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Submission + - New app turns smartphones into worldwide seismic network

Saeed al-Sahaf writes: UC Berkeley wants your phone to help detect earthquakes. The school has released an Android app, MyShake, that uses your phone's motion sensors to detect the telltale signs of tremors and combine that with the data from every other user. Essentially you become part of a crowdsourced seismic station network. Once enough people are using it and the bugs are worked out, however, UC Berkeley seismologists plan to use the data to warn people miles from ground zero that shaking is rumbling their way. An iPhone app is also planned.

Comment Re:Apps (Score 2) 97

Yes, that too. My understanding (though this was before my time) was that "application" used to refer to the use, whereas "program" was the thing you ran. So "word processing" is an application of your computer, while "Microsoft Word" is the program you use to do that. That was according to my dad, who worked for IBM back in the days of punch cards, but it's possible that was just his own distinction.

But by the 90s, you could describe Microsoft Word as either an "application" or "program" (or "app"). They were all fairly interchangeable. Admittedly, though, it could have been a regional thing, since we didn't really have the Internet yet (yes, it existed, but it wasn't in heavy practical use for most people).

Comment Re:Apps (Score 4, Informative) 97

Maybe you have a bad memory...?

I've been working in the IT industry since the early 90s, and the term "app" has been used as a shorthand for "application" since then at least. It has fairly recently taken the connotation of a mobile app, or some other kind of mini-application (web apps?), but that's actually something from the last 10 years. I forget exactly when that started because I have a bad memory too.

Comment Re:Preserve the 3monkeys ethic (Score 1) 143

After a successful IT job are you in a position to honestly say not a single photo (or thumbnail) was displayed, not a snippet of private text was displayed, even for a moment? If not,then (perhaps) there are ways to refine the technique.

That's easy to say if you're in a sysadmin role that requires clear, defined tasks. It's a lot more difficult if you're in a helpdesk support role, where you might get a problem thrown your way like, "My Microsoft Word file looks funny. Can you take a look?" How are you going to solve that without looking at their Word file?

Comment Re: Browser history (Score 1) 143

Eh, minor quibble, but part of the problem is that when you're troubleshooting, you sometimes need to be using the user's exact configuration. Someone calls up with a browser problem, if you load a clean profile, you might find that there's no problem because the problem is in the profile.

Comment Re:Ummmm ... (Score 1) 95

My concern about the IoT is not just security and privacy, but with those things as a function of overall management. Let's say for example that my coffee maker is now connecting to the Internet. I now probably have to set up a new account on some web portal run by my coffee maker's manufacturer. Is that site secure? Are they using your email for spam? Is that site leaking privacy information about you?

Even if those concerns are laid to rest, it's still just another account on another website I need to manage. I don't want more accounts, and I especially don't want more accounts on random manufacturer's "cloud-controller" websites for little doodads. And finally, if there is a requirement that the device be controlled from the manufacturer's website or "cloud controller" service, what happens when the manufacturer goes out of business, or when they just decide that they don't want to support that model anymore?

Comment Re:Just a Few Thoughts (Score 4, Insightful) 106

Still, it's an indication that carriers and ISPs are not being completely honest. They basically keep claiming that they need special protections, they need the ability to throttle and limit service, and that services like Netflix can't perform because it's simply not possible to deliver the bandwidth people are demanding. They imply (I'm not sure they've said it outright) that it's not a problem of their unwillingness to upgrade their network, but that people's expectations are just out of whack-- that people using more than a few gigabytes per month are bad actors, using up all the bandwidth, and that there is not any possible way for them to fulfill the demands on their network.

But now they're saying that everything is fine, so long as they can cut Netflix out of the market and take those profits for themselves. If they're allowed to have a monopoly, then suddenly all the technical problems go away.

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