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Comment: Well, yeah, but Nielsen still gets what matters (Score 1) 170

by jht (#43223219) Attached to: The Nielsen Family Is Dead

I'm not saying that for love of Nielsen (because shows I've loved got screwed by the ratings system), but basically, TV shows have two models for monetization outside of PBS:

1: Give the shows away over the air and sell ads to pay for it.

2: Sell access to the channel at a premium and make the shows worthy of the premium.

The first covers all network TV and virtually all of basic cable - even though the cable companies pay to carry the basic cable channels. The second covers HBO, Showtime, etc. In the premium model, they might care about non-traditional ways of engaging with content. Because it increases interest and loyalty, thereby driving up demand for the channel - which either can result in a better deal for the channel or more subscribers.

But for a traditional channel, all they care about is the ads, who views them, when they are viewed, and if they are viewed. Looking up info on IMDB doesn't help them, ordering the season on DVD is a nice bonus but not essential, browsing the show website doesn't help them. TV channels sell ads, and they want to sell them to the right people at the right times. Viagra ads don't run during Bugs Bunny cartoons. Breakfast cereal ads don't run during Matlock (just to use obvious examples). Cadillac doesn't advertise on a WWE show, but Kia might. They want to know who the audience is and how big it is. DVRs don't help them that much, though they are awesome for us.

The fragmentation of the TV market and the explosion of channels makes it exponentially tougher to handle the advertiser-based market properly, but still the Nielsen data is the most useful metric that they have. It needs to be updated for the modern era for sure, but it still provides the raw data needed to sustain the ad-based model.

Comment: Re:Forget about them (Score 2) 187

by jht (#42816619) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do You Handle SPF For Spam Filtering?

This. SPF is fine as something you can use to tag messages and increase their filter score. If they lack a valid SPF there's a slightly higher risk it's spam. But to block based on SPF records is just goofy. It's a good idea, but nowhere near universally adopted and there's plenty of valid reasons why mail would go through a different source.

On my own mail server, I add 1 to the scoring, with tag at 3.5 and block at 5.5. Those have worked pretty well (I use Kerio Connect, which has a Spamassassin-based system).

Comment: Re:Simply put... No. (Score 1) 589

by jht (#42772935) Attached to: Missile Defense's Real Enemy: Math

The US has an advantage in missile defense compared to many nations - the places from which you'd launch a missile at the US are distant, and it takes a lot of resources to attack them from a distance. Plus there's a lot of ground to target, but relatively little to defend. Defending NYC, Washington, LA, etc. from a distance of thousands of miles isn't as hard as defending Tel Aviv from 150 miles away, or defending Seoul from Pyongyang.

Sure, you can overwhelm a defense system, but it's cheap to make enough rockets to overwhelm a system when they don't have to travel 5000 or more miles. And at this point outside of the US and (to an extent) Russia, though there are plenty of nuclear powers there aren't a lot of missiles that can travel that far with any kind of payload and hit a target.

Those sort of missiles are expensive to build, expensive to operate, and very expensive to maintain.

Comment: Is this actually a big deal? (Score 3, Informative) 133

by jht (#42586027) Attached to: Remote Linksys 0-Day Root Exploit Uncovered

So it's a vulnerability in the WRT54GL (and maybe the related routers) running mainly older firmware - it's a pretty old router model as are its cousins. And from watching the exploit video, it's a local vulnerability - not one you can exercise against the WAN port. So it looks like not such a big deal. After all, 98% of those just have the default password anyways.

If the more advanced gear (like the RV routers and such) have this issue then I might be concerned. But I don't have enough info yet to worry or not.

Comment: Yes. (Score 1) 430

by jht (#42115849) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Will You Shop Local Like President Obama, Or Online?

I'll shop locally, and I'll shop online. Depends on what for. I like to go to bookstores and buy books. I try and stick to the independents when I do so - but I also buy some of my more obscure books, new releases, or e-books online from Amazon. The same holds true for most other purchases. Mostly I use Amazon (or a similar vendor) to buy things that I would otherwise get at a big box retailer. That works pretty well.

