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When Customer Dissatisfaction Is a Tech Business Model

The Raven The Facebook issue was not abusive. (184 comments)

I don't like Facebook. I don't use Facebook (despite pressure). But that doesn't mean I think Facebook's publicised test was abusive. It was a standard A/B test, done by website owners everywhere, all the time, from the smallest to the largest. If you reword it slightly, all the negative connotations vanish:

Users seemed to enjoy the newsfeed more when we adjusted the filter algorithm to prefer positive (rather than negative) content.

Said this way it sounds just like any other test (Google changing their rankings, an advertiser tweaking their wording), and that's because it is. Communication is about changing someone's thoughts and emotions... that's the definition of communication at the most basic level. Just because Facebook can quantify these changes and put them into numeric form does not mean that the changes they made are any more ominous that any other advertising message ever made since the dawn of time.

5 hours ago
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Software Combines Thousands of Online Images Into One That Represents Them All

The Raven Re:The Average Cat (66 comments)

You may have read the article (dubitable), but you didn't watch the video or read the SIGGRAPH paper. They demonstrate a browsing tool that enables you to, for example, find an average nose nearly instantly. You can then filter the thousands or millions of images to find specific cat breeds, poses, situations, or colors in seconds.

The tool is called average explorer, and it allows a user to interactively explore a vast set of image data quickly and efficiently. The one picture you describe was a single click in the explorer.

You did the equivalent of saying "Wow, I can make a black dot on a white canvas. That's not very exciting." when presented a single click with a single tool in Photoshop.

4 days ago
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Microsoft's Windows 8 App Store Is Full of Scamware

The Raven Re:So in Google Play (179 comments)

The difference is in the prevalance. Scamware in iOS and Android exists on the fringes; some % of all software will always be illegitimate. But Microsoft has so little legit content that the scamware rises to the top way more often than occurs for the other stores.

4 days ago
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Ebola Quarantine Center In Liberia Looted

The Raven Re:You have to understand (358 comments)

You are conflating 'understandable' with similar but different terms like 'reasonable' and 'rational'. Their superstitions and fears are understandable, but they are not based on reason.

4 days ago
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Apple's App Store Needs a Radical Revamp; How Would You Go About It?

The Raven Extra Credits Just Covered This Topic (249 comments)

They did a report on Too Many Games, which was really about bad store UIs. Steam is the 'least bad' of the biggies, but that's not saying much.

about a week ago
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Fugitive Child Sex Abuser Caught By Face-Recognition Technology

The Raven Frustrated (232 comments)

What frustrates and upsets me is that before Snowden, I would have looked at this as a fluff piece about technology, with some mild nagging doubts about how it could be misused.

Now I see them as NSA whitewashing propaganda, with mild nagging doubts that maybe the original poster had no agenda and it really is a tech fluff article.

about two weeks ago
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Do Dark Matter and Dark Energy Cast Doubt On the Big Bang?

The Raven Re:Oh good lord. (224 comments)

I thought that we had too much Lithium to match the prediction, that observed amounts exceeded predicted ratios.

about two weeks ago
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Google Spots Explicit Images of a Child In Man's Email, Tips Off Police

The Raven Re:Others?? (790 comments)

I choose to remain optimistic that it does NOT happen all the time because they do not look at the contents of your email all the time. In other words, someone was diagnosing an algorithm (say, how to choose advertisements using the content of attached images), the images triggered the offensive filter, engineer took a look, and reported it.

Perhaps I am naive, but I simply think that Google does not do this frequently because I don't think they look at email frequently, or scan for naughty pics on purpose. As a sysadmin, I generally don't give a fuck what's in my user's email. I doubt they do either, except to advertise to it.

about three weeks ago
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Interviews: Ask Dr. Andy Chun About Artificial Intelligence

The Raven Three Laws (71 comments)

The three laws of robotics is not very practical (as evidenced by Asimov himself; his fiction is essentially a long list of all the ways the laws fail). In fact, ethics classes themselves are complex enough that it's difficult to imagine any simple, cogent way to summarize ethical decision making into a sound bite. But do you believe it is possible at all to codify into the behavior of future complex systems? Personally, if we ever do get strong AI in my lifetime, I'm betting it'll be as screwed up and erratically ethical as we are.

