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Facebook Drops Bing Search Results

Animats Now to take it out of Thunderbird (33 comments)

In a particularly lame move, somebody put Bing search into Thunderbird. When searching your emails, you can also get irrelevant web search results via Bing. What the use case is for that I have no idea.

about a week ago
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LA Mayor Proposes Earthquake Retrofits On Thousands of Buildings

Animats San Francisco already did this (178 comments)

San Francisco already did this. Almost all the masonry buildings in SF have been reinforced since the 1989 quake, and now the rules are being tighened on wood buldings. If you've been in an older building in SF, you've probably seen huge diagonal steel braces. That's what it looks like.

All new big buildings meet very tough earthquake standards. The bridges and freeways have been beefed up in recent years. Overpass pillars are about three times as big as they used to be. Two elevated freeways were torn down after one in Oakland failed in the 1989 quake. The entire eastern span of the Bay Bridge was replaced with a new suspension bridge. The western span was strengthened, and there are now sliding joints, huge plates of stainless steel, between the roadway and the towers.

about two weeks ago
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AI Expert: AI Won't Exterminate Us -- It Will Empower Us

Animats The corporate AI (417 comments)

What I'm worried about is when AIs start doing better at corporate management than humans. If AIs do better at running companies than humans, they have to be put in charge for companies to remain competitive. That's maximizing shareholder value, which is what capitalism is all about.

Once AIs get good enough to manage at all, they should be good at it. Computers can handle more detail than humans. They communicate better and faster than humans. Meetings will take seconds, not hours. AI-run businesses will react faster.

Then AI-run businesses will start deailng with other AI-run businesses. Human-run businesses will be too slow at replying to keep up. The pressure to put an AI in charge will increase.

We'll probably see this first in the finanical sector. Many funds are already run mostly by computers. There's even a fund which formally has a program on their board of directors.

The concept of the corporation having no social responsibiilty gives us enough trouble. Wait until the AIs are in charge.

about two weeks ago
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French Publishers Prepare Lawsuit Against Adblock Plus

Animats Re:Of course... (699 comments)

It has apparently never occurred to publishers to band together and fund the creation of a system for buying content at dirt cheap prices using something like ACH transfers to keep the transaction costs low. How about a one-click purchase model where you pay $0.50/article or $3 for all content published that day?

It's been tried. Nobody bought. Except for the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, no news outlet adds enough value that people will pay for it.

about two weeks ago
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Should IT Professionals Be Exempt From Overtime Regulations?

Animats Re:Yes. (545 comments)

The usual rules on this have to do with consecutive days worked. Six days in a row -> 1.5x pay. Seven or more days in a row -> 2x pay.

There was a time when most US employees got that.

about two weeks ago
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Should IT Professionals Be Exempt From Overtime Regulations?

Animats Yes. (545 comments)

And double time on Sundays.

Unions - the people who brought you the weekend.

about two weeks ago
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The Cost of the "S" In HTTPS

Animats Re:All the cost, none of the benefits: Thanks US G (238 comments)

Mod parent up.

"HTTPS Everywhere" is security theater. Most stuff doesn't need to be encrypted. Worse, as the parent post points out, it causes the creation of security holes. This weakens security for the few things that need to be encrypted.

We don't need "value added services" in the middle of the network. Not for secure content, anyway. Perhaps some content should be signed, but not encrypted, so it can be cached, but not modified. Cloudflare, which decrypts everything that goes through it, is a huge security hole.

about three weeks ago
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Hawking Warns Strong AI Could Threaten Humanity

Animats Machines think. Humans work. (574 comments)

This is what work looks like with computers in charge. This is Amazon's new warehouse in Tracy, CA. The computers run the robots and do the planning and scheduling. The robots move the shelf units around/ The humans take things out of one container and put them in another, taking orders from the computers.

The bin picking will probably be automated soon. Bezos has a company developing robots for that.

As for repairing the robots, that's not a big deal. There are about a thousand mobile Kiva robots in that warehouse, sharing the work, and they're all interchangeable. Kiva, which makes and services the robots, has only a few hundred employees.