The exception is clothing - there isn't much I get from brick & mortar retailers in general. I buy my sportcoats from Jos. A Bank in a nearby strip mall, otherwise I get shirts mainly from LL Bean online and everything else I use for clothes I pretty much order from Duluth Trading. They both have stores, but since I live in Massachusetts rather than Minnesota or Maine, it's a pain to go to them (yes, LL Bean has other stores, but they don't have nearly as much selection).

I'm lucky that we have a downtown with a very good and diverse shopping district, and we can get a lot of the things we want from local merchants at reasonable prices. Yes, I can get better prices online much of the time, but I still like to hand over money for my goods when feasible.

Comment: Not wat it was in the glory days, but still... (Score 1) 101

by jht (#41710343) Attached to: Making a Slashdot Omelet

I was a frequent poster, submitter, and reader back in the day. I used the journals before moving to these newfangled things called blogs. I still post, though not that often anymore - no longer being a desk jockey the spare time isn't around to participate like it used to be. But even with all the changes, Slashdot is still the place I go for my all-in-one-place scan of tech news, still the most interesting place to go and get perspective on the story, and still one of the most informative communities out there.

I hope I'm still reading the site daily in 15 more years.

Comment: Works for us pretty well (Score 4, Informative) 729

by jht (#41216875) Attached to: Do We Need a Longer School Year?

Our son is going into 5th grade. He's attending a public school that has a 190-day school year with an extended 8-3 day, and they go to school until late July, only getting 5-6 weeks of summer vacation. In compensation for the long July in school, they get a vacation week in late October and another one in the beginning of June that other kids don't get.

For the most part, he loves it. And when he and his schoolmates get back to school, there seems to be less time getting kids back up to speed than there is at the conventional schools here in town. Overall results trend better here as well, and we've got a lot of overall issues in the system here outside of our school. Within reason, I think an extended day/extended year model is ideal for most learning situations, but not necessarily universal. I don't think school should be fully year-round, there should be some sort of summer break. But the 2+ month summer vacation is a relic of this country's agricultural roots, and it certainly could go away without causing a problem.

The Internet

+ - 'World IPv6 Launch' ready for lift-off->

Submitted by
netbuzz
netbuzz writes "The Internet Society’s “World IPv6 Launch” is hours from lift-off and organizers are pushing a now-familiar message: "If you've been waiting to deploy IPv6, there is no reason to continue waiting," says Leslie Daigle, chief Internet technology officer with the Internet Society. "There are customers who will view your website over IPv6 now. It isn't experimental. It's out there for real." More than 50 access networks and 2,500 websites — including Google, YouTube, Facebook and Yahoo – have committed to the event by pledging to turn on support IPv6 and leave it on for good."
Link to Original Source

Comment: What'll actually happen (Score 4, Insightful) 349

by jht (#40164921) Attached to: IT Desktop Support To Be Wiped Out Thanks To Cloud Computing

A lot of today's internal server support jobs will go away. But there will still be network infrastructure to support (somebody has to manage the switches, firewalls, and access points), there's still going to be desktop support (PEBKAC errors, hardware, and malware), and there will likely be at least some local resources that need to be managed. We won't have a lot of people managing Exchange servers or Active Directory anymore. Or actually we still will - they'll just be working for the cloud providers instead of the client company.

Besides that, this will open up opportunities for outsource support firms (disclaimer: I own a small one). Companies will still need specialized support resources on occasion, just likely not enough to employ a lot of them as staff. They will get that expertise as-needed to supplement what they have in-house.

Comment: Well, there's a reason for that (Score 1) 270

by jht (#39986465) Attached to: Facebook Is Killing Text Messaging

Like it or not, carriers bring no value-add to the table. All they do now is provide pipes. They were able to charge outrageous fees for text messaging before because there were pretty much no alternatives for instant connections - despite the actual cost of SMS being virtually nil.

Now that we have BBM, iMessage, Facebook Messenger, etc., there's a host of alternatives that work just fine and only use minuscule squirts of data to connect. The future is integrated apps like Apple's Messages - it uses SMS, but switches to IMessage if it's available. And eventually it (and the like) will connect via whatever the first/best message alternative it has - only falling back to SMS if all else fails.

