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+ - How Silicon Valley got that way -- and why it will continue to rule.->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Lots of places want to be "the next Silicon Valley." But the Valley's top historian looks back (even talks to Steve Jobs about his respect for the past!) to explain why SV is unique. While there are threats to continued dominance, she thinks its just too hard for another region to challenge SV's supremacy.
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Comment: Re:Least common denominator (Score 1) 161

by plover (#49563093) Attached to: Has the Native Vs. HTML5 Mobile Debate Changed?

Connectivity is huge, but it's only one of the ingredients in making this decision.

If you want the app to work for them outside of the corporate WiFi, you have to host it on the public internet, where all attackers are equally welcome without regard to skillz or skripts. Are you sure that server is secure? What about tomorrow? Are you patching it? Are your users securing their devices properly? Uh oh, it's the new version of Heartbleed, go back three spaces.

You also have to consider performance. Is this something that your users will use constantly for their jobs, or occasionally for some rare piece of info? If it's going to add one second to every screen, and you're asking people to tap their way through 600 screens a day, the inefficiency is going to cost you 10 minutes worth of payroll per user per day. Maybe you make that up in hardware costs if you force your users to bring their own smartphone to work. Maybe the sluggishness just makes your users miserable throughout the day. Or maybe it simply costs you a lot of money.

On the other side, if it's used perhaps once or twice a day by 2000 people, poor performance and connectivity issues won't be nearly as important as savings on developer costs and time to market, Or if you have only a half dozen heavy users, perhaps you're willing to eat the payroll cost of an hour per day instead of spending them on development.

It's a question best answered by the money.

Comment: Re:But it doesn't work (Score 1) 64

Manning would almost certainly have been caught regardless. All those State Department cables could only have come from someone with access to the entire database. That's a reasonably short list of people, and everyone on it would have been grilled and inspected from head to toe.

His (her) talking about it just made the inevitable happen faster.

Comment: Re:danger vs taste (Score 1) 629

by plover (#49562133) Attached to: Pepsi To Stop Using Aspartame

I'm much more cynical, and I don't think Pepsi is giving in to anyone. I think they're trying to exploit people's fears that "OMG chemicals bad". It's more like they're advertising "We're the only brand that dares to print arsenic-free on our products."

I think the real problem with Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Max is that they taste more or less like regular Pepsi. Their advertising slogan may as well be "Pepsi - for when you can't afford actual Coca-Cola."

Comment: Re:Statistics (Score 1) 73

by plover (#49525567) Attached to: Networking Library Bug Breaks HTTPS In ~1,500 iOS Apps

They could maintain a list of third party library versions and identify versions of apps that link with them. But then what? As a user, I might not want Apple to shut off some random app I depend on -- just because they think it might be hackable doesn't mean my device is actually being hacked; and I might really need that app today for some important client presentation.

They could contact impacted developers and request they repair the damage, but what can they do if nobody responds?

Apple focuses on end user experience first. They won't want to inconvenience their users that much.

Comment: Missing one detail ... (Score 5, Insightful) 540

The linked article leaves out one important detail. This isn't about retaliation... Marin County Supervisor Steve Kinsey told the station: 'George Lucas said, "if I’m not going to do what I wanted to do there, what can I do that would be really beneficial to this community?"

Comment: Re:This is fucking stupid. (Score 1) 279

by plover (#49467219) Attached to: Researchers Developing An Algorithm That Can Detect Internet Trolls

You barely survived bullying, so you should know better than most that many people don't. That's plenty of reason not to tolerate bullying.

Look at it this way: survival of the fittest is already being changed by modern medicine; would you withhold penicillin from a child with pneumonia because he's too weak to survive? By extension, we owe the same level of concern to people with psychological problems.

Comment: Re:just what we need (Score 1) 279

by plover (#49464765) Attached to: Researchers Developing An Algorithm That Can Detect Internet Trolls

No, it's pre-crime if they've done no harm at the time they're banned.

The triggers or flags the algorithm recognizes are not themselves the offenses. They are just attributes of posts from people who in the past have exhibited similar early behavior; this algorithm knows how to recognize that pattern.

Let's say that you categorize a thousand historical troll posts, and study their metrics (I'm going to make up some fake metrics here for example.) The average number of posts before they actually get to spewing the bile might be 15. Of those 15, an average of two of them might contain the misspelled phrase "your wrong". Another indicator might be writing five posts within the first hour of registering a new ID. None of those posts contain an actual troll message, but 75% of the time someone matches that behavior, they will have written a troll by their 10th-20th post.

Pre-crime would be banning people based on matching this pattern without waiting for the actual troll post to be made. It would ban 100% of pattern-matchers, but of those, only 75% would statistically have gone on to actually troll. The other 25% would be unfairly banned for their poor spelling and bad timing.

Comment: Re:This is fucking stupid. (Score 4, Insightful) 279

by plover (#49464593) Attached to: Researchers Developing An Algorithm That Can Detect Internet Trolls

While I believe that people who are less sensitive tend to thrive more than others, I don't agree that "thicker skin" is a workable solution. Too many people have fragile emotional states and simply don't have the neural hardware psychological capacity required to dismiss the hate and insults that often happen on line. There have been some high-profile suicides among teens who were attacked online, and who knows how many people remove themselves from public comment because of the hate they've received? For safety reasons I don't think society should completely abrogate the forums to the trolls.

Does that not mean some people are overly sensitive? Sure. But just as we shouldn't velour-line the internet to cater to absolutely every person with a psychological disorder; we also don't have to tolerate the diarrhea that spews forth from the trolls. We don't have to draw a hard-and-fast line on the ground, either, and define "these words are always 100% bad in 100% of situations". Instead, we should be welcoming humans in the loop, asking them to pass judgment when needed. That gets us to a more fluid state than full automation. It also lets the user choose. Don't like the judgment process on Slashdot? Don't hang out on Slashdot.

I know full automated filtering is the holy grail of internet forum moderation, but as soon as you deploy a filter it becomes a pass/fail test for the trolls, who quickly learn to adapt and evade it. Human judges can adapt, too, and are about the only thing that can; there are simply too few for the volume of trolls out there. A tool like this might help them scale this effort to YouTube volumes.

UNIX was not designed to stop you from doing stupid things, because that would also stop you from doing clever things. -- Doug Gwyn

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