Posts Tagged ‘rdquo’

Watson Goes To Medical School

October 31st, 2012 10:20 admin View Comments


First time accepted submitter Kwyj1b0 writes “I.B.M’s Watson is headed to the Cleavland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University for training. Clinicians and students will answer and correct Watson’s questions, in an attempt to crowdsource its education. From the article: ‘“Hopefully, we can contribute to the training of this technology,” said Dr. James K. Stoller, chairman of the Education Institute at Cleveland Clinic. The goal, he added, was for Watson to become a “very smart assistant.” Part of Watson’s training will be to feed it test questions from the United States Medical Licensing Exam, which every human student must pass to become a practicing physician. The benefit for Watson should be to have a difficult but measurable set of questions on which to measure the progress of its machine-learning technology.’”

Source: Watson Goes To Medical School

Explosive Detecting Devices Face Off With Bomb Dogs

October 17th, 2012 10:00 admin View Comments


First time accepted submitter titan1070 writes “French scientist Dr. Spitzer and his colleagues have been working on a device that can sense faint traces of TNT and other explosives being smuggled into airports and other transportation methods. the hope for this device is that it will surpass the best bomb finder in the business, the sniffer dog. From the article: ‘ While researchers like Dr. Spitzer are making progress — and there are some vapor detectors on the market — when it comes to sensitivity and selectivity, dogs still reign supreme. “Dogs are awesome,” said Aimee Rose, a product sales director at the sensor manufacturer Flir Systems, which markets a line of explosives detectors called Fido. “They have by far the most developed ability to detect concealed threats,” she said. But dogs get distracted, cannot work around the clock and require expensive training and handling, Dr. Rose said, so there is a need for instruments.’”

Source: Explosive Detecting Devices Face Off With Bomb Dogs

GNOME 3.6 Released

September 26th, 2012 09:05 admin View Comments


kthreadd writes Gnome 3.6 is out. The announcement reads: ‘The GNOME Project is proud to present GNOME 3.6, the third update to the 3.x series. This latest version of GNOME 3 includes a number of new features and enhancements, as well as many bug fixes and minor improvements. Together, they represent a significant upgrade to the GNOME 3 user experience. Andreas Nilsson, President of the GNOME Foundation, said: “The GNOME Foundation is proud to present this latest GNOME release, and I would like to congratulate the GNOME community on its achievement.” He described the release as “an important milestone in our mission to bring a free and open computing environment to everyone.”’ New applications include Clocks and Boxes. Clocks is a world time clock, which allows you to keep an eye on what the local time is around the world. Boxes allows you to connect to other machines, either virtual or remote. For developers there’s the new GtkLevelBar widget in GTK+, and GtkEntry can now use Pango attributes.”

Source: GNOME 3.6 Released

eBay Bans the Sale of Spells and Magic Items

August 17th, 2012 08:57 admin View Comments

The Almighty Buck

Starting in September bidders won’t be able to snipe curses, spells, or potions on eBay anymore. The company has decided to ban the sale of magic and magic items. “EBay regularly reviews categories and updates our policies based on customer feedback,” a statement from the company read. “We are discontinuing a small number of categories within the larger metaphysical subcategory, as buyers and sellers have told us that transactions in these categories often result in issues that can be difficult to resolve.”

Source: eBay Bans the Sale of Spells and Magic Items

eBay Bans the Sale of Spells and Magic Items

August 17th, 2012 08:57 admin View Comments

The Almighty Buck

Starting in September bidders won’t be able to snipe curses, spells, or potions on eBay anymore. The company has decided to ban the sale of magic and magic items. “EBay regularly reviews categories and updates our policies based on customer feedback,” a statement from the company read. “We are discontinuing a small number of categories within the larger metaphysical subcategory, as buyers and sellers have told us that transactions in these categories often result in issues that can be difficult to resolve.”

Source: eBay Bans the Sale of Spells and Magic Items

NSA Official Disputes Chief’s Claim That Agency Doesn’t Collect American Data

July 30th, 2012 07:08 admin View Comments


NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander was playing a “word game” when he said the agency does not collect files on Americans according to William Binney, a former technical director at the NSA. Binney says the NSA does indeed collecting e-mails, Twitter writings, internet searches and other data belonging to Americans and indexing it. “Unfortunately, once the software takes in data, it will build profiles on everyone in that data,” he said. “You can simply call it up by the attributes of anyone you want and it’s in place for people to look at.”

