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Postings for August 2018:  (13 posts)
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 19:00:00 UTC

Diversity ?Goals?

Posted By Tim Bray

Many of us (speaking from the tech sector where I work) think the sector?s workplace diversity isn?t very good. Specifically, there aren?t enough women. Large companies???all the ones I?ve worked for, anyhow???have goals, and generally work hard at meeting them. Many companies now say they care about diversity, and have goals around improving it. But improvement is painfully slow; why? Maybe part of it is that those aren?t the same kind of ?goals?. How business goals work When I say ?large companies have goals?, I mean that in a very specific way. Each planning cycle, company groups and their managers take on a set of explicitly written-down goals for that planning cycle.

Wed, 15 Aug 2018 18:50:12 UTC

Talking surveillance, elections, monopolies, and Facebook on the Bots and Ballots podcast

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Grant Burningham interviewed me for his Bots and Ballots podcast (MP3), covering a bunch of extremely timely tech-politics issues: Facebook and the impact of commercial surveillance on democratic elections; Alex Jones, censorship and market concentration; and monopolism and the future of the internet.

Fri, 10 Aug 2018 19:31:19 UTC

Talking the hard questions of privacy and freedom with the Yale Privacy Lab podcast

Posted By Cory Doctorow

This week, I sat down for an hour-long interview with the Yale Privacy Lab‘s Sean O’Brien (MP3); Sean is a frequent Boing Boing contributor and I was honored that he invited me to be his guest on the very first episode of the Lab’s new podcast. As you might imagine, Sean had some sophisticated —... more

Thu, 09 Aug 2018 19:37:22 UTC

Come see me at the Edinburgh Festival and/or Worldcon!

Posted By Cory Doctorow

I’m heading to Scotland for the Edinburgh Festival where I’m appearing with the wonderful Ada Palmer on August 12th at 845PM (we’re talking about the apocalypse, science fiction and hopefulness); from there, I’m heading to the 76th World Science Fiction Convention in San Jose, California, where I’ll be doing a bunch of panels, signings and... more

Thu, 09 Aug 2018 19:31:19 UTC

My closing keynote from the second Decentralized Web Summit

Posted By Cory Doctorow

Two years ago, I delivered the closing keynote at the Internet Archive’s inaugural Decentralized Web event; last week, we had the second of these, and once again, I gave the closing keynote, entitled Big Tech’s problem is Big, not Tech. Here’s the abstract: For decades, we fought complacency over Big Tech. That’s over. The techlash... more

Tue, 07 Aug 2018 21:00:51 UTC

Lookalikes

Posted By Benjamin Mako Hill

Am I leading a double life as an actor in several critically acclaimed television series? I ask because I was recently accused of being Paul Sparks?the actor who played gangster Mickey Doyle on Boardwalk Empire and writer Thomas Yates in the Netflix version of House of Cards. My accuser reacted to my protestations with incredulity. … Continue reading "Lookalikes"

Tue, 07 Aug 2018 16:09:11 UTC

Talking copyright, internet freedom, artistic business models, and antitrust with Steal This Show

Posted By Cory Doctorow

I’m on the latest episode of Torrentfreak’s Steal This Show podcast (MP3), where I talk with host Jamie King about “Whether file-sharing & P2P communities have lost the battle to streaming services like Netflix and Spotify, and why the ?copyfight? is still important; how the European Copyright Directive eats at the fabric of the Web,... more

Sun, 05 Aug 2018 11:15:01 UTC

How I slashed a SQL query runtime from 380 hours to 12 with two Unix commands

Posted By Diomidis D. Spinellis

I was trying to run a simple join query on MariaDB (MySQL) and its performance was horrendous. Here's how I cut down the query's run time from over 380 hours to under 12 hours by executing part of it with two simple Unix commands.

Sat, 04 Aug 2018 19:00:00 UTC

Bye-bye Haida Gwaii

Posted By Tim Bray

I?m down to my last few pictures and stories from our July vacation in Haida Gwaii and Gwaii Haanas. Fuji X-T2, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8, 200mm, 1/680 sec at f/5.6, ISO 200 Most of our stops were at old Haida village sites. One of the highlights, aside from the totem poles, were the sites of the large houses; here?s a sample: Pixel 2, 1/350 sec at f/1.8, ISO 50 The idea was, they dug down into the earth, then they put up a fair-size house on top. The steps down to the floor would provide living and sleeping space; the fire would be in the middle.

Thu, 02 Aug 2018 02:20:01 UTC

I have no friends or colleagues

Posted By Benjamin Mako Hill

Although it’s never fun to have the most important professional association in your field tell you that “you have no friends or colleagues,” being able to make one’s very first submission to screenshots of despair softens the blow a little.

Wed, 01 Aug 2018 14:00:00 UTC

Make your voice count by simply saying, "Alexa, let's chat."

Posted By Werner Vogels

A while back I wrote about the Alexa Prize, a university competition where participating teams are creating socialbots focused on advancing computer to human interaction. We are now in year two, heading into the final stretch for 2018 and I thought I would give everyone an update. For those who aren't familiar, Alexa Prize teams use customer feedback to advance several areas of conversational AI, with the grand challenge being a socialbotthat can engage coherently for 20 minutes in a fun, high-quality conversation on popular topics such as entertainment, sports, technology, and fashion. Teams are thinking big about how to make strides in areas including knowledge acquisition, natural language understanding and generation, context modeling, common sense reasoning, and dialog planning.

Wed, 01 Aug 2018 01:29:19 UTC

More cordless phone investigations

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've established that the Panasonic cordless phones available in Australia have a particularly emetic menu structure. But they're the world's biggest maker of cordless phones. Surely something must be going for them. So I went looking on the Panasonic US site (at great difficulty: it tried to divert me to the German site, and wouldn't take no for an answer). A maze of twisty little images, all the same, 36 models in all. Where are the specs? We don't need no steenking specs. Manuals? A circular set of pages telling me to look for ?support" in the source page. Finally I found two different kinds of page, but in each case searching for ?PDF?

Wed, 01 Aug 2018 01:15:52 UTC

Twitter: more signs of the times?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another statistic from Statista today: One day after Facebook lost the greatest market capitalization in US history, Twitter also seems to be suffering. People might see a connection with Donald Trump's abuse of the platform, but I'm beginning to wonder if there isn't a trend here. Away from social media? Maybe people are getting fed up with the novelty of smart phones? Yes, their sales have also reached a plateau, but I think that that's only because the market is saturated.