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Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

EL_mal0 Re:Is Nuclear going to be acknowledged? (630 comments)

Meanwhile, each of the USA's hundreds of coal plants are producing over 100 ktons of ash each year. Source.

There are uses for some of that coal ash, but much of it needs to be stored in (often unlined) ponds and landfills. I know, the nuclear stuff is much, much, much nastier, but in absolute terms, there's not really a lot of it. With its high density, that ~70 ktons of waste would fit neatly piled a few meters deep in the footprint of a football field. I know there are technical issues with storing it, but let's not pretend that 70 ktons is some unmanageable amount of anything.

3 days ago
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OKCupid Experiments on Users Too

EL_mal0 Re:Flash panic (161 comments)

I get that. I just think there's some important difference of degree between, "Let's see if the blue button gets pressed more than the green button," and "Let's see if people become sad if we show them sad posts from their friends." My opinion is that there is a line somewhere there. I just don't know quite where it is.

about 4 months ago
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OKCupid Experiments on Users Too

EL_mal0 Re:Flash panic (161 comments)

For me, it's not the testing so much, but in Facebook's case, publishing those results as if the participants had given informed consent. I expect to be subject to usability testing. I don't expect to be the subject of psychological testing. I don't know where the line is, but there's a line somewhere in there that was for sure crossed in the Facebook case. It's less clear to me what side this OKCupid case is on.

about 3 months ago
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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

EL_mal0 "We're listening" Really? (2219 comments)

I'm posting the email I sent on October 4, soon after the beta went live. Let's see what got fixed and whether or not they're listening.

Hi, I have a few comments on the new site design. I agree with most of the feedback from that thread. It looks pretty grim. But here are a few specific things I noticed that I didn't see mentioned too much in that thread. 1. There are a lot of comments that mentioned that comments are harder to follow. That's true, but one thing I didn't see mentioned was the "Parent" link on each comment. I use this quite a bit. I'll often see an abbreviated comment that's part of a conversation. Hitting that link gives me context with one click. If you're not going to put back any other visual cues to help follow the conversations, this feature is critical.

Okay, it looks like they have clumsily addressed the ease with which you can follow a thread (indent both sides!), but the lack of a parent link is puzzling. I know this has come up a bunch in the comments.

2. The "Topics" list only has popular topics. I don't see anywhere to see "All topics". And Linux didn't make that list? Boy, how /. has changed!

Still the same. The original content still featured and no "All topics".

3. I have selected the "classic" view. A cookie or something remembers that setting, which is great. But when the site loads, I get a flash of the "standard" mode. This is really annoying.

This looks like it was fixed. Great job, guys!

3a. In fact, the whole "standard" mode is frustrating. Not so much because of its generic appearance, but because of the stock photos used for each picture. I know this was mentioned a LOT in the comments. But I'm going to bring it up again here. The great thing about the /. icons is that a quick glance tells me what broad category the story falls into. On the beta site right now, I see:

an old timey time clock for a story about Lockheed layoffs (not really helpful)

A screenshot of the overloaded healthcare site (helpful)

Steve Jobs holding an iPhone on a story about iPhones (sort of helpful - a story about Jobs, Apple, or iPhones??)

A quad-copter with a camera on a story about drone regulation (looks more like a story about modding drones than shutting them down)

The Steam logo for a story about Steam (helpful)

A water drop on a leaf for a story about hydrophobic materials in powerplants (not helpful)

The problem as I see it is that I expect a photo to convey more specific information than an icon. When a picture tries to do the job of an icon, like in standard mode, my brain gets confused; my brain expects the picture to belong to the story. In my opinion, the pictures make the site look cheap and make me want to look elsewhere. Please, please, default to classic mode to save bandwidth and to avoid the "photo as icon" thing I just tried to describe.

Yeah, they really like their pictures in the new design.

4. I'm also a little confused about the "All stories" vs. "Editor's picks". One thing I like about /. is that the editors, though they often don't do any editorializing or editing, do sort of curate the site. They act as a pair of eyeballs (hopefully) attached to a brain that makes the decision as to whether something gets on the front page. If the site defaults to "All stories" and that category is front page plus firehose, then I'll surely be looking elsewhere for my News for Nerds.

