Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!
I decided to log in with my slashdot account to share this, something that I haven't done in years, for one single reason: with every new slashdot "redesign", the USABILITY of the site gets far, far worse (despite the site looking more "designy"). It really is clear that you guys have no idea how users actually USE your site. For example:
1. With all this copious whitespace, I can fit like 1 or 2 comments on the screen. Finding valuable or highly rated is like finding a needle in a haystack.
2. Everything is expanded by default, which, again makes it tiresome to skip through pages of low-rated comments.
3. The comment sort order makes no sense.
You don't seem to understand that the main value of Slashdot is (or rather was, from a long time ago) the comment section, and with each successive revision it just gets progressively worse. No one give a fuck about your flat, "techcrunchy", "Androidy" design when you keep making the site so much harder to use.
I've popped over to slashdot every week or so when all my links on reddit turn purple, just to see if you guys have improved, and it's kind of astonishing how absolutely backwards you view the design process.
The U.S. Careens Over the Fiscal Cliff, Reaching Only Half of a Deal
Bullshit. Democrats have a spending problem??!! Yeah, like they were the ones who were leading the charge for two unpaid wars, crazy increases in homeland security spending, and added a huge new unfunded entitlement in the form of Medicare prescription drug benefits.
And Greece? Let's take a look at the European debt crisis:
Greece (and perhaps parts of Italy, too) are the only nations whose problem is related to government spending. Even there, the problem is vastly more compounded by the fact that their debts are denominated in a currency they don't control, and their economy is wholly uncompetitive with the rest of the world. Austerity has been a complete disaster for Greece.
If you look at the rest of the struggling countries, especially Spain and Ireland, they were MODELS of fiscal restraint, and were held up by conservatives as how great your economy can be when you deregulate everything. Of course, then the 2008 crisis happened and the governments were forced to backstop their banks, and now everyone in those countries is paying for it.
Indian Minister Says Telecom Companies Should Only Charge For Data
This initial statement in this post, "In the US, telecom carriers are trying their best to hold on to depleting voice revenues", is blatantly false. BOTH AT&T Wireless and Verizon have already moved to plans where voice minutes are unlimited and only data is metered. Unfortunately, though, those plans pretty much suck because the data rates are so high.
Ex-NASA Employees Accuse Agency of 'Extreme Position' On Climate Change
I definitely think it's a valid criticism that NASA has it's priorities wrong. However, it should be noted that the above comment if from an interview with Al Jazeera - it seems clear to me that Mr. Bolden was tailoring these remarks to the Al Jazeera audience. Again, it's fine to argue that this is wrong regardless, but context does matter. Judge for yourself:
Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn Resigns After $1.7 Billion Loss
You say "The article provides a reason not to trust middle-management".
I don't think you know what middle management means. Sure, this is a reason not to trust corporate PR, but I think it should kind of go without saying that you should never trust corporate PR, as regardless of the truth of the situation, it is their JOB to say things that are "best" for the company.
Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn Resigns After $1.7 Billion Loss
Why can't people in rural or semi-rural parts of the US just use Amazon like everyone else in the US?
Scientists Release Working Prototype Of CAPTCHA-Based Password Assistant
Absolutely - I couldn't believe the irony of this great security solution requesting full access to my machine with a self-signed certificate. I wonder if this actually a psychology experiment to show that even when people are thinking about security that they're still willing to give up the keys to the kingdom as long as you ask nicely and state that you're a "security researcher".
FTC To Open Antitrust Investigation Against Google
According to this logic, Microsoft didn't commit any antitrust violations in the late 90s either.
The thing about antitrust law is that it's fine to grow to have a dominant position (even a monopoly), but you aren't allowed to leverage that position to unfairly compete in other areas. Google has a dominant position in search, but they shouldn't be allowed to leverage that position to unfairly compete in other areas.
That said, all the complaints I've seen against Google so far for "unfair promotion" have been sour grapes from companies with crappy sites or spam farms. I trust Google specifically because I know it's in their economic best interest to give me the best results and to weed out these crappy sites.
Netflix's New Web Interface Gets Thumbs Down From Users
Amen. The thing I used to love about slashdot was that it had some of the most insightful discussions on the internet, ones that were often times many levels deep in a comment thread. Now, since you can't see ratings on lots of nested comments until you click on them, you hardly ever see a decent comment thread more than two or three levels deep.
The latest slashdot redesign totally killed the experience for me, and it's most definitely not a case of "users hate change". Users hate when they have critical features taken away from them.
Tunnel Boring Machine Completes Hole Under Niagara Falls
You'd think they would explain, you know, WHY THEY BUILT THE TUNNEL. They explain it's a "sustainable energy project", but they don't actually explain how the tunnel is used or what exactly it's for.
