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Comments

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Telegram Not Dead STOP Alive, Evolving In Japan STOP

Sockatume Re:beta.slashdot.org STOP (143 comments)

Unfortunately there's no /etc/hosts file for MUTHUR.

5 days ago
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Telegram Not Dead STOP Alive, Evolving In Japan STOP

Sockatume Re:beta.slashdot.org STOP (143 comments)

We've decoded part of that beta invitation... except it doesn't look like it was an invitation. It looks like it was a warning.

5 days ago
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Giant Greek Tomb Discovered

Sockatume Re:meh (164 comments)

You really should've called them out on calling it "BC" rather than "BCE" while you were at it. What's pedantry without thoroughness?

5 days ago
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Telegram Not Dead STOP Alive, Evolving In Japan STOP

Sockatume Might even be pragmatic sometimes (143 comments)

Quite aside from tradition, which is great, there are situations where you need to send a message to a physical address. Maybe the occupant doesn't have a phone or email, or you don't know their contact details, or whether they even have a phone or email. If that message has to get there within three hours rather than overnight, then the $4.30 rate is pretty competitive with getting an express courier to carry a post-it note.

5 days ago
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Soccer Talent Scouting Application Teams Up With Video Game Publisher

Sockatume Re:Football Manager (39 comments)

Sorry for the misunderstanding, I was referring to the game called Football Manager that used to be called Championship Manager, with the religious following.

5 days ago
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Soccer Talent Scouting Application Teams Up With Video Game Publisher

Sockatume Re:Soccer, or football... (39 comments)

If my experience at conferences has taught me anything, it's that without football we'd have a lot more very sober and very grumpy scientists in Europe.

5 days ago
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Soccer Talent Scouting Application Teams Up With Video Game Publisher

Sockatume Football Manager (39 comments)

I should explain for those unfamiliar with Football Manager (nee Championship Manager): it's not really like a game. It's more like an enormous spreadsheet crossed with a fanatical religion. There was uproar when they added a little simulation of the matches playing out using coloured dots... in 2003.

You kind of suspect that there's some huge archive of historical data about football in the back of a project like that, to parameterise the players and teams, but it never occurred to me that they had 1300 of their own scouts performing observations.

5 days ago
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Apple and Samsung Agree To Drop Cases Outside the US

Sockatume Re:Explain something to me (46 comments)

That's true for trademarks, but not patents.

5 days ago
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Samsung Announces Galaxy Alpha Featuring Metal Frame and Rounded Corners

Sockatume Re:I don't get it (220 comments)

Customisation. Pre-2010 there was a lot of aesthetic variety in devices' shape, size, materials, colour, etc. However phones are basically big rectangles these days, while logistics and manufacturing approaches in consumer electronics favour doing fewer models in bigger numbers. There's a desire to be able to reshape these devices to something that suits its owner a bit more.

5 days ago
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Samsung Announces Galaxy Alpha Featuring Metal Frame and Rounded Corners

Sockatume Re:I don't get it (220 comments)

I would think that going without a case on a £600 phone is a better signal of "I've got money to burn".

about a week ago
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Samsung Announces Galaxy Alpha Featuring Metal Frame and Rounded Corners

Sockatume Re:I don't get it (220 comments)

It's not plastic that's the issue; it's metal-effect plastic. The mutton-dressed-as-lamb factor of pleather, wood veneer, chromed plastic, and the like is tacky in itself, but a bit of an affront in a gizmo that costs a good part of a month's wages. In a market where all your similarly-specced competitors are using actual metal, being the guy who sends out fake metal sends a message to your customers along the lines of "you'll pay the same, but you'll get less".

about a week ago
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Samsung Announces Galaxy Alpha Featuring Metal Frame and Rounded Corners

Sockatume Re:I don't get it (220 comments)

I think you'll find that the hipsters are using old Nokias.

about a week ago
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Samsung Announces Galaxy Alpha Featuring Metal Frame and Rounded Corners

Sockatume Re:"Sophisticated" look (220 comments)

iPhone in front, Pleather in the back. This is the mullet of cellphones.

about a week ago
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New Watson-Style AI Called Viv Seeks To Be the First 'Global Brain'

Sockatume Re:Jealous of Google and Facebook (161 comments)

Why would they need a database of your preferences? I mean, it's something they could gather by data-mining what you put in there if they wanted to, but the same's true of Slashdot, and in neither case is it's something that their system actually uses to get its job done. (Their worked example uses a mixture of the contents of the query, your local address book, a couple of cookery sites, and a routing service.)

about a week ago
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New Watson-Style AI Called Viv Seeks To Be the First 'Global Brain'

Sockatume Re:Google Now Does Understand Context (161 comments)

I'm not sure why they used such a poor example when their technology seems leaps and bounds ahead of what Google and Apple actually do. "On the way to my brother's house, I need to pick up some cheap wine that pairs well with lasagna" creates a list of wine outlets and lasanga-appropriate wines, sorted by price, along the route to your brother's house.

Although I wonder if it would pick up the context as well in a less explicit sentence like "I'm going to my brother's for lasagna and I need to get wine". Or even the request, "I need to get wine" after getting directions from a calendar entry marked "lasagna at bob's".

about a week ago
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Twitter Reports 23 Million Users Are Actually Bots

Sockatume Re:Hmm? (84 comments)

Ha, of course.

about a week ago
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Twitter Reports 23 Million Users Are Actually Bots

Sockatume Re:Hmm? (84 comments)

I assume that the logic is "twitter's revenue is based on advertising, and therefore based on the number of legitimate users it has, and therefore this is of material importance". However I have little doubt that Twitter already tells its advertisers how many unique human beings it believes it has, versus bots, second accounts, etc.

about a week ago
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NVIDIAs 64-bit Tegra K1: The Ghost of Transmeta Rides Again, Out of Order

Sockatume Re:Is it better? (125 comments)

More to the point, if the advantage of switching to in-order is having less silicon (and therefore a smaller power draw), isn't that completely undone by having a whole second CPU in there that makes it twice as large as its predecessor?

about a week ago
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Apple $450 Million e-Book Settlement Wins Court Approval

Sockatume Re:The real culprits are the publishers. (93 comments)

Err, loss leaders are the ones who sell a variety of different goods at low prices for long periods. Dumpers sell a specific good at low prices for a short period of time because dumping is inherently unsustainable; if you don't run your rivals into the ground and switch to high cost selling before you run out of capital, your business fails.

about a week ago
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Apple $450 Million e-Book Settlement Wins Court Approval

Sockatume Re:Read: tax deduction (93 comments)

There's nothing stopping organisations forming cooperative agreements so long as they are not inherently anticompetitive. Remember: they got sued not because they banded together, but because they banded together to set prices.

about a week ago

Submissions

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How Shark Weeks screws scientists

Sockatume Sockatume writes  |  5 days ago

Sockatume (732728) writes "The Verge has an article on Discovery's hugely successful Shark Week, discussing how the increasing sensationalist special event misrepresents science and exploits nature and local history for shock value. Scientists who appeared in and were misrepresented by the channel's programming are beginning to encourage their peers to stay away from the Discovery network, which stands by the programming's viewing figures."
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Outlook grim for orbiting Russian zero-G sex geckos

Sockatume Sockatume writes  |  about three weeks ago

Sockatume (732728) writes "Lee Hutchison at Ars Technica reports with sadness that a mission which would study the effects of freefall on lizard reproduction has gone awry. Due to control failures, it not be possible to return the capsule and its menagerie of experimental life forms to Earth. Data collection is still possible, meaning that the creatures' sacrifice will not be in vain."
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Google confirms indie musicians must join streaming service or be removed

Sockatume Sockatume writes  |  about 2 months ago

Sockatume (732728) writes "In a statement to the Financial Times and reported by the BBC, Google has confirmed that it will remove the music videos of independent artists unless they sign up to its upcoming subscription music service. Many independent musicians and labels have refused to do so, claiming that the contracts offer significantly worse deals than the likes of Spotify and Pandora, and that Google is unwilling to negotiate on the rates it offers artists. A Google spokesperson indicated that the company could start removing videos within days."
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Google using Youtube threat as leverage for cheaper streaming rights

Sockatume Sockatume writes  |  about 3 months ago

Sockatume (732728) writes "According to a press release issued by WIN, a group representing independent musicians, Google is threatening to de-list musicians' videos from YouTube if they do not agree to the terms for its unannounced streaming music service. The template contracts issued to musicians are described as "undervalued" relative to other streaming services, and are not open for negotiation. The press release was issued by WIN but rescinded when Google agreed to further discussions; The Associated Free Press and The Guardian have published stories based on that original release."
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Climate scientist distances himself from "suppression" story

Sockatume Sockatume writes  |  about 3 months ago

Sockatume (732728) writes "Prof Lennart Bengtsson of the University of Reading, who made waves last week by comparing the environment in climate research to McCarthy-era America, has distanced himself from the Times story that popularised his remarks. In a statement, Prof. Bengtsson explains: "I do not believe there is any systematic 'cover-up' of scientific evidence on climate change or that academics' work is being 'deliberately suppressed', as the Times front page suggests. I am worried by a wider trend that science is gradually being influenced by political views. Policy decisions need to be based on solid fact. I was concerned that the Environmental Research Letters reviewer's comments suggested his or her opinion was not objective or based on an unbiased assessment of the scientific evidence.""
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Climate journal publishes referees' report in response to "witch-hunt" claims

