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Astronomers Release Enormous Database of Variable-Luminosity Celestial Objects

blueZhift Data Needs Access API (54 comments)

As near as I can tell, there's no way to access the data programmatically. So there's no way to apply any data mining techniques to the publicly available data set. Hopefully this will change going forward as groups of scientists higher on the food chain request access to do more comprehensive studies.

more than 2 years ago

Sony's NGP May Be Delayed By Japan Quake

blueZhift I Can Wait (51 comments)

Japan has much bigger fish to fry right now, so I can certainly wait a bit longer for a new portable. My old PSP works just fine for now!

more than 3 years ago

Xbox Live Indie Games Rating Manipulation

blueZhift Re:The solution (49 comments)

Now that's an idea! Game ratings from people who have actually played the game. It would also be great to see the achievement profiles of the raters. That way you can see ratings from people who've played deeper into the game rather than single achievement drive-bys.

more than 3 years ago
top A Modern Open Platform

blueZhift Some Unusual Positive News (88 comments)

Ok, now who are you and what have you done with the FCC?! It certainly is unusual to hear of a government agency doing anything sane with technology, so kudos to the FCC! While Drupal has its detractors, it's a great platform if you know what you're doing. So I'm glad to see the FCC taking advantage of good OSS and thereby delivering a better product to the people at a lower overall cost. Sadly, the US government is not known for this sort of thing.

more than 3 years ago

NYT Paywall Cost $40 Million: How?

blueZhift Re:Large organization doing something simple (305 comments)

It's all such a waste because at the end of the day if they are charging more for paid content than the market wants to pay, they will lose. Even loyal readers are likely to smart at $20/month and will quickly learn to access content through the free options, including the *ahem* gray market. It seems that the entire publishing industry is still intent on propping up the old business model.

more than 3 years ago

Apple's Secret Weapon To Win the Tablet Wars

blueZhift Steve Jobs Is The Secret Weapon (716 comments)

I think Apple's real secret weapon is Steve Jobs. Apple has built a following on stylish, mostly well made products, and great marketing. There's no reason other companies can't do the same, but for it to really work, you need a strong visionary leader at the helm. Love him or hate him, Steve Jobs is that guy. I'll never forget how when Apple bought NeXt and brought Jobs back, he swiftly took over the whole company and turned it around. That's why the shareholders are so worried about what happens to Apple after Jobs is gone. In a lot of ways, Steve Jobs is Apple. Who is HP? Who is Motorola? I have no idea, and neither do consumers.

more than 3 years ago

eBook Lending Library Launched

blueZhift Re:Yawn (145 comments)

I'm not really sure if the idea of a lending library even makes sense any more with eBooks. When I first learned that I could borrow eBooks from the Chicago Public Library, I was a little shocked because from the publishers point of view it doesn't really make sense. Even over a period of 2 weeks, I have access to the entire book which I may read completely, or perhaps hack so that I can lend it to millions of "friends" on the internet. Either way, the publisher is likely losing a sale. I would not be surprised if the publishers started pulling back the number of titles that can be loaned as eBooks until they figure out how to make money in the new digital environment.

more than 3 years ago

Open Source More Expensive Says MS Report

blueZhift Holding Small Businesses (465 comments)

It seems that the researchers really didn't find anything, only confirming what many here have probably already seen. In the real world, open source and proprietary solutions work side by side in many if not most large organizations. It simply isn't practical to 100% standardize on a Microsoft or open source solution. We IT folks have to get our money the old fashioned way! Only the smallest organizations would find going all one way or the other an attractive and workable option. I think that what Microsoft is worried about is that small businesses can more easily cut them out of the picture and have a strong incentive, very good free open source applications, to do so. And with the global economy not being so great, perhaps MS is feeling the pinch. In any case, anyone trying to sell software or services has to market them, so I'd expect another such report in a year or two.

more than 3 years ago

Old Facebook Apps Still Plunder Your Privacy

blueZhift Standard Internet Rules Apply (101 comments)

