By samzenpus from Slashdot's take-a-message department
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "L. J. Williamson writes in the LA Times that with no running water, no plumbing, and no electrical outlets Burning Man isn't the kind of place to expect full bars on your smartphone and for many of the participants that's a big part of its charm. 'If you want to partake in the true Burning Man experience, you should leave your phone at home,' says Mark Hansen. In past years, the closest cellular towers, designed to serve the nearby towns of Empire (population 206) and Gerlach (population 217), would quickly get overwhelmed each August when Black Rock City (population 50,000 or so) rose from the featureless playa. Although Burning Man attracts a sizable Silicon Valley contingent including tech giants like Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin — the feeling of being 'unplugged' has become an integral part of the Burning Man experience. But another part of the event is an intrepid, DIY ethos, and in that spirit, David Burgess, co-creator of OpenBTS, an open-source cellular network software, brought a homemade in 2008, an 'almost comical' setup that created a working cellular network that routed a few hundred calls over a 48-hour period. In each subsequent year, Burgess has improved the system's reach and expects to have about three-quarters of this year's event covered. Burning Man proved an ideal test bed for development of Burgess' system, which he has since made available for use in other areas without cellular networks. 'People who have a lot of experience in international aid say Burning Man is a very good simulation of a well-organized refugee camp,' says Burgess. 'Because there's no infrastructure, it forces us to contend with a lot of problems that our rural customers have to contend with in very remote places.'"Read Replies (0)
By samzenpus from Slashdot's we're-all-full department
theodp writes "There has been lots of heated discussion on the topic of where-the-girls-aren't, both in the tech and larger business world. Dave Winer broached the subject of 'Why are there so few women programmers?', prompting a mix of flame, venom and insight. Over at Valleywag, Nitasha Tiku pegs 'Culture Fit' as an insidious excuse used to marginalize women in tech. Completing the trilogy is an HBR article, 'Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?', in which Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic concludes the problem is that manifestations of hubris, which occur much more frequently in men than women, are commonly mistaken for leadership potential. So, with a gender and age strike against her, would a Grace Hopper in her prime even land an interview in today's Silicon Valley?"Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's wish-I'd-know-this-15-years-ago department
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Ryan Vogt writes in the Mercury News that Shakespeare described death as 'the undiscovere'd country, from whose bourn no traveller returns.' Did you know there is a the miraculous way to resuscitate tabs sent to the 'undiscovere'd country,' a sort of Ctrl-Z for the entire Internet, that means 'no more called-out cusswords, no more wishing the back button had you covered when, aiming to click on a tab, you accidentally hit the little X on the tab's starboard.' For Macs: Command [plus] shift [plus] t reopens the last tab. For PCs: Ctrl [plus] Shift [plus] T. 'Try it right now. Close this tab and bring it back. I dare ya.' Melia Robinson's trick [described for Chrome] works in Firefox and Internet Explorer, too, so clumsy mousing won't send the the E*Trade tab you mistakenly closed all cued up to sell those 10,000 shares of stock or your long political post on your uncle's Facebook page on a one-way trip to the undiscovere'd country in those browsers, either."
No guarantees on the stock trading.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's now-let's-fight-about-nomenclature department
The National Post is carrying a report of an exciting discovery for cartographic historians: an ostrich-egg globe purchased last year at the London Map Fair is now believed to be the oldest to show any part of the New World
. "In a lengthy essay published in the latest issue of The Portolan, the peer-reviewed journal of the Washington Map Society, Belgian map collector and historical researcher Stefaan Missinne argues that the ostrich-egg globe not only predates the Hunt-Lenox Globe but was probably used as the model for casting the more famous copper object. If true, then the small, unnamed island shown to the far north in the 'Mundus Novus' portion of the egg-globe’s western hemisphere — a crude depiction of the 'New World' as it was understood just a few years after the discovery voyages of Christopher Columbus, John Cabot and others — is the earliest image of Newfoundland or any other part of Canada on any surviving globe in the world."
More at the Washington Map Society's page
.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's social-neuterer-failed-at-the-focus-group department
Ars Technica profiles Matt Kruse
, the developer behind Social Fixer
. "Social Fixer uses Javacript to modify Facebook’s interface. It gives you dozens of options for customizing how you see Facebook: you can separate updates into tabs, enable mouse-over image previews, change the layout, filter posts from your friends, give everything a theme and even hide the bits you find disagreeable. It's a huge amount of work to keep going, but although Kruse has a tiny Paypal donations button on the bottom of his website to cover his expenses, he says he hasn't made any efforts to profit from it, despite being contacted several times by people who sniffed money to be made. ... So far, he's turned them all down. 'There was one person a while ago who seemed pretty promising,' he says. His tone is gently bemused, as if not quite believing that people actually want to pay money for his work. 'I've had ten offers over the past four years from people who say they want to add advertising inside it or attach some additional software to the installer But the way they wanted to implement it technically would have put my users at risk of them being malicious, so I couldn't do that.'"
It would be nice if every piece of software and every website with ads thought the same way.Read Replies (0)