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Comment: The senator is right (Score 3, Insightful) 413

by DCFC (#48478549) Attached to: Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election

He does politics for a living and has succeeded in a competitive domain, we should listen.

The issue is that Gerrymandered seats are safer, the elected official *is* communicating with voters, but the electorate he must worry most about is his own party in the primaries.

If you have a seat that is safe for one party then you get elected by activists of that party, not voters in general which leads to people getting elected from both parties who would never win on their own merits if they had to "communicate" with a more representative portion of the electorate.

They don't get re-elected by doing a good job, they get it by convincing activist members of their own party that they "represented our values".

They don't get fired by screwing up, but because some faction of their own party, be it unions, Tea party, some religious or ethnic group don't like them or because they sleep with someone that causes a fuss.

So the surprise is not that elected official are less than the best, the surprise is that they know such advanced maths as "some numbers are bigger than others" and that grasp foreign politics well enough to know that the Queen of England isn't a New York bar.

Comment: It's a stupid test (Score 5, Interesting) 642

by DCFC (#48402233) Attached to: Sweden Considers Adding "Sexism" Ratings To Video Games

Imagine that we believe that "two women talking about something other than men" was a good test, we'd therefore lose:

Colonel Samantha Carter, PhD Physicist, intergalactic heroine, smarter than God. Can program, fly fighter jets & alien spaceships, shoot and do things that they don't bother to explain because they are simply beyond us poor males to understand. So that's Stargate gone.

Lt Uhura: Dr Martin Luther King who *some people* see as quite into rights loudly praised her character, but I can't recall her talking to women much, except maybe some of the aliens might have been female, so that's Star Trek gone.

ST in it's various forms look remarkably feminist (usually) women commanded warships in ST long before the US Navy let them, they are engineers, scientists, doctors and of course inexplicable nexus of unknown forces.

Ripley from Alien, Aliens, Alien3, Return of the Alien, The Alien strikes back, Alien Resuscitation. Smart, hard, no bimbo, the Aliens are apparently female, she kills them, conversation with them is rare. The men are a) weak, b) stupid, c) dishonest, d) weak, stupid and dishonest

X-Files : Scully is smart and hardly ever talks to women.

Agents of SHIELD: Loads of women programming, analysing and occasionally shooting at people. The inter-female dialog is rare.

Babylon 5: Strong women, being heads of security, scientists, highly cultured aliens.

Torchwood : Strong female lead, again almost no inter-female dialog.

Under the Dome : The main character is a strong woman, all the weak bad people are men

Terminator 1,2,3, Sarah Connor : Oh look ! what a surprise a strong woman in a world of defective men

I've not yet seen Interstellar, but let me guess, the women in it are smart and honest and whoever is screwing things up is a man ?

I can't be the only person who's noticed that in many SciFi and action films a dumb American male is accompanied by a highly educated woman who actually understands what is going on, whilst he shoots at it.

+ - Dr.Who to teach kids to code ->

Submitted by DCFC
DCFC (933633) writes "The BBC is releasing a game to help ten 8-11 year olds get into coding. Based on Dr.Who, it alternates between standard platform game and programming puzzles that introduce the ideas of sequence, loops, if..then, variables and a touch of event driven programming...and you get to program a Dalek to make him more powerful, apparently the BBC thinks upgrading psychopathic racist death machines is a good idea."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Where is version 2 and 3 ? (Score 3, Interesting) 205

by DCFC (#43636595) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do You Sell an Algorithm To Venture Capitalists?

If you can explain it in ways they can understand then its probably not worth much and if you do explain it they can share it with others.
You're really lucky you have an algo where they can see the effect, leave it like that.

They want a cash flow over time, which means:

1: Patent protection

2: A version 2,3,4,5, read up on Dolby Studios, they started decades ago doing the same thing but for hissy audio tape, still going N versions later on totally different media.

3: Get the word "mobile" in this. VCs are obsessed with mobile currently, I assume this will make phone pictures better ?