I guess the standard internet rules still apply. Once you put something on the internet, it's out there forever. The big problem with Facebook is that now that info is likely linked to your real name which makes it easier for script kiddie level "hackers" to make trouble for you. With that in mind, I think the best advice is to make sure that there's a lot more good stuff that comes up about you than bad! Facebook is too pervasive right now to just ignore, so you just have to engage in more aggressive information management to protect and enhance your image.

more than 3 years ago

Assange Has Signed Book Deals Worth $1.5 Million+

blueZhift His Money's No Good Here (452 comments)

I think we can be assured that before too long there will be all manner of lawsuits and proposed laws to attach to and see to it that Assange doesn't get his money. In the U.S. there are already many states with laws designed to prevent convicted criminals from profiting from their crimes through book deals and such. While the claims against Assange are unproven and many would say highly suspect, the presumption of innocence has not been at play in the actions of the U.S. and other governments around the world. If he can, Assange may need to get that money in cash.

more than 3 years ago

A Klingon Christmas Carol

blueZhift The Dickens you say! (170 comments)

Sort of obligatory. LOL, but I must say I would never have expected something like this in Chicago. While Star Trek is certainly better known by the mainstream these days, let's not get too crazy. Being a Star Trek fan still marks you as king of nerds! Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I may be biased.

more than 2 years ago

'Anonymous' WikiLeaks Proponents Not So Anonymous

blueZhift Re:Don't coin dumb and inaccurate words (390 comments)

Sadly, I fear that the word hacktivist is the only lasting thing that will come out of the attacks and perhaps the whole WikiLeaks affair.

more than 3 years ago

IT Worker's Revenge Lands Her In Jail

blueZhift Single Point of Failure = Facepalm (347 comments)

Hmmm, given that this is not the first time this kind of thing has been in the news, you'd think that companies would not leave a single point of failure like this in place. You always have to be ready for someone with privileges to go rogue, especially when terminating them. During the tech bust of the 90s I remember IT people being routinely escorted from the building during layoffs, not even allowed to turn their computers back on. It was brutal, but I could see how some of those guys could go rogue and do a lot of damage.

more than 3 years ago

China Blocks News Websites In Protest of Nobel

blueZhift All Politics Is Local (213 comments)

As bad as the Chinese government's actions look to outsiders, we have to remember that ultimately all politics is local. The Chinese government doesn't care what we think only with staying in power at home. And how do you do that? By making sure that nothing riles up the billion plus Chinese citizens most of whom probably don't care much about foreign news outlets or peace prizes anyway. So why get them thinking about stuff like that which doesn't make money and can only cause disharmony? As for a Chinese version of the Peace Prize. I'm sure that will only be awarded to honorable (and safely controllable) Chinese citizens. Can't risk losing face to some gwai-loh who might brazenly refuse the prize. And most Chinese citizens would consider the prize an honor and good for career advancement in China. Again, good stuff for the locals.

more than 3 years ago

Kentucky Announces Creationism Theme Park

blueZhift Taking Caesar's Money (648 comments)

The thing that I don't understand about this is why do conservative Christian groups insist upon getting government subsidies for things that are clearly religious endeavours. Jesus said to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and to God that which is God's. This is commonly believed to call upon Christians to obey the government in civil matters. So why take money from the government and thus become subject to government authority and entanglements? It just makes no sense. If making this park is so important, then build it with the support of the faithful. Leave Caesar out of it please.

more than 3 years ago

WikiLeaks Moves To Swiss Domain After DNS Takedown

blueZhift Re:Make China look good? (488 comments)

*sigh* It sure is looking this way. I'm appalled at all of the effort and energy the US government is wasting in a futile attempt to put the genie back in the bottle. It's kind of hard to criticize authoritarian governments elsewhere while exerting such a high level and public effort to not only suppress the information, but also crush the person who released it.

more than 3 years ago

EMI Using Rapidshare To Market Music

blueZhift EMI Follows The Money (81 comments)

The big record companies won't do anything that the don't think is going to be profitable. So if EMI is indeed using Rapidshare to promote some of their artists' music, then there must be something to it. All of these years of arguing that piracy on sites like Rapidshare hurts their bottom line would seem to be contradicted. EMI is just following the money. If giving away songs ultimately helps sell more of them, then they will do it. Ironically, the pursuit of p2p lawsuits has damaged their reputation so much that they probably have to make songs look like illegal downloads to be attractive to their target market.

more than 3 years ago

Organs of UK Nuclear Workers Secretly Harvested; Energy Secretary Apologizes

blueZhift Validity of Unethical Research (309 comments)

Given the lack of consent in the gathering of the organs, my question now is whether the research data gathered is now invalidated. Generally, data gathered through unethical means cannot be used in research papers that hope to see the light of day in peer reviewed journals. So you won't see any published papers based on the findings from experiments done on concentration camp prisoners during WWII, for example. Similarly, if there have been papers published based on data from this nonconsensual organ gathering, I think they would have to be pulled and the authors censured.

more than 3 years ago

Failed MMO APB To Be Resurrected As Free-To-Play Game

blueZhift Re:On another still-related topic (90 comments)

I'd like to see FFXI go free to play too. One of the reasons I quit was because they changed their payment system to one that didn't like my credit card. But I won't be holding my breath for it. As things stand, the launch fiasco that is Final Fantasy XIV, is effectively making that game free to play as SE has extended the free period another 30 days.

more than 3 years ago


blueZhift hasn't submitted any stories.



blueZhift blueZhift writes  |  about 9 years ago

I wonder if anyone uses their Slashdot Journals anymore in this age of blogging. It's like everyone and his grandma is running a blogging service of one kind or another.


blueZhift blueZhift writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Well, I finally got one of these blog things the kids today rave about, all thanks to Slashdot! I found out about a variety of self-hosted blog packages after a /. story featuring a comprehensive blog comparison matrix. So I ended up installing Nucleus.

I was so inspired by this that in a rage of creativity I also remade my main website into more of a games storefront and pushed the development stuff to the back. The storefront is a PHP-Nuke module I wrote that calls web services using PHP. I had a lot of fun putting this together! (press the blog button)



blueZhift blueZhift writes  |  more than 10 years ago

After what seemed like an eternity, Final Fantasy XI Online is in the house! The installation and set up of the hard drive was pretty easy. And I really love the background music that accompanies the menu screens.

One thing I immediately noticed was far greater use of multimedia candy in setup screens and such. I definitely like it!

As for the game itself, I've only played maybe 3 or 4 hours at this point mostly taking in the sights and learning my way around. I got the impression that a lot of the new PS2 players may not be playing with USB keyboards because chatting with other n00bs like me didn't evoke many timely responses...or maybe it was my breath!

It'll be interesting to see how this develops. I'm really pulling for Sony and Square that this will be a big success. So far, I'm having a lot more fun here than I did on EQ or SWG! Ugh! Still 10 more hours before I can play again!


blueZhift blueZhift writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Arghh! My poor wallet! There are too many good games coming out this year!

Right now I'm counting down to Final Fantasy XI for PS2. After much thought I decided to go with the PS2 version because upgrading my console is cheaper than upgrading (ie rebuilding) my PC. Besides, playing in the living room is sooo much more fun.

Later this year, hopefully Gran Turismo 4 will make its appearance stateside. Along with all of the expected eye candy, I'm looking forward to racing minivans! Yep, I heard minivans will be in there too. I'm just waiting for the NASCAR Better Homes and Gardens Cup Minivan Championship now...:-) In the meantime, maybe I'll take Need for Speed Underground for a spin.

Oh, is that my XBox screaming for Knights of the Old Republic? Could be... I generally like to stretch my purchases out over time, but there's just too much out there now. Man, my wife's gonna kill me!


blueZhift blueZhift writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Dale Jarrett wins the Budweiser Shootout, at last the NASCAR season has begun! Oh yeah! :-)

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