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Comments

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I can't submit anything !

xwwt Submit problem (1 comments)

Looking into this now. Anytime you see something wonky feel free to send along to feedback@slashdot.org. It is monitored more closely.

more than 2 years ago
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25 Years of IBM's OS/2

xwwt Re:Brings a tear to my eye (342 comments)

Agreed. The 1.1 and 1.3 versions of OS/2 were really like the Windows product. OS/2 was really stunning when we moved to 3.x and 4.0 Warp. It was still a heck of a lot easier to program for the interface using the ICLUI tool set than anything MS had at the time. I remember Borland coming out with OWL for Windows in a parallel timeframe - it tried to mimic ICLUI but was really a pain to develop with.

more than 2 years ago
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25 Years of IBM's OS/2

xwwt Re:Brings a tear to my eye (342 comments)

Funny thing happened on my way to the forum. A few years back I had to get some information out of a OS/2 help file, and had no install. I ended up downloading a copy of the OS from the internet to quickly get access - I did end up uninstalling as I had no other use for the install. Still I wonder if it is worth having a box laying around to tinker with. http://archive.org/details/OS2Warp

more than 2 years ago
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25 Years of IBM's OS/2

xwwt Brings a tear to my eye (342 comments)

I spent may hours working in the ICLUI interface building apps for OS/2. For the most part it was good at memory management, tools were mature and the interface was object oriented. I was always frustrated about the MS & IBM split on the interface and I think MS took the wrong route in getting to Windows. Had the alliance stuck around who knows what would have happened to this OS.

more than 2 years ago
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How long until the (first-world) classroom education model is obsolete?

xwwt Re:Always a niche (317 comments)

There is a fair amount of conversation and research into this practice. Most disruptive research points at the classroom of the future being "facilitated" by someone with a liberal or general education background. This would mean in K-12 setting a class room might have 20-30 terminals with students learning from on-line courseware/remote instruction while there is a general practitioner or some facilitator there to answer questions. There is a good book by Horn & Johnson on this topic, I think it is called Disrupting Class. It is a really insightful piece of work - I liked it so much I shared it with our local superintendent of schools.

I think we are already seeing distance education in higher ed heading in this direction. You don't really need to sit in a lecture hall if you can get the same info in a web cast from someone who is an expert in the subject. Cohorts can have virtual meetings and whiteboard over the internet. TAs can be available anywhere. We will see more of this transition, esp. when the education bubble hits us in the next few years. (Young adults who have gone to school b/c no work, fewer students affording education, institutions cutting costs and closing buildings, forced retirement of instructors due to budget cuts, etc.)

There is a nice little interview with Christensen, Horn and Johnson at HBS on this subject too - take a look!. http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/5978.html

more than 2 years ago
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They fixed it!!

xwwt Re:Partial Credit to Me? (4 comments)

Often times mistakes are made in porting and this one was a big miss. We thought that all the items had been covered in development but there are still some open issues with ops in some of the .pl - which we missed. We found that Apache 1.3 was processing .pl scripts differently than 2.2 processes them (fundamental differences) that was missed in the port. Should we have caught it? Yeah. There is no real excuse for the miss other than we thought we had all of these items buttoned down. The developers will be continuing to work through these as we move along.

Like a lot of light teams we rely on peer review for QC. (If you code it - you don't QC it; a buddy does that work.) We use our internal development team, editorial staff and other members of Geeknet to help in testing. (And sometimes users!) We have been working on a plan to have some automated build testing using hudson or some other automated process to help at least sanity check some key areas of the site on deploy. If you have suggestions on a tool please let me know.

I guess I can only boil it down to: a huge port that had been put off for over 5 years and we broke something - that is to be expected. Not everyone uses the ops in .pl so it doesn't get a lot of attention. As a retrospective (and we have known this is an issue) we need to spend more time on the QC process. As a second retrospective and reviewing the code around this issue, I believe some of the way ops were handled is not secure and should be reviewed.

As a side, in my past experience I have found QC/QA to be one of those things that needs to be approached as a role and not as a person. We are working to foster more of this mindset in our team. QC folks know the product inside and out and (hopefully) don't know the code. (I have found non-programmers to be better at QC.)

