Is Traffic Congestion Growing Three Times As Fast As Economy?
I know this is going sound like an attack, but congestion is due to a number of factors. In my area the congestion has increased rapidly. One factor I have seen is that there are once again many trucks and SUVs on the road. In 2010, with gas prices usually around $4, I saw a decrease in the number of these large vehicles. Now gas is back down to around 3.50, which is what is was back in 2007. Cheaper gas not only means people can afford to drive more, it means they can afford less efficient cars.
Less efficient not only in fuel consumption, but also in road consumption. A while back Texas A&M did a road study on how traffic is effected by these large trucks. One finding is a stop lights they take about 1.5 times a long to transverse as a car. Check which cars make you miss the light next time you are trying to go through an intersection.
Microsoft's Attempt To Convert Users From Windows XP Backfires
For consumer OS, the claimed support of six years is not exceptional. While Apple may only support an OS for 3 or 4 years, a new OS does tend to run on hardware that is 5-6 years old. Also Apple has only released major upgrades that borks every past system 10 years. Apple DOS to System, System to Mac OS for PowerPC, Mac OS to Mac OS X.
As far as the comparison to RH, et al, part of the issue here is not support of an old OS, but support for a legacy OS. For example, OS/2 was effectively mothballed by IBM at the turn of the century. However IBM still sells support. This is what businesses require. They have built their businesses on a product, and as long as it is profitable, IBM will support it. MS,OTOH, seems to be more interested in other things, not supported customers.
Police Say No Foul Play In Death of Bitcoin Exchange CEO Autumn Radtke
No, they are doing for clicks. It is more irresponsibility from the like of fox news and other bottom feeders. Shame on them. I wish the family my best in their effort to get through this in the middle of all these horrible people who just want to profit off the tragedy.
Microsoft's Attempt To Convert Users From Windows XP Backfires
Microsoft's right to kill XP is unquestioned, but the company appears to have no insight into why its customers continue to use the OS.
MS is a public firm, so if XP is losing money, and share holder value is not being honored, then yes MS has every reason to kill it.
But if customers are still finding enough value to pay MS to support it, then MS is just making arbitrary decisions that are hurt long term value. If business customers are not going to be able to trust MS to support core technology that is good enough, they will go somewhere else. Business customers can't be expected to change their business models just because MS want to sell a new toy.
Feds Now Oppose Aereo, Rejecting Cloud Apocalypse Argument
This is my thought. Now that the Obama administration opposes Aereo, we can expect all the conservatives, tea party people, Ted Cruz, to support it. Those of us who like Aereo are all but guaranteed a win!
PETA Abandons $1 Million Prize For Artificial Chicken
If this is true or not, it reminds me of the sacrifice of the giraffe in Copenhagen. Now, I am sure that many of us would rather live in captivity than be dead, but speaking for me captivity would not be such a good life.
Here is the thing. I choose to minimize the number of animals that are necessary for me to kill to live. It is a choice and I don't expect others to make the same choice. I realize that some people think it their right to maximize the destruction. That is OK.
But, unlike those that fight PETA, I realize that an animal is an animal and a human is human and that those things are different, so I am not going to fight PETA on the basis that killing an animal is the same as killing a human, or that some animal deaths, like some human deaths, are acceptable. I don't think even PETA claims to want to stop all animal deaths, any more than evangelical Christians want to stop all human deaths. Many, for instance, support the death penalty, and many in the us support stand your ground laws.
In both cases there is a thoughtful process by which we examine and take responsibility for our impact on the world. The later is the critical thing. Take responsibility for your actions.
All Else Being Equal: Disputing Claims of a Gender Pay Gap In Tech
I would hate to be judged on my hours worked. Sometimes I am less efficient than others and have to work more hours, sometimes I am more efficient and have to work less. I have generally been salary, generally been expected to work enough to get my work done, and generally been paid for the getting work done.
Now, if I were a paper pusher then the hours worked would be a good metric. If I were a check out person at walmart then the hours worked would be a good metric. But hours worked has never seemed to me a good metric for technical people, unless you are talking about the geek squad.
