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Comment: How Can Ads Work? (Score 2) 616

by Art3x (#49712557) Attached to: Editor-in-Chief of the Next Web: Adblockers Are Immoral

I'm trying to think of how to make advertising work, because I really like all of the free stuff, and I know eventually those media creators need to somehow get paid.

Pages
BAD: Animated, big, or pop-up ads
OK: Text ads, like on the side of Google Search Results. Maybe little bitty, icon-like logos of brands along the side or bottom (a few). Also, somehow the print advertising in paper newspapers was never that annoying. It was even interesting. It's worth studying why and implementing whatever the computer-screen equivalent is.

Video
BAD: 30-second commercials before my 2-minute Youtube video begins
OK: 5-second commercial at the end of the Youtube video

Games
BAD: Full-screen ads between levels, or partial-screen ads during levels.
OK: Little ads at the bottom of the Game Over screen.

Businesses spend millions of dollars to hire a celebrity endorsement, talented graphic designers and filmmakers, and others, to cater to touchy-feely emotional associations. They often focus on just getting people to think the brand is cool or trustworthy in a nebulous way, instead of simply outlining the cold, hard facts about their product. I'm not saying I endorse this way of advertising. I'm saying that the elephant in the room is that they are sabotaging it all by their rude interruptions. What kind of emotional aftertaste will I have for a brand in this scenario: Ah, funny cat video. Click. Hi, I'd like to sell you insurance! Meh, you ruined the moment.

Businessmen might think the limits I've outlined above will make their ads too subtle. But if you cross that threshold of subtlety, you ruin everything. Besides, people are a lot more detail-oriented than you think. In school I remember that Guess jeans were all the rage. The difference between Guess jeans and all of the others was a one-inch triangular patch sewn on the back. I'm even talking teenagers here. They may sometimes seem incapable of remembering historical dates, but man can they spot the difference between the Polo logo and a knock-off. That's why I think little logos will be noticed. They may even be more compelling because they are not chasing you. They're standing back, like they don't really need you, totally cool.

For those that are interested, be a little enticing. For those that aren't, don't be annoying. Because I don't think the tactic is working to hit everyone over the head in the hopes that they'll fall into some kind of stupor and buy.

Comment: Writing is hard work (Score 1) 244

by Art3x (#49693571) Attached to: RTFM? How To Write a Manual Worth Reading

After a copy of two typewritten pages with editor's marks all over them, which he says is a fourth or fifth draft:

"Writing is hard work. A clear sentence is no accident. Very few sentences come out right the first time, or even the third time. . . . If you find that writing is hard, it's because it is hard." --- William Zinnser, On Writing Well

However, the first fifty pages of that book, along with The Elements of Style, have helped me write much better.

Comment: Writing is hard work (Score 1) 244

by Art3x (#49693513) Attached to: RTFM? How To Write a Manual Worth Reading
After a photograph of two typewritten pages with editor's marks all over them, which he says is a fourth or fifth draft: "Writing is hard work. A clear sentence is no accident. Very few sentences come out right the first time, or even the third time. . . . If you find that writing is hard, it's because it is hard." --- William Zinnser, On Writing Well However, the first fifty pages of that book, along with The Elements of Style have helped me write much better must faster.

Comment: Patently Absurd (Score 1) 60

The whole idea of there being an original idea is absurd. There simply is no such thing. Progress is the slow refinement of ideas past. One sharp engineer building upon the ideas of engineers past. And when such an engineer makes an advance, that advance is so obvious that simultaneous invention in different parts of the world is more common than you thought. The same can be said for art. This is coming from someone who has been accused of being "creative" by my parents, teachers, and bosses, without solicitation. See Everything Is a Remix. Abolish the whole system. Invalidate all patents ever granted.

Comment: Run, Don't Walk, From Software (Score 2, Interesting) 160

by Art3x (#49591081) Attached to: US Switches Air Traffic Control To New Computer System
I say this as a thirtysomething computer programmer, although I've also always been a minimalist: Given the choice between something that uses software and something that does not, go softbare.

My car, TV, and entire life are now filled with much more software than ever. Now that they can "do" more, they are also slower, flakier, and more complicated. And as a computer programmer, I know why: even the simplest program is amazingly complex. Every keystroke is a pitfall.

