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Comment Re:Target, or Amazon? (Score 4, Interesting) 241

Comment Re:haha (Score 1) 241

At one point, Target had mirrored Amazon's product pages, which resulted in Target appearing to sell marijuana and an anus constricting book. However, that was FIVE YEARS ago. You'd think that Google would eventually figure out that these products are long-dead, and purge them from their index.

Or does Google keep things around forever? Psychologists have discovered that forgetting old memories is actually useful. Maybe Google should follow suit.

Comment Re:Google Dictionary? (Score 2, Insightful) 180

I've used onelook.com for a while, which is another aggregator that (for now) seems to have more links than Google Dictionary does.

But Google Dictionary isn't just an aggregator, they provide their own pronunciations for some words (a really important feature IMHO), and a list of synonyms for some words.

I actually hope that onelook links to Google Dictionary, as strange as an aggregator-linking-to-aggregator might be.

My guess is that Google has been working on computational linguistics for such a long time (stemming has been important for search for a while, and Google lately has started throwing in synonyms to the search results) that it's natural for Google to start exposing some of their internal dataset to the world more directly.

Comment Obligatory (Score 2, Funny) 121

"The Internet is not a big truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it generates more heat and it's going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of boiling water, enormous amounts of boiling water."

Comment Re:Dr Strangelove? (Score 1) 638

From the article:

the counterattack would be controlled by so-called command missiles. ... These missiles would launch first and then radio down coded orders to whatever Soviet weapons had survived the first strike. At that point, the machines will have taken over the war.

From Wikipedia:

these rockets in turn would broadcast attack orders to missiles, bombers and, via radio relays, submarines at sea. Contrary to some Western beliefs, Dr. Blair says, many of Russia's nuclear-armed missiles in underground silos and on mobile launchers can be fired automatically."

That is, it's clear that there's a human in the loop who decides whether to launch the command missiles. But it's not clear that there has to be a human in the loop to fire individual weapons, if those weapons systems were to erroneously conclude that a command missile has remotely ordered it to attack. The US never did this — nuclear weapons always require a person on-site to make the final decision whether to fire.

Comment Re:Illegible Cursive going away? Oh Noez! (Score 1) 857

If fast cursive isn't very legible, then it's not worth keeping as an option. Slow script is much more legible than slow cursive — practically no machine-printed documents use cursive. The only time someone really needs to "write fast" is when they're recording real-time spoken words, and that's what shorthand was invented for.

Comment New standard (Score 1) 438

They'll solve the problem of "how do you download a browser without first having a browser installed?" by providing a minimal front-end whose only purpose is to download a browser:

That screen would allow users to choose from a number of competing browsers, which would then be downloaded and installed on the machine.

To allow this, each browser will need to provide a stable, standard URL that will download the latest version of its browser. Hopefully this can be standardized enough that other OS's can use these stable URLs as well.

Comment Re:Great formatting in this article (Score 4, Informative) 555

View the HTML source, the quotes are actually <i> elements — that is, it's a bug in Slashcode's CSS. The problem is that this bug doesn't occur on every Slashdot page, only some pages. So, likely, when the author composed their message, it was on a page that the bug didn't occur on, so they couldn't have known that it would have rendered so differently on another page.

The buggy part of the CSS page reads:

div.body i{display:block;padding-left:1em;margin:.5em;border-left:3px #ddd solid;font-style:normal;}

Comment Re:Known since at least 2006 (Score 1) 174

Of course there is no reason this is still not fixed (by being able to disable a:visited style)

If the issue were so simple, why has no major browser implemented a proper fix for this yet, despite the fact that we've known about the issue for nine years ?

A:visited is very useful to the user in some circumstances, so it's unacceptable to turn it off for every user in every circumstance. Firefox 3.5 added a hidden preference in case some users want to turn it on sometimes, but that solution doesn't work for 80% of the people out there. Personally, I think applying the "same origin" policy to a:visited is a better solution, but that hasn't been integrated into any mainline either.

Comment Re:Keep in mind (Score 1) 393

They either tend to be dead on arrival or fail at some point many years or months down the line.

The data that Google released from their server farms indicates that the "bathtub curve" isn't shaped anything like what people used to think — infant mortality isn't very significant, and drive failure is more or less random between 2 - 5 years old, during that time, drives don't fail at higher rate the older they get.

Education

MPAA Says Teachers Should Camcord For Fair Use 286

unlametheweak recommends an Ars Technica piece detailing the convoluted lengths to which the MPAA will go in order to keep anybody from ripping a DVD, ever. The organization showed a film to the US Copyright Office, in the triennial hearing to spell out exemptions to the DMCA, giving instructions for how a teacher could use a camcorder to record a low-quality clip of a DVD for educational use — even though such a purpose is solidly established in law as fair use. "Never mind that this solution results in video of questionable quality and requires teachers to learn even more tech in order to get the job done. It also requires schools (or, given the way most schools are run, the teachers themselves) to incur additional costs to purchase camcorders and videotapes if they don't have them already. Add in the extra time involved, and this 'solution' is a laughably convoluted alternative to simply ripping a clip from a DVD."

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