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Comment: Re:Models are right, measurements are wrong? (Score 1) 423

by Andreas Mayer (#48074171) Attached to: Past Measurements May Have Missed Massive Ocean Warming

I thought that science made conclusions based on observations, not that it made observations based on conclusions

It is completely normal that conclusions lead us to doubt our observations and do new measurements. Observations can be misleading unless we have a proper theory with appropriate measurements.

As for the current problem: Computer models are not reality, but - apart from data from the past - they are the best we have.

Science works like this:
First you observe something.
Then you try to come up with an explanation. That explanation needs to make some predictions (or it would be useless).
Then you test those predictions. Usually by making experiments.

Now, here we have a problem. We don't have a second earth to experiment with. And even if we had, the timescales involved are too large to make experiments in real-time.

So instead we use climate models. But these models are not reality. These are models we come up with on our own. How do we do that? Well, people that are generally learned about the subject try to think about anything that could possibly affect the climate. They then create a mathematical model and see if it's predictions fit the known data (i.e. data from the past must predict the present). The better it does, the better the model.

Now it turns out that we have some wrong data. Obviously that wrong data will have lead to climate models that do not predict reality.

This means we have to alter our current climate models to fit the new data. Someone will have to come up with an idea what exactly is wrong with the models and how to fix them, of course. But that is no different from how the models were created in the first place.

It also does not mean the models are not useful. They are. As long as they accurately predict current climate from past data, we can assume that they will also predict *future* climate from *present* data.

But, yes, our predictions can at best be as accurate as our observations. And if we measure wrong, that is a problem.

Disclaimer: IANACS - I am not a climate scientist

Comment: Re:The review ecosystem is good and truly broken.. (Score 1) 249

by Andreas Mayer (#47963213) Attached to: Small Restaurant Out-Maneuvers Yelp In Reviews War

Why not have each reviewer's rating for a given item/location be statistically compared/weighted to that reviewer's history of ratings, e.g. a 5-star rating from someone who consistently gives 5-star ratings for everything could be valued less than someone who only does so some of the time,

Why? Maybe I simply only review things I like. Why would that devalue my reviews?

Comment: Re:The review ecosystem is good and truly broken.. (Score 1) 249

by Andreas Mayer (#47963209) Attached to: Small Restaurant Out-Maneuvers Yelp In Reviews War

the weird moderation that happens in anything apple v android.

I'll never understand how attached some people get to a corporation. The corporation will never love you back.

The problem are not people who supposedly 'love' a corporation. The problem are people who think someone loves a corporation just because he likes some of their products.

Comment: Re:Is it me? Or is it you? (Score 2) 545

by Andreas Mayer (#47925335) Attached to: What To Expect With Windows 9

I can't figure out if I'm just too old and grumpy or if operating systems are just desperately uninspired.

It's probably a mix of both.

Of course operating systems have matured. Today they do practically everything we can think about. There are no obvious features left to add. So development, especially from an end user's perspective, seems slow.

On the other hand, I don't agree that there is no development like you seem to imply. I'm using OS X, so that's the only OS I can really talk about. Some of the things we got the last few years:
- Spotlight.
A fast global search can really change some workflows. Gone are the days when I had to trawl through nested folders to find that file from a week ago. Now I can search for name or content or even the date I did use it last.
- Time Machine
Switching machines? Just restore from the last Time Machine backup and everything is like it was before.
That new version of application X sucks? Accidentally clobbered some file? No worries. Restore from Time Machine backup.
- iCloud Sync
OK, so not everyone wants that. But it is nice if data is kept in sync between devices automatically.

Of course there is much more, many of it not directly visible. (There's a reason MacBooks have great battery live. And it's not just better hardware.)

So, I agree with you up to a point. OS development is not as exciting as it used to be. But it didn't stop either. Interesting things still happen.

Comment: Re:how long can I keep my Win7? (Score 1) 545

by Andreas Mayer (#47925257) Attached to: What To Expect With Windows 9

I don't get it, why do some people do that? I can somewhat understand about getting a new car that has various gadgets to impress the chicks. But a computer?

I think for those people the computer is not a tool, something to get something done (be it work or games). For them it is more of a toy to tinker with, like a model train. I mean, how many people tinker with their vacuum cleaner, change components of their power drill or build a custom case for their TV? Yet, some people do all these things with their computers. They are not tools; not means to an end. For those people the computer itself is what holds their interest.

Comment: Re:define "customer" (Score 5, Informative) 290

by Andreas Mayer (#47888537) Attached to: German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

from what i understand of the definition of "customer", a "customer" means "someone who is paying for a service".

The law isn't even talking about customers. The term is "Verbraucher" which is better translated as consumer.

The judge explicitly stated that the law in question does apply to non-paying users.

Comment: Re:What is a customer? (Score 1) 290

by Andreas Mayer (#47888479) Attached to: German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

Alternatively since that fine is so small in Google terms, if it's a one-off, maybe they should just pay it and carry on. I wonder how long it would take for further action to result if they did that.

Err... it is €250,000 per case. That is, every single automated reply could cost them €250,000.

Also it says "alternatively 6 month of jail time for a member of the board". The next ruling might skip the fine ...

Comment: Re:What is a customer? (Score 2) 290

by Andreas Mayer (#47888427) Attached to: German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

Answers derived from the actual ruling. (Translate yourself if you don't believe me. :P)

Is a web site visitor a customer?

If they used some Google service, then yes.

Or does some form of payment for services need to be made?

No.

What about android users, does having an android device make someone a customer or would google need to sell the OS for that to count?

If it's only about the OS, I think the seller would be the only one the user has a business relationship with. But since almost any Android device includes Google services - yes, I think practically every Android user is a customer of Google in the legal sense.

It sounds like the Judge ruled that any person who uses a google service is a customer even if that service is free.

Yes.

It seems like that is a win for the consumer, but I have to wonder if that was the correct decision in this case. It doesn't seem unreasonable to me to need to be a paying customer for a company to expend resources to adequately respond to your communications. Some questions can cause hours of follow up work to send a reply.

If Google decides to discontinue all Google services in Germany as a result, would that really be a "win" for the German consumer?

You are of course free to argue about the merit of the law. But the ruling is "correct" in the legal sense.

Personally, I think Google is making a shitload of money in Germany and they should be able to use some of that to talk to their customers. They would be unbelievably stupid to shut down operations here just to save the cost of paying a few people to actually respond to email.

Comment: Re:The End Result . . . (Score 1) 290

by Andreas Mayer (#47888345) Attached to: German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

They'll just change their automated reply to "Thank you for your issue/concern. We'll look into it and get back to you if necessary."

That's actually possible.
But after this ruling I'd expect the consumer protection agency to follow up and check if anyone gets any response to their questions. If not, they'll sue Google again. And of course, in case this happens and the court decides that Google did not do what they were told, the next fine will be substantially higher.

I think it would be better - and in the end probably cheaper - for Google, to just hire some personnel who actually read and answer customer mail.

Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves. -- Lazarus Long

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