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Comment: It flagged one outbreak, does that mean it's good? (Score 2) 35

by efalk (#47642451) Attached to: Online Tool Flagged Ebola Outbreak Before Formal WHO Announcement

One successful detection of an outbreak is meaningless. This is like how everybody claimed frogs had predicted the earthquake in China a few years ago.

To judge the success of this system, we need three pieces of information:

* How many outbreaks has this system actually flagged?
* How many outbreaks has this system missed (false negatives)?
* How many outbreaks has this system flagged that turned out not to be (false positives)?

Comment: I use 3d-printing, but I outsource it (Score 1) 251

by efalk (#46574599) Attached to: 3D Printing: Have You Taken the Plunge Yet? Planning To?

3d printers are still expensive, and occupy space in your house. Unless you do a lot of it, it's still more economical to send it out to a place like Shapeways.

The first time I used 3-d printing was to repair an otherwise-unrepairable tool: http://www.instructables.com/i...

I'm also prototyping a toy for a friend. A printer capable of the resolution I need would cost far more than a simple home hobbiest printer.

Comment: Re:Carbon 14 (Score 1) 84

by efalk (#46134383) Attached to: Astronomers Investigating Unknown Object That Hit the Earth In 773 AD

Yes, once the plant dies, the C14 is locked in and starts decaying. But A.C. was asking about the atmosphere -- isn't that supposed to be constant?

And that's what I'm wondering too. If supernovae and huge flares can cause glitches in the amount of C14 in the atmosphere, how does that affect carbon dating?

Mark my word, the creationists will be all over this in another couple days.

Comment: I was offered money to add spyware to my app (Score 5, Interesting) 187

by efalk (#45619645) Attached to: FTC Drops the Hammer On Maker of Location-Sharing Flashlight App

I have a couple of calculator apps on the Android market. Obviously, a calculator has zero need for any of your personal data, and that's how much I collect -- zero.

I recently received an email from "Appayable.com". They provide me with a spyware module to add to my apps. The spyware module collects users' personal data and uploads it to Appayable.com. I get paid. Profit!

They say they only sell anonymized data, but I still thought it was a pretty reprehensible business model. I suspect it's pretty common practice, though.

The letter:

I noticed that RpnCalc Financial -- HP 12C has seen a growing number of downloads in recent weeks. I wanted to reach out and discuss how my company, Appayable, offers developers the opportunity to monetize their app without placing ads or impacting user experience

We pull the social profile of your users, anonymize the data, and identify the mobile device. Appayable's SDK does not take up screen real estate on your application, maintaining the great user experience, and providing more revenue for you. Plus, we do not rely on impressions - as we do not place ads within your app - thus, you generate revenue based on a single download and install. No need to retain the user - only have them open the application once.
The revenue stream created is ongoing based on our data partnerships, regardless of continued use of the mobile application.

We've worked hard to make it really simple for you to integrate our service into your app, and as a result have over 6,500 applications on our platform in only 6-months! Whe you have a few minutes, I'd love to talk to you or the appropriate person about working with us.

Comment: Re:Is this news? (Score 1) 331

by efalk (#44766861) Attached to: Users Revolt Over Yahoo Groups Update

It's not just about change -- change can be adapted to. However, the photo viewing interface of the new UI truly sucks balls.

For example: the picture title and comments are only visible for a second or two when you move to the next picture. They come back when the mouse moves. As a result, if you want to read the title and comments, you have to sit there, quietly moving the mouse back and forth while you read.

Not to mention that the title, comments, etc. are placed on top of the image. And worst of all, the viewer is just simply clumsy and incredibly slow.

Seriously, did they even test this UI with users?

Comment: Re:Crap (Score 3, Interesting) 177

by efalk (#42650865) Attached to: Swiss Federal Lab Claims New World Record For Solar Cell Efficiency

This is key. Unless your surface area is limited (space craft, vehicles), it's not efficiency that matters, but cost per watt of capacity.

Make solar cheaper per watt than coal plants (we're getting close now), and then watch all the rooftops in the country get covered with solar panels.

Even if all the rooftops combined aren't enough to produce *all* our needs, every 300MW of solar power is one coal plant shut down, and 2400 tons less CO2 produced. Per day.

Comment: I know someone with a solar-powered car (Score 1) 177

by efalk (#42650751) Attached to: Swiss Federal Lab Claims New World Record For Solar Cell Efficiency

I know someone with a Rav-4 which she charges from solar panels on the roof of her house.

However, unless there's a serious revolution in battery technology, I don't think the electric car is ever going to be practical.

Likewise, solar panels don't work at night, under trees, or when it's cloudy.

None of those are arguments against developing solar technology. Or wind power. While neither of these can ever totally replace fossil fuel power or nuclear, they make excellent supplements. Solar power is at its peak at the same time demand is at its peak. And every kWh of solar power represents 1-2 lbs of CO2 not released into the atmosphere.

Comment: Re:How can ... (Score 1) 384

by efalk (#42506167) Attached to: What Are the Unwritten Rules of Deleting Code?

No I feel you should comment it out for one version, or one iteration.

This is exactly what I do. Sometimes I leave it for a couple of versions, but basically you want it to still be there long enough to be sure that deleting it was the right thing, then get rid of it to clean up your code. Leave a good comment in the version history and you're done.

%DCL-MEM-BAD, bad memory VMS-F-PDGERS, pudding between the ears

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