Kevin Kelly ("Senior Maverick for Wired Magazine," among many other things) is back with answers to a selection of the questions posed to him by Slashdot readers. Read on below for his take on travel, the Long Now Foundation (including the 10,000-year clock — clocks! — that is among the foundation's projects), the future of fusion, and what to do about inevitable widespread suckage.
The hacker with perhaps the most famous first name around, Kevin Mitnick, has gone from computer hacking of the sort that gets one on the FBI's Most Wanted list (and into years of solitary confinement) to respected security consultant and author, helping people minimize the sort of security holes he once exploited for fun. His new book is called Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker; it's his first since the expiration of an agreement that he could not profit from books written about his criminal activity. Kevin's agreed to answer your questions; we'll pass the best ones on to him, and print his answers when they're ready. Note: Kevin also answered Slashdot questions most of a decade ago; that's a good place to start. Please observe the Slashdot interview guidelines: ask as many questions as you want, but please keep them to one per comment.
Kevin Kelly has for decades been involved in some of the most interesting projects I know about, and in his roles as founding editor (and now editor at large) of Wired Magazine and editor of The Whole Earth Catalog has helped spread the word about many others. Kelly is probably as close to a Rennaisance man as it's possible to be in the 21st century, having more-than-passing interest and knowledge in a range of topics from genetic sequencing and other ways that we can use measurement in pursuit of improved health to how technology is used and reused in real life. Among other projects, he's also the founder of CoolTools, which I consider to be (unsurprisingly) the closest current equivalent to the old Whole Earth Catalogs. (Disclaimer: I've had a few reviews published there, too.) (He's also one of the founders of The WELL, now part of Salon.) Kelly is also Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Long Now Foundation, the group which for years has been designing a clock to ring on 10,000 years in the future. Below, ask questions of Kelly, bearing in mind please the Slashdot interview guidelines: ask as many questions as you want, but please keep them to one per comment. He'll get back soon with his answers.
Last week, you asked questions (many rather pointed!) of Amir Taaki, co-founder of Bitcoin Consultancy, which develops Bitcoin related services, exchanges and Bitcoin itself. (They also own Britcoin.co.uk.) Says Taaki: "When creating video games I spent much time imagining tools to make artists lives easier, and how we could keep funding developers to write free software. One contribution of mine to the community was a site where developers could get funded for developing features and I'd love nothing more than to pay people to write free software." With regard to Bitcoin, similarly, "We need fulltime developers thinking about the problems and solutions needed to keep this system running. We aim to get all the creative thinkers from the community and provide a mechanism for enabling their work." Below find his answers to the questions readers raised.
"Bitcoin," says the project's website, "is a peer-to-peer currency. Peer-to-peer means that no central authority issues new money or tracks transactions." Wikipedia offers a readable explanation of the underlying technology. In (very) short, Bitcoin uses a distributed database and public key encryption to allow users to reassign ownership of units of Bitcoin currency (BTC), and does so in a way that can keep the user's identity private. Bitcoin isn't yet accepted the way credit cards are, but it's more than theoretical. You can buy (some) things with Bitcoin, and trade the currency itself. Now, you can ask question about Bitcoin of Amir Taaki, a developer of client interfaces and stock trading software for Bitcoin, and owner and operator of trading exchange Britcoin.co.uk. Amir requests that questions focus not "so much on the mining (too many people get focused on that when it's a minor aspect of Bitcoin) nor simple technical questions (people can go find that info themselves on Wikipedia/the forums/sourcecode)," but rather on the harder-to-answer questions. Reading some of the related stories listed below may give you ideas on what those are. Standard Slashdot Interview rules apply: ask as many questions as you want, but please keep them to one per comment. Amir will get back with his answers.
Last week you asked some questions of musician and programmer Jonathan Coulton. He's answered your inquiries about the music industry, video games, and being an ex-code monkey. Read below to see what he had to say.
Even though he created the definitive guide to enjoying yourself outside, Jonathan Coulton is best known for the programmer anthem Code Monkey, his Thing a Week project, and writing the theme song to Portal. In 2005 Coulton left his programming job to pursue his music career, and has since become a successful one man music label. Jonathan has agreed to answer your questions about robots, life, and internet stardom. Normal Slashdot interview rules apply.
As World of Warcraft prepares for the launch of its third expansion, Cataclysm, on December 7th, the design team is busily trying to finish all the new high level content, the destruction and rebuilding of Azeroth, and major changes to many of the game's systems and classes. At Blizzcon we spoke with Greg Street (a.k.a. Ghostcrawler), Lead Systems Designer for WoW, about Blizzard's goals for this expansion, the problems they're trying to solve, reasoning for the creation of a few new features, and why they aren't willing to simply throw more people at complicated projects. Read on for our discussion about World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.
The StarCraft 2 team spent most of Blizzcon talking about the map editor and custom games. We spoke with Alan Dabiri, a Lead Software Engineer for Wings of Liberty who worked on the user interface and helped out on the game's integration with Battle.net. He provided some more details about plans for making the map editor more approachable, the coming updates for Battle.net (including chat channels), and a bit about the development of Heart of the Swarm, the Zerg-themed expansion being worked on now. Read on for our conversation about StarCraft 2.
At Blizzcon this past weekend, we got a chance to speak with Julian Love, lead technical artist for Diablo 3. We discussed skill runes — items that modify the form and function of your character's spells and abilities — as well as the newly announced PvP Battle Arenas, the Demon Hunter class (and why it took so long to create), the future beta test and the importance of getting the game in front of players to collect feedback. Read on for our discussion about Diablo 3.
VJ42 writes "With the 2010 UK general election fast approaching, the Pirate Party of the United Kingdom will be fielding elections for the first time. The Digital Economy bill and ACTA are hot topics for UK geeks, and the Pirate Party is looking to pick up some votes. Their leader, Andrew Robinson, has agreed to answer your questions. Normal Slashdot interview rules apply."
A couple of weeks ago you posed some questions for Matt Asay, who recently moved into the COO role at Canonical. Click below to read his answers.
A week after the announcement that open source advocate and blogger Matt Asay is leaving Alfresco for Canonical, in the role of COO, Matt has agreed to answer your questions about his role at Canonical, his vision for the future of Ubuntu, or the prospects for open source as we begin to emerge from recession. Usual Slashdot interview rules apply. (Disclaimer: Matt is on the board of advisors for Slashdot's parent company, Geeknet.)
Widgett writes "After hearing about the ATMs in Antarctica, I got curious. So I pinged Wells Fargo and got an interview with one of their VPs. The end result is a story about how one services machines at the end of the world, plus — and most importantly — what are the service fees like?"
A couple weeks back you asked some questions of new CodePlex Foundation President Sam Ramji. He has responded and expressed interest in participating in the discussion at some point. If you have follow up questions feel free to drop them in the discussion so he can address them as he has time.