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Comment: Sauronauts, finally! (Score 1) 544

by davevr (#42042971) Attached to: What "Earth-Shaking" Discovery Has Curiosity Made on Mars?

At long last, conclusive evidence that the dinosaurs evolved into an advanced civilization and made it off of earth before the asteroid collision. They had an advanced civilization on Mars for almost 500,000 years before finally perfecting the technology to transform into pure energy. We will see if the government continues to suppress this now that NASA has found evidence!!

Comment: Google+ is just not great for normal people (Score 5, Interesting) 456

by davevr (#40029053) Attached to: Online Loneliness At Google+

There are three major problems:

1) Google+ was just not designed for real people with messy social relationships that can't be easily categorized.

2) Like most of Google products, Google+ has an odd clinical feel about it. Things like using a math equation (+1) instead of an ordinary word like "Like" or "Thumbs Up:. There are dozens of similar problems. It doesn't matter for search, which can be utilitarian, but it doesn't go well with social stuff.

3) People actually subconsciously prefer a company that is dedicated that social networking, like FaceBook or MySpace, than a company that is doing it on the side, like Microsoft or Google.

Here is a recent blog post discussing 1 & 2:

http://dvronay.blogspot.com/2012/04/why-google-is-still-not-working-for.html

Comment: I can't wait! (Score 1) 648

by davevr (#39971977) Attached to: How Would Driver-less Cars Change Motoring?

I lived in China for many years. One of the perks is that it is very cheap to get a driver - about $200/mo. Let me just say that if you haven't had a driver, you have no idea how liberating it is.

Commute time is returned to you. I would do email or catch up on my reading on the way to work in morning and arrive at work ready to be productive. I would sleep on the way home in the afternoon so that I was totally refreshed by the time I joined the family. Compared to how exhausted you feel after driving yourself. The other massive perk is PARKING. Imagine never having to park. You hop out right at your destination, and then your car goes and finds a spot to tuck away on its own. You could have parking lots that are only for automatic cars. They could pack themselves in without needing a valet. Then you would just call your car when it is time to get you.

I am back in US so a driver is outside my income range now, but man do I miss it. I will be first in line to get an automatic one and never drive myself again.

And please - public transportation doesn't compare at all. Even leaving the inconvience aside, the crowding, the pain of getting that last three blocks in the rain, the crappy schedules, etc. there are just many advantages to having your own car. For instance - you can keep stuff in it that you care about - your books, snacks, etc. You can keep your bags in it when you are out shopping. etc. I don't think people are going to stop owning a car just because they can be automated.

Comment: Welcome to the Garden (Score 4, Insightful) 279

If Apple (or Disneyland, or anyone else) wants to have a walled garden where you have to play by their rules to get in there, then they have to be liable for what people find there. If you slip on the wet sidewalk at Disneyland that will be totally different than if you do that outside the park. By requiring developers to pass a stringent test and have each app approved, they are explicitly saying they approve of these sorts of apps. In fact, they are even approving that these apps can go in the children's section.

That is why Apple is vulnerable here but Android is not. Android doesn't force developers to do anything special. There is no endorsement, so no liability.

In terms of the settings thing, that is all well and good. But the fact is that Apple is making huge profits from parents who are buying iPods and iPads specifically because Apple has presented their walled garden as a safe place. Remember the famous quote from Steve Jobs to the blogger, saying that Apple is free from crap and if you want porn or viruses, you should go to Android? Well, the chickens have come home.

Any normal standard would find the business practice of these apps unethical anyway. Have you ever "played" one? This is not "my kid purchased a new champion in League of Legend by accident". These apps are specifically designed to be deceptive and manipulative for children.

Comment: That is not personal data... (Score 2) 139

It is interesting and useful as a concept. You cannot really improve anything if you cannot measure it accurately, and so data gathering and analysis can certainly be extremely useful.