Retail is 12% of US employment. That number is shrinking.

about three weeks ago
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Behind Apple's Sapphire Screen Debacle

Animats Re:The missing information here: is it feasible? (189 comments)

Is it feasible to make sapphire smartphone screens which are not too shatter-prone?

Sure it is. Home Depot checkout scanner glass is sapphire-coated. You can drag steel tools across it all day for years on end.

about three weeks ago
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Google Told To Expand Right To Be Forgotten

Animats Orwell (193 comments)

"He who controls the present controls the past. He who controls the past controls the future." - Orwell, 1984

about three weeks ago
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Edsac Goes Live, At UK's National Museum of Computing

Animats Not working yet (37 comments)

It's not finished yet. They have the clock and the delay line memory working, but it can't run programs.

about three weeks ago
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Here's What Your Car Could Look Like In 2030

Animats Re:Waiting... (144 comments)

OK, here's a site with an interview with IDEO's designer. It has the key pictures without the UI from hell.

This is the Eric Schmidt vision of the future. People will still go to offices and have meetings. They'll just have better cars and presentation tools, and better delivery services for physical stuff.

Will we really need that many office workers? That's the huge question. Given the head counts at newer companies, probably not.

about a month ago
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Here's What Your Car Could Look Like In 2030

Animats Waiting... (144 comments)

3% loading...
Page with 3 icons loads. Click on first icon. Background sound loop of birds chirping with wihite noise and gap at the end of the loop starts. That's all that happens.

Firefox 33 on Ubuntu reports: Media resource http://automobility.ideo.com/a... could not be decoded. automobility.ideo.com
TypeError: e[0].play is not a function main.js:1
TypeError: e[0].pause is not a function main.js:1

Don't they test their code?

about a month ago
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Cops 101: NYC High School Teaches How To Behave During Stop-and-Frisk

Animats This idea came from a police chief (481 comments)

Darryl Gates, former police chief of Los Angeles, once proposed that kids should be taught in school how to be arrested. Cops can't complain that it's being implemented.

about a month ago
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In a Self-Driving Future, We May Not Even Want To Own Cars

Animats When cars are self-driving and shared (454 comments)

...they'll all be owned by Uber.

There's a network effect for shared vehicles. Availablility is best if you have one big pool of cars rather than lots of little ones. So there will be a single winner in that space for each city.

Imagine Uber having the power of GM and Google combined. Run by the current team of assholes.

about a month ago
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Eizo Debuts Monitor With 1:1 Aspect Ratio

Animats Now Apple will announce a round monitor (330 comments)

OK, a square monitor. Now maybe Apple will announce a round monitor. They already make a round PC, after all. All the Apple fanboys will then insist that round monitors are great.

about a month ago
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Does Being First Still Matter In America?

Animats Re:Amazon Elastic Cloud? (247 comments)

decades ago, Cray Computers were assembled by people (housewives) who were allowed to spend no more time than they could be maximally effective in, using wires cut to millimeter-precise lengths.

Yes, and there's a Cray I at the Computer Museum here in Silicon Valley, upholstered base and all. You can sit on it if you like. It's not useful for much else.

All modern supercomputers are composed of a large number of microprocessors. The interconnects are faster than with ordinary hosting/cloud operations, but the CPUs are the same. The biggest supercomputer in the world, in China, is 3,120,000 cores of Intel Xeons, running at 2.2GHz each.

The question is whether the problem you're solving needs tight interconnection. If not, you can run it on a large number of ordinary computers. Weather may not be that tightly coupled; propagation time in air is kind of slow.

about a month ago
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Does Being First Still Matter In America?

Animats Amazon Elastic Cloud? (247 comments)

Does the National Weather Service need that computing power all the time, or could they buy it during major hurricanes from cloud services?

about a month ago
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As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

Animats They'll be replaced by robots soon. (496 comments)

Don't worry, most of those jobs will go away soon. Amazon's newer warehouses use Kiva robots to move merchandise around to picking stations. Picking is still manual; the computers do all the thinking, the humans just pick up what the laser pointer points at. But Bezos owns a robotics startup working on automating that. At Amazon, being replaced by robots isn't a future problem. It's here now.

