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Hurricane Michael reached major hurricane status on Tuesday afternoon, and grew to a category 4 storm as it approached the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday. Widespread wind damage is likely where the eye makes landfall. For dozens of miles inland, and a life-threatening storm surge, flooding rains, and tornadoes are all possible as the storm makes its way into the southeast later this week. Governor Rick Scott tweeted on Wednesday morning that the time for safe evacuation had passed and that those along the coast should shelter in place immediately. Michael may hit land as the strongest hurricane the Panhandle region has ever seen, and prompted the National Weather Service Tallahassee to issue its first ever Extreme Wind Warning in anticipation of 130 MPH winds.
It didn’t take long for Hurricane Michael to get its act together. It grew from a disorganized tropical depression to a hurricane in about a day and a half, and its satellite appearance has improved dramatically with each passing hour. The storm developed a distinct eye on Tuesday morning, giving it that classic hurricane appearance as it gathered strength in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
The NHC’s forecast for Michael as of Wednesday morning. NOAA
Hurricane Michael’s winds reached category three status on Tuesday with maximum sustained speeds of 120 miles per hour, with the environment ripe for the storm to continue strengthening over the next day. As of the NHC’s 10 a.m. update on Wednesday morning, Michael was a category 4 hurricane located 65 miles southwest of Panama City, with sustained winds of 145 miles per hour. Wind gusts at weather stations in Bald Point and Apalachicola were already close to 60 miles per hour.
Wind damage will be a significant concern with Hurricane Michael. Areas along and near the coast could see tornado-like damage from sustained winds of 100 miles per hour or higher, with even stronger gusts. The region that experiences the strongest winds in the hurricane’s eastern eyewall could see tornado-like damage as the storm pushes inland. Parts of Alabama and Georgia are also at risk. Actual tornadoes are also possible throughout the region.
As we’ve seen so many times in recent years, it isn’t just the wind that will pose a danger to folks in the path of the storm. Heavy rain will accompany Hurricane Michael across the southeast. The storm will move quickly, which should stave off an epic flooding catastrophe like we saw with Florence or Harvey, but some parts of the Florida Panhandle, southeast Alabama, and central Georgia should see between four and eight inches of rain—with as much as a foot falling in some areas. A widespread swath of three to six inches of rain is possible elsewhere across the southeast. This much rain over a short period of time will lead to flash flooding concerns from Florida to North Carolina, especially in areas affected by Florence just a couple of weeks ago.
The concave coastline and flat, marshy terrain between Apalachicola and Cedar Key on Florida’s Big Bend makes storm surge a real threat. The unique geography allows landfalling storms to push seawater deep inland from strong, persistent onshore winds.
The National Hurricane Center expects a potential storm surge of up to 14 feet from Tyndall Air Force Base to Aucilla River, and up to 9 feet along other parts of the coast. You can check your area’s storm surge warnings here.
A storm like Michael is especially dangerous because it ramped up in a hurry. Forecasters had two weeks to watch Hurricane Florence wind up and get ready to drench the Carolinas, but it’s possible that news of this storm took people in its path by complete surprise, especially if they didn’t check weather forecasts over the weekend.
There’s not much time left to prepare, and it’s too late to evacuate, but if you are in Michael’s path you can find a list of tasks to complete before the storm arrives using Ready.gov’s hurricane preparedness checklist. Michael is expected to make landfall on Wednesday afternoon.
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Drop it like it’s hot
We didn’t do our own drop test at Android Authority, but there is one doing the rounds that shows the Nexus 4 withstanding a 4 feet drop on concrete without much damage. The glass back did fracture when the Nexus was dropped from about 6 feet, although not as severely as I would’ve expected.
On the other side, we have people like Joshua Topolsky from The Verge, who were less lucky. Topolsky reported that he dropped his review unit from the dining table on a hardwood floor, a mishap that resulted in a cracked back plate.
