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Comments

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Target's Data Breach Started With an HVAC Account

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

I don't envy your position; nobody likes being a spokesman in front of an angry mob. Thank you for keeping things calm.

Here's the situation: you've got an old codebase which you'd like to get rid of, and an old userbase which you'd like to keep. Unfortunately they're part and parcel, and it's sounding like divorcing the two isn't much of an option. The question thus comes down to which is more important.

If I may ask: has anyone in the userbase specifically requested that classic view support be dropped?

I'm not talking about those who have asked for updates and added functionality, or the corporate personnel who are driven toward new shininess for some reason. Their suggestions and desires ought to be considered! But enhancements don't need to come at the expense of existing systems.

Now we're not idiots here; we recognize that keeping classic mode may very well require a few small modifications in order to maintain compatibility with this new revision. But these would be a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of effort expended so far, and should be well worth it to maintain a satisfied and contributing user base.

What are your thoughts? Have any contradicting user suggestions been made? Has a cost analysis been done? Or is it simply a few people with power in a closed room saying, "Let's make a change to get with The Future!(c)" Without evidence to the contrary, it feels like the latter, which makes everyone all the more butt-hurt.

about 7 months ago
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Skinny Puppy Wants Compensation For Music Used in US Interrogations

Rival I've been here awhile (271 comments)

I've been here awhile, and have watched Slashdot go through a lot. Every time there's been a major change, a significant section of the user base has left and eventually been replaced. (The significance has not always been in terms of sheer numbers, but more often in longevity, character, personality and other less tangible demographics.)

I'm sure it will "survive" beta in the same way, which makes me sad. More pillars of the Slashdot community will leave, to be replaced with shills, trolls and youths who simply don't have the history to carry on anymore.

There are (at least) two things Dice fails to understand:

1.) 1,000,000 users != 1,000,000 users. Every UID is different, and when someone leaves, you can't simply "undo" that by getting another person to sign up.

2.) We don't want change. We're happy not being reddit, or 4chan, or (ugh) web 2.0, or whatever social media site or crap technology is the current buzzword this week. We're Slashdot. We come here because it's an old and familiar community. If you change too much, it's no longer familiar and we leave. Or if too many people leave, it's no longer a community and people stop coming back.

Please, I seriously recommend you keep the old UI codebase around for those of us who use classic mode. It's not going to kill your servers and we've been here long enough to deserve this little concession. Remember, each of us are a vital part of the conversations that happen here, and it is the comments that make Slashdot. Don't force us old-timers away with unnecessary change. Thank you.

about 7 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Linux Desktop Users More Pragmatic Now Or Is It Inertia?

Rival Re:you do know... (503 comments)

Mod parent up. This comment could be applied far beyond this UI discussion.

The "insignificant but essential changes" justification is especially prevalent when said changes are being mandated rather than made optional, as in a government/citizen or employer/employee relationship. It is often paired with lines such as, "you'll come to like it!" or, "be a team player!"

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: It's 2014 -- Which New Technologies Should I Learn?

Rival Re:Learn the basics (387 comments)

These are good points.

Also, new technologies are highly overrated. 98% of them will go by the wayside in a few years, and you don't want to waste your time becoming an expert in the newest square wheel.

Understand now that your learning ability will not last forever, and there will always be someone coming in after you that management will see as more valuable later on because they know #Whizbang 20x6 and you don't. So when that day comes, and come it will, what skills do you want to have?

As the parent said, soft skills are helpful, as are business and management. These can be useful to you because they age gracefully and migrate well between fields. If that's the sort of thing you want to be doing when you're "older", great. If not, what is?

I personally am enjoying learning older technologies, such as Spencerian handwriting, astronomy and land navigation, cooking well with simple ingredients, and other things that have been around for a very long time. I'm not doing it to help my career, but to make me happy. The fact that I'm happy probably shows in my daily life at work, which may help my career, but that's a side benefit. I'm mostly looking forward to having fun stuff to do if and when I can afford to quit working with computers for a living.

about 7 months ago
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Scientists Glue Sensors To 5,000 Bees In a Bid To Better Understand Them

Rival A growing problem (85 comments)

Scientists Glue Sensors To 5,000 Bees In a Bid To Better Understand Them

See, this is why we need better documentation. I'm not sure why the scientists thought the bees would help (perhaps division of labor/hive mind or something?) but really, if the OEMs had made proper documentation for the sensors easily available, none of this would have been necessary.

about 8 months ago
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IBM's Watson Goes To College To Extend Abilities

Rival Re:First preschool, now college! (94 comments)

Before you even think of going to college you need to go to elementary, my dear Watson.

about a year and a half ago
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Anonymous Hacks Westboro Baptist Church

Rival Re:Kudos (1061 comments)

I was just wondering: aside from more general laws against inciting to actual violence, what are the repercussions against lawyers for taking intentional actions to incite unlawful behavior, especially for the purpose of business?

