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Assorted Changes to Slashdot 74

Ah yes the fun of debugging.. you might have noticed strange behavior today, but hopefully its all fixed now. Most of the changes were fixes of longstanding bugs, but I added one new feature that might matter to some of you: "Max Comment Size" is a limit for (surprise!) the size of comments. If a comment exceeds that size, it is truncated and you can click a link to read the rest. Sidesteps several of the more childish system abuses quite nicely. SQL optimizations and a new version of mysql will hopefully speed stuff up. I've also been slowly but surely fixing the bug where you get logged out when you visit 'Ask Slashdot' or the Book Reviews pages. Lots of other backend changes that won't matter much to anyone. Oh, and the Geeks in Space section demonstrates some of the new custom section code. I can redefine colors on a section-by-section basis. No big deal right now, but as we bring new sections online, it'll add some variety. CowboyNeal also reports that we now have Slashboxes for PDA Buzz, and Jack Stowage's Useful Links. Now methinks its time to microwave a pizza and have a nice glass of whiskey.
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Assorted Changes to Slashdot

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  • Damn, you deserve better than that. Ah well you probably can't get real pizza in holland (mi) anyway
  • Hi another feature that I'm sure people would like (I sure would) is an advanced search feature, with as many options as ftpsearch.
    Ie searching by comment score would be good, I'd like to be able to find the lowest scored comment ever, or search by people who have a highest average sort of score, that sort of thing...

  • It would be better to make this an user-configable option wouldn't it?
  • yesterday afternoon, I was seeing about three of everything, today, it's two of user space and two of cnnfn, the other stuff is decent, but I can't seem to add or remove any slashboxes, the changes being made under preferences to the slashboxes aren't being saved, apparently (but other stuff, including the html in the user space itself, is being saved)

    sparing the rant,
  • While it's a good idea that the radio recordings were moved to a central place, it's going to be hard to tell when new versions are posted. I am a huge fan of slashdot radio, and I might miss some new versions of it.

    My suggestion is to somehow manage to have the radio icon, maybe have a new one just for slashdot radio, and have that button be in the row of icons at the tops of the pages. This way it dosen't take up story room, but for the people who want to make sure they get new versions asap, they will know.

    That's just my 2 cents.

    Scott Miga
  • The light version of Slashdot [] does not read cookies. This requires me to login via each article to moderate/post. Of course, it's inconsistent enough since when you click on an article it's no longer in light mode. I use it because IMO the main page looks ugly because all the articles seem centered (lynx).
  • If you ever get over to Scotland, get yourself some cask-strength single-malt! I got 2 bottles while I was there last year and I'm down to a quarter of a bottle right now... :( Bought them over at Cadenhead's in Edinburgh, finishing up some Convalmore-Glenlivet 20 year old right now... gotta make a trip back. Anyone have any idea of how to get some of this rarer stuff online? Although the bastards in congress have some idea of limiting alcohol sales online... :( Cask-strength w/out coloring is what I'm looking for. I save mine for "special" occasions, but I'd rather not since it's so good... mmmm.... time for a drink. Booker's does me in most of the time.
  • Is Slashdot still running on a single P2-450, 512 megs of RAM, Linux, Apache, perl, etc? That seems amazing compared to what Anandtech has. That site appears to require a Sun in addition to 2-3 Dual Xeon servers to keep running. Maybe it's all that Cold Fusion code running on Microsoft OS's that's slowing him down...

    Or maybe he's just using all that big iron to maintain his #1 spot at
  • Rombuu asks:

    Whiskey and Bourbon are not synonyms for each other, despite the fact people misuse these two often. As I recall from someone explaining it to me after a few in some bar, Bourbon has to be distilled in one of a few countys in Kentucky and goes through an additional stage of filtering through charcoal I believe.

    Correct on bourbon only being a subset of whisky; some minor corrections on how to legally call some types of whisky bourbon, though. :)

    Whisky can be made from several different types of grain, including corn. Bourbon must have corn in it; if memory serves, bourbon is actually brewed from pure corn. (Sour-mash whisky, which is closely related, is also pure corn. So is moonshine, aka "corn whisky"/"puregrain" [what they call it depends largely on whether you get the 80-100 proof or the 190-proof "This will strip paint, your stomach lining, and can be used as a cheap substitute for chemists' grade ethanol" stuff; from what I hear, many states (possibly most) don't sell puregrain, though Kentucky does]; corn whisky never sits in barrels and is straight from the still, while sour-mash and bourbon are aged.)

