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Comment Re:No it is not (Score 1) 351 351

The only effect web ads have on me, at least until the IP shows up in my hosts list, is to slow pages down.

Wrong. Advertisement works, that is why it's a billion dollar industry. You think you don't read billboards and ignore other ads? Think again. Your brain picks them up long before it even tells your conscious mind about it. Filtering it out is an intentional process that takes effort (tiny, but effort). And images and emotions are processed by your mind if you want it or not.

Comment Re:Absolutely (Score 2) 351 351

It is pretty much the only way to fund "free" services of all kinds that have large reach but no direct income

No, it is not.

Advertisement created this idea of free services being paid by advertisement. There was a different time in this world, when you paid for your newspaper at the kiosk, and if you wanted to have a website for your journal, you would pay a hosting company.

There were also shared-cost services long before things became commerzialised. Back in FIDOnet days, email was transported by phone lines, and a bunch of people would come together, one of them set up a small server that would do the long-distance delivery and the others would pay him a buck or two a month to cover his phone bills while they got their mail for free or very cheap at local rates.

There is no reason that Facebook could not charge for its service. Except that the advertisement industry has created the concept of everything being free. Nowadays, having a pay service is not viable, not for any sane reasons, but simply because of this parlour trick.

Radio and TV in the time when they were sent by radio waves (and not digitally via cable) are about the only things where there are actual technical reasons why a pay service is not going to work. You can use encryption, but in pre-ubiquituous-computing times, it dramatically raises costs for new customers who need a hardware box.

But those times are over. Today, I challenge you to name one service that for technical or other reasons that were not artificially created (i.e. the expectation of customers that it should be free) has to use advertisement. I don't think you can. Everything that can be monetized by advertisement could be monetized in other ways.
The "there are no alternatives" claim is a damned lie, in politics as well as in business.

Comment not really (Score 3, Interesting) 351 351

philosopher Thomas Wells is out to change the way you think about Google and its ilk.

Not really, no. He's just saying what I've been thinking (and saying, but since I'm not a reknown philosopher, few listen) for many years.

If you know anything at all about the mind and the brain, you understand that attention isn't free. That even "filtering out" advertisement (and we don't really, we just consume it unconsciously) takes up valuable mind-effort. That living in a city is stressful in parts because our brains are constantly busy, busy, busy with the environment, running a million-year-old program that constantly scans the area for potential threats or mates, and advertisement intentionally triggers those subroutines all the time (why do you think "sex sells"?).

Advertisement is a massive drain of resources, and the best thing I've ever done for myself was to throw out my television and stop listening to the radio. At least the inside of my home is mostly ad-free.

Comment Re:They are hiding the truth... (Score 1) 81 81

Heck, we aren't talking about some banana republic here. Or are we?

I see you're not up to date with current german politics. We are.

Merkel doesn't give a flying fuck because she really doesn't give a fuck about anything. She was trained very well how to get into and stay in power, and that's the only thing she's doing. Every move of her makes sense if you analyze it from that perspective. This is no different - big trouble with the USA is not a career-improving path, but the people of Germany are too forgiving and will let her and her party get away with all this shit.

Comment Re:and... (Score 1) 88 88

Ironically, I large stay away from complex CSS. But "mobile-ready" largely is complex CSS and Javascript and three other things, for breakpoints and responsiveness.

I don't care if my site ranks last when you Google on your smartphone. If I didn't design it to be mobile-friendly, your mobile device is welcome to stay away.

But this sounds much like it would be punished in general, even when the visitory is searching using his desktop computer. And that's just wrong.

Comment Re:non-human (Score 1) 235 235

You cut down the interesting part. That it's not just about rounding. It's a about domain knowledge that tells you what to round in which context and how (i.e. how many significant digits does a good answer have?).

That's not a very easy task, and it's not solved by simply rounding everything somehow.

Comment Re:and... (Score 1) 88 88

Because the mobile device was the nearest available thing capable of browsing the web at the time I wanted to look at the content.

I understand that.

But I'm one guy running a website, not a company with budget for a web-designer. My content is now being punished not for its content, but for its presentation.