The Nexus 4 got a cold
In one extreme case, Kellex from Droid-Life claims that the glass back of his Nexus 4 cracked when he placed the phone on a room temperature stone countertop. He had the device for just two weeks, and he supposedly treated it with utmost care and never dropped it. Moreover, the same thing happened to the Nexus 4’s cousin, the LG Optimus G.
As you can see in the images below, there is no sign that the two devices were submitted to mechanical shock – usually, when you drop a device, the cracks stem from the point of impact, where they are deeper and denser. In this case, the phones display a single clean fissure along their length.
This Nexus 4 went against a stone countertop. It lost
Like the Nexus 4, the Optimus G features a Gorilla Glass panel on its back
Kellex believes that the difference in temperature between the phones and the stone countertop might have caused a thermic shock, which could explain the cracks. But I find this explanation a little hard to believe – to fail due to a difference of 20 oC (about 70 oF), the glass back would have to be extremely frail. Moreover, Gorilla Glass protects millions of devices, and if it were so sensitive to temperature variations, we would’ve known by now.
What can be the cause?
With so many reports, you can’t just dismiss them as freak accidents or negligence on behalf of the users. So, what could cause the Nexus 4 crack epidemic?
One explanation could be a faulty design. The sides of the Nexus 4 are protected by a sturdy piece of plastic, that offers a bit of protection to the glass back. Assuming that the phone is laid down on a smooth surface, the raised sides should ensure that the glass doesn’t come in contact with the surface.
I am no engineer, but I assume that the side band could create some tension in the sheet of glass. This existing tension could cause the sheet to fail under the right conditions. The outer glass panel is glued to the inner plastic layer with the holographic design – that can be another issue.
Another explanation could be a batch of faulty sheets or perhaps the glass sheet itself is too thin. If that’s the case, we should see fewer complaints once LG hits its stride with manufacturing the Nexus 4. In case you were wondering, Gorilla Glass is pretty darn strong:
Not a deal breaker
Should the wave of reports about broken glass backs on the Nexus 4 deter you from buying one? I don’t think so. As I said, it’s possible that the problem is specific to the first units that came off the production line. Even if it’s a design flaw that LG can’t fix, keep in mind that there are plenty of early adopters that have abused their phones with impunity.
The Nexus 4 shapes out to be a very popular device, and I am sure that LG will offer replacement parts. But the back plate of the Nexus is more than a casing — it includes the Qi wireless charging coil, a NFC antenna and other miscellany. For this reason, it’s unlikely that the replacement back plate will be cheap.
Photo by Brian Klug from Anandtech
You probably shouldn’t get the Nexus 4 if you are prone to accidents or you plan to use it in demanding conditions. Glass is glass, and it will fail if you stress it enough, regardless of how strong it is. An insurance plan might be in order.
To wrap up, I still think the Nexus 4 is an amazing device, offered at an amazing price. The glass back might be its Achilles’ heel, but the Nexus 4 is still worthy of your attention. Just don’t cheap out on the bumper.
Let us know your experience with the Nexus 4 or the Optimus 4.
Regardless of which camp you pitch your tent at, here are four research papers I believe are helpful for understanding the role of CTR in search engine rankings and SEO.Thorsten Joachims and the Study of CTR
Thorsten Joachims is a researcher associated with Cornell University. He has produced many influential research papers, among them research on the use of CTR for the purposes of search engine algorithms.
If you are interested in understanding the possible roles of CTR in search engines, then these four research papers authored by Joachims will prove enlightening.1. Optimizing Search Engines with CTR
That this research paper is from 2002 shows just how old research into CTR is. Studying CTR for relevance information is a mature area of research. Search engine related research has progressed far beyond this area.
Here’s what the research paper states:
In my opinion, this paper recognizes limitations in the algorithm. The algorithms are limited to learning which of the top 10 links are most relevant. But it learns nothing about the webpages in second and third or fourth pages of the search engine results pages (SERPs).
This is what the research paper observes:
“…there is a dependence between the links presented to the user, and those for which the system receives feedback.”
