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Comment Anchor effect is well known (Score 5, Interesting) 298

TV ads have used anchoring for decades - "You won't pay $300, or $200, or $150 for this product, but it's yours today for 3 low payments of $29.99".

The first prices anchor your expectation, and $29 sounds like a great deal. Even those smart enough to mentally say "you mean $90" still come up with a 2-digit number instead of 3 digits, and it seems like a good deal.

Stores do this too. A slow-selling model will suddenly jump up in price when placed next to the product's big brother, at a higher price. The goal isn't to sell the more expensive product, it is to anchor your price to the smaller version seems like a deal.

When people have no idea what is going on, they need an anchor. This seems to be true of anything.

Automatic Master's thesis in any subject in advertising - take something advertisers have known for decades, make your thesis about how that applies to your field, and then do a study.

Advertisers have the financial incentive to know how people think, and the only problem is they stopped before generalizing into behavior patterns, and just made it about purchasing.

Comment Re:At the same time (Score 4, Informative) 221

Sounds like tech companies should spread themselves out a little. If Silicon Valley needs piles of specialists, it needs people who are willing to move from anywhere - same country or different, visa or not.

Hiring specialists in the non-Valley would be a lot cheaper, you would find talent easier, and everyone would be happy. Let me summarize the business plan of a Silicon Valley company:

1) Mine the area talent as thoroughly as possible
2) Keep mining the same source
3) Repeat until Congress lets you hire barely qualified people from another country.

I can see a giant shift coming where the Valley is where the HQ sits, but you have projects centered in other large cities, which are largely autonomous. It doesn't work for smaller companies, but if the larger ones realized they are resource-starving their own ecosystem, it would come close to balancing out. Someday they will have to.

I have no family, and no reason not to fly out to the Valley and work for piles of money. I just do not want to be part of that culture 24 hours a day, at work and away. I would be fine with telecommuting, but as Yahoo found out it is easy to abuse that if not kept in check. And a just-barely-big-enough company doesn't want to split itself.

So it's not about talent - it's about willingness to relocate. And by concentrating in the same place, the industry giants are starving themselves while claiming location is a vital benefit they don't want to lose.

Make up your mind what's important - people or location - and stick with it. Tough choice, but at least let's frame this as a resource issue caused by choice of location. Then we can talk honestly about it and find a solution.

"Not enough talent" is an outright lie - one of omission. "Not enough talent willing to relocate" is the problem, and H1-B is seen as the solution. How long do you expect to be able to import resources before you give up and re-locate?

Comment Re:Danger. (Score 4, Informative) 240

Aecurity and authentication were not built in to POTS protocols. That answers your question. They were not designed to handle geolocation nor identity.

The caller ID system relies on either the caller, or a database provided by the caller's provider. Once you transfer from one provider to another, typical in any long-distance call, the second provider has no way to track the caller beyond what the first provider claims. I found this article enlightening, although slightly off topic it is fundamentally about caller ID spoofing.

Now you're going to ask why we can't fix it? Because it's not worth the amount of money it would take to re-configure the entire phone infrastructure. The companies that would pay the most would benefit the least. Individuals would not sign up in large enough numbers, and so we are stuck.

Yes we have the technology, but not the will. US Congress has made it illegal to send false info, but has not found a way to ensure companies follow the law. As common carriers, they can set up a scam-friendly block and blame the customers for all mischief. The only way to positively identify the people behind the calls is to hand over your credit card information, let a bogus charge hit, and spent a few years fighting back.

Comment Re:At you desk! (Score 1) 524

The first 10 years of my professional programming life was on a remote team, where everyone else was in the same place. Gradually people moved around and it became about half local and half remote.

It's not just what the team is comfortable with - some people work better in a social environment where they can run ideas by others or think out loud. Some people are great at taking direction and completing it with little or no interaction above what is necessary.

There are many different dynamics at play, and no one will be able to capture what is optimal for a general setting.

This story is not about what is optimal, it's about what the Yahoo exec team thinks is the right move. Dropping intellectual capital in order to ensure everyone is working together is a trade-off, and one that most large companies wrestle with at some point or another. Do you keep the truly exceptional people, or lose them to your competition?

There is a business driver behind this move, and it has nothing to do with making the most accommodating environment to maximize productivity and happiness of the workers. If the business dies, the employee's job is going to go away anyway, so you have to expect this sort of thing at times as a trade-off for being employed. As the offer says, you can quit if you don't like it.

