Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!



Lessig Launches a Super PAC To End All Super PACs

Stormbringer End Corporate Personhood first. (465 comments)

Corporations aren't people, they're machines owned and steered by people: vehicles. My car doesn't have citizenship and neither should my corporation.

about 9 months ago

Yahoo DMARC Implementation Breaks Most Mailing Lists

Stormbringer Congratulations, Marissa. (83 comments)

In your quest to 'revitalize' your user-base by throwing out the loyal veterans, you pissed off people who have been members since eGroups and OneList by throwing that purple-abomination Neo web-interface at them... but still they refused to go away, they just relied more heavily on their 90's-style mail clients for access.

This strikes at the heart of that persistence. I do believe you've found a way to get rid of your remaining loyalists. Well done.

about 10 months ago

OpenSUSE To Offer Rolling Release KDE Experience

Stormbringer TDE, the one you'll probably love (51 comments)

I loved KDE 3.5, and would spend weeks customizing everything to look exactly like I wanted.
It worked perfectly, I had all the right applications and buttons at the right place.

Then you should be quite happy with the Trinity desktop, which is the KDE-approved and-assisted maintenance/improvement fork of KDE 3.5.10. I am. They're up to now, with release 3.5.14 in the works.

about 10 months ago

New Unix Implementation Turns 30

Stormbringer Re:Megalomanic (290 comments)

Are you saying he should have released it under an Autistic License?

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: When Is the User Experience Too Good?

Stormbringer But is there something to this? (397 comments)


What business are you in -- product development or behavior modification? Hint: one of those is good for your bottom line; indulging in the other is deleterious to it.

If you're concerned about inadvertent consequences, make sure there are adequate warnings. After that, you're done.

about a year and a half ago

Magnetic Transistor Could Cut Power Consumption and Make Chips Reprogrammable

Stormbringer Re:theres more than one type of transistor (126 comments)

Sorry, I couldn't let this pass uncommented. Yeah, yeah, -1 Pedantic.

"one that requires voltage to keep it on, one that requires voltage to keep it off (P channel vs N channel FET's),"

The ones that need a voltage to stay on are enhancement-mode MOSFETs. The ones that need a voltage to stay off are depletion-mode FETs, either MOSFET or JFET. All of those come in N- and P-channel flavors. They're symmetrical other than for P-type having less mobility. (And thus being more tolerant of dirty processes, which is why MOS IC technology started out with P-channel. 17 volts across a chip just to get it to light up... Ugh...)

About those magnetic transistors... Lately DARPA's been making noises about 'destructible' logic. If all you have to do to deconfigure an FPLA beyond recovery is swipe a strong magnet across it... Is that what this is about?

about 2 years ago

The Copyright Battle Over Custom-Built Batmobiles

Stormbringer Do they really want to open this can of worms? (194 comments)

By the same argument, the studios like Warner are liable for every time they depict an existing vehicle. Do they have proof of licensing from the auto makers for showing a VW bug or a Mustang? How about some guy's tricked-out bike? And they've got deeper pockets to hit than some guy in a garage.

about 2 years ago

New Study Links Caffeinated Coffee To Vision Loss

Stormbringer Re:Correlation != Causation (203 comments)

Nahhh, read it again: as long as the sun doesn't have one (or, if it does, it's not naked), you're all right.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Living Without Internet At-Home Access?

Stormbringer Start by dropping back to dialup. (462 comments)

I've been through this, a few years back when our DSL took a hit and I had to keep our connectivity up anyway.

Living with a slow 56k modem link between your LAN and the Internet will:

- give you a reversible foretaste of what you're planning. Don't like dialup? You'll hate cold-turkey so much that you might not be at all productive.

- highlight your Internet time-waster habits, because the waits for those pages to load will become obvious. This is called "rubbing your nose in it". For anything that's not essential, you *will* find better things to do, or more efficient variants on the familiar. Setting your mail-lists to daily-digest, for instance.

- make it obvious what Internet resources you'll have difficulty doing without. Keep a log of the ones you keep going back to anyway: they're your reasons not to give it all up.

- change some of your Internet habits right there, because there is no instant gratification, instead you have to wait for everything to finishing downloading. You can dovetail some tasks into those waits, such as, getting a cup of coffee while Google News loads, or doing the laundry while waiting for all the new-format Slashdot comments to be visible, or going shopping while a YouTube video is being sucked in for local replay. You'll get impatient and get off your ass just to keep some momentum going because the Internet isn't doing it for you anymore.

