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Comment Re:Whatever happened to the micropayment idea? (Score 1) 207

Computationally, the overhead is kind of trivial.

If you're relying on the traditional credit card payment network then the cost overhead is high along with all the attendant accept credit card payment overhead.

But if you had a centralized micropayment service, the overhead gets down to a much lower level.

In an ideal world, such a service would be run as a non-profit (whatever skim would just go to running the service). Users would add funds to their micropayment account via normal methods to consolidate the usual banking transaction costs. The micropayment system could have some built-in checks, ie, users could set a maximum micropayment per site, or per time period, etc.

All of this sounds suspiciously like a clone of paypal with some added features for a micropayment system.

I think the bigger issue is establishing pricing and its attendant value. What's an article or web site visit *worth*? How much are you willing to spend per month and what kinds of quality expectations do you have over free, and how much quality can a site expect to deliver for some kind of micropayment? Is it just ad-free content, or is there some expectation of more quality by consumers to make it even worth 10 cents per site visit?

Comment Re:No such thing (Score 2) 207

There seems to be some outer limit to this, at least at more legitimate sites because I see a lot of fake articles labeled as "sponsored content". Maybe I'm dreaming this, but didn't the commerce department make some noise about needing to label sponsored content as sponsored content? Or is this something that more legitimate news sites are doing to not totally alienate their readers?

Comment Whatever happened to the micropayment idea? (Score 1) 207

Why didn't this concept take off?

Did it just get co-opted by Google making it relatively easy to collect micropayments for your site with mostly non-intrusive advertising?

Lack of a centralized micropayment infrastructure and some method of subscribing and collecting payments that couldn't be trivially gamed? Lack of any agreeable billing model -- ie, unlimited use subscription vs. per visit/content, inability to calculate pricing model due to volatile perception of value?

Perhaps a general user objection on sites dominated by user-created content (eg, forums) where, in theory, adding content adds value to the site?

It seems like a reasonable idea, especially if it can be combine a lack of advertising with financial support.

Comment Re:No such thing (Score 3, Interesting) 207

Maybe a generation change will fix this.

I worked at an ad agency at the dawn of the commercial Internet. The people on the advertising side of the business had all kinds of problems adapting.

The print people wanted it to be another print medium and were frustrated by their lack of layout control and font selection. Their tool was giant images with click regions because they could basically export an Illustrator file as a graphic, so you'd end up with sites that were just a giant collection of images with click regions that led you to more images with more click regions.

The TV people treated it like another TV set, at first with just inserted videos, next with semi-interactive Flash animations that still had all the intelligence of a one-way TV commercial.

Perhaps in the not-too-distant future the people who didn't grow up on standard, commercial television or tweaking print layouts down to the pixel AND who came of age frustrated by overlays, popups, interstitials and understand ad blocking will become ascendant and stop imposing old thinking on the web.

Comment Re:"people are more connected today", really? (Score 1) 86

Maybe "connectedness" contributes to the partisanship.

The most stable societies often seem to be the ones with the least diversity. It seems like the fewer the internal differences among the population, the fewer reasons to be partisan -- the other guy looks like you, speaks like you, prays the same, eats the same, lives the same.

Connectedness makes people aware of differences -- the other guy looks different, talks different, prays different, eats different, lives different.

Something about humans makes the other a competitor or an enemy.

Comment Does it affect functionality at all? (Score 1) 544

In true Slashdot fashion, I didn't read TFA just the TFS. Assuming that the source is capable (ie, did everything practical to disable telemetry, including any weakly published registry settings, etc) and is accurately counting firewall hits (how many of these are one telemetry source retrying relentlessly?) and not attempting to be an anti-MS shill, this really sucks that disabling it per MS instructions doesn't actually disable it.

That being said, does it affect functionality? Does stuff not work (for all definitions of not work -- from not all to pokey slow because it's trying and faiiling to hit a telemetry server)?

While I would expect corporations with an eye on security to object, I would also expect places like that to have a fairly stern outbound firewall policy and filtering system that would block a lot of telemetry by default, mitigating some of this but still not eliminating the annoyance of a machine that does what it wants.

I'm also curious how much analysis of telemetry has been done. Do we know what processes on the machine are responsible for telemetry, and are there any ways to disable them? Have the telemetry messages been analyzed to develop firewall rule groups to block them by IP, URL or DNS?

Comment Re:Require that patents be defended (Score 1) 134

I think a time window for actual usage of a patent in a marketed product would be a useful check. If your patent isn't in a marketed product within, say, five years of issuance it would become public domain, and if it stops being used in a marketed product after 5 years it would also become public domain.

I think part of the problem also could not just be patent trolls as we know them, but companies like IBM that attack a technology sector with R&D and obtain dozens of patents they have no intention of actually developing into products but manage to patent enough things in an area that it's no longer practical to enter that field because most of the key techniques are already patented. It's kind of a land rush mentality where they're not actually interested in using the plots of land they claim, they just want to make sure nobody else can.

It's even worse when this is done defensively to guard a product they already make so that new innovations that may obsolete a cash cow product can be kept from the market. To extend the land rush analogy, they buy up all the plots of land so that the only remaining option is to rent an apartment in the crummy building they already have.

Comment Tivo style broadcast data encoding? (Score 1) 228

Tivo used to distribute some data at night on a TV channel. I caught it one night in a fit of insomnia, it looked like a video stream comprised of QR codes. I'm guessing the Tivo box recorded it and then decoded the full frames and then stored whatever the data stream was.

Like QR codes, the "data" would seem fairly impervious to scaling and resampling provided that the "bits" or white/black blocks were large enough to survive downsampling. You wouldn't really care if they converted them to compressed image data because the image was the data but represented at a low enough practical resolution that downsampling or format conversion wouldn't change the image enough to inhibit decoding.

You could even do something like the color-enhanced HCC2D code "extension" of QR codes for greater image data density.

Each image file could then be a rough equivalent of a disk block or sector, allowing the client side to manage a file system of sorts.

Comment Re:Freedom of Speech is the key. (Score 1) 666

I always thought that the term "politically correct" was intended to be hurled as an insult at people who voice objections to racism, misogyny and intolerance. It is a lazy argument made by people who have resorted to calling sincerity into question.

The problem is that the people voicing objections to racism and misogyny often do so not to literal racism ("niggers are dumb") or misogyny ("she's a whore") but to elaborate, closely interpreted constructs that they believe are examples of these slights.

So saying that a woman is pretty becomes misogyny because it represents the male establishment's enforcement of an unrealistic physical standard of beauty. Saying that Jesse Jackson is an adulterer is called racist because Jackson is a civil rights leader and it's believed that labeling him that way is just an attempt to discredit him because of his race and his civil rights activism.

It's the use of racism or misogyny or other similar accusations through deconstructive analysis to turn obvious truths into accusations of bias that becomes political correctness. People believe that merely stating literal truths will get turned against them.

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