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Google: Our New System For Recognizing Faces Is the Best 90

Posted by timothy
from the sorry-not-yet-april-fool's dept.
schwit1 writes Last week, a trio of Google researchers published a paper on a new artificial intelligence system dubbed FaceNet that it claims represents the most accurate approach yet to recognizing human faces. FaceNet achieved nearly 100-percent accuracy on a popular facial-recognition dataset called Labeled Faces in the Wild, which includes more than 13,000 pictures of faces from across the web. Trained on a massive 260-million-image dataset, FaceNet performed with better than 86 percent accuracy.

The approach Google's researchers took goes beyond simply verifying whether two faces are the same. Its system can also put a name to a face—classic facial recognition—and even present collections of faces that look the most similar or the most distinct.
Every advance in facial recognition makes me think of Paul Theroux's dystopian Ozone.

Comment: Re:We each have oour favorites. (Score 3, Interesting) 181

by KingSkippus (#49194347) Attached to: Musician Releases Album of Music To Code By

Have you listened to their new album, Endless River? It's almost all instrumental and has many of the same riffs from Division Bell. It's familiar enough to sound great, but new enough that it's novel. If you listen to Wish You Were Here while coding, I suspect you'll really enjoy this one as well.


Invented-Here Syndrome 158

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-of-this-has-happened-before-and-all-of-this-will-happen-again dept.
edA-qa writes: Are you afraid to write code? Does the thought linger in your brain that somewhere out there somebody has already done this? Do you find yourself trapped in an analysis cycle where nothing is getting done? Is your product mutating to accommodate third party components? If yes, then perhaps you are suffering from invented-here syndrome.

Most of use are aware of not-invented-here syndrome, but the opposite problem is perhaps equally troublesome. We can get stuck in the mindset that there must be a product, library, or code sample, that already does what we want. Instead of just writing the code we need a lot of effort is spent testing out modules and trying to accommodate our own code. At some point we need to just say, 'stop!', and write the code ourselves.

Comment: They're already doing it with some apps (Score 1) 415

I bought a Surface, and I've been playing with some of the little built-in "free" games. (Solitaire, Mah Jong, etc.) There's an option to pay a small amount to remove the ads from them, and not being a fan of ads (and really not minding paying the microtransaction amount), I clicked the option. It took me to the store where, for $1.99, I could remove the ads for a month. Or for something like $10, I could remove them for a year. No option to remove them permanently.

Um... Seriously?

No thanks.

Comment: Re:What about long-term data integrity? (Score 4, Informative) 438

by KingSkippus (#48461839) Attached to: How Intel and Micron May Finally Kill the Hard Disk Drive

Well, the Samsung 3.2 TB drive claims that you can read/write the entire drive every day for five years before failure. It's my understanding that at one point, SSDs were notorious for gradually declining over time, but that today's generation of SSDs basically has reliability out the wazoo. I can't quote you stats on it, but anecdotally, I've had a couple of SSDs in my computer for several years now, I leave it on 24x7, and I've never had a problem.

...Yet. YMMV.

Comment: Re:Munchkin! (Score 1) 274

by KingSkippus (#47678479) Attached to: Of the following, I'd rather play ...

It can be, but it can also get to be a bit of a slogfest with more than two or three players. I've played games that have lasted six hours because the incentive is to constantly team up against the person in the lead, and there are so many ways to knock them down. I've also seen people get pissed off at other people while playing, which is probably to be expected in a game that openly encourages you to stab your buddy in the back.

It's clever and the cards are especially funny the first three or four times you play it, but after that, I really prefer games like The Resistance, or Ticket to Ride, or even Pandemic (which is cooperative play, and very rarely results in any one person getting pissed off or feeling like a loser).

Comment: Re:How about Parallel Query Execution? (Score 2) 162

by KingSkippus (#47017233) Attached to: New PostgreSQL Guns For NoSQL Market

I like the way the linked page uses Web 2.0 when it means scalability.

Great job with the buzzwords.

You know, I was just going to let this go, chalked up as random Internet stranger being an asshat, but seriously. Are you SO bored or jealous of other people's achievements that you have nothing better to do than to sit around and nitpick the friggin' ad copy of a marketing page that was undoubtedly written not just for people who want to know the technical specifications of the product, but common usage applications for it also? What you're calling a "buzzword" is information that business wonks need to know when faced with the question, "Will this solve my problem/fulfill my needs?"

When you develop your own database system, you can write your own ad copy to say whatever you want it to. Or if you prefer, apply for a job at Postgres as their chief marketing guru, and if they're dumb enough to hire you, you can write its ad copy to be purely technical-oriented until the product is completely irrelevant in an actual production environment. ("Now for OS/2 Warp and BeOS!") Otherwise, forgive me if I don't put much weight into your opinion on the matter over the people who have written a kick-ass enterprise-quality system that is pretty much given away for free.

Seriously, what exactly are you implying by your comment, that PostgreSQL isn't a capable database system? That they just use buzzwords instead of actual technical brainpower and muscle as the basis of their software? Because I can tell you that to people who architect, engineer, administer, and eat database systems for breakfast, you are sadly off-base here, and this comment comes off as extremely pompous and ignorant.

Comment: Re:A few questions (Score 1) 1374

by KingSkippus (#46983843) Attached to: "Smart" Gun Seller Gets the Wrong Kind of Online Attention

...you don't know what you're talking about.

As long as you insist this, then I am completely unmotivated to continue any argument with you, as you have already made up your mind that anyone with a contrary opinion "doesn't know what they're talking about."

That's why we fight for every inch.

That's why ultimately you will lose this battle, because you have exactly zero interest in passing reasonable gun laws based on facts or data. You activities are based solely on a zealous ideological bent driven by beliefs that you cannot back up.

The only way my guns pose any threat to you are if you pose a threat to the safety of my family or if you're the poor dumb slob sent to try to take them from me.

...Says every dumbass whose kid or other innocent victims of deliberate or accidental gun violence ends up dead because "I had no idea that this could ever happen to my family!" Read up on the Sandy Hook massacre. Nancy Lanza thought the same thing. Or just open up your local paper and read about the latest four-year-old kid whose twit of a parent said exactly this before the ensuing tragedy.

Comment: Re:A few questions (Score 1) 1374

by KingSkippus (#46928441) Attached to: "Smart" Gun Seller Gets the Wrong Kind of Online Attention

You're not talking about "military-grade" anything, you're talking about "scary looking" guns.

No, I'm not. I'm referring to weapons that meet certain criteria such as maximum rate of fire, maximum accurate firing range, muzzle velocity, etc. "Scary looking" doesn't have a damn thing to do with the weapons I'm referring to. Do you honestly think that the only reason I have an issue with people getting their hands on, for example, a Bushmaster XM15-E2S (the weapon used by Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School), is because it's "scary looking"?

This is why we need a policy that doesn't depend on cosmetic appearance or that consists just of a list of weapons, but one that specifies objective measures of destructive capability.

We have sitting members of congress who in fact do want to remove all firearms from civilian hands...

So? We also have sitting members of Congress who want to repeal Social Security. We have sitting members of Congress who want to do away with the capital gains tax entirely, which would basically reduce the tax on super wealthy people to zero. We have sitting members of Congress who want to do away with minimum wage laws. Hell, we probably have sitting members of Congress who would love to repeal the 13th Amendment and re-institute slavery, though hopefully most of them who want that are smart enough to keep their damned mouths shut. I'm not particularly worried about these things happening because it doesn't take just one, a few, or even a lot of sitting members of Congress to get a law passed, it takes a majority. (Or as is the case on any bill that's even a little bit controversial and many that aren't today, a supermajority.)

The fact is that Congress will never be able to "remove all firearms from civilian hands" without a complete repeal of the Second Amendment. And if those sitting members are able to eventually get enough support behind them to pass a repeal in 2/3 of BOTH houses of Congress and 3/4 of all of the states, then who the hell are you to dictate that it shouldn't happen? Or do you only believe in the Constitution when it's personally convenient to you?

Of course, you and I both know that this argument is just a shitty "slippery slope" argument that will never actually come to pass. I heard the same argument in 1994 when Congress passed the Assault Weapons Ban, and of course, it never came to pass then, either. No one ever showed up to confiscate all of your guns then, did they?

...coincidentally these are the same members of congress who push bullshit like "universal background checks", which are backdoor registration and semi-automatic gun bans.

...Except that it's not. You say this like universal background checks is this weird unsupported idea that only a few kooks in Congress want to see happen. At one point, polls showed that over 90% of Americans supported this law. Now that it's out of the public eye, the number has gone down, but it's still in the high 80s, something like 87% today.

The only people who DON'T support universal background checks are pretty much paranoid idiots who think that the gub'ment's out to get them and that they need semi-automatic weapons to defend themselves against some imagined tyranny.

What's that, you don't think you fit that description? Then tell me, why do you not want your weapons tracked? Are you really so grossly irresponsible with them that you're genuinely afraid that you'll lose them or they'll be stolen and used in crimes? Do you plan to use them in crimes yourself? Why do you feel like you need a semi-automatic weapon so badly that it's worth, for example, 20 children in Connecticut being mowed down? I don't have any semi-automatic weapons; in fact, I don't even own a gun, and somehow I've managed to get through several decades of existence without ever once thinking, "Wow, this is a situation in which having a semi-automatic weapon sure would be warranted!"

Comment: A few questions (Score 2) 1374

by KingSkippus (#46897231) Attached to: "Smart" Gun Seller Gets the Wrong Kind of Online Attention

I'm curious, how did you know that the guns that they used were illegally purchased? Were the assailants both caught and convinced of illegal possession of firearms? Did you manage to look at and remember the serial numbers or something? This just smacks highly of a hypothetical anecdote; not that you weren't robbed, but that your assertion relating this to gun control holds any water.