Source: NSA Official Disputes Chief’s Claim That Agency Doesn’t Collect American Data

DirecTV Drops Viacom Channels

July 11th, 2012 07:21 admin View Comments


An anonymous reader writes “DirecTV has dropped all of Viacom’s channels. This includes channels such as MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon. The drop is reported to be over a carrier fee dispute. It appears programming content can magically disappear from satellite, too, and not just from streaming services. Viacom said it was ‘because contract talks with DirecTV had “reached an impasse.” DirecTV, in turn, said in a statement that it had offered Viacom “increased fees for their networks going forward; we just can’t afford the extreme increases they are asking for.”’ I guess pirating and physical media is the only way to make sure the content we pay for doesn’t disappear.”

Source: DirecTV Drops Viacom Channels

Why an Accelerator Could Be Right for Your Startup

July 2nd, 2012 07:00 admin View Comments

Although there is some debate on whether or not startup accelerators really turn out the success stories they promise, new accelerators are popping up all over, and startup entrepreneurs are clamoring to get in to one.

So, just how hard is it to get accepted by an accelerator? Is the application process onerous? Is it even worth the effort?

To find out, I talked to a few startup entrepreneurs about their accelerator experiences.

Kyle Judah Kyle Judah and his partner Jason Woodward started their online venture, RecoVend, in August 2011 after seeing how inefficient, offline and non-collaborative the buying process was at colleges and universities. They created a streamlined platform for collaborative purchases for products and services for post-secondary schools.

As first-time entrepreneurs, the RecoVend founders knew they would need lots of mentoring to avoid the pitfalls in the early stages of a startup. “Applying to a startup accelerator helped us gain access to incredible mentors — entrepreneurs, investors, community members — who had all been there and done that before us, and helped us realize what we need to do to build and grow a successful company,” says Judah.

Straightforward Applications

Judah and Woodward applied to the Betaspring startup accelerator in Providence, Rhode Island, after meeting the accelerator’s partners while participating in a startup pitch contest held at Babson College. “The application was fairly straightforward, just a Web application where you answer some questions about the founders, the company, the idea and your progress to date,” explains Judah. “They asked us to include some short videos talking about [ourselves] and the product. Once we applied, we were asked to come to the Betaspring Experience Day event, where we got to hear talks from some incredible Betaspring mentors.”

At the event, the founders had their first interview with a Betaspring partner and discussed the changes they were making to their product. They were asked back for a second, more in-depth interview with the other partners. Then came a final round of interviews where “they spent an hour doing a really deep dive into our product, vision and progress,” recalls Judah. “We were informed of our selection for the spring class the day before Christmas – the perfect gift!”

Impressing the Judges

If you live near St. Louis, Missouri, you might take a look at Arch Grants, a startup accelerator that hopes to create a vibrant startup culture in the city, and also offers startup funding in the form of grants. Through a business plan competition, Arch Grants selects promising startups to receive $50,000. Many startup entrepreneurs are curious about what the judges at these competitions look for.

Brad Pittenger, the CEO of IT solutions provider XIOLINK, reviewed more than a dozen business plans as a recent Arch Grants judge. He says he focused his review primarily on the management team (Did the team members have experience that made them appropriate for the venture?); the concept (Does it make sense? Is it innovative?); and the presentation of ideas (Were they organized? Succinct? Did they understand the marketplace?). Of the 420 applicants from 11 different countries, 15 winners were chosen and awarded $50,000 each.

i/o Ventures, located in San Francisco, is an early stage startup program that focuses heavily on mentorship, and works closely with startup entrepreneurs from product launch to the next stage of company development. Participants get a chance to work alongside high-profile entrepreneurs and investors in Silicon Valley. i/o has two classes per year and accepts five companies per class; applications for the fall sessions can be found at

Relocating Can Be a Requirement

Once a startup is accepted, the first step is moving the team to the Bay Area. “We require our teams to be in or near San Francisco to take full advantage of all the program has to offer,” says i/o’s Cory Mikell. After an orientation, where the startups hear a very candid look at what it’s really like to run a startup from industry veterans, “the next three months will be a whirlwind of building the product, constantly iterating and weekly office hours,” says Mikell. “Mentors work one-on-one with all of the teams throughout the program, onsite and offsite.”

