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Comments

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Most IT Workers Don't Have STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Math) Degrees

PerlJedi No Degree? (655 comments)

Ohh Dear Lord! No Degree at All? How do they know how to function without being taught in over priced schools by teachers that barely understood the technology that was already outdated by the time they realized it should be taught? (Sorry, it just bugs me when people imply that not having a degree means a person is stupid, lazy, or incompetent)

about a year ago
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Slashdot Anniversary: Ann Arbor, MI, US

PerlJedi Good Times (8 comments)

Woot Woot!
I will be there.

about 2 years ago
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XBMC Developers Criticize AMD's Linux Driver

PerlJedi Switchable Grpahics (212 comments)

The video codecs are the least of my problems with linux support from both NVidia and AMD. Neither of them off any kind of support for switchable graphics under linux. I have laptops with modern graphics cards from each of these guys, and in both cases it has been a long up hill battle getting the graphics cards to work correctly.

more than 2 years ago
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NewEgg: Installing Linux Breaks Laptop

PerlJedi This has happened to me (518 comments)

This very same problem befell me about 1 year ago. I complained very loudly, including on a consumer review website. Within 24 hours of posting my detailed (and scathing) review I received a call from a newegg customer care representative, who assured me they would make it right. They did in fact allow me to exchange the laptop for a new one, and actually gave me a $100 gift card to make up for the trouble.
While I clearly can't say everyone will get that response, I personally feel that it is important that those of us who run Linux stand up and make it known that we cannot be ignored just because we are not giving our money to either Microsoft or Apple.

more than 2 years ago
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Quantum Randon Numbers

PerlJedi Cool (10 comments)

This is very cool. I nodded the submission in the FireHose.
Another interesting approach Ito true randomness: The guys ate SparkFun used a Geiger counter to decide when to give out prizes on their last freeday. In that implementation it was only giving random true/false, but that could be extended to produce numbers as well.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Book For 11-Year-Old Who Wants To Teach Himself To Program?

PerlJedi Re:Everybody Poops (525 comments)

Peter: "Well, lets see, we're catholic."
Sales clerk: "Ohh, then you want: 'You're a naughty child, and that's concentrated evil comming out the back of you'".
Peter: "That's the one."

more than 2 years ago
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Why the Gnome 3 hate?

PerlJedi I agree (2 comments)

Personally, I like gnome3. Knocking it seemed/seems to be the in thing to do, but I got used to it quickly, and actually have had fewer problems with it than I did with gnome2.

Perhaps my favorite thing now that I've gotten used to it is how easy it is to launch an application. I don't create "shortcuts", or need to bother remembering which category or sub menu a programs launcher is, just press the meta key and start typing the name of the program I'd like to run. Sure I could have set that up in gnome2 if I wanted to, but in gnome three that's just the default... and it works just as well with to open a document I was working in.

more than 2 years ago
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Best example of Moderation abuse yet... by an employee no less!

PerlJedi Re:I just got hit, too (5 comments)

For the record, I modded you up after reading you're comments in my journal.

more than 2 years ago
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Slashdot Replatforming Complete

PerlJedi Re:A serious design question (26 comments)

No worries. I must admit my feathers were a bit ruffled yesterday.
Thank you for the offer of support in testing. One of the initiatives we will be undertaking in the current year may open the door to leverage that type of community assisted testing of new features and upgrades, so I'll be sure to let you (and anyone else in the community who cares to) know about that when in comes.

more than 2 years ago
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Slashdot Replatforming Complete

PerlJedi Re:A serious design question (26 comments)

Ok, I fixed it. Please do let me know of any other problems you encounter, and I will try to address them as quickly as I am able.

more than 2 years ago
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Slashdot Replatforming Complete

PerlJedi Re:A serious design question (26 comments)

Hi,
I'm sorry, I didn't realize that journal.pl was broken. I will attempt to get it fixed today. As I noted in a previous post, we don't have a QA team, nor do we have a complete list of site functionality. I tested every function of the site I have ever used, and I asked all of my fellow slashdotter's here to do the same. Everything that was tested worked, but clearly not every piece of functionality was tested. If there are other items, please do let us know and we will repair them as quickly as we can.

more than 2 years ago
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The changing landscape of Slashdot

PerlJedi Want to help? (1 comments)

Hi There Taco Cowboy,
I have been accused at times of being one of the "newcomers" you mention, and perhaps to some extent I am. The UID I use now is a seven digit, but event the first UID I had here was not in the 4 digit (or even the 5 digit) range. That having been said, I am working here now. Slashdot is changing, as indeed it must, though I hope we can steer it in a direction that is still positive. I personally hope that you would be willing to stick around, and even give us some feedback/insight that would help us steer slashdot into a bright future...