We do rely on our community to help us with feedback. If you see something broken, please, raise your hand. Email feedback. Let me know directly (wtapp@geek.net). When we know of an issue it goes on the list and we make decisions from week to week on what the biggest pain points are and then fix those items in addition to other work. Not everything gets addressed - some of it goes to the back burner. Often times we have to hold items because we are in the middle of a sprint. Believe me, our goal is not to reduce functionality of the site, on the contrary we want to make it functional for lots of different users (although there is a significant amount of bloat from 15 years of coding). The team moves from project to project quickly and we try to keep the lid on any issues we do know about including things users like/dislike. For instance, some of our users hate the social media icons - we get it, not everyone wants to play in that environment. Others insist on those interfaces to FB, G+ and Twitter - so we balance and try to make changes and respond so that the site is useful for all.

Please, "directly and openly bitch about" problems. The more we know about issues that the community feels strongly about the more responsive we can be to user needs. Personally I would prefer constructive criticism, if it isn't constructive I can take that too. All I ask is that you make sure I or one of the team see the issue. We don't read every comment, every day and don't want to miss something that is important. In other words, just because you post to the site doesn't mean we know there is an issue. In this instance we happened to know about this by checking Journals.

It is my goal to make sure that you and others understand that we do care about the broad community that comes to Slashdot. The development team is deeply invested in this product and does care about community. I am hoping to be able to pull some project time together for a feedback portion of the site where folks can talk about Slashdot directly and hopefully we can foster more conversation around the site (/woodshed?). We try to do our best to provide a quality site where users can come, read the news, share ideas and thoughts openly and have a little fun too.

more than 2 years ago
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Slashdot Replatforming Complete

xwwt Re:Advantages (26 comments)

Thanks for the encouragement. I think we all get to the point where we know it is a bad idea to build custom software, or to make that one tweak to a base library just to get a project done - or because we think it will make a big difference in what we are doing. My experience though, has shown that isn't really the best course of action. You get behind, priorities change, business needs change and then *BAM* you are screwed supporting some cruft and continually making patches to that "feature" you couldn't live without. I am sure there were lots of reasons for making decisions around initial architecture and subsequent changes in /., but someone has to pay the bill for bad decisions - you can only delay them for so long. It is important for us as decision makers and technical leaders (community as a whole) to help educate our business leaders about the dangers of building on custom tools on top of packages, or moding packages to meet our needs. It is a double edged sword. If we can maintain the branch and are willing to invest in the branch there is no problem - however we lose the opportunity to leverage new features and better security (and others work) when we diverge and don't keep up.

more than 2 years ago
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Slashdot Replatforming Complete

xwwt Re:Slashcode? (26 comments)

Good question. Right now I don't have a good answer. The last update was some time back in 2009 and as you pointed out hasn't been touched since. I am working on the question internally and trying to figure out why it hadn't been updated since I joined the team. I suspect it was due to available time or something but it hasn't been a super focus for the past few months with the porting effort.

more than 2 years ago
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Slashdot Replatforming Complete

xwwt Re:Advantages (26 comments)

Honestly we needed to finally get past old, outdated and some custom built software for a variety of reasons including security and stability - those were main goals. Some interesting, but not unexpected results of the move were that we gained some performance from new hardware and upgrading MySQL, but we gave some of that back in the Apache upgrade. I don't have stats on the number of changes at hand, but this was a significant move for /. and required some significant changes to configuration. We probably made some misses but will be working to make sure we stay ahead of the curve moving forward.

more than 2 years ago
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what is going on

xwwt Re:Sorry to hear of this issue (4 comments)

Any time there are issues please let us know. We try to do our best to keep the site running as well as we can.

more than 2 years ago
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Slashdot New Database

xwwt Feedback (3 comments)

Good feedback. I would like to hear more about metamod thoughts. We have this out as a task to review and have brought the idea of bringing back the old version but I would like to know specifically what you like about the old vs. the new metamod. We have also been looking at the way points are distributed. We get a lot of flack about the way points are handed out - the algorithm is somewhat complex but would like to hear your thoughts on that too.

more than 2 years ago
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Scientists Organize Elsevier Boycott

xwwt Re:Will referee? (206 comments)

