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Comment Re:A piece about content... without content. (Score 1) 129

"Passive scrolling" is when you load up something like Facebook or Instagram, and you mindlessly scroll through your feed. These apps implement infinite scrolling, and every n-th post is actually an ad.

The article doesn't mention it, but I think one of the big drivers of the "death" of click through rates as a metric is brand advertising. Advertisers have started to view digital ads more as a long-term brand-building exercise (where brand exposure is all they want) instead of a short-term sales opportunity (where click-through rate rules).

I think since the 90s, brand exposure is all marketers have cared about for newspaper, radio and TV ads - no one measures any equivalent of CTR for those mediums. It's surprising to me that it took them so long to align their digital marketing strategies to this way of thinking. Perhaps having an easy way to measure a metric (in the form of Google Analytics) is the key driver for the adoption of that metric (rather than the usefulness of the metric itself).

Comment Num pads on laptops (Score 4, Insightful) 122

One thing that I can't stand about these machines is that they have a num pad, which pushes the main keyboard and the touchpad way to the left of the device. This means you have to sit either with your arms pointing to the left, or your head pointing to the right.

The number of users who would benefit from a num pad are few and far between, and they could just use a USB num pad.

Strangely, there are only a few laptop manufacturers that align the center of the screen with the center of the keyboard and touchpad. I hope System 76 fixes this one day, because I'd love to replace my MacBook with a Linux laptop.

Comment Re:Multicore for spreadsheets..? (Score 1) 224

Wow, I'm surprised this is a common thing. Nice to know I wasn't suffering alone.

Yes, a Project license costs money, but not as much as paying managers to build their own versions (plural because there were many implementations floating around) on top of Excel. At least not at the company I used to work at.

Comment Re:The point (Score 1) 532

As you said, smokers stink, and they often don't realize that their smell impacts others. And their deaths are not private incidents - it causes grief and pain for their family and friends, and there are economic costs like medical expenses that are paid for by the public healthcare system. So is this really a case of "private morals"?

If governments legalize marijuana but don't tax it as heavily as Australia taxes cigarettes, then they're doing it wrong.

Comment Re:A ribbon clone? (Score 1) 224

Yeah, I really wish LibreOffice wouldn't spend its time copying a 10-year-old design that was quite poorly received at the time.

The ribbon interface always struck me as the result of a company that just couldn't make decisions. I imagine product managers at Microsoft were fighting over whose features were important enough to be on the toolbar, and which ones would be hidden away in the menus. Corporate empire builders would fight to keep their pet features prominently advertised, and they'd get locked in a political stalemate. Meanwhile the toolbars were so bloated that users couldn't figure it out where anything was (and don't forget the bazillion optional toolbars). Then some UI designer comes along with a way to side-step the decision - make the menus look like toolbars and put everything there!

So users get the worst of both worlds. It's essentially a menu with icons, so you have to dig through menus, which makes it not as fast as a toolbar. And it's not as compact as a menu, because there's always this big UI element taking up tons of vertical space.

What's wrong with just having a small number of the most frequently used functions on the toolbar, and putting everything else in the menus?

Comment Re:Some places are impossible. (Score 2) 53

I'm not sure how long it's been since you last tried to park in San Francisco, but about 5 years ago the city started a program called "SFpark". Basically it's a system where parking meter prices are set dynamically, based on demand. I think the goal is to have the smart meters on each block set prices just high enough so that there is one free space on that block. There's an app that lets you check how much it costs to park in a given place, and there's a cap on the cost.

So if you're parking in an SFpark area, it should virtually always be possible to find a spot, if you need it badly enough to pay the price (up to ~$6/hour).

The land that a parking spot in SF occupies is worth more than the typical car that is parked on it. I imagine it's the same in New York. It's crazy that a society would give this away for free - we don't expect free cars, but for some reason many (most?) people feel entitled to free parking.

Comment Re:Why is Softbank... (Score 0) 267

SoftBank Group Corp. started out in 1981 as a distributor of computer software. As software is called “soft” in Japanese, the name “SoftBank” literally means “a bank of software.” We chose the word “bank” based on our grand aspiration to be a key source of infrastructure for the information society.

from http://www.softbank.jp/en/corp...

Comment Re:Six million Alexa installs... compared to? (Score 1) 229

Different market. If your have to wake your phone up first, it's not voice activation.

Not sure how Siri works, but on certain Android devices (ones with low-power speech processing hardware) Google Now can be triggered by saying "OK Google" without having to wake your phone up first.

Comment Re:Egypt blocks Google... end of story (Score 3, Informative) 87

According to the article a lot of cloud service providers and CDNs allow HTTP host header redirection, so the Egyptian government would need to block a lot than just google.com.

China also had to create a domestic tech industry to replace all the foreign websites that it blocked. A country the size of China can pull this off, but Egypt is much smaller...

Comment Re:No mention of the internet architecture of cour (Score 2) 87

Being part of a botnet engaging in a DDoS attack is just one of many things that could go wrong with IoT devices.

I'd be more worried about hackers disabling my IoT-enabled alarms (e.g. smoke alarms, burglar alarms) or IoT-enabled door locks and garage door opener. ISPs can't do anything to help with that.

As a point of comparison, many Android handset manufacturers refuse to even provide security updates during the two-year contract period. I expect IoT device manufacturers to be even worse.

It should be illegal for companies to sell devices if they won't provide security updates for a reasonable period. It should be illegal to sell a device that cannot be patched if security flaws are found - this is just negligence.

Comment This is not about drivers (Score 5, Informative) 150

From reading the comments, it seems a lot of people are misunderstanding the situation here. I think even the summary is missing the point! This is about passengers hooking up with other passengers, not with drivers.

Uber Pool and Lyft Line are services that let you carpool/fare split with other people. You request a ride, and it tries to match you up with people who have requested a similar pickup/dropoff point.

It's common to make small talk with the other passengers (just like you would with a taxi driver, or a regular UberX/Lyft driver) and people have realized that this provides a social pretense to meet other people and chat them up. FTFA:

Although passengers have no control over whom they’re partnered with, there’s a high-enough density of young, single people in a city like San Francisco that occasional romantic interludes happen. As people share the ride to their respective destinations, they have a bit of downtime to get to know one another...It’s speed-dating on demand, and the people doing it say it’s better than Tinder.

Lyft has even experimented with features to facilitate this: https://techcrunch.com/2015/05...

Comment Re:Init alternatives (Score 1) 338

99.9999% (six nines!) is 31.5 seconds of downtime per year. If you get an outage, it's not reasonable to expect anyone to be able to investigate anything in 31.5 seconds, let alone fix it. So any system with six nines of availability must be architected so that it is a cluster of servers, with automatic failover. If a single server crashing can take out your availability SLA, then the system needs to be rearchitected.

With 99.99% (52.56 minutes per year) of availability, having a backup server will still help. Even on a sysvinit-based system, there are so many things that could go wrong that cannot be fixed in 52.56 minutes. What if the hard disk crashes? You've barely got time to replace it and reinstall the OS, so you really need one that's already set up and ready to go.

If meeting your uptime requirement depends on having easy-to-debug boot scripts, then something is very wrong.

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