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WHO declares escalating Ebola outbreak an international emergency

Robotech_Master What are you asking us for? (2 comments)

All right, I give up...who DOES declare the escolating ebola outbreak an international emergency?

about a month and a half ago

Amazon vs Big Publishers - another side of the story

Robotech_Master This needs to be seen (1 comments)

I feel it's really important that this piece get approved. The media is replete with Hachette, its authors and agents, and the various traditional publishing old-guard trying to stack the deck against Amazon. The other night the New York Public Library held a so-called "panel discussion" that was essentially an excuse to get together and bash Amazon. We need more people to hear the other side!

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What To Do With Misdirected Email?

Robotech_Master "Forgot Your Password?" (388 comments)

If your email's already been registered somewhere, try the "forgot your password?" link? It'll send the new password out to, duh, your email.

Likewise, you can stick on a +whatever on the end of your userID to make it into a "different" email address (and this will also help you know which websites are leaking your email.

about 8 months ago

The Average Movie Theater Has Hundreds of Screens

Robotech_Master I'm too nice (924 comments)

I was watching G.I. Joe: Retribution in a theater with a "zero tolerance" cell phone policy, and the jerk in front of me took his phone out and texted several times during the movie. I considered asking him to stop, but I just don't like getting into confrontations. I further considered going and telling a staffer, but I didn't want to miss part of the movie to do it. Also the guy was there with a kid, and I didn't want to be responsible for ruining the kid's movie experience.

I'm just too nice. :P

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: What's the Most Depressing Sci-fi You've Ever Read?

Robotech_Master Here's a couple. (1365 comments)

Destination: Void by Frank Herbert. (Or as I like to call it: "Destination: Avoid".)

Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke.

more than 2 years ago

PCMCIA Computer Project Aims Even Higher (and Cheaper) Than Raspberry Pi

Robotech_Master What is this going to mean for me, the end-user? (161 comments)

I'm not a programmer or a hardware hacker. I don't know anything about soldering circuit boards. I'm just a guy who likes to surf the net, write stories, play games, hang out on-line, and so on. What is the availability of this $15 device going to mean for me?

I mean, at least (as far as) I know the Raspberry Pi is going to be producing fully-realized devices that I can buy, plug in a keyboard and monitor and Ethernet cable, and I'm done. It sounds like this project is just about building a circuit board. And while it's nice it will be 40% cheaper and three times as fast, I'd like to know what I could do with it if someone came up to me on the street and handed me one.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Jonathan Coulton About the Transformation From Code Monkey to Internet Star

Robotech_Master Do your raunchy songs ever get you into trouble? (122 comments)

Your body of work seems to have a remarkable split personality. A lot of your songs are perfectly kid-friendly, while others are rather raunchy. ("It's the first of May, first of May...") Does that ever get you into trouble?

For example, do you ever look out into the audience at one of your posted adults-only shows and see kids? If so, what have you done? Have you ever had to decide on the spur of the moment to "redact" an R-rated song from your playlist at a show?

more than 3 years ago

DRM-Free Games Site Gone

Robotech_Master Re:Sigh (326 comments)

Well, keep watching. Apparently there's going to be some news on Wednesday.

It's a marketing stunt plain and simple. They're just coming out of beta.

about 4 years ago

X Prize Foundation Wants AI Physician On Every Smartphone

Robotech_Master Re:LOL no Tricorder tag? (245 comments)

Mine too. So naturally I had to search the comment threads to see if someone had posted it already. :)

more than 4 years ago

Databases In Caves? A Unique Google Fiber Bid

Robotech_Master Springfield, Missouri has them too (124 comments)

Well, not "caves" per se, but we do have the Springfield Underground, an extensive system of underground limestone quarries, the mined-out parts of which have been converted into office, data hosting, warehousing, and manufacturing space. (Here's a video tour.)

I've been in it. It's pretty impressive.

more than 4 years ago

It's 2010; What's the Best E-Reader?

Robotech_Master Re:Answer: (684 comments)

You do realize that PG hasn't been ASCII-only for several years now, right?

more than 4 years ago

Authors' Amazon Awareness

Robotech_Master E-book consumers aren't that happy either (174 comments)

For what it's worth, it's generated ill-will on the part of e-book consumers, too, many of whom feel this whole thing is yet another instance of the continued cluelessness over e-books that they've had to endure for the past ten years, and who feel that authors and publishers are deliberately ignoring them or misrepresenting their positions.

A couple of examples:

"Maybe we should be hurting the authors" by Ficbot
"The Amazon/Macmillan blow-up: An e-book lover's appeal for understanding" by me

more than 4 years ago

Man in Court Over Simpsons Porn

Robotech_Master Re:Thought Crime Cliché (673 comments)

I don't condone it. Just trying to explain the thinking behind it. You (or someone so far up the thread that I can't see who it was now) did ask.

more than 4 years ago

Man in Court Over Simpsons Porn

Robotech_Master Re:Thought Crime Cliché (673 comments)

I'd tend to agree with you. There are a number of things I enjoy reading or writing or playing video games about that I wouldn't dream of doing in real life. Skydiving, for instance.

