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Steve Mays
"I may be sincere, but never serious, because I don't think the universe is serious." -- Alan Watts
"I may be sincere, but never serious, because I don't think the universe is serious." -- Alan Watts

Steve's posts

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Patients chat with the bot about their symptoms, and the app determines whether they should see a doctor, go to a pharmacy, or stay home. It's now available to about 1.2 million Londoners. [...] In tests, it's now diagnosing patients faster human doctors can, says Dr. Ali Parsa, the company's CEO. The technology can accurately diagnose about 80 percent of illnesses commonly seen by primary care doctors. [...] To find a diagnosis, the bot chats with a patient about his or her history and symptoms, creates a probabilistic model, and then asks more specific questions to whittle down the likely culprits — much the same way a doctor would.

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“You think you’re powerful? Watch this, motherfucker.”
Remember the scene in Mad Max: Thunderdome, when the dwarf running the methane operation (powered by pig shit) that powered Bartertown stopped production to let Aunty know just who the fuck was in charge?

If I were Jack Dorsey — assuming he has the power to do it — I’d turn off Twitter for 24 hours. I’d make an announcement a day or two before, to avoid a panic. I wouldn’t say why I was doing it, I’d just do it. Mostly to fuck with Trump.

“You think you’re powerful? Watch this, motherfucker.”

I can’t believe this hasn’t already happened. I’m guessing Jack Dorsey is rich enough that if Twitter disappeared tomorrow, he’d still have three hots and a cot. Yeah, yeah, I know… he has lots of employees and shareholders and blah, blah, blah. But what the fuck’s the point of being rich and powerful if you don’t flex once in awhile. Amirite?

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Who knew? I knew
Twitter was less than two years old in January 2009 and most of our reporters saw it as a distraction and a waste of time. Reasons for not using included:
Don’t have time; Don’t have access to net; Against the House/Senate rules
Don’t see value; Don’t have laptop or text-enabled phone, etc. I was convinced we'd see Twitter used to cover the 2009 legislative session.

I was wrong about a lot of stuff in the early days of the net and social media. A lot. Can you imagine the reaction had someone predicted that in less than ten years Donald Trump would be president and tweeting from the Oval Office.

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Tweeting the execution
My Small History of Learfield (the company I worked for) and the Internet is nearly completion. Every drawer I open has some interesting new tidbit. Missourinet News Director Bob Priddy (now retired) share's this gruesome bit of history:

"One of the highlights of our coverage of executions was when I became ( I think) the first reporter in the world who tweeted an execution. Dennis Skillicorn was executed in May, 2009. I could not take anything into the witness room except my notebook and a pen, and the book I had been reading in the waiting room, but I kept a careful chronology and as soon as we came out, I posted tweets on a minute-by-minute basis describing the events.

Only 3 days in and Wikitribune has 6,900+ $upporters. Enough to hire FOUR of 10 journalists needed for lift off. 

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"Instead of asking how smart we can make our machines, let’s ask how smart our machines can make us."

“What if you could have a memory that was as good as computer memory and is about your life? What if you could remember every person you ever met? How to pronounce their name? Their family details? Their favorite sports? The last conversation you had with them?”

Feedly testing filter feature
I still miss Google Reader but have gotten comfortable with Feedly (free version). This morning they invited me to take a short survey on a proposed new feature:

Hello Steve, many users are asking for the ability to filter out specific topics from their feeds (Example: "I don't want to see news about Pokemon Go")

Good example. I could go a long time without needing to see a story about Pokemon Go. Or "cosplay" They asked if I'd be willing to test such a feature and I said, "you betcha!"

Had to remove the Mercury Reader extension for Chrome
Couldn't highlight and copy text in the Reader view. Click anywhere and it selected all remaining text on the page. If intentional, pretty chickenshit. So I'm back to jumping over to Safari if I want a clean read AND the ability to copy/paste. Problem solved.

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I’m in the middle of another Small Histories” project. “Learfield and the Internet” is the working title. I’ll share it here when it’s as done as I can do it. But here’s a sample of the kinds of stuff we slung against the wall (in 2000).

I knew from my small market radio days that people loved obituaries. Every morning the local funeral homes would call in details of funerals and visitations and we’d read them on the air. We tried to kill the feature once but people went ape shit.

The great thing about the early days of the Internet was nobody knew what might work so you could try anything. Why not let funeral homes throughout the state (Missouri) log in to an online database and post funeral announcements. The public could search by name, date, city, etc etc. We pitched the funeral home associations in Missouri and Iowa (maybe some other states, I don’t recall).

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Google trying to improve search
“Our algorithms have always had to grapple with individuals or systems seeking to “game” our systems in order to appear higher in search results using low-quality “content farms,” hidden text and other deceptive practices. […] The most high profile of these issues is the phenomenon of “fake news,” where content on the web has contributed to the spread of blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive or downright false information."

My first thought after reading this was, “If you can’t trust Google search results, what can you trust?” If Holocaust deniers and anti-vaxxers can game Google to convince other morons their bullshit don’t stink, we’re kind of fucked. And it looks like that has been happening. I hope Google is successful in this effort. You can search for “alternate facts” with the Breitbart-Fox News Search Engine. 
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