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

Thank you!

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



Ubuntu Turns 10

zoward Happy Birthday (110 comments)

Between Unity and Mir, it's considered cool to Bash Ubuntu these days, but even their most stalwart detractors have to admit they raised the bar for desktop Linux from the first day of their release. There's a reason it's become both a popular distro and a popular base for derivatives.

Thank you, Ubuntu, and Happy Birthday.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Re-Learning How To Interview As a Developer?

zoward Ask (218 comments)

You shouldn't be asking Slashdot why you're not interviewing well, you should be asking the people who didn't hire you. When you get the phone call saying "no thanks", ask them why you weren't hired. You'll probably get a non-committal answer from most, but there are some will tell you what they think you did wrong.

Good luck.

about 10 months ago

Celebrating Dungeons & Dragons' 40th Anniversary

zoward Re:Q: How many characters lost in Tomb of Horrors? (218 comments)

This. I was the DM for our merry little band of adventurers traipsing through the Tomb of Horrors. We couldn't stop laughing. It was INSANE - no one could survive this. It was like they designed it to torture the players. One thing I'll never forget about it: after one particularly nasty trap that stripped the players of all the gear they were carrying, the text in the book said, parenthetically, "cruel, but most entertaining for the DM". And the same could be said for the entire module.

Second place for player cruelty goes to the Judge's Guild module Inferno, based on Dante. Then again, a lot of Judge's Guild modules bordered on the impossible.

1 year,6 days

Linus Torvalds: Any CLA Is Fundamentally Broken

zoward Re:Spell it out the first time (279 comments)

Also, the Slashdot editors need to understand that when they don't spell out these acronyms the first time they use them, the first half of the comments section is going be discussing the lack of proper acronym definition and poor editorial skills instead of, you know, the actual article content. Just sayin'.

1 year,8 days

Ask Slashdot: Command Line Interfaces -- What Is Out There?

zoward Re:(A)REXX (383 comments)

REXX was the "blessed" scripting language of OS/2 as well, and had lots of hooks into the OS.

1 year,28 days

How MOOC Faculty Exploit People's Desire To Learn

zoward Re:Happens in real classes too (115 comments)

I was never offered an alternative when I took Intro to Psych, although this was back in 1986. Your "alternative" was: don't take Intro to Psych. They made it clear on the first day.

about a year ago

The Cybersecurity Industry Is Hiring, But Young People Aren't Interested

zoward Profit vs. Cost Center (289 comments)

That's because companies view network security as a cost center, rather than a profit center, so they want to spend as little on it as possible. Being a network security specialist is a "reactionary" job - you do everything you can to make the network safe (on the usually meager budget you've given to do so), and then wait for ... something ... to happen, after which you'll be implicityly if not outright blamerd for it. You can also look forward to carrying a pager, possibly 24/7. In order to do the job well you'd probably need a skillset that intersects knowledge of IT, networking and programming. You could be a programmer, which is a profit center for software companies, which means you'd probably be treated and paid better, and not locked into IT, which is a dead end at many companies who see IT as something they begrudgingly have to pay for.

Still, network security sounds sexy, and it probably pays better than mainstream IT - I'm surprised they're having that much trouble finding people to do it.

I also can't help wondering if the world's black hats would pay better for someone with the skillset. After all, for them, network security is a profit center.

about a year ago

Citrix Founder and Key OS/2 Player Ed Iacobucci Dead At 59

zoward Re:Sad loss. (98 comments)

Ah, the memories ... OS/2. It had a lot of great features, but it was a PITA to install, and they spent too much time trying to get it to run windows programs and not enough smoothing out some of the rough edges. I did prefer it to Win 3.11 at the time, though. IBM's WebExplorer become the first web browser I ever used. I still prefer the mutli-document interface from their NR/2 newsreader to anything I've used since. It also had the first multiboot launcher I've used, Boot Manager, which I had running DOS 6.2, Windows 3.11, OS/2 3.0 and slackware linux all on the same drive. LOL, it was fun trying to keep them all running and updated but I had no room for applications!