P.S. In response to your unanswered question: Android is an operating system unto itself... It is based on linux, though highly specialized (originally for phones, though version 3.0 was/is intended for tablet, and 4.0 seeks to re-unite the two branches). I would not expect that android apps will run on linux without significant effort, and the same would also be true in reverse.

more than 2 years ago
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Lenovo Ordered To Refund 'Microsoft Tax'

PerlJedi Re:USA? (475 comments)

Cool, thanks for the tip.

more than 2 years ago
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Lenovo Ordered To Refund 'Microsoft Tax'

PerlJedi Re:USA? (475 comments)

Excellent question.
Personally I never buy desktop's pre-made speicifically because I don't want to be forced to pay for a windows license I don't want, and am not going to use. Sadly, however, I don't get that luxury when it comes to a laptop. When I buy a laptop I am forced to pay for a windows license, even though the very first thing I do with the laptop is install linux on it. It makes me sad to know that no matter how much I dislike Windows (and Microsoft), my hard earned money still ends up in their pockets everytime I by a laptop. Add to that what they've done to makers of android phones, it becomes very difficult to use technology without forking over money to Microsoft.
Really the only way to get on the internet or carry a smart phone without giving money to Microsoft is to use all Apple products, and frankly that is not high on my list of things to do either.

more than 2 years ago
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Slashdot Replatforming Complete

PerlJedi Re:And another thing... (26 comments)

Let me explain this to you like you are a two year old, because apparently that's about how smart you are:
Everything else on the site that needs to search for content uses a search engine, and that is working correctly.
For some reason search.pl does not use a that search engine, and is now broken.
Instead search.pl uses the the "match against" functionality of mysql to search
We recently upgrade to a new version of MySQL
In case you weren't aware, we have no QA team, we only have three engineers, and one web designer. There is virtually no documentation of the system, and what little there is is out of date, and in some cases just plain wrong. We are doing the best we can with the resources we have, and the entire team has worked very very hard over the past few weeks to make changes to the infrastructure without which keeping this site running would have been a nightmare. So yes, I got annoyed by some jerk telling me that I suck, and that all of my hard work was a waste... So you can whine and complain about how slashdot used to be great, and how you miss the old days, or you could try to actually help out by reporting issues that you find. You could try to contribute to the community rather than just whining about how we must miss all the good engineers that used to work here. Or you could just fuck off.

more than 2 years ago
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what is going on

PerlJedi Sorry to hear of this issue (4 comments)

Hi Luke,
I believe I have tracked down and corrected the root cause of this issue. If you continue to experience issues, please let me know, or send an email to feedback at slashdot and I'll try to resolve it as quickly as I can.
Cheers, PerlJedi

more than 2 years ago
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Slashdot Replatforming Complete

PerlJedi Re:Advantages (26 comments)

The biggest thing I would say is a positive in this move is that we are on regularly supported and maintained versions of the software. Apache 1.3 (what we were on before) is no longer supported by the Apache foundation, and it is no longer getting regular security patches. In fact, we were using a binary which was compiled from source in house, rather than installed via a package manager. Most sysadmins I know squirm a bit (with good reason) thinking about trying to offer long term operational support to systems that rely on third party software that cannot be managed via a package manager, and must be compiled by hand for any updates or patches.
The upgrade to MySQL 5.5 is/was a similar situation. We were running on out-of-date version of mysql, that was compiled in house. We were actually running it on 6 servers, and those servers were having trouble keeping up. The new set up is running on two new servers, backed by RAID arrays of SSD. This setup is having no trouble keeping up with traffic, and has horse power to spare. One of our limitations with the old system was that we were unable to modify several of the larger tables in the database, so when we wanted to build a feature that required an extra column for one of those tables, we have to put the new column in a separate table and use a join. Since we went live on the new setup, I have modified columns on more than one of the tables that has more than 1 million records, the the update completed in minutes, without causing queries to lock up and bring the site to a stand still.

more than 2 years ago
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Slashdot Replatforming Complete

PerlJedi Re:And another thing... (26 comments)

Yes, search is broken, and we have a ticket open to fix it. You want to know why its broken? Because some genius decided not to use the search engine to run searches, but rather to use plain SQL to run searches. The index page uses a query to a search engine, but for some reason search uses plain SQL. And what brilliant mind made that module? Pudge.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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War and Nookd - Ebook regex gone haywire

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

PerlJedi writes "

The Superior Formatting Publishing version isn’t a Barnes and Noble book, so this isn’t the work of a rogue Nook marketer from B&N. Rather, it’s likely that Superior Formatting Publishing ported its Kindle version of War and Peace over to the Nook — doing a search and replace to make sure that any Kindle references they’d inserted, such as in the advertising at the end of the book about their fine Kindle products, were simply changed to Nook.

