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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

Gregory Arenius The 'Beta' Brand (2219 comments)

The new Slashdot Beta is so horrible its not just destroying Slashdot its destroying Beta.

Remember when a Beta was cool? When you got to try the invite only gmail beta? When you got to beta test the next game in your favorite franchise? All that beta cool, destroyed in one fell swoop.

I don't even want to teach my kids the alphabet now, just because it kinda has Beta in it. Hell, even Alpha is less cool now just because its fucking associated with Beta. Even Omega is a bit less glamorous.

Shit, I'm going to have to switch to some sort of Early Testing, Testing, Final Testing sort of nomenclature for software releases now. Beta is that bad that just releasing other software labeled as a Beta is going to make me cringe.

And Beta Carotene, well, right the fuck out of my diet, health consequences be damned.

Fuck Beta,

about 7 months ago

Why Robot Trucks Could Be Headed To Afghanistan (And Everywhere Else)

Gregory Arenius Re:First Post! (135 comments)

I couldn't have said it better myself.

I really feel like I'm losing a good friend. I know that sounds outrageous, comparing a website to a person like that, but it how it feels to me.

I've been coming here since '98? ish and I've learned so much about so many different things. This is where I unwind at the end of every day. I'm so angry and disheartened that it looks like this community is going to be destroyed.

So, like you said,
So long, and thanks for all the fish.

And I just realized I first heard about HHGTTG here as well. That just makes me even more sad.


about 7 months ago

The Bitcoin Death Star: KnC Plans 10 Megawatt Data Center In Sweden

Gregory Arenius Re:Now even bitcoin miners have better planning (250 comments)

Just because revenues are down doesn't mean they aren't making money. The quarterly report doesn't really shed light on whether or not Slashdot is profitable. It just says that revenues are down.

There is also no breakout of Slashdot itself from the Corporate & Other segment which does include some other companies.

It also states:
"Slashdot Media was acquired to provide content and services that are important to technology professionals in their everyday work lives and to leverage that reach into the global technology community benefiting user engagement on the site. The expected benefits have started to be realized at However, advertising revenue has declined over the past year and there is no improvement expected in the future financial performance of Slashdot Media's underlying advertising business. Therefore, $7.2 million of intangible assets and $6.3 million of goodwill related to Slashdot Media were reduced to zero."

So it looks like they already wrote off the goodwill of Slashdot users, which they apparently valued at $13.5 million.

about 7 months ago

Build an Open-Source Electric Car In About One Hour

Gregory Arenius Buying Slashdot (188 comments)

So on an earlier thread I mentioned starting a kickstarter to buy Slashdot off of Dice. Many of us love the community here and would hate to see it killed off due the the incompetence of some Dice MBAs. I have no idea what a good number to start such a kickstarter at would be so I started by looking at the latest Dice quarterly report. I still haven't found numbers that are particularly helpful but I did come across a few interesting things that might help explain their seemingly inexplicable actions.

From the Operating Segment Results section:
"Corporate & Other segment revenues decreased 9% year-over-year to $4.3 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2013 from the comparable 2012 period, due primarily to the financial results at Slashdot Media."

From the recent Recent Developments section:
"Slashdot Media was acquired to provide content and services that are important to technology professionals in their everyday work lives and to leverage that reach into the global technology community benefiting user engagement on the site. The expected benefits have started to be realized at However, advertising revenue has declined over the past year and there is no improvement expected in the future financial performance of Slashdot Media's underlying advertising business. Therefore, $7.2 million of intangible assets and $6.3 million of goodwill related to Slashdot Media were reduced to zero."

It seems they valued the goodwill of us Slashdot users at $13.5 million USD! Unfortunately it looks like they've already written that off?

Also, for Slashdotters who like to Slashdot things:
Investor & Media Contact:
Jennifer Bewley
Vice-President, Investor Relations & Corporate Communications
Dice Holdings, Inc.

Oh, and a couple of their bigwigs will be at a conference in San Francisco in a couple of days:
On Monday, February 10, 2014, Mr. Durney and Mr. Roberts will participate at the Stifel Technology, Internet & Media Conference 2014 to be held in San Francisco. The fireside chat will be held at 2:45 PM Pacific time/5:45 PM Eastern time and will be webcast live from the Company's website.

Maybe a few of us would like to participate in that fireside chat, eh?


about 7 months ago

NASA Pondering Two Public Contests To Build Small Space Exploration Satellites

Gregory Arenius Buying Slashdot (127 comments)

What do you guys think a fair price for slashdot would be? I'm curious because I'm thinking about starting a kickstarter or something to buy slashdot and turn it into a community run forum.

This site is valuable because of the community it has. I don't come here for the articles, I come here for the discussions. I know that the majority of the people who come here do so for the same reasons. DICE doesn't get that, and once they kill the community there won't be any real way to rebuild it. I think that would be a shame since I love this place. For all its flaws I think the community here is awesome.

So, what do you guys think? Is it at all within the realm of reason to buy slashdot and make it ours?


about 8 months ago

Photos Stream Back From China's Lunar Lander

Gregory Arenius Re:It's just like JavaScript or NoSQL. (268 comments)

They may have a lot of people working on their space program but I find it hard to believe they have a million people working on it. SpaceX has been able to develop a launcher with capabilities similar to that of the Chinese launchers at a price that is also competitive and they've only got 2-3000 people working there. I know a space program is more than just a launcher but if the extra 997,000 people only gain you one lunar lander more than that you're doing something wrong.

Also, I'd like to see documentation on a concrete plan to build a moon base by 2023 because from what I understand of their program thats not going to happen.

Not to knock the Chinese because what they're doing is really impressive but if you want to indirectly fund humanity's journey to the stars I think you're better off buying a Tesla than some cheap stuff at Walmart. SpaceX has better odds of pushing the envelope in space than the Chinese in my opinion.

about 9 months ago

US Light Bulb Phase-Out's Next Step Begins Next Month

Gregory Arenius Re:We vote on leaders not lightbulbs (1146 comments)

According to the information on the eBay page the lightbulb is actually UL certified.

about 9 months ago

Physicist Peter Higgs: No University Would Employ Me Today

Gregory Arenius Re:But what system does he suggest instead? (308 comments)

I've always been pretty interested in ontologies. What did you consider the vital literature to be? Is any of it not behind a paywall?


about 9 months ago

Gov't Puts Witness On No Fly List, Then Denies Having Done So

Gregory Arenius Re:No popcorn yet (462 comments)

What I would like to know is how its legal for the airline to not refund her money. She paid for a ticket to SF, attempted to board the airplane, and was told to fuck off. I'd be on the line with my credit card company getting that charged back in a heartbeat.

about 10 months ago

John E. Karlin, Who Led the Way To All-Digit Dialing, Dies At 94

Gregory Arenius Re:upside down keypads? (120 comments)

"Given that calculators were probably most commonly used in finance initially, I would guess that the most common number used (possibly even now) would be 0. Placing that most common number at the thumb position has clear utility, similar to that of the spacebar."

To expound on this a bit, the design is not arbitrary. In finance digits don't actually occur with equal frequency. 1s are far more common than 9s for example. See Benford's Law for more info. Its used in forensic accounting to help detect cooked books.

I use a '10 key' for a couple hours doing books most workdays and it would definitely be less convient if the numbers were flipped. Having said that I don't have a problem with phone keypads. I think this might be because phone dialing is almost exclusively done with thumbs on modern phones so you don't use the same muscle memory you do when using a '10 key.'

about a year and a half ago

Nationwide Google Fiber Deployment Would Cost $140 Billion

Gregory Arenius Re:Meanwhile, is quietly doing it (327 comments)

Sonic also has great customer support. You can call them and talk to an actual person without going through some convoluted phone tree. The ones I have spoken with knew their stuff, too. Just a happy customer here.

about 2 years ago

Internet Providers To Begin Warning Customers Who Pirate Content

Gregory Arenius Re:Independent ISPs are not taking part (442 comments)

I use and have nothing but good things to say about them. When you call customer support you get actual people who live nearby and speak your language fluently. Reasonable prices and decent speeds. Maybe slightly more expensive than ATT, if you don't value your sanity, but not by much.


about 2 years ago

Smartphone Mugging More Popular Than Ever


I think its sad that society has come down to this. So full of fear.

I let strangers make calls on my phone sometimes, and I've asked strangers to make calls on theirs when mine wasn't working. I'd rather live in a society where people aren't afraid to help each other out.

Also, from what I've heard from several people who have been mugged for electronics there hasn't been any asking to use the device in question. One person grabs it and runs or punches the victim in the face, grabs it, and runs. I live in SF so I have heard a number of these unfortunate stories. They mostly seem to target women, especially when its a lone mugger.


about 2 years ago

NYPD Dismantling Occupy Wall Street Encampment

Gregory Arenius Re:Something not quite right (933 comments)

The problem isn't that some people have more than others, thats always been the case in the US, especially for the last 30 years and we haven't had protests in the streets over that. The problem is that the people at the top cheated to get there at the expense of the rest of us. Here is an article that sums it up pretty well. I'm not generally a huge fan of Matt Taibbi's writing but this article hits the nail on the head.

more than 2 years ago

Derek Deville Answers Your Questions on Rocketry

Gregory Arenius Thanks (33 comments)

Awesome launch. That was also one of the best question and answer sessions on Slashdot in a long time. Thanks for taking the time.


more than 2 years ago

One Tenth of China's Farmland Polluted With Heavy Metals

Gregory Arenius How to Test? (412 comments)

Does anyone know of any fairly inexpensive way to test for lead in something like apple juice? Something that can be done at home without sending something out to a lab? Just curious. Some posters have stated that a lot of juice sold in the US has apples from China and instead of just fear mongering it would be interesting to test and see if there are actually unsafe levels of heavy metals in the juice. -Greg

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Successful Software From Academia?

Gregory Arenius Pine, Pico and Sphinx (314 comments)

Pico and Pine are from some Washington University if I recall correctly. And the Sphinx voice recognition software is from CMU.

more than 2 years ago

Why There's Still No Netflix App For Android

Gregory Arenius Re:Ubuntu instead! (291 comments)

"I heard they mail you DVDs if you want."

I seem to recall that the main way to watch DVDs on Linux uses a package that is illegal to distribute in many countries (DeCSS). Sure, it is more readily available than other options but it is still considered illegal.


more than 3 years ago

Sci-Fi Author Peter Watts Beaten, Charged During Border Crossing

Gregory Arenius Re:Put him away... (1079 comments)

Having seen the second video I don't think the officer meant to break the window. It really looked like he was just trying to put the guy up against the wall to handcuff him. It was surprising to see that glass break like that. When you see it at the station in looks much stronger. It also looks like the breaking window cut the officer more badly than it did the suspect.

The other situation though, the one with the man being shot in the back....That officer deserves a nice long stay in jail.


more than 4 years ago

Controversy Over San Francisco Public Transportation Data

Gregory Arenius Re:Arrival times != timetables (111 comments)

The system uses GPS systems that use report in their location every minute. Even if they predictions that nextbus publishes aren't open the raw gps feed could be very useful. The nextbus prediction system leaves a lot to be desired; With the raw data I'm sure someone could do significantly better.


more than 5 years ago


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