What I haven't figured out (and this is an outside in view working in an aggregation business for a number of year) is why authors don't create an open publishing platform and kick companies like WK or E to the curb? It would be a simple thing to make a publishing business run for the sole purpose of review and share. Papers submitted to the site are passed to reviewers round-robin style. Reviews on the work are shared with peers. To publish you must referee, to referee you must publish and rate high. Cost of material is reduced, content is created and refereed, quality is high, win-win-win.

more than 2 years ago
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Social Media & Slashdot

xwwt Re:HELL no (2 comments)

I don't disagree with you, just thinking out loud and looking for community feedback. For me that is the most importing driver. So what are some of the opportunities going forward? Honestly I think there is some opportunity for /. to continue to be the place for nerds - I struggle with other sites that provide less engaged community members.

more than 2 years ago
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For Academic Publishing, Princeton Goes Open Access By Default

xwwt Government Sponsor == Public Domain (101 comments)

If it is a government supported institution the professor got paid for it and it should be in the public domain. If the institution is private, then the policy of the institution should hold the rights to anything created by the professor - just like the rest of the private sector. This nonsense of private publishers taking ownership of publicly created works is upside down. It just makes sense that if the work was funded with public monies, even in salary, then it should be open for all. The fact that other public institutions have to pay an outrageous sum to get access through the publishers for this data is crazy. Some of these publishers are even asking for upwards of 50% (or more) royalty on the works. And the author sometimes gets the same amount - so they are effectively double dipping into the cost of goods! (Pay me a salary and pay me for my content.) Good for Princeton.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Microsoft Windows Phone Problem

xwwt xwwt writes  |  more than 2 years ago

xwwt (2475904) writes "Microsoft is struggling to find an appropriate place for its new phones including the upcoming Nokia Lumia 900 and the HTC Titan II. Some advertisements have show MS employees going head-to-head with other platform users to "prove" that the Windows mobile platform outperforms other devices and platforms. But is this the right strategy for Microsoft which has often brought hardware to market only to fail in user interface and eventually abandon the user base and technology?

In an article by gottamobile.com, slides of Microsoft's go-forward strategy have surfaced showing MS will be trying to position its mobile devices with at $10M spend over three years to "ringfence" developers into building apps to draw users to the platform. You have to ask though, will having Instagram or Pandora really going to drive users to purchase the platform?"

Link to Original Source
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Digital Newton Manuscripts at National Library of Israel

xwwt xwwt writes  |  more than 2 years ago

xwwt (2475904) writes "The National Library of Israel has recently uploaded manuscripts created by Newton and help to uncover some of his personality and thoughts, especially around his feeling about the esoteric nature of some of his studies. In general Sir. Isaac felt that there were mystical secrets to be uncovered as evidenced in his attempts to unlock scientific secrets from the Bible and Talmud. Of particular note, this collection contains several manuscripts on the topics of alchemy and religion.

Other sources of these kinds of manuscripts can be found at the Newton Project or Chymistry of Isaac Newton.

Be prepared to break out your Hebrew and/or Latin dictionary for some of the links/work"

Link to Original Source
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Google selling Clearwire to re-balance portfolio

xwwt xwwt writes  |  more than 2 years ago

xwwt (2475904) writes "Google has filed documents today declaring intent to sell its entire stake in Clearwire for $1.60 a share, meaning a significant loss.

The SEC documentation explains Google's exit from Clearwire as an act of rebalancing its portfolio of investments, but a more candid assessment would be that Google expects Clearwire to sink beneath its mountain of debt and is getting out while it can.

Clearwire WiMAX has finally succumbed to LTE as a leading technology."
Link to Original Source

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Printing Drones By The Millions

xwwt xwwt writes  |  more than 2 years ago

xwwt (2475904) writes "The Microrobotics team at Harvard University discovered a new process for making robotic drones that reduces error rate in assembly by 85% and is an automated process. Additionally scientists have created the process to move directly from design to manufacturing without the need for tooling or process changes that often foul manufacturing changes. The big breakthrough in this process is the use of origami like folding techniques that allow the sheets to be printed in 2D form and reformed into 3D shape. Video can be found here."
Link to Original Source
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Paper alloy to replace plastic

xwwt xwwt writes  |  more than 2 years ago

xwwt (2475904) writes "In response to a paper by Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics, PEGA Design & Engineering has developed a new product that is intended to replace plastic shell material in computer equipment and electronics.

