Meet the ‘bots’ of Wikipedia

ClueBot NG, as the bot is known, resides on a computer from which it sallies forth into the vast encyclopaedia to detect and clean up vandalism almost as soon as it occurs.

It is one of several hundred bots patrolling Wikipedia at any given time. Its role in repairing the Supreme Court article illustrates how bots have quietly become an indispensable – if virtually invisible – part of the Wikipedia project.

“Wikipedia would be a shambles without bots,” a Wikipedia administrator known on the site as Hersfold writes in an email.

English Wikipedia alone surpassed four million articles this month. It contains an estimated 2.5 billion words, equivalent to millions of pages, and it is 50 times larger than the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

But the project is so vast, and its maintenance so labour-intensive that it defies the capability of its human administrators and editors to keep it in order.

That is where the bots come in.

 

Keep reading: BBC News Magazine – Meet the ‘bots’ that edit Wikipedia

 

 

 

Continue reading Meet the ‘bots’ of Wikipedia

Review – new MacBook Air has great performance improvements, no design changes

You have to give it to ars technica, they write the best, most in-depth reviews. If you’re interested in buying the new MacBook Air the whole 4-page article is worth reading.

But, to cheat, I skipped to the last page and copied the conclusions below:

 

Conclusion

The 2012 MacBook Air doesn’t look any different than its last couple of predecessors, but the upgrades on the inside are what make the machine. Although Apple elected not to try and squeeze a “retina” class display into the MacBook Air this year, such a change would have come with great sacrifice to performance and battery life. And let’s be honest—with the MacBook Air, there’s very little wiggle room on either of those metrics. For me at least, I would rather have the performance and battery life.

For someone like me upgrading from a 2010 MacBook Air, or even a MacBook Pro from the last couple years, it would be no question: go ahead and buy one of Apple’s latest MacBook Airs. The performance increase is noticeable even during everyday use (even while using the lowest-end 2012 machine), and Apple finally gives users the option to upgrade from the soldered-on 4GB of RAM to 8GB of RAM in the Air.

Finally, this makes it a more serious machine than it was pre-WWDC, and the battery life of the MacBook Air has reached a respectable level as well. With the addition of Thunderbolt for I/O and USB 3.0 this year, it’s going to be difficult to convince me (or most other existing Air owners) to go back to a MacBook Pro—unless they are hankering for that shiny new retina display or even more significant performance improvements.

 

Review: The 2012 MacBook Air soars with Ivy Bridge

Continue reading Review – new MacBook Air has great performance improvements, no design changes

Gmail: why do messages end up in spam folder?

Many of our users say the accuracy of our spam filter is one of the key reasons they love Gmail. And while we think you should never have to look in your spam folder, we know some of you may want to know why the messages there were marked as spam.

So starting today, we’ll be showing a brief explanation at the top of each of your spam messages. Simply look at any message in your spam folder and now you can find out why it was put there and learn about any potentially harmful content within the message.

via Official Gmail Blog

 

Help articles from Google explaining why Spam can be dangerous.

Thx Don Burke.

AIDS is cured, here's why

It’s the 30th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic and the world agrees we are at a turning point.

The disease that affects 34 million people around the world (1.2 million in the US) can be cured. The drug cocktail that virtually erases the effect of HIV and allows folks to live a long life is coming down in price. What once used to be $15-30,000/year is now around $3-4,000/year.

A dramatic drop and still not low enough, but as the Economist reports, some rich African nations are starting to purchase them en masse. Especially after new studies are showing that transmission of HIV while on the drugs is reduced by 98%. Meaning that with a coordinated effort a country can stop the spread of the disease, prevent death, and begin the arduous process of removing it from society.

This puts AIDS in the same realm as TB, Measles, Tetanus, Diptheria. All diseases cured by coordinated massive efforts to remove the outbreaks from society. Yes, those use a vaccination but the process is the same and both require a mobilized, organized effort.

That is the turning point. The problem is no longer a disease raging out of control that will kill anyone who contracts it. Now, it is more like diabetes where life is definitely harder for those who have it but imminent death.

For more details and research, plus learn how countries are responding to this, check out the Economist Podcast (search in iTunes), listen to the audio version below, or read the feature article linked below.

The 30 Years War
Hard pounding is gradually bringing AIDS under control

AIDS is cured, here’s why

It’s the 30th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic and the world agrees we are at a turning point.

The disease that affects 34 million people around the world (1.2 million in the US) can be cured. The drug cocktail that virtually erases the effect of HIV and allows folks to live a long life is coming down in price. What once used to be $15-30,000/year is now around $3-4,000/year.

A dramatic drop and still not low enough, but as the Economist reports, some rich African nations are starting to purchase them en masse. Especially after new studies are showing that transmission of HIV while on the drugs is reduced by 98%. Meaning that with a coordinated effort a country can stop the spread of the disease, prevent death, and begin the arduous process of removing it from society.

This puts AIDS in the same realm as TB, Measles, Tetanus, Diptheria. All diseases cured by coordinated massive efforts to remove the outbreaks from society. Yes, those use a vaccination but the process is the same and both require a mobilized, organized effort.

That is the turning point. The problem is no longer a disease raging out of control that will kill anyone who contracts it. Now, it is more like diabetes where life is definitely harder for those who have it but imminent death.

For more details and research, plus learn how countries are responding to this, check out the Economist Podcast (search in iTunes), listen to the audio version below, or read the feature article linked below.

The 30 Years War
Hard pounding is gradually bringing AIDS under control

A New Design for 1X57

A little over three years ago Amy and I were walking the streets of DC talking about starting a business. After working together for two years, side by side, day-in, day-out, we realized anything we did individually paled in comparison to what we could do together. Despite butting heads on numerous occasions and dealing with myriad complications, unknowns, and doubts, we took the plunge and made it happen. 1X57 was born.

In the name we found an expression of who we are. It is the place where we first met in 2006, where we both found mentors to guide and shape our careers, where we found a sense of purpose and where we were inspired to imagine the possibilities. It also became a place out of reach for us, out of touch, if only because of where our path is leading us.

With 1X57, we are re-creating the ideals and values amplified in a place that opened our eyes and expanded our minds, to bring together work and creativity that excites us and contributes to a better world. The starting point for me has been writing on our blog, a way to bring together the intellectually curious people of the world, to discuss the most compelling and intriguing topics of the day. Posts like Can Every Child Get Sraight A’s, Steve Jobs Sabbaticals, Democracy in the World, and Who are the Best in DC Tech? are my way of sorting through questions I have while contributing to a communal discussion.

When we first launched 1X57, we were just happy to have a placeholder for the domain name and a theme that allowed us to get our thoughts out. In version 2.0, we wanted a whole lot more.

With so many projects under our belt and a growing number of speeches and interviews, we needed a space for bios, projects, and press. The blog needed an ability to feature our popular articles that the web seems to love. We also wanted a way to highlight local companies (DC, Baltimore) and must-see events.

Overall, version 2.0 represents a big step forward for the company. Expanded features, new components, and much more capability including a beta.1X57.com area in which to experiment.

The new theme represents a minimal blank-slate approach that allows our work to come through in full color, while offering a newspaper-style reading layout.

Below are screenshots of the same page viewed as version 1.0:

screenshot of v1.0 of 1x57 - why social network will win best picture

Version 2.0:

version 2.0 1x57 social network best picture

We hope you enjoy the site. Let us know if anything is broken, if you miss anything, or would like to see something added and/or changed.

Steve