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Moving beyond the Microsoft monoculture

Mar 08, 2011, 00:05 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Glyn Mody)

"For the last 15 years we have been living in a Microsoft monoculture, which has had very real knock-on consequences for everyone online – not just for users of its products. Today, though, that monoculture is fading away, to be replaced by something much more complex.

"It's the end of an era -- for UK journalists, at least. Thanks to the clever new site called churnalism.com, it will be possible for readers of mainstream news sites to check whether the article they are reading is simply a re-hashed press release. As the site's FAQ explains:

"The site compresses all articles published on national newspaper websites, on BBC news, and Sky news online, into a series of numbers based on 15 character strings (using a hash function) and then stores them in a fast access database. When someone pastes in some text and clicks 'compare', the churn engine compresses the text entered and then searches for similar compressions (or 'common hashes'). If the engine finds any articles where the similarity is greater than 20%, then it suggests the article may be churn."

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