Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

CEO of Spyware Maker Arrested For Enabling Stalkers

fyngyrz Re:What about legitimate uses? (181 comments)

the current administration has done more than any previous administration to expand it's[sic] intrusive power

No, sorry. Nothing's been done during Obama's terms that even remotely compare with the instantiation of the PATRIOT act and the TSA as far as harmful changes to the previously existing state of affairs by the government.

And then during Obama's terms, we've seen the drug war lighten up on marijuana, we've seen expansions of gay rights, we've seen increased rights and capabilities for consumers and less for credit card companies, access to Cuba has opened up, private sector spaceflight has been encouraged...

Obama's got his warts, all right -- constitutionally speaking, the man seems to be insane -- but on the scale of making life worse for all of us, he's done nothing even close, singly or in aggregate, to measuring up to the Bush/Cheney administration's insults to the body politic.

about an hour ago
top

HP Introduces Sub-$100 Windows Tablet

fyngyrz Re:No touchscreen by default (127 comments)

That's kind of funny, actually. Wonder what genius thought there was a usable market segment for a tablet without a touchscreen?

3 hours ago
top

Matchstick and Mozilla Take On Google's Chromecast With $25 Firefox OS Dongle

fyngyrz Some pi with that? (72 comments)

Just wish it had some level of IR control in addition to wifi.

Consider a Raspberry Pi B+. You can add IR (or bluetooth), it's full HD, has four USB so you can add WiFi and other stuff, has a camera interface, there's a media player configuration to fool with right out of the (NOOBS) box, Youtube et al are all available over the web, etc... and it's pretty easy to move, too. HDMI cable, power supply, that's all. Presuming you've an IR or bluetooth remote working with it.

And it's all about as open -- hardware and software -- as most stuff tends to get, which is handy if you want to get all hammer and tongs on it.

3 hours ago
top

CEO of Spyware Maker Arrested For Enabling Stalkers

fyngyrz Re:What about legitimate uses? (181 comments)

in newbamamerica, you have no rights or freedoms.

If you think even for a *second* that this would not have happened during the prior administrations, or that the majority of damage to your freedoms had not already been done prior to Obama's terms, you really should see someone about that brain tumor, because it's made you into a flaming idiot.

yesterday
top

CEO of Spyware Maker Arrested For Enabling Stalkers

fyngyrz Re:I bet the NSA offers him a job (181 comments)

I bet the NSA has had this, and more than this, for many years, and will only see to it that this fellow is stomped into mush.

yesterday
top

CEO of Spyware Maker Arrested For Enabling Stalkers

fyngyrz Obvious answer (181 comments)

That'd be the American public you're asking about.

When congress decided to shove the PATRIOT act up everyone's colon, lubricated only by a healthy dose of TSA, all the American public did was enquire how far they should bend over. They're still bent over. The majority likes it that way. Because fear. Unreasonable, agit-prop and ignorance based fear.

yesterday
top

The Physics of Space Battles

fyngyrz Re:It seems to me... (427 comments)

...are you assuming sequential scans are orbits apart? That's not a reasonable limit. Heck, we don't even have that limit today on an *orbiting* sat, much less a geostationary one. ...rocks don't move continuously down the center of valleys, and this would have been quite visible.

2 days ago
top

The Physics of Space Battles

fyngyrz Re: It seems to me... (427 comments)

No problem. *I* didn't remember the lava tubes, so we're even. :)

2 days ago
top

Yahoo Shuttering Its Web Directory

fyngyrz Re:Unreliable sources (115 comments)

Google's page rank algorithm goes a long way to mitigate that by tracking how many links refer to a given site

No. Popularity is a horrible indicator of usefulness, and/or accuracy and/or value. A well curated directory, on the other hand, can be all wheat, no chaff. Unfortunately, no well-curated directory exists.

2 days ago
top

The Physics of Space Battles

fyngyrz Re:It seems to me... (427 comments)

I will read a good comic.

