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Submission + - Cringely on Big Data and AI

squideatingdough writes: Once again, Robert X. Cringely provides an insightful (and somewhat scary) vision of the future: He describes how today's Artificial Intelligence is so very different from the vision of those IT folks working in the field back in the 80's. And then he goes on to posit how algorithms are improving at a rate that exceeds Moore's Law for hardware. A very interesting read.

Submission + - Bill Gates Patents Detecting, Responding to "Glassholes" 1

theodp writes: As Google Glass goes on sale to the general public, GeekWire reports that Bill Gates has already snagged one patent for 'detecting and responding to an intruding camera' and has another in the works. The invention proposes to equip computer and device displays with technology for detecting and responding to any cameras in the vicinity by editing or blurring the content on the screen, or alerting the user to the presence of the camera. Gates and Nathan Myhrvold are among the 16 co-inventors of the so-called Unauthorized Viewer Detection System and Method, which the patent application notes is useful "while a user is taking public transportation, where intruding cameras are likely to be present." So, is Bill's patent muse none other than NYC subway rider Sergey Brin?

Submission + - Bullied Student Records Bullies, Gets Hit With Felony Charges For Violation (

An anonymous reader writes: Here comes another story highlighting the danger of schools "outsourcing" their disciplinary problems to law enforcement. As we've stated before, this does nothing more than turn routine misconduct into criminal behavior, which is a great way to derail a student's future.

A Pennsylvania teen, who claimed to have been bullied constantly (and ignored by school administration), made an audio recording of his tormentors using a school-supplied iPad. He brought this to the school's attention, which duly responded by calling the cops to have him arrested for violating Pennsylvania's wiretapping law. (h/t to Techdirt reader btr1701)

Maybe the future holds better outcomes, but for right now, everyone involved had a chance to stop this from reaching this illogical conclusion, but no one — from the administrators to their legal team to local law enforcement to the presiding judge — was interested in reining this in. In the end, it looks as though an innate desire to punish someone was satisfied every step of the way.

Comment Re:Groaning all the way (Score 1) 386

I did my own taxes for MANY years until I got laid off. The lay-off pay was not lump sum, so when I landed a new job (pretty quickly) I was pulling in two salaries. I decided to use an accountant (via personal referral--not a "chain-store" firm). And I was very happy with the results. I'm not sure I would have noticed that both companies were taking out for Social Security--and that meant I hit the max cap very quickly. And she noticed some other things I could do that helped minimize my taxes. For only $140/year, it was worth the peace of mind.
Your Rights Online

Submission + - 15-Plus Years in Jail for Posting a Link? (

squideatingdough writes: Bob Cringely reports on the case of Barrett Lancaster Brown, former self-anointed spokesperson for the Anonymous movement, that may be of interest to anyone who posts or otherwise shares a link on the internet. According to federal law, Mr. Brown may be in for a prison sentence of 15 years or more simply for posting a link that contained a list of credit card numbers. He did not use or sell these card numbers--simply posted a link to them. The results of this law should be very troubling for journalists and many other web users, as Bob clearly explains in his post on his Infoworld blog.

Submission + - Astronomers get picture of nearby exoplanet

The Bad Astronomer writes: "While nearly a thousand planets are known to orbit other stars, getting direct pictures of them is extremely difficult due to the glare from their host stars. Fewer than a dozen images of exoplanets exist. However, we can now add one more to the list: Kappa Andromedae b, or Kap And b for short. It's about 170 light years away, and orbits Kappa And, a massive star bright enough to see with the naked eye. One hitch: its mass puts it right at the upper limit for a planet, and it may edge into brown dwarf territory. Further observations are needed to pin its mass down."

Comment Georgia Tech Historical Note (Score 1) 126

As an undergrad at Ga. Tech back in 1969-1973, they had a GRADUATE program in C.S., but no undergrad program. I had a roomate who was working on his masters in C.S., but I could not major in that. Also at that time, there was no minor program available (for anything--not just C.S.). So I majored in physics and took a lot of computer courses when I could. Good old Basic, ALGOL, and Fortran for the most part. I even recall an assembly-level simulation language called "Dummiestron" (or Dummystron?).
Your Rights Online

Submission + - Bloggers Not Journalists, Federal Judge Rules (

squideatingdough writes: On InfoWorld, Robert X. Cringely covers a recent case of a blogger accused of libel and defamation. The federal judge ruled that journalists warrant more protection from libel suits than bloggers, but it is obvious from the article that bloggers' rights can vary by state, depending on the "shield laws" in force.

Submission + - An App to Renegotiate EULAs? (

squideatingdough writes: On Justia, Anita Ramasastry provides a very interesting take on how to possibly fight back against unreasonable terms made in End User Licensing Agreements (EULAs). A recent example, reported earlier in Slashdot, being when Sony amended its terms of use for accessing online games. Have any Slashdot users successfully used any of the techniques mentioned in this article? And are there even other options not mentioned in this article?

Submission + - Using Apps to Change Terms of Use in EULAs? (

squideatingdough writes: A very interesting take on ways to possibly fight back against unreasonable terms made in End User Licensing Agreements (EULAs). A recent example, reported earlier in Slashdot, being when Sony amended its terms of use for accessing online games. Have any Slashdot users successfully used any of the techniques mentioned in this article? And are there even other options not mentioned?

Submission + - Lead Generation Sites Challenge Google (

squideatingdough writes: The NY Times consumer advocate, "The Haggler," has a very interesting story on how lead generation sites are making it difficult to find a service provider that is locally-based. It pays to be cautious when choosing firms from an on-line search.

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