The product contains a combination of paper and polypropylene (PP) which aids in recycling efforts and is intended to keep non-recyclable materials out of landfills. The PP should breakdown in sunlight and can be reclaimed. There is concern that polypropylene cannot be separated from the paper fiber and brings into question how the material will be recycled. As poster Paul Davis points out, it might have been better to use polylactic acid. Ultimately it begs the question, is this truly a recyclable material?"

Link to Original Source
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iPad falls in space, but does anyone hear it?

xwwt xwwt writes  |  more than 2 years ago

xwwt (2475904) writes "G-Form has a nice video of an iPad launched into the stratosphere via weather balloon and protected using its new protective gear "Extreme Edge" to see how well the gear worked in the iPad free fall to Earth.

The gear is being introduced at this year's CES where our own timothy will be attending and reviewing new products.
The cool part of this whole video is really that the iPad survives the free fall from space, remaining fully functional"

Link to Original Source

Journals

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Slashdot New Database

xwwt xwwt writes  |  more than 2 years ago

I thought I would mention one of the key activities we have been working on in recent months is our infrastructure. For a long time now, and like many companies, we have been living on older hardware and software. After some solid work by our engineers, esp. PerlJedi we finally got our DB upgraded.

One of the nice things we have now is a set of solid state disks to speed up transaction time. Additionally we will be looking at ways to improve some of the queries and as always check for other technical improvements as we progress.

We're not done yet. There are other things we intend to change in the near future including our web app server. We are also slating a number of features in 2012 that we are very excited about.

We'd love to hear feedback from you our readers. Is the site a little more responsive? Can you feel the raw power of our new servers?

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Slashdot engineering status

xwwt xwwt writes  |  more than 2 years ago

I have been reviewing (again) the responses from our last user poll about what you like/dislike about /.. In summary it looks like there is a concern about commenting and story submission. We have spent the last couple of months working on those items and I think the engineering team has done a good job of fixing some problems that have been plaguing the system for some time (new comment loading, submission form, cleanup layout, etc., see: Vroom). We are in the final stages of working out some other basic system enhancements that we believe will fix the foundation of Slashdot and bring hardware and software up to date. These should provide a faster and more reliable experience. (see: PerlJedi)

We have also had some pro/con responses to the social media interaction and continue to tweak those items to make them more usable without getting in the way of really reading /. Hopefully some of these changes are making the site easier to see/use/interact with. We have also gotten a lot of feedback about abuse on the system and continue to work on that as well as providing a more robust moderation and hand out of mod points.

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/. Moderation Moderation

xwwt xwwt writes  |  more than 2 years ago I have spent some time recently looking over moderation and understanding some of the tweaks around it. Also spent a lot of time looking at comments in live stories and reading emails from site users about modding. Typically the messages range from astroturfing to people with a vendetta.
So my questions to you are:
Is /. moderation broken?
Is /. moderation out of date?
What would you use to help manage signal-to-noise?

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Social Media & Slashdot

xwwt xwwt writes  |  more than 2 years ago Since I have been with the team and interact more closely with /. I have come to the conclusion that this platform is really one of the original and best sites for social interaction and media. One of the key points that I have noticed though is that we have done a poor job of making it easier for people to communicate and create interaction.
First of all the registration on /. helps to create a community and causes us to be accountable for our words and deeds. If you are gonna say it, at least stand behind what you say. Second, those that are not familiar with the concept of Friend & Foe, should look into the friend feature on the site. Registered users can click on any other registered user account and choose to mark those people as friends or foes on the site. The cool part about this is that you can then see your friend's comments on the site as well as any other potential friend relationships. My experience with this is that I get a broader view of opinions from friends and from folks who are not friends too.
What I envision is not something sappy or invasive as Facebook or the many other "social media" sites, but something that allows me to more easily see and create these relationships so I can see and participate better in conversations with my friends and their friends too.
My question to you is, Do you see social ties on /. helping you get a better world view of Nerd News?

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