Sockatume Sockatume writes  |  about 3 months ago

Sockatume (732728) writes "The resignation of Prof. Lennart Bengtsson from an anti-global-warming think tank has triggered widespread outrage in the British tabloids, with the University of Bristol Professor blaming his departure on a "witch-hunt" environment amongst climate scientists and the rejection of one of his papers. The UK's Times quotes a passage from the reviewer comments in support of this, in which it is claimed that the paper was rejected for being "unhelpful to their cause". In response, that journal's publisher has taken the rare step of publishing the referees' report in full. The report describes Bengtsson's paper as a "simplistic comparison of ranges from AR4, AR5, and Otto et al [data sets], combined with the statement they they are inconsistent", "where no consistency was to be expected in the first place" and therefore is not publishable research. The referee adds a number of possible areas of discussion which would allow Bengtsson to make the same data into a publishable paper, but warns that publishing it in its current state "opens the door for oversimplified claims of errors and worse from the climate sceptics media "."
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Skepticism grows over claims that MH370 lies in the Bay of Bengal

Sockatume Sockatume writes  |  about 3 months ago

Sockatume (732728) writes "The latest episode of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Mediawatch program addresses GeoResonance's claims to have found the lost Malasia Airlines MH370 in the Bay of Bengal. They attribute the company's sudden prominence to increasing desperation amongst the press. Meanwhile, the Metabunk web site has been digging into the people and technology behind GeoResonance and its international siblings, finding noted pseudoscientist Vitaly Gokh and a dubious variation on Kirlian photography."
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Did GeoResonance locate MH370 using "spirit photography"?

Sockatume Sockatume writes  |  about 4 months ago

Sockatume (732728) writes "GeoResonance has leapt into the papers this week having claimed to have found missing flight MH370 in the Bay of Bengal. The Australian company claims to perform prospecting and munitions searches using secret Russian technology, with a web site boasting that they can "carry out a search for any substance". A recent press release clarifies that their technique "analyses super-weak electromagnetic fields captured by airborne multispectral images". However if you search for the patents listed on the company's site, Ukranian no. 35122 and 86496, you'll find the research described as a "method of radiation and chemical processing of analogue aerospace photographs" which closely resembles old-fashioned Kirlian photography. This process is well-known in the paranormal community, where it is used to take images of spirits and auras. Look up the writer on that second piece and you'll find him explicitly selling the technology as Kirlian-derived. You'll also find other companies in Eastern Europe selling technology ostensibly based on the same patents or other Kirlian techniques."
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Indie Game Jam show collapses due to interference from "Pepsi Consultant"

Sockatume Sockatume writes  |  about 5 months ago

Sockatume (732728) writes "Would you like to see a half-million-dollar TV show in which four teams of indie developers and Youtube personalities compete to create amazing videogames? Tough luck, because GAME_JAM from Maker Studios has spectacularly imploded. Although a lot could go wrong with this kind of show, the blame isn't being levelled at game developer egos or project mismanagement but the heroic efforts of one Matti Leshem, a branding consultant brought in for Pepsi. After imposing Mountain Dew branding rules that even banned coffee from the set, his efforts to build a gender divide amongst the teams culminated in the competitors downing their tools and the projection collapsing. Accounts from Adriel Wallick, Zoe Quinn, and Robin Arnott are also available."
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Italian researchers demonstrate "powerloader" suit

Sockatume Sockatume writes  |  about 5 months ago

Sockatume (732728) writes "Researchers in Italy have demonstrated a powered exoskeleton that can lift 50kg with each hand, as demonstrated in video with the BBC. The "body extender" from the Perceptual Robotics Laboratory of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa has been developed for applications like disaster relief, and is just one of many strength-augmenting systems being developed for use in rescue, military, and medical applications. While neither the researchers nor the BBC make the comparison to the Powerloader in the movie "Aliens", I mean come on, look at it."
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MtGox files for bankruptcy protection, confirms rumours

Sockatume Sockatume writes  |  about 6 months ago

Sockatume (732728) writes "The beleaguered MtGox bitcoin exchange has officially filed for bankruptcy in Tokyo, as reported in various news sources via AFP. According to the Wall Street Journal (paywalled; see The Verge for re-reporting) Bitcoin held an impromptu press conference that addressed recent rumours. They state that they have over $60m in liabilities against just $30m in assets, and confirm the loss of over $500m worth of Bitcoins, split between customers' balances (750,000 BTC) and company assets (100,000 BTC)."
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Google Apps licence unsurprisingly forbids forking, promotes Google services