But there are certain hot-button topics where you just don't want to take chances. Where even if you only screw up one time out of a thousand, it costs innocent lives. Ask the Secret Service how seriously they take even "obvious" jokes about threatening the President or his family, for instance.

Right or wrong, perceived threats to children are one of those hot buttons. (In fact, you could argue that, from an evolutionary standpoint, it's vital to overreact to threats to children.) There's a reason "won't somebody think of the children?" is such a cliché, and that's because it's true.

more than 4 years ago

Man in Court Over Simpsons Porn

Robotech_Master Re:Thought Crime Cliché (673 comments)

I think the theory is that "child porn" of any kind, including cartoon character or virtual, promotes the child-molesting mindset in a child-porn fan. So, even cartoon kiddie porn might make it more likely that the viewer might go and molest a real kid someday.

Not saying it's right, but just that I seem to remember hearing that's what the theory was.

more than 4 years ago

Skeptics Question OLPC's Focus With $75 Tablet

Robotech_Master Re:Not just being grumpy (159 comments)

That's exactly right. The only reason the OLPC group set out to design the XO in the first place was that there were no computers in that size and price range at the time. They simply did not exist.

Well, now they exist. Cherrypal is selling them. They're not going to have the same kind of standardized architecture that the XO does, but nonetheless they're Real Live Computers that can run real operating systems (and by "real operating systems" I of course mean Linux).

OLPC ought to be putting educational software on those rather than blowing more money chasing this touchscreen pipe dream.

more than 4 years ago

Skeptics Question OLPC's Focus With $75 Tablet

Robotech_Master Re:Low price attempts are good PR (159 comments)

To be fair, the approaches of the two projects are a bit different. OLPC is like the Apple of the third-world-laptop world. They're designing a specific set of hardware, and tailoring not just an OS but a specific educational software suite to run on it.

Cherrypal is like the PC, taking the "beige box" approach of just buy or throw together any old thing, all it has to do is access the Internet. Let the organizations who buy it come up with their own curricula.

(And by the way, my interview with the chairman of Cherrypal is now up on TeleRead.)

more than 4 years ago

CherryPal's $99 "Odd Lots" Netbook

Robotech_Master Re:Niche Market (234 comments)

The niche is a little larger than that, actually, and it's an entirely different one.

The target are people who need Internet access but can't afford anything better. As more and more government and other services nudge people toward the Internet, those below the "digital divide" have an increasingly hard time accessing those services.

I talked with their chairman about it, and wrote up the interview last night.

more than 4 years ago



Designers & Dragons is the complete history of role-playing game publishers

Robotech_Master Robotech_Master writes  |  about a month and a half ago

Robotech_Master (14247) writes "Evil Hat Productions is Kickstarting a four-volume history of the RPG industry that's already met its funding goal almost seven times over. Comprising half a million words altogether, it tells the story of pencil-and-paper role-playing games from their very beginnings, and you can read the e-book of the first volume for kicking in just one buck. $1 for the first e-book, $15 for all four, print volumes starting at $25 and up.

I've reviewed the first volume of it here. I found it extremely thorough and well-written."

Donate $20 to help Haiti, get $1481 in RPGs

Robotech_Master Robotech_Master writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Robotech_Master (14247) writes "Digital RPG vendor DriveThruRPG is offering $1481 in cover price of RPG e-content in exchange for a $20 donation to Doctors Without Borders. (DriveThru is also matching $5 and $10 donations.) The content includes many popular indy RPGs, as well as the Firefly RPG, 'Serenity', that would cost $30 all by itself. Due to high load on DriveThruRPG's servers, downloads are being delayed to up to 3 business days after the donation. Still, it's a great deal for any gamer—even those who otherwise couldn't care less about the Haiti earthquake. At time of submission, DriveThruRPG has raised just over $75,000 so far."
Link to Original Source

Africa: CherryPal's $99 "odd lots" netbook

Robotech_Master Robotech_Master writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Robotech_Master (14247) writes "CherryPal, which Slashdot last covered back in 2008, has released a $99 netbook, the Africa, aimed at the developing world but (unlike the OLPC) available for sale to the consumer. But unlike most netbooks, the Africa is not actually made to a set design. Instead, it uses a hacker-like approach similar to the way home PC builders build their cheap beige boxes. CherryPal purchases odd lots of whatever components are available most inexpensively, builds netbooks out of them, and calls them Africas. The resulting machines will at least meet and may exceed the minimum specs given on CherryPal's website, and may be built around an ARM, MIPS, or X86-based CPU depending on what parts CherryPal has on hand at the time. The device ships with 'at least' Windows CE or CherryPal's custom 'Green Maraschino' Debian-based Linux distro."
Link to Original Source

