We have a number of Slashdot features that we've added in recent months that I've neglected to mention so I wanted to take a moment to share them with everyone today. I'd like to start by reminding all logged in users to try playing with our new experimental Discussion2 system. It's very nearly complete at this point. You can activate it with a checkbox on any article page (provided you actually have logged in). Read on to learn about Podcasts, IM, improved quoting in discussions, new subscriber options and more.
Recently we added the ability to receive AIM instant messages to notify you when stories are posted, when someone posts a comment to your journal, or when one of your friends post a journal. You can turn it on from the messaging preference page. You might need to set up slashdotomatic as a friend or buddy or whatever in your IM client to make it work, but this is a good way to get fast notification of Slashdot stuffs. We hopefully will add other popular instant messaging clients in the future but for now AIM is the top dog so we started there. The code is of course all in CVS if you want to add new platforms... there's room to easily add Jabber, MSN, Yahoo or anything else really. We've talked about SMS as well, so if there's a demand for it we'll work on it.
Everyone who knows me knows what I think about the vast majority of podcasts on the internet. The Slashdot podcast currently isn't at all like that. We call it the the Slashdot Robot Overlord. All it does is use Cepstral Voices to read you Slashdot stories aloud. So if you want to listen to Slashdot stories in your car or on your phone or something, here's an easy way to do it.
Subscribers have a new option in their journals: they can restrict the discussions to logged in users. This is a nice way to minimize trolling and general crappy behavior in your journal. Of course, there's nothing to stop the ambitious jerk from creating a user account, but this will at least slow them down for a few seconds. It's worth noting that when you post a journal, you are given the option to submit your journal to Slashdot... if your journal is selected, you sacrifice that option.
Speaking of comment posting, we've added a new <quote> tag useful in comments. If you choose to encapsulate a quote in said tag, that quote is expandable and contractible via user preferences. Properly quoting comments will allow your fellow readers to have better control over their display than simply blocking a huge chunk of words in italics.
We have a bunch of other stuff coming after the holiday. But in the mean time, please test this stuff out and let me know if you see any glaring bugs. The address is the same as always.