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Comment Re:Isn't this a no brainer? (Score 3, Interesting) 253

Most ads aren't aimed at getting you to click on them and make a purchase. The goal of an ad is to put a concept in your mind. The purest form of this are the political yard signs. Nobody thinks, "I saw 90 signs for Bob and 110 signs for Mike; therefore I will vote for Mike." But people do respond to pressures like that; it creates biases and impressions that they don't even realize.

Even when you do your research, you are influenced by these. Most of the time, your research is going to be inconclusive. There isn't any "best chair"; at best, it's a matter of personal taste. Most products, from canned peaches to computers, will end up having similar specifications, but you'll have a preference because you like the flavor of this brand or the you had a good experience with that computer in the past.

Advertising helps put those ideas in your head. Just seeing it in the ads will give you a positive feeling toward the brand, if the advertising is well done. A lot of advertising is poorly done, of course, but a well-done ad can influence preferences in very subtle ways. That subtlety means it's aggravatingly hard to tell which ads work and which ads won't, but advertising continues to exist for a reason: it steers consumer preferences during the phase where they don't know what they want and end up trusting their instincts. Which applies to more purchasing decisions than most people realize.

Stupid advertisers want ads that they measure working by clicks, so they optimize the ads to attract clicks, but that doesn't drive purchasing. The best ads are the ones that consumers don't even realize they've seen, but just develop a cumulative effect of exposure. That's hard to do, and requires a lot of time, money, and effort to get right. Even then it's a crapshoot, like trying to write a popular song. But in the end, there's a market for so many chairs and so many peaches and so many computers, and advertising can steer enough purchases towards yours and away from somebody else's equivalent one in a way that merely improving the specifications can't do.

Comment Re:a classic economics problem (Score 1) 518

Interestingly, to make the economics work, you'll have to charge more for the space than the electricity.

People put a high price on the time to move their car from the spot with the charger. Many would rather pay five bucks rather than go outside, move their car, and return to what they were doing. For many activities, avoiding the interruption alone would make it worth it.

So to convince people that it's economically better to move their car would require, I dunno, ten bucks an hour? Twenty? For comparison, a dual charger can put in 20 kW, and peak rates are usually only about $.20 per kWh. That's only about four bucks.

Of course you could funnel the profits into putting up more chargers...

Comment Re:Righthaven (Score 1) 67

What is right wing about filing a lawsuit to unmask a doe, suing that person, then settling for a much smaller amount. It seems this is used by many different trolls, and likely doesn't have any political ideology behind it. It is sleazy though. Filing a lawsuit with the intention of settling just to get a payout is wrong. It is short circuiting the justice system for personal profit.

Yeah that's neither right nor left, it's the universal language of greedy bloodsuckers.

Comment Re:Righthaven (Score 3, Interesting) 67

What is right wing about that process? The Democrats support the movie industry, not the Republicans.

The fact that Democrats support something doesn't negate the possibility of something being right wing. The Democrats are not ideologically pure, or ideologically homogenous, and very few of them can be considered "left".

To me, pretending that copyright is only about property rights, and ignoring the fact that copyright was also supposed to be about free speech and about making material available for free to the public after a limited time, is definitely "right wing".

Comment Re:DMCA needs to die (Score 1) 67

This has nothing to do with the DMCA, this is a straight out copyright infringement lawsuit being filed. The real problem is that the methods the copyright holders (or the copyright enforcement goons acting on their behalf) are using to identify torrent users aren't good enough and its good to see at least one judge willing to call these enforcers out on it.

Exactly. Would have been nice for judges to start doing this 11 years ago, but glad they've come around.

Submission + - All Malibu Media subpoenas in Eastern District NY put on hold

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: A federal Magistrate Judge in Central Islip, New York, has just placed all Malibu Media subpoenas in Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, and Staten Island on hold indefinitely, due to "serious questions" raised by a motion to quash (PDF) filed in one of them. Judge Steven Locke's 4-page Order and Decision (PDF) cited the defendant's arguments that "(i) the common approach for identifying allegedly infringing BitTorrent users, and thus the Doe Defendant, is inconclusive; (ii) copyright actions, especially those involving the adult film industry, are susceptible to abusive litigation practices; and (iii) Malibu Media in particular has engaged in abusive litigation practices" as being among the reasons for his issuance of the stay.

Comment Re:I hate it because it's terminally unfunny (Score 1) 406

I didn't care for BBT, either, but pretty much all laugh-track sitcoms sound like that when you remove the canned laughter. Friends, for example, fares no better. The whole pacing of the show is designed around the laugh track.

So are the jokes. The laugh track clues you in to laugh, so they don't have to work really hard to make the script work. They basically hook an audience with a few characters they engage with and some stock lines, and then just repeat the formula. Once they've got them, people really feel strongly about the characters; it acts more like a soap opera than a comedy.

Eventually, people realize that they're hearing the same few jokes over and over, and check out. But a show can last a surprisingly long time on its own momentum plus the occasional shark-jumping (adding in new elements to the story line).

Not my thing; I find I prefer single-camera sitcoms, which are shot more like movies and tend to be more comedy-drama than pure sitcom, and they usually lack a laugh track. But I guess it's all up to people's tastes.

Comment Re:So less space and fewer tuners... (Score 1) 85

It's more about the overall viewing experience than pressing the button. Ads interrupt the story being told. Even if it's only for a moment, kicks you out of the story and you take a moment to re-adjust. Especially if you overshoot and have to scan back to find the part where the show resumes.

Hardly the worst crime in the world, but this is all about entertainment. Your feelings about it aren't incidental; they're actually the only thing going on here.

Interestingly, sometimes those interruptions are built right into the show. If you watch some TV shows on DVD, without the commercials, you'll find that there are weird shifts and repeats. They're where the commercials went, and they're bringing you back into the story after a break. With no break, it looks a bit odd, though anybody who's ever watched regular TV has no trouble figuring out what just happened. And are usually glad they didn't have to sit through the actual commercial.

Though increasingly, the best TV is often on networks that don't have commercials at all. Their target isn't divided between the advertisers and the audience; all they want is for people to like it enough to subscribe to the channel.

Comment Re:RISK vs CHANCE (Score 1) 182

The notion of "risk" kind of breaks down for extreme events like that. In one sense it's not unreasonable to put the model value of your own life at "infinity", since for you at least the entire universe literally comes to an end.

That would be just a quaint little artifact leading to the usual paradoxes that come when you arbitrarily set infinities, but it actually matters for more realistic risk assessments like health care and safety standards. You end up asking questions like "how much is a human life worth, in dollar terms?" and needing actual answers. The answers are always upsetting to people, no matter how high they are.

In my opinion it means that the whole notion of risk assessment becomes dicey when it comes to death. We want objective answers, to match the real objective dollars being spent, on something that's fundamentally subjective. "Infinity" is clearly not a good answer in that context, since those infinities always lead to absurdities, but I'd bet it's the most common answer people would give. Getting people to agree on some other, more useful answer is always fraught.

Comment Re:Why is this a problem? (Score 2) 29

Multiple reasons why somebody would target these servers (BTW: I was at the talk. Their video is at . )

Anyways, IMHO, reasons:
1) As a gateway into the hospital so you can pwn servers to DDOS others
2) As a gateway into medical records so you can better phish, or possibly blackmail your targets

Comment Backbone providers need to do more to solve this.. (Score 1) 57

I'm seeing tons of attacks coming from China and Hong Kong ( ), but only Level 3 seems to be doing anything about blocking them Even though they'll never be able to block all the attacks, the backbone providers could at least slow them down.

Real computer scientists like having a computer on their desk, else how could they read their mail?