"

Link to Original Source
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Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, sometimes

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

PerlJedi writes "Interesting article on sciencemag.com about a study set up to examine why and how people subconsciously imitating one another can in some cases create trust, while in others cause real discomfort.


Now a new study suggests that people who fail to appropriately imitate the mannerisms of others during social interactions can actually make their peers feel colder—like Bates, they send a literal chill down the spine.

"

Link to Original Source
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BlodeJazz lets you hear your web traffic

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

PerlJedi writes "There is an interesting write up, and demonstration on sparkfun today of a system which takes the analytics data from traffic on a website, and presents it not as a graph, but as a sound. Not that it is terribly usefull in and of itself, but I like the twist on how statistical and real time traffic can be presented.

blodeJazz is a Node.js blode client that parses the stream of events sent from sparkfun.com's web servers and turns those events into Open Sound Control messages which correspond to notes in the current key of a jazz chord progression. These OSC messages are then parsed in Max/MSP and sent as MIDI notes to a software synth for playback. Max/MSP also handles forwarding the OSC messages to a monome 256 and arc 4 for display, and also handles the arc 4 and 256 user interaction.

"

Link to Original Source
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Pi day is coming - but Tau day is better

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

PerlJedi writes "A few months ago, a tweet from Randal Schwartz pointed me to a you tube video about "Triangle Parties" made by Vi Hart. Between my nerdiness and my love of math, it was my new favorite thing on youtube. Now, with Pi day coming up later this week, I thought it would be a good time to point people to another of her you tube videos Pi is Wrong, and the website she mentions at the end Tauday with a full explanation of the benifits of using Tau rather than Pi.


The Tau Manifesto is dedicated to one of the most important numbers in mathematics, perhaps the most important: the circle constant relating the circumference of a circle to its linear dimension. For millennia, the circle has been considered the most perfect of shapes, and the circle constant captures the geometry of the circle in a single number.

"

Link to Original Source
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Synchronized Nano-Quadrotor Swarm

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

PerlJedi writes "Sorry to shamelessly just quote another site, but this is just plain awesome.


It used to be that having your own quadrotor drone was cutting edge. Now that the average joe can pick one up at their local mall for a couple hundred bucks means that you’ve got to step your game up if you don’t want to be seen as pedestrian. That’s why today’s aspiring UAV enthusiasts are working with swarms. Not just any swarms either, but swarms of nano-quadrotors. These days, budget conscious drone makers are going small to cut costs and shed ounces.

"

Link to Original Source
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Darpa + Makers + School = The future of innovation

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

PerlJedi writes "The future of innovation in America is the Maker movement. A new project being announced on the Makezine blog aims to bring the low cost innovation and alternative manufacturing processes to schools in hopes of turbo charging the next generation of inventors in the US.

The new Makerspace program, developed by Dale Dougherty of MAKE and Dr. Saul Griffith of Otherlab, will integrate online tools for design and collaboration with low-cost options for physical workspaces where students may access educational support to gain practical hands-on experience with new technologies and innovative processes to design and build projects. The program has a goal of reaching 1000 high schools over four years, starting with a pilot program of 10 high schools in California during the 2012-2013 school year.

"

Link to Original Source
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Microsoft's rain of IP Terror claims another victi

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

PerlJedi writes "Information week is reporting at LG is the latest in a string of company's whove have been bullied into paying "license fees" to Microsoft for its use of Android on its products.


Microsoft does not disclose how much revenue it's obtaining from Android, Chrome, and Linux licenses, but some analysts believe it may be substantial, to the point where the company is making significant profits from the mobile revolution even though its own offering, Windows Phone, commands a market share of less than 2%, according to Gartner.

