Theo de Raadt was a founding member of NetBSD, and is the founder and leader of the OpenSSH and OpenBSD projects. He is currently working on OpenBSD 5.5 which would be the projects 35th release on CDROM. Even though he'd rather be hiking in the mountains or climbing rocks in his free time, Theo has agreed to answer any question you may have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
Author of The Cathedral and the Bazaar and The Art of Unix Programming, Eric S.Raymond (ESR) has long been an important spokesperson for the open source movement. It's been a while since we talked to the co-founder of the Open Source Initiative so ESR has agreed to give us some of his time and answer your questions. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
Jason Harrington (@Jas0nHarringt0n) is a controversial blogger, frequent contributor to McSweeney's Internet Tendency, and one of the TSA's least favorite ex-employees. His descriptions of life on the job as a TSA agent caused some big waves and restarted a national discussion on security theater. Jason will be answering your questions below for the next couple of hours, or until the security line starts moving again. Please keep it to one question per post so everyone gets a chance.
Update: 03/01 02:11 GMT by S: Jason has finished up for now — you can skip to his answers at his user page, or simply browse the comments to read everything. Thanks Jason for answering our questions!
Richard Stallman (RMS) founded the GNU Project in 1984, the Free Software Foundation in 1985, and remains one of the most important and outspoken advocates for software freedom. He now spends much of his time fighting excessive extension of copyright laws, digital restrictions management, and software patents. RMS has agreed to answer your questions about GNU/Linux, how GNU relates to Linux the kernel, free software, why he disagrees with the idea of open source, and other issues of public concern. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
Tim Lord first saw Faraday Bicycles at CES, where their bikes drew plenty of attention and a fair amount of media interest. The company ran a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2012, and 2014 is when they are starting to ship their pre-ordered bicycles and hope to get new orders for lots more. Tim's travels later took him to San Francisco, where he had a chance to visit the shop where Faraday bikes are made, and to talk with some of the people who are designing and making them. (If you don't see the video below, please use this link.)
In addition to sponsoring the work of Linus Torvalds, The Linux Foundation supports and promotes a wide variety of resources and services for Linux. Their recently released 2014 Linux Jobs Report surveyed more than 1,000 managers and corporations, finding in part, that the demand for "Linux Professionals" was up 70% from last year. Jim Zemlin is the Executive Director of the Linux Foundation and he has agreed to answer any questions that you have about the report and the state of Linux in general. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
This is a conversation with Jeff Whitehead and Lou Montulli, respectively Vice President of Technical Operations/CTO and Chief Scientist for Zetta.net, a company that specializes in online backup and disaster recovery service. Also, while this interview was arranged without his help, in the interest of full disclosure we'd like to tell you that Zetta's CEO is Ali Jenab, who used to be CEO of Slashdot's parent company. But this discussion isn't about Ali or Zetta.net, but about data backup, and what methods are best and most cost-effective for companies ranging from home-based businesses up to enterprise operations with thousands of employees. Among other things, we discussed the importance of multiple-site storage for important data, a factor that was drilled in to us yesterday by an article titled Another Iron Mountain Fire Points Up Shortcomings of Physical Storage by long-time tech journalist Sharon Fisher. And never forget: You don't know how effective your backup and data storage arrangements are until you try to retrieve your data -- and if you don't try to retrieve data until you need it, and things don't work, you are in big trouble. (Don't see the video? Here's a link.)
"The Fat Man" George Sanger has composed the music to hundreds of computer and video games since the 80's and remains one of the most influential people in game audio. Some of his most famous tunes can be heard in Maniac Mansion, Wing Commander, and Tux Racer. Team Fat, a band that includes fellow video game music composers, creates music, sound effects, and voice work for games, television, and films. George has agreed to give us a bit of his time and answer any questions you might have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
We have shown clips from FIRST Robotics Competitions before on Slashdot, with a concentration on the Dexter Dreadbots because they're the "home team" for Slashdot's home office in Michigan. Today we hear from team mentor Jennifer Bryson and watch as the team works on their 2014 competition robot. They need to have it finished by February 18, so they're in the home stretch of the robot-building task. The competition itself starts on February 28 and keeps going until the world championships are held during the last weekend in April. The Dreadbots did well last year. This year? Who knows. But win or lose, it's all For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, AKA FIRST, also AKA "The ultimate Sport for the Mind." And if you're not near Ann Arbor, MI, check for a FIRST competition near you. It's an international organization, so you're likely to find one -- and if you don't, perhaps you can help start a FIRST team where you live.And for those of you who don't see the video below, here's a link to it.
Do you remember the worries about getting different health care software systems to work with each other as health care providers starting moving away from paper? It's still a problem, but Joanne Rohde's company, Axial Exchange, is working to cure that problem not only as an entrepreneur but also because she has personal reasons to see health care providers communicate better with each other. In a 2012 interview for Huffington Post, she said, "While I was working for Red Hat, I got very sick... I ultimately had to go to 10 doctors to be diagnosed. Going from doctor to doctor, I could not believe I had to start over each time. No one actually talks to each other I became convinced that if I had had all the information, I probably would have been able to figure it out faster." In fact, Joanne got so sick that she quit her job as Red Hat COO after four years with the company. Once she started getting decent treatment for her Fybromyalgia and started getting better, she decided to apply open source principles to health care IT -- and to start a new company to do it. Opensource.com talked with Joanne in September 2013, and in January 2014 she talked with Health Care Finance News for an article titled Patients key to reducing readmissions. A phrase Joanne seems to be using a lot lately is "patient engagement," which has become a major part of Axial Exchange's work to improve communications not only between different health care providers but also between those providers and their patients.
