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Comment Total slashvertisement but cool machine (Score 1) 73

Yeah, the summary is a total slashvertisement, but it actually looks like a cool machine. If you customize the build, you can choose Ubuntu as the OS and save $100 over the Windows price. It also can take up to 32 GiB of Ram, whereas many small laptops now top out at 8 or 16 GiB GiB (that are soldered to the motherboard, of course).

That said, the machine does cost an arm and a leg and has super shitty battery life.

Comment We need to understand the answer to your question (Score 1) 659

Why do/did they think they can just outsource their ads for their online product?

Because directly courting advertisers and vetting every ad adds overhead to a process which already isn't that profitable. Additionally, outsourcing the product makes the process more flexible; ads can be quickly tested and swapped out for better performing adds. I'm sure there are other benefits to outsourcing ads too.

I'm not defending online advertising practices. I'm just saying that there's a good reason that things evolved into the current state of affairs. It's hard to find a solution without really understanding the problem. Understanding the problem means being able to answer the question you posed without simply dismissing Wired and the likes as idiots.

Comment No (Score 1) 659

Advertisers go for the Superbowl because they have a pretty good idea how many eyeballs their ads will reach, and there's no doubt that the ad was shown at the Superbowl. In contrast, without some sort of script, it would be very hard for advertisers to independently verify the statistics provided by Wired (or any other website).

Comment WRT self-hosting ads (Score 1) 659

(This is a self reply instead of making the same comment for several posts.)

I see a lot of suggestions for self-hosting ads, which is certainly worth trying. However, I asked about that in my post: "What if non-abusive ads aren't enough to break even?"

Self-hosting ads adds overhead in courting advertisers and vetting the ads. Self-hosting ads that don't track you also makes the ads less valuable to advertisers, so Wired will likely get less money for each ad.

It is not at all clear to me that self-hosting ads will produce enough revenue. Like I said, it's worth a shot, but I'm not convinced it's the silver bullet than many are suggesting.

Comment Also less content (Score 1) 659

To add to your point, I'm guessing that the print version has less content than the website. (Not all of the online content makes it to the magazine.) So the print version has advertising and less content than the web version while costing half as much. If $25 for the magazine is worthwhile, then $52 for the website is probably worthwhile too.

Comment That number is going up (Score 1) 659

According to Wired, only 20% of the visitors to the site block ads. Hardly a reason for a site to go bankrupt.

Part of the issue is that the number of people that block ads is increasing. Regardless, how do you know that your statement is true? There's not a ton of money in web ads, so maybe losing 20% of their revenue steam is too much. Unless you know Wired's financials, you aren't in a position to make the statement you made.

That said, the rest of your comment is very constructive. Thank you for participating in the dialog.

Comment What do you propose that they do? (Score 5, Insightful) 659

after years of abusing ads for profit, sites are now trying to act like innocent victims just trying to keep the lights on.

I see this type of comment fairly frequently, and I understand the sentiment, but what exactly do you propose that they do instead? Just go bankrupt? Can they somehow regain your trust by running non-abusive ads? (Whatever that means. How do you know which ads aren't abusive? Do you check every site or just run your ad blocker everywhere?) What if non-abusive ads aren't enough to break even? Micropayments?

Wired produces good content, so I'd hate for them to go under. I see other comments saying that you'll just get your content elsewhere, but that's just kicking the can down the road instead of solving the problem. The same problems apply to your new news source, which is probably going to ban ad blockers sooner or later too unless a long-term solution is found.

(Moreover, what exactly does "abusing ads for profit" mean? Are you faulting them for trying to make a profit using advertising? Is the complaint not the ads per se, but the ads that track your every move? If so, that's not at all clear from your writing.)

Comment Study only considered violent games, not PacMan (Score 1) 239

How could PacMan realistically affect real world functioning?

Unfortunately, the summary is missing an important fact: the study _did_ control for the type of games played; the study (at least attempted) to only measure the effect of violent video games, although they relied on self-reporting of game type by the children who played them (a method which, while much better than nothing, still has issues). So yeah, the study authors are well aware that PacMan isn't going to cause violence.

Comment Makes me appreciate the English alphabet (Score 1) 315

I have to say, learning about other alphabets really makes me appreciate the English alphabet because it has fewer characters than many alphabets. The number of characters didn't matter much until machines that could reproduce written words became commonplace (typewriters, computers, etc.), but it's interesting how keyboards can drive the simplification of some alphabets. E.g. if it's simpler to type "oe" than find the "" character, you can guess what people choose to do (even though France’s culture and communication ministry doesn't approve).

Languages are always changing, and it's nice to see a force that simplifies them. If only there were some force that could drive English spelling reform...

Comment Good. We need more bets... (Score 2) 252

...because betting is a tax on bullshit. If anything needs to be taxed in this country, it's bullshit.

That said, it doesn't look like anyone has changed their minds over these bets. Even the losers are ignoring the holes in their pockets. I guess we need more bets...

It's also interesting to know who is making the bets. I've always wondered who genuinely disbelieves global warming and who claims to be a skeptic for political (or other) reasons. I'm guessing those that make large bets are sincere.

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