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Movies

Some Netflix Users Have Rated 50,000 Shows 134

Posted by timothy
from the suckling-at-the-boob-tube dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Netflix has released some statistics about its users, showing that more than one percent of its customer base has rated 5,000 shows or more, and a few hundred users have rated over 50,000. A reporter for The Atlantic tracked down a few of those extreme users to find out why they do it. Mike Reilly, a producer, heard about the Netflix prize, and wanted to test the limits of the movie recommendation algorithm. Lorraine Hopping Egan has rated about 6,500 movies, but she still uses word of mouth when trying to decide what to watch."
Social Networks

Foursquare-Style Checking In For Couch Potatoes 86

Posted by Soulskill
from the real-life-achievements-are-getting-out-of-hand dept.
This CNN article discusses a new breed of mobile "check-in" apps for people who aren't particularly mobile. The news apps were borne from the popularity of Foursquare, Gowalla, and Facebook Places, but instead of focusing on locations you've been, they spotlight movies and TV shows you watch, as well as books you read and video games you play. "These apps let users earn virtual rewards and meet fans with similar interests. Users also can push their check-ins to other sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, to keep the conversation going. They each have their own benefits on top of that, from giving users recommendations based on the things they already like to letting them unlock videos and other extras when they've become 'super fans' of a show. ... While people in the United States may all have different hobbies and engage in different activities away from home, 'we know most people do three things — they eat, they sleep and they watch TV,' [Miso's CEO, Somrat Niyogi said.] 'We think the market is massive. We think this is going to be a much bigger market' than location-based apps, he added."

Comment: Re:Patent and disclosure... (Score 3, Interesting) 487

by thesolo (#32846600) Attached to: Open Source Music Fingerprinter Gets Patent Nastygram
Weirdly, Shazam have published a fairly thorough paper on how their search algorithm works. While devoid of any actual code, it doesn't seem as though the blog in question has given away any trade secrets that aren't easily derived from this paper and other bodies of work online.

Of course, by threatening the guy Shazam & LDS have created their very own Streisand Effect; this is front page on /., Digg, Reddit, YCombinator, etc., which means millions of people have now seen the "infringing" code, with many saving it or tweaking it. I'm certain someone will mirror it in a country that doesn't validate software patents as well. One also wonders if they're going to sue Google or demand they clear the cache.

As for me, I won't be using their software, and I will be contacting them to register my disgust, though it probably will make no difference in their attitude.

Comment: Full text of the provision. (Score 2, Interesting) 285

by thesolo (#32782114) Attached to: Colleges Risk Losing Federal Funding If They Don't Fight Piracy
You can read the full text of the bill on the Library of Congress website. Here is the offending piece:

Section 493:

29 The institution certifies that the institution

A has developed plans to effectively combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including through the use of a variety of technology-based

B will, to the extent practicable, offer alternatives to illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property, as determined by the institution in consultation with the chief technology officer or other designated officer of the institution.

That said, language about it has been in there since the very first draft in 2007, Section 485:

An annual disclosure that explicitly informs students that unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject the students to civil and criminal liabilities;

2 a summary of the penalties for violation of Federal copyright laws;

3 a description of the institution's policies with respect to unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, including disciplinary actions that are taken against students who engage in unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials using the institution's information technology system; and

4 a description of actions that the institution takes to prevent and detect unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material on the institution's information technology system.

The bill's primary sponsor, Rep. George Miller, doesn't appear to get any funding at all from the RIAA/MPAA according to OpenSecrets, so I'm guessing that language was put in place by one of the other 29 cosponsors, or by committee. I'd love to find out where that provision originated.

Comment: Re:No, Seriously... (Score 1, Interesting) 651

by thesolo (#30771006) Attached to: Google Attackers Identified as Chinese Government

What I have not doped out yet to my own satisfaction is whether the tepid response from Washington is the fault of the current administration, confusion regarding the digital nature of the breach and assets, or a little of both.

Oh for fuck's sake...

What you see as tepid, I see as extremely diplomatic. There's an open investigation into this, the Dept. of State surely doesn't have all the details yet. What would you prefer they do, issue a hawkish, threatening letter? Or perhaps demands?

8 years of poor foreign policy and unnecessary demands got us very little sympathy or friends on the global stage. I think maybe you should give the Dept of State time to process all the details before they issue an ultimatum.

Comment: Re:A comment from Tynt (Score 3, Insightful) 495

by thesolo (#30770382) Attached to: Tynt Insight Is Watching You Cut and Paste

Why not an opt in?

Do you really need to ask? Because no one would opt-in for it! But just do it without telling anyone, and most people outside of tech groups don't even know what it is or that it's operating in the background.

Quoth Grace Hopper, "It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission."

