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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Thursday Tabloidese Tacenda

I often suspected...

FCC's Enforcement Bureau today announced a $750,000 settlement with Smart City Holdings, LLC for blocking consumers' Wi-Fi at various convention centers around the United States. 

Smart City, an Internet and telecommunications provider for conventions, meeting centers, and hotels, had been blocking personal mobile 'hotspots' that were being used by convention visitors and exhibitors who used their own data plans rather than paying Smart City substantial fees to use the company's Wi-Fi service.


I wonder how this compares to my Apple whoop ti do Airport router?

Google has announced they're working with TP-LINK to build a new router they call OnHub. They say it's designed for the way we tend to use Wi-Fi in 2015, optimizing for streaming and sharing in a way that older routers don't.

 The router has a cylindrical design and comes with a simple, user-friendly mobile app. 

They say, "OnHub searches the airwaves and selects the best channel for the fastest connection.

 A unique antenna design and smart software keep working in the background, automatically adjusting OnHub to avoid interference and keep your network at peak performance.

 You can even prioritize a device, so that your most important activity — like streaming your favorite show — gets the fastest speed."

 The device will cost $200, it supports Bluetooth Smart Ready, Weave, and 802.15.4, and it will automatically apply firmware updates.


Before there was Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant we had Larry Bird.
 30 years ago Larry Bird scored 60 points in a game. He was so good even the opposing team went nuts when he scored

Michael and Kobe compared.


Students Get The Shaft

Victor Fleischer writes in the NYT that university endowments are exempt from corporate income tax because universities support the advancement and dissemination of knowledge. 

But instead of holding down tuition or expanding faculty research, endowments are hoarding money.

 Last year, Yale paid about $480 million to private equity fund managers for managing about $8 billion, one-third of Yale's endowment. In contrast, of the $1 billion the endowment contributed to the university's operating budget, only $170 million was earmarked for tuition assistance, fellowships and prizes.

 Private equity fund managers also received more than students at Harvard, the University of Texas, Stanford and Princeton.

Fleischer, a professor of law at the University of San Diego, says that as part of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act expected later this year, Congress should require universities with endowments in excess of $100 million to spend at least 8 percent of the endowment each year.

 Universities could avoid this rule by shrinking assets to $99 million, but only by spending the endowment on educational purposes, which is exactly the goal.

 According to a study by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity a minimum payout of 5 percent per annum, would be is similar to the legal requirement for private and public foundations

 "The sky-high tuition increases would stop, and maybe even reverse themselves. Faculty members would benefit from greater research support. University libraries, museums, hospitals and laboratories would have better facilities," concludes Fleischer.

 "We've lost sight of the idea that students, not fund managers, should be the primary beneficiaries of a university's endowment."


 Google Owns Up With Integrity, No Excuse Offered

Lightning struck a Google data center in Belgium four times in rapid succession last week, permanently erasing a small amount of users' data from the cloud

 The affected disks were part of Google Computer Engine (GCE), a utility that lets people run virtual computers in the cloud on Google's servers. 

Despite the uncontrollable nature of the incident, Google has accepted full responsibility for the blackout and promises to upgrade its data center storage hardware, increasing its resilience against power outages.


 Can't Rely On Published Scientific Papers

A major scientific publisher has retracted 64 articles in 10 journals after discovering that the so-called independent peer reviewers for these articles were fabricated by the authors themselves.

 From the article: "The cull comes after similar discoveries of 'fake peer review' by several other major publishers, including London-based BioMed Central, an arm of Springer, which began retracting 43 articles in March citing 'reviews from fabricated reviewers'. 

The practice can occur when researchers submitting a paper for publication suggest reviewers, but supply contact details for them that actually route requests for review back to the researchers themselves." 

Overall, this indicates an incredible amount of sloppiness and laziness in the peer-review field. 

 In total, more than a 100 papers have been retracted, simply because the journals relied on the authors to provide them contact information for their reviewers, never bothering to contact them directly.


Speaking of peer-review :-)

A team of researchers from Ohio State University claim to have grown a human brain in their lab that approximates the brain of a five-week-old fetus. 

