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TiVo's Latest Offering Detects and Skips Ads, Adds 4K Capability 6

As described by The Verge, the newest generation of TiVo is in some ways a step backward: it comes with fewer tuners than some earlier models, and less storage as well. However, two big features that distinguish the company's new Bolt DVR may entice users anyhow: it adds 4K recording, and (probably of use to more people, given the scarcity of 4K content, not to mention its file size) also can recognize and skip commercials, a feature that users have sorely missed as a mainstream feature in standalone DVRs for quite a while. (And it's possible that broadcasters will come up with a way to kill the commercial-skip function as they did with Dish's AutoHop.)

Google Lets Advertisers Target By (Anonymized) Customer Data 22

An anonymous reader writes: Google's new advertising product, called Customer Match, lets advertisers upload their customer and promotional email address lists into AdWords. The new targeting capability extends beyond search to include both YouTube Trueview ads and the newly launched native ads in Gmail. Customer Match marks the first time Google has allowed advertisers to target ads against customer-owned data in Adwords. Google matches the email addresses against those of signed-in users on Google. Individual addresses are hashed and are supposedly anonymized. Advertisers will be able to set bids and create ads specifically geared to audiences built from their email lists. This new functionality seems to make de-anonymization of google's supposedly proprietary customer data just a hop, skip and jump away. If you can specify the list of addresses that get served an ad, and the criteria like what search terms will trigger that ad, you can detect if and when your target searches for specific terms. For example, create an email list that contains your target and 100 invalid email addresses that no one uses (just in case google gets wise to single-entry email lists). Repeat as necessary for as many keywords and as many email addresses that you wish to monitor.

Comment Re:does anybody do proofreading here? (Score 2) 169

Honestly I suspect a lot of nerds fantasized about doing things to their classmates of a violent nature. This subculture exists in-part because many of those who joined it were ostracized from others, and school as an artificial construct tends to force people that otherwise wouldn't associate to have to associate.

We'll probably never learn much about this case of any real meaning, but that the conspirators supposedly had a list, and that list as-reported contained the names of other students specifically, leads me to believe that the conspirators felt that they had been done injustice by these other students and that they felt they had no recourse beyond such a violent act. It could also be that there was never any serious intention to actually pull-off a spree killing, and that fantasizing about doing it was a way of blowing-off steam about how they felt.

My guess as to why they haven't been charged yet is that they're in that as minors without ready access to the implements needed to actually carry-out such a shooting it's difficult to know if there actually is anything to charge them with. Conspiracy generally requires an ability to carry out the ends of the conspiracy. People want to do harm to others, usually specific people and specific others, all of the time, but that doesn't mean that they're guilty of a crime because of a want.

Comment Re:my credit union calls me in seconds. Cashiers s (Score 1) 254

Obviously. On the other hand, if I have a rather long history of auto part and auto-services transactions, and if the transaction is for $400 worth of tires, rather than $2000 worth of wheels plus tires, one would think that the likelihood of it being a fraudulent transaction is very small.

Comment Re:About damn time (Score 1) 78

To underestimate how much automated trucks will inside out the industry is not to really understand it. This will wildy reduce accidents. The number of people injured by trains is tiny compared to the 80-100k per year with trucks (about 4-5k per year).

Automating trucks is great in theory: the difficulty is implementing it in practice. That's why I brought up the train example: automating freight trains is an easier task, by several orders of magnitude, and yet it hasn't been done yet. We still keep a driver on.

Couple of things...

Depending on who owns the rail infrastructure it might be difficult to get the owner to actually make the improvements that are necessary to leave the current paradigm for an autonomous one. That means that there really could be times when something has to be done manually on the rail line, or when the experienced engineer needs to change the speed or other behavior of the train to account for local conditions.

Trains, believe it or not, are allowed to operate with severe deficiencies in key systems, like brakes. That's right, there are instances when of those four locomotives pulling the train, two of them have full brake failures. I don't know what the exact ratio is, but it's rather unsettling given the mass involved, that they do not have to be in tip-top shape.

There are collisions that do not mandate that a train stop. If a train hits animal life or debris on the tracks there isn't necessarily a need to stop the train. If a train hits a person or a car or some other condition there might be a good reason to stop the train. It may be difficult to tell, in a simple automated way, what the train has struck given the mass difference of the train versus anything that it strikes short of another train.

Per given unit of freight mass being delivered, having an engineer or two on-board is still not very expensive. Factor the rest of the considerations listed and for the moment it makes sense to keep an engineer or crew onboard. Fix those, and it might be cost-effective to be automated.


4 Calif. Students Arrested For Alleged Mass-Killing Plot 169

The New York Times reports that four high school students in the small California town of Tuolumne, about 120 miles east of San Francisco, have been arrested, but not yet charged, for planning an attack on their school, Summerville High School. According to the Times, three of the four were overheard discussing this plot, and a fourth conspirator was later identified. Their goal, according to Toulumne sheriff James Mele, was "to shoot and kill as many people as possible at the campus"; they had not however been able yet to obtain the weapons they wanted to carry out the attack. From NBC News' version of the story: "Detectives located evidence verifying a plot to shoot staff and students at Summerville High School," Mele said. "The suspects' plan was very detailed in nature and included names of would-be victims, locations and the methods in which the plan was to be carried out."

Comment Re:Vitality is defined by users, not developers. (Score 1) 102

Many desktops, like Motif, took weeks to learn in comparison.

What? Motif didn't have a desktop. It only had a window manager and a session manager, and some libraries. Did you mean CDE? That was Motif-based. However, it only took a few minutes to learn, because it was very simple to use. It included a dock and a file manager.

SCO and Caldera both shipped Motif-based desktops, but neither one was part of Motif. I don't know if they have any relation, or not.

Comment Re:Why all the desktop stuff? (Score 1) 102

Solaris had been running on x86 since about 1990.

Solaris for x86 was a pathetic joke, Linux was already becoming a thing (and you could get Motif for it) and anyone who spent money on Solaris for x86 was making a grave mistake as hardware support was never any better than piss-poor.

Comment Re:Expect drama (Score 1) 115

Sheesh. A Social Justice Warrior is someone who fights for social justice. It's really not that complicated.

The people using SJW as a pejorative are not, as far as I can tell, against social justice. They just a) have a different idea of what it is and b) relentlessly mock and troll anyone with whom they disagree. They seem to be mostly the same crowd that called any attempt to move society forward "politically correct" in the last decade. Now instead of PC it's SJW. A little catchier, but it's hard to make traction with society when one names one's enemies Social Justice Warrior. It implies that one is fighting against social justice, which is not a good way to make friends and influence people.

Comment Re: The new normal for Android (Score 1) 127

Boy, anyone who has hung around Mac-oriented Forums knows what a larf-riot THAT comment is! Apple Users are some of the pickiest mofos you'll EVER see!

Nonsense. They will cry about things they don't like, like the Macintosh developers of old complaining about every little change Apple made, but they won't actually do something about it and leave the platform. They're not picky at all, they're just whiny.

Meh, I will admit I never was interested enough to really know what Cydia was, and wasn't.

But you were happy to present incorrect information about it as if you knew what you were talking about anyway. One button 4 life!

In space, no one can hear you fart.