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Comment: Re:Hmmm (Score 1) 259

by Shirley Marquez (#49351833) Attached to: RadioShack Puts Customer Data Up For Sale In Bankruptcy Auction

Asking for your telephone number was a way of getting a unique identifier for each customer, allowing them to track your pattern of purchases. (They never called the numbers; Radio Shack did no telemarketing. They just used them as a database key.) There was the potential confound of multiple people living at the same address and having the same phone number, but it was the best they could do at the time outside of asking for your name and address, which would have been far more time consuming. Nowadays stores use loyalty cards or match your purchases to your credit card, but those tools weren't available to Radio Shack when they started collecting phone numbers.

If you also gave them your address (as you would if you had made a request to receive catalogs) they could have potentially used your purchase pattern to send you customized flyers, though so far as I know Radio Shack never did that. Target, years later, is a notable example of a company that DID send customized flyers and got in hot water for it:

Knowing the patterns in which people buy things is valuable data for a company. Even if they don't have any way to match it up with your personal information and thus have no way to contact you, it gives them information on things like which products are bought together or by the same people, which would allow them to design more effective advertising.

Comment: Re:Last week I tried to write a Win8.1 universal a (Score 1) 128

by Shirley Marquez (#49328265) Attached to: Microsoft Releases Windows 10 SDK

PlaysForSure was the worst. Not only because their actions contradicted the name, but because it took away things that people had already paid for. It's different from discontinuing Zune; sure they weren't making any more of them, but the Zune you already owned still worked.

Flight Simulator had a good run. So did Encarta, until the internet and Wikipedia made it obsolete.

Comment: Re:Universal wants me to use YouTube more (Score 1) 115

If the ads actually were worth two cents the record labels might be happy. Spotify is currently playing less than one tenth of a cent for song plays by free users, and the amount they pay is 70% of their total ad revenue. They pay about 10 times as much for plays by paying users (the number fluctuates between half a cent and a cent per play, because revenue and the number of plays changes from month to month) which is 70% of their subscription revenue.

Spotify really wants everybody to subscribe, and the labels would also like that. But they're not willing to compromise the free tier too much because they see it as a necessary promotional tool for the paid service. Spotify has been hard-line about not restricting any songs to be only available to paid subscribers, because they believe that would quickly lead to the free service offering only music that nobody wants to hear, and then it would be impossible to get people in the door. (Paid service also gets you ad-free listening, higher quality streams, and the ability to download songs to your mobile device for offline listening. In some countries the free tier has a limit on the number of hours you can listen; they currently enforce no limit in the US.)

The basic problem with the free tier is that advertisers won't pay enough for those listeners to make the model work well. That may change over time if online radio advertising can prove its value, or it may never change. If it does not, I think the eventual endpoint is that services like the free Spotify tier will go away. But I also think the company is right about the current need for it to grow the streaming market, and the record labels just have to deal with the loss of revenue in the short term. That will be a challenge for them, because long term thinking is not a priority in most board rooms.

Comment: Re:64GB (Score 1) 139

by Shirley Marquez (#49252137) Attached to: Google's Pricey Pixel Gets USB-C and a Lower Price

They did keep the 32GB storage in the $999 model. It's the $1299 upsell model that has 64GB, and also 16GB RAM and an i7.

Nobody seems to be mentioning it, but the Pixel does have an SD slot. So if you really need more storage you could pop in a card. A 256GB card is under $100 now so it's not that big an expense, and storage on the card is fast enough for things like storing a few high definition movies to watch on a long plane trip.

Comment: Re:But it's still a Chromebook... (Score 1) 139

by Shirley Marquez (#49252069) Attached to: Google's Pricey Pixel Gets USB-C and a Lower Price

I bought an Atom based Windows tablet. To run Windows. I wanted a cheap portable Windows device to run some ham radio applications as part of my portable station, and it fills the bill nicely. But I didn't go in with any plans to use it for Linux, nor have I tried it so far.

You are correct, though, if one wants to use it to run any OS other than Windows. Investigate the particular device first.

Comment: Re:No more ports! (Score 1) 450

by Shirley Marquez (#49239057) Attached to: Reactions to the New MacBook and Apple Watch
Another problem with having only one USB port: performance will be seriously compromised if you have a mix of high and low speed devices connected. Sure, they want you to go with Bluetooth for the mouse and keyboard if you are connecting those... but what if you have a USB mouse that you really love? Or you hook up something like a UPC scanner? (Many of those now use USB and act just like a keyboard, typing things to the computer when you scan a bar code.) Or a desktop label printer? What's going to happen is that the performance of your fast USB devices is going to be utter crap because you can't move them to another port that has only fast devices on it, as you would do on any sensibly designed computer.

Comment: Re:So much for Debian 8, then... (Score 1) 338

by Shirley Marquez (#49215881) Attached to: Google Chrome Requires TSYNC Support Under Linux

Not entirely true. Ubuntu releases a new hardware support package for the most recent LTS release at about the same time as they release a new version of the distro; that's a backport of the kernel used by the new version. In the case of 12.04 they basically FORCED people to install the new kernel after the release of 14.04; they are no longer doing security updates for the old one. There are also sometimes X server updates for LTS systems that have a GUI installed; there is one for 12.04 that uses the X server from 14.04 and is similarly mandatory.

So... you will be able to have new versions of Chrome and Chromium on 14.04... IF you install the hardware update. You won't be able to have them on 12.04 because the 14.04 hardware support is the last version that release will get. Nor can you have them on 10.04, which is near end of life and scheduled to go out of support next month.

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser