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Comment Re:Didn't see it coming. (Score 1) 63

Freebase makes their data available as free CC-licensed data dumps. You can import this into any database you want. There's no requirement for Metaweb's technology to use the data. It's just a very convenient way to do so!

Comment Re:"Ontological" is a synonym for failure. (Score 1) 63

Early on, we knew we'd have to make a UI so that users could have as close to a free-text experience as possible while still contributing structured data. Freebase lets you create a topic that is generic, and then co-type it with multiple specific types later. It allows ontology geeks to do their thing, and regular users to just work where they are comfortable. It's a tough balance to strike, but Metaweb's Freebase was populated by a small team of data wranglers using a mix of automated methods and coordinated manual cleanup and entry, along with power users who were especially interested in particular data domains.

At one point I was really interested in submarines. I created a type describing the key characterists of subs and then spent a few days finding all the generic topics in Freebase on subs (many from Wikipedia) and filling them in. Others, either at Metaweb or outside, have done similar efforts on other domains.

Few contributors ever say or even have to consider ontologies. If they want to dig in, it's there, but almost never presented in a way that requires a PhD and a pipe.

Comment From the early days to acquisition! (Score 1, Interesting) 63

I was on the founding team at Metaweb when we spun out of Applied Minds. I can answer some questions here, but first I wanted to congratulate the team that brought this company all the way to acquisition.

So, from the beginning we knew that semantic this and ontology that would be a non-starter for most contributors from Planet Earth. While Freebase is a complex system under the hood, the user interface makes contributing data to an existing type (schema) pretty easy. You can add content from a browser window and never know that all of your entries are typed by the system. You can upload a spreadsheet of data and not have to do anything more than say which column is linked to what field in Freebase.

My startup, 24 Hr. Diner, uses Freebase to demo our artist to artist recommendation engine, Jukebox. We have recommendations for 100k artists, and for each of them, we can look up their genre info and photo on Freebase without having to maintain all of that data ourselves.

And if anyone on Slashdot is working for a co. that could use an excellent recommendation engine that handles music, videos, and general web content, ping me!


Google Acquires Metaweb 63

eldavojohn writes "A startup called Metaweb (looks like an ontological, entity-based approach to Web 2.0 tagging) has been acquired by Google. You can find out what they're about from a super marketing fluff video they put together. The neat thing about Metaweb is that the database of entities it has is free. Will Google be able to make Metaweb work on their omniscient scale, or was this just Google making sure a startup doesn't become yet another player in search?"

Univ. of California Faculty May Boycott Nature Publisher 277

Marian the Librarian writes "Nature Publishing Group (NPG), which publishes the prestigious journal Nature along with 67 affiliated journals, has proposed a 400% increase in the price of its license to the University of California. UC is poised to just say no to exorbitant price gouging. If UC walks, the faculty are willing to stage a boycott; they could, potentially, decline to submit papers to NPG journals, decline to review for them and resign from their editorial boards."

Scroogle Has Been Blocked 281

An anonymous reader writes "Scroogle, the secure third-party Google search interface, has been blocked by Google. Scroogle was an SSL-based search proxy that enabled one to search for and receive Google results over an SSL connection in a pseudo-anonymous manner."

Geostationary GPS Satellite Galaxy 15 Out of Control 379

Bruce Perens writes "The Galaxy 15 commercial satellite has not responded to commands since solar flares fried its CPU in April, and it won't turn off. Intelsat controllers moved all commercial payloads to other birds except for WAAS, a system that adds accuracy to GPS for landing aircraft and finding wayward geocaches. Since the satellite runs in 'bent pipe' mode, amplifying wide bands of RF that are beamed up to it, it is likely to interfere with other satellites as it crosses their orbital slots on its way to an earth-sun Lagrange point, the natural final destination of a geostationary satellite without maneuvering power." (More below.)

TSA Worker Jailed In Body Scan Rage Incident 352

A TSA worker in Miami was arrested for aggravated battery after he attacked a co-worker for making fun of the size of his genitals. Rolando Negrin walked through one of the new body scanners during a recent training session and a supervisor started making fun of his manhood. From the article: "According to the police report, Negrin confronted one of his co-workers in an employee parking lot, where he hit him with a police baton on the arm and back."
The Courts

Writer Peter Watts Sentenced; No Jail Time 299

shadowbearer writes "SF writer Peter Watts, a Canadian citizen, whose story we have read about before in these pages, was sentenced three days ago in a Port Huron, MI court. There's not a lot of detail in the story, and although he is still being treated like a terrorist (cannot enter or pass through the US, DNA samples) he was not ordered to do any time in jail, was freed, and has returned home to his family. The judge in the case was, I believe, as sympathetic as the legal system would allow him to be."

Why Tor Users Should Be Cautious About P2P Privacy 122

An anonymous reader writes "I went across your post a few days ago saying that a machine connected to the Internet was all one needed to spy on most BitTorrent users of the Internet. I followed the link to find out that those researchers from INRIA claimed their attacks also worked for BitTorrent users on Tor. I didn't believe it at first, but then today I found this link on the Tor Project. It seems their attacks don't only link your real IP to your BitTorrent files on Tor but also to the web pages that you're browsing! Tell me it's a joke." No joke, but according to Jacob Appelbaum (a Tor developer), the security flaw is more nuanced — and the fault of software outside of Tor. Read on for his explanation of how the privacy benefits of Tor can be easily lost.

Submission + - Consumer webcams with high quality sensors

xmas2003 writes: Since 2005, I've had a live webcam watching my grass grow — another is currently watching a bird nest on my front door — five babies! While I appreciate the 802.11g wireless and Pan/Tilt/Zoom (10x optical) of the 5 year old D-Link DCS-6620g, it has issues, especially image quality. I've investigated getting a new webcam, but except for high-end/security-related gear from companies such as Axis, there doesn't seem to be much improvement in the consumer space as most offerings are just cheaper and USB connected for tethered video conferencing, etc.

I have an 18 Megapixel Canon 7D DSLR that shoots gorgeous 1920x1080x30p hi-def video. While I don't expect that in a consumer webcam, their recently released T2i uses the same chip and sells for $800. And heck, point-n-shoots are a couple of hundred bucks and now many cell phones have cameras built in, so there's plenty of low power speedy CPU's in small packages these days to handle the signal processing.

So why hasn't someone taken a sensor with good image quality sensor, downsized to around 1024x768, and put it in a PTZ webcam package with 802.11n wireless for around $500?

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