Tom Coates has been discussing technical tricks for coping with message-board trolls on his Everything in Moderation blog, and, surpisingly, an avowed Slashdot troll has shown up to explain why he undertakes extreme technical measures to disrupt Slashdot's message baords.
...i believe that the people who must be treated with the most public, forthright, and open methods of censure are those who offend us the most. i do not believe that trickery is ever as effective as open methods because trickery is, at its core, dishonest to both the person being tricked and the online community you have secretly enacted policy for.
i believe that secret punishments inevitably lead to abuse and combativeness, that they lead to an arms race against people of equal intelligence and unlimited free time.
Well, it looks like we may or may not be back up (don't be surprised if we get an outage or two in the next couple days!).
Thanks to everyone who wrote in asking if everything was all right. The server threw a shoe, we moved it to a new host, all is well.
Thanks to Carl Steadman, for his years of hosting the box, and thanks to Ken Snider, who has taken over hostly duties. All hail the sysadmins.
Ernie sez, "On Halloween, what is more scary than copyright law? For example, did you know that the famous vampire movie 'Nosferatu' was almost lost forever due to copyright? On the other hand the makers of a Michael Myers Halloween mask won a lawsuit by proving they took the idea from the movie. Maybe someone can figure out how to get around pumpkin carving DRM. If not, some ghost pirates (or is that pirate ghosts?) have a solution for the file sharing problem."
I'm interviewing Charlie Stross for the WELL's inkwell.vue conference for the next two weeks or so -- it's free to read, and you can ask questions by emailing me
and I'll post 'em.
I suppose you could say my second writing career dates to about 1998.
I took stock of myself and found (a) one unfinished novel (I was 12
months in to it), (b) one finished, unsold novel with structural
problems (bits of it have since re-surfaced in the form of "The
Atrocity Archives"), (c) one short story sale in 1998 -- and that was a
reprint of something I wrote in 1991. I was in my early thirties and I
realised that either I should give up, or I should get serious about
writing. I started by setting myself a goal of writing *and selling*
four stories a year, and a second goal of getting into the magazines
that get name recognition -- Asimov's, Analog, F&SF. Somewhere in the
preceeding decade I'd cross-fertilized a chunk of ideas between the
biological and computer science, and I'd also learned a little bit more
about human nature -- enough to handle characterisation better than
during my late teens or early twenties. (Parenthetically: this is one
of the reasons why we often see new authors erupt on the scene aged
thirty-something -- they've finally learned enough about human nature
to have something interesting to say about it.) So in 1998 and early
1999 I finished and sold "Antibodies" and "A Colder War" (which got me
into the Year's Best SF anthologies), wrote "Lobsters" (which got me
into Asimov's and onto the Hugo and Nebula ballots), completed the
novel now know as "Singularity Sky", and got serious.
The second edition of snarky LA Innuendo
, post-ironic slicers and dicers of all that is Hollywood, is now out. If you're in LA on Wed. Nov. 5th, check this: editors and contributors will do standup at the Hudson Theater's Comedy Central Stage.
to the mag, Link
to event details.
List of ways to get to a live operator for various banks, airlines, credit card companies, and support centers.
If you want to reach a live voice at Gateway, hit zero twice, but be prepared to wait on Hold for a little while.
For Hewlett-Packard say "agent" when you're first prompted to speak.
We found no magic bullet to bypass Dell, Apple, or IBM's automated voice menus.
Parliament has enacted a law allowing the British Library to scrape and archive British websites.
"This new legislation will now mean that a vital part of the nation's published heritage will be safe," said MP Chris Mole, who supported the move.
The archive will comprise selective "harvesting" from the 2.9 million sites that have "co.uk" suffixes.
The new 15" PowerBooks have a new known screen defect, in which big ugly white splotches show up on your display. My new 1GHz 15" has this in spades; Dan Gillmor's has a less severe case. The problem is that I suspect that I'll have to give the box back to Apple for a week to get it fixed, and there's no way in hell I can afford to do that any time soon.
The AP has run a good piece on cellphone recycling that is marred by an excitingly stupid lede about the likelihood that number-portability will cause many of us to throw away our phones once we get better deals under the new competitive rules, and that this will be an environmental disaster. Lock-in prevents landfill. Cheez.
The new rule that takes effect Nov. 24 allowing users to change wireless (news - web sites) companies without losing their phone numbers is expected to motivate as many as 30 million people to switch within the first year.
Those who do will need to buy new phones. That's because even carriers that use the same network technologies employ different encryption.
Famous album covers re-envisioned in Lego. Can you guess this one? Nirvana's Nevermind
. Link (thanks, jean-Luc!)
BoingBoing patron saint Warren Ellis
spake thusly, and lo; it was good:
Read this Scientific American piece. Short version; the universe is actually a two-dimensional plane packed with information, and the three-dimensions universe we perceive is nothing but an expression of that information. Matter and energy and life are, in fact, holograms. It leaves something very very interesting open for the future. If the universe is a vast two-dimensional plane of information -- then it can be hacked.
New on the killer TokyoFlash watch site, the Pimp Watch -- at $129, it's a little rich for my blood, but boy, that's some sweet watch action.
Presidential hopeful Senator John Edwards is coming to Lessig's blog for a guest stint -- Lessig's doing this very swell thing in convincing presidential candidates to write frankly and personally about their aspirations on a blog. Shoot by and ask Edwards a question or two...
As you may have noticed, we're in the middle of an extended outage. We've got a new server up and running (with lots of new posts), but the DNS is going to take a day or two. In the meantime, http://126.96.36.199/ is your friend.