You'll get used to prefetching bulky things you really want on hand, and using LAN storage to make it available for browsing. wget will get a lot of scripted use, particularly the "wget -c" option, because it can take most of week to get a CD ISO in. You'll learn to use local tooling to replace online stuff that isn't always there. Early on, for example, I set up a local wiki and a web calendar, to be visible to every machine on the LAN. Then I wrote CGI tooling to fill in my specific blanks. YMMV.

You will likely do a lot of scripting to automate fetching in things you really want or really need, and transferring out your responses. A cron'd mail-check every 5 minutes will keep up a dialup link that idles-out in 15 minutes. This might include bringing the link up in the wee hours to do downloads when nobody's likely to phone, and dropping it again, ready or not, when the phone line needs to have a phone ready for use.

Dialup will have you looking at your computer less as a source of consumed entertainment and more as a creative workspace. If that's what you're after, dropping to 56k might be enough.


more than 3 years ago

Retro Browser War: IE6 Vs. Netscape In 2011

Stormbringer Re:Modern browser on retro OS? (211 comments)

The most recent Firefox you can use day to day on win98se is Firefox will install and run, but, in at least one ancient install I have to pamper, it won't run the next time you boot the machine without removal and reinstallation; you only get one good run per install (so make it good).

more than 3 years ago

Slashdot Launches Re-Design

Stormbringer Re:This is slashdot? (2254 comments)

Worse, it's New!Yahoo. Forced rollout of an Awkward New!Ponies look, theme-above-thought, CSS-uber-alles which I KNOW wasn't retro-tested because the topic bullet-list insists on masking the upper-left even of this TEXTAREA (Yeah, this is FF2, which is what this distro supports -- can't imagine how broken earlier browsers look here)... I know I'm pissing-and-moaning here, but seriously, this stuff's broken. I can't wait til http://www.alterslash.org/ has caught up with the changes so I can go back to reading Slashdot, because I sure can't here.

about 4 years ago

Ideas For a Great Control Room?

Stormbringer Watch your lighting angles. (421 comments)

"Glass cubicle walls will cut down on noise like a cubicle would, but does not give as much of the feeling of being in a box as standard cubicles. They allow unobstructed view of the video-wall and you can write on them with grease pens."

They also allow an unobstructed view of things you really don't want to stare at such as bright lights.

My experience is from the dev cubicle floor, not a NOC, but it applies at least as much to monitoring a screen or screens as to staring through the screen into the code-realm. Bad placement plus a low ceiling meant that I had a bright fluorescent fixture showing just above the cubicle corner. I tried sunglasses, moving the monitor, etc. and ended up roofing that corner of the cube with cardboard, just so I didn't have that light stabbing my eye while I was trying to dive into my code. Glass cubes will exacerbate this into a no-escape situation. Nobody's going to want to keep staring at a view which is actually painful.

Even if you don't go with glass, before you sign off on that build, have a short person and a tall person test out every station for glare within scope of view. Be prepared to hood some of those lights to keep them out of people's eyes.

more than 4 years ago

Toyota Sudden Acceleration Is Driver Error

Stormbringer Same MCU, perhaps? (930 comments)

Someone with a schematic of the car should have a look to see how those signals are generated and routed. If they go through the same microcontroller...

In my Chrysler-made minivan, I've learned that headlights have to be turned off BEFORE the engine is stopped. If I switch the lights off first (two steps on a rotary knob), things work fine no matter how fast I twist that knob; both switch-events are caught.

If I turn the key first, though, turning off the engine before shutting off the headlights, both headlight-switch events will be missed by whatever MCU drives the headlight relays. The lights are on, the door is open, the engine is off, but I get no chimed 'lights left on' alert unless I put that switch through another full-on-full-off cycle to resync the micro with the physical state of things.
My guess is that the same MCU is responsible for a number of tightly timed engine-shutdown sequence events during which it has to mask off switch interrupts, which is lousy embedded design on Chrysler's part.

Nothing says that the same crappiness of design isn't evident in Toyota's machines, in which case the timing of those brake lights coming on means exactly nothing: that pedal might have been pressed for some seconds before the MCU got around to noticing.

more than 4 years ago

XKCD Deploys Command Line Interface

Stormbringer Re:Oblig. Sandwich. (288 comments)


You're a sandwich.

more than 4 years ago

Universal "Death Stench" Repels Bugs of All Types

Stormbringer Is this why Raid's days may be numbered? (248 comments)

All the time I spent vacuuming out dead roaches from my computer cases... wasted. If I'd mashed them flat instead, obviously I'd have had a lot fewer live bugs to eliminate from my code as a result.

more than 5 years ago


Stormbringer hasn't submitted any stories.


Stormbringer has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?