top Facebook Drops Bing Search Results
I find it hard to believe that the reason for Facebook's poor
search is incompetence (although I won't dismiss it out of hand).
Doing a decent search through a set of local records isn't
rocket science. I would think it
might take a programmer a couple of months,
and they have thousands of developers and billions of dollars
to play with. Instead, my guess is that they make the search perform
poorly on purpose, to force you to scroll through pages and pages
and thus view more ads.
Disclaimer: I no longer have an FB
account, so I don't really keep on top of these things.
top Twitter Should Use Random Sample Voting For Abuse Reports
I knew it was a Bennett Hazelton article from the title alone, and
clicked on it just to confirm my guess. I mean,
"Twitter should..."? Take it up with Twitter, why should we care?
top The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis
My town (pop. 50K) has buses on 6 local routes that go around and around
the town all day nearly empty. It is a serious money loser, but the
town keeps voting to subsidize it because it symbolizes "green".
Only a small percentage of the population will have pickup and
destination points close enough to these fixed routes to make it
worthwhile for them to use, not to mention having to fit their schedules
into the once-per-hour bus stops. So hardly anyone uses it.
What I have wondered about is whether these buses, combined with an
Uber-type app, could simply service passengers on-demand, even driving
to their houses. The software would plan optimal routes based on the
current pickups and destinations, providing passengers with
ETAs and so on. I'd probably start using it in that case, especially if
the $2 fare was kept the same. Assuming many others would too, it might
greatly reduce their losses.
top Harvard Students Move Fossil Fuel Stock Fight To Court
Imagine, as a thought experiment, if 90% of the people who owned Exxon stock sold it all. And no one else bought it because of principle. Exxon would continue to function, exactly as it is now, except the remaining 10% would get massive dividends.
True. Moreover, if 90% of the stock was suddenly put up for sale "at market" with no
significant buyers (assuming potential buyers would shun it as
a matter of principle), the price would plummet to near zero, well below
even the cash assets of the company. The company (having no such
principles) would buy up
its own stock at a pittance. The remaining stockholders would then own
the entire company instead of 10% of it.
Take it to an extreme and assume that every stockholder is swept up
emotionally by the stigma of owning the stock and thus disposes it at any price. Then the company could
buy back all of its shares for essentially nothing and be owned by no
one! The board of directors would then have no stockholders to answer
to and could vote to pay themselves multi-billion dollar salaries as well as
to do far more evil.
If you want to influence the direction of a company, you would want to
own as much of its stock as possible, not get rid of it. If you are
extremely wealthy, you can just buy all of the company's shares and have
total control over its direction.
top President Obama Backs Regulation of Broadband As a Utility
Does a "utility" mean that we could finally have true net neutrality
and use the internet as it was designed, such as having unblocked
incoming ports 80/443? I use alternate ports to route around this to
access my files remotely, but strictly speaking I'm violating the ISP
T&C by having a "server" at home.
However, I often want to access my home files from wifi access points
such as hospitals where outgoing 80/443 are the only ports open (no
outgoing ssh, etc. allowed). But my cable provider blocks incoming
80/443, so I'm completely cut off from my home files. I would rather
not pay to put a TB of files on the "cloud" or pay some 3rd party
service to reroute ports or whatever.
top Smart Meters and New IoT Devices Cause Serious Concern
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." - Upton Sinclair
about a month and a half ago
top MPAA Bans Google Glass In Theaters
Waiting half an hour to buy a ticket [...]
"Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded." - Yogi Berra
about a month and a half ago
top CERN Looking For Help Filling In the Gaps In Photo Archive
As a first rough pass at identifying the people in 250,000 images, they could use facial recognition against the ID photos of all past employees (assuming they saved them). That way, interested past employees would only have to look at much smaller samples to confirm and describe the images.
Oh, and I'm sure the NSA could be of assistance.
top Haier Plans To Embed Area Wireless Chargers In Home Appliances
This reminds me of my showerhead thermometer. All I wanted was a
device to tell me the shower temperature and nothing else. Instead, the
only thing I could find were units with all sorts of "features" I didn't
The one I finally bought has a built-in clock for displaying time
when not measuring temperature, a temperature alarm system for when the
water is too hot, a shower timer, modes for deg-F/deg-C (maybe necessary, but I'd
prefer a hidden switch inside the battery compartment to simplify everyday use), and
probably other features I never bothered to learn about. So, when I
want to use it I have to be very careful to press the buttons in just
the right order to invoke the temperature mode (it has to be done each
use since it shuts off after 5 minutes to conserve the battery), and if
I make a mistake it gets stuck in some setup sequence that's almost
impossible to exit from without consulting the manual. I've given up on
telling guests how to use it.
I'd pay considerably more to have a unit that just displays
temperature and nothing else, with a single button to turn it on, but it
seems such a thing is not available.
top GNU Emacs 24.4 Released Today
Everyone knows that Ed is
the standard text editor.
top It's Easy To Hack Traffic Lights
I once knew a traffic-light engineer who was an EE with a BS. I mentioned that I thought it was
annoying not to have sensors on lights in rarely-used cross streets,
since it wastes a lot of gas to have the main throughway traffic
constantly stopping for no reason, not to mention wasting people's time.