4: They want an exit strategy, is this going to be sold to join people's patent armouries or a firm they can float ?

5. Have you talked to Google, this sound like just what they might want for YouTube and to stop others getting it.


+ - Saving the Quantum Owl at the Ryoal Institution->

Submitted by DCFC
DCFC (933633) writes "The Royal Institution home to the famed Christmas lectures and leads science outreach in the UK has financial problems, if it dies no longer will ordinary geeks be able to quiz serious physicists and Terry Pratchett about quantum owls, no more kids building ad-hoc anti-matter detectors in Faraday's old lecture theatre and it is all your fault.

You haven't joined the Ri and if you don't the building will be turned into apartments for Russian oligarchs."

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Comment: People want better ads. (Score 3, Insightful) 978

by DCFC (#43130019) Attached to: Game Site Wonders 'What Next?' When 50% of Users Block Ads

Readers block your ads because they are crap.

Your advertisers only want to reach people that are useful to them.
Cross the two.
Facebook et al try to steal personal data, why not negotiate with users ?
Treat them like adults, say “you are going to get one ad per 5 page views, so why not tell us what sort of ad you want ?”. I care about storage, you probably don’t, so why not honestly ask the readers ? You’d have a higher quality product to sell and readers would be bugged less.

Also, make a virtue about only having non-irritating ads and be honest that having the ad pays for the content, so that people ad your site to their exception list.

The thing I hate about most ads is that their server slows down your page load, that's fixable, and would cause a lot less use of blockers.

+ - S&P webiste "accidentally" downgrades Goldman -> 1

Submitted by DCFC
DCFC (933633) writes "For the second time in as many months the ratings agency Standard and Poors has put up a press release on its website that "accidentally" downgraded a major borrower.
Last month it was France, this month is was Goldman Sachs, whose shares were hit for about $460 million.

They again blame "technical issues" but as any Slashdotter knows this sort of thing isn't a typo or a fat finger if you're running a major site."

Link to Original Source

+ - Namecheap Opposes SOPA->

Submitted by
sfcrazy writes "Namecheap, one of the top domain registrars, has come out opposing SOPA, the dangerous bill aimed to destroy the Internet by Hollywood. Namecheap CEO, Richard Kirkendall, has released an encouraging statement "While we at Namecheap firmly believe in intellectual rights, SOPA is like detonating a nuclear bomb on the internet when only a surgical strike is necessary. This legislation has the potential to harm the way everyone uses the Internet and to undermine the system itself. At Namecheap, we believe having a free and open Internet is the only option that will continue the legacy of innovation and openess that stands for everything we all value in our modern society.""
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+ - EFF reverse engineers Carrier IQ config->

Submitted by
MrSeb writes "At this point we have a fairly good idea of what Carrier IQ is, and which manufacturers and carriers see fit to install it on their phones, but the Electronic Frontier Foundation — the preeminent protector of your digital rights — has taken it one step further and reverse engineered some of the program’s code to work out what’s actually going on. There are three parts to a Carrier IQ installation on your phone: The program itself, which captures your keystrokes and other “metrics”; a configuration file, which varies from handset to handset and carrier to carrier; and a database that stores your actions until it can be transmitted to the carrier. It turns out that that the config profiles are completely unencrypted, and thus very easy to crack."
Link to Original Source
Social Networks

+ - LinkedIn goes belly up->

Submitted by DCFC
DCFC (933633) writes "For most of today, LinkedIn, the social media site 'for professionals', with 100 million users has been unavailable for much of today.
Users are greeted with a picture of janitor and a note that LinkedIn is "cleaning up". Occasional some parts of site functionality appear, but the dreaded pink "unexpected error" line keeps appearing, and you quickly end up getting the janitor picture again."

Link to Original Source

+ - Sometimes Our Product Works, Sometimes It Doesn't->

Submitted by DCFC
DCFC (933633) writes "VTECH technical support are showing commendable honesty about the reliability of their products.

