Too smart for your own good
Is excess intelligence for your social situation a disability? Discuss.
Mobile Slashdot is annoying
Yeah, I get it - you have to serve mobile kids too. I don't like that interface. Have been using classic on Android since I got it. I browse logged in. There should be configuration preference for "never show me the mobile site again".
Backblaze Box 3.0
Apparently Backblaze has a third generation box out. Backblaze is a provider of online backup who has a fixed fee "all you can eat" price structure. Because of this they have to minimize the cost of providing their huge storage needs. They designed a 4U server to hold 45 drives some years ago and open sourced it. Netflix uses the design now for their CDN. Since then Backblaze has improved it some and it has been reported here.
Now there's a site where you can buy them for retail, and there's a new version out. If you want to put 180TB raw into 4U, there is no more efficient way to do it.
It's about the people, stupid
In Star Trek they have a great deal of amazing technologies. Warp drive, transporters, phasers, replicators, lots of cool stuff. Some of these things have been realized at least partially with technology. Tech people love Star Trek mostly, and adore the tech. Some think that this is what Star Trek is about. This technology stuff is what makes Star Trek science fiction. This is not what Star Trek â" nor any popular fiction â" is about.
The tech in Star Trek has almost never been the story, and certainly never in a good episode. The tech is a method where the storyteller sets his story in a place just different enough from the current day that the audience can view the story objectively rather than subjectively. It is a prop. With this diversion the moral play becomes not a threat to the viewer's established prejudices because it happened in a mythical place far away in space and time, opening the viewer to alter their prejudices and experience (pleasurable) personal growth. Every Star Trek show is a moral play showing conflicts arising between people, and how they resolved them. It is about educating people about conflict resolution and ethical behavior. This and only this is why we watch. Roddenberry was shameless in re-telling all of the basic stories of the past in his postmodern future â" even Aesop's fables and Shakespeare. It's about the people because how people engage with other people is what we, as humans, connect with on an emotional level. That is what makes it a good story.
In the technology world we focus on the widget. What its gigawhats and megathings are relative to the one that came before. How many FPS it gets on TradeBench. This is entirely the wrong approach. The technology world is not about gigawhats. It's about people. People who have wants and needs, aspirations and dreams. To a certain extent we acknowledge this in the marketing department where the people who sell the stuff we make live and bring the money that buys our sweet engineering gear. Marketing understands this is how you sell things: You associate the thing in the customer's mind with a greater affinity with his family, the public, the world â" you empower and enable him to do what he needs or wants to do, to be important, or at least convince him you will, and he gives you his money.
Somehow a one-way conceptual firewall has been built between engineering and marketing where this idea cannot pass back to the people who invent stuff. Engineering doesn't respect marketing, and is living in its own Star Trek world where they invent ever more widgets they think are really cool and then fling them through the Barrier to Marketing to make of them what they can.
If you start instead at âoewhat do people really want and needâ and build that you don't need marketing much at all. People will beat down your door to get it once they know you have it. Make it your engineering goal to understand what people want and need at a basic human level, and focus on inventing stuff around enabling and empowering them to have that.
So what do people want and need? After air, food and shelter they want to connect with their fellow humans, to share and partake of sharing of each others' lives. This is why Facebook and Twitter are so huge. They want to relax and enjoy life, and enjoy songs and stories â" so, Netflix and Pandora. They want fame and recognition, so: Facebook and Twitter. Notice Facebook doesn't have a âoedislikeâ button? Know why that is? Because the fear of negative feedback would ruin the sharing experience by including the risk of rejection. They want love without fear. Give them that and they are yours.
Of all the achievements I've managed in my /. time, this one has escaped me: the moderation of +5 Troll. I believe this rare goal has been achieved, and would like a link to the incident.
I'm starting to detect some deviation from the former regime. Posts are no longer as controversial. My comments are not moderated as frequently - or at all. The front page is not as timely. There's a chance my idle maunderings don't even appear to most folk. The 16 hour outage of Hotmail and such remain unreported here. Something is amiss.
It may be time to take my leave of /. It was a long wonderful run but when it's over, it's over.
The Heymann Petition has met its quota
The US Attorney Carmen Ortiz and the professional prosecutor Steve Heymann both have petitions on the whitehouse "we the people" site calling for their termination in the wake of the Aaron Swartz scandal. The Ortiz petition was filled almost immediately, but the Heymann petition took longer. Today the Heymann petition is also filled.