I guess the old expression "those who can't do, teach" should be updated for the new millennium to "Those who can't do, sue"."
Link to Original Source

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Ask Slashdot: Best Android Tablet

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

PerlJedi writes "I am planing a long trip (to Ireland), and want to buy an android tablet to take along for the trip. I am a software engineer (I actually work for slashdot), a linux geek, and an android fan. I would like to get a tablet primarily to use for entertainment (when I'm not working or building robots in my workshop, I'm usually playing with my phone), but something I could get some work done from in a pinch would be a major plus (all I need to be able to work is a web browser, and an ssh terminal, preferably with a keyboard). My current cell phone is the Samsung Charge, rooted running GummyCharge 2.1, and it is a good bet I'll want to root whatever tablet I get, if not right away, soon after getting it. From an entertainment standpoint I want something that is large enough to watch high definition videos on, with a battery life that will make it pratical for use on a long flight. Having a decent camera would be a nice plus, but is not an absolute nessicity. Having a forward facing camera for video chat would also be good, but is also not a nicessity. My brief initial search has yielded the following initial conteders:
  • Asus Transformer Prime
    This is currently my favorite, for a few reasons: Tegra 3 quad core processor (that's just plane cool); Its designed with a docking station in mind, making it perfect for using for work; Sleek thin design; light weight; available with up to 64 GB. It is on the pricey side though.
  • Toshiba Thrive
    I must admit, I know very little about this one. Unlike the others, I have not heard much hype around it. From what I've read thus far, pros include: full size SD slot; full USB support; Full HDMI support. Cons: Bulkier and heavier than its opponents.
  • Motorola XOOM
    This one has been available for some time, which can be both good and bad. Its problems should be known, and understood by now, but its lost some of the sex appeal of the new product.
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab
    The Galaxy tab line has also been on the market for a while. It does have some added appeal to me because my phone is also from samsung, so the rooting processes, and available ROM's will be more familiar to me.
  • Sony Tablet S
    Like the Toshiba, I have heard less hype about this tablet. Its feature set also seems similar to the toshiba. I must admit here, I may be a bit biased against sony over some of their recent treatment of the hacker/maker community.
"

Link to Original Source
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Ask Slashdot: Best Android tablet

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

PerlJedi writes "I am planing a long trip, and want to buy and android tablet to take along for the trip. I am a software engineer, a linux geek, and an android fan. I would like to get a tablet primarily to use for entertainment, but something I could get some work done from in a pinch would be a major plus. I am currently leaning towards the Asus Eee Pad Transformer because with the doc I could use it for work, though I suppose I could just as easily get a bluetooth keyboard for any of the others. Currently in the running:
  • Asus Eee Pad Transformer
  • Toshiba Thrive
  • Motorola XOOM
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab
  • Sony Tablet S
"

Link to Original Source
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In Nuclear Power, Size Matters

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

PerlJedi writes "Most nations with nuclear power capabilities have been re-assessing the risk/benefit of nuclear power reactors following the Fukushima plant melt down, a newly released study suggests the U.S. should expand its nuclear power production using "Small Modular Reactors".

The reports assessed the economic feasibility of classical, gigawatt-scale reactors and the possible new generation of modular reactors. The latter would have a generating capacity of 600 megawatts or less, would be factory-built as modular components, and then shipped to their desired location for assembly.

"

Link to Original Source
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Out of Sight, Out of Mind

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

PerlJedi writes "Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have conducted a very simple study, with some surprising (or at least amusing) results about how our short term memory works.

"Sometimes, to get to the next object the participant simply walked across the room. Other times, they had to walk the same distance, but through a door into a new room. From time to time, the researchers gave them a pop quiz, asking which object was currently in their backpack. The quiz was timed so that when they walked through a doorway, they were tested right afterwards. As the title said, walking through doorways caused forgetting: Their responses were both slower and less accurate when they'd walked through a doorway into a new room than when they'd walked the same distance within the same room."

"

Link to Original Source
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Blocking a light source makes it brighter?

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

PerlJedi writes "There is a famous example of light, photons in particular, behaving strangely on the very small scale. Now researchers at Princeton University have a new experiment with light which seems to defy logic.

"The common wisdom in optics is that if you have a metal film with very small holes and you plug the holes with metal, the light transmission is blocked completely," said Chou, the Joseph Elgin Professor of Engineering. "We were very surprised."

"

Link to Original Source
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The Land of the Censored

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  about 2 years ago

PerlJedi writes "While our government cries out against other countries censoring their people's access to the internet, it is also busy passing legislation to allow it to do just that to us. The EFF is urging people to take action by sending email to their representatives in the house and senate expressing displeasure with the bill's.
"The government would be able to force ISPs and search engines to redirect or dump users' attempts to reach certain websites' URLs"

Though its jhust "Piracy" today, its a slippery slope from "Stop Piracy" to "Stop any anti-establishment sentiment".

And if that's not bad enough, the version in the house "SOPA" could sanction any site that doesn't "take sufficient action to prevent" such unwanted activities.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protect_IP_Act
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act"

Link to Original Source
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Man made Lightning

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

PerlJedi writes "There is a very cool write up on the Make blog on an effort to build the world's largest tesla coils.