However, I wouldn't touch Cheetos with your mouth. I consider NY style pizza to be the optimum way to consume cheese, and should there be a need to do so, you may rest assured that is exactly how I will handle the matter.

2 days ago
top

The Physics of Space Battles

fyngyrz Re:It seems to me... (427 comments)

Yes and no. Yes, right now, as far as we know. Hints otherwise, however, do exist. Further, apparently, space -- being nothing -- can expand and contract much faster than the speed of light (see most cosmological theories), and since the distance from here to there in astronomical terms is essentially created by space... it may be that the speed of light is constant, but the space it travels though, isn't.

Also, we may discover something else. I'm perfectly ok with not being certain; I think assigning absolute certainty to things is a losing game, frankly. In the interim, I enjoy a good story. What I think is a good story is, of course, colored by my opinions, just as everyone's is.

2 days ago
top

The Physics of Space Battles

fyngyrz Re:It seems to me... (427 comments)

Why would it hurt a spaceship to hit an inertialess object? lol

Try harder.

2 days ago
top

The Physics of Space Battles

fyngyrz Re: It seems to me... (427 comments)

The objection is that they would have been picked up while moving under also-moving cover.

Subtractive imaging shows both objects that are gone, and objects that are new. You just use the absolute value of the result.

Essentially, for a thresholded image, it's:

abs(1-0) = 1 // object has moved away between images
abs(0-1) = 1 // object has arrived between images
abs(1-1) = 0 // nothing has changed
abs(0-0) = 0 // nothing has changed

Image polarity, greyscale, color, bilevel and so on make it a little more complex, but only a little.

In English, if you absolute subtract two aligned images of the same region, everything that is the same goes to zero. Anything else shows up as a brighter spot. The bottom line is, you can't hide something moving unless a satellite imaging system can't see it at all. Not the case with large rocks, I'm afraid.

2 days ago
top

The Physics of Space Battles

fyngyrz It seems to me... (427 comments)

If you're going to swallow the idea of FTL drives, tractor beams and shields -- among other things -- then it's not really that much of a stretch to swallow the idea of inertial control, too. Which would make such battles not resemble a game of asteroids at all.

As for sound, presuming your vehicle maintains atmospheric integrity, you'd hear anything that causes the the craft's atmosphere to be jolted into motion. Debris hitting your vehicle, the stress caused by a sealed compartment being ruptured, people screaming when they get fried, crushed or otherwise insulted as a consequence of direct or indirect battle damage or loss of, for instance, inertial damping, equipment failures and power supplies having problems. You would also hear something if a force field of any kind was imposed upon your vehicle in such a way as to deliver any kind of uncompensated-for energy in mechanically coupled framework(s) producing direct or indirect vibrations in the audio range. And furthermore , presuming a ship has sensors to detect things like the energy outputs of other vehicles as they maneuver, seems to me that converting that to audio as a handy sound cue/warning would be hardly any trick at all. Just as one example.

Likewise, perhaps *we* can't focus a laser today, but that's not an inherent limitation of lasers even by today's known physics, that's a limitation of our technology, so that objection is kind of dead on the doorstep, so to speak. Not that a visible future beam weapon is necessarily carrying its punch in the form of light anyway. Could be just a side effect, or an aiming aid. This is the future, we're talking an imaginary scenario resulting from science and technology we don't presently have and so may speculate upon (using current knowledge... pretty boring... we can barely get off the planet's surface, much less engage in space battles... that's why most SF has at least a few pure fantasy elements in it.)

And along the lines of what we accept and what we don't, if you are blase' about the idea of a magic camera floating around your space battle and instantly changing perspective from A to B to C, perhaps it's just a little bit silly to complain about, for instance, a whoosh, or what "lasers" can do. That's entirely outside of what might be realistic in terms of what the movies subjects are up to.

So yeah, it's ok to think, but don't let someone else do your thinking for you. If there are space battles as depicted in most SF(fantasy) movies, the rules as we know them right now have long since been trashed, so there doesn't really seem to be any reason to worry about it.