Right from the beginnig of CTR research it was understood that CTR data from the top 10 of the SERPs was of limited but important value. The research paper also notes that using this kind of algorithm was open to spamming and that steps would need to be taken to make it immune to spamming.
This is what Thorsten Joachims noted:2. The Concept of CTR as Biased Feedback
Here is how the CTR research paper expresses the idea that CTR data is noisy:
Yet the paper was optimistic that because there is a large amount of data to be mined, machine learning could be applied in order to reach accurate determinations of what links are more relevant than other links.
The research paper on CTR reached this conclusion:
I believe it is important to note that this research paper is not concerned with finding spam or with finding low quality sites to exclude. It is simply concerned with finding relevant sites that satisfy users.3. Machine Learning and Simulated CTR
The third research paper is also from 2005. This paper is titled: Evaluating the Robustness of Learning from Implicit Feedback . The goal of this paper is to understand when CTR data is useful and when CTR data is biased and less useful.
This is how the paper framed the problem and the solution:
“…this data tends to be noisy and biased… In this paper, we consider a method for learning from implicit feedback and use modeling to understand when it is effective.”
This paper is especially interesting because it introduces the possibility of modeling user behavior and using that data instead of actual user behavior. This paper also mentions reinforcement learning, which is machine learning.
Here’s a link to an introduction to reinforcement learning. It uses the example of a child learning that a fire is good because it gives off heat. But later learns the fire is bad if you get to close.
This is how the research paper presented it:
“This type of interactive learning requires that we either run systems with real users, or build simulations to evaluate algorithm performance.
This is really cool. It shows how a search engine can use machine learning to understand user behavior and then train the algorithm without actual CTR data but with simulated CTR.
This means that a search engine can theoretically model user behavior on webpages even if those pages do not rank on the first page of the SERPs. This overcomes the limitations noted in the research way back in 2002.4. User Intent and CTR – 2008
The final research paper I want to introduce to you is, Learning Diverse Rankings with Multi-Armed Bandits (PDF). This research paper does not use the phrase user intent. It uses the phrase, user satisfaction.
Satisfying all users means showing different kinds of webpages. The user intent for many search queries is different.
What’s relevant for one user is less relevant to another. Thus, it’s important to show diverse search results, not the same kind of answer ten times.
Here’s what the paper says about showing multiple kinds of results:
And this is what the papers says about user satisfaction:
“…previous algorithms for learning to rank have considered the relevance of each document independently of other documents. In fact, recent work has shown that these measures do not necessarily correlate with user satisfaction…”
And here is the part that really nails the problem that search engines today have solved:
“…web queries often have different meanings for different users… suggesting that a ranking with diverse documents may be preferable.”
The only downside to this kind of CTR algorithm for determining user satisfaction is that it may not work well for topics where what users want is in a state of change.
“We expect such an algorithm to perform best when few documents are prone to radical shifts in popularity. ”Read the CTR Research
And there you have it. These are, in my opinion, four important research papers to read before forming an opinion about the role of CTR in ranking webpages.
It’s important to note that the first research paper cited in this article is from 2002. The last one is from 2008. This gives an idea of how mature research into CTR is. Most research today is no longer focused on CTR. It is focused on artificial intelligence.
Nevertheless, if you are interested in CTR data and how it may play a role in ranking, you will benefit from reading these four research papers.
If you’d like to know some tips on how you can best utilize big data to boost your earnings, here are some suggestions you can consider
Companies use big data to analyze their customer base and explore opportunities in their market space. Big data refers to technologies that store, analyze, and manage large and complex data. Through customer data, the needs of the consumers can be easily identified and catered to by providing improved goods or services. It also eliminates the guesswork for marketing strategists as they can quickly determine a customer’s purchasing behavior and use it as a basis for campaigns.
Ultimately, the goal of collecting and analyzing customer data is to know their profile, study their interests and product preferences, and guide them towards a successful sale or transaction with the company. In essence, big data is turned into marketing revenue through various methods.
If you’d like to know some tips on how you can best utilize big data to boost your earnings, here are some suggestions you can consider:Employ Big Data To Enhance Marketing Strategies
Customer data is an excellent tool to help you design effective marketing campaigns. By analyzing customer profiles, you can better understand your target audience. In effect, this understanding will help you curate a campaign that would attract attention, pique the market’s curiosity, and invite new and repeat business.
For example, you can utilize cookies gathered from the customer’s web activity to learn their interests, purchase histories, and general profile. With this information, you can tailor your subsequent campaigns in a manner that would best suit your target audience. This way, you can minimize strategic errors that may hinder the success of your campaigns. In addition, you can also help your enterprise save time, effort, and resources in your marketing strategies moving forward.Create Data-Based Customer Engagement Strategies
You can also use big data to design strategies that augment customer engagement. For instance, you can study how your target audience interacts with your brand and the factors that boost their engagement. You can also identify
how to increase customer value
through these interactions, online or otherwise.
Big data analysis can also provide you with crucial information to make adjustments where needed. For instance, you can observe which of your existing products gets the most and least engagement. This way, you can devise a plan to help attract more attention towards less-engaging items or realign your resources towards developing new and improved products.Boost Brand Awareness And Customer Acquisition Through Big Data
As you collect digital information based on your customer’s responses on your online platforms, you can also determine how to widen your brand’s reach and boost awareness in other market platforms. One way you can do this is to increase your brand’s presence on the sites that your target audience frequents.
For instance, you can design an online campaign via social networking sites popular across your customer base. This way, it will be easier for them to engage with your brand and share your product information with their network. Also, while you promote brand awareness, you can improve customer acquisition by engaging with audiences connected to your current customer base.Use Big Data As Basis For Adjusting Price Points
Product prices can significantly influence a customer’s purchasing behavior. As such, it’s crucial to be aware of price movements in your market and how your brand stands against the competition. While offering lower-priced products may seem like the best way to beat competitors, it can backfire if the price adjustments are not justified. For instance, the customers may question quality or brand credibility if the prices are too low compared to other brands.
With these factors in mind, you’ll need to make price point comparisons using customer data that shows how product selections are influenced. You may see specific purchasing patterns that may help you point out the audience’s primary considerations in choosing a brand or an item. This way, you can make reasonable price adjustments that won’t hurt your brand and your revenue.
Meanwhile, you can also explore other options to make your prices more competitive. For example, you can consider adding discounts and freebies, which can help your products stand out from other brands.
Hurricane Lane fell apart in spectacular fashion as it meandered south of the Hawaiian Islands on Friday. The storm rapidly weakened in the face of wind shear to become a disorganized tropical storm mainly producing heavy rain.
But while the storm isn’t nearly the wind threat it was just a couple of days ago, as we’ve found out too many times in recent years, it doesn’t take a strong storm to leave behind major flooding. Flooding will remain a serious concern through the weekend. The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings across most of Maui and Big Island on Friday.
Although Lane’s winds are less of a concern, appearance isn’t everything when it comes to tropical cyclones, a lesson we learned from storms like Hurricane Harvey in 2023 and Tropical Storm Allison in 2001. Even a disheveled tropical cyclone can still produce torrential rainfall. Lane’s precipitation is displaced to the right of the center of circulation, exposing the islands to heavy rain even as the storm weakens.
Hurricane Lane’s lasting legacy will be the historic flooding it’s unleashed on the 50th state. The mountainous terrain of the Hawaiian Islands can make intense heavy rainfall events a dire situation. Flash flooding is a significant hazard near waterways and valleys and mudslides are likely in mountainous areas. The combined power of floods and mudslides will likely damage buildings, wash out roadways, and damage power and water infrastructure on the islands.
