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Study Analyzes Recent Grads' Unemployment By Major

wdavies WashPo owns Kaplan (314 comments)

Why is there no warning about conflict of interest here? Everytime the Washington Post opens its mouth about Higher Education Policy of any kind, it should be known that they are owners of the $2.3 billion business Kaplan, a major profiteerer in the War on Poor Students...

more than 2 years ago

The Curious Case of Increasing Misspelling Rates On Wikipedia

wdavies If you normalize by Page View Statistics... (285 comments)


My counter(?) hypothesis is that the long tail of articles grows most, and gets no to little proof-reading. Therefore I'd love to see the results normalized by (log maybe) of Page Views (from ). I've also a few doubts about the quality of randomly sampled pages in general, and also whether the growth of jargon (which may or may not end up as spelling-errors has increased).

Excellently interesting piece though! Great work.


more than 2 years ago

Netflix's New Web Interface Gets Thumbs Down From Users

wdavies Tablet Fever? (267 comments)

Its unusuable. Thank god my secondary account still has the old school interface.

Netflix had been doing great, especially with the grouping multiple seasons of DVDs finally, and then they pull a stupid stunt like this. What were they thinking.

I wish to god whoever decided that making websites should only display well on iPads comes to a swift and painful death.


more than 3 years ago

Obama Eyeing Internet ID For Americans

wdavies Re:Ahem, democracy? (487 comments)

I'd prefer if you called it a Plutarchy please.

"Plutocracy is rule by the wealthy, or power provided by wealth. The combination of both plutocracy and oligarchy is called plutarchy" :-)

more than 3 years ago

Scientists Propose One-Way Trips To Mars

wdavies Re:Little difference? (839 comments)

And don't forget the TEA we shipped you guys...

more than 3 years ago

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm To Launch Dec. 7th

wdavies Re:Your stock price? (431 comments)

Plenty of experiments have shown that market knowledge doesnt help much. The only place it really helps is if you are an insider, and in which case you are likely to go to prison :)

more than 3 years ago

Google & Verizon's Real Net Neutrality Proposal

wdavies Who is representing the public interest in this? (254 comments)

As someone who has family in the public policy business I know that there are generally two sides in these debates - the corporate side and the public side. Usually there's one or more non-profit that leads the public interest comment-gathering, regulation reading/wrangling and lobbies on our behalf (ie read not the corporations behalf).

I see nothing in this discussion so far about a coordinated campaign to seriously propose pro-Net-Neutrality regulation. CREDO has been posting some stuff, as have EFF I think, but is there an umbrella organization that is organizing opposition to a corporate reign of this area?

Incidentally, despite all the bribery and corruption, a lot of lobbying is simply about who has the ear of the right Senatorial and Congressional aides, and advising them about the difficult issues on a debate. The challenge for the public is having an organized lobbying ability on every issue. Too often its just the corporations who have the resources to make their case.


about 4 years ago
top Now Vulnerable to Algorithmic Attack

wdavies Re:How is this 30% accurate??? (251 comments)

mod this up. I hadn't gotten the implication of the exploit either until now.

about 4 years ago

Matt Smith Leaving Doctor Who Already?

wdavies Re:Give Stephen Fry the job. (423 comments)

Stephen Fry would be an awesome Dr! I suspect he could be the next Pertwee - the best of all so far.

more than 4 years ago

Tesla IPO Raises $226 Million

wdavies Re:pessimism about EV cars or Tesla as a company? (274 comments)

Indeed, and Google is a classic case in point. It wasn't Altavista, Infoseek, Excite, or even GOTO (remember them, they invented bidded search ads), it was Google that came after and put together a very scalable and flexible architecture. They refined the standard IR algs, refined bidded ads, etc as well, but they weren't the first movers. Same goes for Ford, and I suspect Boeing (hello, Wright Brothers Airlines anyone?)

Its the person that gets the large scale infrastructure right that wins. What is the correct infrastructure is going to be almost unpredictable at the start of a new technology.


more than 4 years ago

Doctors Seeing a Rise In "Google-itis"

wdavies Wikipedia and ER (368 comments)

First of all, no offence, but who is Doctor Valek? and Bring me a refereed journal article next time...

As a counterpoint to all the anecdotal Google saved my life (and I have no problem with the claims), was the time 6 months ago when I went to the ER after I had misidentified my swollen uvula as the epiglottis, and after googling swollen epiglottis, found out I was likely to die if I didnt get to a hospital (which is true). When I got there, the ER doctor was pretty amused, and sent me home with a hard copy of after he googled it for me... then my wife laughed a lot.


more than 4 years ago

Is Diaspora the Future of Free Software Funding?

wdavies Micro-VC laws? (146 comments)

I sponsored them, out of a sense that their idea (distributed ownership of social networking) is a good idea. I think Facebook's multiple faux pas added a huge impetus to their publicity, the least of which was the NY Times article. Frankly, if you can get a NYTimes article you are heads and shoulders ahead in publicity.

