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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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Google

FTC: Google Altered Search Results For Profit 231

Posted by Soulskill
from the shareholder-value dept.
mi writes: We've always suspected that Google might tweak its search algorithms to gain an advantage over its rivals — and, according to an FTC investigation inadvertently shared with the Wall Street Journal, it did. Quoting: "In a lengthy investigation, staffers in the FTC's bureau of competition found evidence that Google boosted its own services for shopping, travel and local businesses by altering its ranking criteria and "scraping" content from other sites. It also deliberately demoted rivals. For example, the FTC staff noted that Google presented results from its flight-search tool ahead of other travel sites, even though Google offered fewer flight options. Google's shopping results were ranked above rival comparison-shopping engines, even though users didn't click on them at the same rate, the staff found. Many of the ways Google boosted its own results have not been previously disclosed.
Facebook

Nipples, Terrorism, and Sexual Descriptions - Facebook's List of Banned Content 134

Posted by samzenpus
from the standards-and-practices dept.
Mark Wilson writes Facebook has updated its Community Standards document, outlining the type of content that is not permitted on the social network. When it's not forcing people to reveal their real names, blocking 'offensive' content, or encouraging users to vote, Facebook is often to be found removing content that has been reported for one reason or another. But what's acceptable, and what's not? A little while back, the site revealed a simplified version of its privacy policy, and now the Community Standards document has received the same treatment. Facebook has set out the types of pictures that are permissible, along with specifying guidelines for other content.

Comment: Re:Shows (Score 1) 204

by tverbeek (#49263085) Attached to: Steve Jobs's Big Miss: TV

Subscribing to shows instead of channels was (is?) the iTunes model of selling TV. I don't think the market wants that. (Which is good, because it would it would spell the end of the "sleeper" hit, or most niche programming.) Ye olde radio, traditional basic cable, and the current popularity of streaming music all point to a desire for access to a general mass of content, for people to select from without a whole lot of thought.

In the next several years I think we're going to move to a hybrid subscription-to-channels/libraries model, where people pay a monthly fee to ESPN, HBO, Syfy, WWE, Golf, or some other collection of content that appeals to their interests (much like people used to subscribe to magazines), along with a general service or two like Hulu or Netflix which offers a package of content that roughly corresponds to the old broadcast and basic-cable networks.

Comment: Re:Define "Lackluster" (Score 1) 204

by tverbeek (#49263003) Attached to: Steve Jobs's Big Miss: TV

The AppleTV sat in the corner of Apple Stores for a long time, doing pretty much nothing. I worked at one between "real" jobs about five years ago, and whenever a customer noticed the AppleTV and asked about it, I described it as "Apple best-kept secret". Not that it was a difficult secret to keep, because there was almost nothing to say about it. I don't recall ever selling one. Granted, that was a rather different device from the current streaming box (my other pitch line was "an iPod for your movies"), but it was definitely a "hobby" in the same sense that the IRS defines one: something you do on the side without expecting to make any money from it.

Comment: Ignore the draft (as a concern) (Score 1) 734

by tverbeek (#49192975) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should I Let My Kids Become American Citizens?

Don't factor your son's draft registration into your decision-making. There is absolutely no will in Washington to reinstate the draft, and to do so after so many decades without it would be political suicide. And even if that changes somehow before he ages out of eligibility, a dual-citizen raised and living abroad wouldn't have much trouble getting a deferment (which goes double if we're at war with Belgium or Sweden).

News

Leonard Nimoy Dies At 83 411

Posted by Soulskill
from the rest-in-peace dept.
Esther Schindler writes: According to the NY Times, Leonard Nimoy died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83 years old. He was, and always shall be, our friend. From the article: His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed his death, saying the cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Mr. Nimoy announced last year that he had the disease, which he attributed to years of smoking, a habit he had given up three decades earlier. He had been hospitalized earlier in the week. His artistic pursuits — poetry, photography and music in addition to acting — ranged far beyond the United Federation of Planets, but it was as Mr. Spock that Mr. Nimoy became a folk hero, bringing to life one of the most indelible characters of the last half century: a cerebral, unflappable, pointy-eared Vulcan with a signature salute and blessing: “Live long and prosper” (from the Vulcan “Dif-tor heh smusma”).
Censorship

Google Knocks Explicit Adult Content On Blogger From Public View 285

Posted by timothy
from the start-your-own dept.
Ellie K writes As of 23 March 2015, Google will remove blogs on its Blogger platform that don't conform to its new anti-adult policies. This is an abrupt reversal of policy. Until today, Google allowed "images or videos that contain nudity or sexual activity," and stated that "Censoring this content is contrary to a service that bases itself on freedom of expression." The linked article quotes the message which has been sent to Blogger users thus: (...) In the coming weeks, we'll no longer allow blogs that contain sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video. We'll still allow nudity presented in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts, or presented where there are other substantial benefits to the public from not taking action on the content. The new policy will go into effect on the 23rd of March 2015. After this policy goes into effect, Google will restrict access to any blog identified as being in violation of our revised policy. No content will be deleted, but only blog authors and those with whom they have expressly shared the blog will be able to see the content we've made private.
Robotics

Only Twice Have Nations Banned a Weapon Before It Was Used; They May Do It Again 318

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-skynet-cares-about-international-treaties dept.
Lasrick writes: Seth Baum reports on international efforts to ban 'killer robots' before they are used. China, Israel, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States are apparently developing precursor technology. "Fully autonomous weapons are not unambiguously bad. They can reduce burdens on soldiers. Already, military robots are saving many service members' lives, for example by neutralizing improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan and Iraq. The more capabilities military robots have, the more they can keep soldiers from harm. They may also be able to complete missions that soldiers and non-autonomous weapons cannot." But Baum, who founded the Global Catastrophic Risk Institute, goes on to outline the potential downsides, and there are quite a few.

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