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Homeland Security Mining Social Media For Signs of Bio Attacks

harmonica Feeds? Processing? (96 comments)

How do you continuously fetch and process all (public?) messages from Facebook, Twitter and others in near-realtime? Does the US government get special access? Is there a basis in law for this?

Once you get the data, do you just feed it into some data mining system?

Any idea about the storage and CPU requirements for such a system?

Obviously, processing such feeds is interesting for businesses and academia as well. Do you know any such projects?

about a year and a half ago
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10,000 Commits To an Open-source Project

harmonica Why / how? (101 comments)

At work I'll usually do one commit per day in the evening. I start with the system working, modify things, add features, fix bugs, and try to get it into a state where it works again. Testing that is not trivial, and I'm not (cannot be, there are time constraints for manual tests and our auto-testing is unfortunately non-existant) overly thorough in this regard. Getting to 10k commits will take 50 years this way. I wonder under which circumstances "micro-commits" are a good idea? Admittedly our system isn't FOSS, but a lot of FOSS projects are complex, some certainly more complex than what we do.

more than 3 years ago
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What 'IT' Stuff Should We Teach Ninth-Graders?

harmonica Collaborative proof-reading (462 comments)

The existing English book linked above http://itschool.gov.in/pdf/icttb8_eng.pdf should be corrected first. I'm not a native speaker of English myself, but there are some nasty mistakes in there ("several information", p. 28; "a facility in Internet", p. 31). Maybe there could be a wiki process to proof-read / improve the book? Come on, father of the Internet "Winton Surf" (p. 30)?

Plus, the layout is really ugly. And sometimes wrong in weird ways ("2004" in column 2 followed by "originated" in column 1), a change of columns in the middle of the page (p. 7).

more than 3 years ago
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USPTO Grants Google a Patent On MapReduce

harmonica Meaning for Hadoop? (191 comments)

Does this endanger the Hadoop project, or projects using Hadoop? Its MapReduce implementation is a rather crucial part.

more than 4 years ago
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Google.cn Attack Part of a Broad Spying Effort

harmonica Only Google ... (515 comments)

Only Google could leave China.

more than 4 years ago
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Manager's Schedule vs. Maker's Schedule

harmonica Keep a list of TODO tasks of differing complexity (274 comments)

Sometimes, there's a slow day, and I'll have the time to tackle something more complex (the half-day or all-day tasks that were mentioned). Then there are all kinds of time slices I may have to fill, 30 minutes to lunch, the hour until a meeting, ten minutes until I have to catch the bus. I just keep a todo list with tasks ordered by estimated complexity. This includes e-mail responses, reading that article you always wanted to read, updating the internal Wiki, writing documentation, do Jira task housekeeping, checking out stuff from the repository and so on. I forget those things easily so I keep a list.

Meetings usually don't come as a surprise, and there aren't too many (good project management makes sure that is the case). Having them at the beginning or end of the day (as suggested) is the obvious thing to do. Then there are surprise items where you have to drop everything and take care of them, so it's not always the fault of meetings (don't you ever get "hot issues" from customers that support couldn't handle and that have to be solved right now?). Plus, there's multitasking. Obviously you won't stare at the screen waiting for make veryclean to finish. In a nutshell, prepare for a day that may contain unexpected tasks of uncertain lengths. If you didn't need time management until now, consider yourself lucky.

about 5 years ago
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Windows 7 Hits Build 7600 (Possible RTM)

harmonica Re:Build number (671 comments)

I worked for Microsoft. I'm actually one of the few people who have compiled Windows.

They may have improved the build time since I worked for them, but the build times were a monotonously growing function of time when I left...

Can you share some tips on how to do nightly builds (that go beyond Wikipedia's article)? I'm not so concerned about speed (our product takes "only" about two hours) but are there tools to simplify screening the output of make -k or similar calls?

about 5 years ago
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German Gov To Ban Paintballing After Shooting

harmonica Re:Haven't these people learned? (580 comments)

Come on, look at Kristalnacht. Or the murder of countless Jews openly, either by mob or by SS. They started building the camps because it was taking too long, not to hide what they were up to.

They started building the camps early on, and they weren't about killing people at first, but about controlling political opponents. The "Endlösung" was decided on much later, as were "Vernichtungslager", where many arriving prisoners were killed at once.

What you're talking about isn't ignorance, it's denial. Big difference.

Now, in the occupied nations, I'll grant your point. But those are also the places where the population resisted the SS, typically by hiding the Jews, helping them flee, or just being silent when the SS came knocking. In places where antisemitism was already rampant, the SS had all the local support they needed.

I don't argue that people knew that Jews and other people were discriminated against and shipped off, that was part of everyday life. But that they were sent (mostly) east to be killed in an industrialized manner? No, that was not common knowledge. There was a reason the Wannseekonferenz was secret, and that was in 1942, when the war had been going on for two years already.

While the Nazis themselves documented their killings, there were a lot of euphemisms and codes and even falsifications. They knew that what they were doing was morally wrong, and that it was nothing to give the general population too much information about. There even were propaganda clips showing Jews in relatively nice "internment camps".

It also depended on where you lived. If there was a KZ nearby, you probably knew more than the average citizen.