Fervent Testimonials

Is it worthwhile to join an accelerator? “Hands down, Betaspring was the best thing we could have done for our company,” says RecoVend’s Judah. “We have come so far, both personally and professionally, in such a short time, and the progress we made while in the program has put RecoVend on a totally different trajectory. We’re now working with over 10 colleges, including some of the most elite in the country. We’ve met our investors, advisors and mentors all through the Betaspring network.”

Judah believes one of the greatest benefits of an accelerator program is the sense of community you gain from being around intelligent, ambitious peers who are at the same stage of their business as you are.

That’s not to say it’s easy.

“It is a full-time commitment over three months – we were probably working 80 to 100 hours a week – so if you aren’t willing to do what it takes and make the investment of time and energy, then it isn’t an experience for you,” cautions Judah. “If you can commit to it, do it! You’ll see huge returns on your investment of time and energy.”

Source: Why an Accelerator Could Be Right for Your Startup

Facebook Blames Email Problems On User “Confusion”

July 2nd, 2012 07:17 admin View Comments

If you’re missing email messages, don’t blame Facebook: the social network says you are simply “confused.”

Facebook spent a second straight weekend dealing with complaints from users about a switch in the default user email addresses, this time with users complaining that the change was resulting in lost messages and contacts.

Several bloggers and users raised complaints late last week and over the weekend about missing messages. But a Facebook spokesperson said the missing messages may stem from confusion over how Facebook’s mail system categorizes messages, and that engineers were looking into complaints about a phone syncing issue that made it appear if users were losing information about their contacts.

“By default, messages from friends or friends of friends go into your Inbox. Everything else goes to your Other folder,” Facebook spokesperson Meredith Chin said in an email. “That is likely where the messages are being sent from other people’s emails. Even if that person is friends with them on Facebook, if the friend doesn’t have that email on their Facebook account, the message could end up in the Other folder.”

The problems first came to light on several blogs. Adobe employee Rachel Luxemburg, for example, noted that a co-worker had noticed his contact info for her had been updated with the address that was widely discussed early last week. But messages did not appear to be going through to her – perhaps, as Chin suggested, because they were being filed in the “Other” email folder.

“They’ve vanished into the ether,” Luxemburg wrote. “For all I know, I could be missing a lot more e-mails from friends, colleagues, or family members, and never even know it.”

But the overwriting of contact information in people’s mobile devices may prove to be a bigger problem for Facebook. The company faced a backlash last week when it switched the default email address in people’s profiles to in an effort to jumpstart use of its email service, which has failed to live up to the “Gmail killer” status it had when it was first launched in 2010.

Facebook did not back down, but simply told users how they could switch their default contact info back to the email address of their choice. It was not clear if the fix for the updated contact info is a manual fix for each address in your device.

“Regarding the phone syncing issue, I’m having the engineers look into it and will get back to you as soon as I can with more details,” Chin said in an email early Monday morning.

Source: Facebook Blames Email Problems On User “Confusion”

“Google Now” Knows More About You Than Your Family Does – Are You OK With That?

June 29th, 2012 06:00 admin View Comments

The new Google Now feature unveiled this week at the Google I/O developers conference is designed to automatically present the information you need – even before you ask for it. The impressive results cover everything from helping you get to work to which sports teams you like – but they are possible only because Google knows so much about you. The vast extent of that knowledge is raising big red flags about privacy issues.

Google Now is tucked away inside the lastest version of Android, Google’s mobile operating system: Android 4.1, called “Jelly Bean,” was released this week.

Google Now Doesn’t Wait to Be Asked

Google Now automatically creates and presents a series of “cards” that try to organize your life by presenting information Google thinks you’ll need at that particular moment – based on the information it’s collected via how you use various Google services – in a context that it hopes you’ll find useful.

