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Comment Re:Truth (Score 2) 124

It is insightful and about sums up the issue.

I think a lot of this has to do with (excuse me while I silently vomit as I say this) 'thought leaders' - (or in proper terms) 'influential people' deciding that Google should or shouldn't offer up - from politicians to the heads of certain political, social, or other advocacy groups.

In so far as Google intends to placate these concerns, it's up shit creek if it just wants to return actual valid results that aren't influenced by such concerns. That ship has sailed. It has become too big and so must 'reflect society's values'.

Unless it's a little crafty.

All it has to do is create a seperate domain for unfiltered results that operate as old Google did (I know, nothing is unfiltered/unbiased) and let the politicans and media mouths have their sanitised Google results, while anyone who wants real(er) results bookmarks rawfeed.google.com, or whatever.

Comment Re:surface plz (Score 2) 129

Yeah, geosynchronous satellites are way out there at about 6 Earth radii with 700ms ping times.

We're talking about all of the new low earth orbit mesh networks, though, that SpaceX and Facebook and Google and Virgin Atlantic have all expressed interest in launching, either as part of the Iridium 2 constellation or in competition with it.

Here's a visualization I've made of SpaceX's proposed 4000+ node constellation based on mission parameters that Elon Musk has announced publicly:
https://youtu.be/neLPRMrhy80
Imagine trying to clear a comfortable launch window through that!

Not sure if he's really serious about it, or if it's just a bargaining chip to get better negotiations for the Iridium 2 launches. But the factory for these things is just down the road across town, so I suppose I could go check.

Comment Re:There are only four programs that matter (Score 2) 249

You're forgetting the other other big one: interest payments on national debt.

But even all of the "small beans" items are larger than they look... for example, the federal spending on education contributes only about 7% of the actual operating costs for a K-12 school, the majority of which is typically paid by State, County, City, and local taxes. But the feds make schools really work and jump through lots of hoops and administer tests to tick off the boxes that allows them to tap into that 7% of funding.

Anyway, http://www.usgovernmentspendin... does a better job including some of these other tax revenue streams into the total picture.

If anyone is interested in one-upping Steve Ballmer, have at it. Lots of source data from the White House Office of Management and Budget:
https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/brow...
All the raw data is there in lots and lots of Excel spreadsheets. Not very well organized or visualized, but it's there.

I got interested in doing something like this after an engineering accounting class I took a decade ago:
http://hairball.mine.nu/~rwa2/...

Comment Re:The only assistant that's good (Score 1) 137

Yeah, that's actually an option for Alexa.... you can change her trigger to "computer" so you can say things like:

"Computer, turn on dungeon lights"

Assuming you have her connected to a Wink hub with a preset named "Dungeon Lights"

Of course, I (and everyone else who stalks me online, for that matter) am eagerly saving up to install a connected lock, so I can stand outside my house and yell "Computer, open the pod bay doors!" and have it happen.

Comment Re: Golden age of remakes maybe (Score 2) 1222

Eh, I watched Ex Machina and Chappie (and Wall-E and Big Hero 6) on the same transpacific flight, and I think they all belong... exploring different aspects of the same AI imagination. Maybe more on the level of Short Circuit, but it was still cute. Anyway, same director as District 9, and it's a neat and somewhat pragmatic vision of the not-too-distant future.

The Internet

Tennessee Could Give Taxpayers America's Fastest Internet For Free, But It Gave Comcast and AT&T $45 Million Instead (vice.com) 341

Chattanooga, Tennessee is home to some of the fastest internet speeds in the United States, offering city dwellers Gbps and 10 Gpbs connections. Instead of voting to expand those connections to the rural areas surrounding the city, which have dial up, satellite, or no internet whatsoever, Tennessee's legislature voted to give Comcast and AT&T a $45 million taxpayer handout. Motherboard reports: The situation is slightly convoluted and thoroughly infuriating. EPB -- a power and communications company owned by the Chattanooga government -- offers 100 Mbps, 1 Gbps, and 10 Gpbs internet connections. A Tennessee law that was lobbied for by the telecom industry makes it illegal for EPB to expand out into surrounding areas, which are unserved or underserved by current broadband providers. For the last several years, EPB has been fighting to repeal that state law, and even petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to try to get the law overturned. This year, the Tennessee state legislature was finally considering a bill that would have let EPB expand its coverage (without providing it any special tax breaks or grants; EPB is profitable and doesn't rely on taxpayer money). Rather than pass that bill, Tennessee has just passed the "Broadband Accessibility Act of 2017," which gives private telecom companies -- in this case, probably AT&T and Comcast -- $45 million of taxpayer money over the next three years to build internet infrastructure to rural areas.

