Friday, April 13, 2012

For your weekend reading

I don't want you to be bored this weekend, so I thought I'd pass along some articles you might find interesting. If not, hopefully you still won't be bored this weekend :)

  • Hell Phone: Is there any way to stop the scourge of text message spam?
    But there’s also a possibility the problem will get much worse before it gets better. For a grim picture of the future, one has only to look to China, where unlimited text plans have been widely available much longer. By some estimates, a third of all text messages in China today are spam.
  • Netflix Recommendations: Beyond the 5 stars (Part 1)
    To put these algorithms to use, we had to work to overcome some limitations, for instance that they were built to handle 100 million ratings, instead of the more than 5 billion that we have, and that they were not built to adapt as members added more ratings. But once we overcame those challenges, we put the two algorithms into production, where they are still used as part of our recommendation engine.
  • Why Netflix Never Implemented The Algorithm That Won The Netflix $1 Million Challenge
    And, people tend to have a more... optimistic viewpoint of their future selves. That is, they may be willing to rent, say, an "artsy" movie that won't show up for a few days, feeling that they'll be in the mood to watch it a few days (weeks?) in the future, knowing they're not in the mood immediately. But when the choice is immediate, they deal with their present selves, and that choice can be quite different.
  • Raise the Crime Rate
    Statistics are notoriously slippery, but the figures that suggest that violence has been disappearing in the United States contain a blind spot so large that to cite them uncritically, as the major papers do, is to collude in an epic con. Uncounted in the official tallies are the hundreds of thousands of crimes that take place in the country’s prison system, a vast and growing residential network whose forsaken tenants increasingly bear the brunt of America’s propensity for anger and violence.
  • Harms of Post-9/11 Airline Security
    The humiliation, the dehumanisation and the privacy violations are also harms. That Mr Hawley dismisses these as mere “costs in convenience” demonstrates how out-of-touch the TSA is from the people it claims to be protecting.
  • Instagram as an island economy
    The situation of Instagram is that of an isolated island economy, separate from the outside world, being linked to the global economy. How do we figure out what it's worth to the global economy? How do you value a closed system?
  • Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out
    Then along comes Facebook, the great alien presence that just hovers over our cities, year after year, as we wait and fear. You turn on the television and there it is, right above the Empire State Building, humming.
  • ACID in HBase
    It is important to realize that this only works if transactions are committed strictly serially; otherwise an earlier uncommitted transaction could become visible when one that started later commits first. In HBase transaction are typically short, so this is not a problem.

    HBase does exactly that: All transactions are committed serially.

  • MySQL at Twitter
    MySQL is the persistent storage technology behind most Twitter data: the interest graph, timelines, user data and the Tweets themselves.

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