Customer service is already mostly automated. It's can't be long until customer service chat is with a computer, not a human. Then Amazon will need fewer people.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Facebook is down, again

Animats Animats writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Animats writes "Not just the stock. The Facebook site itself is having problems this weekend.
Facebook has had intermittent outages since Friday, the Huffington Post reports. Right now, DownRightNow reports a "likely service disruption." The symptom is very slow, but valid responses from the site. So far, Facebook hasn't made any public statements."

Link to Original Source
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Sprint discontinues phone camera support, loses pictures

Animats Animats writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Animats (122034) writes "On April 30, Sprint discontinued their "Picture Mail" site, where pictures uploaded from Sprint phones are stored. Some users report the loss of years of pictures. Sprint didn't provide a bulk download feature that worked, so some users struggled during the last hours to get pictures off the site before it went down.

Sprint's plan was that users would switch from their system to Flickr, Facebook, or some other photo uploading site. Unfortunately, the tools for doing that were on the site they just took down. The main Sprint web site now has dead links. The old system was taken down before the new system came up. So they've left their non-smart phones in limbo.

There's a privacy issue. Pictures uploaded to Sprint's site were private. Pictures uploaded to "sharing" sites tend to get "shared"."

Link to Original Source
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CPanel installs back door into Linux servers

Animats Animats writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Animats writes "I recently leased a new dedicated server from a well-known hosting company. The server came with CPanel, a popular system administration tool, installed, and on first log-in, I was presented with a CPanel EULA, something that wasn't present on older servers. The EULA indicates that CPanel, Inc. has a back door into the server for "authentication", and can not only "copy, access, store, disclose and use cPanel Data indefinitely in its sole discretion", but can disable the server remotely. This is like CarrierIQ's back door — something that has no business being there.

This is for a fully dedicated server, not shared, not virtual, and not managed by the hosting company. I'm leasing a bare CentOS machine in a rack here. This isn't something to give a hosting company access. It allows access by a third party company that just sells system administration software. They have no need for that access whatsoever.

Here are the actual EULA terms:

*Authentication System*. The Software contains technological measures that, working in conjunction with cPanel computer servers, are designed to prevent unlicensed or illegal use of the Software (collectively, the "Authentication System"). You acknowledge and agree that such Authentication System allows cPanel to (among other things) (a) monitor use of the Software by you and Third Party Users as set forth in Section 2.5.4 (cPanel Data); (b) verify that the Software is only used on the Licensed Server; (c) suspend or disable access to the Software in whole or in part in the event of a breach of this Agreement or in the event of a breach by a Third Party User of cPanel-related provisions of a Third Party Agreement; and (d) terminate use of the Software upon the expiration or termination of this Agreement. You agree not to thwart, interfere with, circumvent or block the operation of any aspect of the Authentication System, including any communications between the Software and cPanelâ's computer servers. For the avoidance of doubt, the Software will not operate unless cPanel from time to time verifies the Software using the Authentication System which requires the exchange of information between the Licensed Server and cPanel over the Internet.

*cPanel Data*. You agree that, without further notice to you or any Third Party User, cPanel may use technological means, including the Authentication System, to (a) monitor use of the Software as may be necessary to monitor for compliance with the terms of this Agreement; (b) collect language file modifications as provided in Section 3.6 (License to Language File Modifications); and (c) collect cPanel Data. cPanel reserves the right to copy, access, store, disclose and use cPanel Data indefinitely in its sole discretion; provided, however, that in the event that cPanel collects information concerning which features of the Software are most often used by you or Third Party Users, cPanel will remove personally identifiable information (if any) from such data and copy, access, store, disclose and use such data solely for the purpose of improving the Software.

"

Link to Original Source
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Facebook settles with FTC, admits privacy violatio

Animats Animats writes  |  about 3 years ago

Animats writes "The social networking service Facebook has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public. The settlement is soft on Facebook; there are no fines or criminal penalties.

According to the FTC, in December 2009, Facebook changed its website so certain information that users may have designated as private – such as their Friends List – was made public. Facebook didn't warn users that this change was coming, or get their approval in advance.

