Topic pipedot

Logo Contest and Other Updates

in pipedot on (#3H7)
story imageEarly last month, I tried my hand at creating a unique logo for this site. Turns out, I sucked at it. My temporary solution was to type "Pipedot" in the Koloss font at 25 point and go back to work on the more important stuff. Of course, some have pointed out the resemblance of this setup to the green site. And I'd have to agree; more differentiation is warranted.

Therefore, I've created a new Logo Contest at - a site that specializes at such things. The winner not only gets their beautiful creation plastered at the top of this page, but also gets a cool $300 USD prize. The contest ends Sunday (1 week duration.)

Please feel free to browse the entries and help me pick out the good ones. The initial response is almost overwhelming, with a hundred submissions on the first day.

Other updates for this week include:
  • More Icons - These are the cute little icons tacked onto the top of articles. Much effort was exerted to keep this set as free-software friendly as possible while maintaining a consistent look and feel. The count is now 145 and will continue to climb over the next few months.
  • Unicode Support - Most languages and useful symbols (like math, currency, and punctuation) are now allowed. Dingbats, smiley faces, non-printing characters, right-to-left switchers, and other gibberish are still filtered. This change should resolve the issue some have experienced with fancy quotes, em dashes, resolved HTML entities, and foreign languages.

Pipedot Status Update

in pipedot on (#3GW)
Thank you for all of your comments and constructive criticisms from last week's poll. Input like this helps me prioritize the implementation of features that are the most important to you. Seems I underestimated some, like search, and will adjust my schedule accordingly.

Updates for this week:
  • Search Page - Still a bit raw, but have to start somewhere, right?
  • More Editors - We now have three volunteer editors. If you are interested in helping in this department, feel free to contact me. Or you can always submit more stories to help us out.
  • Mailing List - Mainly for staff discussions, but anyone is free to participate. Click the checkbox on your settings page to subscribe to the list. A pretty HTML archive interface will be added soon.
  • Titles - The HTML title on most pages should now be meaningful
  • Forgot Password - You can now reset a forgotten password by answering a standard email challenge

Approval voting

in pipedot on (#3G3)
This week's poll is an example of the Approval voting method. Note that the items are checkboxes instead of the traditional single choice radio button. Please check all the features that you would prefer to see on this site sooner-rather-than-later. I plan on adding all of these features (except the NSA option - that one is a joke!) over the next few weeks. This poll will give me some feedback on which features are the most popular. For example, if nobody really cares about the Achievement system, I'll know to not spend too much time on it.

Expandable Comments

in pipedot on (#3F5)
Good news everyone! I've just pushed out the first version of expandable comments! They may still be a little rough around the edges, but you are welcome to try them out below or on any other story.

As for the nerdy details, the scripts are using jQuery to pull the raw comments in JSON format from the server. The two HTML5 slider elements control the display thresholds. Comments that are under the "Hide" threshold are completely hidden. Comments that are under the "Expand" threshold are collapsed. The rest of the comments are shown in full. Collapsed comments show the subject text + the first line of body text. You can click on any collapsed comment to expand it.

For those that prefer to be script free, we will offer an "Enable JavaScript" checkbox in your user settings page. Unchecking this option will present you with server-side-generated pages instead of the JavaScript enabled pages.

Confessions of an iGoogle User

in pipedot on (#3ER)
I admit it. I was one of the 7.1 million users of the ill-fated service, iGoogle. For over eight years, Google offered a quick glance of your favorite news feeds on a customizable, fast loading, and ad-free homepage. Similar to Reader's fate a few months earlier, Google retired the service in November 2013, leaving its users to look for alternatives.

For the past few months, I have tried a number of these alternatives. Unfortunately, most are either riddled with ads or exist as JavaScript heavyweights. Ad Block Plus can remove most of the ads, but it often leaves giant holes on the page. Because I set the page as my homepage, I also don't like waiting for the browser to load every JavaScript library know to man just to render the page's "Web 2.0" layout.

Luckily, I'm a developer - a developer with an itch. Therefore, Pipedot now offers a user-customizable feed page! An example feed page can be seen here or you can go to your Pipedot user-page at to set up your own page.

Pipedot Status Week 1

in pipedot on (#3EF)
story imageJust a quick update on the progress after its first week of life:
  • Thursday : registered the domain!
  • Friday : setup the DNS and mail servers.
  • Saturday : Web, database, and memcache servers built up.
  • Sunday : Load balancer added to balance between the two webservers. Also finished setting up the HTTPS certificate and IPv6 support.
  • Monday : Initial look, logos, icons and CSS design.
  • Tuesday : Database-backed stories (no more static placeholders).
  • Wednesday : Login system was enabled.
  • Thursday : The first poll was posted late Thursday in time for Valentines Day on Friday.
  • Saturday : Topics and the Pipe activated.
  • Sunday : Threaded comments and user-submitted stories enabled.
At this point, every page, except for search, is now a completely real page that renders from the database.

The code base is all new (not based on Slashcode) and using modern web technologies (nginx instead of Apache, no Perl CGI, etc...). There are currently six servers plus a load balancer with more webservers available to spin up as needed. Sections of code that are either CPU heavy or database intensive (threaded comments) are able to be memcached to maintain performance.

Stay tuned for the next week of updates!

Soylent News has launched!

in pipedot on (#3EE)
Friends of this website, Soylent News, have been working hard at a similar project: to replace Slashdot from the ground up. Everything is being driven by the community and volunteer work, and they are now working on a business model; truly inspiring. They have just launched this moment and we want to acknowledge their work.

Hello World!

in pipedot on (#3EC)
Hello everybody out there visiting -
I'm doing a (free) news website (just a hobby, won't
be big and professional like osdn) in HTML5.
This has been brewing since October, and is starting to get
Seriously though...

I love the idea of the Slashdot news website; the threaded comments and
the user-submitted stories/moderation are truly unique among the
various news organizations.

Unfortunately, Slashdot's technical successes have not been duplicated
on their business side. They have leapfrogged from one parent
corporation to another for their entire existence - never really fitting
in anywhere.

Slashdot's current parent, Dice Holdings, has made it abundantly clear
over the last few months that it wishes to "re-image" the site into yet
another generic news aggregator. The "beta" site, that was introduced
last October, has zero support for threading/moderation/etc... A few
days ago, they started pushing 25% of the site's users to the new site
and reiterated their stance that the "beta" is their new vision and
that "classic" will soon be deprecated.

I just can't idly stand by and watch the destruction of one of the best
communities on the Internet.

My new news website will be called "Pipedot" and be reachable at: (also ). The motto will be:
"News for nerds, without the corporate slant." Get it? A pipe character
looks like a slash without the slant!

I'm committed to providing a free and independent resource without the
influence of a parent corporate overlord. The site will be decidedly
non-profit and have no advertisements, no Adobe flash, no Google
analytics, etc...

What it will keep, however, is the spirit of the original.