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Comment Re:Google did it (Score 1) 65 65

I've heard that despite Google's usually excellent voice recognition, there are complaints about the quality of Google's transcription service. I don't have it or use it myself.

But it sounds like this is more than just transcription, though that's the main crux of it. If Siri is answering for you, you can have her filter calls, transcribe voicemail, reject calls, etc. It's like a spam filter for your phone. (Not that I give my number out to people so they can phone much anymore. It's mostly just the bank or callbacks for appointments.)

Comment Re:Why solar? (Score 1) 354 354

In a word: China.

China installed 12GW of solar in 2013. That's with current technology and production. From what I've heard (that I have no links to, sorry--this may actually be hearsay, but from what I know of the Chinese, it's certainly plausible), China basically cribbed the notes of companies from other countries that were manufacturing solar panels in Chinese factories. They turned around and started using all that tech to build their own stuff, and in one year installed more solar than anyone.

But China being able bring that manufacturing capacity to bear, regardless of how they did it, means that prices are going to plummet. The cost for solar comes down steadily every year and the efficiency keeps creeping up. Because China is already behind it, that makes it a reasonable proposition for building out more capacity in other countries. We've already dammed up a lot of rivers (and there's a lot of environmental concerns about that already) and wind has problems with killing migratory birds and bats (can be mitigated, but takes some extra planning; people seem to hate windmills, too). We know that you can generate a fair amount of power through solar, even in countries where there's a lot of cloud cover (see: Germany).

It's the most scalable, and the production is the most scalable as well. I think that's "why solar?".

Comment Re:Can't be true (Score 2) 174 174

Well, particularly because beekeepers are fighting actively to keep their hives alive. Hives that collapse are gone, but the hives that remain are, unsurprisingly, very well tended to. Then the hives that collapsed are replaced by getting a new queen from somewhere else and starting over.

In the wild, I could see aggressive parasites (and combinations of parasites) wiping out much greater swathes of the population, but in this case, human intervention is providing an additional buffer.

I'm still more worried about wild bees. They don't have anyone looking after them, but they're still important.

Comment Re:Ad blocking? (Score 1) 132 132

Yes, it's important that the ads be clearly labelled as ads, and not as editorial content. The brilliance of the Digg model is that everything is basically just a link, a picture, and a small bit of explanatory context. Even if you were to mistake it as a real story, it would become obvious instantly that you weren't getting any news from the site you went to.

And since the advertisers are curated, you're also not going to have any trouble where going to the site is going to be some sort of miserable spam-fest with popups and terrible auto-play videos. The Digg model is currently the best one. Unobtrusive, but obvious. It's good brand advertising, and it keeps their lights on. It's a really good compromise.

Comment It's easily explained: beekeepers are doing it (Score 1) 174 174

First, Wente is the least believable so-called journalist at the G&M. I ignore her articles out of hand because she's usually so wrong that the articles are hard to read without getting angry.

But published in the Washington Post yesterday is similar information about US hives: http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

The conclusion? Beekeepers are working hard to keep hives alive and keep populations up. Their livelihood is at stake here, after all.

Interestingly, I think this might serve as a long-term selection for more robust bees. Bees that are just strong enough to survive under ideal circumstances probably will, since the beekeepers will be trying to make sure that the conditions are right for their bees to last to another season. If a hive collapses, they buy a queen and replace the hive. (This is my hypothesis; it isn't backed by anything other than my intuition.)

So while we're probably having a massive impact on honeybee survival, it probably swings both ways.

The REAL issue is how populations of non-cultivated bees are doing. Bumblebees and all the other sorts of bees that we don't use to commercially produce honey or pollinate farms are also important, even if no human is directly making a dollar from the bees' work.

Comment Re:Ad blocking? (Score 1) 132 132

I think the best ads are the native ads--that is, ads that resemble content, but are clearly marked as ads. Digg is currently the best example of this. There's one story box dedicated to an ad. It's easy to find, so it's easy to ignore. But because the advertisers aren't just some random weight loss spammer, the advertising box is actually something that I look at every day, just in case. I've clicked on more than one of those 'stories', but I NEVER click on standard banner ads.

Curation makes for better ads than trying to pin-point what I want through tracking, it turns out. Ads need to be for things that I didn't know that I needed, not things that I've previously searched for. I get ads for things that I've ALREADY BOUGHT all the time. Yeah, I searched for that thing yesterday. Then I found it. And bought it. Your ads are useless now, stop showing them to me. But if I didn't know about your product before (like KeySmart!), and a site that I visit every day has a little space dedicated to it, I'm a lot more likely to check it out.