That aside, how exactly how those weapons were procured? Were they stolen? If so, from whom? Wouldn't it have been nice if there were some law mandating that the person from whom the guns were stolen had to keep them stored safely so that maybe they wouldn't have been stolen? Wouldn't it be nice if the guns were registered so that when the police recovered them, they could track them back to the original owner and possibly take away his permit so that he doesn't let even more guns flow into the hands of assailants? Would it be nice to have a law mandating that all gun owners prove their proficiency in the safety and use of firearms, like a driver license but for gun owners, so that maybe the original owner would have been more responsible?

Or maybe the guns were bought at a gun show, where in many places you can buy firearms without so much as even showing an ID. CNN recently did a segment in which they sent a reporter out to some gun shows to do precisely that, and he was extremely successful. Wouldn't it be nice if we had universal background checks to makes sure that even when Bob sells a gun to Steve, we have some assurance that Steve hasn't recently been convicted of mugging BronsCon in a parking lot? Or to keep Steve from just going to a gun show and buying military-grade weaponry?

Even most liberals I know aren't against "legal gun ownership." All we want are some common sense laws to ensure that the people who are buying guns are mentally competent and aren't violent criminals, that people who own guns are proficient in their safety and use, and that when guns are used for crimes, they can be tracked back to find out where they're coming from so that, hopefully, the flow of guns into the hands of lawbreakers can be stopped. If you really are a responsible gun owner, you should support these laws too.

When right-wing gun nuts and the NRA oppose things like universal background checks, training and/or testing to obtain a license, registration, and bans on military-grade weaponry, it makes people like me EXTREMELY skeptical that all you're interested in is being able to protect yourself. None of those laws would prevent you from doing so, unless you're not mentally competent, a convicted criminal, grossly irresponsible, or you think you might have reason to shoot up an elementary school someday. And if that's the case, to be blunt, yeah, I don't think you should be able to own guns.

And please, don't start with the "first step to confiscation" bullshit. We require no less to legally drive an automobile; in fact, there are thousands more regulations on that activity. Yet somehow for more than a century, we've managed to keep the government from confiscating all of our cars, go figure.

Comment: Re:A firearm that depends on a battery? (Score 1) 1374

by KingSkippus (#46897171) Attached to: "Smart" Gun Seller Gets the Wrong Kind of Online Attention

That's why you teach your children how to use guns at a young enough age that they understand it isn't a toy and they don't touch it.

Right, and we all know that kids never do anything stupid or immature, especially at a young age. Everyone knows that the penalty for young children being childish instead of acting like miniature perfect adults, paragons of responsibility who always make the right choice, should be death. If more people would just teach their children at a young enough age that cars aren't toys, we could start issuing driver licenses to six-year-olds.

Comment: DING DING DING!!! (Score 5, Insightful) 572

You, sir (or ma'am), are doing it right. This is precisely the thing that gets me so mad at companies today, that they view these issues as an IT problem, not an HR problem. So they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars (sometimes millions) in hardware, software, salaries, support contracts, and lost time when shit breaks, just so that management 1) won't have to do their jobs--you know, managing people, and 2) will have plausible deniability when someone does do something stupid. ("It's not my fault for not making sure my workers were working on what they were supposed to and not violating company policy; IT should have blocked that site!!!")

It's refreshing to see someone who actually gets where company policies should actually be enforced and where responsibility really ought to lie when there are gaps. Thank you!

Comment: SSL Interception (Score 5, Interesting) 572

Yes, it's actually extremely common. Google "SSL Interception", as that's the name of the feature that is advertised on hardware/software that performs this function.

This is why I never browse private web sites on work hardware. You simply do not know how they've mangled the machine, what all it is revealing or to whom. (That's right, most large companies actually outsource security, so all of your private account numbers and passwords are going to third parties that you don't know and never will, third parties who have been indemnified and are completely immune to any kind of action or recourse from you if they screw up.) If I want to browse the web, I use a VPN connection to my house and my own personal laptop. I don't use my work smartphone for Facebook or personal email, I have my own personal phone using my own provider. When I'm working from home and VPNed into the office, I don't use my personal workstation for any work stuff, except as a VirtualBox host for a work VM, which my company has altered through group policy and direct installation of software to be configured how they want.

It's a shame that in today's work environment we have to worry about such things, but if you think the NSA is bad about spying on you, it's small potatoes compared to what your own company does. Never trust your company to just be innocently looking for malware or other intrusion detection means. Never install any software or services on your personal equipment from your company, no matter how much more convenient it will make your life. (This includes, for example, accepting elevated permissions to connect to your work email on your personal phone.) Always assume that they're watching you, looking for anything that can be used to fire you, cancel your severance, or extort whatever they want from you, whether you're just a paean on the low rung of the corporate ladder or the CEO.

I've worked very closely with both the network and security people in a large multinational corporation, and I've seen firsthand the kinds of things they do. It ain't pretty. I've seen people leave because they have moral qualms with the kind of monitoring that goes on, and people screwed because something innocent that everyone does was turned into a major issue. I cannot emphasize this enough; never, ever, ever mix your personal life with your work life, especially when it comes to communications and technology.

"The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy." -- Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards