Ask Slashdot: Would You Pay For Websites Without Trolls?
I pay money to Metafilter - a mandatory $5 account creation fee, and now a buck or two every month since they added an option to do this. This goes in part to their fabulous team of moderators.
I also donate my time to helping to moderate a webcomics forum, because I want to have a nice place to talk about making those.
It's not so much that trolls are paywalled out, it's that there is a definite culture in place in these places that is anti-troll, with enough people wandering around the site with 'keep things civil' in the back of their mind. Sometimes a mod has to step in and delete a few posts that are turning into personal attacks, and politely remind everyone to please chill out and remember that there's humans on the other side of the screen. It works. I have had civil discussions with people who passionately believe the opposite of my views, and we have kept it polite, because both sides know they're in a forum that expects certain behavior, and that stepping outside of those bounds gets posts or accounts deleted.
(Neither of these places has a real names only policy, by the way; MeFi even has a modest cultural expectation of elaborate usernames that are unique to the site.)
The Tech Industry Is Getting Ridiculous
You're only just now noticing this? I've been feeling like I've been living in a Bruce Sterling novel for the past seven years or so.
Winamp Purchased By Radionomy
I think iTunes has all of those things you want nowadays, actually. At least for me on my Mac. It seems to kinda suck on other platforms because it has to drag a whole lot of the Quicktime infrastructure it relies on for playing music along with it, and becomes kind of big and unwieldy.
I get system notifications of playing tracks if I want 'em.
It's got plugins. I don't know how extensive they are, mostly I just have a handful of visualizers, and I think I've got a couple music format plugins somewhere in there too. (I've spent like $100 on various visualizers over the years, right now I'm really liking Aeon.)
I'm not sure what "excellent media library" or "the ability to play straight from the library" entails. I can double-click on a track in the iTunes window and it plays it, it manages all my folders and tags for me and makes it easy to dig out the actual files when I want to, I can sort in all kinds of ways.
Does Winamp do "smart playlists"? Because that's iTunes' killer feature, IMHO. It spends the vast majority of its time in a playlist of "stuff I haven't played in the last 5 weeks, or skipped in the last 10". Keeps my vast collection constantly rotating.
If UNIX Were a Religion
No, a virus would be hard-line fundamentalists, who the US elevated to power in the Middle East because they would originally be more amenable to doing our bidding in terms of who got the oil. The same virus can work in Christianity, and is pretty widespread. Or maybe the virus aggressively amoral capitalism, which has a really depressingly powerful synergy with fundamentalists. But perhaps I'm stretching the metaphor to far.
Islam, in this metaphor, might be described as another OS entirely that was implemented on top of Judaism; there's quite a few stories in the Bible that also show up in the Qur'an. Much of the Bible happens in the Middle East.
If UNIX Were a Religion
It's frontpage-worthy because it's by Charlie Stross, who used to be a programmer, and writes science fiction that a lot of nerds enjoy. Multiple Hugo awards and all that.
And the point of this lengthy metaphor is given in the second paragraph: "Over the beer, the conversation turned—for no sane reason—to computer operating systems. There being some non-technical folks at the table, I then had to cough up a metaphor to contextualize the relationship between Mac OS X and UNIX..." It gives them something of the flavor of how all these Unices are related, yet at odds with each other over various points of dogma that're incomprehensible to the layman.
Ask Slashdot: Easy Wi-Fi-Enabled Tablet For My Dad?
I just gave my 70-something mother my old iPad2 and fifty bucks on the app store. She's loving it.
I'm hanging out at her place for a week or so as a Christmasish kind of thing, so I've been available to answer her questions and tell her how to do basic stuff. We'll probably go get her a cover with a keyboard in it before I go - she's a touch-typist so she kinda hates the screen keyboard.
Admittedly she's fairly tech-savvy for an old lady - her vcr has never blinked 12:00, she's got an aging Windows laptop that she does stuff on - but if your father's still mostly got it together, you should be able to teach him a lot about how to use it and have an excuse to hang out with him. Don't show him how to do stuff, tell him how to do stuff while you're sitting next to him, and be patient. Then grin happily once he gets it and spends a whole day doing nothing but playing Fairway Solitaire or something.
Hell, I had a good time sitting next to my mom this morning playing a hidden object/adventure game based on A Christmas Carol with her. The iPad mostly stayed in her lap, with me poking at it now and then for some of the kinds of puzzles I'm a lot better at than she is.
The Surprising Second Life of the PlayStation Vita
hauling your computer into the same room as the tv, then back out when you want to get work done
setting up a selection of games mostly designed for play with keyboard/mouse to work with a controller
having a big computer with a noisy fan sitting there in the living room
The Steambox is, admittedly, designed to attack all these points, so maybe soon it will be the year of PC Gaming In The Living Room.
Books With "Questionable Content" Being Deleted From ebookstores In Sweeping Ban
I thought "erotica" was what women used to masturbate, whilst "porn" is what men use. YMMV.
13-Inch Haswell-Powered MacBook Air With PCIe SSD Tested
> The 54Wh battery looks it improves the portability a bit.
A bit? A lot. I went from a late 2010 13" Air to a 2013 13" Air, and it's amazing. I basically don't worry about battery life any more. At all. Charges in an hour or so, goes all damn day. I don't know what the performance is like for heavy 3D games, but I can take it out to the park and sit in the shade on a bright sunny day, with the display fighting a lot of ambient light for a couple of hours of drawing, and still have tons of power left.
