By timothy from Slashdot's coordinating-unknowns-is-hard department
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Reuters reports that the high volume of online orders of holiday packages overwhelmed shipping and logistics company UPS delaying the arrival of Christmas presents around the globe and sending angry consumers to social media to vent. The company projected 132 million deliveries last week "and obviously we exceeded that," said UPS spokeswoman Natalie Black without disclosing how many packages had been sent. "For now, UPS is really focused on delivering the remaining packages. You might not see trucks, but people are working." Asked why the company underestimated the volume of air packages it would receive, Black noted that previous severe weather in the Dallas area had already created a backlog. Then came "excess holiday volume" during a compressed time frame, since the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas was shorter than usual this year. Amazon.com responded with an email to affected customers offering shipping refunds and $20 gift cards to compensate. Packages shipped via UPS for Amazon.com by Prime customers, who pay $79 a year for two-day shipping, may be eligible for additional refunds. Amazon's stated policy for missed deliveries is to offer a free one-month extension of Prime. Frustrated consumers took to social media, with some complaining that gifts purchased for their children would not arrive in time to make it under the tree by Christmas morning. '"A lot of these employees keep saying 'It's the weather' or 'It's some kind of a backlog,' said Barry Tesh. 'Well then why, all the way up until the 23rd, were they offering next-day delivery? That guaranteed delivery was 80% of my decision to buy the gift."' However, others on social media urged shoppers to be more appreciative of the delivery company's work during the holiday season. 'While others take vacation and time off in December, remember we aren't allowed ever to be off in December. Ever,' said a 20-year veteran UPS driver on the UPS Facebook page. 'So when you see your family and complain that your package is held up, everyone who moves your package is working and doesn't get the Xmas experience you get, Be thankful for that.'"Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's wax-cylinders-all-the-way department
New submitter mni12 writes "I have been working on a Bayesian Morse decoder for a while. My goal is to have a CW decoder that adapts well to different ham radio operators' rhythm, sudden speed changes, signal fluctuations, interference, and noise — and has the ability to decode Morse code accurately. While this problem is not as complex as speaker-independent speech recognition, there is still a lot of human variation where machine learning algorithms such as Bayesian probabilistic methods can help. I posted a first alpha release yesterday, and despite all the bugs one first brave ham reported success. I would like to collect thousands of audio samples (WAV files) of real world CW traffic captured by hams via some sort of online system that would allow hams not only to upload captured files but also provide relevant details such as their callsign, date & time, frequency, radio / antenna used, software version, comments etc. I would then use these audio files to build a test library for automated tests to improve the Bayesian decoder performance. Since my focus is on improving the decoder and not starting to build a digital audio archive service I would like to get suggestions of any open source (free) software packages, online services, or any other ideas on how to effectively collect large number of audio files and without putting much burden on alpha / beta testers to submit their audio captures. Many available services require registration and don't support metadata or aggregation of submissions. Thanks in advance for your suggestions."Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's right-to-pay-for-faster-connections? department
Ars Technica takes a look at two sides of the world of internet service
, as it's available to customers in the U.S., and especially at changes that are in the works for the next year. Thanks to Google, AT&T and other providers (including municipal networks), the number of Americans with access to very high speed household connections is rising dramatically — good news, for those in range of fiber-to-the-home rollouts, and this means at least some pressure on competitors. But as Ars writer Jon Brodkin points out, there are also developments that may dismay many customers, specifically the possibility that the Federal Communication Commission's 2010 Open Internet Order ("a network neutrality law that forbids ISPs from blocking services or charging content providers for access to their networks") may be overturned or weakened. That could come about either through lawsuit (Verizon's suit is mentioned), or through a more market-oriented approach from the FCC. Writes Brodkin: "If the law were overturned, ISPs could more easily steer customers to their own services and away from those of their rivals. They could charge companies like Netflix for the right to have their videos prioritized over other types of Internet traffic, perhaps indirectly raising the price consumers pay for streaming video and making it more difficult for startups to compete against established players who can afford the 'Internet fast lane' fees."Read Replies (0)
By samzenpus from Slashdot's one-small-station-break-for-man department
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "AP reports that standing by a part of the Apollo 8 spacecraft he once rode, retired astronaut James Lovell read the 1968 Christmastime broadcast from the day he and two others became the first humans to orbit the moon marking the 45th anniversary of the orbit and the famous broadcast. 'The idea of bringing people together by a flight to the moon where we encompassed everybody in our thoughts is still very valid today,' says Lovell. 'The words that we read are very appropriate.' Millions tuned in on Dec. 24, 1968, when Frank Borman, Bill Anders and Lovell circled the moon. A television camera on board took footage of the crater-filled surface as the astronauts read Bible verses describing the creation of Earth. They circled 10 times and began reading from the Book of Genesis on the last orbit. 'It's a foundation of Christianity, Judaism and Islam,' Lovell said of choosing Genesis. 'It is the foundation of most of the world's religions. ... They all had that basis of the Old Testament.' Lovell says at the time the astronauts weren't sure who would be listening and how the broadcast would be taken. The famous "Earthrise" photo was also taken during the mission. Lovell closed with the same message the astronauts did in 1968. 'From the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.'"Read Replies (0)
Ruby 2.1.0 Released
Posted by News Fetcher on December 25 '13 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-dying-after-all department
Today marks the release of Ruby version 2.1.0
. A brief list of changes since 2.0.0
has been posted, and file downloads
are available. Here are some of the changes:
Now the default values of keyword arguments can be omitted. Those 'required keyword arguments" need giving explicitly at the call time.
Added suffixes for integer and float literals: 'r', 'i', and 'ri'.
def-expr now returns the symbol of its name instead of nil.
rb_profile_frames() added. Provides low-cost access to the current ruby stack
for callstack profiling.
introduced the generational GC a.k.a RGenGC
(PDF).Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's merry-overthrow-your-government department
codeusirae wrote in with news that Edward Snowden gave an alternative to the UK's yearly Christmas message
, speaking about his objections to mass indiscriminate surveillance by governments
. The message aired on channel four
at 16:15. Slashgear posted a transcript
. Quoting: "Think about what this means for the privacy of the average person. A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They'll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves — an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought. And that's a problem, because privacy matters. Privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be."Read Replies (0)