Slashdot is still relevant.

Re:Katz hits it on the head... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41709649)

Queue buzzer sound indicating you gave an incorrect answer. However you're just trolling, which is totally a part of slashdot culture, so I applaud your troll and your abstract contribution to that culture you just dismissed.

Re:Katz hits it on the head... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41711759)

Then, the commercial web really took off and Slashdot slowly dwindled into an irrelevant niche site that few have ever heard of.

Slashdot was already going downhill, but other aggregator sites with shiny new dated concepts (for example, Digg) really crushed it with unfathomable brutality.

Yet, the Internet is littered with the mouldering bodies of failed aggregators. Slashdot's still here, and still even semi-useful - even amidst the constant shitposting.

There's something to be said for that.

Any editors? (1)

rastos1 (601318) | about 2 years ago | (#41709003)

Before I dive into TFA, can someone tell me if any editors were found?

http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-omelet-station-cocoa-b (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41709017)

http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-omelet-station-cocoa-beach

The Omelet Station

Category: Breakfast & Brunch

5590 N Atlantic Ave
Cocoa Beach, FL 32931

(321) 783-1038
http://www.theomeletstation.com/

This place seems like a good place to drive yer chevy coravette to and enjoy a nice sunday brunch! Cheers! That is if you like Chevy's. Which no one does.

Good news aggregator site... apk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41709243)

I think it's the best, or one of the best (since I feel there's no "best" in anything, only tradeoffs) news aggregator sites there is. I actually made an account, just to speak to Mr. John Carmack with in 2002, I forgot the password to & said "forget that" since I don't feel being a "registered 'luser'" does me any good really. I ended up STAYING however, around mid-to-late 2005 - glad I did.

There's some VERY talented folks in my area, comp. sci. related/comp. tech. related @ this website's forums that I would regularly read as to what they say (since they're famous like Mr. Carmack, or, just because they know what they're about in their area of computing). That's what kept me here...

* NOW, if only there was something one could do, about the damn TROLLS here! Only thing that is wrong with this site, is that...

(Then again, that goes for more than a few messageboard forums out there too...)

APK

P.S.=> Oh, as to that last part? There sure is - Make tracking who downmodded/upmodded you possible! This is NOT difficult to do, by any means...

Now, I ( & I am certain others also ), could handle the rest themselves...

I state this, for a SIMPLE REASON:

From nearly a decade on /. in total time, first, that "type/kind" will attempt to harass you directly - until you "out 'kung-fu' them" in a technical debate - then, when you DO THAT? Heh - they just down-moderate your posts for NO JUSTIFIABLE REASONS WHATSOEVER (I call that "hit & run unjustifiable downmodding")... then, they bug you via ac posts afterwards!

Nobody likes to come to a "slaughterhouse" bar, or a forums full of bogus cowardly little trolls!

So, "that all said & aside":

Again - Put their NAME to upmods/downmods as to whoever issued them!

(Since only registered users can do down/up mods)

Thus, in cases like the one I describe (I get "hit" like that @ least 3-4 times a week, mind you, with bogus downmods)?

I'd be MORE THAN HAPPY to confront said cowardly trolling bogus hit & run downmodding worm, myself... just to embarass the hell out of them!

Of course, this will probably NEVER happen!

Why?

Well, easy: I's "the way of the 'not man'" (nerd) to act more like women, than women do... lol, & that's the kind of guy who I am talking about in these worms that downmod you for no good technically computer material justifiable reasons... just because you "spanked them" before, they're full of "geek angst" & MUST have their "effete revenge" that way...

... apk

Cowboy Neal Poll won by Cowboy Neal (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41709799)

The one poll I am certain "CowBoy Neal" option won was the one where all the options were "Cowboy Neal". [slashdot.org]

Not wat it was in the glory days, but still... (1)

jht (5006) | about 2 years ago | (#41710343)

I was a frequent poster, submitter, and reader back in the day. I used the journals before moving to these newfangled things called blogs. I still post, though not that often anymore - no longer being a desk jockey the spare time isn't around to participate like it used to be. But even with all the changes, Slashdot is still the place I go for my all-in-one-place scan of tech news, still the most interesting place to go and get perspective on the story, and still one of the most informative communities out there.

I hope I'm still reading the site daily in 15 more years.

Re:Not wat it was in the glory days, but still... (1)

hawk (1151) | about 2 years ago | (#41716219)

>But even with all the changes, Slashdot is still the
>place I go for my all-in-one-place scan of tech news,

Initially, this was the fastest way to get get tech news--once it was somewhere, slashdot linked (and the site went down).

At some point in the late 90s, thought, it fell behind, and the tech stories could be found in the prior day's Wall Street Journal.

hawk

Spin offs?? (1)

AssholeMcGee (2521806) | about 2 years ago | (#41712865)

THis site has lost it ways, that is obvious from older or previous users comments, from stories before and current.. You should create a spin off, Slash Underground, were stories of government funded projects, privacy concerns, ect. can be reported..It should not be a Conspiracy based stories either it should be based on things that can be proven, including posting stories similar to the Sci Channels Dark Matters, Twisted but True, a history of how governments or scientists are willing to push the limits of moral laws.. And restore Slahdot back to what is once was. I have been on for awhile and with all the hard working people at Slashdot I find it hard to believe that the numbers of tech stories is fewer and further apart. I like the site and the other channels, and the hard working people at Slashdot, so I do not want to rattle any chains, or seem like I am attacking anyone, 15 years and still going does not happen to many small new sites, so Congrats on this.
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