And as for the people who were hired being able to telecommute - unless you have a contract in writing guaranteeing that, which you don't unless you are a contractor, here's your introduction to the world of CxO suiters making decisions that you aren't happy with. It will happen again, get used to it. Now go start your own business, or look for another job.

Comment Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (Score 1) 90

There is no point directing effort into Wine instead. If the developers wanted to make Wine work, they would work on Wine. If you made them switch, they would probably lose interest and move to something else.

Something you may not be aware of - Wine is extremely reluctant to take patches from ReactOS, because of accusations that someone copied leaked Microsoft code into ReactOS. It was an off-hand comment that I think was ultimately retracted, but not after an extensive code freeze and audit. Sourcing/attribution of nearly every line of core code, and quite a bit of the remainder, was completed as well as a constantly evolving team can.

Wine will not accept large-scale changes from ReactOS, and is much more receptive to clean-room style comments. Obvious bug-fixes, test code, and anything else that could not be lifted has a much better chance of being accepted. It's not impossible to get a patch accepted, and I see some relaxing over time, especially for certain people who are trusted. Usually, a patch includes the comment "this should be sent to Wine," and I don't know what happens after that.

Point being, the cross-pollination works more in one direction than the other, and battle hardening is more like tiny skirmish hardening.

Finally, since Windows is so popular, it makes sense to study it. And to be free of the restrictions from the Windows Research Kernel in an academic environment pretty much gives all the explanation you need for why this is an interesting project. Not a core curriculum requirement.

I would certainly take the course as an elective.

Comment Re:"According to analysts" (Score 1) 270

There's a link to the article, which names several sources. One in particular backs the premise of the summary.

The investment could help Microsoft ensure that Dell doesn't drift toward Linux-based operating systems such as Chromebook or Android, said Al Hilwa, program director at IDC. "For them it's a little investment, but it allows them to put strategic influence" behind the device designs and software implementations, Hilwa said.

I wonder what it is like to go through life as a closed-minded buffoon who discards information before validating assumptions. A summary need not include all pertinent information, if you want details you read the fine article.

Comment Re:Non-Event. Just silly... (Score 3, Informative) 292

I lived on my street, in the next to last house built, with no option for cable at all. DSL sure, but there was no cable on my side, and no plans to build it.

I called, I chatted, I mail-bombed the board and executives with a copy/paste chat session which went so horribly wrong I would not have bought the company's services if it had been available the next day.

I saw a cable truck on my side of the street, 4 years after the last house was built. Nothing but satellite dishes on this side. I got DSL, which was re-branded AT&T two months in, and I was furious, but I trusted satellite less.

I got the $20/no naked DSL for 4 years, and finally upgraded to a faster speed. The cable co can go fuck themselves, which is exactly what they have been doing. They didn't call me to let me know it was available - they sent the same flier they have been sending for 4 years, when it has not been available.

I gave the co. my phone number, a very pleasant woman called me after my mail-bomb and apologized that they didn't have service here, and sorry that the representative took 30 minutes to not figure that out. So they have me as a lead. A simple call and some negotiation on price as someone who raised awareness of failures in their process, and I'd be a happy customer.

Still on DSL. Cable co can't be bothered with me, apparently. Or with informing customers that a cable has been laid and service is available.

Doing nothing for their non-customers, and would-be customers, despite having it pointed out to them.

Zero incentive indeed, even after having put in the cost. Sending someone out to knock on my door would have given them years of continuous service upgrades. Guess they don't care.

Comment Re:It's truly the end (Score 1) 299

Because my IT job is going away? The janitors who have to clean up the waste created by the robots, or their consumers? Sanitation crews? Education?

How about the end of the McJob, and the replacement of it by people who go out and make jobs, like they used to before global conglomerates held the keys to being unable to afford your family?

You, and the people who up-modded you, need to read every comment above yours, and most of the ones below, and get back to me on this unemployment thing.

The last time we had major unemployment, it was because large companies decided not to hire people for financial reasons. Instead of hiring people who would be able to afford products, in the style of Henry Ford, they out-waited their competition to keep production prices low and margins slightly higher for the shareholder.

Before that, it was because we were between wars. And before that, it was because a major part of the food growing country was one giant dust bowl. So what exactly was your point?

Comment Re:High presure water (Score 1) 299

How am I supposed to know when I found the reference that you have chosen to believe?

Or to put it another way - if you can't be arsed to find a reference when you know what you are looking for, why would anyone else?

