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Twitter

SeaWorld and Others Discover That a Hashtag Can Become a Bashtag 124

Posted by samzenpus
from the getting-hit-with-your-own-stick dept.
HughPickens.com writes Alison Griswold writes that in an effort to improve its tanking image, SeaWorld launched a new advertising campaign this week to educate the public about its "leadership in the care of killer whales" and other work to protect whales in captivity and in the wild. As part of that head-on initiative, someone at SeaWorld decided to invite Twitter users to pose their questions to the company directly using the hashtag #AskSeaWorld. That was not a good idea as twitter users bashed Sea World relentlessly.. "As easy as it is to make fun of SeaWorld here, the real question is why any company still thinks hosting an open Twitter forum could be good for public relations," writes Griswold. "So maybe SeaWorld's social and PR folks just really have no idea what they're doing. Even so, you'd think they'd have learned from the corporate failures before them."

Let's review some of the times this has backfired, starting with the infamous McDonald's #McDStories Twitter campaign of January 2012. Rather than prompting customers to share their heart-warming McDonald's anecdotes, the hashtag gave critics a highly visible forum to share their top McDonald's horror stories. MacDonalds pulled the campaign within two hours but they discovered that crowd-sourced campaigns are hard to control. Three years later the #McDStories hashtag is still gathering comments. "Twitter Q&As are a terrible idea.," concludes Griswold. "A well-meaning hashtag gives critics an easy way to assemble and voice their complaints in a public forum. Why companies still try them is a great mystery. Maybe they'll all finally learn from SeaWorld and give this one horrible PR trick up for good."
Programming

No, It's Not Always Quicker To Do Things In Memory 486

Posted by Soulskill
from the performance-that-fails-to-perform dept.
itwbennett writes: It's a commonly held belief among software developers that avoiding disk access in favor of doing as much work as possible in-memory will results in shorter runtimes. To test this assumption, researchers from the University of Calgary and the University of British Columbia compared the efficiency of alternative ways to create a 1MB string and write it to disk. The results consistently found that doing most of the work in-memory to minimize disk access was significantly slower than just writing out to disk repeatedly (PDF).
Displays

Valve's SteamVR: Solves Big Problems, Raises Bigger Questions 124

Posted by Soulskill
from the like-why-do-i-need-three-dimensions-of-candy-crush dept.
An anonymous reader writes: When Valve debuted its SteamVR headset recently, it came as somewhat of a surprise — it certainly hasn't gotten the same level of hype as the Oculus Rift. But people who got to try out the new headset almost universally impressed with the quality of the hardware and software. Eurogamer has an article about the device expressing both astonishment at how far the technology has come in three short years, as well as skepticism that we'll find anything revolutionary to do with it. Quoting: "R demands a paradigm shift in the thinking of game designers and artists about how they build virtual space and how players should interact with it. We're only at the very beginning of this journey now. ... but this process will likely take years, and at the end of it the games won't resemble those we're currently used to. In short, they won't be Half-Life 3."

The author thinks simulation games — driving, piloting, and space combat — will be the core of the first wave, and other genres will probably have to wait for the lessons learned making sims good. He adds, "...the practical challenges are great, too — not least in persuading players to clear enough space in their homes to use this device properly, and the potential for social stigma to attach to the goofy-looking headsets and the players' withdrawal into entirely private experiences. I still think that these present major obstacles to the widespread adoption of VR, which even more practical and commercially realistic offerings like Morpheus will struggle against."
Youtube

YouTube Video of Racist Chant Results In Fraternity Closure 606

Posted by samzenpus
from the watch-what-you-say dept.
HughPickens.com writes The NYT reports that after a video was posted on YouTube that appeared to show members of the members Sigma Alpha Epsilon at University of Oklahoma singing a racist chant, the organization's board decided "with no mental reservation whatsoever that this chapter needed to be closed immediately." The video shows a group of young white people in formal wear riding a bus and singing a chant laden with antiblack slurs and at least one reference to lynching. A grinning young man wearing a tuxedo and standing in the aisle of the bus pumps his fist in the air as he chants, while a young woman seated nearby claps. The chant vows that African-Americans will "never" be allowed to join the campus chapter.

The nine-second video was uploaded to YouTube on Sunday by a student group, the Unheard Movement, that first identified the people in it as members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, although the group did not indicate how it obtained the video or when it was filmed. University president, David Boren, said in an emailed statement that the administration was also investigating the video. "I have just been informed of the video, which purports to show students to show students engaging in a racist chant. We are investigating to determine if the video involved OU students. If O.U. students are involved, this behavior will not be tolerated and will be addressed very quickly," said Boren. "This behavior is reprehensible and contrary to all of our values." Students marched on the campus of the University of Oklahoma on Monday to protest the video.
Censorship

Indian Gov't Wants Worldwide Ban On Rape Documentary, Including Online 356

Posted by timothy
from the oh-that'll-work dept.
An anonymous reader writes India's far-right Hindu Nationalist government headed by Narendra Modi has banned telecasting and viewing online of a BBC documentary on the 2012 Delhi rape which shocked the nation. The documentary consists interviews of the rapist Mukesh Singh, his lawyers and the victim's parents seems to expose the male dominant nature of Indian society. Indian government is now attempting to ban the documentary worldwide. Critics of the Indian government's action has accused it of not addressing issues women face and instead trying to hide the dirty secrets of its culture from the world. Some Indian websites have also reported that the views expressed by the rapist are echoed by policemen, lawyers and politicians of the nation. So far the government's attempt to ban the video online is with mixed success.
Cellphones

Samsung Officially Unpacks Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge At MWC 235

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-it-out dept.
MojoKid writes Today, at Mobile World Congress, Samsung took the veil off of its much-anticipated Galaxy S6, and also the Galaxy S6 edge. As has been heavily rumored, the S6 foregoes the plastic shell of its predecessor and integrates metal and glass instead, resulting in a far more premium feel, a thickness of 6.8mm, and a weight of 138g on the normal S6 and 132g on the edge. Samsung made it a point to mention that the metal it uses in the S6 is 50% stronger than other smartphones- a Apple bendgate jab, perhaps? Both the S6 and S6 edge share the same hardware, which includes a 5.1-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display. That gives us a resolution of 2560x1440, and a high pixel density of 577 ppi. The new phones also include an octa-core processor (2.1GHz quad + 1.5GHz quad), 3GB of DDR4 memory, and LTE cat 6 (300/50Mbps) support. Also of note is the phone's rear 16 megapixel f/1.9 camera, which Samsung says will launch in less than a second (0.6 seconds, to be exact). The front camera is no slouch either, also boasting an aperture of f/1.9, and coming in at 5 megapixels. The company says that the phone can add 4 hours of battery-life after a mere 10 minutes of charging, and when compared to the iPhone, it charges up to full in half the time. The S6 also has built-in wireless charging as well.

Comment: UHD/4K is useless. (Score 1) 330

by _Shorty-dammit (#49042289) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Affordable Large HD/UHD/4K "Stupid" Screens?

http://isthisretina.com/ will or should prove to you that there is no such thing as affordable UHD/4K. You need a screen way too big, and/or you have to sit way too close, to make anything over standard HD worthwhile. $85,000 for a 120" TV that you have to sit 8' from does not make much sense to me. If it makes sense to you, good for you. ;)

Google

Google Thinks the Insurance Industry May Be Ripe For Disruption 238

Posted by Soulskill
from the think-twice-about-googling-your-symptoms dept.
HughPickens.com writes: The insurance industry is a fat target — there's were about $481 billion in premiums in 2013, and agents' commissions of about $50 billion. Now Conor Dougherty writes in the NYT that the boring but lucrative trade has been attracting big names like Google, which has formed a partnership with Comparenow, an American auto insurance comparison site that will give Google access to insurers in Comparenow's network. "A lot of people are waking up to the fact that it's a massive industry, it's old-fashioned, they still use human agents and the commissions are pretty big," says Jennifer Fitzgerald. It may seem like an odd match for Google, whose projects include driverless cars, delivery drones and a pill to detect cancer, but the key to insurance is having lots of data about people's backgrounds and habits, which is perhaps the company's greatest strength. "They have a ton of data on where people drive, how people drive," says Jon McNeill. "It's the holy grail of being able to price auto insurance correctly."

People in the industry and Silicon Valley say it is only a matter of time before online agencies attack the armies of intermediaries that are the backbone of the trade, and Google could present formidable competition for other insurance sellers. As many as two-thirds of insurance customers say they would consider purchasing insurance products from organizations other than insurers, including 23 percent who would consider buying from online service providers such as Google and Amazon. Google Compare auto insurance site has already been operating in Britain for two years as a search engine for auto insurance prices.
Science

Science Cannot Prove the Existence of God 755

Posted by Soulskill
from the let's-argue dept.
StartsWithABang writes: This past weekend, Eric Metaxas lit up the world with his bold article in the Wall Street Journal, Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God. As a scientific counterpoint, this article fully addresses three major points of that "case," including what the condition are that we need for life to arise, how rare (or common) are those conditions, and if we don't find life where we expect it, can we learn anything about God at all?
Government

CIA on UFO Sightings: 'It Was Us' 197

Posted by Soulskill
from the tortured-the-aliens-until-they-left dept.
mrflash818 sends word that the CIA has taken the blame for a majority of early UFO sightings. In a tweet, the agency said, "It was us," and linked to a document summarizing their use of U-2 spy planes from 1954-1974 (PDF). "High-altitude testing of the U-2led to an unexpected side effect — a tremendous increase in reports of unidentified flying objects," the CIA wrote in the document, which it wrote in 1998. "In the mid-1950s, most commercial airliners flew at altitudes between 10,000 and 20,000 feet and [many] military aircraftoperated at altitudes below 40,000 feet. Consequently, once U-2s started flying at altitudes above 60,000 feet, air-traffic controllers began receiving increasing numbers of UFO reports." [T]he CIA cross-referenced UFO sightings to U-2 flight logs. "This enabled the investigators to eliminate the majority of the UFO reports," the CIA wrote, "although they could not reveal to the letter writers the true cause of the UFO sightings."
Businesses

Sony Accused of Pirating Music In "The Interview" 180

Posted by timothy
from the such-a-loaded-term dept.
the simurgh writes As the controversy surrounding Sony's handling of its hack, the movie The Interview and its aftermath continues, a singer is claiming that after failing to reach terms with Sony, the company put her music in the movie anyway. Yoon Mi-rae (real name Natasha Shanta Reid) is a U.S.-born hip hop and R&B singer who currently releases music on the Feel Ghood Music label. Sshe and her label claim that her track we learned that the track 'Pay Day' has been used without permission, legal procedure, or contracts.
Blackberry

Review: The BlackBerry Classic Is One of the Best Phones of 2009 132

Posted by samzenpus
from the if-it-aint-broke dept.
Molly McHugh writes When Apple launched the iPhone in 2007, and I owned a BlackBerry Curve. To me, my BlackBerry was close to being the absolute perfect smartphone. Today, BlackBerry revealed the Classic, a phone that is designed to make me—and everyone who owned a BlackBerry before the touchscreen revolution—remember how much we loved them.

"Dump the condiments. If we are to be eaten, we don't need to taste good." -- "Visionaries" cartoon

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