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Comment Have We Lost the War to Quid Pro Quo Complacency? (Score 3) 359

Time and time again I see news articles that seem to herald the idea that users are willing to sacrifice something like privacy for the use of software. Take Facebook for an example. You get a robust and snappy storage and website for communication at the cost of control over your life and privacy. And as I try to explain to people the tradeoffs most of them seem to be complacent. Even I myself use GMail, there's just no better mail service. Even if there were, I'd have to run the server from my home to be sure that I'm in control in it and it's truly free (by your definition). So given that much of the populace isn't even prepared technologically to harness truly free software, don't you think they have slowly accepted the trade offs and that the pros of your arguments -- though sound -- are only possibly realized by those skilled enough to edit source code or host their own mail server from their home?

Comment Companies Selling Actually Free Software? (Score 5, Interesting) 359

I found your piece on selling free software to be pretty logical on paper. However, has it ever worked in the wild? Can you name companies or revenues that currently operate on this idea (and I'm not talking about services or support of the software)? I simply can't come up with a widely used monetized piece of software licensed under the GNU GPL whereby the original software was sold at a single price and shipped with the source code -- free for the original purchaser to distribute by the license's clauses. Can you list any revenue generation from that? I must admit I'm not exactly enamored with paying for free software (as in your definition of free) before it's written yet I cannot think of any other way this would fairly compensate the developer.

Comment Re:Cortana? (Score 1) 44

The nature of mobile devices is that the data connection is of varying quality and reliability, and in some places either slow, intermittent, or non-existent. Relying on apps in the cloud means that your device is fundamentally a brick whenever you go into an underpass or a basement or into mountains and forests. Of course, if you live your whole life in urban areas this may not matter, but for many people it does. Not that this is a criticism of Cortana, or of Microsoft. Google's and Apple's voice services are cloud-backed as well. But for 'the network is the computer' to work, the network has to be ubiquitous and immanent, and for mobile devices it isn't.

Comment Re:I've said it before (Score 1) 391

and I'll say it again - technology INCREASES jobs, never decreases it - over the long term.

If robots don't cause total human working hours to decline, then what the fuck good are they?

In this instance it's not about reducing human working hours, it's about increasing productivity. Factories might increase productivity exponentially with robots and yet still require about the same number of staff either working around the edges where robots aren't capable or managing the robots themselves. But the point is that you're producing much more with about the same labour cost.

Comment Re:Price is a second order function (Score 1) 292

I think the best solution has been around for a hundred years, albeit in a children's toy, how about we drive around in life sized slot cars? Remove the need for batteries - or at least have a very small one to allow entry into private property etc. It would also allow power to be supplied directly from the grid, and remove the need for toxic batteries. It would probably work considering very few people drive off road, and will autonomous cars would make a lot of sense, would also enable better navigation.

Comment Re:Kids don't understand sparse arrays (Score 1) 128

What happens to your 'standard' linked lists solution when you have ten values scattered over an array which is 1000! (factorial 1000) in each dimension? For most genuinely sparse arrays, a hashmap is a better approximation of an efficient implementation. Of course, there will be corner cases where you want to do something different, but linked lists strike me as an extremely poor solution except in arrays where more than about 10% of cells have data.

Comment Re:TRWTF: List is used instead of Map (Score 1) 128

I should have read the linked questions before replying...

Stupid, stupid, STUPID! Why have numRows and numCols in a sparse array? Things with unnecessary, arbitrary bounds annoy me. My implementation of Conway's Game of Life runs on a sparse array precisely because that allows the world to stretch arbitrarily in any direction a glider goes, limited only by the capacity of the bignum library and the total store available to the program.

And this is how we teach computer science?

Sigh.

Comment Re:Reasons why I don't like Musk's hyper loop (Score 1) 124

1. All the diagrams give the impression that it will be like people flying through tubes as in Futurama. Instead you will be sealed inside a metallic "bullet", that runs in a metallic tube - no windows for you (sort of like James Bond in The Living Daylights). It's a pity if you have any sort of claustrophobia.

So you'd need some kind of fancy window like display that could update with local scenery or anything else.

2. While the device doesn't run in a complete vacuum, it runs in an atmosphere that is low to the point of being unbreathable. But the device doesn't contain any onboard air supply - instead it relies on the driving compressor/fan assembly to compress the air to a human sustainable amount. So if the device loses power for any reason (electrical, mechanical, computational) then you better be able to hold your breath for a long long time.

So it operates just like a modern airliner

3. There was no indication that the loop itself was anything more than a single tube. Thus there is no capability to bypass any section. So if a device fails, all devices that are already in transit and behind it are screwed (see 2 above).

It's a test environment. These things can be developed.

Comment Baidu Team's Apology Appended to Official Notice (Score 3, Insightful) 94

From the official announcement found in the NYT article (full of details we mostly already know) there comes an update with the team's response:

Message from the team in question:

Dear ILSVRC community,

Recently the ILSVRC organizers contacted the Heterogeneous Computing team to inform us that we exceeded the allowable number of weekly submissions to the ImageNet servers (~ 200 submissions during the lifespan of our project).