Comment Re:No nuance allowed. You're for us or against us. (Score 1) 557 557

That's not what she's saying; that's a gross misrepresentation.

The fact of the matter is that Gamergate, from its inception, was largely a misogynistic endeavour that wildly eclipsed anything legitimate buried way underneath. It started with an insane screed by a jilted ex-boyfriend and continued on as an excuse for hundreds of people to harass women. It MAY be possible to feel that Gamergate had legitimate points, but there's so much hate swirling around it that it was hard to get down to those points.

It is undeniable that many women (and some anti-GG men) were doxxed, threatened physically and sexually and were basically forced off the internet all together. You can't be neutral on GG, honestly. Even if you ultimately feel like maybe someone in there had a point about money and corruption in game reviews, the overall context of the whole thing was just awful. There are many reasonable ways to have a conversation about a contentious point, and GG was precisely zero of them.

Comment Re:Is it 64-bit yet? (Score 1) 132 132

It's certainly the case that they're taking up memory, but it's hard to help that. The tools teams are constantly working to make that stuff better, but sometimes you just need more memory. Even without visual assist running (I don't like it as much as my colleagues), VS has a 1.5GB memory footprint.

Comment Is it 64-bit yet? (Score 3, Interesting) 132 132

I didn't see anything useful on their page--have they made the bloody application 64-bit yet? We've had tonnes of problems with it crashing with extensions like Visual Assist and a couple custom plugins. The whole environment runs out of memory and brings everything attached down with it. It's pretty ridiculous.

Comment Re:Easily solved (Score 1) 53 53

The really, actually simple solution is to change the terms for subscriptions and be done with it.

Realistically, Apple's not competing on price. I could've signed up for Rdio or Spotify ages ago and I know enough to do it online and save myself the 'convenience' cost of doing it in the application. Apple has already got the power of defaults working for it, really strong industry ties, and the fact that it doesn't bleed money hand over fist by having a free tier that can't pay for itself. Spotify loses money because so few of its users convert to paid subscriptions, but still makes the majority of its income off of those few (20%, I think?) subscribers.

I'm paying for Apple music (or I will be, when the 3 month trial is up) because it's integrated with the applications that I already use to listen to music, and my library is available to me without any extra effort on my part. It's too good to pass up, assuming I'm going to pay for a service at all.

Spotify (and everyone else) will NEVER make good advertising revenue because the people that the advertisers want to reach most—the people with money that are willing to spend it—are the people that have selectively removed themselves from the pool of people being advertised too. All they're left with is people that are either unable to pay, or don't think they should have to pay. It's a poor value proposition.

Apple doesn't need to bleed money off of Spotify anymore, and it's silly to keep doing it. The possibility of a lawsuit shouldn't be worth anyone's time.

Comment Re:Not to mention... (Score 2) 331 331

Jail time just makes criminals worse. This is fairly well established.

What I want out of a jail sentence (as a Canadian) is rehabilitation and some path to them becoming a person in my society that shows up as a net benefit when all the accounting is done.

There are bound to be some people that are irretrievable, but I'd like to take the chance on fixing them.

I think swatting is insanely dangerous, and I'm not unaware that this was a crime mainly perpetrated against women. I'm a fairly ardent feminist and I think that detail of the case is pertinent. All the same, I have hopes that if we invest in his rehabilitation, maybe the person that exits the system will be better than the person that went in.

Comment iOS 9 content blockers (Score 1) 129 129

For iOS users that somehow haven't heard, it'll be possible to write content blockers for Safari in iOS 9, and someone has already implemented one as a test that significantly reduces the amount of data that mobile sites use. (Using iMore as a test, he got page load times down from 11s to 2s, and reduced the amount of data transfer from something as high as 14MB in some cases down to 4MB.)

That seems like something that those of us that are concerned about data limits should immediately get on.

Comment Re:Sigh. (Score 2) 129 129

Perhaps not, but there's no reason to be a jerk about it. Some people prefer to ask about the alternatives rather than hunt through the zillions of possibilities on app stores and reading through the dozens of utterly useless online reviews from sketchy sites that have names like "manage-your-mobile-data.net", etc.

The submitter trusts the /. community to give better than average advice on this sort of thing. Humour them or don't respond, but maybe don't be so disparaging. Asking is more often the right thing to do than blundering around without much direction.

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