All of the above is why I can really enjoy Star Wars, Firefly, Trek, etc, btw. Even though I'm fairly well grounded in how we think things work at present.

I have more trouble with obvious errors that don't take into account technologies we already have. For instance, in Red Mars, some of the characters "hide" from satellite surveillance by moving over long distances in a large hollow rock (or perhaps a thing that looks like I rock, I forget), something we would spot in an instant *today* by the simple expedient of image subtraction; Take two shots under the same or similar conditions but separated by time, align them, and subtract them. Everything that's in the same place turns to black; anything that has moved will be bright. This is *trivial* surveillance technology, and has been in use since *at least* the 1970's. And the kicker is this would work even better on Mars than it does here -- thinner atmosphere. Caused me a few snickers, that one did.

2 days ago
top

Artificial General Intelligence That Plays Video Games: How Did DeepMind Do It?

fyngyrz Re:Opensource remake (88 comments)

Peal/Python - A toy AI doesn't need to be fast...

I remember Peal... from Bell Labs, right? Yeah, I thought it rang a bell.

4 days ago
top

Artificial General Intelligence That Plays Video Games: How Did DeepMind Do It?

fyngyrz Re:Opensource remake (88 comments)

I remember having to code an AI solution to the Wolf-Goat-Cabbage Problem and the Missionaries/Cannibals Problem.

Me, too. No, wait... that was the Minestrone / Cannabis problem. My bad. I did solve it, though. Ate every damn bit of that minestrone. I think I found some old popcorn under the sofa seats, too. Don't exactly remember.

4 days ago
top

"Big Bang Signal" Could All Be Dust

fyngyrz Re:Cue "All we are is dust in the wind" (133 comments)

You're completely missing my point. Probably because you didn't read the thread, so you're not aware that my argument is that the idea that "something came from nothing" is specious.

I didn't say THE universe, I said A universe. I've no problem with a quantum fluctuation (or any other universe-creating mechanism) in SOMETHING ELSE or OUTSIDE or PREVIOUSLY EXISTING creating our universe. That's not at all the same as our universe being created from nothing, and it's completely misdescribed when someone says it that way.

My entry into the thread was to debunk the idea that "goddidit", and nothing else. There was an attempt to use thermodynamics to show that "goddidit", that's all.

In summary, there's no evidence that "creation from nothing" was required, because we don't have any evidence, or physics tools that will work, for what went on that far back. The presentation of "quantum fluctuations in something else" precisely makes my point: if the universe came into being (wasn't always there) then the universe still had a cause that doesn't require a mythological explanation. Common sense tells us that causation continues in some form until a level of "it was always there" is reached. If "always" is the correct dimensional term, which it very well might not be, though it may make no practical difference to us.

I can put it this way, too: Anything that was "caused" had a preceding mechanism operating in some kind of reality capable of supporting that cause. Until causes are traced back to something that was always there, again with the caveat about dimensionality. And yet, we may not have been caused at all -- the "was always here" may stop right on our own doorstep, so to speak. We just don't know.

Anyway, there is zero evidence supporting the idea of a god or gods.

Fini.

5 days ago
top

"Big Bang Signal" Could All Be Dust

fyngyrz Re:Where's the red button? (133 comments)

Whoever downmodded that, you just lost your geek card. :)

about a week ago
top

"Big Bang Signal" Could All Be Dust

fyngyrz Re:Cue "All we are is dust in the wind" (133 comments)

It is possible to create a universe from nothing. What you do is borrow energy from a quantum fluctuation.

