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Brazil alters flight number on clairvoyant …
Brazilian airline TAM changed one of its flight numbers after a renowned clairvoyant predicted a plane bearing the original number would crash shortly after takeoff.
Polish town opposes Pooh Bear for unclear …
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Officials in a Polish town have opposed a proposition to name a playground after Winnie-the-Pooh due to the bear's unclear gender and immodest clothing.
Pooh Faces Park Ban For 'Hermaphrodite' …
Winnie the Pooh could be banned from a Polish playground, after politicians labelled the character as a half-naked hermaphrodite who is an inappropriate role model to children.
Samsung Seeking To Block Nvidia Chips From US Market
An anonymous reader writes: Bloomberg reports that Samsung has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission asking them to block the import of Nvidia's graphics chips. This is part of Samsung's retaliation for a similar claim filed by Nvidia against Samsung and Qualcomm back in September. Both companies are wielding patents pertaining to the improved operation of graphics chips in cell phones and other mobile devices.


I mean this respectfully

By Ol Olsoc • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
</header> Paten trolls into hardware trolls - How about you folks go fuck yourselves.

Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Starting and Running a Software Shop?
An anonymous reader writes: I'm a systems architect (and a former Unix sysadmin) with many years of experience on the infrastructure side of things. I have a masters in CS but not enough practical exposure to professional software development. I'd like to start my own software product line and I'd like to avoid outsourcing as much as I can. I'm seeking advice on what you think are the best practices for running a software shop and/or good blogs/books on the subject.

To be clear, I am not asking about what are the best programming practices or the merits of agile vs waterfall. Rather I am asking more about how to best run the shop as a whole. For example, how important is it to have coding standards and how much standardization is necessary for a small business? What are the pros and cons of allowing different tools and/or languages? What should the ratio of senior programmers to intermediate and junior programmers be and how should they work with each other so that nobody is bored and everyone learns something? Thanks for your help.


Get a sales force and some customers

By Kohath • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

Business is about sales and customers. Everything else you do is completely irrelevant if you don't have sales and customers. If you don't have a good plan to sell your wares, you don't need to spend 5 minutes thinking about how you will produce them.


Re:First and foremost

By Nuitari The Wiz • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Also look at oursources payroll, time tracking (this is sometimes a must for R&D tax credit) and make sure you have some financing / funding lined up. You need to have a plan to cover the first 2 years of operations where revenue will be slim.
This will also allow you to avoid getting into the "anything for a buck" mentality.

Don't focus on development tools / standards. Let your programmers take care of that. You might want to look for a lead developer with experience managing junior / intermediate developers.


Instill confidence through source escrow

By SethJohnson • Score: 3 • Thread
</header> If you are planning to sell software to the government or business as a startup, consider source code escrow. Your customers will tend to stick with established vendors for fear of you going out of businesses and leaving them with an unsupported implementation. The source code escrow is insurance against that being more of a catastrophe for your customers than you.

Invest in dedicated technical support. It plays up as great comedy in the movie, Office Space, when the character says you don't want the customers talking directly to the engineers. You actually don't want that. Establishing a quality support team keeps the engineers productive on developing while the support group ensures the customers are getting help with their issues. Oh, and don't outsource this responsibility to a foreign country. If you think you can't afford quality support, at least staff it with a recent college grad and split that person's time between support and bug fixing.


Re: First and foremost

By American AC in Paris • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
</header> Even before that: have a business plan. Do your best to determine what you want to create, how expensive it will be to make it, how many people you'll need to manage, how much you expect to charge for it, and how big your likely market is. If you discover that there's no way to make your endeavor even close to profitable, you can save yourself months of heartache and mountains of lost money. Always have a plan, even if you don't stick to it in the end.


Know what you're going to do

By wvmarle • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The summary is a bit short on detail, but one thing is lacking: a business plan. I've never run a software business, but am running my own business now so have a bit of experience in setting it up. What do you want to program? Who are your customers? Where's the demand?

You're already talking about hiring multiple people - this means you must have a decent outline of a piece of software to develop, and it's going to be a quite big project. Do you have customers for that already? Without customers, you're going to run dry very very soon, and you won't be able to get any funding. No customers, no future for whatever you want to do. Just saying "let's set up a software shop" is a one-way street to bankruptcy. You need to have potential customers before you start producing anything, really. You need to know the demand is there. You need to have your income sources. You'll have to find customers who need a product, and who believe you can deliver what they need at good price and quality.

Hiring people is very expensive for a shop without income. I've always started up on my own, do everything in house until you have too much to do that you have to start getting other people involved. In the meantime this also means that revenue is there.

Getting started is hard: no-one knows you, and hiring you (the new kid on the block) for some big, expensive software project (the kind a single person can't handle) won't happen. They'll go to the ones they know that can handle it. You'll have to start small, slowly get your way into the market, get your name out, get your product out, let the people know you're there and you're good. Then you may get bigger projects, then you may start hiring people and setting up an office that's not part of your living room.

Good luck with it all!

Doubling Saturated Fat In Diet Does Not Increase It In Blood
An anonymous reader writes: A new study by researchers at Ohio State University found that dramatically increasing the amount of saturated fat in a person's diet did not increase the amount of saturated fat found in their blood. Professor Jeff Volek, the study's senior author, said it "challenges the conventional wisdom that has demonized saturated fat and extends our knowledge of why dietary saturated fat doesn't correlate with disease."

The study also showed that increasing carbohydrates in the diet led to an increase in a particular fatty acid previous studies have linked to heart disease. Volek continued, "People believe 'you are what you eat,' but in reality, you are what you save from what you eat. The point is you don't necessarily save the saturated fat that you eat. And the primary regulator of what you save in terms of fat is the carbohydrate in your diet. Since more than half of Americans show some signs of carb intolerance, it makes more sense to focus on carb restriction than fat restriction."


Control the carbs and you control blood lipids

By zerofoo • Score: 3 • Thread

I tried a "low-cholesterol" diet and it made my lipid profiles worse. I went on cholesterol drugs, and they had awful side effects. Finally I gave up the cholesterol meds and started restricting carbs. My lipid profiles got much better and I've decided to simply live as a "borderline" case without cholesterol meds.

I'm 20 pounds lighter, and I feel a hell of a lot better than on the meds.

I'm not sure medical science understands (well enough) the relationship between carbs/blood sugar/cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. The low-fat diet and food pyramid is probably the worst thing ever foisted on the American people. With 30 years of run-away obesity and diabetes, maybe it's time to admit failure with those recommendations.

We still let cereal manufacturers pitch their wares as "heart-healthy" - what a joke.


This guy was probably right

By zerofoo • Score: 3 • Thread

Entertaining movie about this:



Interesting though not to be overinterpreted

By quantaman • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Before everyone jumps on the low-carb bandwagon there are a few caveats to note:

1) All the participants had metabolic syndrome so the results might not be generally applicable.

2) The meals were fixed portions, so we don't know how it affected appetite or how it compared to previous eating habits.

3) We don't know what would happen long term. For instance all the participants followed the same pattern of steadily increasing carbs and decreasing fat, so it could be the body reacting to the delta.

I just mention because most people are really interested in the question "if I want to lose weight and/or reduce my risk of heart disease should I eat more/less fat and more/less carbs". But that question is incredibly specific to one person and very poorly defined beyond that. This study says in these very specific circumstances the answer is more fat and less carbs, but that's not necessarily true in general. To think it does give the general answer only sets one up for a future accusation that science is always wrong when a future study with slightly different parameters seems to reach a different conclusion.


Re:Control the carbs and you control blood lipids

By turbidostato • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

"The low-fat diet and food pyramid is probably the worst thing ever foisted on the American people. With 30 years of run-away obesity and diabetes, maybe it's time to admit failure with those recommendations."

As a foreigner I can easily see where USA's obesity epidemy comes from and it is not from any given food pyramid: have you paid attention lately to the ridiculously big rations you ingest? The ridiculously high levels of processed food? The ridiculously high comsumption of snacks and soda drinks?

Upgrading the Turing Test: Lovelace 2.0
mrspoonsi tips news of further research into updating the Turing test. As computer scientists have expanded their knowledge about the true domain of artificial intelligence, it has become clear that the Turing test is somewhat lacking. A replacement, the Lovelace test, was proposed in 2001 to strike a clearer line between true AI and an abundance of if-statements. Now, professor Mark Reidl of Georgia Tech has updated the test further (PDF). He said, "For the test, the artificial agent passes if it develops a creative artifact from a subset of artistic genres deemed to require human-level intelligence and the artifact meets certain creative constraints given by a human evaluator. Creativity is not unique to human intelligence, but it is one of the hallmarks of human intelligence."


Inference is Hard

By infogulch • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
</header> 'In the following sentence: "Ann gave Sue a scarf. She was very happy to receive it." Does "she" refer to Ann? (yes/no)'
A series of similar and increasingly difficult inference questions like this one can usually knock over an AI pretty easily, while not being too difficult for humans.


Human Intelligence

By Elledan • Score: 3 • Thread
</header> All I can think of while reading up on the Turing and related tests is how many humans would fail such a test.

With the many assumptions made about what constitutes 'true' intelligence, how sure are we of the assumption that a human being of at least average intelligence would pass it? What's the research telling us there so far?

Or are human and artificial intelligence somehow considered to be mutually exclusive?


We will never have "real" AI

By msobkow • Score: 3 • Thread

We will never have "real" AI because every time we approach it, someone moves the bar as to what is required. It's been happening since the mid-late '80s. We *have* what would have qualified as AI according to the rules of '86-'87.