Facebook represented that third-party apps that users' installed would have access only to user information that they needed to operate. In fact, the apps could access nearly all of users' personal data – data the apps didn't need.

        Facebook told users they could restrict sharing of data to limited audiences – for example with "Friends Only." In fact, selecting "Friends Only" did not prevent their information from being shared with third-party applications their friends used.

        Facebook had a "Verified Apps" program & claimed it certified the security of participating apps. It didn't.

        Facebook promised users that it would not share their personal information with advertisers. It did.

        Facebook claimed that when users deactivated or deleted their accounts, their photos and videos would be inaccessible. But Facebook allowed access to the content, even after users had deactivated or deleted their accounts.

        Facebook claimed that it complied with the U.S.- EU Safe Harbor Framework that governs data transfer between the U.S. and the European Union. It didn't."

Link to Original Source
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John McCarthy, founder of AI, dead at 84

Animats Animats writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Animats writes "John McCarthy, who established artificial intelligence as a field and created the LISP programming language, died yesterday at age 84.

(I took his "Epistemological Problems in Artificial Intelligence" class at Stanford, almost 30 years ago.)"

Link to Original Source
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Google fined $500 million over drug ads

Animats Animats writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Animats writes "The Wall Street Journal reports: "Google Inc. is close to settling a U.S. criminal investigation into allegations it made hundreds of millions of dollars by accepting ads from online pharmacies that break U.S. laws." Google's acceptance of ads from unlicensed "online pharmacies" is considered profiting from illegal activity. The Washington Post writes the inquiry could draw more attention to how vulnerable Google's automated system has been to the machinations of shady operators."
Link to Original Source
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Major outage at Codero

Animats Animats writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Animats (122034) writes "Codero, which is a large dedicated hosting provider, is down today due to what they claim is a distributed denial of service attack against their routing. Their main IP block for their Phoenix data center has dropped out of routing.

Their phone system is dropping calls, and their support chat system is reporting "An online representative will be with you shortly. You are number 194 in queue. Your wait time will be approximately 806 minute(s). Thank you for waiting. ""

Link to Original Source
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SourceForge down after attack

Animats Animats writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Animats (122034) writes "SourceForge, a hosting site for many open source projects is down today. management claims they were attacked: "We detected a direct targeted attack that resulted in an exploit of several SourceForge.net servers, and have proactively shut down a handful of developer centric services to safeguard data and protect the majority of our services." Currently, CVS and SVN access to source code, even for reading, is unavailable, and there is no announced restoration time."
Link to Original Source
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How Google uses Chrome to boost ad revenue

Animats Animats writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Animats (122034) writes "Harvard Business School professor Benjamin Edelman has published a paper, How Google and Its Partners Inflate Measured Conversion Rates and Increase Advertiser Costs. The trick is that Google has interactive URL completion in its URL input box, but, unlike Firefox, interactive completion doesn't take you to the real URL. It takes you through Google Search, and through Google's pay-per-click system.

As an example, Edelman typed "expedia" into Chrome. "Expedia.com" appears as a suggestion, and pressing "Enter" accepts that default. But that doesn't take you to Expedia.com directly. There's a side trip through Google Search and a Google ad. The advertiser is then charged for an unnecessary ad click.

As Edelman puts it, "As users type web addresses into Google's Chrome web browser, Chrome's "Omnibox" address bar suggests that users run searches instead of direct navigation. If a user accepts Chrome's suggestion — the user is taken to a page of Google search results for the specified term. ... As usual, Google's most prominent search result is an advertisement. If the user clicks the ad, the advertiser pays a pay-per-click fee — even though the user was nearly at the advertiser's site, for free, before Chrome interceded with its 'Search for...' suggestion."
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Explosion at Scaled Composites kills 2, injures 4

Animats Animats writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Animats (122034) writes "Details are scant at this time, but a explosion at the Scaled Composites rocket test facility has killed two people and seriously injured four more. The Los Angeles Times reports that the explosion was "ignited by a tank of nitrous oxide".

This is Burt Rutan's facility, and the home of SpaceShip One and Virgin Galactic spacecraft development."

Link to Original Source

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