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Comment: Off in the weeds in two sentences... (Score 1) 57

by Xaroth (#37840744) Attached to: Rosette Wins Loebner Prize 2011

Rosette: Good evening. My name is Rosette. What is your name?
You: None of your business.
Rosette: OK. We will remain formal.
You: You're damn straight we will.
Rosette: I like card games, but never for money.
You: You only play strip poker, eh?
Rosette: I like board games, and played a lot as a child. I haven't that much time these days.

Alternately - and here's a hint, chatbot devs - my favorite test for chatbots is to simply echo back whatever they say to me. Rosette takes a while to start to get the nonsensical sentences going, but that's because almost every sentence in the DB seems to be pre-formed. Eliza is still the best when this technique is used, incidentally. ;)

Any chatbot worth its salt should get annoyed really quickly and terminate the conversation when this situation is detected if it's to be believable, not ramble on into gibberish or simply spout random lines from its DB.

Government

Judge Rules That Police Can Bar High I.Q. Scores 260

Posted by timothy
from the breaking-the-curve dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A Federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a man who was barred from the New London police force because he scored too high on an intelligence test. Judge Dorsey ruled that Mr. Jordan was not denied equal protection because the city of New London applied the same standard to everyone: anyone who scored too high was rejected." Update: 04/16 22:01 GMT by T : Mea culpa. This story slipped through; consider it a time-machine / late-April Fool's day joke, please.
Chrome

Tcl Announces NaTcl: Native Client Tcl 124

Posted by timothy
from the wait-until-it-includes-a-browser dept.
Minix writes "Tcl has announced the first scripting language to be supported by NaCl (Google's native client,) giving Tcl programs direct access to Chrome's DOM and marking the first such scripting language alternative to JavaScript. A demonstration of direct Tcl access to HTML5's Canvas is given. A variant of Tk for Native Client will soon follow. Web applications can right now be written completely in Tcl, as the original HTML specifications intended :)"
Google

Google To Push WebM With IE9, Safari Plugins 413

Posted by timothy
from the first-one's-free dept.
surveyork writes with this "new chapter in the browser wars: 'Google in a defense of its decision to pull H.264 from Chrome's HTML5 revealed that it will put out WebM plugins for Internet Explorer 9 and Safari. Expecting no official support from Apple or Microsoft, Google plans to develop extensions that would load its self-owned video codec. No timetable was given.' So Google gets started with their plan for world-wide WebM domination. They'll provide WebM plugins for the browsers of the H.264-only league, so in practice, all major browsers will have WebM support — one way or the other. Machiavellian move?"

Comment: Re:Artificial Brains? (Score 1) 320

by Xaroth (#34437938) Attached to: A Mind Made From Memristors

From the "soul" vs "mechanical consciousness" standpoint, what you'll probably want to use for the discussion is the notion of a "Philosophical Zombie". There's a lot of existing philosophical arguments about this sort of conundrum, but to whet the collective appetite, the short version is this:

Imagine a ( memristor brain | android | doppleganger ) which has no soul *or* consciousness, but which reacts to all stimuli exactly the same as a real human. Kick it in the shin, it hops about cursing at the pain even though it can't "feel" anything. Show it a scary movie, it complains about nightmares the next day. Ask it if it has a consciousness, and it'll say 'yes', even though it only does so because it is ( programmed | emergently behaving | magically enchanted ) to do so in response to that stimulus. I'm sure you get the idea. Such an object we'll call a philosophical zombie for the sake of discussion.

Now, given one of these "p-zombies", how should you treat it? Does it have the same rights as a human, even though it isn't one? If you injure it or cause it to cease functioning, should you be treated as though you maimed or killed a human? If everything about you and your memories were transitioned into one of these as the basis for its behavior, does it become you, your twin, or just an overgrown Teddy Ruxpin?

Have fun hashing it out in the /. comments, or just wikiwalking your way through the associated corpus of literature!

Comment: Re:As a film editor (Score 0) 295

by Xaroth (#34264614) Attached to: Long Takes In the Movies, Antidote To CGI?

Don't know why, but at first, I misread:

...and that hurts the film just as much as if someone threw in a fury of cuts just to make it exciting.

as:

...and that hurts the film just as much as if someone threw in a fury of cats just to make it exciting.