No. You can't have a quantum fluctuation when there is nothing to have a quantum fluctuation in. Your assertion requires the pre-existance of a universe in the first place.

about a week ago

Submissions

top

RRAM poses challenge to FLASH memory market

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  about a year ago

fyngyrz (762201) writes "RRAM, a long-awaited alternative to other memory technologies that can retain data while powered down, has finally reached manufacturing. With higher data density, 3D stacking on chip (not chip-on-chip, but layer-on layer), lower power, more longevity, RRAM seems poised to drive electronic storage considerably forward. If initial designs use the current interfaces, we could see some immediate performance gains (RRAM is quite a bit faster than flash) as well as increased data capacities. Of course, no one needs more than... oh, never mind."
Link to Original Source
top

Samsung releases source code for NX300 and NX2000 mirrorless cameras

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  about a year ago

fyngyrz (762201) writes "There are already powerful third-party software mods for cameras such as magic lantern, but as far as I know, they're all reverse-engineering efforts, and have been somewhat hamstrung because of that. Samsung, in offering the source code to these two cameras, may have tapped a golden vein. I'm a Canon user, but upon learning this, I immediately began to consider Samsung as a 2nd camera."
Link to Original Source
top

Twitter sells two years of user data, tweets

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 2 years ago

fyngyrz writes "Thought those tweets had settled back into anonymity, or that they weren't being kept for long? Ooops. Turns out that Twitter has sold a huge database of several years tweets to a marketing company, which in turn has quite a list of customers ready to data-mine the trove of remarks about, well, everything."
Link to Original Source
top

FAA Bill Authorizes Surveillance Drones over US

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 2 years ago

fyngyrz writes "Congress passed a bill this week that makes it easier for the government to fly unmanned spy planes in U.S. airspace. One wonders if those gentle souls who find it so entertaining to shoot road signs will enjoy this intriguing new opportunity."
Link to Original Source
top

Time Travel in our lifetimes?

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 2 years ago

fyngyrz writes "If space travel is the final frontier, then what is time travel?

Einstein showed that mass and energy are the same thing. The time machine we’ve designed uses light in the form of circulating lasers to warp or loop time.

In Einstein’s theory it turns out that not only matter such as the Earth can create gravity but also light. It is the energy of light that creates gravity. Consequently, since time is affected by gravity and light can create gravity due to its energy then light can also affect time."

Link to Original Source
top

Legal Tender? Maybe not.

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 2 years ago

fyngyrz writes "Lousiana has passed a bill that says people may no longer use cash for second hand transactions. The idea being to make all transactions traceable, thus foiling copper theft, etc. This move has profound implications that range from constitutional rights to bitcoin, Craigslist and so forth; I wonder if there are any slashdotters at all that support such a move."
Link to Original Source
top

Costdom of Speech

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 4 years ago

fyngyrz (762201) writes "Philadelphia decides that bloggers must pay $300 for a "license." Again, government, this time at a city level, interprets "shall make no law" as "hey, boys, let's make a law!" The first — and the fourteenth — amendment specifically say this is not allowable government behavior."
Link to Original Source
top

In THIS house... FTL fields and currents. Really!

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 4 years ago

fyngyrz (762201) writes "So you think of electrons like dominoes in a wire. Push on the one in the end, the others react one after another. Pretty vanilla physics. Further, because the electrons are moving, you get magnetic effects, radio, etc. Good stuff. So. What if you move all the "dominos" at once? Put your virtual hand on all of them, and push them over. They're not moving sequentially any longer. They move together. At any speed you can make them go. Well, that's what these researchers are doing — "pushing" all along a conductor at once, able to make a signal go — ready? — FTL. Fascinating stuff. And it may explain pulsars."
Link to Original Source
top

Copyright sure... but what about "feel"?

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 6 years ago

fyngyrz writes "After securing copyright permission to use the Romantic's song "What I Like About You", the publisher of the game "Guitar Hero" is being sued by the band because "the company has infringed the group's right to its own image and likeness" because the cover song is so similar to the original version.

They're seeking an injunction against the game, which could do some real sales damage during the holiday season if granted.

Now, speaking as a musician, I'm right with the program when people say copyright is flawed, but... has this band fallen off the edge here?"

Link to Original Source
top

Climate change science; taking a closer look.

