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Comment Raters gonna rate (Score 5, Interesting) 67

I've actually been a Google rater. I spent about 2 years total doing it--long enough to become a 'moderator' who ensures quality feedback from other raters--in between, and supplemental to, "real" jobs. Raters give feedback on lots of Google services but it falls into two buckets: ranking the quality of legitimate results, and learning to spot the "spam".

Legit results are easy. Spam is more interesting. For one thing, I didn't entirely agree with their definition of what spam was--that's part of the reason you still see spammy results in some searches. The other part of course is that the spammers are constantly changing tactics. But it was actually kind of fun learning to spot the various methods spammers can use, and know that I was helping to improve search results by getting them off the front page (and hopefully off the top 100 pages).

But I always assumed that rater feedback was used to judge and adjust The Algorithm rather than individual page results. The Algorithm has always been king at Google.

Comment Re:Less work, more life (Score 1) 969

As an American who worked in Denmark (Aarhus and Copenhagen) for two years, I have to laugh at the "better quality of life" meme that people so easily assert about Europe in general, and Scandinavia in particular. Maybe true if your definition of quality of life is only based on nationalized health care, but for the things I consider QoL, they're far behind. Even in the upscale neighborhood of Copenhagen where I lived, the homes (nearly all row houses, natch) are small, old, mildly drafty and unsoundproofed, with feeble plumbing and heating. Denmark's per capita disposable income is also among the lowest in Europe, thanks to exorbitant income tax rates. But wait, you say, Denmark is routinely hailed as one of the most "happy" nations on earth? How do you explain that? Here's why, though an explanation alone can never make it sink in the way firsthand experience can. Many of you will dismiss this explanation as egotistical, nationalistic, racist, ignorant...whatever. For the rest of you: Danes are happy in their low-disposable-income, somewhat-shoddy-living-condition lives because they are all in it together. The quality of shared "Danishness" is a cultural foundation that most Americans literally cannot even imagine. They are a small, proud, culturally, economically and genetically homogenous culture who are individually willing to make shared sacrifices because they see the benefits going to people like themselves. This is why the so-called Scandanavian Model can never, EVER work in the US. And it's not so much that they backstab and keep others from getting ahead, as that there are very strong, generally unspoken social norms such that being seen as trying to get ahead of your fellow Dane is a cause for gradual social ostricization. The culture doesn't hold people back, it prevents them from wanting to risk getting ahead. Important difference. And to any Danes reading, I do love a lot of things about your country. It's the only place in the world where people feel safe enough to leave their babies in strollers outside the supermarket while they shop (incredulous foreigners, I have seen this more times than I can count!). I just can't stand my fellow Americans misunderstanding *why* Denmark is lovely--and the fact that we can never be like you.

Comment Conflict of interest? (Score 0) 504

So a skeptic was financially supported by like-minded corporate interests? Stop the presses! I look forward to the shocker exposes detailing how climate change evangelists were given grant money (from likeminded sources) to perform more studies which confirmed *their* beliefs. Oh wait--that won't ever happen. Because the academic grant system is pure and unbiased. LMAO.

Comment Re:NO. (Score 1) 503

I can make a telephone call to almost any country in the world from here. The UN doesn't seem to have done a bad job ensuring that this works correctly...

Do you seriously believe that the UN gets credit for global telecommunications? I'm sure they'd love to, a la Al Gore, agree with you but that's ridiculous. And would you seriously claim that the UN--a political organization by definition--would somehow NOT politicize ICANN more than it is now? Some people don't like America having the control it does, but that's political as well. Show me one way in which the US has abused its oversight and then we can talk about reasons for a possible shift in control. Until then, stop your reflexive inclination toward warm fuzzy handholding, and get back to work improving the world rather than trying to control what others have made.

Comment Re:Not terribly surprising (Score 1) 479

it is unreasonable for these people to pay the same price as someone who just checks their e-mail and sends photos to their grandchildren.

Yes, let's also say it is unreasonable that some people use public roads more than others--it's just not fair! Why should two people who pay the same taxes get different levels of service? The reason it is reasonable for people to pay similar amounts for disparate useage are:

  • there are already cheap-o plans for cost conscious, low-use customers.
  • pay-per-byte plans are ridiculously transparent excuses to bilk all customers as much as possible
  • see reason #2

Just wait for the lawsuits to start rolling in when people with unsecured wi-fi points get billed for their neighbors' usage...then the government will respond by making it illegal to use open wi-fi spots, as "theft of services"...then we'll all be logging in to the interwebs with our government-issued tracking ID... It's a 'solution' to solve a non-existent problem.

Comment Apple is only a player in the media's mind (Score 2, Insightful) 205

Sales of the iPhone are are currently around 1.35 million units. To put that in perspective, in 2007 about 1.13 BILLION handsets will be sold worldwide. So Apple's market share could be generously estimated at about 0.2%--they just aren't a real player in the phone market.

Apple shouldn't be concerned about the Google phone. They should be concerned about what will happen in a year or so when the media hype has worn off and there are a dozen viable (and more functional) iPhone equivalents.

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