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Comment: WashPo owns Kaplan (Score 3, Informative) 314

by wdavies (#38775448) Attached to: Study Analyzes Recent Grads' Unemployment By Major

Why is there no warning about conflict of interest here? Everytime the Washington Post opens its mouth about Higher Education Policy of any kind, it should be known that they are owners of the $2.3 billion business Kaplan, a major profiteerer in the War on Poor Students...


Comment: If you normalize by Page View Statistics... (Score 1) 285

by wdavies (#38479982) Attached to: The Curious Case of Increasing Misspelling Rates On Wikipedia


My counter(?) hypothesis is that the long tail of articles grows most, and gets no to little proof-reading. Therefore I'd love to see the results normalized by (log maybe) of Page Views (from http://stats.grok.se/ ). I've also a few doubts about the quality of randomly sampled pages in general, and also whether the growth of jargon (which may or may not end up as spelling-errors has increased).

Excellently interesting piece though! Great work.


Comment: Tablet Fever? (Score 1) 267

by wdavies (#36414220) Attached to: Netflix's New Web Interface Gets Thumbs Down From Users

Its unusuable. Thank god my secondary account still has the old school interface.

Netflix had been doing great, especially with the grouping multiple seasons of DVDs finally, and then they pull a stupid stunt like this. What were they thinking.

I wish to god whoever decided that making websites should only display well on iPads comes to a swift and painful death.


Comment: Who is representing the public interest in this? (Score 1) 254

by wdavies (#33196336) Attached to: Google & Verizon's Real Net Neutrality Proposal

As someone who has family in the public policy business I know that there are generally two sides in these debates - the corporate side and the public side. Usually there's one or more non-profit that leads the public interest comment-gathering, regulation reading/wrangling and lobbies on our behalf (ie read not the corporations behalf).

I see nothing in this discussion so far about a coordinated campaign to seriously propose pro-Net-Neutrality regulation. CREDO has been posting some stuff, as have EFF I think, but is there an umbrella organization that is organizing opposition to a corporate reign of this area?

Incidentally, despite all the bribery and corruption, a lot of lobbying is simply about who has the ear of the right Senatorial and Congressional aides, and advising them about the difficult issues on a debate. The challenge for the public is having an organized lobbying ability on every issue. Too often its just the corporations who have the resources to make their case.


Comment: Re:pessimism about EV cars or Tesla as a company? (Score 1) 274

by wdavies (#32735684) Attached to: Tesla IPO Raises $226 Million

Indeed, and Google is a classic case in point. It wasn't Altavista, Infoseek, Excite, or even GOTO (remember them, they invented bidded search ads), it was Google that came after and put together a very scalable and flexible architecture. They refined the standard IR algs, refined bidded ads, etc as well, but they weren't the first movers. Same goes for Ford, and I suspect Boeing (hello, Wright Brothers Airlines anyone?)

Its the person that gets the large scale infrastructure right that wins. What is the correct infrastructure is going to be almost unpredictable at the start of a new technology.


Comment: Wikipedia and ER (Score 1) 368

by wdavies (#32243248) Attached to: Doctors Seeing a Rise In "Google-itis"

First of all, no offence, but who is Doctor Valek? and SouthTownStar.com? Bring me a refereed journal article next time...

As a counterpoint to all the anecdotal Google saved my life (and I have no problem with the claims), was the time 6 months ago when I went to the ER after I had misidentified my swollen uvula as the epiglottis, and after googling swollen epiglottis, found out I was likely to die if I didnt get to a hospital (which is true). When I got there, the ER doctor was pretty amused, and sent me home with a hard copy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palatine_uvula after he googled it for me... then my wife laughed a lot.


Comment: Micro-VC laws? (Score 1) 146

by wdavies (#32241076) Attached to: Is Diaspora the Future of Free Software Funding?

I sponsored them, out of a sense that their idea (distributed ownership of social networking) is a good idea. I think Facebook's multiple faux pas added a huge impetus to their publicity, the least of which was the NY Times article. Frankly, if you can get a NYTimes article you are heads and shoulders ahead in publicity.

However, one thing did bother me about this, not the lack of contracts or whatever, it is a donation, with no expectations. But what are the rules that govern micro-finance loans, venture capitalism, etc. I mean, why couldnt you just have KickStarter work as a micro-VC plain and simple, and get shares in these projects? VC tend are required to only get money from large net worth individuals. Microloans it appears anyone can participate in? So why not micro-VC ? I guess the difference is in Oversight? If I donate money to something, I know I am giving it away (and presumably have a motivation such as supporting free software or whatever). However if I invest it in a MVCfund I have some expectation of getting it back - Micro-loans have a much lower degree of risk - VCs are at 5% or whatever, chance of success.

Anyone else thinking about this stuff?


Comment: Re:Reconstructing? (Score 1) 44

by wdavies (#31977148) Attached to: Reconstructing Users' Web Histories From Personalized Search Results

The title of the original paper is: Private Information Disclosure from Web Searches.

They found a security vulnerability, and retrieved the information using probable prefixes. The reason I dislike the title is because it sounds a lot like the SIGIR 06 paper


where they actually did reconstruction using publicly available information combined with
collaborative filtering like technology against anonymized data.

This article isn't a bad one, and interesting, but it's title is misleading. Its a security hole, not a fundamentally powerful data-mining technique.


Aren't you glad you're not getting all the government you pay for now?