Books

Asimov Estate Authorizes New I, Robot Books 426

Posted by timothy
from the automatic-writing dept.
daria42 writes "In a move guaranteed to annoy long-term science fiction fans, the estate of legendary science fiction author Isaac Asimov, who passed away in 1992, has authorized a trilogy of sequels to his beloved I, Robot short story series, to be written by relatively unknown fantasy author Mickey Zucker Reichert. The move is already garnering opposition online. 'Isaac Asimov died forty years after they were first written. If he had wanted to follow them up, he would have. The author's intentions need to be respected here,' writes sci-fi/fantasy book site Keeping the Door."
OS X

Apple Says Booting OS X Makes an Unauthorized Copy 865

Posted by timothy
from the slice-the-ram-nodes-to-find-copy-four dept.
recoiledsnake writes "Groklaw has an extensive look at the latest developments in the Psystar vs. Apple story. There's a nice picture illustrating the accusation by Apple that Psystar makes three unauthorized copies of OS X. The most interesting, however, is the last copy. From Apple's brief: 'Finally, every time Psystar turns on any of the Psystar computers running Mac OS X, which it does before shipping each computer, Psystar necessarily makes a separate modified copy of Mac OS X in Random Access Memory, or RAM. This is the third unlawful copy.' Psystar's response: 'Copying a computer program into RAM as a result of installing and running that program is precisely the copying that Section 117 provides does not constitute copyright infringement for an owner of a computer program. As the Ninth Circuit explained, permitting copies like this was Section 117's purpose.' Is Apple seriously arguing that installing a third party program and booting OS X results in copyright infringement due to making a derivative work and an unauthorized copy?"
Music

"Three Strikes" To Go Ahead In Britain 294

Posted by Soulskill
from the follow-the-money dept.
David Gerard writes "Lord Peter Mandelson has carefully ignored the Gowers Report and the Carter Report, instead taking the advice of his good friend David Geffen and announcing that 'three strikes and you're out' will become law in Britain. The Open Rights Group has, of course, hit the roof. Oh, and never mind MI5 and the police pointing out that widespread encryption will become normal, hampering their efforts to keep up with little things like impending terrorist atrocities. Still, worth it to stop a few Lily Allen tracks being shared, right?"
Businesses

Banking Via Twitter? 193

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the what-not-to-do dept.
In the latest example of how just because you can do something doesn't mean you should, one credit union has decided to offer a new feature, dubbed "tweetMyMoney," that allows members to interact with their accounts via Twitter. Can't wait for the next version, "tweetSomeoneElsesMoney." "tweetMyMoney, available exclusively to Vantage members! With tweetMyMoney, you can monitor your account balance, deposits, withdrawals, holds and cleared checks with simple commands. And, you can even transfer funds within your account. It's all available on Twitter, 24/7!"
Government

DHS Ponders "Improving" Terrorism Alert System 320

Posted by kdawson
from the stock-up-on-duct-tape dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The DHS's color-coded terrorism risk warning system has often been criticized on a number of grounds. However, it seems that at last DHS has taken note of these criticisms and is finally planning to fix one of its problems. Which one? Well, since the two lowest levels have never been used in the history of the program, the solution is obvious: just get rid of them! In the new system, the lowest level would be yellow, 'guarded,' representing 'A constant state of vigilance to protect against a terrorist attack.' While it's nice that they're at least no longer maintaining a pretense of it being for anything other than fear-mongering, I don't think this was the kind of change most people were hoping for."
Image

Trapped Girls Call For Help On Facebook 380 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-my-are-you-in-danger-quiz dept.
definate writes "Two teenage girls (aged 10 and 12) found themselves trapped/lost in a stormwater drain in Adelaide, South Australia. The interesting point of this article that makes it Slashdot worthy, is that although the teenage girls had mobile phones, instead of calling for help using 000 (Australia's 911 number), they decided to notify people through Facebook. My guess is it was something along the lines of 'Jane Doe is like totally trapped in a stormwater drain, really need help, OMG!'. Luckily a young friend of the girls was online at the time and was able to call the proper authorities."

Password Hackers Do Big Business With Ex-Lovers 197

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the time-to-get-sneakier dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that disgruntled lovers and spouses considering divorce are flocking to services like YourHackerz.com that boast they have little trouble hacking into Web-based e-mail systems like AOL, Yahoo, Gmail, Facebook and Hotmail. The services advertise openly, and there doesn't appear to be much anyone can do about it because while federal law prohibits hacking into e-mail, without further illegal activity, it's only a misdemeanor, says Orin Kerr, a law professor at George Washington University. 'The feds usually don't have the resources to investigate and prosecute misdemeanors,' says Kerr. 'And part of the reason is that normally it's hard to know when an account has been compromised, because e-mail snooping doesn't leave a trace.' It's not clear where YourHackerz.com is located, but experts suspect that most password hacking businesses are based overseas."

Schooling, Homeschooling, and Now, "Unschooling" 1345

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the everything-i-need-to-know-i-learned-from-quake dept.
ciaohound writes "The Baltimore Sun has a story about 'unschooling,' which is like homeschooling except, well, without the schooling. '...unschooling incorporates every facet of a child's life into the education process, allowing a child to follow his passions and learn at his own pace, year-round. And it assumes that an outing at the park — or even hours spent playing a video game — can be just as valuable a teaching resource as Hooked on Phonics.' If you have ever been forced to sit in a classroom where no learning was taking place, you may understand the appeal. A driving force behind the movement is parents' dissatisfaction with regular schools, and presumably with homeschooling as well. Yet few researchers are even aware of unschooling and little research exists on its effectiveness. Any Slashdotters who have experience with 'unschooling?'"

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