I thought "that's strange... I've never seen a film do that before," but upon reflection I'm now convinced that this is a technique which should be used in more films.

United Kingdom

All Your Stonehenge Photos Are Belong To England 347

Posted by samzenpus
from the we'll-take-that dept.
An anonymous reader writes "English Heritage, the organization that runs and manages various historical sites in the UK, such as Stonehenge, has apparently sent letters to various photo sharing and stock photo sites claiming that any photo of Stonehenge that is being sold violates its rights, and only English Heritage can get commercial benefit from such photos. In fact, they're asking for all money made from such photos, stating: 'all commercial interest to sell images must be directed to English Heritage.' As one recipient noted, this seems odd, given that English Heritage has only managed Stonehenge 'for 27 of the monument's 4,500 year old history.'"

Comment: Re:Missing some key information, I think (Score 5, Insightful) 386

by Xaroth (#33897222) Attached to: Devs Grapple With 100+ Versions of Android

That's exactly my point. One specific example I remember from a while back had to do with telling a list view to redraw itself. For most devices, it would work without difficulty. On a certain set of devices, the exact same call would happily return without actually updating the listview, because the handset manufacturer and/or carrier thought they knew better and tinkered with the underlying functionality of the OS and subsequently broke something.

That sort of fragmentation - a million tiny undocumented forks - can't be gracefully handled by abstractions, capability querying, or API versioning. And the only way to discover that this sort of problem will occur is to actually run the software on the afflicted devices to see what breaks. *That* sort of problem is what TweetDeck is referring to when they say "more than a hundred different versions of Android", and is the sort of problem that causes people to complain about Android fragmentation.

Comment: Missing some key information, I think (Score 5, Insightful) 386

by Xaroth (#33896128) Attached to: Devs Grapple With 100+ Versions of Android

Many of the highly modded posts right now seem to be missing some key information about exactly how Android is fragmented. It's not just the hardware - that can usually, but not always, be worked around in the ways they suggest. But it's also the software - every carrier and handset manufacturer likes to put their own little spin on the underlying software, and this causes more problems than one might expect.

You get scenarios where some functionality is partially implemented or simply broken on some devices but not others, so you can't rely on simply querying to see if that functionality is available. The OS will happily tell you it's working, but it won't, so you have to find ways to work around it and/or implement long lists of special cases in the code. On some devices, the way that some input elements are displayed will have forced styling that's inconsistent with the rest of the platform, which you won't learn about until you've actually tried it on that device and seen your layout get destroyed. The autocomplete functionality or keyboard input method can vary substantially from device to device, potentially impacting how one's UI flows work. The list goes on.

Limiting supported major OS versions and querying for hardware only solves part of the fragmentation problem. The fact that most every device has its own little fork of Android is more what causes the QA challenge. Since - generally speaking - one doesn't have these kinds of problems for mainstream desktop OS's, that's why people keep bringing up fragmentation of the Android platform as a major sticking point.

Comment: Actually Answering the Question? (Score 1) 417

by Xaroth (#33476238) Attached to: Software (and Appropriate Input Device) For a Toddler?

I think my favorite thing about asking parenting questions on the internet is the number of "holier than thou" answers you'll get in response. Actually, scratch that - if you ask a straightforward, scope-limited parenting question specific to your needs and situation anywhere in the world and you'll get an answer that basically boils down to "you're doing it wrong." It's all part of the experience, so I've learned to chuckle at the cognitive disconnect that comes from asking about the right age to introduce popcorn and getting a lecture on the best way to wring out dirty rags in return.

Anyway, to actually answer your question, I believe you're looking for this:
    http://www.amazon.com/Crayola-Keyboard-Mouse-Pad-Bundle/dp/B001KVNRXU

As for software, I've found that creating a password-protected guest account on the machine with a limited number of pre-screened options to be best. Individual hyperlinks to YouTube videos on subjects your child enjoys (for us, it's Pocoyo videos, parrots, and babies laughing) on the desktop largely do the trick, along with links to kid-friendly sites ( http://pbskids.org/ , http://www.nickjr.com/kids-games/ being two examples, depending on your tolerance for advertising ). Others have mentioned games like minesweeper, solitaire (even if they don't grasp the actual game itself), or even Portal. These are all good choices. I'm sure you'll know of some more options based on what your child enjoys.

Best of luck!

Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him. - Fyodor Dostoevski

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