Update: 02/05 20:16 GMT by T: If you're seeing this post on beta.slashdot.org, note that we're still ironing out the details of video display here. You can view the video on tv.slashdot.org, instead. Please pardon our dust.
When we think about NPR (National Public Radio) most of us think of A Prairie Home Companion or another favorite radio show. But NPR also has a research component, NPR Labs, that they say "is the nation's only not-for-profit broadcast technology research and development center." The video (below) is an interview with NPR person Maryfran Tyler about their pilot program designed "to demonstrate the delivery of emergency alerts to people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing in the Gulf Coast states through local public radio stations and the Public Radio Satellite System (PRSS®)." NPR also says, "This is the first effort to deliver real-time accessibility-targeted emergency messages, such as weather alerts, via radio broadcast texts."
samzenpus writes "Every year companies are willing to dish out big bucks to reach tens of millions of consumers with their Super Bowl ads. With an average price tag of $4 million for a 30-second commercial, this year is no exception. We've seen: beer obsessed frogs, field goal kicking horses, celebrities drinking various beverages, explosions of all sizes, homages to 1984, and day trading babies in the past. Since talking about the commercials has become almost as popular as the game itself, here's a place to do just that. What have you liked and what do you think would have been better left on the cutting room floor."
The MOSS modular robot system is sort of like LEGO Mindstorms, in that you assemble small blocks to make custom robots and other items. But it has some interesting tricks of its own, as product demonstrator John Moyes shows Timothy Lord at CES 2014. The MOSS kits include lots of little metal balls, so they carry a warning that says MOSS kits are suitable for ages 8 and up, while the company's older Cubelets product, which doesn't have the little balls, is supposed to be okay for ages 4 and up. There is no upper age limit specified for either product, so you're probably safe if you want to buy (and can *afford* to buy) any of these interesting toys.
3-D printing is far from new, but a $499 3-D printer is new enough to get a bunch of people to write about it, including someone whose headline read, CES 2014: Could 3D printing change the world? XYZPrinting, the company behind the da Vinci 1.0 printer, has some happy-looking executives in the wake of CES. They won an award, and their booth got lots of attention. This is what trade shows are all about for small and/or new companies. Now the XYZprinting people can go home and pump out some product -- assuming they got a lot of orders (and not just attention) at CES.
It looks like an ordinary electric guitar, except for a little LED screen on its body and blinking lights up and down the fretboard that show you where your fingers should go. But the gTar, besides being "The First Guitar That Anybody Can Play," hooks to your iPhone. The gTar app includes "...a variety of classical guitar pieces, modern rock, pop, and everything in between." The gTar Kickstarter campaign in 2012 raised $353,392 even though it only asked for $100,000. The company that makes the gTar, Incident Technologies, started in a garage in Cupertino (Silicon Valley) and is now located in San Francisco after several moves caused by the company's rapid growth. On their Support page they say, "We don't have a brick-and-mortar location for you to try the gTar yet, but we're working on it. In the meantime, check us out at events like Maker Faire, TechCrunch Disrupt, and many others."
This is a slightly puzzling product. To begin with, Christopher Goggin, shown as the inventor of the Electronic Dog Nose (as featured in Popular Science) may not be the actual inventor, at least according to some of the comments attached to that 2011 Popular Science article. Yet other comments on the same article claim that the unit Goggin supposedly ripped off is totally different from his, and doesn't work, while his does. A report (pdf) on bed-bugs.co.uk says the device "...clearly fails to perform to the manufacturers specification and procedures." Goggin's badge at CES showed his company affiliation as Datt Solutions Group, but Datt's website did not mention him as of Jan. 21, 2013, several weeks after CES 2014 closed. A New York Real Estate blog is skeptical, as are others. Goggin also claims to have a laser device that will kill the bedbugs you find. It sounds great. But a person who prefers the tried and true to new products that may or may not work might want to use old-fashioned, all-natural Diatomaceous earth, which kills not only bedbugs but other insect pests, and costs very little compared to most other methods. If that method doesn't work, then it may be time to try dogs, lasers, and other ways to find and kill bedbugs, which have been spotted everywhere from luxury hotels to housing projects, even in taxicabs and movie theaters.
A number of companies are either selling or preparing to sell 3-D scanners. Aside from fun (but interesting) uses, like duplicating chess pieces or possibly reproducing a miniature of Rodin's famous sculpture, Fallen Caryatid Carrying Her Stone, Matterform anticipates archeologists reproducing artifacts so that students can study them without handling the precious originals. This video is an interview with Matterform co-founder Drew Cox, who was exhibiting Matterform's scanner at CES 2014. MakerBot is also selling a scanner, as are a growing number of others. In fact, even though Matterform talks about being a low-cost (pre-order price $579) scanner for home use, as opposed to a commercial one that costs thousands. There are also several interesting hand-held scanners out there. Sense sells theirs for $399. Structure has one for $349 that's essentially a peripheral for an iPad. And this is just a random selection from a brief Google search. Use "3-D Scanner" as your search term and you'll find multiple Google pages full of 3-D scanners and information about them -- including software being developed at ETH zurich that turns your smartphone into a 3-D scanner.
In a town called Portsmouth, Ohio, a company called Yost Engineering (YEI) Technology has quietly been making motion sensing devices for military, aerospace, industrial, robotics, and other commercial motion capture uses, including rotoscoping for the film/video industry. Now they want to bring this same technology to gaming. They tried a Kickstarter campaign in 2013, but only got a little less than 1/2 of their target amount pledged. They're going to do Kickstarter again, starting Feb. 14, 2014 -- and this time, they've been working on PR before asking for money. You can see what they're up to in gaming sensor development at www.priovr.com/. Or go to the main YEI Technology corporate site, which has a whole bunch of free downloads in addition to the usual product blurbs.