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2XL Simulator - A Public Service?
Thank you for the 2XL simulator. This is a toy that I begged my mother to buy me sometime in the 70s. I am enjoying your program immensely. I consider it to be a valuable public service!!
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Fake reviews are now a firmly entrenched business model

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It isn't just fake reviews, it's also fake accounts on web services, etc.  It's an arms race where business are constantly trying to one-up their competitors and everyone has accepted that fake reviews and inflating their user numbers is, at the very least, a necessary first step to jump-starting their product.

Outside the publishing industry, the practice known as “review brushing” exists on a vast, industrial scale. In 2014, Haitao Xu, a thirty-year-old researcher now at Northwestern University, monitored five black-market Internet boards where companies and individuals advertise jobs posting positive reviews of their products and services, along with negative ones on those of their rivals. In just two months, Xu saw more than eleven thousand unique sellers post close to a quarter of a million jobs, paid at anywhere between “tens of cents, up to five dollars,” he told me. Since consumers typically see positive customer reviews as a more reliable indicator of quality than advertising, the effects can be major. “Stores using brushing services can increase their reputation ten times faster than normal seller stores,” Xu, who, in 2016, spent six months working in Alibaba’s fraud-detection team, told me. “A store with a high reputation is displayed higher up a Web page, attracting more customers and increasing sales.” Online sellers who do not employ brushing services, meanwhile, often find their products overlooked.


Working with time on computers

Screenshot - 5_30_2018 , 8_44_15 AM_thumb001.png
OSNews recommends today a nicely put together multimedia rumination on the issues of representing and working with time on computers. Looks pretty good.

This is one of the best articles - experiences? - I've ever read. It's funny, well-written, deeply informative, and covers everything from programming with time, to time and UI design, to time and accessibility. This is simply an amazing piece of work.


A simple one-parameter equation that can be used to reproduce any plot

Screenshot - 5_29_2018 , 11_08_46 PM_thumb001.png
Pretty neat stuff.  The full short paper PDF is linked on the page below.

In a very surprising paper Steven Piantadosi shows that a simple function of one parameter (θ) can fit any collection of ordered pairs {Xi,Yi} to arbitrary precision. In other words, the same simple function can fit any scatter plot exactly, just by choosing the right θ. The intuition comes from chaos theory. We know from chaos theory that simple functions can produce seemingly random, chaotic behavior and that tiny changes in initial conditions can quickly result in entirely different outcomes (the butterfly effect). What Piantadosi shows is that the space traversed in these functions by changing θ is so thick that you can reverse the procedure to find a function that fits any scatter plot.


Re: More good web comics you've discovered

This guy is very very funny animating stories from his life. He has dozens of them.


Interesting article discussing how C on modern architectures is convoluted

Screenshot - 5_22_2018 , 11_13_28 AM_thumb001.png
Here's an interesting article that argues that using C to write low-level fast code that operates close to the bare metal is no longer a straightforward task, and is becoming increasingly virtualized..

One of the key attributes of a low-level language is that programmers can easily understand how the language's abstract machine maps to the underlying physical machine. This was certainly true on the PDP-11, where each C expression mapped trivially to one or two instructions.  Since then, implementations of C have had to become increasingly complex to maintain the illusion that C maps easily to the underlying hardware and gives fast code... In light of such issues, it is difficult to argue that a programmer can be expected to understand exactly how a C program will map to an underlying architecture.


posted by mouser donate to mouser
discovered on osnews.com
(permalink) (read 2 comments)

How to keep going

"How to keep going"

This is a video from the perspective of
a) an artist / a creative person making a living from that work
b) someone who thinks things aren't getting any better (and probably are getting worse)

I dont necessarily share these perspectives, yet I found the video had some very helpful advice. A lot of which (but not all) I relate to, and agree with. When he uses the word 'Art', I substitute 'Life'. Works mostly...

Most important, he made me think, and rethink things a bit, quite a bit at times.

Re Creativity:
I see creativity as being relevant to business, of all kinds; to relationships (of all kinds) -- creativity is really the business of life. Artists forget this, and think it just belongs to them. Keep that in mind when watching the video.

It's a long video, by my standards anyways -- so, below the video, I include notes I made re highlights

  • 1:00 'if the CIA did Haiku...' Black-out poems -- I enjoyed this work
  • 5:40 Groundhog Day: "What would you do if you were stuck in one place, and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?" 'How you answer this question is your art' (as suggested above, substitute 'life' for 'art').
  • 9:17 "Forget about being a writer, follow the impulse to write" [Ann Packer]
  • 10:40 'we're trained to heap praise on our loved ones in market terminology. We used to have hobbies, now they're called side-hustles.' Touches on the dangers of turning what you love into a career.
  • 11:30 leads nicely into inspirational robot drawings by five-year-olds :-)
  • 14:06 'she thought the "uncommon" was a better phrase than "art" ' -- nice example of an artist getting us to look at the 'common' as if with eyes that haven't seen it before.
  • 17:45 'you are allowed change your mind'
  • 19:38 'when in doubt, tidy up' (but not otherwise!)
  • 22:16 looking closer at slogans, e.g. "make your mark on the world!" [I think this from Steve Jobs, but not 100% clear from video]. This especially interesting to me -- there's a lot of what I consider BS being traded on the internet as wisdom, and being simply taken for granted by a huge number of people out there. (FWIW I find the conclusion here a little weak.)
  • 23:00 'Demons hate fresh air' -- walking, getting out there, as opposed to being 'plugged-in'. Might seem a little twee, but true in my experience.

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