The Facebook Ads Teens Aren't Supposed To See
Yeah, I don't see how this is any different that advertising acne and psychotropic drugs to teens. Yes, some people have a medical need for the drug, but most are being given drugs with no benefits and significant side effects.
As far as advertising naked internet webcam show for pay to kids, yes this is illegal, but face the facts. If a kid is interested in modeling, the most likely way to make money without allowing oneself to be physically molested and becoming addicted to drugs and actually making money is the web cam route. It is not ideal, but I suspect most of these ads are not for any kind of modeling career, but scams to separate parents from the hard earned money, and sell young people fake dreams.
GCHQ Intercepted Webcam Images of Millions of Yahoo Users
According to the article, the problem is that a significant amount of the traffic is genitalia,ad the officers are just spending all day having to look at these, and general porn shoots, and therefore are not able to get to actionable material. As such they are just trying to filter out the couples engaged in phone sex or real sex.
Therefore, the best way to keep you conspiracy secret is simply have discussion while you are engaged in sex, or make sure that all participants are at least naked the camera prominently display the naughty bits. These will be deemed to be simple pron, and the terrorists will be free to plan the bombing of whatever place they desire.
Ask Slashdot: What Essays and Short Stories Should Be In a Course On Futurism?
The point was that reading biographies of individuals often focus on their personality and sometimes makes it appear that their contribution was greater than it was, and sometimes does not expose the very real and important research and engineering work that allowed their creativity to flourish.
This is the dichotomy of futurism. The future does depend, to some extent, of a single genius who can integrate all that is in the world in such a way that a novel idea or product can be produced. We see this repeatedly in the sciences. But the single genius is seldom the one to develop the only one involved in developing the concept. It is a convenient short hand to say so and so invented something, but it only a fiction that we create so we can teach a simpler form of history.
By reading about the development of products that changed the world, instead of just the people who received credit, I think we are better able to identify the pieces that some future genius will put together into the next big thing, if that is at all possible. For instance in the late 1970's did anyone know that the proto-spreadsheet floating around and the introduction of the prebuilt Apple computerwould lead to Visicalc and the revolution of how the average person relates to numbers?
Ask Slashdot: What Essays and Short Stories Should Be In a Course On Futurism?
Reading biographies of individual people implies that individual people have individually changed the world. By and large that is not true. On can read a biography on Edison, but that does not tell you the complex story of how that technology actually came to pass and how it effected the world.
Reading fiction and non-fiction that explores the possibilities or technology, and even the rejection of technology can lead to discussion on the various factors effected the adoption and exploration of technology. For instance Guns, Germs, and Steel puts forward many hypothesis on why some civilizations developed technology, some borrowed it, and some rejected it. It related to the distribution and adoption of technology today and in the future, and how those futurist who think technology is the answer can make it more widely available. On the fiction side, The Difference Engine imagines a world where we had computers in the victorian era. This can lead to a discussion on the differences between an idea, a manufacturing process, and an affordable mass manufacturing process. For instance, was the technology for manufacturing hundreds of identical gears present in the 1800's?
One this I find interesting is that we know have simplified the process of programming computers to the point where an slightly above average kid with an average education can develop an App. This only took 50 years, two generations. This reflects something that we see repeatedly. The spread of technology does not depend on a special person making a technology, rather the development of a process that makes the technology available to greater number of people. For instance, the process to make a precision screw was incredible important to much of what we do today, even if many of the people who have used the screw do not understand what it does.
Ask Slashdot: When Is a Better Career Opportunity Worth a Pay Cut?
There is a lot to be said about having cash in hand, and benefits. Is part of the idea that the small firm may get big and you will be rewarded greatly? That usually does not happen, so it is a gamble.
If they desperately need someone to do all this great stuff, I wonder why you have to take a pay cut. Sure, you may be overpaid at you current job because of stress and what not, but i wonder if this new firm is just looking to find someone who will fix the problems cheap and then go away when they do not get a raise.
