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Google

+ - Inside Google's Black Box

Submitted by
Pcol
Pcol writes "Google's "ranking algorithm" — the formulas that decide which Web pages best answer each user's question is crucial part of Google's inner sanctum, a department called "search quality" that the company treats like a state secret. Google recently allowed a reporter from the New York Times to spend a day with Google Fellow Amit Singhal and his search-quality team who explained how every week they make about a half-dozen major and minor changes to the vast nest of mathematical formulas that power the search engine. Mr. Singhal has developed a far more elaborate system for ranking pages than PageRank. The system, involving more than 200 types of information, are what Google calls "signals." Some signals are on Web pages — like words, links, images and so on. Some are drawn from the history of how pages have changed over time. Some signals are data patterns uncovered in the trillions of searches that Google has handled over the years. Increasingly, Google is using signals that come from its history of what individual users have searched for in the past, in order to offer results that reflect each person's interests. "People still think that Google is the gold standard of search," says John Battelle, author of "The Search," a book about Google. "Their secret sauce is how these guys are doing it all in aggregate. There are 1,000 little tunings they do.""
Music

+ - Pandora.com no longer supports foreigners

Submitted by skogula
skogula (931230) writes "Anyone who does not live in the United States, no longer has access to the pandora.com music service. Instead, everyone is re-directed to http://www.pandora.com/restricted which gives the following text Dear Pandora Visitor, We are deeply, deeply sorry to say that due to licensing constraints, we can no longer allow access to Pandora for most listeners located outside of the U.S. We will continue to work diligently to realize the vision of a truly global Pandora, but for the time being we are required to restrict its use. We are very sad to have to do this, but there is no other alternative. We believe that you are in Canada (your IP address appears to be 216.211.58.109). If you believe we have made a mistake, we apologize and ask that you please contact us at pandora-support@pandora.com If you are a paid subscriber, please contact us at pandora-support@pandora.com and we will issue a pro-rated refund to the credit card you used to sign up. If you have been using Pandora, we will keep a record of your existing stations and bookmarked artists and songs, so that when we are able to launch in your country, they will be waiting for you. We will be notifying listeners as licensing agreements are established in individual countries. If you would like to be notified by email when Pandora is available in your country, please enter your email address below. The pace of global licensing is hard to predict, but we have the ultimate goal of being able to offer our service everywhere. We share your disappointment and greatly appreciate your understanding. Sincerely, Tim Westergren Founder"
United States

+ - Navy to use dolphins for antiterrorism

Submitted by FR007
FR007 (843341) writes "Dozens of dolphins and sea lions trained to detect and apprehend waterborne attackers could be sent to patrol a military base in Washington state, the Navy said Monday. In a notice published in this week's Federal Register, the Navy said it needs to bolster security at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, on the Puget Sound close to Seattle. The base is home to submarines, ships and laboratories and is potentially vulnerable to attack by terrorist swimmers and scuba divers, the notice states. Several options are under consideration, but the preferred plan would be to send as many as 30 California sea lions and Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins from the Navy's Marine Mammal Program, based in San Diego. Site."
Graphics

+ - 3D Digital Earth Programming Contest

Submitted by Doc Ruby
Doc Ruby (173196) writes "The International Society of Digital Earth is offering prizes in its 3D Digital Earth Grand Challenge for 3D programming to communicate climate change info:

How can we better experience this world of ours at the cross roads of human impacts and climate change? How can we best communicate these experiences, particularly in light of the major changes Earth now faces, as one world? How can we most compellingly understand and communicate those experiences and processes? What 3D experiences or 3D tools can you share that might encourage the opportunity for a better world? If you think you can do this in a way that demonstrates how people can more easily and effectively communicate, YOU COULD WIN BIG!

Winners will be flown, with all expenses paid, from around the world to San Francisco for the June 5th to June 9th symposium. Six (6) finalists will receive their awards and prize packages at the Gala Awards Dinner on June 7th on the U.C. Berkeley campus. Contest sponsors, including Google, ESRI, and NASA will be attending the awards ceremonies for the International Symposium for Digital Earth awards dinner. Winners will be afforded the unique opportunity to interview with these industry giants for potential employment opportunities.

Runners-up will receive outstanding recognition by the International Society of Digital Earth, and the major geobrowser leaders; ESRI, GeoFusion, Google, and the NASA World Wind team.
Looks like the geeks really will inherit the Earth."
Censorship

+ - Eve-Online: Developers cheat in game to win!

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Eve-Online, known as the largest space combat MMOG, finds itself on the verge of imploding due to in game cheating by Eve developers themselves. Recently one of the Eve developers came clean about spawning extremely rare items for the use of himself and his corp. His corporation "Band Of Brothers", has been using these items and exploiting other game bugs to gain a large advantage over paying customers. Instead of dealing with the problem, CCP the creators of Eve-Online move to sweep all thoughts of wrong doing under the carpet http://myeve.eve-online.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&bid =423 and have been locking all forum posts on the topic and banning the same players that pay their wages. Where else but in Eve-Online can you pay for the privilege to be censored for reporting cheating by the developers themselves. Hopefully CCP will come to their senses to save a good game before far too many people cancel their accounts."
Television

+ - Where are all the hdtv tuners?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Today I read about rabbit ears making a comeback with OTA HTDV. I want to purchase a standalone ATSC HDTV tuner to go with my projector, but I am having a very hard time finding one. The big-box stores seem to only stock one or two models and are frequently sold out. Searching online yields similar results. It would seem that there would be ever increasing demand for these tuners given that many HDTVs were sold without internal tuners in years past and these tuners will be necessary for all old NTSC TVs after the February, 2009 shutdown of analog broadcasts. Where should I look to buy one of these devices? Of the currently available models, which are the best? Will the standalone HDTV tuner become a ubiquitous item as the 2009 deadline approaches?"
Bug

+ - Mac calculator is bad at math

Submitted by
RaSchi.de
RaSchi.de writes "vowe has pointed to a couple of videos (here and here) on YouTube which show the calculator application doing some weird calculations with percentages. Apparently, in some locales such as the German one, the OS X calculator application discards decimal digits of the input when the percent button is used (e.g. adding x percent of tax to an invoice sum). All works fine if you do the manual multiplication (e.g. instead of adding 7% you multiply by 1.17). This has spurred active discussion on German news lists (e.g. heise.de and at digg. Any /. readers who can confirm this in other locales than the German?"

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