* Posts by Harry Percival

7 publicly visible posts • joined 1 Aug 2007

Google's 'instant' search springs keyboard controls

Harry Percival
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no vi keybindings? boo.

Nine year-old blamed for US school system hack

Harry Percival

Blackboard = crap

I am in the unfortunate situation of having to use Blackboard as part of an online Masters course, and I have to say, I've never seen a worse piece of software. I'm not at all surprised it can be hacked by a 9-year old.

Microsoft, Amazon, Yahoo! to join anti-Googlebook war

Harry Percival

make em share the scans

so, there's a couple of things here - one objection is that google run the only digitised books copyright registry, and the second is that they're the only people making money from it.

now it seems to me that it's really the government's job to run a copyright registry, but if they want to outsource it to google then that's fine, with caveats that follow:

the second bit, that google are making money as a result, seems a bit wrong. they claim anyone could do it if they started scanning books, but it's hardly something that costs peanuts, and as others have said, it was of questionable legality when google started.

so how about: google have to make all the raw scans available to anyone that asks, at no cost. then it's actually plausible that someone else (eg MS/Yahoo/amazon) could offer a similar service.

then, google are competing purely on the value they add, over and above scanning: the quality of their OCR, the quality of their search technology, the quality of their web UI.

problem solved. can't find a good icon for that sentiment tho...

Judge says tech-addled jurors undermine justice

Harry Percival

what's in a name?

Actually the evidence for names causing a predestination is not "shaky" at all. there is plenty of rock-solid evidence that people's names influence their life choices:

* people with first names that begin with the same letter are more likely to get married

* people are more likely to choose a career that begins with the first letter of their name - dennis the dentist etc

* (in america) people are more likely to a move to a state that sounds like their name - george lives in georgia, etc.

These are all very small effects - eg there are only 0.01% more georges in georgia than there should be - but it is statistically significant - because there's such a massively large population to do statistical analysis on.

so ner. Stephen Pinker mentions this in lots of his books. it's noted on the NY times blog here http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/23/how-your-name-may-influence-your-behavior/?apage=5 and on edge.org in a recent fascinating interview on edge.org here http://www.edge.org/documents/archive/edge262.html#4 (strongly recommended)

Trend virus update freezes some PCs

Harry Percival

any more details on who is affected?

Any idea on specific OS, hardware platforms if relevant, number of ppl affected?

Sitting here with a broken vista... Just tried ren *.exe *.ex2 in the trend folder but that don't seem to have fixed anything...

Oyster system failure causes travel misery

Harry Percival
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unbelievably convoluted process for getting a replacement card...

Inceredibly annoyed - not so much at the technical fault and problems it caused - we all know these things happen - but more at the insanely convoluted procedure I have to go through to get a new card. I've just taken a look at the form I have to fill in - TWO PAGES of personal details WHICH THEY ALREADY HAVE ABOUT ME and the obligation to provide some form of proof of address. not the kind of thing I walk around with every day.

They have my home address, why can't they simply send me a new card in the post? It's perfectly secure, and it's the minimum hassle for both them and me - no booth interactions and no processing forms.

morons. "oh, sorry customers, we've already wasted loads of your time with our broken system, why not waste even more time fillling in ****ing pointless forms"

grrrr. where's the "angry" emoticon, eh?

Eminem sues Apple - again

Harry Percival

to aj stiles

simpler suggestion for how to run the music industry:

all recorded music becomes free. the only way artists make any money is thru live performances. at least you can control access to them. (has the "exclusive" property of an economic good, which recorded media, thanks to the overwhelming ease of piracy, no longer has). prince seems to figured this out.

maybe concert prices will have to go up, but at least we're saving money on cds.

at some point ISP's are going to have to move to a 'per gig downloaded' charging model tho...

thinking as I type, the logic for films works (just about) too - i'd still pay to go see something in a cinema, cos even if i have a projector and a surround sound system at home, my screen isn't FRIKKIN 60-FEET WIDE and my soundsystem isn't as loud as the apocaplypse. bloody neighbours.

i guess video game makers are screwed tho...