about a year and a half ago

Microsoft Confirms Xbox One's Phone Home Requirement, Game Resale Rules

zoward Re: That doesn't fix anything (581 comments)

This is why Microsoft has left the right to sell used games squarely in the hands of the publishers ... along with the legal liability for not doing so if it runs afoul of the EU's consumer protection laws. Notice they won't even claim a portion of the used game sales. Since when would MS leave money on the table like that? Since the EU has been jabbing them with multimillion dollar fines every other year. Used game sales is a hot-button issue, as the number of comments on this story suggests.

about a year and a half ago

Meet the Gamers Keeping Retro Consoles Alive

zoward Re:Expected graphical complexity (79 comments)

I "escaped the dungeon" once in vanilla "hack", back in college, before nethack existed - does that count? Is ascending in nethack that much harder?

about 2 years ago

Trisquel 6.0 'Toutatis' Is Now Available

zoward Re:Libre? (109 comments)

WTF does libre mean in this context? Or are we talking about Mexican wrestlers again?

The term Libre is used by many in the FOSS community instead of "free", so they won't have to keep explaining the diference between "free as in speech" (free to use and modify) and "free as in beer" (cost).

They're downstream from Ubuntu instead of Debian because Ubuntu is more end user-friendly than Debian. I would imagine that could change depending on how Ubuntu changes over the next few releases.

I'll be downloading Toutatis today. Along with my main (gaming) rig (which runs Linux Mint), I maintain a "free box", which contains nothing but 100% Free (tm) software, mostly as an experiment to gauge the current status of how useful a box with only free software is (or isn't). I have to say, it's become a lot easier than it was in the old days, where almost nothing worked after you stripped out the nonfree bits. Modems and network cards were notoriously hard to get working. Brigantia, the prevous release of Trisquel, supports every peice of hardware on the box except the ethernet port (the box has an nVidia nForce-based motherboard), but the wireless worked, so I didn't really try. Interestingly, I've been increasingly using the free box over my gaming rig for day-to-day use, and may end up scrapping the gaming rig as I don't game as much these days.

Some things that are challenging on a free box:
- Anything that requires heavy graphical use, e.g., no serious games. The free box has an nVidia card, running X using nouveau.
- Flash-based stuff is iffy. I have flash video supported, but no apps (and in my case at least, little of value was lost).
- Any java programs that require Sun's implementation of java.
- The fonts are hard to look at. Does anyone konw here I can get some good libre fonts?
- Using proprietary audio/video formats. In many cases playback works, ostensibly becuase in many countries there are no software patents (yet). Since I''m in the USA and try to keep the Free box free, I stick to free formats (fortunately I ripped most of my music collection to FLAC a long time ago. For the free box, I wrote a script to go thorugh my collection and convert any remaining mp3's to Ogg).

As you can see, most of the issues revolve around proprietary languages, hardware, fonts, etc.

Congrats to the folks who put Trisquel together for getting Toutatis out. I can't wait to try it!

about 2 years ago

Canonical Announcing Ubuntu Tablet Tomorrow?

zoward Re:Debian (121 comments)

Can it be stripped and installed with Debian Linux?

...and will we want it to? I wasn't aware of Debian having resonable touch support (but TBH, I really don't know). How are the specs? How open is the hardware? Assuming reasonable specs, and open hardware drivers (and that's assuming a LOT), I'd like to see KDE Plasma Active on it.

I'd also like to see if Canonical can produce a usable tablet. I'm not a huge fan of Unity, but I'm willing to be impressed if they can make something impressive. Ball's in your court, Canonical.

about 2 years ago

Opera Picks Up Webkit Engine

zoward Re:Monoculture, here we come (again) (314 comments)

A browser monoculture based on webkit is at least better than a monoculture based on a closed source rendering engine...
Just how bad it is, really comes down to who controls it and how much input other people have into it.