Dumb pipes it is.

Comment: Re:It's easy for men (Score 1) 502

by jht (#39168687) Attached to: The correct number of shoes to own:

1 pair brown dress shoes, 1 pair black dress shoes. I don't use those much. Work boots. LL Bean boots. Running shoes. Regular sneakers. 2 pairs Keen shoes - one of which is a sandal. That's pretty much the standard stuff.

Besides that, though, a pair of dark green Crocs, a couple of old US-made pairs of Chucks, and a few specialty shoes for occasional sports use - my old rugby cleats for softball, a pair of bike shoes, bowling shoes, my old motorcycle boots, and a pair of Merrells that I use as slippers nowadays. Might be some other stuff in the closet I haven't gotten around to throwing out. I don't count the boots that attach to my fishing waders.

Geez. Now I feel like Imelda freaking Marcos.

Comment: Re:Problem is, nobody's really at fault (Score 1) 1303

by jht (#38788075) Attached to: How the US Lost Out On iPhone Work

I'm not saying everything's OK (and unlike what one of the ACs thinks, I'm not a Republican either - I'm actually a Democrat and even an elected office holder - though a minor one). But the nature of manufacturing has changed drastically in the last few decades. Manufacturing used to be a place of great added value. Building things like homes, cars, industrial equipment, aircraft, and even many consumer electronics items was a place for skilled labor and the value of a domestic workforce was high.

Nowadays, those jobs building iPhones, PCs, and flat screen TVs are highly automated and the only real labor intensive part of the job is fitting things in place and tightening screws. Even though they're retail jobs (and not great), there's several thousand people working at the stores - and those are far better jobs than the Foxconn workers have. And overall Apple has about 50,000 employees.

It's not so much that it would add a tremendous extra price to iPhones to make them here - it's that the supply chain and people aren't available here to do it, even if they wanted to. You try and find a factory complex in the US that can draw a quarter-million employees with thousands of engineers to supervise them. We just don't have enough people for that.

We can still build things that provide good jobs and employ plenty of people. We just can't do that sort of manufacturing here. But it's not a huge loss - we can do better.

Comment: Problem is, nobody's really at fault (Score 5, Insightful) 1303

by jht (#38781089) Attached to: How the US Lost Out On iPhone Work

Apple makes gobs of money by owning the high-value part of the product - the design, engineering, and final sales. There's virtually no profit in actually manufacturing the product. So as a result, companies have emerged like Foxconn (the biggest) that specialize in the manufacturing process. And they make money by doing a _lot_ of manufacturing, for a lot of different vendors. They set up shop in mainland China for easy access to workers - and for most of those workers the crappy pay they get is better than they could earn elsewhere.

And because of that, a whole supply chain rose around those companies to keep them freshly supplied with components. There's an entire infrastructure in and around China specialized in low-cost electronics manufacturing. That's not the only place Foxconn makes stuff (they have factories in Eastern Europe, Brazil, and India - all places where they can get relatively cheap access to an educated workforce). And also, Foxconn doesn't just make products for Apple - nor are they Apple's only manufacturing vendor.

Also worth noting again is that the manufacturing is a low-margin business. Based on their 2010 numbers, they had about $59 billion in sales. Sounds like a lot, but less than 2/3 of Apple's numbers alone. Again, in profit they did $2.2 billion - but that's a low percentage of sales, and that's after supporting nearly a million employees.

The only other thing I'd mention here is that there are companies manufacturing products in higher-wage places, and there are products better-suited to manufacturing here in the US. Precision electronics, low-volume, high-price items, and goods where the manufacturing cost is lower than the shipping costs from overseas would be - these are all good candidates for onshore manufacturing. iPhones, PCs, gaming consoles - those are gone, and they're not coming back. But the jobs they create are crappy ones anyways. And they'll always be chasing the lowest cost somewhere in the world.

God may be subtle, but he isn't plain mean. -- Albert Einstein

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