I haven't dug into whether "all news" is the same as front plus firehose, but it appears to be and is still the default.

I have little hope that any substantive changes will be made. The nature of UI redesign these days is to change things, ask for comments and ignore comments. We'll get used to it, right? Please don't do this to Slashdot. Although it's not quite the site it was ten years ago when I started visiting almost daily, it's still the best place for discussion of tech news and other major world events. Please keep it that way.

Yep. Not much has changed. It looks like the folks making the decisions are counting on the userbase sticking around and shutting up at some point. that's too bad.

P.S. Here are a couple other things that bug me but were already mentioned many times in the comments:

UID, comment ID/link, and moderation history must be attached to each comment.

This has not changed. Discussion still broken. Oh, and did you know that if you click a link to an archived comment, you can't actually read the comment in the beta? That's great, guys! Here's the link I tried it on this morning: Link

There's a ton of wasted space to the right of the comments, squeezing the comments, which will likely make for shorter comments and may change the way people hold a conversation on the site

Still there. Still a major complaint made by a ton of people.

The original BI, Cloud, etc. content being front and center in the "topics" list. I go there once a month, or so, just to see whether there's any action, any commentary going on there. There usually isn't. Sure, there's original content, but those sites lack the thing that makes /. great: the conversation. Don't make it hard for people to get at what they want, even if it's not what you want them to want.

Yep. That's still there. They're really trying to push those original content sites, it seems. But I they're trying to get the eyeballs of a different kind of people than the majority of users on /. (from what I can tell, anyway).

So that's what I wrote back then. I've seen from the comments and my time on the beta site this morning that many of the problems that have been voiced by a large portion of the userbase here in the comments, that most of the problems/issues are not being fixed. Soulskill admitted in a comment that the discussion system isn't finished yet. Owing to the fact that the discussion is the main reason people visit /. this is troubling. Why roll the beta out when the meat of the site isn't ready for prime time. I don't have a lot of hope for the future of Slashdot, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

about 10 months ago
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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

EL_mal0 Re:And that's exactly what I asked for. (2219 comments)

The comment system isn't finished yet, that's for sure

But that's the most frustrating thing of all! This is /. Comments should have been the first thing you got right. The comments make the site.

about 10 months ago
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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

EL_mal0 Re:Why? (2219 comments)

My biggest concern for the beta is it seems to destroy the tools needed for a robust commenting and conversation, including notification of new posts, easy ways to quote prior posts, easy way to link directly to comments, etc. If this is going to be reintegrated for sure (and maybe expanded?) then I'm probably cool with it.

This shortcoming was recognized and pointed out again and again back in October when they revealed the beta. Now here we sit five months on with the same problems. That's why I have little hope that anything substantive will be done to keep the current community.

about 10 months ago
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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

EL_mal0 Re:And that's exactly what I asked for. (2219 comments)

I agree that if /. is changed, it should change for the better. My big question is why should we believe you're listening now? At the beta rollout in October you solicited comments about what to improve on the beta. The users responded with >1100 comments and lots of emails. However, many of the same problems (most notably a broken comment system) are still there. Five months and functionality that is foundational to the way people use this site is still not there.

The folks at /. might be listening, but are they going to do anything with what they hear?

about 10 months ago
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Why Robot Trucks Could Be Headed To Afghanistan (And Everywhere Else)

EL_mal0 Re:Dear Dice, please read this. (135 comments)

Thank you for your insightful comments. I wish I had mod points to give, but the best I can do is this comment to try to draw some attention to this fine AC comment.

about 10 months ago
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Target's Data Breach Started With an HVAC Account

EL_mal0 Re:"...as we migrate our audience..." (232 comments)

The thing that is most frustrating to me is that is seems that many of the complaints brought up when the Beta first went public persist. Looking back at the feedback in that comment section, there are a lot of specific criticisms of the site. It wasn't general complaining, but pointing out stuff that should be fixed. Lots of that went ignored.

I wrote an email back in October with some feedback, and I wrote another today. The company has had five months to fix some pretty basic things and listen to feedback. It didn't.

