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Google Rewrites Search Rankings to Bury Fake News

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Mark Bergen:

The Alphabet Inc. company is making a rare, sweeping change to the algorithm behind its powerful search engine to demote misleading, false and offensive articles online. Google is also setting new rules encouraging its “raters” -- the 10,000-plus staff that assess search results -- to flag web pages that host hoaxes, conspiracy theories and what the company calls “low-quality” content.

[…]

“It was not a large fraction of queries -- only about a quarter percent of our traffic -- but they were important queries,” said Ben Gomes, vice president of engineering for Google.

Danny Sullivan:

How’s Google learning from the data to figure out what’s authoritative? How’s that actually being put into practice?

Google wouldn’t comment about these specifics. It wouldn’t say what goes into determining how a page is deemed to be authoritative now or how that is changing with the new algorithm. It did say that there isn’t any one particular signal. Instead, authority is determined by a combination of many factors.

[…]

My best guess is that for infrequent and unusual queries, Google has been giving more weight to pages that seem a better contextual match, even if they lack strong authority.

Ben Thompson:

This simply isn’t good enough: Google is going to be making decisions about who is authoritative and who is not, which is another way of saying that Google is going to be making decisions about what is true and what is not, and that demands more transparency, not less.

Again, I tend to agree that fake news is actually more of a problem on Google than it is Facebook; moreover, I totally understand that Google can’t make its algorithms public because they will be gamed by spammers and fake news purveyors. But even then, the fact remains that the single most important resource for finding the truth, one that is dominant in its space thanks to the fact that being bigger inherently means being better, is making decisions about what is true without a shred of transparency.

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peelman
6 days ago
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Ok. But the problem isn't the searching or the results. It's the inability or the unwillingness of the public at large to A) think critically, B) realize the world is far more complicated than their small mindedness allows for, and C) quit being so fucking phobic about literally _everything_.
Seymour, Indiana
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Hollywood Archivists Can’t Outpace Obsolescence

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Marty Perlmutter (via Michael Love):

These days, the major studios and film archives largely rely on a magnetic tape storage technology known as LTO, or linear tape-open, to preserve motion pictures. When the format first emerged in the late 1990s, it seemed like a great solution. The first generation of cartridges held an impressive 100 gigabytes of uncompressed data; the latest, LTO-7, can hold 6 terabytes uncompressed and 15 TB compressed. Housed properly, the tapes can have a shelf life of 30 to 50 years.

[…]

As each new generation of LTO comes to market, an older generation of LTO becomes obsolete. LTO manufacturers guarantee at most two generations of backward compatibility. What that means for film archivists with perhaps tens of thousands of LTO tapes on hand is that every few years they must invest millions of dollars in the latest format of tapes and drives and then migrate all the data on their older tapes—or risk losing access to the information altogether.

[…]

The head of digital archiving at one major studio, who asked not to be identified, told me that it costs about $20,000 a year to digitally store one feature film and related assets such as deleted scenes and trailers. All told, the digital components of a big-budget feature can total 350 TB.

[…]

When Pixar wanted to release its 2003 film Finding Nemo for Blu-ray 3D in 2012, the studio had to rerender the film to produce the 3D effects. The studio by then was no longer using the same animation software system, and it found that certain aspects of the original could not be emulated in its new software. The movement of seagrass, for instance, had been controlled by a random number generator, but there was no way to retrieve the original seed value for that generator.

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peelman
6 days ago
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Well this was interesting enough for me to add the whole article to my reading list for further digestion later.
Seymour, Indiana
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FCC Votes to Begin Dismantling Net Neutrality

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Karl Bode, writing for TechDirt:

Surprising absolutely nobody, the FCC today voted 2-1 along strict party lines to begin dismantling net neutrality protections for consumers. The move comes despite the fact that the vast majority of non-bot comments filed with the FCC support keeping the rules intact. And while FCC boss Ajit Pai has breathlessly insisted he intended to listen to the concerns of all parties involved, there has been zero indication that this was a serious commitment as he begins dismantling all manner of broadband consumer protections, not just net neutrality.

As you might have expected, the FCC was quick to release a statement claiming that gutting the popular consumer protections would usher forth a magical age of connectivity, investment, and innovation.

(Via Nick Heer.)

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peelman
6 days ago
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The ISP I work for will be steadfastly adhering to a free and neutral internet, save for our 4G wireless product, which traffic shaping is the only thing keeping it usable for everyone due to limitations of the tech, not financial or other motivations.
Seymour, Indiana
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1 public comment
DaftDoki
8 days ago
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assholes everywhere
Seattle

Moom vs. the Rectangular Grid Patent

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Many Tricks (tweet):

The one change was to the grid, which switched from rectangular (with the circles of 3.2.7) to the new hexagonal layout, as seen at right.

Why did we change the design? Late last week, we learned there’s a US patent that covers resizing windows using a rectangular grid in a miniature preview image. We learned this when the patent’s owner told us they believed Moom’s grid was infringing on their patent. For now, we have redesigned the grid in such a way that no infringement claim can be made, and we’re working on further improvements.

