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Comment Re:privacy? (Score 1) 276

Justifiably, there are a lot of comments here along the line of "too many results". Apparently, search engines think that lots of results are preferable to few results. In a way that makes sense because if you get the right answer (more properly, a right answer) early on, what do you care about the following million irrelevancies?

The /. mindset seems to be "...if only I could enter the right (possibly nonexistent today) command or switch or whatever, then I'd get the right results early in the results list, and to heck with the rest." Personally I think this "forward" approach is unsolvable. If it were doable I think we'd be a lot closer to it today.

Instead of the "forward" approach I suggest a "back-end" approach: if the best a browser can do is hand you a boatload of possibilities, maybe the browser should supply you with tools to refine those possibilities. One idea along these lines is to consider your list of results as a series of entries in a relational database, and let you refine the list with, say, SQL-like commands. For example:


-- Limits further operations to the first 1000 results. Note this doesn't delete the actual pages (!), just the entries in the "database" of search results.


-- Gets rid of all pages containing "Hillary" if the url contains "clinton". Yes, it's a lot of typing but the browser saves all commands and you can create a file that is auto-executed for every search result, if it means that much to you.

FOR ALL ENTRY IN RESULTS IF ENTRY.date > '2014/06/20' and ENTRY.date < '2014/12/21' THEN PASS ELSE DELETE ENTRY;

-- Removes everything except pages made in Summer/Fall of 2014. It must have been a very good year.

And so on.

About half of the /. community is about ready to pounce on this as being unworkable. Commands that require searching lots of url's, even if limited to 1000, can take a long time to execute. At the moment this is true but that doesn't mean things will stay that way. "All" it takes are support hooks in the master database. E.g., "Is 'Hillary' in <url0>,<url1>,<url2>,<url3>,<url4>,etc." Presumably the search index can answer this without any network I/O.

Probably what's needed is a research project that identifies what kind of properties are useful in the "results database". No need to build your own search engine -- just send a search command to Google (under program control) and harvest the results, building the "results database". It's not that hard. Building an SQL-like command parser isn't that difficult either, assuming knowledge of lex and yacc, or the like. It's a bit more difficult to figure out what properties and commands are useful. (If any!)

Summer Of Code, anyone?

Comment Re:So what? (Score 0) 944

> You do realize that the colour spectrum of LEDs is a solved problem, right?

But that doesn't mean MY problem is solved. It's not clear to me I'll be able to find a bulb of the right size with all the features, such as 50-100-150 3-way, good color spectrum, dimmability etc.

Imagine all the Yahoos at Home Depot who will tell you this or that bulb will work for whatever purpose you specify, when in fact they're just following their training: sell first and leave the returns for the insensitive clods at the returns desk.

Comment Re:but how much IO can they do?? (Score 1) 272

As an aside, does anyone know if there exists a software package that lets you perform securely encrypted incremental remote backups?

I have EaseUS Todo Backup and it looks like it can do all that, but it costs money (~$30) and probably only runs on Windows. I've got a Linksys Slug with 3TB storage and use EaseUS for weekly full and nightly differential backups. But I don't use encryption...hmm, I wonder why?


Submission + - 'Stuxnet-like' Malware Hits Manufacturing Industries in Iran (securityweek.com)

wiredmikey writes: Iranian officials on Tuesday said that a “Stuxnet-like” cyber attack against hit some industrial units in a southern province.
"A virus had penetrated some manufacturing industries in Hormuzgan province, but its progress was halted," Ali Akbar Akhavan said, quoted by the ISNA news agency.

Akhavan said the malware was "Stuxnet-like" but did not elaborate and that the attack had occurred over the "past few months." One of the targets of the latest attack was the Bandar Abbas Tavanir Co, which oversees electricity production and distribution in Hormuzgan and adjacent provinces. He also accused "enemies" of constantly seeking to disrupt operations at Iran's industrial units through cyber attacks, without specifying how much damage had been caused.

Iran has blamed the US and Israel for cyber attacks in the past. In April, it said a voracious malware attack had hit computers running key parts of its oil sector and succeeded in wiping data off official servers.


Submission + - Dell Gives up on Android, Doubles Down on Windows 8 (maximumpc.com)

hugheseyau writes: ""Dell vice chairman Jeff Clarke made a less than shocking announcement at this year’s Dell World Conference in Austin. The company is officially giving up on Android phones and tablets. ... So if Dell is giving up on Android, what comes next? The company claims its doubling down on Windows 8, and the enterprise market.""

Submission + - Missing e-mail

Antony-Kyre writes: Since Microsoft hasn’t been of any help, I’m asking Slashdot. Ever since they switched from the previous look to that “Outlook” look in Hotmail, I haven’t received any spam. This isn’t spam I block. This is spam I’m collecting that I’d like to eventually report and/or investigate (long story). It’s been days now (not opening any messages to check the last time I received e-mail), and I don’t know what to do. I usually expect perhaps dozens a week, but unless a spam network was recently taken down, I figure Hotmail is blocking e-mail at its source. Has anyone else been having similar problems?

Comment Re:The short list. (Score 1) 102

Very nice list.

I'd like to propose home schooling aids. No, home schooling is not new. What is new is the large amount of help now available for parents who are willing and able to teach their own kids.

Also: education vouchers, where parents can choose to send their children to schools outside their district.

Both of these are politically charged innovations that try to address some problems with American education. So was Brown. Not everybody needs to approve of an innovation for it to have an impact.

Comment Re:To bad that non college education does not resp (Score 1) 102

[...] My point? Shakespeare possibly would get marks on his paper in a modern school for 'bad spelling.' The nattering pedants who fuss excessively about spelling are a modern phenomenon.[...]

I suspect if Shakespeare knew he had a standard to follow, he most likely would have followed it and only gotten good marks. Especially with the spelling correctors available today.

Comment Re:Use a tiny PC (Score 1) 434

IIRC, tiny PCs use a single 1GB DRAM chip soldered (not socketed) to the mainboard. You might want to toss in a few carefully-wrapped spares. And a soldering iron if you're really concerned.

If everybody knows there's a PC with Linux / USB / SATA then you've got a good storage standard all can adhere to.

Comment Re:It's like this. (Score 1) 878

Thank you for some much-needed levity.

I didn't see Grammar Nazis when I read this article. I misread "gaffes" as "giraffes", and thus pictured that "grammar gaffes have invaded the office", which is quite an amusing thought when you try to envision it, especially the commotion when they walk in through the lobby yelling at everyone who ends a sentence with a preposition. My grammar giraffes might have been German nonetheless though because they were wearing kaiser helmets and spoke with a German accent. Come to think of it, now when I picture them they're wearing Nazi armbands around their legs and are sentencing office workers who confuse "lose" and "loose" to labor camps where they'll toil in the sun picking acacia leaves.

Except giraffes can't speak, except for grunts and the like ... so you can't fault their grammar.

Comment Re:They're just like other students. (Score 1) 265

Forty years ago I was in much the same position. One day, after the lecture (I dunno, chi-square maybe) a student came up and wanted to know what the formula was. I explained how there wasn't a standalone formula, this was a procedure that involved several formulas...but understanding the whole procedure was required.

To make a long story short, he didn't get it. I don't know how many other students didn't get it either; they seem to think the course was all about regurgitating formulas. Maybe that's the psych students' view of math.

Maybe I was just a lousy teacher, but I got high ratings from the class after the semester, so that seems unlikely.

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