Posts Tagged ‘mix’

Making a Slashdot Omelet

October 19th, 2012 10:54 admin View Comments

It’s been said that the mix of stories on Slashdot is like an omelet: linux and tech, mixed with science and Legos, and a few reviews and sci-fi folded in. It’s not just the stories that are a good mix, however, it’s the people behind them. Through the past 15 years, an unusual cast of characters have been responsible for keeping the site up and running and bringing you the stories you want to read. We’ve asked a number of them to write a few words about their time working here and to share a few memories. Below you’ll find that some of our former employees don’t know what “a few words” means, and a collection of what bringing you news for the past 15 years has been like.

Source: Making a Slashdot Omelet

Sweet Times For Cows As Gummy Worms Replace Corn Feed

September 24th, 2012 09:13 admin View Comments


PolygamousRanchKid writes “As the worst drought in half a century has ravaged this year’s U.S. corn crop and driven corn prices sky high, the market for alternative feed rations for beef and dairy cows has also skyrocketed. Brokers are gathering up discarded food products and putting them out for the highest bid to feed lot operators and dairy producers, who are scrambling to keep their animals fed. In the mix are cookies, gummy worms, marshmallows, fruit loops, orange peels, even dried cranberries. Cattlemen are feeding virtually anything they can get their hands on that will replace the starchy sugar content traditionally delivered to the animals through corn. Operators must be careful to follow detailed nutritional analyses for their animals to make sure they are getting a healthy mix of nutrients, animal nutritionists caution. But ruminant animals such as cattle can safely ingest a wide variety of feedstuffs that chickens and hogs can’t. The candy and cookies are only a small part of a broad mix of alternative feed offerings for cattle. Many operators use distillers grains, a byproduct that comes from the manufacture of ethanol.”

Source: Sweet Times For Cows As Gummy Worms Replace Corn Feed

Would You Open Your Home To a Hacker – For Free?

August 25th, 2012 08:22 admin View Comments


coondoggie writes “What do you get when you mix access to Google’s ultra-fast fiber network and old fashioned grass roots business ideas? Well, in this case you’d get someone living on your couch for free for three months. This week a group calling itself the ‘Kansas City Hacker Homes’ launched a program that calls on the good folks of Kansas City to open up their homes to entrepreneurs and developers who would live and work there for a period of three months, rent and utility free. They have to buy their own food.”

Source: Would You Open Your Home To a Hacker – For Free?

Using Mech Combat To Hone Engineering Skills

March 20th, 2012 03:23 admin View Comments


jjp9999 writes Mech Warfare is a mix between Battlebots and MechWarrior, only without the fanfare. The teams around the competitions include engineers and professionals in robotics, and the games are — aside from being an homage to their love for science fiction — a way to hone their skills in the field. Andrew Alter, roboticist and one of the mech pilots, said the competitions are taken as ‘an engineering challenge,’ noting that while they do compete, ‘Having this mix of skill levels and demographics is really great to see, as information and ideas tend to flow freely. We’re also solving practical real-world problems like being able to stream video over WiFi in high-interference areas. It’s not nearly as easy as one might think.’”

Source: Using Mech Combat To Hone Engineering Skills

Solar Cells Made From a Spreadable Nanoparticle Paste

December 22nd, 2011 12:48 admin View Comments


An anonymous reader writes “Researchers at Notre Dame have created a nanoparticle paste, which acts as the main ingredient in solar cells that are very easy to construct. In a short video clip, they can be seen assembling a functional solar cell with little more than a heat gun, tape, and some binder clips. The paste is made from a mix of t-butanol, water, and a mix of cadmium selenide with cadmium sulfide nanoparticles. So far, the experimental devices are not nearly as efficient as standard solar cells, but they were just developed. If the materials were slightly less toxic, it might even be a project that kids could do at home.”

Source: Solar Cells Made From a Spreadable Nanoparticle Paste

PETA To Launch Pornography Website

September 19th, 2011 09:51 admin View Comments


The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are planning on launching an adult oriented website to help protect animals through a mix of animal suffering footage and porn. I’m not sure how mixing the two will win hearts, minds, or naughty bits, but Lindsay Rajt, PETA’s associate director of campaigns, seems to think it’s a good idea. She says, “We’re hoping to reach a whole new audience of people, some of whom will be shocked by graphic images that maybe they didn’t anticipate seeing when they went to the PETA triple-X site.”

Source: PETA To Launch Pornography Website

Google Instant Mix Just Got Better, But Is It A Genius?

June 9th, 2011 06:57 admin View Comments

Google announced its new beta music service, “Google Music”, at I/O 2011 last month. The service, as it stands right now, is basically just cloud storage for all your music files that users can access through the web app. Users can stream their cloud-based music libraries to any device via a web browser. It even technically works on iOS, though the experience (especially on Safari) is pretty clunky. It’s also still missing discovery and purchasing power, though there’s no doubt that these features are on the way. After all, this is Google, and iTunes is heading to the iCloud.

In the meantime, Google is quietly unveiling the features to its music service, building a full-scale iTunes competitor piece-by-piece (or maybe hastily, it depends who you ask). And yesterday, Google Research officially congratulated itself for making some drastic improvements to “Instant Mix” — the playlist generator that is getting closer to being Google’s equivalent of iTunes Genius.