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 6 years ago

fyngyrz writes "Climate change, global warming. Done deal, right? Not so fast:

A study has been submitted for publication in the journal Energy and Environment which actually looks at the level of support in the scientific community. From the results: "Of 528 total papers on climate change, only 38 (7%) gave an explicit endorsement of the consensus. If one considers "implicit" endorsement (accepting the consensus without explicit statement), the figure rises to 45%. However, while only 32 papers (6%) reject the consensus outright, the largest category (48%) are neutral papers, refusing to either accept or reject the hypothesis." It is very interesting to see how neutral (and properly so!) the scientific community actually remains when it comes to anthropocentric global warming.

Are we seeing the pendulum swing back to a rational position?"

Link to Original Source
top

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

fyngyrz writes "As always, there are rumbles of discontent from the scientific community with regard to global warming. This article from R. Timothy Patterson, professor and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre, Department of Earth Sciences, Carleton University, lays the overriding mechanism of climate change squarely at the feet of the various solar cycles. In the article, he explains that solar energy impacting the earth is part of the mechanism, while the sun's solar wind drives cloud formation in a complementary cycle that enhances the effect of the actual heat input. But that's not the kicker. The interesting part is he is predicting global cooling, rather than warming."
Link to Original Source
top

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

fyngyrz writes "Looks like Mars is warming just as fast as we are. Unfortunately, it's a little more difficult to whip the public into a frenzy of guilt over emissions when even the most daft rank and file citizen will figure out that our CO2 excess doesn't make it to Mars under any circumstances, and so the discovery doesn't bode well for the CO2 alarmists.

Looks like we might be back to terrorists, panicking over each others morals, and legislating personal choices for the entertainment of the day."

Journals

top

Why no recent journal entries?

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Because I have a blog at http://fyngyrz.com/.

It kind of makes the whole journal thing redundant. If you really want to see what I have to say about random things, by all means, you're invited to the blog. If not, well, it seems you're in substantial company, if nothing else. :)

top

One of those poignant losses

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 6 years ago

18th October, 2007, we lost a dear old friend, a (mostly) Siamese cat yclept "Gwai-loh." Gwai was quite vocal, as are many Siamese; he also had some strange characteristics, for instance you could hold him upside-down on the ceiling and he would walk around - inverted - for as long as you were willing to hold him up there. For years, we kept him around the office, and he had a habit of coming up for affection when whoever he was approaching was on the phone. So he'd come up to you, get right up to your face (and the phone) and let loose with a really loud meow. Which you would then have to explain to the customer. One time I was on the phone with a rather famous Hollywood special effects dude when Gwai let loose with this, we had a good laugh over it. Eventually, we put up a web page on our site with a .wav of Gwai's signature meow, and a picture of him staring at a screensaver on a ginormous (for the time) monitor. A surprising amount of the code in WinImages was written with Gwai warm and settled either in my lap or across my arms.

Well, eventually, the old boy's liver failed, and I put out a rather startling amount of money to see if we could get around that, and amazingly enough, it worked. We got two more years of Gwai, all of it of quite high quality, before he finally laid down for the last time. His last couple of days were spent purring and head bumping while all the while refusing to eat or drink... finally, he just didn't wake up.

I miss him terribly. Sometimes it hits me right between the eyes and I can't even think straight. I can't dig over a decade and a half of unconditional love and affection out of my system with any amount of rationalization or any other flavor of self-bullshittery. Here's to my grizzled old friend. I only hope he knew how much I loved him in return.

top

Mouseovers - as bad as popups?

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Is anyone else as annoyed as I am by words and phrases in web articles that pop up boxes because my mouse pointer happened to cross them, temporarily hiding the content I was reading in the first place? I didn't click on anything, and consequently, I don't want a context change. I find these annoying to the point of noting what the site is and not going back. Anyone else feel the same? Anyone have a defense of the practice?

I went to this article today to read it in response to a slashdot posting, and managed to accidentally activate the wireless mouseover / popup as I was reading. Bam. Content hidden, thought stream interrupted. Isn't this essentially popups, revisited?

top

Cold War, Version II

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  about 7 years ago

So I wake up this morning, and Putin has dissolved his government.