Slashdot Launches Re-Design
I'm surprised this issue hasn't gotten more attention - I consider slashdot fundamentally broken because of it. The thing I always liked about slashdot was the comments, and the fact that, usually, comments here were more interesting, insightful, or funny than elsewhere. With this new design, though, long discussion threads are basically impossible.
I agree, it feels like this redesign had a decent visual designer, but when it comes to user interaction design, this sucks. Very much of what made slashdot unique and successful is gone :-(
Yahoo! To Close Delicious
I don't really feel bad for the people let go - trust me, there is already a mad dash by TONS of companies in Silicon Valley who want to scoop up the good employees who were laid off.
For the people that are left, though, you have to wonder if it feels like they are on a (albeit very slowly) sinking ship. It's got to be extremely difficult for Yahoo to retain good people.
Yahoo! To Close Delicious
I don't understand why they just don't kill new development and stop adding new users, but essentially leave the site as it is for existing users.
I'm a big fan of Google Notebook - I use as a task manager, and I like it better than the task functionality they've built into calendar and gmail (I've built my whole "Getting Things Done" system around it). Even though Google EOLed that product like over a year ago, they still keep it live and working for existing users. I could move if I had to, but I really appreciate Google just leaving it as it is.
Watch 200 Years of Global Growth In 4 Minutes
She wants her theme sound back.
Chrome OS Doesn't Trust Apps Or Users
Fine, then go make your modifications to the open source Chromium project and install whatever the hell you want on it.
And for those comparing this to Apple's lockdown, that's ridiculous - Apple actively tries to prevent you from jailbreaking, while anyone can mod the Chrome OS.
The fact is the vast, vast majority of users can NOT be trusted to install software, and for those that can, fine, mod the OS and go ahead.
Xbox Modding Trial Dismissed
While I'm glad the correct outcome was made in this case, I shudder to think what would happen if the prosecution had NOT made a mistake and had notified the defense.
Before trial, prosecutors offered a plea deal that included pleading guilty to two FELONIES. A guy whose sole "crime" was to let people use their own purchased hardware as they saw fit had the choice between:
1. Having his life ruined - try to get any kind of job if you're not famous with 2 felonies on your record.
2. Rolling the dice with 12 folks who couldn't get out of jury duty with the downside being years in prison.
That this case even got as far as it did is a very sad commentary on our legal system - what if the defendant had been scared enough about the prospect of spending years in prison that he HAD taken the plea deal?
Open-Source Social Network Diaspora Goes Live
It seems that Diaspora somehow got that NYTimes article, got mucho donations from that even though at that point they had NO CODE, and yet somehow now I hear about it all the time as somehow it's going to be a "facebook killer".
Linux got popular initially because Torvalds is an excellent programmer and his project spread through word-of-mouth. Diaspora got discovered because there was a Times article about vaporware.
How the 'Tech Worker Visa' Is Remaking IT In America
Mod parent up. There was a good article posted here on slashdot recently where Fareed Zakaria in Time magazine makes the argument that often the best and brightest come from other countries to get trained at American institutions, only to go back to their home countries and make technological innovations that benefit those societies. We should be doing everything we can to keep those smart folks HERE so the US can more directly benefit from their intelligence and work ethic (example - see Vinod Khosla).
The Monopolies That Dominate the Internet
Surprise surprise - capitalism on the internet is largely about companies dominated by the network effect. It is interesting, though, that while many folks thought the internet would lead to a broader spectrum of companies given that start up/fixed costs are so low, the network effect has tended to consolidate power to a very small number of winners.
I think the overall effect on capitalism itself will be very interesting. Capitalism was always about winners and losers, but previously you could have a lot more winners given that there were a lot more markets. The internet is connecting all these markets, making space for fewer (albeit much bigger) winners. We talk a lot about the rise in income inequality in the US over the past few decades, and I think it has as much to do with technology as with any policy changes. Technology fundamentally makes things more efficient and breaks down market barriers - in many ways this is a great thing, but I think people are just now starting to realize how it has broad negative effects given the way our brand of capitalism works.
Introducing Students To the World of Open Source
I know I'm late to this story, but thought I'd try this.
I'm the original developer behind Perf4J: http://perf4j.codehaus.org/ . Perf4J is a library for performance tracking code in Java that uses the appender frameworks of popular Java logging frameworks to handle timing statements. The library has been pretty successful, but right now I don't really have the time to be the sole "despot" for this project. I'm looking for someone to essentially take this library over from me, or at the very least add some cool new features (#1 on my list is a port to logback).
This could be a great project for a college student wanting to get into open source. The library itself is not too big, I think it's easy to understand the design, and there are a ready list of features that users have requested. Plus, if you do a good job on it, while I can't 100% guarantee my company will hire you, I can 100% guarantee will give you an interview, and there is no better thing on your resume than showing that you can actually CODE a real project.
SashaMan hasn't submitted any stories.
SashaMan has no journal entries.