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The Internet

+ - Recommendation Engines

Submitted by
ReadWriteWeb
ReadWriteWeb writes "Recommendation engines are becoming increasingly sophisticated. The main approaches fall into the following categories:
  • Personalized recommendation — recommend things based on the individual's past behavior
  • Social recommendation — recommend things based on the past behavior of similar users
  • Item recommendation — recommend things based on the thing itself
  • A combination of the three approaches above


This article explores the recommendation engines of Amazon, Pandora and del.icio.us. Amazon.com, the leader in the space, has a very compelling personalization offering. But recent approaches to recommendation engines, like the genetics-inspired Pandora and social tagging pioneered by del.icio.us, are promising."
Music

+ - The dark history of music copyrights

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Okay, this article is a bit old, but it's a hellava good read and very enlightening about the seedy, shady, underhanded goings-on in the music copyright business. How do you steal a composition from someone and turn it into a megahit? Or claim copyright on centuries-old folk ballads while using an alias for youself? It's mostly the story behind "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", the megahit by the The Tokens in 1961, but there are plenty of side stories that show what happened to that song was not so unusual. Next time you hear the RIAA trying to wrap themselves in the purity of copyright, you'll laugh out loud."
Software

Why Software Sucks, And Can Something Be Done About It? 498

Posted by Zonk
from the make-it-work dept.
CPNABEND tipped us to a story carried on the Fox News site, pointing out that a lot of programmers don't understand their users. David Platt, author of the new book 'Why Software Sucks ... And What You Can Do About It', looks at the end user experience with end user eyes. While technically inclined individuals tend to want control, Platt argues, most people just want something that works. On the other hand, the article also cites David Thomas, executive director of the Software & Information Industry Association. His opinion: Users don't know what they want. From the article: "'You don't want your customers to design your product,' he said. 'They're really bad at it.' As more and more software becomes Internet-based, he said, companies can more easily monitor their users' experiences and improve their programs with frequent updates. They have a financial incentive to do so, since more consumer traffic results in higher subscription or advertising revenues." Where does your opinion lay? Should software 'just work', or are users too lazy?
Businesses

How ExxonMobil Funded Global Warming Skeptics 625

Posted by Zonk
from the gotta-keep-our-minds-open dept.
Erik Moeller writes "According to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, oil company ExxonMobil 'has funneled nearly $16 million between 1998 and 2005 to a network of 43 advocacy organizations that seek to confuse the public on global warming science.' The report compares the tactics employed by the oil giant to those used by the tobacco industry in previous decades, and identifies key individuals who have worked on both campaigns. Would a 'global warming controversy' exist without the millions of dollars spent by fossil fuel companies to discredit scientific conclusions?"
XBox (Games)

New Version of Xbox 360 Rumoured 102

Posted by Zonk
from the maybe-maybe-not dept.
Carlo Becchi writes "According to Engadget a new version of the Xbox 360 is on the way. The next version of the console is codenamed 'Zephyr', and sports a bigger disk (120 Gb), better manufacturing process (65nm) and HDMI digital out up to 1080p. From the article: 'The 120GB drive may or may not come bundled with the kit, we don't yet know, just as we also don't yet know how much a Zephyr 360 is going to run (we imagine it'll go for the same price as currently so they can keep up a little on their expanding margin).'" It should be pointed out at this point the whole story is a fairly convincing photo and leaks from 'a source'. Take with a grain of salt.
Programming

+ - COBOL 75% of Business Transactions in 2005

Submitted by Frumious Wombat
Frumious Wombat (845680) writes "Over at The Register Developers section (take with a small carton of salt), quote the head of research for Ovum Consulting on the continuing dominance of COBOL:

"Cobol remains the most widely deployed programming language in big business, accounting for 75% of all computer transactions — and it is not going to go away. Cobol is pervasive in the financial sector (accounting for 90% of all financial transactions), in defence, as well as within established manufacturing and insurance sectors. We estimate that there are over 200 billion lines of Cobol in production today, and this number continues to grow by between three and five percent a year."
Gary Barnett, Research Director OVUM

So, for all the time spent arguing the merits of Ruby vs. C# vs. today's MFTL, should the community spend more time building tools to make COBOL livable? Or should we institute a digital spay/neuter programme and do something about that alleged 3-5% growth?"
Microsoft

+ - Vista UK price estimates onfirmed by Microsoft

Submitted by
Liam Cromar
Liam Cromar writes "Microsoft has confirmed the estimated UK retail prices for the consumer versions of Windows Vista. Home Basic has an estimated price tag of £179.99, and Home Premium an estimate of £219.99. These figures support the suspicions that UK users may be charged between 50% to 80% more than users in the USA for essentially the same product."
KDE

A Sneak Preview of KDE 4 350

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the pretty-gooey dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In recent times, a lot of discussion has been generated about the state of KDE version 4.0 and as Linux users we are ever inquisitive about what the final user experience is going to be. This article throws light on some of the features that we can look forward to when KDE 4.0 is finally released some time this year. The article indicates that the most exciting fact about KDE 4.0 is going to be that it is developed using the Qt 4.0 library. This is significant because Qt 4.0 is released under a GPL license even for non-Unix platforms. So this clears the ideological path for KDE 4.0 to be ported to Windows and other non-Unix/X11 platforms."
Encryption

+ - Sealand For Sale

Submitted by coaxial
coaxial (28297) writes "Everyone's favorite digital haven and nation of questionable legitimacy, Sealand is up for sale. (Link in Spanish only.) Technically you're not buying the countyr, but rather "custodianship" of the platform and all property within the "country". All of which can be yours for the low low price of 750 million euros."

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming

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