    Bourbon and sour-mash are both aged, but (trusting this from my memories of being at the Maker's Mark and Jim Beam distilleries; no, I've not been to the Jack Daniel's one yet in Tennessee) the insides of barrels used for bourbon are fire-charred (this is the charcoal filtering you are thinking of, and also gives bourbon its distinctive flavour) oak barrels. I cannot remember if Tennessee sour-mash barrels are charred on the inside, but if memory serves they aren't.

    Bourbon may be legally marketed as bourbon if it is sour-mash corn whisky which has been distilled and aged for at least 2 years in Kentucky (no, it's not specific counties nor is it Bourbon County, though there is a "bourbon belt" of distilleries in Kentucky) and is aged in charred oak barrels. Bourbon-like whisky which has not aged in Kentucky is typically sold as sour mash whisky (if memory serves, they don't char the barrels either).

    OK, so I know too darn well how bourbon is made. It is almost a state requirement that every child in Kentucky must be taken on a distillery tour at least once so they can see how the state makes its money besides the two-minute excuse for a two-week party known as the Kentucky Derby, the rest of the horse industry, coal, tobacco, and marijuana. :)

    As for good bourbon and good whisky...I myself like maker's Mark. Not hellaciously expensive here in this part of Kentucky [a little more than Jack or Beam], very smooth...Knob Creek is also good. If you get the chance, though...and the money :)...try to get yourself a bottle of Blanton's bourbon. The stuff is hellaciously expensive (something like fifty dollars on average for a fifth, and approaching 30 even for smaller bottles; even the airplane bottles push six or seven bucks...and this is in Kentucky, where they MAKE THE STUFF for Grud's sake) but, from what I have heard, it is worth every penny and is like pure gold to the tongue...I, alas, have a hard time justifying fifty dollars a fifth for whisky so I've not tried it yet. YET. :) As far as non-bourbon whisky, I also like Cardhu (VERY nice and also quite expensive [30 bucks/fifth] single-malt Scotch)...very, very good stuff, either drunk straight or used in making one's own Irish cream :)

    Three things more of trivia note than anything else...there are three or four major distillery companies here in Kentucky (one being Seagram's who owns Heavin' Hell); for example, Jim Beam actually makes Knob Creek and in the same distillery they make Beam proper in. Most distilleries nationwide seem to be in (now this is REALLY perverse) dry counties (Beam isn't, but the Maker's Mark distillery in KY and the Jack Daniels distillery in TN can't give samples of their whisky because they're in dry counties). And (when I heard this it really surprised me, because bourbon is traditionally considered a "good ol' boy" drink here in KY) supposedly in New York City and London and other places folks have started bourbon-tasting parties :)

  • by pen ( 7191 )
    Finally, there is a place for me to post comments about my Slashdot wishes, and I forgot what I was looking for.

    Although I do remember someone asking for an "Offtopic" checkbox so that posts can automatically be marked offtopic by their posters. When you think about it, it would be pretty useful for those long discussion threads we Slashdotters tend to get into.

    My own wish would be to have a few permanent slashdot discussion areas. To name two of them, news, and Slashdot ideas/bugs. Maybe have the comments deleted after 3 days or something.

  • For those of you who are thinking:

    1) NO. The addition of a Bartending Slashbox would not be a good idea, unless Rob is the Bartender. (And all he'd serve is bad whiskey.

    2) The Jennicam slashbox does NOT count as a girlfriend slashbox.

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • Hell, I can't even get a real NY pizza here in Cambridge, MA!

    Joseph Foley
    InCert Software Corp.
  • I was really hoping that this 25 comment limit was due to a temporary server problem-fix.
    I have found it rather bothersome. Reading messages is far more inconvienent and time-consuming.

    btw Rob, Knob Creek is an excellent bourbon if you like bourbon/whiskey. It was a national prize winner. If the 25 comment limit goes back to something real nice like 100 or 50 (as a individual user preference of course) I would strongly consider mailing you a bottle, if that didn't break any laws.
  • Cranberry Juice.. straight ;)

  • Hey Rob,

    We won't let you drink alone.
    I raise my glass with you
    (The Macallan of course)
    and bid your stomach well
    despite tonight's main course!

  • Greetings,


    Yeah, I kinda learned about the 'comment limit' the hard way less than two minutes ago, before I'd even seen the post about changes... I wrote a whole damn essay on the 'X problems' topic, and when I posted it, the result came up truncated. I quickly noticed the 'click here' button, but the problem was that I'd delimited a section as 'begin/end rant', and only the 'begin rant' portion was above the break, you didn't get to see the useful stuff I'd put after the 'end rant' marker. sigh

    Although hey, if you're going to fix bugs, could you possibly fix the one that turns ampersand-lt; into <'s when you're previewing, and then when you submit (w/o changing anything else!) strips out the <'s as bad HTML?

    BOY that drove me bonkers for a few minutes...

  • []

    At least that's what it was last time I checked.
  • Hmm. Seems to be gone. How weird.
  • But Rob... how are you going to code more when
    all of your bugfixes break after all that whiskey?
    We'll all be stuck with a broken /.! Oh wait; we
    good coders don't make mistakes, sorry to have put
    you in the wrong category ;)

    I hope you didn't make the jump to MySQL 3.23
    alpha, that could be scary... 3.22.25 is nice and
    stable for me. Speedy SQL is good, alpha versions
    on production servers are not.

    Keep up the good work, we all love seeing /. get
    better (but its getting hard to improve on

    Tim Wilde
    Sysadmin, Dynamic DNS Network Services
  • Definately. Jameson is the only way to go.
  • Sure why not... But articles can only go to -1 minimally.
  • Rob, thank you for Slashdot. I love your fine work everyday!!!
  • Slightly off this topic but...

    Whiskey and Bourbon are not synonyms for each other, despite the fact people misuse these two often. As I recall from someone explaining it to me after a few in some bar, Bourbon has to be distilled in one of a few countys in Kentucky and goes through an additional stage of filtering through charcoal I believe.
  • I bow before the master. I am not worthy :)
  • Which version of MySQL are you running now, Rob?

    I run a site which absolutely taxes MySQL, but I'm very cautious on changing things. However, if you've noticed any sort of performance jump between MySQL server versions, I'd be interested to know.

    I use 3.22.21 right now.
  • Rob, I like the changes, but for one thing... the maximum comment length is a little short. A good number of the quality posts out there are getting truncated, so if you could make this comment length 50% or even 25% longer, that'd be great!
  • That would be great, but how do you pay for it? As much as it sucks, bandwidth costs money. And with no ads on a news server, that bandwidth is out of pocket. From what I understand, slashdot can't afford it. Atleast they couldn't before Andover, maybe they can now.
  • Scotch. Good stuff. Irish Beer is ok, but whiskey is best when made in the homelad of William Wallace. Remember that.
  • It seems that when I choose an Ask Slashdot article, my session cookie is just ignored and I am presented with the oportunity to log in again. I get the defaults again (e.g. threaded comments rather than flat). Strange indeed, since I would have guessed that the "Ask Slashdot" hits would pass through the same perl to spit out the html as other types of articles.
  • Your work is appreciated for us addicts ... Rob you are a p0rn star... Go have a nice stiff drink of Jacks! Do you have some sort of to do list? A list of things you are working on or would like to see??
  • seconded. Also allow an option to toggle breaking up long comments. Now that we have nested mode, I'm used to just opening a page all at once and scrolling down at my leisure.
  • land's bread here.

    a couple sips from the chalice, and all is well irie. works great before, during, and after a good hacking session (especially perl).
  • remove the damn 25 comment limits or at least allow us to modify the size. its *very* annoying.
  • i meant in overload mode. the size thing is ok.
  • Hehe, I started removing the doubles with the graphical X's, which then removed both copies instead of one, and then tried to put them all back from the preferences page, and now I have NO slashboxes, and I can't add any either :(.
  • More /boxes, yay! Where's the silly portal page that has _all_ of them on? I went looking for it at the last addition to /boxes, but couldn't find it. It's easier to see what the new boxes do on that page, rather than add them to your account one by one.

    ObKeep up the good work Rob :)

  • I am very fond of the Slashdot format of community; a lot of communities would be facilitated if the latest and greatest of the code was posted.
    A fish vs. teaching to fish. Slashdot is a great forum for Linux users, but why not allow the creation of XDot.orgs. Personally I think that creating a tool that effects freedom of speech and Internet participation is of greater good and import than creating one great site for any one community.
    Yes that would create Slashdot competitors, but have we not learned that that is a good thing? Package up the latest and greatest!
  • What's with all these Read More links for every single comment! When slashdot overloads this is so annoying that I'll do anything to get rid of having EVERY SINGLE POST have a Read More link.



  • What's the point of viewing comments if it turns every single comment into a Read More link?

    You might as well just shoot yourself when this happens.

  • Do you mean []? Still works for me.

    Oh, by the way, I still get logged out on Taco Hell.

  • Staging Environment
  • dudes... it _has_ to be Crown Royal, "De Luxe Canadian Whisky", from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada - the good stuff :)

    Brewed by the Seagram family - I actually know one of them - but unfortunately, no company discounts for me :(

    sweeeet... if I'd known there'd be a relevant thread here tonight, I would've had more of it...


  • Here here!

    Cheers, and a shot of Crown Royal to you.


  • Can we have a slashbox to download the latest slashdot radio? I know it is already a slashdot section, but many users like me don't like to go to a separate page to check for stuff.
  • Reminds me of the time I got caught by the boss with a shot of JD in my mitts
    while compiling at 9 pm. I do my best drunking code! Or something.
    ps: Good work. Perhaps we need a ./ poll on what one drinks after a good hacking session? Maker's Mark here.

  • one small correction. bourbon is not a subset of whisky, but a subset of whisky. the difference is that whisky (note the absence of an 'e') is by definition scotch. The origin of both words is the same, being derived from the word aquavit. needless to say that I myself prefer whisky over whisky, especially a good Islay :)
  • bah, I can't type. Forgot 1 'e' and the entire comment doesn't make sense anymore. bourbon is a subset of whiskey. please please please flame me for being stupid ;)
  • Same here. I modified my slash boxes and boom had 3 of 1, 1 of the ones i deleted and a bunch of other crap. Also, the nightly headline mailer doesn't show the time/date correctly. It just shows the formatting of it. All minor bugs, but troublesome
  • I suspect that with a little thinking you can make even the shortest response go onto another page.

    If this works the way I intend it to, the next line should be a request to move on to the next page.

    though there may be a little garbage first. unfourtuately preview doesn`t have the `see here` overflow so you don`t know until you submit.

    On the other hand, if it didn`t work, then this whole post will look really dumb. :)

    This should be on page two.
  • I've always believed that, in most cases, the best upgrades should not be able to be noticed on the surface (Unless it's some rather largish new feature). That said, nice job, I didn't notice too much out of the ordinary.

    "GIVE ME 500CCS OF WHISKEY, STAT!" - Pokey the Penguin

    -Captain Spam

  • Jameson or Jameson 1780 Mmmmmmm :)
    Although, a drop of Midleton Rare does the trick for me too ;)
  • Since Rob mentioned whiskey, and I am a whiskey fan, I shamelessly will mention my favorite place for whiskey. It is HopScotch, in the Capital Hill district of Seattle. If you ask a waiter about one of the scotches, he likely will hand you Michael Jackson's (liquor critic, not the singer) "Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch." Why do they hand you the book? Because they have all the scotches listed in it (~100)...and more.
  • by Eccles ( 932 )
    My own wish would be to have a few permanent slashdot discussion areas. To name two of them, news, and Slashdot ideas/bugs. Maybe have the comments deleted after 3 days or something.

    Slashdot could run a newserver, but Rob seems to be phobic about learning how to do it... sigh. Much faster loading of new messages, kill filters, decent conversations, etc. Maybe some day...
  • I tried to change my slashboxes, and they wacked out and did doubles of a lot of them. So, I unselected all of them, and I am still getting doubles.

    I think it's not removing the old ones when it updates the user preferances with the new ones... :-/

  • Your comment about microwave pizza made me think....

    Consider the wonderful diversity of available slashboxes here on slashdot. I think it's time we get a Vending Machine slashbox. Have it made similar to the polls, but with pictures. Think about it, we'd never have to leave slashdot -- even to eat! With the click of a mouse, we can get....Pizza, for instance! (Of course, we'd obviously have to drag it to the Microwave slashbox, but that shouldn't be too hard.)

    With the Snack-Slashbox, all we'd need is a Toilet slashbox, and a Girlfriend slashbox. Then we can live on slashdot! (We don't already?)

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • I'd like to suggest that the last couple of batches of Slashboxes be listed in a "New Boxes" or "New Options" section of the user configuration page. It's getting hard to find what has been added sot he configuration can be properly tuned.
  • I know that this isn't one of the most recent changes, but as I saw it, the whole point of the flat mode for comments was so that you could read them offline. It started at 100 comments per page, which was great. It then moved down to 50. That was.. fine, but annoying.

    Next up was 37, then 25. I don't know about other people, but my computer starts to freak out when I have more 15 Netscape windows open. (With 64 megs of ram, even).

    Twenty five comments per page in flat mode is insane. It's hardly useful. When I browse something with 600 comments, I don't have the time to read all of them, and don't hit the server for a request at -1. I set threshold to 2, or even 3. And I still need 4 windows open? That's just silly.

    Comment limits aside, all the changes are great. Someone asked about what abuse gives reason for the comment length thing. In some articles, people have posted full documents from people like ESR, footnotes intact. Takes about 10 pagedowns to get to the next comment.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas