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Comment Re:I don't believe it. (Score 1) 68 68

I spent a wee bit of time on a ship and guarded a detention facility for a while. I was in the Marines at the time (obviously) and was impressed. "They run a tight ship." They are, hands down, the model for a blue water navy and safety is paramount. Look at their firefighting as well. US Navy, taking shit seriously since the start. They also have a very strict culture about adhering to rules (and have good rules in place for a reason).

Comment Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 278 278

But they still consume the ads and media. They still buy the products. The ad ecosystem is not going away. There was no utopia on the 'net where ads did not exist - we called them webrings back then. Everyone was always advertising something else. People were always listening. It is more prevalent and easier now than ever but this has not changed and people will always opt to consume the media and will opt to buy the advertised products. Citation? Ads still exist. They can (and do) track them and track their effectiveness. If they did not work we would not have ads.

Comment Re:Slashdot is guilty too (Score 1) 278 278

Nah, carts and boxes are not placed intentionally - at least not typically. A store manager may do so but that is because they only understand the most basics of pedestrian traffic habits. My business modeled, and consulted on, vehicular traffic but we expanded to human traffic analytics, modeling, optimization, patterning, and consulted as well as designed throughput metrics. You may well have been in a product of our design or driven on a road that we helped optimize. (Do not blame us, they fail to listen much of the time and half-assed implementation is sometimes worse than no change at all,)

I feel a novella coming on. You have been warned. Skip or read it, it is up to you. I think you may be surprised.

Anyhow, clutter is never good. Specifically look at end caps and in-aisle displays. Those are actually supposed to be in rather specific places. They create bottlenecks at places with colorful items in large boxes or in places where things smell nice. They are usually expensive items or, more accurately, items with a good ROI.

The reason things are grouped together is because it avoids confusion. Trust me - they'd love to scatter stuff randomly around the store and would doubly love so if they were the only game in town. However, base ingredients will be as far away from each other (while still intuitive - usually) as possible while still being as far away from the stuff that you will use it for. Eggs are, for instance, nowhere near the cake mixes.

You will, almost invariably, travel to your right. To your right is, almost invariably, something that you can smell and see. We built, and staffed, a grocery store in the real world and in a laboratory environment. (The lab was able to be configured for a variety of simulations.) You *will* go right given the choice. You will smell stuff and look at large pretty things. It will make you hungry and in the mood to buy more. (Now that you know this, or thought you did before, you are not immune - you will do it.) Very little sells at the bakery and it operates almost at a loss - and in some instances at a loss. However, next on the list, is often a deli. The deli is lovely and there is a metric fuckton (professional vernacular) of profit there.

Then you have stuff in your way - usually after another attempt to assail you with colors and scents known as the produce section. This slows you down for the fish, prepackaged or custom meat cuts, and a frozen goods section just ahead. Wait - no - you can't go there... You have to figure out how to go to the aisle now. Or, best case, you walk down and walk back. There you view the "end caps" which are things on sale. Great, you saved money, now you can spend more in the next aisle.

No, you say! I decry such manipulation and I am immune! I only buy stuff on my list! Ever! Great - that is cool because you spend less time. While you spend less time you do two important things. You buy nothing on sale or no loss leaders. You use an alternative route which serves to slow people down. You are in and out quicker but have done more for us than we could have done on our own - we appreciate that and we plan accordingly. We count on your behavior. We price the markup at such that you pay more. Thank me later.

The milk, eggs, and dairy? Yeah - we all need that stuff. So we are going to put that in the back left. We are going to make it tough to go left to get to the items. If you do then you're going to be faced with traffic and end caps directly facing you. We do put the pharmacy close, usually, because we do not want sick people in the store. Frozen and chilled goods? Yeah - let's put those in the middle. Why? People often go there last. We want you to go back and see all those end caps (things on sale that are not really on sale or are a loss leader).

Printed an ad in the newspaper with coupons? Yup... It just so happens that those items are around other big colorful or smelly items - and often have been moved and that just happens to coincide with when the sale began. Thought you knew where the items were? Yeah - sucker. We moved 'em and we truly did so just for you.

Those cameras? They are for theft, that is their primary purpose. However, we use those to track the hell out of you and design our algorithms accordingly. But not you, you are not a sheep. You are smart and independent. Heh... We use the hell out of you. Go backwards through our store - we don't mind. You look silly and annoy people. They will feel sorry for us, even for a little bit. You will slow them down at key locations because we know where the bottlenecks will develop because f your traffic. Seems like a fine spot to attract sheep, just use some pretty large logos and something they can smell.

You do not even want to know what we do with vehicular traffic... That rough section of road? It is not being repaired because it slows traffic down. We are going to repair it at the last possible moment - just prior to a riot preferably.

Now that was not my hope, not at all. My goal was to improve things. We consulted and designed. We did research and made recommendations. How they implemented or what they implemented of those recommendations was not up to us. We did not design store or highways. We recommended where they should use safety controls and how they should use them and provided data to back up our conclusions.

I do not usually mention specific clients but... I will make an exception as none of this is covered by an NDA any more (though I am covered by a non-compete for another 12 years or so).

Pilots, Kroger, and Hannaford get marks for being the best at listening to and implementing recommendations.
Sears, TJ Maxx, and (believe it or not) Wal*Mart get good marks at listening to recommendations.
Florida, Pennsylvania, and Nevada get great scores for implementing changes as advised.

Safeway, Stater, Wal*Mart (grocery sections) get the worst.
Target, JC Penny, and Macy's get the worst.
Georgia, Washington DC, and California are abysmal and are willfully unsafe to control traffic.

And no... You are not immune to these things. You may think you are, you are not. I was lucky. I ran my business for about 20 years and sold it for an upper eight digit sum in cash and another eight digit sum in stocks in the now parent company. The price was such that I could not refuse it so I made sure my employees were taken care of and that the culture would not change (much) and went through with the sale. The now-parent company does almost nothing except fill government contracts for everything from IT, food, building/highway construction or repair, logistics, and even medical. Some of their subsidiaries are quite well known and not something I necessarily agree with but, frankly, the price was right and I am inherently lazy.

I too am subjected to manipulation in things like grocery stores or retail outlets. I too am manipulated when I drive down the highway. Even when we think we are acting in an unexpected fashion we are being manipulated or being used to manipulate others.

Anyhow, there is my novella for the day. I'd not read all of that. That's because, as mentioned, I am inherently lazy. There may be some insight in there for you - something from a different view. My goal is not, was not, to argue so much as it was/is to share some insight from a different viewpoint, to share something from an "insider" view. Take it for what you will. I still maintain contact with the company and still contract with them once in a while (I try to avoid it - it is a bit awkward feeling) so not much has changed. They are still putting out fine information and it is still being ignored or used for reasons other than what was stated. Often they are unable or unwilling to implement the changes and end up with halfassed solutions that are worse than they were before hand. Such is up to them.

Comment Re:Yes. (Score 1) 278 278

That is *their* money - it belongs to the company. Once you give something away it no longer belongs to you. If I pay you for services rendered it is your money - it no longer belongs to me in a legal, abstract, or philosophical way. Once you pay a company you have given up that money. It then belongs to the company.

I suspect you are daft, ignorant, or trying to troll.

Comment Re:Is there any evidence that web ads work? (Score 1) 278 278

I once spent $100 to purchase targeted ads from Google. I used a special URL that was made with a handy tracking script so that I could also monitor what was done. These were on-click ads and not ads based on impressions. Three days went by and my ads were never shown. I raised my bid price. Less than an hour later the ads were gone. The site showed not one lick of increased traffic. The URL (working - I had tested it) had not been clicked on one single time.

Rather than waste time gathering evidence and presenting the problem to Google I simply just considered it a failed experiment and never tried them again. This was in 2006 to 2008 (I can only narrow it down, I can not be exact - it was more likely to have been in the latter half of 2006) and things may have changed since then.

Comment Re:A simple proposition. (Score 1) 278 278

I think that part of the problem is that we assume people hate what we hate. I abhor ads and do not actually see any. Honestly, I can not recall the last time I saw an ad except for when I opened up Internet Explorer on a Windows system a few weeks ago. Prior to that? I do not even recall the last time.

Advertising works - or they would not do it. Things are not going to change. We do not get to decide the business model used by advertisers or by site owners. What we do get to decide is what we consume. If enough people think like us, and they obviously do not, then things will change as a whole. Until that happens we have to control our consumption. We have no right to say what a company should or should not do in this matter. They will do what they lawfully can to make profits. Right now the advertisement business is profitable. We will have ads.

Well, no. Someone will have ads. I will not have ads. I am currently building a site. It too will have ads. I can easily afford to run it as a loss just because but no, I want it to actually make money. I have plans for that money (not for me, I have plenty of money) so my goal is to make it profitable. (In this case it is to have the community decide where the profits go as well as openly sharing the finances. The community will get to decide which group gets the donated profits.)