Rather than produce software that works, or replacing defective goods, The Consumerist reports that they now tells customers that their products just don't work, sometimes.

Apparently the statements on the box that VTECH toys work with Vista and Windows 7 are only true sometimes."

Link to Original Source

+ - Guy Kewney, veteran IT journalist dies->

Submitted by DCFC
DCFC (933633) writes "If you've read about technology in the last 35 years, you'll have read some of Guy's work, he was the longest serving tech jrounalist in the UK, and probably the world.

He covered the evolution of our industry from when the idea of a computer in your home was absurd, to the hassles you get today in getting them all to talk to each other.
At various times, he was editor of Personal Computer World, editorial fellow at Ziff Davis, columnist for PC Magazine, PCW, PC Direct and any number of his articles have been Slashdotted.
Guy cultivated a vast network of people who could help him work out what was actually going on in our industry, and he had the courage to argue with the great and the good (and Bill Gates), when he thought they had boobed. He was right often enough to get some of the credit he deserved for that. Constructively, his depth of knowledge allowed him to give advice to CEOs of major firms and newbie journalists learning the ropes, and this was freely given, for which many of us are grateful. He never took his star writer status seriously enough to become arrogant, and would listen attentively to anyone who something interesting to say.

Guy really was what most journalists aspire to be, well briefed, honest, graciosu and a good friend."

Link to Original Source

+ - Chiropractics lose libel case V science journalist->

Submitted by DCFC
DCFC (933633) writes "Simon Singh, British journalist and author of several successful science book today won his appeal against the British Chiropractic Association.

The BCA had alleged that Dr Singh had made “plainest allegation of dishonesty”, which the court today ruled was 'fair comment'.

This was widely seen as an attempt to stifle criticism of Chiropractors, who who have claimed that their treatment can cure diseases from colic to cancer, with some discouraging parents from allowing their children to be vaccinated against any illness.
There has been a major backlash against the BCA in the blogosphere and amongst other science writers. This has reached such a level that lawyers for the BCA have made the effort of dealing with the backlash as part of the claim against Singh.

British Libel laws are amongst the toughest in the world. The onus is on the defendant to prove that any statement is true, and judgements including costs can often run to hundreds of thousands, allowing organisations like the BCA to use their size as a weapon against dissent. For instance in this case the costs alone, before damages were over £ 200,000, ( $ 300,000).

The BCA has vowed to fight on, presumably assuming that the science journalist will run out of money for legal fees before they do."

Link to Original Source

+ - The Times erects a paywall, plays double or quits->

Submitted by DCFC
DCFC (933633) writes "News International, owners of The Times and The Sunday Times announced today that from June readers will be required to pay £1 per day or £2 per week to access content.
Rupert Murdoch is delivering on his threat to make readers pay, and is trying out this experiment with the most important titles in his portfolio.

No one knows if this will work, there is no consensus on whether it is a good or bad thing for the industry, but be very clear that if it succeeds every one of his competitors will follow.

Murdoch has the luxury of a deep and wide business, so can push this harder than any company that has to rely upon one or two titles for revenue.
So if he fails, it seems improbable that any can win this fight."

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Comment: Re:Normally... (Score 1) 791

by DCFC (#31315630) Attached to: Killer Apartment Vs. Persistent Microwave Exposure?

Fair point, but being near two sources of disruption is worse than being near one.

Also, I wonder about the long term legal issues about a roof with expensive infrastructure on it ?

I'm not qualified to have a good opinion on RF, but I do know that professional equipment can be badly affected by malfunctioning domestic kit.

Some friends of mine have a heavy duty mulcher and pump for their toilet, and it sent spikes down the mains which crashed PCs, sometimes.

This took a while to track down, one does not normally try to correlate flushing with crashing.

That was merely a funny story for them, but if my equipment made the telco stuff go wrong expensively, that could get painful.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.