Then, same morning, Russia announces a bomb with nuclear-level destructive capability. But they say they're not escalating.

Then, later the same day, the US announces they have a matter-antimatter (proton/positron) annihilation laser, which, they say, is to normal lasers as nuclear weapons are to normal bombs.

At the same time, Bush, old "We'll never pull 'em out", is about to announce a troop pullback in Iraq.

Oil's hovering around $80 a barrel. The dollar is in the outhouse, and we've basically had many of our civil rights eliminated or made irrelevant.

Did I miss something here?

top

More on Global Temperature Change

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

As always, there are rumbles of discontent from the scientific community with regard to global warming. This article (vile email registration required) from R. Timothy Patterson, professor and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre, Department of Earth Sciences, Carleton University, lays the overriding mechanism of climate change squarely at the feet of the various solar cycles. In the article, he explains that solar energy impacting the earth is part of the mechanism, while the sun's solar wind drives cloud formation in a complementary cycle that enhances the effect of the actual heat input. But that's not the kicker. The interesting part is he is predicting global cooling, rather than warming.

But wait; there's more. This months Discover Magazine (print version also) has a lengthy article about this same mechanism, that is, cloud formation driving the climate and the sun driving cloud formation by way of modulating the effect cosmic rays have, by Henrik Svensmark, the 49-year-old director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen.

Svensmark says that we are in a warming trend, so his conclusions are at odds with those of Patterson; but they both agree that CO2 isn't nearly the looming threat that it has been made out to be with regard to climate change.

top

Montana surprises us again, this time on Eminent Domain

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Recently, Montana legislators made news when they passed legislation outlawing Real-ID, calling it a threat to privacy and liberty. Now, legislation making the taking of property by eminent domain for the purposes of increasing tax revenues illegal has been passed and signed into law by Montana's governor. For more on why this is a serious issue, check out the Supreme Court's "Kelo" decision, named after a Connecticut woman who (unsuccessfully) fought to keep her home from city plans to arbitrarily take it and subsequently turn it over to private developers with the objective of collecting higher tax revenues from the property.

Montana has a 2% unemployment rate at present, and maintains a balanced budget, something the feds might want to give some consideration to. I have to say that although I am typically very cynical about government, and although Montana has made some very serious mis-steps in terms of liberties in the last few decades, the state seems more interested in doing the right thing than the wrong thing at this point in time, and I am feeling very pleased with my representatives right now as a long-time resident.

top

Has Apple made a costly miss-step?

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

With the recent news about cellphone activity allegedly being the underlying cause for the sudden loss of large numbers of bees, an insect that forges an absolutely critical and irreplaceable part of the food chain, is Apple's iPhone doomed to enter the market just as cell phones face severe clampdowns, or even wholesale replacement?

Cell phones operate at microwave frequencies for a pretty good reason; basically, microwaves enable small equipment. They also do a decent job of penetrating many types of structures, if not through the walls, then at least through the windows. However, there are other frequencies available, lower frequencies that have been busy for many decades without any significant observed effect on bees or other life. People already understand how useful cell phones are, and there are manufacturers with significant experience in VHF radio, to name one technically possible replacement band — so an interesting market shake-up is certainly feasible. Excellent VHF transceivers are marketed by amateur radio manufacturers, for example.

Normally, we would assume that an established, profitable market similar to the cellphone market would be stable and have a long, healthy life expectancy based on the functionality offered to the market. However, if the bees go, we will too - and that, ladies and gentleman, is an outcome that not even Steve Job's legendary reality distortion field can deal with.

Perhaps Apple should get back to working on OSX, and forget the iPhone. I have this nagging feeling that the iPhone is going to be this year's "politically incorrect" device. I know I've stopped using my cellphone for anything but emergency calls; how about you? Seen any bees lately?

top

My Mac finally crashed.

