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RadioShack Trying To Return To Its DIY Roots

orion67 RSH has a working (i.e. profitable) business model (413 comments)

I find it funny how so many Slashdotters are critical of the current RS business model. Has anyone actually looked at how the business is doing? RSH has had only one unprofitable year in the past 20. And although they don't have the exact same inventory lists, their most direct competition for most of what they sell has been big box stores like Best Buy and Circuit City. Look how many big box stores have died during the past 10 years - meanwhile RS keeps on going and going, generating cash at an impressive clip.

Requisite Anecdote: I was at a friend's house last weekend, and he had just bought a new digital camera at a garage sale. He was wondering aloud where he could find a cable for it. Standard USB cable used by thousands of cameras, cell phones, etc. His first thought was "Radio Shack probably has it." He was fully prepared to go there and probably spend way too much for it, esp. when compared to Monoprice or other sites that sell this type of thing at very low prices. I think lots of (normal, less-nerdy) people still think of RSH as the place to go for any kind of accessory item related to electronics. These are high-margin items. A few USB cables at 80% markup or more will cover a lot of missing component/part sales.

Plus, they sell a LOT of cell phones and plans. This is a profitable business. As an investor, I guess I don't really care too much that everyone on /. thinks a couple of bucks is WAY TOO MUCH for a capacitor or whatever. Their management seems to realize this also - they have been buying back the company's stock at a pretty good clip at current prices. Also, the market has beaten this stock price down to where another company may buy it just to pick up the additional cash flow - the stock is trading at very low multiples.

more than 3 years ago

Calling Video Professor a Scam

orion67 Re:His appeal (385 comments)

I'd be willing to bet that an ad worded "Just $X" would have some positive impact on the number of people who would respond to the ad in some way, compared to a similar ad that displayed only the price. It's human nature - the word "just" suggests an unusually low price for the item. There are plenty of people in this world who have virtually no skepticism about things like this.

more than 5 years ago

If You Live By Free, You Will Die By Free

orion67 Re:From Mark Cuban? Take it with a grain of salt (251 comments)

what else has Cuban done? While it's easy to poke fun at Cuban when he behaves like a spoiled child, most people would agree that he's made some very wise business decisions. Between his basketball team ownership and his involvement in many other businesses like HDTV programming, there is plenty of evidence of "what else" he's done. One small example: you know those three-sided 24 second clocks on top of the backboards in the NBA now? Probably wouldn't have happened if Cuban wasn't listening to his customers: http://creatingcustomerevangelists.com/resources/evangelists/mark_cuban.asp

more than 5 years ago

The Real Story Behind Gaming Addiction

orion67 Re:Common Problem: Small data = Big Leaps (300 comments)

No one actually used the proper term for these people: illegal aliens.

when did we get laws against aliens? Discrimination!

more than 5 years ago

The Real Story Behind Gaming Addiction

orion67 time fixes all (300 comments)

I don't know about anyone else, but after I play GTA I notice myself driving a little more aggressively. But after I play Assassin's Creed I somehow manage to avoid skewering random people with my sword. Go figure. I guess all my social behavior filters are in place.

When a gamer does something unstable, all bets are off and gaming gets blamed like "rock and roll" got blamed for the sexual revolution. After a while almost everyone will be a gamer and then that will stop, just like you rarely see people now blaming rock and roll for Sally's teen pregnancy.

My guess is that gaming probably affects us in the same ways anything else we experience affects us.

more than 5 years ago

Texas Judge Orders Identification of Topix Trolls

orion67 Re:Seems like the correct procedure (344 comments)

It seems to me that many defamation cases could be avoided if people would just use some basic qualifiers to lend truth to their statements.

If someone says "Maybe you have sex with farm animals" that statement is less libelous than the statement "I know you have sex with farm animals."

We just need to teach trolls how to use the proper qualifiers in their statements.

more than 5 years ago

Texas Judge Orders Identification of Topix Trolls

orion67 Re:Seems like the correct procedure (344 comments)

do you think every time some punk in WoW calls me a "faggot", I should be able to turn around and sue him?

IANAL, but yes, if you choose to do so. But if he says "I think you are a faggot" then you probably won't get anywhere. If he says that he knows for a fact you are a faggot, and assuming that being known as a "faggot" is a bad thing for you, and assuming a ton of other conditions apply, then maybe you could sue him and get some relief.

But, as with many legal options, practical financial considerations often drive the outcome, rather than strict rule of law. What would be your financial motivation to sue the person ("punk" is kind of libelous, don't you think?) that is calling you a "faggot" online? If I were his attorney I'd try to convince the jury that you are not really legally damaged in any financial way by this comment, and that you are trying to abuse the court system by suing over something that would be considered trivial to most people.

None of this means you can't sue - it just means that it probably wouldn't be such a good idea.

In this case, I'd guess the burden of proving actual damage would fall on the plaintiffs. This might be one of those court cases that will get settled for pennies on the dollar, or outright dismissed, and THAT story most likely won't make the wire service, because it doesn't really spark any debate like this one does...

more than 5 years ago

Texas Judge Orders Identification of Topix Trolls

orion67 Re:From TFA (344 comments)

so if it's not in the Bill of Rights then you aren't allowed to sue over it? hey, everybody, the U.S. legal system has been simplified, and now all laws have been reduced to only what is in the Bill of Rights. Free speech is only free up to a point. Not everything that comes out of your mouth (nor, apparently, your keyboard) is protected by this right.

more than 5 years ago

Nine Ways to Stop Industrial Espionage

orion67 Not possible to prevent (351 comments)

I didn't read TFA (got tired of waiting for it to load...)

Obviously information loss can't be prevented. The best you can do is reduce the likelihood and the ease with which it can be accomplished.

Internal staff will always have access to information. People are corruptible. Even where extremely extensive security measures have been taken, people still manage information theft - government spies are a good example - don't forget that the best spies haven't been caught and we don't even know about them.

I always find if funny when companies get worked up over the security of a reporting solution I'm developing for them. For example, they might be concerned that people should not be able to e-mail reports outside the company. But they have no problem with someone printing off a report or copying it to a flash drive and mailing it out of the country using company postage meters...

There is also a severe productivity cost associated with these security measures. You could take a series of extreme security measures like:

  • Disallow flash drives and any other type of device that can store data, such as cell phones, memory cards, removable drives/disks, recordable CDs and DVDs, digital imaging devices, etc.
  • Disallow all remote connections to the outside world that could be used to copy data
  • Establish a security checkpoint through which all personnel must pass going in or out of your location. Conduct body searches for paper, media, and any other "banned" device or information.
  • Set up redundant information access protocols that require more than one person to be involved when accessing sensitive information.
  • Establish stiff penalties (dismissal) for the slightest violation of the rules
  • Establish significant rewards (big bonusus) for exposing the violations of others.
This might work, but where there is a will, there is a way. Plus, suddenly your company has turned into a hated Big Brother where no one wants to work because it just plain isn't any fun to be there. How much does this cost?

For many companies, a more reasonable approach might be:
  • Hire people that you think you can trust. Check references. Get to know them. Establish a culture of trust. Pay people what they are worth and be friendly with those that work for you.
  • Educate people on good information protection measures to reduce the likelihood of casual or accidental information loss.
  • Figure out what it would cost per year to implement a security measure. Don't forget the hidden costs (such as helpdesk calls when passwords expire frequently).
  • Compare the cost of security measures to the cost of information loss. Don't pay more for the barn door than you would for a new horse.

more than 8 years ago


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