Love, Digital Style

Everything else gets a feedback rating, so why not last night's date?

3 min read

"I went on a date and I thought it went pretty well. But then after a few days, my date wasn’t taking my phone calls. I started to wonder, ’Was it my hair—or lack of it? Maybe I just talked too much?’ Or maybe she just didn’t feel a spark. The point is, I didn’t know...I wish I had DateRate!"

So began Web developer Gabe Hallombe’s pitch for during the Australian start-up competition Sydney Startup Camp IV last October. The program, which won an honorable mention, lets you request anonymous criticism on such areas as grooming, sense of humor, and conversation from dates you’ve had through the site. "Sometimes the things we need to hear the most are the hardest things for people to say," says Hallombe. "DateRate makes sharing feedback easy." It’s the latest in a growing and addictive niche of feedback and information sites dedicated to dating.

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From WinZips to Cat GIFs, Jacob Ziv’s Algorithms Have Powered Decades of Compression

The lossless-compression pioneer received the 2021 IEEE Medal of Honor

11 min read
Photo of Jacob Ziv
Photo: Rami Shlush

Lossless data compression seems a bit like a magic trick. Its cousin, lossy compression, is easier to comprehend. Lossy algorithms are used to get music into the popular MP3 format and turn a digital image into a standard JPEG file. They do this by selectively removing bits, taking what scientists know about the way we see and hear to determine which bits we'd least miss. But no one can make the case that the resulting file is a perfect replica of the original.

Not so with lossless data compression. Bits do disappear, making the data file dramatically smaller and thus easier to store and transmit. The important difference is that the bits reappear on command. It's as if the bits are rabbits in a magician's act, disappearing and then reappearing from inside a hat at the wave of a wand.

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