Book Review: Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge

Robotech_Master Robotech_Master writes  |  about 5 years ago

Robotech_Master writes "A few years back, I wrote a review of the Special Edition of A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge. I have now written a review of Vinge's Rainbows End for In this review, I look at the book's predictions for the future, and compare them to past predictions Vinge made in True Names and elsewhere. It is really fascinating to see how Vinge's concept of the "future book" changes over time, from the text-adventure-game influence of the early '80s, to hypertext in the early '90s, to virtual reality multi-media in the '00s. Rainbows End and True Names can be read on-line in their entirety, thanks to the Internet Archive."
Link to Original Source

Pick a Codeweavers package free on Tuesday only

Robotech_Master Robotech_Master writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Robotech_Master writes "As a result of falling gas prices, Codeweavers is going to offer a code good to download one of its commercial emulation software packages for free to anyone who visits the Codeweavers website on Tuesday only. Pick one of its "Windows-software-on-Linux," "Windows-software-on-OSX," or "Gaming" packages. This is one heck of a freebie; don't miss out!"
Link to Original Source

Ask Phil & Kaja Foglio

Robotech_Master Robotech_Master writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Robotech_Master writes "I will be conducting a live call-in interview with Phil and Kaja Foglio of the comics Girl Genius, Buck Godot, What's New With Phil and Dixie, and many many more this Sunday, January 27th at 4 p.m. Eastern/10 p.m. Universal (GMT) on my talk podcast The Biblio File. Slashdot readers can participate live, either by phoning in or by using TalkShoe's web-based or stand-alone chat clients. (I've written a guide to all the different ways of connecting.) It will also be available as a downloadable or RSS-syncable mp3 afterward.

After I finish asking my own questions, I'll be using whatever time is left to ask other questions of interest, including taking questions from the live call-in or chat-in audience. If you won't be able to make it, post your questions in the comments. I can't promise to ask all of them, but I'll pick the most interesting ones."

Robotech_Master Robotech_Master writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Robotech_Master writes "On Saturday April 14th, at 6 p.m. Eastern/3 p.m. Pacific, I will be conducting a live call-in talk radio interview with Carl Macek on my Robotech talk show, Space Station Liberty. Macek is sometimes known as the "animé Antichrist," but is also widely considered the man who kicked off the modern American animé industry by creating the TV show Robotech and dubs of films such as Akira and Megazone 23 .

The focus of the interview will be Macek's history in the animation industry, primarily centered on Robotech but also covering Akira and other anime dubs, Heavy Metal, Lady Death, and the rest of his varied career.

Anyone who wishes to call in to the show to listen or participate will be welcome to do so. (Due to the possibility of inflammatory "ambush" comments, I will probably not take voice calls for this episode from people I do not know to be trustworthy, but everyone is welcome to post comments and questions in the live chat area.) Questions do not need to be only about Robotech, but can cover Macek's extensive other work as well.

If you will not be able to participate live but would still like to submit questions, post them to this article or use my contact form. I can't promise I'll ask all questions that are submitted but I will try to ask any good ones. For more information on how to phone in and participate, see my TalkShoe guide page."

Robotech_Master Robotech_Master writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Robotech_Master writes "When John Kelsey and Bruce Schneier came up with the Street Performer Protocol in 1998, it was meant to provide an alternative model of publication that would allow artists and writers to earn a living from their work even if it was immediately disseminated across the Internet as soon as it was published. Eight years later, at least four fairly-well-known science fiction and fantasy writers are using a modified form of this publishing model, the "Storyteller's Bowl," to finance the writing of books that are otherwise unpublishable. In this article, I look at how these writers — Lawrence Watt-Evans, Diane Duane, Sharon Lee, and Steve Miller — are using that model, the differences between it and the "pure" Street Performer Protocol, and the degree of success they have been having. I will also be conducting a discussion about this subject on my live call-in Internet talk radio show, The Biblio File, on Saturday, December 16th at 3 p.m. Eastern/8 p.m. Universal time. Mrs. Duane will be in attendance, barring technical difficulties."

Robotech_Master Robotech_Master writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Robotech_Master writes "Long time Slashdot veterans will remember Jon Katz, the editorial writer whose Slashdot articles invariably became hotbeds of controversy. It appears he may have the last laugh; how many of the Slashdot posters who ridiculed him went on to be played by Jeff Bridges in a movie?

In his new book, "A Good Dog: The Story of Orson," Katz chronicles the life and death of the lovable but troubled border collie that transformed his life. It continues the story begun in Katz's last book, "A Dog Year," now being made into a movie starring Jeff Bridges as Katz.
Katz critics may get a chuckle out of the plot synopsis for the film: "A man having a mid-life crisis has his life turned upside down when he takes in a border collie crazier than he is." Further amusement comes from this article about the movie's filming, with this quote from the owner of the house used to double for Katz's:

Mercaldi said she was looking forward to seeing the film, with her home of 13 years as a co-star, "especially since they trashed it," she said. "The character was a real slob, so it doesn't look like our house."
The film should be released "sometime in late 2007.""


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