Surely practitioners of the law have an ethical obligation, if not a legal one, to NOT incite unlawful behavior. Whether inciting others to do something unlawful so that they can represent them, or inciting an unlawful act against themselves (such as assault, vandalism or restriction of freedoms,) the point is the same.

It seems like this ought to be grounds for disbarment, at the very least. I don't know how much disbarment would affect them since they could represent themselves regardless of their actual licensed status, but any step towards shutting their twisted business model down would be a good thing as I see it.

about a year and a half ago
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Dice Buys Geeknet's Media Business, Including Slashdot, In $20M Deal

Rival Re:Thanks for all the fish... (466 comments)

I second this, very much. "Community, not commodity" is a wonderfully concise way of looking at it.

Many of us are tired of being gone over with a fine-toothed comb any time we venture online or in public. We submit when we feel we have to, for the purposes of maintaining contact with distant family members, or accessing information that is required for our jobs, or when we are forced to use goverment-"secured" means of travel.

The reason we come HERE, rather than going to some other site, is to get away from all the PII-tracking, big corporation, big brother insanity that is going on out there. We don't WANT integration to Facebook. We don't want to tweet our comments. We don't want job offers that are "relevent" to the things we say or look at, whether here or elsewhere on the internet. We don't want to sign in with our real names. We just want to come here and be left in peace to discuss things with each other, as we always have.

Granted, Slashdot is noisy, ridiculous, and slow sometimes. But this is how we've made it. We know each other and we recognize outsiders. We have our own memes and we have our own values. We don't want changes. Just keep the site up and leave us be, and we'll stay. Try to take over and remake the place, and we'll likely be forced to leave.

It was hard enough seeing Rob leave, but I understand his decision and totally support him in it. After 13+ years of being here, I decided that I would keep on here as long as I could to keep the community alive. I don't want to say goodbye, but at such time as there's no community left, there will be no more reason for me to stay.

about 2 years ago
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Study Suggests Magnets Can Force You to Tell the Truth

Rival Re:Don't tell the TSA (320 comments)

TSA: What Color is your Shirt
Man 1: Blue...no, Yellow!
TSA: (Flips a switch)
Man 1: AAAaaaggghhhh!!!.... (flies off bridge)

more than 2 years ago
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Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda Resigns From Slashdot

Rival Re:Thanks for all the Fish Wrapper (1521 comments)

I'm very happy for you, Rob, and wish you the very best in your future endeavors. Try not to give in to the siren call of wanting to work on another "small project." Enjoy your family time! That's stuff that matters!

P.S. It's been great seeing all the old farts chiming in here. It's like an old-timey convention. I wish they could have put the original UI back for slashdot for this story. :-)

about 3 years ago
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Google Announces Google CDN

Rival Re:all your base... (205 comments)

yesterday we read about Akamai, apparently origin of 15-30% of the web traffic. Google's service seems to be similar to Akamai's offering, but free of cost.

Tomorrow Akamai, the day after tomorrow the world?

My thoughts exactly. Akamai will be pretty threatened by this, but I'm not sure what they can do about it other than offer superior service.

I wonder if Google will try to buy them out, though -- Akamai has lost about half of its stock value over the past three quarters for some reason.

Such a move would definitely cause alarm, though. I personally would not feel comfortable concentrating so much of the internet in one company. Single points of failure are bad.

more than 3 years ago
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Space Station To Be Deorbited After 2020

Rival Re:Why? (572 comments)

ISS doesn't deserve a romantic end.

Oh, but it will have one, provided the tyrannosaurs are ready by then. :-)

more than 3 years ago
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The Future of the Most Important Human Brain

Rival An odd approach... (252 comments)

While I have no wish to demean their efforts, this approach still seems somewhat brutal to me. I'm no neurologist, but isn't this still a rather macro-level view of things, with the cutting process still causing damage to the fine structures they want to study?

It seems likely to me that future scientists will look back at this in not too long with stifled laugher and perhaps a little shock at the approach.

more than 3 years ago
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Meet NELL, the Computer That Learns From the Net

Rival Re:Project Page (272 comments)

I learnt English on the internet and programming. Now I'm programming at a bank.

I read that and my inner monologue immediately thought, "Now I'm on a horse."

more than 3 years ago
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Security Concerns Paramount After Early Reviews of Diaspora Code

Rival Re:After how long? (206 comments)

Yeah, they've only focused on the "fun stuff." Or rather, it sounds more like their purpose was "Facebook's so annoying to use. Let's make one that works like we want!" without really caring about the backend stuff. Maybe they assume that the "open source community" will do all the backend stuff for them -- even though they're the ones getting paid?

Or possibly, that they are smart enough to recognize that having "something" to show possible investors (and more importantly, current investors) is worth a great deal more than a framework that can't be demonstrated.