about a month ago
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Goldman Sachs Demands Google Unsend One of Its E-mails

The Raven Re:So can I (346 comments)

Works for you as well, if you can hire an attorney to talk to a judge and convince the judge to grant a court order to... nevermind, your phrasing is shorter and means the same thing.

about a month and a half ago
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Overkill? LG Phone Has 2560x1440 Display, Laser Focusing

The Raven Google Cardboard (198 comments)

Google Cardboard, like the Oculus Rift, zooms in on the screen making some pixels very large. Perhaps this QHD resolution will look nicer than average when used as a Rift replacement? (note: I'm well aware that it will not actually be a good rift replacement, just that it's abnormally high pixel density could make a difference in extremely specific circumstances.)

about 2 months ago
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America 'Has Become a War Zone'

The Raven Moderator Points (875 comments)

I'd like to moderate the story as flamebait.

about 2 months ago
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Amazon Launches Subscription-Based Billing And Payments Service

The Raven Competition for Paypal is Welcome (76 comments)

If small sellers have an alternative to the abysmal conflict resolution Paypal offers, this can only be a good thing. Amazon does Customer Service well... I think they can certainly improve upon Paypal in that respect. Competition may drive Paypal to improve.

about 2 months ago
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Is It Really GPS If It Doesn't Use Satellites?

The Raven Re:stable magnetic field (298 comments)

This is not a compass. This measures the atoms passing through lines of magnetic flux. The magnetic flux lines are remarkably uniform when you are not within range of a competing magnet; I suspect that is just as true underwater. It's like measuring your distance from the center of a record by counting the track grooves you have scratched over. It does mean it's more accurate at east-west than it is at north-south.

about 3 months ago
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AT&T Hacker 'weev' Demands One Bitcoin For Each Hour He Spent In Jail

The Raven His Rage is Understandable (449 comments)

But still pointless, useless, and self-destructive. The letter is bad enough that if he denied writing it, I would believe that it was a character assassination attempt. The guy didn't deserve prison, but he's still an idiot.

about 3 months ago
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Don't Be a Server Hugger! (Video)

The Raven Small vs Big (409 comments)

Cloud hosting removes the need to hire employees to cover certain duties. Backups Virtualization Database Admin etc Cloud makes sense for small companies who cannot afford enough expertise to adequately handle these issues. A cloud service (in theory) will have more (and more competent) people handling these areas than a small business can muster. But large companies? If you have over 1000 employees, you probably should not be cloud hosting your trade secrets, customer data, and core business value.

about 3 months ago
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New Jersey Auto Dealers Don't Want to Face Tesla

The Raven Re:Many members of Congress own car dealerships (342 comments)

To be fair, cars are also held to higher and higher standards of safety every year. If they could legally build a 1960's car today, it could be sold for under $5000 new... but they can't. The car would fail hundreds of safety and emissions regulations.

Not saying that protected monopoly status doesn't contribute, but it's not the largest factor.

about 5 months ago
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Bitcoin Inventor Satoshi Nakamoto Outed By Newsweek

The Raven Re:Why? (390 comments)

This is ancient, but at least you will read it: A lot of rich people in the world don't have half a billion dollars in fungible cash lying around. They have it in tracable, lockable, secured accounts with reversible transactions.

If someone gets access to Satoshi's bitcoin wallet, there will be no recourse to prevent them taking that entire amount. It's a lot harder to steal Warren's money because it's tied up in assets and traceable accounts.

about 5 months ago
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US Lab Developing Technology For Space Traffic Control

The Raven Misleading (47 comments)

They are developing software to get better orbital trajectories. We already HAVE software that manages traffic and orbital collision warnings, but the problem is that our orbital trajectory data is too inaccurate for it to be as helpful as it should be.

about 7 months ago
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After 22 Years, Walt Mossberg Writes Final WSJ Column

The Raven A Plague on Writing (100 comments)

Over 22 years of experience writing columns, he ends on a 'best of' list. This stupid meme (using the more traditional definition of the word) is so frustrating to witness. I understand why writers do it (because it's easy), but it's depressing to see a good columnist in a respected publication end his career with one.

about 8 months ago

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