However, one thing did bother me about this, not the lack of contracts or whatever, it is a donation, with no expectations. But what are the rules that govern micro-finance loans, venture capitalism, etc. I mean, why couldnt you just have KickStarter work as a micro-VC plain and simple, and get shares in these projects? VC tend are required to only get money from large net worth individuals. Microloans it appears anyone can participate in? So why not micro-VC ? I guess the difference is in Oversight? If I donate money to something, I know I am giving it away (and presumably have a motivation such as supporting free software or whatever). However if I invest it in a MVCfund I have some expectation of getting it back - Micro-loans have a much lower degree of risk - VCs are at 5% or whatever, chance of success.

Anyone else thinking about this stuff?


more than 4 years ago

Reconstructing Users' Web Histories From Personalized Search Results

wdavies Re:Reconstructing? (44 comments)

The title of the original paper is: Private Information Disclosure from Web Searches.

They found a security vulnerability, and retrieved the information using probable prefixes. The reason I dislike the title is because it sounds a lot like the SIGIR 06 paper

where they actually did reconstruction using publicly available information combined with
collaborative filtering like technology against anonymized data.

This article isn't a bad one, and interesting, but it's title is misleading. Its a security hole, not a fundamentally powerful data-mining technique.


more than 4 years ago

Reconstructing Users' Web Histories From Personalized Search Results

wdavies Re:Reconstructing? (44 comments)

+1 mod this to 5 and then re-edit the article & title please. This is not the same as the work identifying people from their movie ratings for example.

more than 4 years ago

"Tube Map" Created For the Milky Way

wdavies and... (142 comments)

Mornington Crescent.

I win.

more than 4 years ago

Does a Lame E-Mail Address Really Matter?

wdavies Re:yes (1049 comments)

Also, more obvious on a resume, and not as neat as this trick, but easier if you dont have your own hosting, is to use the + sign on, eg

It actually part of the email spec, but not every website will validate correctly, but I always try to use it when entering my email.


more than 4 years ago

Nexus One Name Irks Philip K. Dick's Estate

wdavies Conflicted. (3 comments)

I'm a little conflicted on this. On one hand Google apparently acknowledges the name origins, but perhaps felt that given its weight and importance it needn't worry about compensating the estate in anyway, and simply the honor of being chosen was enough. On the other hand, I'd say, I am an AVID fan of Blade runner, if not the original book, and I didn't get the connection until this article, one suspects a little petty tin can rattling by the estate.

I know for sure I've named pet projects after favorite things, however we are talking about a multi-million dollar product here. Google has several choices, (1) offer compensation to the estate (2) change the name (3), ignore it (4) come up with some sort of appealing compromise, such as an Easter Egg honoring Philip K Dick, and donating a chunk of change to some non-profit of the estates choosing.

more than 4 years ago



Microsoft sales of Word blocked by XML patent

wdavies wdavies writes  |  about 5 years ago

wdavies (163941) writes "According to this article,, Microsoft has been found guilty of patent infringement on using XML for doc interchange, and forbidden from selling Word versions that use the XML format. Seems to me that this is a little odd, even given the general hostility to Microsoft from the tech community. Wouldn't we WANT everyone to be able to use XML, even Microsoft?


Link to Original Source

Google Funding the Next Big One?

wdavies wdavies writes  |  more than 5 years ago

wdavies (163941) writes "According to this article, Google is funding a controversial deep drill geothermal project north of San Francisco. Apparently the company, AltaRock ommited to disclose that the same deep drilling caused a major quake in Basel, Switzerland when it was last used. Given the notorious geological unstability of the Northern Californian coast, this strikes me as kind of dumb and given the known likelihood of this technique producing earthquakes, some what REALLY EVIL ."

Netflix Keeping Profiles

wdavies wdavies writes  |  more than 6 years ago

wdavies (163941) writes "Thanks to everyone who called and/or emailed Netflix: I just received this email from Netflix:

"We Are Keeping Netflix Profiles" Dear Winton, You spoke, and we listened. We are keeping Profiles. Thank you for all the calls and emails telling us how important Profiles are. We are sorry for any inconvenience we may have caused. We hope the next time you hear from us we will delight, and not disappoint, you. -Your friends at Netflix.

They claimed that no-one cared, probably because only a small percent of users use them — but clearly they didnt sample the people who did. An object lesson in Product Management."


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