Sockatume Sockatume writes  |  about 6 months ago

Sockatume (732728) writes "If you want to ship a phone with Google's apps on it, you need to licence them. A copy of the OEM licencing agreement from 2011 was recently leaked, and Ars Technica provides a summary. Amongst the rules: a company licencing Google Apps can't act in a way that would fragment Android, but must also maintain the platform's open-ness; most of Google's services must be included; Google apps must be defaults, and placed within a couple of clicks of the default home screen. No surprises but it's interesting to see the details laid out."
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Zynga purchases mobile game/animation tech firm NaturalMotion

Sockatume Sockatume writes  |  about 7 months ago

Sockatume (732728) writes "Zynga, the controversial Facebook and mobile games firm, have announced that they are to acquire NaturalMotion for $527m in cash and equity. Zynga hope that their acquisition's successful brands and development software will reverse their own post-Facebook decline, announcing 15% job losses within Zynga in the same statement. UK-based NaturalMotion made its name in animation technology (used in Grand Theft Auto 4 and Bioshock Infinite), and published sports and horse-related iPhone games until it acquired CSR Racing developer Boss Alien in 2012. Despite the acquisition, the company will continue to publish games under its own name."
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Great Firewall of UK blocks game patch because of substring matches

Sockatume Sockatume writes  |  about 7 months ago

Sockatume (732728) writes "Remember the fun of spurious substring matches, AKA the Scunthorpe problem? The UK's advanced "intelligent" internet filters do. Supposedly the country's great new filtering regime has been blocking a patch for League of Legends because some of the filenames within it include the substring "sex". Add one to the list of embarrassing failures for the nation's new mosaic of opt-out censorship systems, which have proven themselves incapable of distinguishing between abusive sites and sites for abuse victims, or sites for pornography versus sites for sexual and gender minorities."
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Obama's NSA snooping changes will transfer oversight to FISA courts

Sockatume Sockatume writes  |  about 7 months ago

Sockatume (732728) writes "President Obama will announce later today that although the NSA's data collection operations will continue, the actual information will be moved to a new "private entity". The NSA and other security agencies will then need permission from the FISC, also known as the "FISA Court", to access it. That body, which famously snooped upon Verizon's entire call database, will then evaluate whether access should be granted."
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NSA collects full text of 200m SMS messages per day

Sockatume Sockatume writes  |  about 7 months ago

Sockatume (732728) writes "Leaked documents from GCHQ, the British intelligence agency, indicate that the NSA has been accumulating a database of the full text of SMS messages, so that they can be mined for personally identifying information, travel plans, bank information, and the like. The archive targets the population in general rather than known suspects, a feature that GCHQ highlights as a major advantage."
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Secret Italian stem-cell treatment protocol leaked; concerns raised about safety

Sockatume Sockatume writes  |  about 7 months ago

Sockatume (732728) writes "Secret documents evaluating the stem-cell treatment offered by Italy's Stamina Foundation have been leaked to the journal Nature. The reports raise concerns about the failure to screen for pathogens, that the procedure disagrees with fundamental stem-cell science, and that parts of the clinical protocol were copied directly from Wikipedia. The leak also includes the extensive gagging clauses placed upon those evaluating the treatment's efficacy."
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Chinese firm can now produce 500 cloned pigs per year

Sockatume Sockatume writes  |  about 7 months ago

Sockatume (732728) writes "According to an article published by the BBC, Chinese firm BGI has refined cloning procedures to the point where they can produce 500 pigs per year, performing two embryo implantations per day with a 70-80% success rate. Much of the operation is concerned with producing genetically-engineered animals for research. The biotech firm's other work includes million-individual-scale animal and plant genetic sequencing."
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Behind the scenes of WiiU software development

Sockatume Sockatume writes  |  about 7 months ago

Sockatume (732728) writes "Digital Foundry has published an article from an anonymous but trusted developer outlining the challenges of developing for the Nintendo WiiU. The piece confirms some common perceptions of Nintendo, such as their attitude to thirdparty developers, and presents a few surprises, such that network code wasn't made available to outside developers until the console was almost on sale."
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Standardised laptop charger approved by IEC

Sockatume Sockatume writes  |  about 8 months ago

Sockatume (732728) writes "The IEC, the standards body which wrote the phone charger specification used in the EU, has approved a standardised laptop charger. While the "DC Power Supply for Portable Personal Computer" doesn't have a legal mandate behind it, the IEC is still optimistic that it will lead to a reduction in electronics waste and make it easier to find a replacement charger. Unfortunately the technical documentation does not seem to be available yet, but previous comments indicate that it will be a barrel plug of some kind."

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