Life is certainly more about money. but that is mostly said by people who have it.
Facebook Shuts Down @Facebook Email System
This would be my impression. If people were 'more sophisticated' and worried about data harvesting, they would not use gmail. As it is, I don't know anyone who uses their facebook email. I don't see any difference between data collected on the site and data collected through email. It is probably just that no one is using it.
US War Machine Downsizing?
The pentagon appears to want to cut spending. The congress does not. For several sessions that congress has refused to cut pentagon spending even though the pentagon says it can. The sequester, which just pissed everyone off, was an exception.
The thing is that the military has been, for a few decades, the primary means of pumping unquestioned deficit dollars into he US economy. If one complained about the debt, one would be branded a traitor. So when the interests rate were 10% in the 80's, the military was boosted to create jobs. Unfortunately these jobs were expenses not just in interest rates, but in benifits and the fact that after 20 years the tax payer is indebted to the military person for life.
Now that interest rates are 3%, the government makes a profit off borrowing money, there should be a rational for boosting speding and propping up the economy through civil jobs. Military jobs and spending should be seen as extremely wasteful. But we are still in the old mold.
Publishers Withdraw More Than 120 Fake Papers
I recall when someone went down my block and the window of every car parked on the street. It was a crime, but really there was no easy way to catch the perp, and we just replaced the glass. We continued to park on the street, did not pay for huge security expense, and it never really happened again. Some kids probably just goofing off. No real profit in the crime. Just hooliganism.
Which is what this seems like. The process of science is not going to jeopardize itself just because some board kids want to vandalize the walls and get attention. If we change the process not to improve it, but just to defend against the Justin Beibers of the world, what good would that do?
As it is there are safeguards in place. As much as people deride the cost of publishing, this reduces the incentive of hooligans to publish purely fake papers. Peer review, which does not protect against purposeful fraudulent papers, does keep a reign on the problem. Then there is simple principle that a single paper is just that, a single paper. It is one data point, and even if referenced widely, is in no way fact.
This also makes me recall the 'confusing' health debate. Like what to eat, what not to eat, etc. The problem is that many people read a popular media report based on a single piece of research and think it is true. This misconception indicates the problem with science education in America. That one result is meaningful. That our basic principles of science were developed fully in one paper, with no background, and no adjustment as more data was taken. For instance, relativity was based on at least hundred years of research. Einstein pretty much observed single discrepancy in the magnetic/electrical field and formulated a correction.
"Microsoft Killed My Pappy"
MS provides a solution for some problems, but also provides problems that are difficult to solve. These have not gone away. For instance I still have to use websites for work that were originally designed when MS was trying to take over the Internet, placing arbitrary restrictions on which browsers, you know IE only, could be used. The sins of outlook will never be lived down.
MS did a wonderful job providing management tools for independent machines that could given to worker drones but centrally controlled. This was a critical feature for some customers. They provide a reasonable value in productivity tools for some customers. OTOH, their path to profit still seems to be based in crushing any innovative force that might weaken their market dominance.
MS provides, IMHO, no tools that are useful to anyone that is not a corporate hack. The one innovation they have come up with in the past decade, Kinect, does not seem to be moving forward after 4 years of development. I mean how hard would it be to incorporate it into Surface to provide gesture based input?
Which is my issue with MS. They different parts do not seem to play well together. There appears to a top level desire to place MS concerns for profit above all others, meaning there can be no real risks take to meet customer needs. And if this is just taken a a person with generational grudges, well that just proves my point that MS cannot provide useful product because they just think they are perfect and in no need of modifications.
Microsoft Confirms Windows 8.1 Spring Update, To Focus On Non-touch Devices
will come with improvements for non-touch devices
I thought this meant that user would be able to boot to a Windows 7 type interface. That is about the only way to improve the user experience. Apple made the same mistake. In trying to make their office productivity suite work on the iPad, they destroyed many useful features. The also killed compatibility between file format as MS did in the late 90's.