Don't get me wrong -- I really, *really* hope that the security model gets implemented well in Diaspora, and they don't get destracted by "ooh, shiny!" syndrome. But expecting them to go to folks who have given them money -- people who likely know even less about security than these college students -- and say, "This mystery code will work, it's really better, we just can't demonstrate it," is unreasonable.

Prototype first, then refine. Bugs happen, just fix them and move on. It looks like they're on their way to me. If you (or others) think you can fix these bugs or fundamental flaws in their security model, talk to them. You might just find yourself a job at a potentially big startup.

more than 3 years ago
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How Much Smaller Can Chips Go?

Rival Re:Don't make them smaller (362 comments)

A peltier gets cold on one side and hot on the other. Where are you going to put the hot side, since you're trying to put the thing in the middle of a block of silicon?

Easy -- just put two peltiers together, hot sides facing each other. Problem solved! ;-)

about 4 years ago
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Our Video Game Heritage Is Rotting Away

Rival Re:Vectrex (492 comments)

That's one small museum dedicated entirely to bad art that relatively few people know about. It in no way reflects the cultural attitude towards art preservation.

Yes, you're absolutely right. But I thought it was important to note the effort to document the "bad" art, however small.

Negative examples are powerful, whether they be in art, history, programming, or any other branch of human endeavor or record keeping. If we "forget it and remember the stuff worth remembering", then we are doomed to repeat it.

more than 4 years ago
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Our Video Game Heritage Is Rotting Away

Rival Re:Vectrex (492 comments)

But we don't put terrible paintings in museums (modern art notwithstanding) to "gives context to the goodness". We forget it and remember the stuff worth remembering.

Actually, we do.

And it does indeed "give context to the goodness." By seeing negative examples, we can better appreciate what it is about "good" art that we enjoy. Plus, it gives one the chance to wince, laugh and point at an art exhibit, without feeling like you're breaking social rules. It's quite refreshing, and the art truly is terrible.*

* Not as terrible as Boxbot though. (Inside joke for fans of Gunnerkrigg Court)

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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Asking For Expert Advice Safely?

Rival Rival writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Rival writes "As an inquisitive and creative geek, I am constantly coming up with "clever" ideas. Most often I discover fundamental or practical flaws lurking in the details, which I'm fine with. As Edison said, "I haven't failed; I've found 10,000 ways that don't work." Other times, I discover that someone else has beaten me to the idea. I'm fine with that, too. At least I know that I've come up with a great idea, even if I'm not the first.

"There are times, however, when I can find no flaws with an idea and nobody else seems to have thought of it. I'm not conceited enough to think my idea is genius; I just assume that I'm not knowledgeable enough to see what I'm missing. In these times, I often want to ask a subject matter expert for their thoughts. On the admittedly long chance that an idea is genius, however, what is the best way to ask for another's insights while mitigating the risk of them stealing or sharing the idea? Asking a stranger to sign a contract before discussing an idea seems like a good way to get a door closed on my face. What are your experiences and suggestions?"

Journals

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Saving Great Posts

Rival Rival writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Every once in awhile, I come across a Slashdot comment that I really enjoy: something so interesting, insightful, funny, or otherwise notable that I want to save it for future enjoyment or reference. But how to save it?

Right now, you can only bookmark the comment's URL or paste the comment into a document. Either method works, but each has its limitations.

My proposal is that we add a small link in the comment header to mark the comment as a favorite. Ideally, this would be done with a bit of scripting so as not to navigate away from the discussion page. This would only show when you're logged in to Slashdot, like the friend/foe indicator.

Although Slashdot has a "Bookmarks" page, what I am suggesting is different. What I'd like to see is a user profile page, say http://slashdot.org/my/favorites or some such, which would look exactly like the comments page, except it would show your favorite comments, rather than your own. (Yes, Roland, you can mark your own comments as favorites if you want.)

Much of the code is written already, so implementation should be relatively simple. What do you all think? Would you find this feature useful or interesting?

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Rival Rival writes  |  more than 5 years ago

On April 1st of this year (2009), Slashdot launched a new achievements system. Although it was immediately mocked, it has since been marginally accepted and is now a quirky background component of Slashdot.

As a long-time member, I have watched many changes come to Slashdot. The introduction of the moderation system. The Scientology interference and backlash. The Ponies. The Web 2.0 interface. The Idle section. An entire generation of kids who have never known monochrome displays, dial-up access, assembly language, or anything analog. Some of these have been great, some terrible, and some inevitable.

But despite all of these changes, Slashdot has still stayed true to itself. A place for geeks, nerds, and other advanced misfits to get together and talk about the news, share opinions and have fun.

So to honor Slashdot and thank CmdrTaco for all his great work, I have decided to embrace this new Achievements system. The idea is ridiculous -- but it is also funny and innovative, and I respect that. Slashdot has been a significant part of my geek persona for more than a decade now, and I hope it will still be here in another decade. For that matter, I expect to be posting on January 19th, 2038. I hope so, because it will probably take me that long to catch up with CmdrTaco's achievements.

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