Megatokyo Gets a Visual Novel Game
I've done a Kickstarter and watched quite a few Kickstarters. One thing I have learnt is that you should NEVER trust Kicktraq's projections in the first week or so; it is ALWAYS overestimating by a hell of a lot. It doesn't matter if you're a little campaign with a goal of $2400 or a big one with a goal of $700,000. You will get a tiny fraction of what Kicktraq estimates in the first few days.
Google Launches 'Keep' To Rival Evernote
Wonder if there'll ever be native clients for anything besides Android. I'm not even going to begin to think of touching this until there are - I really love that Evernote isn't stuck in my browser.
Also, yeah, not sure I trust Google to not abandon this like they did Reader or Wave. And not so hot on importing two and a half years of notes into Google, either.
Developers Begin Hunt For a Killer App For Google Glass
> the iPhone app that translated signs you pointed the camera at
It's real, I've played with it.
Ask Slashdot: Where to Host Many Small, Related Projects?
Have you considered asking whatever the "people seeking to donate time" say they use for source hosting and going with whatever the majority loves doing?
Ask Slashdot: Best Electronics Prototyping Platform?
I'd go with a couple of Pis. Some will say that's overpowered and you should use an Arduino, but there's one important thing about the Arduino: its IDE kinda blows.
Plus it will be a lot easier to update your code by pushing it to a Pi over wi-fi than by hassling with cables. And if you want to do stuff that needs a decent amount of CPU, you'll have it.
On the other hand you can get an Arduino into a lot less space than a Pi. Hell, get one or two of the Nanos too. You'll have the option of using one if you want a tinier package and can cram your code and data into like 32k.
Adobe's Strange Software Giveaway: Goof, Or Clever Marketing?
I find that Illustrator has a compelling new piece of functionality about every other release, on average - though scanning over Wikipedia's list of features in each version, the worthwhile additions can be kinda clumpy:
8: My first version.
9: Transparency, a no-brainer upgrade.
10: Lotsa live effects, especially warping. Save for web which is awesome.
11/CS1: Not a damn thing, for my workflow.
CS2: see CS1
CS3: another meh release
CS4: transparency in gradients, separation previews
CS5: variable-width strokes
CS6: speed boost, at the cost of a UI revamp that I'm not a fan of
There are a fair number of features added for all of these releases; I just found a lot of them completely useless for the kind of art I do in the program. Some of them I bought, some of them I didn't - I think there was at least one in the CS1/2/3 releases that had the major feature of "crashed less on the latest version of the OS".
Ask Slashdot: What Was Your Favorite Web Comic of 2012?
Decrypting Rita, the sci-fi comic I write and draw, has certainly been the most relevant to me this year.
It's about a robot lady who's dragged out of her timeline and scattered across four separate realities. And a couple of hive-minds, one of which intends to assimilate the whole Earth. Also of course it's about the other versions of her - a normal lady in the here and now, a dragon living with her elf boyfriend and girlfriend, and a wizard journeying to the center of her world of floating islands. I try to keep it pretty fast-moving and action-packed despite it swerving into "what is reality?" territory now and then, though the page update rate has slowed to a crawl as I deal with fulfilling the Kickstarter I ran for the first collection of it.
Homestuck is the best web comic around, IMHO. Andrew Hussie is consistently pushing the boundaries of what a webcomic "should" "be" and making this crazy pile of transcripts, animgifs, and the occasional game or animation work as a coherent whole.
Ask Slashdot: What Books Have Had a Significant Impact On Your Life?
The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea. Especially the appendices. It's lurid trash but it's also a delivery system for some very interesting ideas about thinking.
Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud. Note: I spend a significant amount of my waking hours drawing comics. If you care in the least about comics, as a creator or a consumer, this book will give you a lot to chew on.
d'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths, by Ingri and Edgar d'Aulaire. I credit this and their book on the Norse myths with my being what I call a "polyagnostic"; I knew from a very early age that there are religions that have come and gone, that their adherents believed as intensely as the ones we have now. With these as a foundation it was very easy to see Christian myths as, well, myths.
And some stuff I've simply enjoyed a lot:
The Stress Of Her Regard, by Tim Powers. Vampires, the tendency of Romantic poets to die of consumption, and a secret history of the world. I've read a lot of his stuff but I keep on coming back to this one every few years.
Against A Dark Background, by Iain M. Banks. As a SF writer he's most well-known for his "Culture" books; this one is outside that continuity. It's both comedic and tragic, as well as endlessly inventive.
Mario Bros. Clone Released For Atari 2600
Back in the c64 days, I saw a version of The Great Giana Sisters that had had its art hacked to be Super Mario Brothers. Well, a reasonable facsimile of the first level, at least; as the game progressed it pretty much reverted to being the Giana Sisters with a Mario sprite.
Make Your Own LEGO Curiosity Rover
> an anonymous "thumbs-up" would be nice.
So would vote-stuffing scripts. This is why we can't have nice things.
Ask Slashdot: No-Install Programming At Work?
Can you bring your own stuff into the workplace?
Maybe you could bring a Raspberry Pi and ssh into it to hack around, or jack a spare monitor/keyboard into it.
Maybe an iPad with Codea installed.
Also honestly I'd consider talking to the boss and getting permission to fuck around with this openly instead of doing it on the sly.