They say the tiny brain is not conscious, but it could be used to test drugs and study diseases, but scientific peers urge caution. 

"The brain, which is about the size of a pencil eraser, is engineered from adult human skin cells and is the most complete human brain model yet developed, [the researchers say]. ...

 Anand and his colleagues claim to have reproduced 99% of the brain’s diverse cell types and genes. 

They say their brain also contains a spinal cord, signalling circuitry and even a retina." 

 The team's data has not yet been peer reviewed.


And While We Are On The Topic Of Peer-review

Have you ever been skeptical of a climate change story presented by a major media outlet?

 A new tool holds journalists to account for the veracity of their stories. 

"Using the Climate Feedback tool, scientists have started to diligently add detailed annotations to online content and have those notes appear alongside the story as it originally appeared. 

 If you're the writer, then it's a bit like getting your homework handed back to you with the margins littered with corrections and red pen.

 Or smiley faces and gold stars if you've been good." 

The project has already prompted The Telegraph to publish major corrections to their story that suggested the Earth is headed for a "'mini ice age' within 15 years." 

 The article has been modified in such a way that there is no more statement supporting the original message of an "imminent mini ice age."


The "PC Mac"

Now that Windows 10 is finally out there many people are looking for the best laptop with the power to make the new OS shine. 

The sweet spot appears to be in $900-$1500 machines from Dell, Asus and HP. 

But Apple, the company that has been fighting Windows for ever, has other options for Windows 10: the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

 According to InformationWeek there are many reasons to consider purchasing a MacBook as the next Windows machine, including design, reliability, performance, battery life, display quality and better keyboard. 

Also MacBooks have a higher resell value, retaining up to 50% of their price after five years.


You Can Go Back

Between 2011 and 2014, the municipality of Pesaro, Italy, trained up its 500 employees to use OpenOffice. However, last year the organization decided to switch back to Microsoft and use its cloud productivity suite Office 365

According to a report from Netics Observatory (Google translation of Italian original), the city administration will be able to save up to 80% of the software's total cost of ownership by going back.

 The savings are largely due to the significant and unexpected deployment costs. 

In particular, having to repaginate and tweak a number of documents due to a lack of compatibility between the proprietary and the open source systems translated into a considerable waste of time and productivity.

 The management estimates that every day roughly 300 employees had to spend up to 15 minutes each sorting out such issues.


 Been running this blog since 2005. ( I lost a year or so of archived stuff. My bad.)

And even though the "Comment" section is available no one has shown up for the most part.

Only a few brave souls have commented over all the years we have been enjoying doing this blog.

In one sense it has been a blessing that no one shows up in the comments section...I don't have the time to moderate.

Although I did experiment with having a market place of ideas where I allowed people to interact together.

It went well for awhile but then it hit the wall and stagnated in the back waters of the internet...

The debate about comment sections on news sites is often as divisive as the comments themselves. 

Recently outlets such as The Verge and The Daily Dot have closed their comments sections because they've become too hard to manage

And they're far from alone. 

Moderating comments is a full-time job (or several full-time jobs) at many news organisations. 

Nicholas White, editor at The Daily Dot, noted that "in our experience, our community hasn't evolved in our comments. 

It's evolved in our social media accounts. 

To have comments, you have to be very active, and if you're not incredibly active, what ends up happening is a mob can shout down all the other people on your site.

 In an environment that isn't heavily curated it becomes about silencing voices and not about opening up voices."

Riese, co-founder and editor-in-chief of LGBT site Autostraddle, adds, "I completely understand why

The Daily Dot wouldn't want to have comments — or in fact why most websites wouldn't want to have comments.

 I think 75% of the time they're more trouble than they're worth, and for us it's still a lot of work to keep up on. 

Not all of our users are necessarily on Facebook or are out as gay on Facebook, or are comfortable talking about queer stuff on Facebook.

 We keep comments on the site which is a safe space for people to exchange ideas — and that's a big factor for us."

 Lines of code make it possible for you to be here and to be able to read this stuff and to interact with the many links and such.

Now you can see code writing in live action!

Ha Ha 


TIL You Have Taste Receptors In Your Butt 


This Thing Is Still Up And Running Since 1996!

The story behind it

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