Two million lines? I think I'll drive --- no, just walk.

Comment: Re:It was inevitible (Score 1) 303

by Art3x (#49399489) Attached to: Microsoft Engineer: Open Source Windows Is 'Definitely Possible'
--- 1   2015-04-03 14:03:43.000000000 -0500
+++ 2   2015-04-03 14:04:15.000000000 -0500
@@ -1,5 +1,5 @@
The concept of making money by selling an operating system is a 1990's idea.
It made Microsoft a lot of money at one time, but they are simply not the only
game in town, and the software has matured enough that the concept of making
-hwolesale changes in look and feel both isn't enough, and too much to handle at
+wholesale changes in look and feel both isn't enough, and too much to handle at
the same time.

Comment: Re:Terms (Score 1) 122

by Art3x (#49357605) Attached to: Amazon Announces Unlimited Cloud Storage Plans
In Springfield, Missouri, there was a law that your car music must not be heard more than 15 feet away, or something like that. Almost never enforced but useful against someone blaring their heavy-bass car stereo. Overly broad rules seldom enforced are common. In the hands of a scrupulous cop, they are convenient and don't really harm anyone. In the hands of someone unscrupulous person, a broad or vague law is dangerous. But then again, just about any law, no matter how well worded, can be misused by someone evil.

Comment: Worthless Article (Score 1) 68

by Art3x (#49331681) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Happened To Semantic Publishing?
I'm beginning to see why Slashdot is famous for not reading articles. The articles are often poor. This article isn't the clickbait regularly posted by certain submitters. Instead it reads like a writing assignment.

"The Dynamic Semantic Publishing (DSP) architecture of the BBC curates and publishes content (e.g. articles or images) based on embedded Linked Data identifiers, ontologies and associated inference." This is one of those sentences that makes sense only to those who already know everything about it. It doesn't tell a new person what it is. This style of writing is a form of encryption.

The parts I could decrypt sound like things in existence for years:

"Think of an article that not only tells the new facts, but refers back to previous events and is complemented by an info-box of relevant facts." This is already done by hyperlinks. People who want to research a topic further know they can use Google.

"Another example would be a news feed that delivers good coverage of information relevant to a narrow subject." Isn't this RSS?

"Finally, if we use an example in life sciences, the ability to quickly find scientific articles discussing asthma and x-rays, while searching for respiration disorders and radiation." I don't know what to say. Google, Google Scholar, or Wikipedia. I don't think this writer knows about Google.

Whatever the writer is getting at, it's either already out or a bad idea. Already out: hyperlinks, search engines, Wikipedia. A bad idea: automatic hyperlinking (which also happens to be already out too).

Comment: The other databases are weird (Score 1) 320

by Art3x (#49298949) Attached to: Why I Choose PostgreSQL Over MySQL/MariaDB

Microsoft SQL:
- select top 100 * from table instead of select * from table limit 100
- White space after values is ignored ('Bob' = 'Bob ')
- Command-line client sucks

Oracle
- A column of type date is actually timestamp. There is no column type that stores just a date.
- Command-line client sucks
- expensive

MySQL
- You can quote strings with single ticks, double quotes, or backticks
- The MyISAM engine
- Query cache based on the text of the select statement, rather than its meaning. So slightly rewording your query will skip the cache. Also updating a single row will clear the cache. This is inferior to how I understand PostgreSQL's shared buffer cache, which keeps frequently read rows in cache, only flushing out the ones that are updated, and deciding whether to use the cache after the query is parsed, and so not dependent on the query being literally written the same way.

It's no wonder so few web developers fully exploit the powers of the database, reimplementing many of its features in PHP, poorly. I once went to a local PHP meeting. The leader gave a talk, mainly about object-oriented programming, which I never got into. Anyway, he also recommended some kind of job queue application, like to email new users a welcome message. Don't use your database for that, he said, because keeping track of who you've emailed in the users table would upset MySQL's delicate query cache. At the end of the talk, I asked the group of 20 or 30 who had used PostgreSQL. Nobody.

Like others have said, most web developers probably should use SQLite. It's great not only as an embedded database but also the backend for most of the little web apps out there. Or if you're writing business applications for a large company, use PostgreSQL. The rest can go to the dumpster.

Don't hit the keys so hard, it hurts.

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