The heaviest rain has fallen on the Big Island, where the rain rate is exacerbated by the enhanced lift of winds flowing over the island’s tall volcanoes. An observing station in Hilo reported 16.99 inches of rain on August 23 alone. Many locations on the Big Island will wind up with more than 30 inches of rain by the end of the storm, especially on the windward sides of the island. Because the storm is moving so slowly, it’s hard to know how long it will hover close enough to the archipelago to continue dumping precipitation.
Rainfall totals in the double-digits are also possible on the most populated island of Oahu by the end of the storm. A small storm surge is also possible near Honolulu, which, combined with high surf, could lead to coastal flooding and beach erosion.
The rain on Maui will be a double-edged sword. A wildfire that broke out on the island on Thursday rapidly spread through the day on Friday as a result of the storm’s gusts. Heavy rain should help firefighters contain and extinguish the flames this weekend.
“We were expecting flooding, high winds, big surf—we weren’t expecting very little rain, heavy winds and a big fire,” the mayor of Maui, Alan Arakawa, told the New York Times. “We’re hoping for just enough rain to put out the fires, not enough rain to have mudslides after that.”
Hurricane Lane is a rare event in Hawaii. The state experiences fewer hurricanes than you’d think for its location in the tropical Pacific Ocean. The most common tropical threat Hawaii faces is storms passing the island chain to the north and south or weak tropical waves bringing flooding rains as they pass through the region. No hurricanes on record since 1950 have approached all seven populated islands along Lane’s path—previous storms only struck one or two islands, like Hurricane Iniki in 1992, which devastated Kauai while leaving the other islands relatively untouched.
Microsoft and its PC partners are producing a seemingly endless variety of tablets, from 8-inch slates that can practically fit into a (large) pocket to 10-inch tablets that still aren’t quite ideal for long hours at a desk. They won’t hesitate to tell you these devices are full PCs running full versions of Windows 8.1. Many Windows tablets even come with a free copy of Microsoft Office!
In fact, today’s Windows tablets offer such solid productivity chops that they can easily become the heart of a potent sit-down workstation with the help of a few peripherals and some smart software choices and tweaks. Even better, you can take that productive heart with you when you have to leave your desk.
Here’s how to transform a Windows tablet into a full-fledged Windows PC.A quick note on performance
It’s important to temper your expectations before we dive in.
While Microsoft’s own Surface Pro 2 packs an Ultrabook-class Core i5 processor, and the Dell Venue 11 offers Core i3 and Core i5 options, most Windows laptops run on Intel’s tablet-class “Bay Trail Atom” processors. Bay Trail processors provide solid performance in day-to-day computing tasks like web browsing, checking your email, watching high-definition videos, and Office-type productivity tasks.Video-out options
You’ll really want a tablet with some sort of video-out port if you want it to double as a PC. Some of the cheaper Windows tablets out there don’t offer video-out ports at all, leaving you to fend with inferior wireless solutions. You’ll find different types of ports on different tablets. For example, the Lenovo ThinkPad 8 offers a micro-HDMI port, while Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2 offers a Mini DisplayPort instead. You’ll need a micro-HDMI-to-full-HDMI adapter or a Mini-DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter, which will allow you to connect your tablet to a standard computer monitor or TV.
Some cheaper tablets don’t have any video-out ports. You’ll want to avoid these if possible, because you’ll have to use the Miracast wireless display technology built into Windows 8.1 with them them. Miracast theoretically lets you wirelessly stream your tablet’s display to a nearby monitor. However, Miracast often doesn’t work very well, and devices that are certified as compatible may not actually be compatible. If you want to try Miracast, you’ll probably need to pick up a wireless Miracast adapter for your display, too.
Some Android phones offer Mobile-High-Definition-Link (MHL) support, which allows you use a Micro-USB-to-HDMI adapter. This would mean a Windows 8.1 tablet with a standard Micro-USB port could output to HDMI with the proper adapter, if the display also supported MHL. However, we’re not aware of any Windows 8.1 tablets actually implementing this feature yet.