“Somehow lightning can generate huge discharges with only about a fifth of the voltage per foot that lab discharges require,” Leyh explains. “The part that especially fascinates me is that this mysterious ability kicks in around 200 in length, which is right at the edge of what we can produce with a practical machine.”

"

Link to Original Source
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Laser Tennis

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

PerlJedi writes "Very cool write up of hack-a-day about a laser filled tennis ball... In case a laser filled tennis ball is not cool enought, this one is also remote controlled.
"While the laser ball was pretty awesome already, [Matt] decided that it wasn’t finished just yet. Using an IR remote package from Adafruit, he added the ability to trigger the Laser Ball’s light patterns from afar. You know, just for kicks.""

Link to Original Source
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Laser powered cars

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

PerlJedi writes "There is an interesting story on txchnologist about using Thorium powered lasers to power everything from the reqular electric power grid, to cars of the future. I'm not sure if this is actually plausible, but at least the concept car shown above the article is damn cool looking.
"A 250-kilowatt unit (equivalent to about 335 horsepower) weighing about 500 pounds would be small and light enough to put under the hood of a car, Stevens claims. And because a gram of thorium has the equivalent potential energy content of 7,500 gallons of gasoline, LPS calculates that using just 8 grams of thorium in the unit could power an average car for 5,000 hours, or about 300,000 miles of normal driving.""

Link to Original Source
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Bank of America, Goldman, Sachs, Citigroup are che

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

PerlJedi writes "There is a fun editoral piece on Rolling Stones political blog. The premise is that the big banks and wall street fat cats want to believe that the OWS protesters are just "jellous" of their success, but the problem is not jealousy, its otrage that the banks aren't playing by the same rules.
"All weekend I was thinking about this “jealousy” question, and I just kept coming back to all the different ways the game is rigged. People aren't jealous and they don’t want privileges. They just want a level playing field, and they want Wall Street to give up its cheat codes, things like:""

Link to Original Source
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I for one welcome our new robotic overlords

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

PerlJedi writes "Local Area hacker/maker spaces may not be new, but that are gain popularity. I for one love having a cost effective and easy access to the types of tools and equipment that are simply too expensive for hobby makers like me to afford.
"It's hard to differentiate between what Maker Works IS and what Maker Works MEANS. What Maker Works IS is 11,000 square feet full of incredibly cool and expensive machinery catering to four kinds of making: metal, circuits, wood and craft. It works like a gym — a large space packed with expensive equipment that patrons can access with daily, monthly or yearly memberships. ""

Link to Original Source

Journals

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Slashdot Replatforming Complete

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago As of 3:26 PM EST on Wednesday February 1st 2012, Slashdot is now running completely on its new platform!
There were a few rough and long days in the last week completing the final capacity testing and roll out procedure, but it is now complete, and (*knocks on wood*) running smoothly. I owe many thanks to my team of engineers and the site operations team for all their help and support. The Editors here at Slashdot also deserve thanks for their help in testing, and their patience with me as I worked through the more complex pieces of functionality in the site. Though this project took a lot of work, I honestly believe that it was needed in order to allow us to keep Slashdot running, as well as to provide us the structural support we will need to build new features that will allow us to better serve our community into the future.

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Test entry - More testing on Apache2.2 with MySql 5.5

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago This is a test journal entry. I am only writing it to validate a test I am running on the system.
Move along, nothing to see here...

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Long Week - Small delay in launch

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago Well its been a very long week. Last weekend's move of our back-end database on to a modern MySQL version, and totally updated hardware went very smoothly. I know the editors, my team, and even some of our readers have noticed the improvement in site performance and stability. Awesome.
This weekend we were going to push our luck and try for two in a row, but we have decided to back off slightly, and delay the Apache 2.2 upgrade until the beginning of next week (probably Monday). During the course of the last week we were hitting all of our milestones in getting prepped for the launch, and things were looking good. However our first attempt at putting a fully load of traffic through the new system yesterday uncovered a few minor issues. Some late night coding and lots of caffeine got us ready for a second round of load testing the new setup today. While today's test did show marked improvement over yesterday's, there were still a few issues I was not able to resolve with sufficient confidence today. Another late night and more caffeine, and I could probably have everything ready to launch tomorrow, but I think it is wise to back up a bit, take our time, and be 100% sure that when we roll this launch out it will be rock solid.
On a fun note:
I just loved Spark Fun's new product video for today. I grew up in Boulder, and seeing the fun it looks like these guys get to have at work, if I ever move back to Colorado, that's where I want to work.
But working for Slashdot can be pretty fun too... I'm hoping the coming weeks will include a few episodes of Slash TV that I'll be helping out with... Going to check out The Maker Works here in Ann Arbor, and perhaps some fun with Lasers in the Slashdot/SourceForge parking lot in Dexter.