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

I bought my daily-driver Mac, a mini, pretty much when the PowerPC mini was released. I was tempted beyond belief by that form factor, and the price. I loaded it; a gig of ram, bluetooth, wifi, modem, big drive (for the day), the superdrive, and so forth. I bought every option because the more that was jammed into the box, the more I liked the form factor. I know it's a little weird, but there you have it.

Since then, I've used the little box daily, for just about everything. It's been powered up since I bought it (thanks to a UPS.) This year, a couple of months ago, I bought a Mac laptop - a top of the line 17" Mac Pro - but I still use the mini every day. I've rebooted the mini many times, almost always in response to an Apple upgrade or security modification, once when I went from 10.3 to 10.4, never as an attempt to fix a problem. I've never had any problems of that kind, frankly.

Today, without any particular warning, my Mac dimmed the screen, locked my mouse and keyboard, popped a black rectangle up which informed me in no uncertain terms that I needed to reboot. Now. I lost a long post I had been writing for Kuro5hin.org, and I failed to even reach the level of being annoyed about that because it was just so astonishing to me that the mini had actually - gulp - crashed.

I just want to say that I hadn't even realized that my expectations had been silently and sneakily leveraged to be so astonishingly high. After years of being screwed with, and over, by Microsoft operating systems, I no longer expect that an OS should, or will, crash. Massive kudos to Apple.

...and my little PPC mini came right back up, and yes, I'm using it right now, and I still don't expect it to crash. :) I was using a beta version of a web browser and my guess is it was just a little too beta.

top

Best slashdot comment ever encountered

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 9 years ago Best slashdot comment, ever:

Russia's Biggest Spammer Brutally Murdered

Posted by timothy on Monday July 25, @11:48AM
from the but-what's-the-motive-detective-columbo? dept.
Karellen !-P writes "Vardan Kushnir, a notorious russian spammer who headed the English learning centers, the Center for American English, the New York English Centre and the Centre for Spoken English, was found dead in his Moscow apartment on Sunday, Interfax reported Monday. He died after suffering repeated blows to the head."
----------------------------------------
Should have opted out. (Score:5, Funny)
by Tackhead (54550) on Monday July 25, @11:54AM
(#13157866)
> He died after suffering repeated blows to the head.
From a hidden microphone at the scene of the murder:

"You are receiving *WHAM* this blow to the head *WHAM* because you are part of a *WHAM* specially-selected list of *WHAM* people who agreed to receive *WHAM* blows to the head *WHAM*.

To stop *WHAM* receiving these *WHAM* blows to the head, please *WHAM* email us at no-more-please@optout.blowtothehead. com and *WHAM* we will remove you from our list of *WHAM* blow-to-the-head-club members *WHAM* (heh, we said "club"!) *WHAM* within 24 to 48 hours.

top

Slashdot needs some fixes

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 9 years ago Slashdot is fun and useful and all, but there are some pretty annoying problems with the site. They constantly come up in an "off topic" manner, and consequently get (sort-of) appropriately modded down - this journal submission is intended to give them a legitimate home. I submitted it as a story, but - of course - it was rejected.

These are the things that seem most obvious to me, but I am sure there are others, given how annoying the issues I have in mind are to me. Please feel free to add your thoughts to all this, shoot my ideas down, whatever.

Moderation is anonymous

I say this is a Very Bad Thing. You can compare this to Kuro5hin, where you can easily see who did what to whom. Moderation with accountability allows anyone to see when a vendetta is being pursued, or when someone is systematically modding a subject down because they disagree, rather than because the issue is actually off-topic, a flame and so forth. I cannot begin to count the number of comments I have seen that have been modded down because they were contraversial, as opposed to offtopic, flamebait, or whatever else the down-mod claimed they were. The site's editors are also anonymous and that provides a hidden power structure which isn't a particularly good thing in any venue. I have read multiple claims that this poster or that poster cannot get mod points "because they modded something [a slashdot luminary] posted some time ago." If this is an illusion, exposing who did what to whom will in turn expose the illusion. If it is not an illusion, then exposing what happened should reduce the problem, because such action would rightfully be condemned by readers if it is inappropriate. I find the idea that the site's editors might be sneaking around and quietly muzzling moderators in a punitive manner more than a little disturbing.