Comment Re:A simple proposition. (Score 1) 278 278

You will rue the day you touch my Pokedots pregnancy complications page! I *will* track you down and kill you for I am never wrong when it comes to Pokedot pregnancy. I authored the articles linked so I have citations for all of my work. I *am* the expert and you are *not* and have no business touching my Pokedot pregnancy complications page.

I fixed the spelling of Leadbelly on a page, all of them. Somebody came along (with amazing quickness too, I am not sure how they managed to be so hawkish) and reverted the changes. I did not bother to argue... I figured I would just let them have it. I did not lose any respect for the site because that was impossible.

Comment Re:There we go again (Score 1) 278 278

I dare say we use the barter system all the time. I use it more frequently than most. Just because we have a bit of paper to indicate a value does not mean we are not bartering. Paper is just one item of value. You can even barter at big box stores (I understand - I have never tried it) and ask for a different price or ask them to match a sales price. You need to ask a manager but you can and, I understand, they may listen.

Comment Re: Now I won't feel guilty about using Adblock (Score 1) 278 278

They need to make that available on Chrome. Well, I use Opera but I can steal Chrome extensions and install them just fine. In fact, I have an extension that lets me install Chrome extensions which is a bit recursive seeming. Anyhow, I am stuck using ScriptLite if I want to have anything that functions close to NoScript with my preferred browser. ScriptLite works but does not allow much in the way of specifics. You either whitelist a domain or you do not. So, I dumped it and installed the uMatrix extension which is fantastic, by the way, but is rather complicated and takes some time to dial in.

I would have a hard time suggesting anyone use uMatix even though it is fantastic. It, in a way, reminds me of the earlier editions of Outpost Firewall, from Agnitum, which is a fantastic piece of software but needs configuration and knowledge to really make use of it effectively. It gives great experience right out of the box but if you want to customize that experience or to unblock or block certain things then it becomes quite a bit more difficult. Outpost is much better now, and is a whole suite, but uMatrix is not for the faint of heart.

I do have Firefox installed and configured. I do use it once in a while. It is not my preferred browser though the add-on ecosystem is glorious. I once donated a bunch to the Mozilla Foundation (I guess they put my name in a newspaper ad, I forget which paper or when and I am not sure if I put my real name on it as I am wont to do) and the money was well spent. I used the browser a bit then and liked it but, today, it really has changed in many ways. I have reverted to simply using Opera almost exclusively though I have other browsers with different configurations for different use scenarios.

Comment Re:Amazon doesn't understand helicopters (Score 1) 110 110

Do you think that matters a great deal to those who authored the proposed regulations? Amazon is going to reserve the right to sue the parties involved, or their estates, for damages. I happily pay more for things I can get locally for a variety of reasons. Antics of the large businesses is one of those reasons. Another is I see no reason to lower society as a whole because I am unwilling to pay more. Being greedy is going to be our ruination and that applies to the consumers as well as the suppliers.

Comment Re:Amazon doesn't understand helicopters (Score 2) 110 110

I define drone as an autonomous craft with subsets of partial and total autonomy. I define the rest as remote control aircraft with subsets of hobbyist's and professional and that is defined by use. I define model rockets as, simply, model rockets but I expect there to be guided and unguided in the future if not already being done. There may be additional subsets or clarification needed for legal definitions. One important thing to keep in mind is that recreational devices always get a back seat to business or common use priorities. Airspace, above a certain height, is communal property and recreational use is going to have a lower use priority than any other use. It will end up being regulated with severe penalties for violations.

Before someone chimes in with stupidity like, "They can't stop us!" The reality is that no, they can not. Just like they can not stop someone from murdering someone or from buying, selling, and doing drugs. That does not mean that they can not or should not prohibit such activities and penalize those who violate the regulations. I am perfectly free to build a nuclear device in my garage, I am not at liberty to do so. If someone wishes to presume that regulation is useless (as some can be) then, again, I point out that there are already prohibited activities that are trivial to violate if you want but that such regulation has never been intended to stop the activities but to punish the people who do those sorts of things. Laws against murder are not designed to stop murderers. They are designed to clearly show the morals that society expects to be upheld and provide punishment for those that violate those guidelines.

Comment Re:Amazon doesn't understand helicopters (Score 1) 110 110

However, it will require more vigilance as one does not know where or when they will be showing up in your field of vision. Anywhere that they are popular will also be an area which has made it illegal to discharge a firearm. I suppose that one could hope the distribution center is in a rural area (seems like a potential outcome) and then move to that area to increase your odds. Grinding for rares has a whole new meaning.

"There is such a fine line between genius and stupidity." - David St. Hubbins, "Spinal Tap"