It might be time to move on.

about 10 months ago
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Come Try Out Slashdot's New Design (In Beta)

EL_mal0 Re:Link broken? (1191 comments)

You must be new here.

about a year ago
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Come Try Out Slashdot's New Design (In Beta)

EL_mal0 Re:Images (1191 comments)

The site should default to classic. One of the things I love about /. is that it is generally pretty light, even with the stuff that came with the last update a few years back. Keep it light by default. Remember: you're audience are power users; treat us accordingly.

about a year ago
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Minority Report's Legacy of Terrible Interfaces

EL_mal0 Re:That and... (305 comments)

Another major annoyance of mine these days is that for many programs, these options for customization are disappearing. Especially in the mobile world. The "Settings" menus in Android often only allow a very few things to be changed.

about 2 years ago
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Minority Report's Legacy of Terrible Interfaces

EL_mal0 Re:That and... (305 comments)

help the mind make an instant map of the UI to help recall

I don't know about you, but this was easier for me back in the days when the UI didn't change based on what you had selected. Buttons and menus that were unavailable for whatever was selected were grayed out they weren't hidden like they are now. Drives me nuts. It all makes me feel that UI designers are forced to do this kind of stuff to justify their jobs. I cannot imagine that (most) people actually find it easier to use.

about 2 years ago
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US Attorney Chided Swartz On Day of Suicide

EL_mal0 Re:terrorism (656 comments)

Was he in any way associated with MIT? If so, you have a point. If not, I think you're trying awfully hard to justify something that is pretty clearly illegal. I'm not saying that the response by the prosecutor is in anyway proportional to what he did, but the GP makes a valid point.

about 2 years ago
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US Gives $120M For Lab To Tackle Rare Earth Shortages

EL_mal0 Re:Somebody didn't get the memo! (170 comments)

You're blissfully unaware of the regulations involved in getting a mine up and running. Especially in California. It takes years to get through permitting. And Molycorp's environmental record is far from pristine, which throws more regulatory junk in their way. link. I work in mining, and for an expansion of a mine I worked at that was 100% on private property, there were something like 30 permits, each with its own lengthy process, that we needed to clear before going forward. And that was in a state far more friendly to the industry

about 2 years ago
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US Gives $120M For Lab To Tackle Rare Earth Shortages

EL_mal0 Re:Somebody didn't get the memo! (170 comments)

It's true that rare earths aren't rare, geologically speaking. But big deposits that have the mineralogy to give them high concentrations amenable to processing are quite rare. They're out there, but they're not common. And China can extract and process them for a lot less than we can here in the rest of the world.

about 2 years ago
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US Gives $120M For Lab To Tackle Rare Earth Shortages

EL_mal0 Re:Viability of ocean mining? (170 comments)

Not really. they priced other operations out of the market, i.e., Mountain Pass with all its costs related to labor and environmental snafus. Now the price is getting back up to where laying out the capital (tens to hundreds of millions of dollars) is again worth looking into.

about 2 years ago
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US Gives $120M For Lab To Tackle Rare Earth Shortages

EL_mal0 Re:Viability of ocean mining? (170 comments)

Well, not really. According to TFA, the goals of the studies are to:

Diversify Supply - enable new sources of critical materials that are not now commercially viable, improve the economics of processing existing sources, and identify new uses for co-products and by-products that do not currently contribute to the economics of materials production.

Develop Substitutes - design and deploy replacement materials that have lower or zero critical materials content, and develop a knowledge-based approach to accelerate advanced material development and deployment.

Improve Reuse and Recycling - both reduce demand and increase supply by developing economically viable technologies for efficient material use in manufacturing, recycling, and reuse.

Conduct Crosscutting Research - develop theoretical, computational, and experimental tools necessary to support the basic science needs of the other focus areas; develop and apply strategies to assess and address environmental sustainability and the life cycle of new CMI developed materials and processes; and evaluate the social and economic viability of the CMI developed science and engineering solutions.

about 2 years ago
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A Day in Your Life, Fifteen Years From Now

EL_mal0 This is a post (687 comments)

post to undo errant mod

more than 2 years ago
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NY Times: 'FBI Foils Its Own Terrorist Plots'

EL_mal0 Re:Making Up vs. Facilitating (573 comments)

Yeah. . . I think I'm going to need to see some reputable sources for those claims.

more than 2 years ago

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