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Comment Re: Do they have a choice? (Score 1) 312 312

neural nets with backpropagation are as deterministic as any other algorithm; if the inputs are the same and no one has "improved" the numerical routines, you should get the same result every time you run the training algorithm. yes, you can add stochasticity to NN training to try to improve convergence, but this is true about many algorithms (whether their implementors realize it or not). running the same trained, frozen neural net on the same input should definitely always give you the same result, unless something weird is happening (as it sometimes does).

i understand that in certain cases, we need provably correct results. my point is that "deterministic" is often (but not always) the wrong word, which i think you've illustrated.

Comment Re: Do they have a choice? (Score 1) 312 312

what is up with people abusing the word "deterministic"? it has become a strange euphemism in the computing world, meaning something like "reliable" or "trustworthy".

a deterministic algorithm can fuck up really, really badly (especially when it takes input from untrained or possibly malicious humans), while there are several stochastic algorithms that work quite well, often provably so. even chip cores have layouts optimized by stochastic hill-climbing!

anyway, Google is in the business of showing person A what person B wants, which is usually the product of some person C. unless everyone in the world is non-racist, then of course the algorithms will either "be racist" or suboptimal. it would basically require a strong AI to change this. (A, B, C are not necessarily distinct.)

Comment Re:Sued perps of Fake Avon Takeover?? (Score 1) 92 92

i see your point, but on the other hand, this does seem like fraud. intentionally lying in order to sell something people wouldn't otherwise want (or to buy something they would otherwise keep) has been illegal for a while, and most libertarians would agree that it should be. just because it's easy to do, or even if the quantities of money involved are relatively small, doesn't change the fact. it does make enforcement tricky but in principle i don't know if freedom of speech is intended to cover fraud.

otoh, all ideas are speech and money is now speech, so yeah, it seems like there's a bug somewhere.

Comment Re:What a load of horse shit (Score 1) 337 337

it reminds me of that joke.

"Mayor, can you confirm the allegation that the number of thefts has recently been increasing?"

"Under my term, violent assault has decreased."

maybe it's not a very good joke. i heard it from a mathematician who was pointing out that information, in a practical sense, is not the same thing as logical deduction. at some point you have to make assumptions, and those assumptions are often more important than the thought that follows (or, "garbage in, garbage out"). strictly speaking, what the politician said was just irrelevant; however, the evasion actually means that theft has probably been increasing.

the point is: when people qualify their statements as blatantly as this, it's as close as you ever get to someone saying "i'm trying to mislead you for my own benefit."

Comment Re:I never knew (Score 2) 311 311

hint: Chrome (or any browser* on iOS) is little more than a skin over Mobile Safari (=webkit). sure, sometimes the skin is useful, but iOS Chrome is actually more like "Safari with some Chrome-ish Extensions".

*: at least any browser on the App Store; Apple literally won't allow any other renderers. maybe there are homebrew browsers for jailbroken iOS. i don't know.

Comment Re:i switched back from chrome to safari (Score 2) 311 311

Well, presumably it would just resync the next time you used chrome, unless you fuck around in Chrome and/or your Google account until you find the setting which changes the priority of local vs. remote storage.

This seems to be a problem with most platforms. It can be partly (and condescendingly) dismissed as user error, but Google does seem to make things more confusing than necessary. We use google drive at work, and the unclear referents in its dialog boxes made me lose a directory before i realized it was "syncing" my work directory to an empty google drive. I know how it works now, but it was literally impossible to know exactly what it was doing in advance from the dialogs, and the documentation was so poor that I had given up trying to learn anything from it.

Maybe the community should just write man pages for web services.

Comment Re:Conferences are one thing... (Score 3, Insightful) 311 311

That's more or less what I was thinking as well. From a user perspective, Safari is pretty much like Chrome except more stable and much less resource-hungry.

Maybe this relentless catering to every sloppy demand of every hack web programmer is what makes web browsers the bloated pieces of shit that they are nowadays.

Comment Re:Value is more than just price (Score 2) 230 230

afaict, from a NYC perspective, Uber is much better if you live in Brooklyn or Queens because, unlike yellow cabs, it's actually possible to get one by using the app. I've heard that in other cities, e.g. San Francisco, the cab service is about as bad as Brooklyn. I'm sure that in these areas, Uber is a big improvement over what was there before.

If you live in Manhattan, it's largely a matter of taste. the cars tend to be cleaner and the drivers friendlier, etc., but will cost you ~20% more. There is better tech integration, e.g. the app can be used to split a ride with your friends, and it integrates with paypal/whatever whereas yellow cabs just barely have credit card readers.

Additionally, you hail Uber from an app and meet at a designated spot, whereas yellow cabs by law have to be flagged down from the sidewalk. Personally, i'm not really into Uber, but I live in Manhattan and am probably just sticking with what i'm used to. I'd probably use it occasionally if i lived in Brooklyn. A lot of my younger coworkers use Uber exclusively (and frequently! i wonder how much of their pay they spend just on transportation).

I suspect that what happened is that other cities took NYC Medallion model (which isn't even really appropriate for Manhattan, at least these days) and applied it reflexively for whatever reason. Coming from Florida, I think it's fair to say that Uber is the first real taxi service many suburban areas are getting. The regulations preceded the industry, and so the industry never even developed. Uber basically said "fuck it," made up some silly story about "ride-sharing" (lol), and that was that.

Real programmers don't bring brown-bag lunches. If the vending machine doesn't sell it, they don't eat it. Vending machines don't sell quiche.