If you provide a reference, or at least a good pointer, I can decide if your citation is decent. If not, I assume it's like this:

1) Plant potatoes
2) Harvest potatoes
3) Have people think you mis-spelled potatoes
4) Peel them as well as you can
5) Slice them with lasers, which gives them the crusty bits
5) Soak them in oil until they surrender
6) Sit them under heat lamps until they aren't so soggy
7) Serve them to fat people

I've not worked in fast food, I have only the vaguest idea how anything is done behind the counter, except for mis-counting change.

Comment A critial reading of the quoted sections (Score 1) 227

To claim an underlying rationale is misconceived means nothing without the actual rationale. I have seen a lot of otherwise correct arguments made with misconceived rationale. So I see no problem with making the claim as you have quoted it.

The second bit is nitpicking on exactly which courts are being called out. Nonetheless, I think it is true to say, again without context, that this statement cannot be considered true: âoethe fact that links make access to that content straightforward does not change the reality that a link, by itself, is content neutral.â

Links are hardly content neutral as a blanket statement. A website with poor security, such as JavaScript which, when disabled, fails to protect the page - or a query string which permits access - can certainly be non-neutral.

The real argument here is specific to the definition of copyright in Irish law. If I link to your website, you own the copyright, and you are serving up the page. So you are the one making the copy - I am merely providing directions to people on how to request it. I quite obviously did not copy something without permission. So, on its face, a link to copyright material does not constitute infringement unless it is non-neutral (intending to bypass some security, for example).

The first argument is context dependent, and they left out the context. The second is inarguable except in certain contexts. The last is quite obviously incorrect as a generalization.

Comment Re:Matters of degree (Score 3, Interesting) 540

Completely wrong. The Nigerian scams ask people to take things on faith, and they are not religions. Numerous phishing and other social hack type activities ask for faith.

Scientology requires it. It you leave, you can't have contact with other members outside of the organization. If you show signs of wanting to leave, they do run-downs on you which are basically brainwashing. And if they can't brainwash you, they got cabinets full of dirt on you ready to share.

There are places in the world where religion, society, and law are all the same thing. This exists in only two places for Scientology - the HQ in Clearwater, and the floating fortress Sea Org.

Mormonism is nowhere near the Scientology end of the spectrum, because Scientology is not on the spectrum at all.

If you really learn about Scientology, and have a discussion with anyone educated in comparative religion, they will disagree that it qualifies as one.

Some religions are wacky, but this is the wacky without the actual religion part. Now, you can believe it is a religion, and take that on faith, but that doesn't make a new religion out of believing that Scientology is a religion.

Comment Re:simple (Score 1) 224

The question was what language to learn. Before working on FOSS code, you should choose a language.

Java does a decent job at teaching the kinds of things you might need to know, and it's applicable to web, desktop, and mobile platforms. Lots of people knock it - I hate it, even though I did adopt a Java FOSS app.

I would recommend C# 4, which is good for servers as well as desktop, and with a bit of help from Mono can work on Linux. A serious Fortune 500 job is probably going to involve C#, and getting used to Linq wouldn't hurt.

There are lots of FOSS apps written in C# because the basic MSVS compiler is free. Adapting some of the algorithms to use Linq would be a good exercise, unless they require specific speed enhancements. It is a lot easier to understand what the code does with Linq. Obviously I have spent a lot of time with Microsoft tech, but the jobs are everywhere so it's hard to avoid.

I would stay away from scripting - even if you use C# with code-behind files, which is basically no different from scripting, you can still build the code into an assembly.

Comment Re:Question for NYCountryLawyer re illegal downloa (Score 1) 146

Downloading is illegal in the sense that a decision set a precedent which would have to be fought to be overturned. I don't remember the venue, but it covered a large part of the country.

It is impossible to find the link, because all of the news stories say "illegal downloading" when they mean "copyright violating uploading".

I'm not sure how that is backed - they are not making a copy. But I imagine it makes as much sense as "receiving stolen property". Ignorance means you can prosecuted, or bullied into revealing the supplier, and it is intended to dissuade demand. I don't think it would stand up to a legitimate fight, where the only accusation is downloading, which is why people go for the uploaders. And of course then the sound bites are about downloading, to muddy the waters.

The only pure uploaders would be people who post to Rapidshare, Megaupload, or similar sites (which may use other protocols than HTTP/FTP). They are easy to find if the files are searchably public, or posted on forums. Then the account holder can be singled out. Truly anonymous uploading is possible, but it is difficult to either pull off successfully, or in some cases find an audience.

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