Another question is if something had changed if everyone had known. Not a lot, probably. Some people thought it was a good idea, most were afraid to speak up and criticize anything. You could be sent to a KZ for simply making fun of Nazism.

more than 5 years ago
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German Gov To Ban Paintballing After Shooting

harmonica Re:Haven't these people learned? (580 comments)

Genocide doesn't happen just anywhere, you need a the support the majority to pull it off. If the people being killed do not have the support of their countrymen, they haven't a prayer of victory through arms.

I generally agree with your other statements, but I don't think this part I quoted is true. The Nazis were rather sneaky about what exactly they were doing in concentration camps, why they were arresting certain people and what they were doing to them. A lot of Germans really didn't know what was going on there. 65 years later, the collective knowledge of the events is much, much larger.

So unless "support of the majority" means something different from being aware of an issue and being okay with it, genocide can happen without it.

more than 5 years ago
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French President Busted For Copyright Violation

harmonica Obligatory (317 comments)

If the president does it, it's not illegal.

more than 5 years ago
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How Do I Start a University Transition To Open Source?

harmonica Prepare to discuss TCO (497 comments)

Total cost of ownership is Microsoft's standard argument against FOSS competition. You save on license fees, but what does educating people (administrators, tech support, end users) about the differences between MS and FOSS products cost you?

There's a big possibility to spread FUD this way, but there's also a certain truth to it. Research this topic, it will invariably come up in one form or another.

more than 5 years ago
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Wikipedia Gears Up For Explosion In Digital Media

harmonica How about offering images for download again? (141 comments)

It's been 18 months since Wikipedia provided bulk downloads of image data. That may not be a priority for most people, but offering everything for download is essential for an open project in my opinion. Add all new images of a month to YYYYMM.tar and offer that as a torrent.

more than 5 years ago
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Politician Forces German Wikipedia Off the Net

harmonica Re:Mr. Heilmann, you should talk to Mrs. Streisand (569 comments)

Say, that word, nazi, what does it mean again ? Oh right ... it translates to "socialist".

They weren't socialists even though they called themselves that.

Transferring ownership of means of production exclusively to the state and then creating "social justice", the central part of the nazi policy, what's that according to you ?

Left or right ?

That wasn't a central (or any) part of the Nazi policy. The Nazis forced companies in some cases to go along with their needs, esp. during the war, but they weren't against private property. Some rich industrials were responsible for sponsoring the Nazi party early on--they wouldn't have done that for "socialists".

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi#Nazi_economic_policy

more than 5 years ago
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The Shady Business Practices of Classmates.com

harmonica Facebook for dummies? (275 comments)

Many of us who are 30+ associate those sites with the "OMG PONIES!" crowd.

I'm one of those. Ehm, the old guys, not the pony crowd. I took the opportunity to try to find out what Facebook is like because someone recently asked me if I had a page there, but it seems that you can't do anything unless you have an account and are logged in. The help section of the site doesn't seem to feature screenshots. Is there a way to get a feeling of what the site's about without creating a fake account? My old age keeps me from just entering all my personal data and worry later. Maybe there are some pages set to "public for everyone", so some URLs would be nice.

more than 5 years ago
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New Search Engine Takes "Dyve" Into the Dark Web

harmonica Re:Google starts indexing scanned (!) PDFs (55 comments)

Like... the amount of resources behind Google Book Search?

No, a lot more than that. 3.000 books a day is great, but there are a lot more PDF files to be processed. And as usual, if you make a service work some of the time, people will complain, so Google probably took their Books and Catalogs experience and put it to work on a larger scale.

more than 5 years ago
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New Search Engine Takes "Dyve" Into the Dark Web

harmonica Google starts indexing scanned (!) PDFs (55 comments)

The summary is a bit misleading. Google has been indexing the textual parts of PDFs for a long time. According to the article they have now started indexing scans inside of PDF files, which requires OCR.

Google has been doing that for catalogs for a while now, but OCRing large numbers of scans obviously requires a lot more resources.

more than 5 years ago
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Press Favored Obama Throughout Campaign

harmonica Re:Duh. (1601 comments)

Given that in WW2 we were fighting against right wing ideology

Keep repeating that and keep showing your ignorance. Nazi's were socialists ...

Nationalsozialist

Yes, they called themselves that. Still, they weren't socialist, they were fascist. Same as in commercials, the labels aren't always correct. The Nazis weren't about class struggle (they were about struggle between peoples), and they didn't want to make all property public in the long term. And so on. Get Haffner's book on Hitler for a readable introduction on what the Nazis wanted and didn't want. Some goals developed over the twelve years of their rule, other things they publicly demanded and still didn't do, it's not that simple.

You obviously don't know what a "right" or "left" wing is. The ultra right are .... anarchists. Ultra left are government solutions to every problem under the sun.

There are extremists of both wings that are very much into government and those that are against it.

The terms right and left are not well-defined.

The Democrat party of today has more in common with Nazis than the Republican party, though not by much.

Both parties have almost nothing in common with the Nazis, so that comparison just doesn't make any sense.

more than 5 years ago
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How to Search Today's Usenet For Programming Information?

harmonica No, it depends on the server (230 comments)

Get a well-maintained news server and there'll hardly be any spam. Unfortunately, such a thing is hard to find, there isn't really any money in text newsgroups, and regular ISPs continue to give up on Usenet altogether and recommend Google Groups (which is a cruel joke). Individual seems to be one of the remaining good servers, for EUR 10 per year, but it has a dedicated team behind it. For technical things like programming languages or databases, Usenet groups in comp.* are still great.

more than 5 years ago

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