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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Misrepresentation of the original research (Score 1) 216

by thebian (#38155312) Attached to: 4.74 Degrees of Separation on Facebook

1. Milgram hands out 160 envelopes and the target receives 24. I guess not everyone is able to reach everyone else.

2. Milgram gives all 160 envelope recipients the target's name and address. So at what point were the 24 envelopes simply mailed. I would have just mailed it directly.

3. I wouldn't expect more than five of my Facebook friends to lend me money or do me any sort of favor. Exchanging Facebook quips is quite free.

Attention triage prevents me from reading more about this.

Comment: Re:Risks of the Cloud (Score 1) 139

by thebian (#37718262) Attached to: Google Buzz Buzzing Away

When I got into trouble with Google while trying to sign up for Google +, I lost all the blog and all the mail. Poof. Just like that. No appeal, no explanation, not even an email to write to for the company to ignore.

I could have gotten the account, and the data, back, but I would have had to acquiesce to Google's notion of privacy as my fee for the service. I didn't.

I didn't care about the mail -- it was most blog mail and some other junk. And I was careful about the blog. I tried to remember to export it every so often, and as it turns out only lost one post that was up less than an hour.


Unbiased Eye

Comment: What if size doesn't matter? (Score 1) 100

by thebian (#37718118) Attached to: IBM Eyes Brain-Like Computing

IBM seems to think that if you only had a sufficient number of neuron-like (whatever that may be) connections, a brain (whatever that may be) will automagically appear.

There's no good reason to have blind faith in this notion, and it's not likely to be any more likely than more than 60 years of fabulously wild predictions of what computers will do in the next n years.

But it's not impossible, and three cheers for IBM for throwing wads of cash into the game. It'd be great if other big outfits chased dreams like this.


Unbiased Eye

Comment: Re:It's the left version of the Tea Party (Score 1) 1799

by thebian (#37668336) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do You View the Wall Street Protests?

Whatever it is, it ain't the revolution. I'm not sure that all the people in the U.S. and Europe who dream of revolution really want one or have some clue about their place in the world.

The 99% are not miserable in any sense of the word. Sure unemployment is high, but you don't have huge masses of people starving, homeless and riding the rails. Sure there is inequity in the U.S., but people all over the country keep voting for pawns of the corporate elite.

I think the leadership of OWS would like to build a left Tea Party but they don't have the money and know how. Nor do they have a black president, about the only fact that binds the various fringe groups in the Tea Party together. Libertarians and the Religious right? Gimme a break. See my favorite blog .

Comment: Re:We want something new but the same. (Score 1) 519

by thebian (#37667824) Attached to: Google+ Loses 60% of Active Users
Google's huge lead in search -- with a lot of credit to the mass of their servers -- is so big that it by far dwarfs all those other services they sell. No one needs gmail, and many of those other cloud applications are too clunky. But I want Google search. That's my opinion. I kept my Google account on a separate machine from my main machine. I guess if they analyzed their logs sufficiently they could have connected me to my former Google account. I didn't want to be too paranoid. In the end, I tried G+, got closed out of everything because of something stupid. The incident tells me Google isn't so much concerned with quantity as quality. Harder to sell a dossier on a anonymous person or persons who use a particular browser at a particular IP, than to sell a dossier on Bob Smith in Boise, Idaho. (Sorry, Bob, I mean someone else.)

Comment: Depends on Who You Trust (Score 1) 236

by thebian (#36104496) Attached to: How WikiLeaks Gags Its Own Staff

Wikileaks does the same thing that the police and the intelligence agencies do.

They all sit around and wait for someone to wander in and tell them some juicy but dangerous secrets. Whistleblowers, snitches and spies all do the same thing.

They have something they want to say, but they don't want to take the risk in saying it. They can all be plants, hustlers and even double agents.

The means are the same; it's the ends that are different.

Comment: Re:Not such a terrible idea? (Score 1) 117

by thebian (#35905988) Attached to: Reports 100k Subscribers
I don't think you can even pay full price. If you go to the signup page, it's 99 cents. A few people got it for free for a year (from Lincoln cars? makes no sense). They've sent registered users emails offers longer bargains. There's no telling when they'll stop the heavy promotions. It seems like they want to get used to people paying something, anything. Their readership on the web took a hit, but it's hard to figure. There are so many exceptions and exemptions -- and with 20 free articles a month -- the declines they have sound ominous. More details:

+ - Amazon to Let Libraries Lend Kindle Books->

Submitted by thebian
thebian (1218280) writes "Amazon announced yesterday that it would allow 11,000 libraries in the U.S. to lend ebooks. The press release doesn't say exactly when this will start. The Reuters story notes Amazon is trying to speed the adoption of the Kindles. If people are slow to flock to the device the reason is the high prices the publishers cling to. Amazon itself sometimes undercuts Kindle prices, and almost always some booksellers on the Amazon Marketplace undercut the Kindle. There's no indication about what books might be offered through this program. Last month, Amazon moved against the lending service, Lendle. Here's Slashdot's account."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:GS is a big donor to the right people (Score 1) 195

by thebian (#35560008) Attached to: Former Goldman Programmer Sentenced To 97 Months

Yes, you're right. I had the judge and the 8-year sentence on the brain.

But it's more absurd to talk of the prosecutors. Do you think Obama calls each of them up? Sends them an email? Writes a little note? There are a lot of prosecutors if you count all the assistant U.S. attys. The head guys' terms overlap presidents. Many are carried over -- i.e. they are basically nonpolitical. For something as big as the banking collapse, do you think you can shut all of them up?

If you know a prosecutor who thinks his dynamite case against a bank executive has been squelched by the White House, have him call me immediately -- collect. I'll buy you dinner.

You and I may think the bankers are really bad guys, but that doesn't mean they violated the law.

After the S&L debacle in the 80s, several of them, big politcal contributors, too, went to jail. Do you think that Bush the elder had higher morals?

Comment: Re:GS is a big donor to the right people (Score 1) 195

by thebian (#35549048) Attached to: Former Goldman Programmer Sentenced To 97 Months


Do you really think that Obama sends messages to everyone of the thousands of federal judges -- many of whom were appointed by Bush, and all of whom have lifetime jobs -- about every case that they hear? And how many federal charges were even brought against bankers? Under what law?

Do you really think that bribes are paid out in the open so that they can be put on the web for all the people who don't vote to shake their heads at?

I don't know the programmer's case at all, but the sentence does seem outsized for an intellectual property theft. I do believe that it's astounding that all those Wall Street executives just continue to skim off the money they do. But what's that got to do with contributions?

I can see that the connections and business associations between Wall Street firms and government agencies is a lot stronger than those between the Brotherhood of Slashdot Readers and those agencies..

So it works like this: If you want to go back to your nice job at the bank after President X serves his four or eight years, you better make sure X doesn't rock the boat.

The payoff is good will.

Comment: Worst of all worlds (Score 1) 194

by thebian (#35523050) Attached to: NYTimes Unveils Online Subscription Plan

The price is too high. There won't be a rush of subscribers

The number of freebies -- with tweets and fb and limited searching -- will satisfy most, but clicks out of idle curiosity will disappear. And if the clicks disappear, so do the advertisers.

Just how many avid readers do they have? How does this remedy the Times Select move?

Here's why the news business is out of touch with competition on the Internet:

A formal parsing algorithm should not always be used. -- D. Gries