Comment and... (Score 1) 88 88

And what if my website isn't intended for a mobile audience at all? I'll readily admit I'm stuck 10 years in the past with my web design, but a few of my sites are intentionally not built for mobile because the content they have is not intended for mobile and if you told me you're using your phone to access the site, I'd get a puzzled look and say "but why?".

Can I set a "X-intentionally-not-designed-for-mobile: true" header?

Comment non-human (Score 1) 235 235

I watched this some days ago (/. isn't the place to read things first anymore) and came away half impressed and half underwhelmed.

The speech recognition part is nice, and that's understating it a lot given the complexity of the topic. That for a demo they'd use examples they made sure work nicely is a goven. That it can understand fairly complex, disorganized questions is really cute. No, seriously, on this I am impressed.

But it is clearly still very far from human. It lands smack middle in the uncanny valley. It becomes incredibly clear when it talks about population numbers and lists them down to the last digit. Not only is that typical computer-ish, it's also vastly less useful than a human who would tell you "about 80 million".

When I ask my personal assistant device how long it'll take to get to city X, I'm not interested in an answer that says "3 hours, 57 minutes, 48 seconds". I want to hear "4 hours", because we humans understand it's an estimate anyways and a few minutes more or less doesn't matter anyways.

Then again, when I'm building a bomb and ask my phone for the recipe, I'd like to have exact numbers. Again, a human would understand that in this situation, "about 200 grams" is not an ok answer.

This intelligence is still missing, and it's crucial.

Comment Re:So, the other side? (Score 1) 422 422

Not at all.

The point is not in this. I could've used their income easily. The point is that the inequality is so crazy. What do you think is the combined net worth of the poorest one billion people? Do you think it is less, equal or more than the top 10 ?

Now remember that by numbers, we are comparing 10 people to the combined population of three USAs. Find a justification that would survive five minutes of philosophical debate.

I'm all for income inequality. I like to earn more than other people because I studied, I know my stuff, I can work hard and constantly learn. I like to be rewarded for being good at what I do.

But the rate of inequality is just crazy.

I'm ok with me earning 5 times as much as someone else. I'm also ok with someone better than me earning 5 times as much as I do.

But 500 times? You must be kidding.

Comment Re:cry me a river (Score 1) 422 422

Stop being silly.

It's pure propaganda to make this about employee law. He could have had taxes overdue or not paid his utility bills, it's absolutely the same thing. He didn't pay a bill that he knew about and it killed his company. Balancing your budget is what the CEO (in bigger companies CFO) job is about. He didn't do his job and now he's trying to put the blame elsewhere.

Comment Re:So, the other side? (Score 1) 422 422

If one of the top-10 richest people in the world would distribute half of his personal wealth to the poorest one billion, it would be a months salary for each of them.

We can easily provide a comfortable life to 6 billion people. Maybe not iPads and diamond rings, but definitely clean water and a house.

Comment Re: So, the other side? (Score 1) 422 422

Depends on what you measure. If you measure economy by the usual statistics, it looks good on paper, absolutely. But if you measure by what people get from it, the picture is much less clear. 15% of our children are below the poverty line. 35% of single mothers and fathers are. That's ashaming for an allegedly rich country.

Comment Re:So, the other side? (Score 2) 422 422

That is a nice socialist way of saying 'reducing deficit and preventing tax increases that would have hurt the economy'.

You're an imbecile. If their interest would've been to reduce the deficit, there would have been one hundred other ways to do it.

They like to create the impression it's all based on numbers and economy and so on, but it's all bullshit. The reality is that it's a philosophy. Benefits to unemployed people are cut not because it's necessary to save the economy (one bank's bonus payouts is equal to those savings). It's done because of the assumption that unemployed people are lazy and need to be forced more strongly. Basically, all of this is the brain-child of one top CEO, it's even named after him (Harz), and he's a victim to the assumption that everyone in the world is like him. As a CEO he lives in a cut-throat world of ambitious people, so to him everyone who is not successful must be lazy.

There's a lot more in this direction, but the point is that all these failures of the social system that create a lot of misery and poverty were intentionally created in order to protect the profits of international export companies. Note: Profit of companies. Not of people. That is what's wrong with it. If you need to change things to save people, then it's a noble thing to do what is hard to do. But to sacrifice the people for the artificial constructions of economic law is ethically wrong.

Luck, that's when preparation and opportunity meet. -- P.E. Trudeau