The whitehouse has promised to give a response to petitions which meet these thresholds. Now we will find out what the response will be, and what the reaction to that response will be.
Aaron Swartz: Steve Heymann needs to go too
There are plenty of signatures on the Whitehouse petition to fire US Attorney Carmen Ortiz but she's just a politician. The frontline prosecutor who drove this case was Steve Heymann. He needs to go too, but his petition isn't trending to enough votes to get it done. We need to be rid of him too.
So do your part and do him in: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/fire-assistant-us-attorney-steve-heymann/RJKSY2nb
Is it a decade already?
Just got notified that it's been 10 years since I created this /. account. Had a prior account long since lost, and lurked for a while before that. But wow. 10 years. Nerd world has changed a lot in 10 years. Should do a retrospective.
Her name is Carmen Ortiz
The prosecutor who hounded Aaron Swartz to death, impoverishing his family and guaranteeing he would spend the rest of his natural days in federal prison because they had not enough to defend him properly: her name is Carmen Ortiz. She is the one who would do this to him - not for killing somebody, or stealing something, but for accessing information he was entitled to access manually in an automated way. Building scripts was his crime. Carmen Ortiz was his prosecutor. She killed him.
Windows 8 falls behind Vista adoption pace at month 2
Computerworld's Gregg Keizer reports that based on NetApplications current adoption statistics for Windows 8, the operating system is not achieving market share as fast as Windows Vista. At the 2 month point Vista was at 2.2% of all Windows devices. 2 months past Launch Windows 8 has achieved a share of only 1.6%. In a related note, Fujitsu President Masami Yamamoto has joined the chorus of PC OEM executives complaining of poor sales. Pointedly Yamamoto blames Windows 8 for Fujitsu missing their annual projected sales targets.
voicefive.com is Comscore tracking
The voicefive.com script that's taking forever to load on slashdot these days is used for usage tracking. It's harmless. But the server is so overloaded that it's taking pages forever to load.
Making the turn
It's time to talk about the hard turn.
Change has been in the wind for a while now. The times, they are a-changing. We are going mobile. Windows PCs undersell mobile devices now by a rate of 1:2, and the change is logarithmic. This isn't some fad: real change is happening.
Some have read the weather well. Samsung especially, but Acer, Asus, Philips, Sony and Lenovo too. HP and Dell, not so much.
We're entering a new world now, that doesn't have legacy bindings holding us back. Let us make the most of it.
The $100 Android tablet
In the run up to Santa season I see dozens of 7-9" Android tablets in the retail market with Android 4.0, capacitive touch screen and decent performance. A lot of them now marked "sold out". I think it's amazing that so much technology can be made so cheaply in such a small package. This is awesome.
Intel, AMD "Windows only" chips are about software patents
Both Intel and AMD came out last week with chips that are focused on "Windows 8 first" and don't even pretend to be openly documented or available to all. That both would so suddenly reverse course on being open was a surprise. There are good reasons why Microsoft needs advanced access to integrate their software with innovative new processor technologies, and why AMD and Intel might be persuaded to cooperate. Together they are defending the "Wintel PC" ecosystem against the world's largest corporation by market capitalization, Apple, who is engaging in "vertical integration" by designing software and processor and other platform technologies together in a way that optimally balances the tradeoffs between what hardware best does and software best does. That is powerful leverage. But for Intel and AMD - and you and I - this is a trap and the consequences of this solution are dire.
It's about software patents. By Microsoft convincing Intel and AMD to focus on Windows only for the launch of these new power technologies, to secretly work with Microsoft on development, Microsoft get a jump start on the software patents. While the hardware interface is obfuscated Microsoft has six months to a year to file for patents on every possible software use of the hardware interfaces they can think of to use it. You can bet they're churning out patents by the hundred as I type this on things anybody reading the plain specifications would find obvious but the patent office will not. Microsoft will own utterly all the software uses of this hardware innovation, and by extension prevent all progress it enables that Microsoft does not control. Because of the ridiculous way patents work, this hands Microsoft complete control not only of these innovations but the entire systems which use them, of which they compose only a miniscule part.
Then when the facilities are openly documented and the open systems come out that leverage these technologies: BAM! Software patent lawsuits out the wazoo, and the Windows monopoly is protected against competition and progress for another human generation - unless Intel and AMD are killed utterly. Much like Samsung makes the touchscreen and owns huge patents on the technology, and then Apple and Microsoft sue Samsung for making devices incorporating touchscreens because they patented software that interprets certain software implementations of swiping and tapping.