In essence, Instant Mix is a playlist generator that uses machine hearing to extract attributes from audio which can be used to answer pointed questions about songs, like, “Is this a song I can blog to?” or “Does it have blues guitar?” Not unlike Pandora’s Music Genome in intention, Instant Mix analyzes particular attributes of a song, using its algorithms to compare audio data to information pulled from the Web. Google has done some serious research in the emerging field of machine hearing, which endeavors to teach computers to better process information from audio sources, and it’s beginning to show.

With the combination of this audio analysis and web-crawled artist data, Instant Mix is able to compare songs that are similar in nature and work well together in a playlist. If you pick a quiet song while you’re working, the service will create a quiet playlist for you from your music library. For those not yet tapped into Music Beta, you can go to Google Research’s blog to check out a few sample playlists.

At I/O, Google’s Paul Joyce said that Instant Mix is meant to be one of the new music service’s “killer features”. But, is it? Erick Schonfeld and John Biggs demo-ed Google Music and Instant Mix a few weeks ago and found the service to be pretty hit-or-miss.

After Google Music’s launch, Echo Nest’s Paul Lamere did a deep dive into the comparisons between Instant Mix, iTunes Genius, and Echo Nest and found Instant Mix to be way behind the other two in terms of serving too many “WTFs” — songs that are glaringly dissimilar from the song you choose as the jumping off point for your playlist.

Google has since made several upgrades to the service, and it now works far better than it did at launch. It’s great to see how quickly Google was able to iron out the kinks. And, last I checked (iTunes disabled my account because someone hacked it), Genius takes awhile to incorporate newly downloaded songs into playlists, and whether or not Google Instant Mix intends to or not, it has been previously offering more of a “surprise” factor.

For some people, this will actually be a pleasure. If you have a large collection of music, it’s nice to be reminded of a song you may not have played in awhile. Of course, it would be nice for Google to be a little more open about whether this is something they intend, or whether it just shows that the feature has been relatively half-baked.

I’d like to see both iTunes and Google Music offering some user options in terms of how your playlist is created. One option could be more random, incorporating more surprise, while another might only create playlists of similar songs based on mood, and so on. What’s more, how about an evolving playlist mechanism that allows contextual updating, so that a playlist adjusts slightly to each new song, maybe pulling in different songs as it goes? Now that would be genius. Mensa level even.

It will be very interesting to see which combination of algorithms wins out. Does Google’s collaborative filtering mixed with acoustic similarity data offer a better alternative to iTunes’ collaborative filtering algorithm driven from purchase data acquired via the iTunes music store? Granted, these services are both essentially black box, so I’m glossing over a bit in terms of what I’m sure is more complicated, double secret mechanics on both ends, but it’s always interesting to see what combination of algorithms and data end up serving the best playlists — and recommendations, for that matter.

We can always use more transparency from algorithmic recommendation systems, so it’s good to see Google peeling back the curtain a bit on Instant Mix. Once discovery and purchasing hit Google Music, we may have one great service on our hands. Until then, I’d say Instant Mix is close, but not quite there.

Source: Google Instant Mix Just Got Better, But Is It A Genius?

Ask Slashdot: Software To Organise a Heterogeneous Mix of Files?

June 7th, 2011 06:38 admin View Comments

Data Storage

BertieBaggio writes “I am a medical student at the end of an academic year trying to get my notes organised. I’m looking for a software document organisation system to organise a mix of text notes, journal articles, diagrams and scans. Ideally such a system would permit full-text and metadata search, multiple categorisations (eg tags), preserve the underlying files and be cross-platform (Linux/Windows/OS X). While I’m not averse to paying for such a complex solution, ideally the software would be FOSS so that extension or migration are possible if necessary. Desktop search (eg Google Desktop) probably does 90% of what I want apart from multiple categorisations, which is the feature I’m most interested in. Searching turned up a similar question over at 43folders which pointed me in the direction of Papers and DevonThink, but these are OS X only and seem to be aimed more at academic paper organisation. What recommendations does the Slashdot community have for categorising and organising a heterogeneous mix of files?”

Source: Ask Slashdot: Software To Organise a Heterogeneous Mix of Files?

Steve Ballmer’s Head On the Block?

May 27th, 2011 05:36 admin View Comments


mix77 writes “Influential hedge fund manager David Einhorn has called for Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Steve Ballmer to step down, saying the world’s largest software company’s long-time leader is stuck in the past.”

Source: Steve Ballmer’s Head On the Block?

Live Blog: Microsoft MIX 2011 Day 2

April 13th, 2011 04:05 admin View Comments

Microsoft MIX logo Today we’re at Microsoft MIX, a developers conference in Las Vegas. Microsoft will be trying to woo developers and presenting on HTML5, Windows Phone 7 and Silverlight.

Today we’re expecting to see more about mobile and Kinect.

9:05 The event kicked off with this video made by a fan. Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president and director of Windows Phone Program Management, says that if the video gets enough page views it will be turned into a television commercial “because we care about the community.”

9:08 Belfiore is addressing the issue of failed updates. Says issues weren’t widespread, but Microsoft decided to halt the updates because of uncertainty about how widespread the issues are.

9:11 He says that operators make the final call about when updates go out.

9:13 There are now 13,000 apps in the WP7 app market.

Source: Live Blog: Microsoft MIX 2011 Day 2