This sort of thing should not be patentable. Plus, the timeline is depressing: the patent application was filed in 2008, the Moom feature shipped in 2011, the patent was granted in 2013, and the complaint was made in 2017.

See also: Hacker News.

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peelman
7 days ago
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I hate software patents.
Seymour, Indiana
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LG 43UD79-B Launched: 42.5-inch 4K IPS with FreeSync

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LG is about to launch a new monitor that is one of the most feature-filled monitors on the market once it arrives. Referred to as the 43UD79-B, this 42.5-inch display has a native UHD resolution of 3840 x 2160 with a conventional refresh rate of 60Hz. It features an IPS panel with a non-glare coating, a peak brightness of 350 cd/m2, a contrast ratio of up to 1000:1, and an 8ms gray-to-gray (GTG) response time. The viewing angles are wide at 178°/178°, which is typical for an IPS display. Although support for 1.07 billion colors is claimed, the lack of an explicit mention of a 10-bit panel leads us to believe that this is an 8-bit panel using A-FRC to achieve a 10-bit color depth. On the plus side, this model will ship color calibrated from the factory.

Specifications
  LG 43UD79-B
Panel 42.5" IPS
Resolution 3840 × 2160
Refresh Rate 60 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate FreeSync
Response Time 8 ms (GTG)
Brightness 350 cd/m²
Contrast Up to 5000000:1
1000:1 Typical
Viewing Angles 178°/178° horizontal/vertical
PPI 104 pixels per inch
0.245 mm2 pixel pitch
Colors 1.07 billion
Inputs 1 × DisplayPort 1.2a
2 × HDMI 2.0
× HDMI 1.4
1 × USB Type-C with DP Alt Mode

× RS-232C
USB Hub 2-port USB 3.0 hub with KVM switch
Audio × 10W harmon/kardon speakers
Headphone Output
Launch Date May 19th, 2017 (Japan)
Launch Price ¥‎83000 (Japanese Yen)
~$745 USD

Assuming that the press release is indeed accurate, this model not only supports FreeSync variable refresh technology, but also a host of other gaming-oriented features like Game Mode, Black Stabilizer, and Dynamic Action Sync (DAS) Mode. The native 60Hz refresh rate will likely preclude this model from ever becoming a gamer favorite, but we are still glad to see that LG made an effort in catering to the gaming crowd. The peak refresh rate is likely 60 Hz for the Freesync, however LG does not specify the lower bound. Technically the specification sheet says 56-61Hz, although that is rather small for a FreeSync range.

The connectivity front is where this monitor really shines. There are two HDMI 2.0 inputs (4K @ 60Hz), two HDMI 1.4 inputs (4K @ 30Hz), one USB 3.1 Type-C port that can operate in DP Alt Mode and thus carry a DisplayPort signal, and one DisplayPort 1.2a input (4K @ 60Hz) that supports the aforementioned FreeSync feature. The reason for all these inputs is that this monitor can display images from up to 4 devices at once. You can either split the screen into four 21.5-inch 1080P sections, two horizontal or vertical sections, or even three sections of varying sizes. There is also support for basic Picture-in-Picture (PIP) if you don't wish to subdivide the screen real estate.


Different monitor arrangements with multiple inputs

Also present is LG's Dual Controller feature, which essentially turns the monitor into a KVM switch. Users can plug a mouse and keyboard into the two downstream USB 3.0 ports, connect the monitor to two computers, and control both systems from that single mouse/keyboard combo. Rounding out the basic specifications are built-in 2x10W Harman Kardon stereo speakers, a headphone jack, an RS-232C connector, and a small remote control. The included stand is fairly basic in that it only allows tilt adjustments.

While the press release indicates a countrywide Japanese launch on May 19th at a price of around 83,000 yen, US-based retailers are already offering preorders for $697 with an expected availability of May 9th. If that holds true, that is a very attractive price for a roughly 43-inch 4K monitor with that many built-in features and a three-year warranty.

Gallery: LG 43UD79-B

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peelman
24 days ago
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Whoa.
Seymour, Indiana
digdoug
23 days ago
This looks amazing. Checking again on May 10 th or so to see if it's real!
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As US prepares to gut net neutrality rules, Canada strengthens them

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Enlarge (credit: Aurich / Getty)

Canada is taking a much stronger stand against data cap exemptions than the United States.

In the US, the Federal Communications Commission's new Republican leadership signaled that it won't enforce net neutrality rules against zero-rating, the practice of favoring certain Internet content by exempting it from customers' data caps. The FCC made that clear when it rescinded a determination that AT&T and Verizon Wireless violated net neutrality rules by letting their own video services stream without counting against customers' data caps while charging other video providers for the same data cap exemptions.

Canada is also taking a case-by-case approach to zero-rating instead of banning it outright. But yesterday, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) ordered changes to one carrier's zero-rating program and announced that it will enforce stricter guidelines for determining whether zero-rating programs are discriminatory.

Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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peelman
33 days ago
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Generally cooler climates, great healthcare, better net neutrality, better politics in general...and no Trump? I am seriously running out of reasons to not emigrate.
Seymour, Indiana
fxer
35 days ago
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What makes a man turn neutral
Bend, Oregon
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