Of course without intervention pretty much everything will end up heading towards a monoculture... Linux for instance has pretty much killed the varied proprietary unixes that existed just as x86 has killed the risc processors they ran on.

So if a monoculture is inevitable, then minimising the damage by keeping it open is the best you can hope for.

Last I checked, the various flavors of BSD were alive and well (but I haven't confirmed this with Netcraft, so I may be wrong).

about 2 years ago

Why Do You Want To Kill My Pet? Zynga Shuts Down PetVille, 10 Others

zoward Re:If you spend money on F2P... (377 comments)

You are the way this model should work - you understand that what you're spending money on is entertainment, not any sort of future investment. If STO shut down tomorrow. the $20 you spent last month wasn't "lost" - it was spent on a month's worth of entertainment, As you mentioned, it can actually be a good entertainment value. When MMO's do shut down, it's a sad day for players who enjoyed the game, but a worse day for those who mistakenly thought of the money they spent on the game as "invested" in their avatar(s).

about 2 years ago

Windows 8 PCs Still Throttled By Crapware

zoward Re:Nothing new here (657 comments)

Yes, building your own is cheaper if your time is worthless.

...and the knowledge you gain about hardware, OS'es, etc, has its own value that offsets the cost of your time.

more than 2 years ago

"Anonymous" File-Sharing Darknet Ruled Illegal By German Court

zoward Re:Greasemonkey + Moderatrix (285 comments)

Got it - thanks for the tip.

more than 2 years ago

PS3 Encryption Keys Leaked

zoward Re:Sony did this to themselves (284 comments)

Very true. The right solution is to make signing free for homebrew creators, but either...

That brings the cost of game development for the PS3 down to free, and Sony can't sell insanely priced dev kits to development houses.

more than 2 years ago

Bruce Perens To Answer Your Questions

zoward Tablets/Phones (78 comments)

Bruce, first off, thank you for everything you've done to advance the cause of FLOSS. My question: It's not hard to notice the shift in mass market computing away from the PC and toward the tablet and phone. While at its core Android runs the Linux kernel, it's hard for me to think of it with the same fondness that I have for my favorite FLOSS OS distributions. I can't just load up a new Linux distro on my Acer tablet, or in many cases even an updated version of Android, short of "jailbreaking" it. It's seems clear to me that such hardware is designed with the intent to replicate Apple's success with a vertical hardware/software stack.

Given this (or perhaps not given this, if you disagree with my statements above), what do you think the future of open source will be in the tablet and phone world? Android? Meego? WebOS? Something else? Will it be open source programs in a not-quite-completely open OS like Android?

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Approach To Reenergize an Old Programmer?

zoward Re:You have mixed goals (360 comments)

This was such an awesome post that I clipped and saved it. Thanks.

more than 2 years ago

NCSoft Closes "City of Heroes" Publisher Paragon Studios

zoward Re:Being "Super" (109 comments)

... My only wish for something like this happening is that the developers dump everything into an open source license and tell the community "good luck" in terms of trying to make something of it. That doesn't help the game company itself, but it at least allows the potential for the game community to continue into the future.

There ought to be at least some sort of value to opening up something like that... even if NCSoft simply tries to do something like a fundraiser to sell off the assets to some foundation in exchange for some reasonable amount of money. Blender was able to raise a bunch of money to turn that into an open source program, couldn't the same be done to a game like this?

Because of the number of IP's licensed for just about any large MMO - the graphics engine, physics, engine, maybe even the IP itself (eg, Star Wars Galaxies), there are usually legal reasons they couldn't open up the game like that. Also, at least for companies with more than one MMO, why would they want to? They'd just be creating a free competitor against any of their other games. Instead, they usually offer incentives to their departing players to transition them to another of their titles.

more than 2 years ago


zoward hasn't submitted any stories.


zoward has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?