Check your tablet’s specifications to see what it supports and pick up the appropriate adapter. If you’re shopping for a tablet you want to also use as a desktop PC, be sure to get one with a video-out port so you’re not stuck fiddling with Miracast.USB keyboards, mice, storage devices, and printers
Input will be easier to handle. Practically every Windows 8.1 tablet should support Bluetooth, so you can easily use Bluetooth mice and keyboards without worrying about ports.
However, there’s a good chance you’ll want to use standard wired keyboard and mice, or wireless keyboards and mice with a receiver that plugs in via USB. In this case, you’ll just need to plug your USB mouse and keyboard into your tablet’s USB port.
Yes, sometimes this is easier said than done! Some tablets will have only a micro-USB port, for example. You’ll need a micro-USB-to-full-size-USB adapter to connect your USB devices to such tablets.
A powered USB hub like this 7-port Anker model makes it much easier to use a Windows tablet as a Windows PC.
Other tablets will offer a full-size USB port, but only a single one. You can get around this limitation by purchasing a USB hub. You’ll probably want an external USB hub with a power cable of its own that connects to a wall outlet. Your tablet will only provide so much power through its single USB port, and it may not be enough to power a mouse, keyboard, and all the storage devices you may want to connect.
Printers can be connected directly with USB, too. Plug that printer into the USB hub—or directly into the tablet—and you’ll be able to print.
You can connect a wide variety of peripherals to your tablet PC with via USB. For example, you could read and burn optical discs from a tablet if you buy an external optical drive and connect it via USB. Leave your peripherals plugged into the USB hub and you’ll only have to disconnect a single USB cable from your tablet if you ever want to pick it up and walk away.
Tablet hard drives tend to be far skimpier than PC drives, often topping out at 32GB or 64GB. Your tablet probably has a microSD card, so you can consider using it for additional storage. Simple USB flash drives or external hard drives can also augment your tablet’s storage capacity, and you can leave them plugged into your USB hub if you’d like.
Image: Michael Homnick
Dell offers a docking accessory for its Venue 11 Pro that adds three USB 3.0 ports (two in the back, one in front), both HDMI and DisplayPort connectors for attaching a second (or third) display), 10/100 ethernet, and analog audio and video connectors.
Some manufacturers produce docks designed to make all this easier, like Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2 dock or the tablet dock Dell offers for its sublime Venue 11 Pro. The dock connector on the device connects to the dock, where you can plug in your various cables. This makes it easier to remove the tablet without disconnecting multiple cables each time. You may also find third-party docks for some tablets.External monitor setup
You can use your external monitor in several different ways. Your tablet can become one of your two displays in a dual-monitor setup, or it can simply mirror its contents to the larger display.
Fiddling with multiple monitor options in Windows 8.1.
The “Multiple displays” section of the taskbar’s properties tab lets you customize how the taskbar behaves across two or more monitors.
Optimize that tablet for the desktop
Windows 8.1’s recent update attempts to use the ideal settings for the specific device you’re using. This means booting to the desktop on desktop PCs, but it also means booting to the Start screen and using the “Store apps” by default on tablets. Luckily, you can still adjust these settings yourself.
Stardock’s ModernMix software lets you run Metro apps in desktop windows when you’re using your tablet as a PC, but also lets you switch apps back to full-screen mode when you’re on the run.
If you like using the new Store apps on your tablet, but prefer using traditional desktop software when using your tablet as a PC, try Stardock’s $5 ModernMix. It lets you use confine those touch-first apps to traditional desktop windows when you’re using your tablet as a PC, at the mere touch of the F10 button on your keyboard or menu bar introduced by the software.
Beyond MetroMix, you can also use Windows 8’s built-in Snap multitasking feature to run Modern-style apps alongside the desktop, or just display Modern apps on your tiny tablet display and the desktop on your larger display. Both screens can be used at the same time in a tablet-as-PC setup, which can create some handy scenarios if, say, you want to use the touchscreen potential of the tablet itself to create diagrams, take notes, or mark up PDF files.
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