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Hello Apache 2.2 and Mod Perl 2.0

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago This is a journal entry testing our first release moving Slashdot on to modern versions of apache and ModPerl. Though this test instance is not available to the public yet, it will be comming soon... (this weekend provided all tests go smoothly between now and then).
Horray for modern software!

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New DB

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Slashdot is now running on upgrade database backend software, and new hardware. Anecdotal evidence suggests improved performance. Was anybody worried? I wasn't. Next week, updated front end web servers!

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Go Timmy!

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago Sorry for the meta moment, but just wanted to call attention to the hard work my colleauge Vroom has been doing.
Hop over to his journal to check out some of the improvements coming out.

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Structural Changes

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago Update on ModPerl2, Apache2.2 port

Well I got through the problems with Apache2::Module::get_config. Aparently the object which comes as the first argument to the method for the custom config directive is not where the config parameters should be stored. Looking back at the documentation http://perl.apache.org/docs/2.0/api/Apache2/Module.html, I can see that it is clearly shown that $srv_config is being fetched via a call to get_config from within the custom directive subroutine, and that apparently is where the config should be stored... but it does seem kind of counter intuitive to me. But no use second guessing that now, at least I got it.

On a positive note: before I discovered my mistake with get_config, I thought perhaps it was getting mangled by Apache2::compat, so I spent much of the day finding and jumping through hoops to get everything to run without that. Though that effort didn't fix the problem I was chasing, it will be better in the long run to not need Apache2::compat, as that would drag down response times.

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Apache2::Module::get_config

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

In my ongoing efforts to port slashdot onto modern revisions of Apache and ModPerl, I've made significant strides. This weekend I put in a few extras hours of work, just because it was on my mind.

Currently I am banging my head against Apache2::Module::get_config. I thought I had appropriately adjusted the code to use the new simplified mechanism for defining and handling custom apache config directives. Having added plenty of "print STDERR" debuging into my modules, I can see that the new directives are being read, and the associated sub routines to handle them are being called at server start time. However, calls to get_config from inside a request handler are always returning either 1 or undef. As far as I can tell from reading the documentation, it should be working. As I type this, it occurs to me that it could be getting fubared by Apache2::compat...

Off to test that theory!

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Comment Families (Threads)

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

As my colleagues are working to improve the comment system, I'm thinking about it. I had an idea today, and I'd love to hear what anybody reading my journal thinks about it:

Would it be useful to have a control that would either expand or collapse all of a comments ancestors, descendants, or siblings?

So, what do you think?

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Every little bit counts

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

I am continuing forward with the re-platforming effort to move to Apache2.2 and ModPerl2. I have in the last few months be doing little bits here and there where I could squeeze it in between other projects, but today I got a good half day put into it. Before today I had updated the Makefile.PL's where appropriate to move away from Apache::ExtUtils, and instead use ModPerl::MM. I spent much of today finding all the CPAN modules that we rely on, and getting them built under the proper version of perl. After that I spent an hour or so tweaking config files where needed for the newer version of apache. Before heading home for the day I was actually to the point of trying to start Apache. It almost started, but I apparently missed something in updating the system to use Apache2::Module::add to handle the custom Apache config directives. But that will have to wait for tomorrow.

In comment system news: my colleagues are currently working on mock-ups for a few new controls to allow greater control over how many comments get loaded on an article page. Also trying to brainstorm around an easier/more intuitive way to handle setting thresholds for comment visibility (the current implementation is the "slider" widget with the two handles at the right side of the comment section header).

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Let there be comments

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

And there were, and it was good, for a while.

The comment system, and the discussions that take place in it, are a very important part of what makes slashdot what it is. I think it is a very powerful system, into which lots of time, thought, tests, trial and error, blood, sweat, unicorn meat, and tears have been put over the years. It is currently very complicated, somewhat fragmented and not well understood my a large number of readers. As I mentioned in a reply in one of my previous journal entries, the comment system is due to receive some much needed attention in the coming weeks. To that end, I am pleased to note that a release will be coming out today to address an issue we've found in the dispersal of moderation points. More than one or two readers have asked if there was something broken, or if they had somehow lost "moderation privilege", and I do believe that starting tomorrow, that issue should be resolved (thanks to the hard work of my friend/colleague vroom.)