So my first suggestion here is simply to lose moderation anonymity. My second is that if and when mod capability is removed from a user, the date of, and reason for, that action be posted right in their user page.

Many - perhaps even most - down mods are punitive or inappropriate

I suggest that the meta-moderation process be adjusted to include the ability to flag down-mods as obviously inappropriate, and to remove moderation privileges from those who commit such down-mods, as well as the down-mods themselves.

Up-mods don't need metamoderation

I suggest the outright removal of metamoderation of up-mods; if someone considers something interesting (or whatever) positive characteristic, who are we to say that this isn't so? That's the moderator's take on the comment, and up-moderation is a (very limited) opportunity for a moderator to "uplift" the story to the rest of us based on that perception. Upmods aren't harmful the way down-mods are - quite the contrary - and it seems to me to be a complete waste of time to metamoderate upmods for that very reason.

With mod points so scarce (and I agree they should be) we are forced to pick the things we really appreciate to up-mod. I rarely see an honest need to down-mod (obvious "first post" and gay/nigger trolls excepted), but I simply do not see a need to counter an up-mod. Someone thinks this, that or the other thing is insightful or interesting or sexy or whatever? Ok, that's at least notable - and that is exactly what an up-moderated and hence higher point comment does, it becomes more notable - not more interesting, not more insightful, but more notable. It might not actually seem that the applied moderation is accurate to us on reading the modded comment, but it is interesting that so-and-so (or at least "someone", if moderator anonymity remains preserved) thought it was worthy of a mod point. Comments can argue the issue if a poster is so motivated, and that seems like plenty of recourse to me. We see this all the time anyway; why not simply make it the official means of argument with an upmod?

Metamoderation is a scarce resource - put it where it does the most good

The removal of up-mod metamoderation could allow multiple meta-moderation of down-mods so that a reasonable, multi-user consensus that a down-mod is innapropriate can be reached. It seems to me that it should not be a light thing to say that someone is abusing the moderation system; you want to be reasonably certain. A meta objection to a down mod should cause that down-mod to immediately rear its ugly little head in a bunch of other meta-moderation queues so that consensus can be reached - and then corrective action taken if the mod is widely deemed inappropriate. This last point is important: It is a real shame that reasonable posts are permanently lost to the default view because some moderator was being a twit.

Fix the comment point system

There are several things wrong with this area of the site. The first is simply exposure, like authorship of moderation. Anyone who looks at the summary of points in a profile and tries to figure out what happened to a heavily moderated comment in a story is doomed to failure. It's Byzantine at best, and opaque and threatening at worst. Expose it.

Next, The math behind up/down mods is bizarre, to say the least. At a minimum, fix it so it is linear; or if not, then at least expose each and every mod point and show what it did to the story (along with the inflicting member - again, see Kuro5hin for a nice example of how this should be done.) Of course, if only this is done, an outcry will probably arise to fix the math, for the obvious reasons. :)

Expand the moderation choices

I have also seen lots of very good suggestions for additional moderation reasons. I'd like to see the readership discuss that here and perhaps a poll be subsequently created to see which new moderations should actually be added.

Story submission is entirely in italics

How is one expected to visually check the HTML of a story if the story preview enforces italics for the entire body? Why not use dark blue on white, and let italics flow according to the story tags so we can actually see what we're writing? You know, that radical new concept, "WYSIWYG"?

Sign the Polls

Stories are signed so we know who to thank (or blame) for the story. Sign the polls too. As I write this, there is a poll up for "favorite writing instrument" and the poll fails to include "keyboard" as an option. Somebody should have some digital egg on their face for that one. Maybe accountability will result in better quality polls. One can hope, anyway!

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?