Submission + - Investigation Finds Inmates Built Computers, Hid Them In Prison Ceiling (cbs6albany.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The discovery of two working computers hidden in a ceiling at the Marion Correctional Institution prompted an investigation by the state into how inmates got access. In late July, 2015 staff at the prison discovered the computers hidden on a plywood board in the ceiling above a training room closet. The computers were also connected to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction's network. Authorities say they were first tipped off to a possible problem in July, when their computer network support team got an alert that a computer "exceeded a daily internet usage threshold." When they checked the login being used, they discovered an employee's credentials were being used on days he wasn't scheduled to work. That's when they tracked down where the connection was coming from and alerted Marion Correctional Institution of a possible problem. Investigators say there was lax supervision at the prison, which gave inmates the ability to build computers from parts, get them through security checks, and hide them in the ceiling. The inmates were also able to run cabling, connecting the computers to the prison's network.

Submission + - Google Ruins the Assistant's Shopping List, Turns It Into a Google Express Ad (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The Google Assistant, Google's voice assistant that powers the Google app on Android phones, tablets, and Google Home, has just gotten a major downgrade. In a move reminiscent of all the forced and user-hostile Google+ integrations, Google has gutted the Google Assistant's shopping list functionality in order to turn it into a big advertisement for Google's shopping site, Google Express. The shopping list has been a major feature of the Google Assistant. You can say "Add milk to my shopping list," and the Google Assistant would dutifully store this information somewhere. The shopping list used to live in Google Keep. Keep is Google's primary note-taking app, making it a natural home for the shopping list with lots of useful tools and management options. Now the shopping list lives in Google Express. Express is an online shopping site, and it has no business becoming a dedicated place to store a shopping list that probably has nothing to do with Google's online marketplace. Since Google Express is an online shopping site (and, again, has no business having a note-taking app grafted onto it), the move from Keep to Google Express means the Assistant's shopping list functionality loses the following features: Being able to reorder items with drag and drop.
Reminders; Adding images to the shopping list; Adding voice recordings to the shopping list; Real time collaboration with other users (Express has sharing, but you can't see other people as they type—you have to refresh.); Android Wear integration; Desktop keyboard shortcuts; Checkbox management: deleting all checked items, unchecking all items, hiding checkboxes. Alternatively, the move from Keep to Google Express means the Assistant shopping list gains the following features: Google Express advertising next to every list item; Google Express advertising at the bottom of the page.

Submission + - The Kodi development team wants to be legitimate and bring DRM to the platform. (torrentfreak.com)

pecosdave writes: The XBMC/ Kodi development team has taken a lot of heat over the years, mostly due to third party developers introducing piracy plugins to the platform, then in many cases cheap Android computers are often sold with these plugins pre-installed with the Kodi or XBMC name attached to them. The Kodi team is not happy about this, and has taken the fight to the sellers. The Kodi team is now trying to work with rights holders to introduce DRM and legitimate plugins to the platform. Is this the first step towards creating a true one-stop do it yourself Linux entertainment system?

Submission + - How Google Book Search Got Lost (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: When Google started its Book Search project nearly 15 years ago, it seemed impossibly ambitious: An upstart tech company that had just tamed and organized the vast informational jungle of the web would now extend the reach of its search box into the offline world. It was the company's first real moonshot, aspiring to make all the world's books digitally accessible—and in doing so, somehow produce a phase-shift in human awareness. But between legal battles and a slowly dwindling sense of ambition, Google Books never achieved those great heights, and today, it's settled into a quiet middle age of sourcing quotes and serving up snippets of text from the 25 million-plus tomes in its database. At Backchannel, Scott Rosenberg chronicles the project's rise and fall, writing that "Google employees maintain this is all they ever intended to achieve. Maybe so. But they sure got everyone else’s hopes up."

Submission + - SPAM: Exploit Revealed For Remote Root Access Vulnerability Affecting Many Routers

Orome1 writes: Back in January 2013, researchers from application security services firm DefenseCode unearthed a remote root access vulnerability in the default installation of some Cisco Linksys (now Belkin) routers. The flaw was actually found in Broadcom’s UPnP implementation used in popular routers, and ultimately the researchers extended the list of vulnerable routers to encompass devices manufactured by the likes of ASUS, D-Link, Zyxel, US Robotics, TP-Link, Netgear, and others. Since there were millions of vulnerable devices out there, the researchers refrained from publishing the exploit they created for the flaw, but now, four years later, they’ve released their full research again, and this time they’ve also revealed the exploit.
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