Stay tuned for news of more love to come. (And feel free to let me know if you have special requests or concerns about the comment system)

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Can you /.

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Well the Hall of fame seems to be working for the few features it offered initially, and a few people have given me some good feedback and suggestions for features it could/should have. Once its been live as is for some period, I'll put my focus back on it, and hopefully implement some of the suggestions I've gotten.

In the mean time, I will be spending some time on back end work. While I may not be able to point to any "shinny new" stuff, I hope readers will see the results of this work in the form of stability, speed, and reliability. I am also looking for a contractor to help me out for a few months with the platform migration to Apache 2 and mod_perl 2... hence the title of this post. If you have a strong background with LAMP stack applications, and think you have what it takes to help us improve slashdot, I am accepting resume's. The position would be short term (2-3 months), but it is a chance to get into slashdot, and show us what you've got.

So, Can you * ? (leave me a comment if interested and I'll get you contact info)

PerlJedi

P.S. there is also a full time position open for an entry level/associate engineer on my team. Go Here for details

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Its Alive

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Well, the new Hall of Fame is now live and open for business. I am trying to be patient, and to wait for it to live in the world for a bit before I jump into to look at the stats. Mostly I just hope that at least some people find it interesting, or helpful. I am moving into my next project next week, but will turn my attention back to the HoF from time to time, and hopefully add features. Please feel free to let me know if the new HoF is a disappointment, or if it is great, if you think it could be better if...

I am excited for my next project, though it will be a lot of work... Migrating Slashdot from Apache 1.3 and mod_perl 1 to Apache 2.2 and mod_perl 2. Though I have undertaken this sort of project of a few large systems, Slashdot will have some new puzzles to solve. I hope in the course of this project I will also be able to hammer out a few persistent bugs, and probably do some stream lining to get the page render times down a bit.

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Staff Favorites

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

With the release of the new "Hall of Fame" comming later this week, I've squeezed one more feature into it for the first release. We will have a "Staff Favorites" section. Originally, I was thinking this would be only "Editors Favorites", but I thought (and my colleagues seem to agree) that it would be nice to show the "Favorites" of a larger portion of our team. That being said, I am not compelling any one (not even the editors) to share their "favorite" stories, but I will be giving the option to all of our engineers in addition to the editors. If that picks up, perhaps others will want to join in.

I wonder... if we offered the feature: would our readers like to be able to mark their own favorite stories? Maybe their favorite comments as well? This information could, if a user wanted it to, be displayed on their user page. Perhaps also, if we biuld out more of the system's "friend or foe" system, users could then browse their friends favorite stories/comments/submissions? (Must be honest: part of this htought is inspired by my friend/colleague Cogent's ideas.

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Keep it short stupid.

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Wow. My last journal entry really droned on to long. Feel free to tell me to shut up next time.

First round draft of the new "Periodic" Hall of Fame (as I've been calling it) should be showing up in the wild in this comming week. For the first release it is really just a sub set of the existing hall of fame, though broken down to smaller chunks of time. The really new piece here, however, will be the display of a the current users own stats next to each category. So next to "Most Active Submitters" a logged in user will see "My submissions", and next to "Most active Commenters" they will see "My comments". I hope by doing this people will be able to see that the new comers are not really that different from the grey hairs on a smaller time scale.

One other quick note: A feature we may be able to bring in V2 might be a visual representation of some of the data. For example perhaps next to "My comments" there may be a graph of # of comments a user has left per week in the last month. What do you think: Would that be cool? Usefull? Overkill? Please, share your thoughts...

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Meditations on Time, Spammers, Trolls and Fame

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

As I've been working this week to build a supplement for our existing hall of fame, I've been making decisions (or guesses) about many things, some the I expected, and some that I didn't... We will be releasing this thing into the wild soon, and some of the decisions I've made may be reversed once we see how readers actually interact with and re-act to it. All of you that are smart/lucky/bored/crazy/unfortunate (you pick the adjective) enough to be reading and following my thoughts are invited to leave me you're thoughts here.

Time
Our current "Hall of Fame" has two parts... "All Time" and "Past Year". "All Time" is self explanatory. "This Year" could be interpreted in two ways: during the current calendar year or during the last roughly 365 days (current hall of fame uses the latter). For the new bits of the Hall of Fame, I will be breaking it down in "Weekly", "Monthly" and "Quarterly". Each of these increments of time are open for the same interpretations as "This Year", and by nature of being smaller in scale, the differences can have a much more immediate effect, and both interpretations have both strength, and weakness as I see it.