Google Now aggregates the information Google already collects about you on a daily basis: accessing your email, your calendar, your contacts, your text messages, your location, your shopping habits, your payment history, as well as your choices in music, movies and books. It can even scan your photos and automatically identify them based on their subject, not just the file name (in the Google I/O demo, Google Now correctly found a picture of the Great Pyramid). About the only aspect of your online life that Google hasn’t apparently assimilated yet is your opinions expressed on Google+. But that’s undoubtedly coming.

Google already knows where you live, for example, and constantly plots out the time it will take to return home. Google even knows your favorite routes to work and can suggest alternatives based on congestion. And it will figure out your favorite sports teams by the number of times you ask about them, without you ever having to explicitly identify them. Google’s recommendation engine, meanwhile, uses the information to suggest new content to purchase.

“Wait a second,” you might say. “Google knows that much about me?”

It sure does.

What Google Now does is simply take the new, unified privacy policy you had to opt into a short time ago and shows that information to you in what it considers to be useful ways. But that very public demonstration will undoubtedly unsettle many users even as it pleases others.

How Did We Get Here?

Six months ago, Google announced that it was unifying its privacy policies, informing users that it planned to share data it collected among its services in the future. Google Now has made those policies a reality.

Consider Whitten’s original example: “We can provide reminders that you’re going to be late for a meeting based on your location, your calendar and an understanding of what the traffic is like that day.”

That’s exactly what Google Now does. For those of you that find that useful, Google Now is for you. But for those that consider that to be a creepy, if not offensive, invasion of privacy, Google Now may be the new privacy boogeyman.

To its credit, Google Now is not a hidden clause buried in a privacy policy, an easily overlooked checkbox, or an opt-out feature. For now, Google Now is available only with the new Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean” software included in the new Nexus 7 tablet and Galaxy Nexus phone.

The first time you click on the Google search box within Jelly Bean, Google pops up an introductory screen to provide more information about Google Now. Users can then explore the topic further. To use Now, users must explicitly opt in. (Of course, none of Google’s examples reference the feature’s privacy implications.)

Once you sign in, Google Now tries to proactively provide information via “cards,” or vertical tabs, that present information it thinks you might want. For example, if you’ve entered a home location via Google Maps, a card will constantly update with the estimated time to drive home.

Limited Lineup of Cards

At present, Google Now’s cards are actually quite limited, covering only:

  • Local weather – for both your current location and your work location
  • Local traffic information – including to your “next likely destination”
  • Public transit information – when you’re near a transit stop, it tells you what bus or train will come next
  • Your next appointment – and how long it will take you to get there
  • Airline flight information – including delays and how long it will take you to get to the airport
  • Sports results – for your favorite teams in real time
  • Information about nearby places – bars, restaurants and other attractions
  • Translation services and currency conversion rates – when it nows you’re in a foreign country
  • Time at home – when you’re in a different time zone

Of course, Google promises more cards in the future.

Users can turn each card category on or off, although that requires finding the options menu in the lower right corner of the screen, clicking each card, and then flipping the “switch” in the upper right portion of the screen.

Privacy Blowback

When Google first announced its new privacy policies, the post by Alma Whitten, Google’s vice president of privacy and engineering, provoked a storm of controversy. More than 30 U.S. state attorneys general protested, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) sued, and Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) both criticized the new policy. (A federal judge later dismissed the EPIC suit, claiming that only the Federal Trade Commission had the oversight to decide whether Google’s new policy is anti-competitive.)

But now that the issue has become real in the form of Google Now, the privacy hawks have been relatively quiet. That leaves it up to users to decide whether to participate.

The advantages of the Google ecosystem boil down to one term: convenience. Are the results and help you get from Google Now worth sharing the deeply personal information involved? That’s a personal question for each user of devices with Android 4.1, but it’s important to remember that Google still collects all this information whether or not you use Google Now. It’s just that the new service makes it impossible to ignore just how much the company knows about you.

So if ignorance is bliss, realizing how much Google knows about you may make a lot of people very unhappy.

Source: “Google Now” Knows More About You Than Your Family Does – Are You OK With That?