As an unintended consequence Intel and AMD -only- get to move forward if Windows moves forward since Microsoft has all the patents on using the technologies they invented. By selling Microsoft this advantage for whatever they got in return, they've mortgaged their future to a single vendor and lost their ability to compete in open systems against ARM and Android. They've sunk their own boat. They can expect that Microsoft will use that lever to best advantage against their "partners" Intel and AMD, as Microsoft never misses a trick in that regard.
Intel has announced that "future platforms" with their technology will be open to Linux. AMD has announced that "Hondo" is being retrofitted with Android. Unfortunately, it is already too late. They have been cooperating with Microsoft secretly for many months before these announcements. The first patent applications on the most obvious uses of this hard-won hardware innovation are almost certainly already filed, with more to follow.
Don't pay to make yourself a victim again. Avoid these chips and anything tainted with this technology. Make AMD and Intel start from scratch, open from the start, if they want your money. At least then the open software implementations have a fair shot at establishing free and open prior art before Microsoft's lawyers have a chance to file their stupid software patents. Only with open hardware with well-documented interfaces available from the start can progress move forward, and even then only if the people who want to do interesting useful stuff step up and publish at least one way to use it before somebody who wants to control it utterly and prevent others from using it can whip up their patent thicket applications and beat them to the patent office.
Stopped they must be; on this all depends.
I've just posted this submission.
Reddit is going dark January 19th in opposition of SOPA/PIPA.
If you like the submission, it would be nice if you helped bump it up the firehose. If you don't like it, but want to help then please submit a better article.
Slashdot has a tyrant
I adore /. for its purity of thought, its perfection of moderation that lets me see all the words writ by any who would write, even though most have little useful to say.
The egalitarianism of the moderation system is perfect in its design and execution. It's a beautiful thing. Some seven years I've read and subsumed every comment reading at -1, and learned quite more from the -1's than the +5's. Among other things I have the 2^8 days read in a row achievement, and that was just when I was logged in. You can be assured that if you've writ a comment on /. in the last seven years, it's likely I've read it. If you've been wondering if anybody bothered to read your work, rest easy.
Even though I've posted things when I was a drunk ass and would like to erase them, I appreciate that you can't take /. comments back or edit them once posted, and worked that to my advantage.
Today though, I have a different issue. Once upon a time at /. there was a particularly difficult user: twitter. Twitter's a guy. He's got issues, but he knows his shit and he's tapped into the tech vein that we crave.
/. is a good thing, but it has one thing I cannot in good conscience bear. Somebody on the /. staff has it in for the user "twitter", and unlimited modpoints such that even referencing the name "twitter" is proscribed. I'm not OK with that. twitter was an idiot sometimes, quite open about his sockpuppets, and gaming the /. system. He was also one of the most prolific posters of timely and interesting articles. Whether he was good or bad is irrelevant to me - that some moderator can transparently banish him so thoroughly that I dare not mention him for fear of being modded instantly from +5 to -1 just for mentioning him, is.
I'm an American, and this looks like prior restraint of speech to me.
I love me some /., but this is a game I won't play.
If /. can't bear the mention of twitter, maybe I should try Reddit. I hate the Redditor thing, but maybe it's better than a site that pretends to be purely open except that it can't bear "twitter". Reddit looks to me like a site more open to dissent than one that can't bear a twitter.
The +5 comments achievement
I'm really getting annoyed by the +5 comments achievement thing. A long time ago I hit 2 to the 7th +5 comments. I'm sure I've had 128 more since then. Why don't I have the 2 to the 8th achievement? Is there a cap?
The new user interface increased the difficulty level considerably, but I think I've earned that 2 to the 8th achievement and I want it NOW.
Hemos, a co-founder of slashdot.org started his new job on 8/15 as a program manager at Google. This according to his Twitter
Apple tops the S&P
Today at the close of the market Apple became the largest publicly held corporation by market capitalization. At $337.17 billion Apple's market value came to more than the prior number 1, Exxon which closed the day valued at $330.7 billion. Apple has had an amazing run up in the last few years, growing over 320% in the last 32 months. Most attribute this to the strengths of new products the iPhone and iPad, which between them account for two thirds of the company's revenues.