My first instinct is/was to use absolute measurements for these (weekly is Sunday-Saturday, Monthly is from the 1st on, Quarterly is January - March etc.). The strength I see in this would be that we have a clearly defined range of time, with a beginning and an end. I think that could encourage new comers to the site to engage more immediately (at least at the weekly level) as at the beginning of the time span everyone, old and new, quiet and reserved or loud and obnoxious, would start at 0. The other possible strength here would be that with a define beginning and end we can mark the end of a time period and record the winners. The weakness in this approach (which I also argue is a strength) is that at the beginning of a time span the "Hall of Fame" would be full of low scores and therefore not particularly useful until we are a significant portion of the way into it. The (perhaps less obvious) problem created here would be that the time when this has the most complete (and arguably) the most useful data is near the end of the period and by the time the data set is complete, we have moved into the next period and started all over again.

Currently I am leaning toward the "rolling window" approach, so "Weekly" will always have the last 7 days of data. This implementation is easier to code because I never need to worry about how far into a week, and month or a quarter I am. It will also mean that regardless of when a reader looks at it, it has useful data, even if it is on the first day of the month or week. The first drawback would be that with no beginning and no end, on race ever ends, and no one ever gets to claim victory. The second would be that new comers will always see the bottom of the "Hall of Fame" as where they would need to be at the end of a week or month, which could seem unreachable.

Quality
The other issue I find myself grappling with on this topic is one of quality. We all know that there is more to being a part of something than just showing up. Slashdot is a community created/supported site, and we depending on community contribution not only for submitting stories, but also for participating in discussions, and even helping to moderate the discussions. Sadly, we also all know that not all contributions are positive. Everyone can, and lots of people do, submit stories, and make comments. The bulk of these are good, but here, as everywhere, some are just not. When we recognize members of our community we want to recognize the quality, not just the quantity, of their contributions. So for example we want to recognize those who submit stories to us on a regular basis, but we do not want to recognize the "entities" that are flooding our inbox's with spam. Similarly we want to recognize those who participate in discussions, but probably not the clowns who spends time trying to hit the comment button the first just so they are can say "Hey! Look at me, I'm first!". This question can be answered in many ways, none of which will be perfect, and most of which will piss somebody off.

Another dilemma comes into play in this decision... we want people to contribute, and we want to recognize those who do so. It seems only fair to have a well defined set of criteria on which to select who we should recognize. The problem is deciding not only what criteria are fair, but ideally we like to prevent people from "gaming the system". I'd love to live in a world in which no one would do that, but the sad reality is that if we simply say "The person with the most comments in a week gets a gold star", some joker will decide to make all of there comments one word at time, just so they can have their shinny gold star.

The first incarnation of this new "Hall of Fame" will be our best attempt at answering these questions, but like all things, it will be a work in progress, and with help from the community, if it is not the "best" on day one we'll get it there in time.

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Hello World

PerlJedi PerlJedi writes  |  more than 2 years ago

My First Journal Entry. The title seems fitting, the day after the world lost Dennis Ritchie.

First, Let me introduce myself. I am Dave Mueller, and I am currently the Lead Software Developer for Slashdot. Though I've been a long time reader of slashdot, I first came to work here in March of 2011. I've been writing PERL for a living since 1999, building web based applications since 2001, and working entirely in a Linux/Apache environment since 2003. I consider myself a real geek, I love SciFi, computers, electronics, robotics, and all things high tech. I am an amateur maker in my free time, and have started recording my personal projects on my web-site http://perljedi.com.

In my short time here, I have inherited the some times daunting task of not only maintianing slashdot, but also of helping to keep us (or put us back) on the leading edge of technology, news, and geek culture. With the parting of our illustrious founder CmdrTaco, we look to our readers, old and new to help us find our way into the future. I will be using my journal here to share insight into our team, and the processes we are going through everyday to find how best to server our readers, and the world.

My current project is a re-examination of our Hall of Fame. I hope by highlighting our best X at a finer level of detail (where X could be anything from "Most commented on Story", to "Most active moderator", or anything else within reason) we will be able to encourage people to engage more with the site. We want slashdot to be a place that is welcoming to geek's of all kinds, and I hope to show our readers that whether you have been reading slashdot since the 1990's, or since July, you too can help us understand and shape the community, and through it, the world around us. I hope that doesn't sound to wishy-washey or corny. But I am a true believer in what we are doing here, and I am quite passionate about geeks, geek culture, and our role in shaping the world.

I'm not sure how many people will read this, but I want all slashdotter's, old and new, to engage with my team and the editorial team to help us keep slashdot great.

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