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Comment: Re: GIGO (Score 2) 62

by Rei (#49608161) Attached to: Microsoft's AI Judges Age From Snapshots, With Mixed Results

I agree. Duh, the program is obviously not perfect and screws up sometimes. But I'm amazed by how good it actually is. Even being able to just ballpark it some of the time would be impressive, but the fact that it gets pretty reasonably close most of the time, I find that incredibly impressive.

Someone on my Facebook feed was complaining about how in a washed-out picture of three children the picture guessed only two of them right, but saw one (a young boy) as an adult woman. My response was to crop out just the washed out face, take it out of context, and point out, if you saw this face, not understanding anything about the context, could you guess it? I certainly couldn't have. But that's exactly what the software has to do.

I took a number of pictures of myself in different angles, making different faces, etc, and its range on age guesses was only 3 years. My brother-in-law managed to get a 20-year difference in guesses by making faces, but I couldn't manage it, and neither could most people I know who tried. Again, computationally, it's very impressive.

Comment: Re: Transphobic assholes (Score 1) 141

by Rei (#49607621) Attached to: Statues of Assange, Snowden and Manning Go Up In Berlin

And how exactly do you know what her DNA is? There are XX men and XY women.

And seriously, of all of the stupid measures of who someone is, DNA has to take the cake. "Okay, okay, this Stephen Hawking guy seems to be smart, but that doesn't matter, what does his DNA say? Does his DNA say he's smart? If not then I don't care what he has to say."

Comment: Re: Why is is the material support provision bad? (Score 1) 119

lol. This is an administration that defines the word "militant" as meaning any male that isn't a child or pensioner. "Material support for terrorism" doesn't mean anything at all, given that the last 15 years have shown governments will happily label anything they don't like as terrorism. Bear in mind the primary roadblock that prevents the UN agreeing on a definition of terrorism is western nations (i.e. America's) insistence that people who resist foreign occupation of their countries must be considered terrorists, and Arab nations insistence that they mustn't.

Comment: Re:More like to his own parents (Score 1) 143

Heh. That shows what I get for relying on my memory rather than looking it up again.

I'm particularly embarrassed that I followed a previous poster's lead in mispelling Gary Kildall's name.

Though, as the article you linked explains, Kildall did have a chance to make this deal and blew it, leaving it to Gates to pick up. Had Kildall been a better businessman Microsoft would never have become what it did, regardless of Gates' mom's connections.

Comment: Re:Vacuum robots (Score 1) 44

On the topic of vacuum robots...

Has anyone seen any vacuum robot that integrates with central vacuum? I'd love to have the robot's base station connected with my central vac so when the robot returns to charge the central vac empties the robot and maybe even cleans its filters a little. The combination would be true launch-and-forget ongoing carpet cleaning.

Comment: Re:Chrome - the web browser that's added as bloatw (Score 2) 189

by swillden (#49606081) Attached to: Chrome Passes 25% Market Share, IE and Firefox Slip

I've seen it included with CCleaner and Avast. It's a plague.

You're referring to CCleaner and Avast, I assume? The AV industry is certainly a plague on the world.

Anyway, thanks for the specifics. I found some information that says CCleaner's installer asks if you'd also like to install Chrome -- it isn't bundled; it prompts for an additional download, AFAICT. I don't see anything about Chrome related to Avast other than that Avast has a Chrome extension.

Even assuming those are true, are the any other packages bundling Chrome? Is it just AV vendors? The claim is that it's added to a "lot" of products, and that that explains its growth and its presence on millions of machines. I don't think CCleaner and Avast are enough to move the needle significantly, even if they both always installed Chrome.

Comment: Re:More like to his own parents (Score 1) 143

Maybe. But IBM approached Kindall first. I strongly suspect that if he'd said "Sure! I'll license it to you for $5 per machine", IBM would have done the deal with him. There really weren't any "back room" negotiations required; it was a pretty straightforward deal.

It is perhaps possible that Mary Gates learned that IBM would be interested in a licensing deal, but I'm skeptical that John Opel would even have known that much about the project. IBM was an enormous company and the PC project was a small effort that nearly all of the company thought was irrelevant. It occurs to me that perhaps Mary Gates talked to Opel and found out that he didn't know much about it, and realized that the project didn't have much internal support, and from that deduced that the execs in charge were fighting internal opposition and might see a licensing deal as a way to get to market faster and cheaper before they could get shut down.

But all of that is purely speculation. What is clear is that (a) IBM did approach Kindall first and he ignored them, and (b) an OS licensing deal was good for the PC project. I see nothing to indicate that IBM wouldn't have accepted such an offer from Kindall.

Comment: Re:More like to his own parents (Score 1) 143

You were obviously not there at the time. Bill Gates got rich because IBM signed the daftest contract in computer history from their point of view. Yes: IBM - the company known for hiring the very best in legal expertise signed away their arms and legs

Why? - I would like to know that!

I don't think it's so strange. IBM didn't expect the PC to be a success. It was a niche project pushed by a few execs over the objections of more -- who saw it as undercutting IBM's real business, to whatever degree it was successful -- and ignored by most of the company as irrelevant. Other parts of the company were actively trying to kill the project. The group developing the PC needed an operating system and needed it quickly. They couldn't take the time to build one, assuming they could find the budget, and likewise couldn't pay a lot of cash up front. Licensing an existing OS for a low per-unit cost was an obvious win.

And, of course, by the time it became clear that the PC was a success, it was too late to change OSes, and by then Gates would've been a fool to sell. Besides, the cost to IBM was low and the machines were selling well. As long as IBM was the only company selling PCs, there really was no significant downside to IBM, and IBM was confident in its legal teams' ability to shut down clones... until Compaq performed a successful clean-room reverse engineering of the PC BIOS.

It ultimately boils down to lack of foresight, that the PC would be so important, and that IBM couldn't prevent clones. Without understanding those, IBM had no reason to insist on ownership of the OS.

Comment: Re:More like to his own parents (Score 2) 143

It helped with Billy's mommy was on the IBM's Board of Directors. So he got the sweet deal of licensing his software, instead of selling it outright.

No, Mary Gates was never on IBM's Board of Directors. She was on the United Way board, along with John Opel, then CEO of IBM. This may have helped Gates. Still, I don't see any reason Kindall wouldn't also have been able to get a licensing deal. There's no evidence he tried.

Comment: Re:Another way to bypass it (Score 2) 34

by swillden (#49605257) Attached to: Researcher Bypasses Google Password Alert For Second Time

Nicely done.

I expect this may turn into something of an arms race between phishing page authors and Google. The cleverest phishers may be able to stay consistently ahead of the extension, but I expect that they'll have to work for it... or would if significant numbers of people used the extension. I just checked the Chrome Web Store and so far there have only been 67K downloads. That's something but it's a long, long way from universal coverage.

The positive aspect of that is that as long as usage remains low, it won't make sense for phishers to bother trying to defeat it, which means it will offer good protection to the few who do.

Always try to do things in chronological order; it's less confusing that way.

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