However, I don't see much value in just collecting these digital signals like typing and email. Contrary to the title of the post, it is very impersonal. It is just email, really, and even for a serious tech head like Wolfram, that is surely a tiny part of his life.

I also am one of those people with a huge email archive going back decades, and it is fun to play with. Certainly it is fun to find the first emails you sent to someone from ages ago. I also saved all of my old engineering notebooks, and it is great to go back and see things from the early days of QuickTime or notes from the very first time I saw a Mac Laptop - that sort of stuff.

But I think it would be great if I could keep a detailed record of the things that I really care about. For example - I would like to know how much exercise I am actually doing, so I can see if I am really taking the stairs more. I would like to know how much time I spent in the car, so I could make more accurate decisions about the cost of living far from work. I would like to know how many new people I am meeting every week, so I can see if I am becoming more or less social. I would like to know when new topics are trending for me, so I can make sure I am continuing to expand my interests. I would like to monitor how much time I am spending with friends and family as opposed to just work and workmates. I would like to know how many times I gave a sarcastic answer to a question to make sure I am not becoming a dick. Now that I have a Kindle, I can't tell if I am reading more or fewer books than I used to. Am I really watching less TV because I play more video games, or am I keeping that constant and stealing video game time from other non-screen activities? These are just a few examples. No doubt you have your own list.

The point is that if you care about acting a certain way, it is super useful to measure it. You can measure all of the things I mentioned right now, but many of them are a huge pain. If technology could somehow make this easier, I would be all for it.

I just don't want FaceBook or Google to do it without asking me. :-)

- davevr

Comment: Search Engines are Sodas (Score 2) 405

by davevr (#39312851) Attached to: Bing Now Nearly As Good As Google — Says Microsoft
The different algorithms used by each search engine impart a unique "flavor" to the results. So when talking about how good a search engine is, you need to take that into account. For a long time, Bing just didn't taste good at all (e.g., the results were not accurate or complete enough). Now it is at a point where actually does taste good. Many people however don't get this, because they are judging whether or not it "tastes like google." But that isn't the goal. The goal is to develop a unique flavor that can be just as popular. So perhaps it would be easier for you to think of Google as Coke and Bing as Pepsi (or maybe Dr. Pepper). Now that Bing has finally gotten a good flavor, they can start working on getting more and more people to try it. Then they can be the choice of a new generation.

Comment: Faantastic idea, and well-deserved. (Score 1) 301

by davevr (#37890518) Attached to: Dennis Ritchie Day

I am so excited that members of the community finally came out and publically supported this figure whom we have all admired for so long. I can't think of another individual who has inspired so many members of the tech community to feel better about themselves - if only for a few virtual minutes - in our times of loneliness and isolation. Many of us as young men spent hours on the internet when there was even the hint of some unreleased file, image, or video. I know that I personally would never have bothered to learn how to configure a firewall if it wasn't for my being so inspired to get that torrent of Wild Things... And though we may have publically mocked her as a nuclear physicist in that Bond movie , we all secretly know exactly what "Christmas" present we wanted to see unwrapped...

What? Dennis?

oh... nevermind...

Comment: The cool parts (Score 1) 67

by davevr (#37709974) Attached to: Microsoft Goes In For Hadoop
The two cool parts of this announcement:

1) They are contributing the bits needed to make it work on windows back to open source (Hortonworks is helping that make sure that goes smoothly)
2) They are making JavaScript a first-tier language for writing map/reduce jobs, and contributing THAT work back to the community.

That is awesome.
Microsoft

+ - Microsoft embraces the Elephant in the Room (Hadoo->

Submitted by davevr
davevr (29843) writes "Microsoft today announced that it is embracing Hadoop as part of its big data strategy. A distribution will be available for both Windows Server and Azure. More interesting to Slashdot readers are two additional tibits: First, Microsoft is partnering with Hortonworks on this, and contributing significant portions of code back to the Apache Foundation. Second, Microsoft is enabling javascript as a language choice for writing map/reduce jobs. Java (or .NET) not required!"
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