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Comment Re:Bing queries Wolfram Alpha (Score 1) 138

It is. And that's not what Wolfram Alpha does.

I think the reason you're so insistent is that both Google and Wolfram Alpha want to do Natural Language Processing really well. Think of Wolfram Alpha as a CAS with a bunch of data sets pre-loaded and a natural language front-end. Because that's what it is. It can be used as a search engine on very specific data sets, but it is not (only?) a search engine. All a search engine does is tell you what among the domain of things the engine is responsible for could be related to your query.

Saying that Wolfram Alpha is a search engine is like saying your laptop is a calculator -- you can make a case that it's true, but we all know that it is a terrible characterization (and really not true anyways.)

Comment Re:Get rid of drunk driving laws... (Score 1) 549

What we need is for people who drive poorly to be seriously punished.

If a person is swerving all over the road, I don't give a damn why, he needs to be pulled of the road and have his license pulled until he learns to drive. The same for those who follow too close, obstruct traffic, and the like.

Yes. Because these aren't wildly arbitrary standards that would most definitely be selectively and (hopefully, although probably not) arbitrarily enforced.

...or the 300 pound guy who can probably drink four beers over the 'average' number of three and still be safe to drive

Since legislation is written in term of BAC and not in terms of "how many beers you had tonight," this is a non-issue. Also, even someone who weights 300 pounds would be close to/over .08 after 7 beers.

What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Those fundamental rights have been taken away

I understand why people who don't really care about the bill of rights evoke it in every single discussion -- it's a cheap rhetorical device that appeals to American populism, so that rational discourse becomes unequivocally associated with intellectual/authoritarian/nazi/commie attacks on fundamental rights.* But if you really are concerned with the right to due process, it's not a good call to insinuate that industry regulation is a dire threat to due process. You're just contributing to misinformation and confusion.

*ie, person X: "And the nth amendment..."; person Y: "That's no what the nth amendment says, it has never said that, and none of the founding fathers ever had that intention. Also, the courts would find that laughable"; person X: See! Person Y is purposefully limiting what the nth amendment says and revising history! They be nazis!"

Comment Re:Let's do a test. (Score 3, Informative) 138

This post is now the top result on Bing. Win.

Aside: Thees type of tests -- where you ask questions specific ways and gauge results -- are really useful if you'd like to do some experimentation with different search engines and avoid "bias." When I first tried Bing, I was astounded at how terrible it was. But my search results improved significantly when I stopped using "Google idioms," phrases that I know from past trial/error are very likely to get me a certain type of result from Google.

Switching search engines for a week is an interesting introspective exercise.

Comment Re:Obligatory (Score 2) 419

Does a company really have the power to decide who and what can be developed for a piece of hardware it makes?

Maybe; that question is very similar to the legality of jailbreaking and such.

Does a company really have the power to decide who and what can be developed for a piece of hardware it makes?

Mostly indirectly. A company can control:
  • Who gets to use their development libraries
  • Who gets to market products using their trademarks ("for the kinect")
  • Possibly (and this is pure speculation), contractual agreements with retailers and consumers provide Microsoft with other rights.

I thought this was part of American "First Sale" doctrine?

First Sale relates to resale rights, and (AFAIK IANAL) probably not much else. See wikipedia.

So, Microsoft can't stop you and your friends from making a non-distributed, privately used sex game for the kinect using entirely your own software and not distributing that game publically (of course, good luck with that.) If they can, that's bogus and your concerns about slippery slopes and the ability to limit freedoms are probably more justified.

All in all, I don't see much problem with this. History proves that if Microsoft gets too restrictive, both free and proprietary solutions will provide viable alternatives to those of us concerned with freedom.


AT&T Leaks Emails Addresses of 114,000 iPad Users 284

Hugh Pickens writes "Daily Tech reports that in what is one of the biggest leaks of email addresses in recent history, a group called Goatse Security has published the personal email addresses of 114,067 iPad 3G purchasers in what appears to be a legal fashion by querying a public interface that AT&T accidentally left exposed. Apparently AT&T left a script on its public website, which when handed an ICC-ID would respond back with the email address of the subscriber. This apparently was intended for an AJAX-style response inside AT&T's web apps. Gawker reports that it's possible that confidential information about every iPad 3G owner in the US has been exposed. 'This is going to hurt the telecommunications company's already poor image with iPhone and iPad customers, and complicate its very profitable relationship with Apple,' writes Ryan Tate, adding that the leak is likely to unnerve customers thinking of buying iPads that connect to AT&T's cellular network. 'Although the security vulnerability was confined to AT&T servers, Apple bears responsibility for ensuring the privacy of its users, who must provide the company with their email addresses to activate their iPads.' In a statement, AT&T says that the issue was escalated to the highest levels of the company and that it has essentially turned off the feature that provided the email addresses. 'We are continuing to investigate and will inform all customers whose email addresses and ICC IDS may have been obtained,' says AT&T. 'We take customer privacy very seriously and while we have fixed this problem, we apologize to our customers who were impacted.'"

Comment Re:No. (Score 1) 511

I enjoy the irony of the post -- there are two questions posted in the summary -- "is it hype" and "is it real." Answering no to both is perhaps appropriate to point out something along the lines of "it doesn't matter."

But I think a better single answer to both questions is "yes." That is, yes -- adding the pixel changes things. But yes, it is hype (in the sense that the difference isn't meaningful.)

Comment Yes (Score 1) 511

The purpose of introduction the Y is to increase the colour gambit. Theoretically, more colors = more "realistic" images. I think that if you can notice the difference between a picture and the actual object (not in terms of dimension, but in therms of the actual colors) then it's likely that a larger colour gambit would be beneficial.

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