We apologize for this mistake and are continuing to review the results. We have added a note to our research paper, Deep Image: Scaling up Image Recognition, and will continue to provide relevant updates as we learn more.

We are staunch supporters of fairness and transparency in the ImageNet Challenge and are committed to the integrity of the scientific process.

Ren Wu – Baidu Heterogeneous Computing Team

So, while they deserve the year ban, the apology is nice. It's a shame we can never know what results a fair competition could have yielded ... and an even bigger shame that the media misreported Baidu as overpowering Google. I suppose the damage is done and the ILSVRC has made the right choice.

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding the classification problem but why isn't this run like most other classification problems (like Netflix and many other data challenges) where you get ~80% for training and the remaining 20% are held back for the final testing and scoring? Is the tagged data set too small to do this? Seems like wikimedia would contain a wealth of ripe public domain images for this purpose ...

Comment Re:You're Talking About a Different Scale (Score 5, Insightful) 276

Frankly put, I'm unaware of "American organized political trolling" that rivals this.

Americans are quick to believe the Official Narrative, no matter how absurd. Mass media is the professional 'troll' that gets people to fight each here.

Again, you're conflating two things that are significant enough that I don't see a simple one-to-one comparison here.

The clear difference here is that the trolls in the article are a nebulous entity whereas the media trolls are not. I know to laugh at Glenn Beck and Katie Couric. I know who they are. I recognize their blubbering stupid talking heads. They're a trainwreck of lies and half truths. On the other hand, you can't stop google from returning search results that confirm what you're looking for. When it's a "trending hastag" on Twitter, you can't figure out if it's legit or not. How do I know that podonski432 on Twitter is the same individual on Youtube named ashirefort posting videos of an explosion is the same person retweeting podonski432 and adding ashirefort's video to their tweet?

Mass media doesn't employ subterfuge and I sure as hell can stop reading the New York Post & Washington Times & CNSNews & Huffington Post and all that other drivel. I can't, however, identify easily that this account on Twitter is just the new troll account that tricked me last time.

You do know that it's news if the New York Times is caught lying or spreading known falsities, right? I watched Jon Stewart hold a "reporters" feet to the WMD fire on one of his recent episodes. There's no self-policing mechanism like that among trolls.

Comment You're Talking About a Different Scale (Score 5, Insightful) 276

It's just about time to drag the American organized political trolling on sites like reddit, twitter, and tumblr into the open too, right?

Well, astroturfing is no new tactic but ... I think what this article deals with is scale. 400 clearly skilled (bilingual at the least) individuals running multiple catfish personalities online day in and day out ... the whole thing on a budget of $400k a month? That level and size is probably unparalleled by ... say, Digg's conservative idiots.

You have one entity orchestrating the 12 hours a day work of 400 individuals on topics that are pro-Russian and tangentially pro-Russian. They are sophisticated enough to "hit play" at a certain time to unfold a natural disaster or assassination or anything to destabilize/confuse a region and they do so over many accounts on multiple social media platforms. They create video, screenshots, websites, etc. And they use proxies and sufficiently sophisticated means to appear to be disjoint at first glance.

They appear to have run an exercise on a rubber plant explosion in Louisiana for no other discernible purpose than to test out their new super powers or demonstrate their abilities to their customers/leaders.

Frankly put, I'm unaware of "American organized political trolling" that rivals this. This is paid. This is tightly controlled. This is prepared. This is unified. American organized political trolling is just a run-of-the-mill monkey shitfight with the occasional Koch Bros/Soros website (usually easily sourceable) thrown in.

Now if you can point me to a faked ISIS attack on American soil right before an election that was done by some political group stateside, I'd be interested to hear about it.

Submission + - Jason Scott of textfiles.com Wants Your AOL & Shovelware CDs-> 1

eldavojohn writes: You've probably got a spindle in your close tor a drawer full of CD-ROM media mailed to you or delivered with some hardware that you put away "just in case" and now (ten years later) the case for actually using them is laughable. Well, a certain mentally ill individual named Jason Scott has a fever and the only cure is more AOL CDs. But his sickness doesn't stop there, "I also want all the CD-ROMs made by Walnut Creek CD-ROM. I want every shovelware disc that came out in the entire breadth of the CD-ROM era. I want every shareware floppy, while we’re talking. I want it all. The CD-ROM era is basically finite at this point. It’s over. The time when we’re going to use physical media as the primary transport for most data is done done done. Sure, there’s going to be distributions and use of CD-ROMs for some time to come, but the time when it all came that way and when it was in most cases the only method of distribution in the history books, now. And there were a specific amount of CD-ROMs made. There are directories and listings of many that were manufactured. I want to find those. I want to image them, and I want to put them up. I’m looking for stacks of CD-ROMs now. Stacks and stacks. AOL CDs and driver CDs and Shareware CDs and even hand-burned CDs of stuff you downloaded way back when. This is the time to strike." Who knows? His madness may end up being appreciated by younger generations!
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