He said that if you put in a sensor, people will get used to the light
always being green, and in the rare case it turns red they will tend not
to stop and will cause more accidents. He was very strongly opposed to
such sensors - arguing supposedly from experience as a professional and
an expert - and our argument started to become, well, heated, so I just
let it go. I really doubt what he said is supported by statistics,
but his attitude was an example of the thinking of the people designing the lights.
(This was a couple of decades ago. Maybe the thinking has changed since
I do see more sensors these days, but still not nearly enough. Often they seem
poorly designed, such as unnecessarily waiting a full cycle before changing even
if there is no cross traffic.)
top Old School Sci-fi Short Starring Keir Dullea Utilizes Classic Effects
I am in the USA and tried to watch it. The commercial played beautifully. Then after the commercial, just a black screen. I waited 5 minutes and gave up. Anyone else have this experience?
top Verizon Throttles Data To "Provide Incentive To Limit Usage"
Spectrum is something you only have a license to a small amount of. As such, the total bandwidth you can put out has a hard limit on it. Everyone on a tower shares that bandwidth and there's just nothing you can do to increase it. You can't "lay more fiber" or "use another laser" or anything like that which you can do on wired connections. On a given segment, there is just only so much bandwidth nature and regulations will let you have.
The solution is to add more cells (towers). That's the whole idea behind cell phones. How do you think the humongous bandwidth used by say downtown Manhattan cell phones is achieved?
top Researchers Test Developer Biometrics To Predict Buggy Code
While I agree the extra precision is misleading, the real problem is that they don't provide confidence intervals. Even a rounded 80% could be misleading if it could fall between 60% and 90% due to sparse data.
On the other hand, if in their report details they said "84.38% with a 99% confidence interval of 72.27% to 94.49%", then the extra precision is no longer necessarily misleading (it is just the calculational result of the model used) and, although it is a little pedantic and redundant, I would have no fundamental problem with it. It might even be argued that it is infinitesimally more precise, allowing the calculations to be confirmed by an independent researcher. However, for presentation in summary form, it would be much better to say "between 72% and 94% with 99% confidence".
top A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System
Why the hell are you still living there?
It's my home.
People are constantly losing their "home" for as minor a reason as losing their job and having to
transfer to another city. Call me a coward, but I'd move if my city was under long-term, constant attack.
But regardless of your personal motivation,
why would you want to traumatize your children by having them grow up in the midst of such
fear and violence?
top A Peek Inside D-Wave's Quantum Computing Hardware
Um, last time I looked, most microcontroller chips could make calculations in "mere millionths of a second".
Yes, but they can't do 2^512 (2 to the 512th power) calculations simultaneously in
mere millionths of a second.
Of course, this would be for an ideal quantum computer with 512 qubits. There's still some
confusion about what the D-Wave "is".
top Unicode 7.0 Released, Supporting 23 New Scripts
Over the years, I've tried to use Unicode for math symbols on various web pages and
tend to revert back to GIFs or LaTeX-generating tools due to problems
with symbols missing from the font used by this or that browser/OS
combination, or even incorrect symbols
in some cases.
the biggest problem with Unicode is the lack of a public domain
reference font. Instead, it is a mishmash of proprietary fonts each of
which only partly implements the spec. Even the Unicode spec itself
uses proprietary fonts from various sources and thus cannot be freely
reproduced (it says so right in the spec), a terrible idea for a supposed "standard".
I'd love to see a plain, unadorned public-domain reference font that
incorporates all defined characters - indeed, it would seem to me to be the
responsibility of the Unicode Standard committee to provide such a font.
Then others can use it as a basis for their own fancy proprietary font
variations, and I would have a reliable font I could revert to when necessary.
top Scientists Find Method To Reliably Teleport Data
can do is use quantum teleportation to "transmit" (in a manner of speaking)
a real (or complex) number, i.e. a quantum superposition,
which in theory could contain infinite information, by using only
a couple of classical bits. This real number can't be observed directly - you can only
tell whether it's less than or greater than a specified number by appropriately designing
your observation - but until you observe it, it can be further processed in its
full precision as a superposition at the receiver end using quantum operations.
What you can do with this internal (uncollapsed) infinite information is up to you, e.g. as part of
a quantum factoring or search algorithm, until you finally collapse it and read out some yes/no answer.
All in theory of course; in practice you have noise and other sources of error.
top Ask Slashdot: Professional Journaling/Notes Software?
I do this. Also, once every year or two, I scan all the pages and make a nice pdf file of each volume. I put bookmarks on pages that I think I may want to look up quickly (often these correspond to physical bookmarks such as little sticky notes) and also bookmark start of month or start of new project. My bookshelf, with 5 linear feet of notes over the years, fits on a thumb drive. In practice, I typically look up things in the pdfs rather than the physical notes. I intend to dispose of the physical notes someday, at least the very old ones (ego has prevented me from doing so thus far), but even if my house burns down my
notes are safely stored away on a remote backup.
top Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?
Corned beef AND cabbage?...
Beano works for me. However, for it to really work well, I've found you need 2-3 pills per serving of food, typically 6-9 pills per meal, which (even for the generic version) can cost more than the meal itself!
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