In a profit driven world, the changes are going to follow the perceived direction of the market. For MS, who still makes most of it's money from corporate clients, the rush toward mobile computers and Metro makes little sense. I don't know why they did not make a decision to create a fork, like they did with NT, and keep two operating systems in the market.
All In All, Kids Just Another Brick In the Data Wall
I recall talking about 'time outs' for young kids. Using this as a punishment, some people think, is silly, but using it as a way to manage a child can be very useful. For instance, the behavior charts that provide immediate visual feedback to younger students is well understood and can be very useful in fulfilling the need of such children for concrete and fair feedback.
With data walls, viewable to kids, they have to understand what they mean. I can tell you even fro adults some data walls are incomprehensible. Simply posting data and using it rank students or whatever is quite meaningless. If data is going to be used to help students meet a goal, then the best way to do that is on a individual basis. Use the data to choose lesson to help the individual students improve. Part of this is the administration providing tools to direct the data toward student improvement instead of student or teacher punishment.
Ask Slashdot: Should I Get Google Glass?
My theory is that in this point they are pretty much willing to give a pair to anyone who has $1500 to blow. In my case it will closer to $2000 because I want the prescription frames.
The fact that everyone seems to be getting an invite indicates that I theory I have held since the first Google Android phone came out might be true. Google does not know how to make an affordable piece of consumer technology. Google does not know how to market a piece of consumer technology except through marketing process like this where they try to make the device seem very scarce and available only to a select group. Google has not built up the trust with the public to make anyone who buys something like this feel anything other than an extreme early adopting Guinea pig.
I might buy it if I get external funding. However the horror stories of lack of customer support for the first Google phone, and those who paid for other Google services, make me realize that I am giving two grand for a product, not for help from any company backing it. It is also the reason why I tend not to use MS products. If something is only supported by third parties, and not by the manufacturer, it make me worry about quality.
Sony's Favorite Gadget Is Kinect
I bought a 360. Thought the kinetic would be very much used. It made the video game a much more physical activity. Turns out we don't want a physical activity, or developers don't know how to create one. In any case the kinetic did not end up being a key part of the play.
It is instructive to recall that pundits and MS were saying something similar about Sony when they included the expensive bluray.
As I am sure we all know, a digital computer represents all information by either an on or off state, which is typically represented numerically as 0 or 1, respectively. As the digital state is often implements as an analog current, there is often some firm threshhold value, above which the state is said to be on.
Therefore to represent a peice of information, such information must first be encoded in as a number, then the number encoded into a series of off or on states to represent that number. This is where binary notation comes from. Using only 0 an 1, in principle we can represent any number as easily as using the 0-9. For instance, using base 2, the number representing in decimal form as 4 would be 100. Perhaps a bit verbose, but quite adequate when one can complete thousands of operations every second.
The verbosity, however is a problem for humans. For instance, to represent the decimal number 9 requires us to write 1001. While a digital device has no problem with this, and humans working to hardwire code have no problems, as the amount of information to encode becomes greater, humans wish to have more information density.
Which is where Octal, or base 8 representation emerges. Octal notation groups three states, or bits, in one. In octal instead of only using the digits 0 and 1, we use 0-7. This means that to write the decimal number 7 instead of writing 0b111, we write 0o7, i which the 0o prefix means octal.
Octal was nice when bits were base of the computers, but soon information grew so much that we began to group bits together. The smallest traditional grouping of bits is the nibble, which contains 4 bits. This means the biggest number that can be held is 0b1111 or the decimal number 15. This lead to the idea that we might want a numbering system that can represent numbers up to decimal 15, and the hexadecimal system was used. In this system, digits go from 0-F. Therefore the decimal number 7 is written 0x7. The decimal number 15 is written 0xF, 0o17 or 0b1111. One can see that even though the computer does not care, it is easier for people.
Hexadecimal was quite used prior to the mid 80's. While programming tasks were easily handled through the alphanumeric keyboard, with minimal special keys, formatted text processing required copious use of the entry of special codes. Even in programming, it was useful to direct many function directly through the hardware using hex.
So, obviously, with the huge bit capacity, it is quite easy to see why we use hexadecimal to represent numerical values. What is not so obvious is why we represent using the longer form hex09f911029d74e35bd84156c5635688c0 rather than 0x09f911029d74e35bd84156c5635688c0.
Beware of gifts with stange Apples?
It has been a strange ride over these 20 years. Shape tables on the Apple ][. A EPROM burner in another Apple ][ to program an EEPROM for use in a Z80 controller for flight. Printing WYSIWYG documents for the first time from a Mac to an imagewriter. Horrible fonts and resolution. Embarrassing. But such excitement to not have to embed the Epson codes directly into the AppleWriter document.
And then Macs that actually ran fast enough to do work. And then Macs with harddrives, separate monitors, expandable innards. Appletalk replaced with ethernet. And then SCSI gone and all my stuff had to be replaced with Firewire stuff.
But through all this time I have never felt betrayed. Until today. Yesterday I happily installed the MacOS update. I have complained a bit in the past week about the fact that they combined security and feature updates, and I hope they have learned from this experience, even though the probably have not, but i am over it. Sort of.
But today I noticed something strange. Moving advertisements on my web pages. Could it be that my preferences for images got messed up? No, checked my pref files everything as I left it. Could it be that more sites are manually changing images? Unlikely but i looked at the page source just to be sure. No, nothing there. The source for the web pages is essentially what it has been for these sites. Check for flash, try some scripts, then give up with a static images. So could it be Flash? I don't have flash on my computer. It eats up too much time. Do a search for the file, not there. Forgot where the file was stored, so i just go back to double checking preferences and the source of the web pages. Maybe I missed something. It sure looks like flash, though.
Finally get a brainstorm and go to the macromedia site. Yep, it starts playing a flash movie. I definitely have been infected by the annoyware virus. But how, and where it is? I finally find a web page with the directory location. It is in the library directory. Not the user one, but the main one. The one that needs administrator access. Find the file, check the date. It was the date and time I installed the MacOS update.
Now, i have no proof that the update came with a flash payload. I could have accidently installed it some other way. All I have is circumstantial evidence and i do not want to make false accusations. But the install time was during the time i was installing the update. I go through great pains not to install flash and avoid sites that require it.
On the other hand flash is becoming tricky, and someone may have set up a trojan that got it onto my computer. Could have been Apple could have been someone else.
And the only thing that the knowledge base lists is Safari enhancements. Which of course brings a whole separate set of problems, like what if I don't want to use Safari.
I am telling you. I am so close to getting a Intel piece of crap, installing Linux on it, and just running the command line with the occasional X for the rest of my life. It was not so bad when all we had was the command line.
The following is some thoughts on altering the /. moderation system. I do not believe any of these ideas are novel or unique, but the application of these ideas may help with issues such as scalability and the promotion of long term discussions within an article posting. The main concepts in this modified moderation proposal are moving to labels instead of numbers for moderation, continuously variable starting moderation points based on karma, and non linear moderation scoring.
First, I believe /. should move to labels for moderation in leu of the current numbers. These labels could be 'horrible', 'unrated', 'default', 'fine', 'great', 'terrific', and 'super' , respectively corresponding to moderation of -1 to 5. The labels will need to be tweaked with the idea that labels will reflect the status of a comment. For instance, a current '1' comment would be unrated because this is the default posting for a logged in user. I do not use the karma labels to avoid confusion.
Underlying these labels would be an expanded, and scalable counter. To determine the range of the counter, one would set the increment for a category. If we select the increment to be 20, for instance, the counter would go from 0 to 101. A comment at 0 is 'bad', a comment at 101 is 'terrific', and everything else is evenly divided into groups of 20. For instance, the structure might look like
In the discussion below I will assume that moderation counter starts at zero. I will also refer to the increment as defined above. As an aside, is feasible to make the increments nonlinear, and there are reasons to do this, but I believe the such functionally can be incorporated into the moderation procedure.
The next issue is the starting moderation based on Karma. Currently logged in users start at 1 and eventually get a point. If the user is subsequently very bad, they will lose the point. This system is effective, but imprecise. I feel it gives a new user excessive benefits, delays additional benefits until the user reaches top status, and does not quickly punish bad behavior. My suggestion is that anonymous users start at the low end of unrated, which in general is 1. All registered users would have their starting moderation calculated based on karma, as described below.
If we assume that the underlying karma count sets a neutral karma to zero and goes positive and negative with increasing and decreasing karma, we might calculate default moderation as
default_moderation=offset + karma*scale.
This equation has two variable. The first is offset, which is where we give logged in users a boost over anonymous users. For instance, if the offset is equal to the increment, a new logged in user will still start with 'unrated' comments, but a single moderation would guarantee the comment would become 'default'. The other variable is scale. To be consistent with the current system, this should cause a user with maximum karma to in the 'great' rating. This could be done by having each label change in karma add half the increment. Therefore, a karma of 'positive' and 'good' would make the moderation increasingly 'fine', while a karma of 'excellent' would have moderation in the middle of great. The application of this is that the default moderation is a continuous function based on karma, which we assume also changes continuously with user behavior.
Moderation itself should not change from the point of view of the moderator. The moderator will still choose a label and moderate. However, /. will now have fine control over the points awarded. For instance, each moderation might only award 3/4 of an increment. Or perhaps we want to encourage users to look for new good comments rather than just continue to moderated existing highly moderating comments, so we might only award 1/3 of an increment to any comment that is already 'terrific' Maybe we see that most comments posted in the first 5 minutes of an article are useless, so the moderators on those articles on get to award 1/3 of an increment until the comment reaches 'fine' status. Maybe we want to encourage moderators to look at new comments, so a moderator will only be able to award 1/4 increments to any comments that is past a certain time threshold. It may be decided that a funny comment is less valuable than an insightful comment, or an overrated tag is less valuable than a insightful tag. In summary, because moderators will still only have a certain number of moderations, regardless of the actual points awarded, the moderator can be discouraged from certain actions by making those actions less forceful.
There are several possible pitfalls in this proposal. First, the moderation of a comment will not necessarily lead to the change in moderation status for an article. This may confuse moderators. Second, communicating the variable moderation points may be prohibitively difficult. If such information is not communicated to user at the time of moderation, this proposal may not be an improvement over the current system. Third, an increased amount of computation may be necessary to display as moderation page. This increased load on the web-server may prove excessive.
A final comment on the '3 day limit' for moderation. I believe this limit is excessive and does not encourage the important activity of moderation. My suggestion is based on when the user logs into /. First, if a user does not log into /. within 24 hours of being awarded moderation points, the moderation points go back into the pool. If the user logs in within the 24 period, the user will then have 24 hours to use the points. If the points are not used in that period, they go back into the pool.
out come the freaks
I received an email recently about my sig. The email asked what was a freak. I wanted to answer that question in my journal. In addition, I also wanted to discuss why I chose to put Freaks in my sig instead of Fans.
First, what is a freak. If we look at the FAQ, we see that a freak is a person who has chosen you as a foe. This, in my opinion, is a much more significant event that another choosing you as a friend.
To get excessively philosophical, the act of choosing a foe is also an act of preparing for conflict. For some people this choice may be a petty expression of violence. However, for others it may a genuine declaration of the willingness to grow, learn and become a more complete person. As the quote above indicates, a foe can be the ideal way to discover what one should do. I hope to have the time to look at comments carefully enough to chose quality foes.
Yet once again I saw a perfectly reasonable post marked off-topic, and I had to mark it as unfair. It was not exactly on-topic, but it was a valid and useful reply to the comment. Why a moderator would waste points marking it off-topic is beyond me. Were there not enough good comments that day? Are there some whose only mission in life is to to promote personal agendas? I do not know.
I try very hard to limit my negative moderation to truly harmful posts(goatse, etc). It seems if a post relates incorrect information, that post will invariable attract comments that correct the error, and those replies will usually get modded higher than the original comments.