The assumptions, they make a whoosh out of you

By Donwulff • Score: 3 • Thread

So yet another article on Turing test which completely misses the point... First of all computer scientists never considered Turing test valid test of "artificial intelligence". In fact, there's practically no conceivable reason for a computer scientist to test their artificial intelligence by any other way than making it face problems of its own domain.
Perhaps there will come a day where we really have to ask "is this entertainment droid genuinely intelligent, or is it only pretending", possibly for determining whether it should have rights, but this kind of problem still doesn't lie in the foreseeable future.
On the Other hand, as Turing himself put it in the paper where he introduced his thought-experiment, from Wikipedias phrasing: "I propose to consider the question, 'Can machines think?'" Because "thinking" is difficult to define, Turing chooses to "replace the question by another, which is closely related to it and is expressed in relatively unambiguous words." Turing's new question is: "Are there imaginable digital computers which would do well in the imitation game?"
In other words, the Turing test does not seek to answer the question of whether machines can think, because Turing considered the question meaningless, and noted that if a machines thinking was outwardly indistinguishable from human thinking, then the whole question would become irrelevant.
There is a further erroneous assumption at least in the summary - as of present times, even the most advanced computers and software are basically simply an abundance of if-statements, or for the low-level programmers among us, cmp and jmp mnemonics. If, on the other hand, we expand our definition of a "machine" to encompass every conceivable kind, for the materialistic pragmatic it becomes easy to answer whether machines can ever think - yes of course, the brain is a machine that can think.


Re:Turing test is fine

By narcc • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Did you miss the last 64 years of research and philosophy? The last hold-outs, save the most delusional, we're knocked out by Searle in 1980.

It's only controversial for those who haven't read Turing's paper, or have completely failed to understand it.

Eliza, for example, highlights the massive failure in Turing's reasoning -- The question "can machines think" is not equivalent to the question "Are there imaginable digital computers which would do well in the imitation game?"

Weisenbaum found the response to his program from non-technical staff disturbing.

Secretaries and nontechnical administrative staff thought the machine was a "real" therapist, and spent hours revealing their personal problems to the program. When Weizenbaum informed his secretary that he, of course, had access to the logs of all the conversations, she reacted with outrage at this invasion of her privacy. Weizenbaum was shocked by this and similar incidents to find that such a simple program could so easily deceive a naive user into revealing personal information.

( From Eliza to A.L.I.C.E.)

Further, the so-called "Turing test" hasn't held still. Not even in his 1950 paper! (Turing proposed multiple variations on the test, if you'll recall.) Since then, a number of different versions of the "Turing test" have appeared, none of which are (like Turing's variations) are equivalent to one another!

If you need a *really* simple argument: The results of any variation of the "Turing test" are completely subjective. Consider a program that fools 100% of one set of interrogators may completely fail to fool even 10% of another set.

Eizo Debuts Monitor With 1:1 Aspect Ratio
jones_supa writes: Eizo has introduced an interesting new PC monitor with a square aspect ratio: the Eizo FlexScan EV2730Q is a 26.5-inch screen with 1:1 aspect ratio and an IPS panel with resolution of 1920 x 1920 pixels. "The extended vertical space is convenient for displaying large amounts of information in long windows, reducing the need for excess scrolling and providing a more efficient view of data," the firm writes. The monitor also offers flicker-free (non-PWM) backlight and reduced blue light features to avoid scorching users' eyes. Would a square display be of any benefit to you?



By mccrew • Score: 3 • Thread
</header> Finally get back some of the vertical space lost when every laptop and desktop downgraded to "HD".



By ihtoit • Score: 3 • Thread

Shut up and take my money!

I do my DTP on a Pentium IV with a 4:3 screen because the simple fact is it's far more comfortable looking at a document on a 4:3 screen than it is a 16:9 or a 16:10. Pisses me off that personal computing has gone the way it has, that being steered to moving media consumption - if I wanted to watch movies 24/7 I'd've bought a fucking £60 portable DVD player not a £500 laptop! This TV comes with a keyboard so I can fucking TYPE on it! I want my squarer screen back!


Pivot Stand?

By marciot • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

I hope it comes with a pivot stand for landscape and portrait mode.


I'd be happy if 4:3 came back!

By BitterOak • Score: 3 • Thread
</header> Forget square monitors, I'd be happy if 4:3 made a comeback. Yes, I know they still exist, but they're a lot harder to find than they used to be. Go to any Best Buy or Staples and all you see are 16:9. Those are great for watching movies, but I prefer to watch movies on my TV and do work on my computer. And for pretty much all work except video and movie editing, 4:3 is better. I'm currently working on an old Samsung 4:3 which is starting to give me trouble (making strange noises and going dark at random times requiring me to cycle the power on the monitor.) I hope I won't have too much trouble replacing it when it dies.


Re:Squarer is better.

By Luckyo • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

There is some advantage for various full screen viewing implementations like gaming. Like it or not, human field of view is much wider than it is taller. As a result, taking visual input from wide screen is more natural than from square(ish) screen.

The obvious problem is that which you mention - much if not most of PC work is related to document handling and such, which requires vertical space and wastes horizontal space, making wide screen format a bad idea.

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