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Comment Re:Sales of E-books are actually up (moderately) (Score 1) 172

Yeah, the original article is way off reality. They're reporting on mainstream publishing house ebook sales only..

The real story is that ebook sales are growing and Indie publishers and writers (not included in the cited stats) are taking over more and more of the market. So it's shrinking for traditional publishers, but growing overall.

Comment Re: Shop. Shop shop (Score 1) 149

C) How the market for commodity retail goods works. Normal margins are about 3%, similar to Walmart. Do you really think they're going to destroy Walmart any time soon?

Amazon's e-commerce business is a very profitable sideline for them, but they make their money from AWS. They sell much more "stuff" overall, but 90% of Amazon's profits are from AWS.

Anyway, for retails goods which are available for any company to sell, the profit margins are always slightly over the actual sales cost. This is because there is plenty of competition which will undercut on price very quickly if you raise your prices. Amazon has distribution, sales costs and volume advantages over most other companies, so they're able to price lower for most stuff. That doesn't mean they can ever raise their prices to anything higher than their next closest competitor's costs without being undercut in turn. They know that, so they keep their prices lower than the competition in order to keep their customer base.

Comment Disruptions past, present, and future (Score 1) 112

Mechanized farming reduced the number of on-the-farm jobs per acre.

The industrial revolution and subsequent improvements have reduced the number of worker-hours needed to make X number of widgets.

Automated telephone dialing greatly reduced the number of telephone operators per 10,000 telephone lines.

Automated telegraph repeaters greatly reduced the number of telegraph operators needed.

Voicemail reduced the number of corporate call-takers needed for a given number of incoming calls.

And so on.

But in the meantime, new kinds of work were created, and overall un- and under-employment in the USA at least has been at managable non-crisis levels for decades.

Comment Re:Apple Lisa/early-Mac "tags" on steroids (Score 1) 131

Yes, it was a bit of a common things on older system, from the times where the mass storage hardware was far from precise and reliable, to do things like check that the drive seek really landed the head in the requested track.

"Modern" (probably mid-1980s and newer) hardware had firmware that would do that for you, and for hard disks at least, the firmware started keeping its own meta-data of a sort so that as far as the computer was concerned, the error rate was acceptably low unless there was an actual bad spot on the drive or some other "hard" failure.

Comment How do they get away with this? (Score 1) 140

I work for a number of agencies off and on over the years. Every one of them on a quarterly basis have to tell the big wigs (that's a technical term) how many of fill in the blanks there are. The agency I'm at right now they still have a blank for Windows 95, NT, etc. This one has all zeros up to 2008. That's been the situation for years.

One thing I keep hearing is IT is really expensive. Hardware, san and everyone to keep it running. SAN storage they want you to plan on a 3 year life believe it or not. When you factor in things like video surveillance systems that run on old Windows crap, some physical entry systems are Windows, building control, etc.

Of course the big lie out there is the Cloud can save them from all this expense. I think they're finding out the Cloud isn't cheaper.

Comment Apple Lisa/early-Mac "tags" on steroids (Score 1) 131

The Lisa and early Macintosh drives supported 532-byte sectors. The extra sectors were used for "tags" - basically a less-sophisticated version of this scheme and without the "block 0."

For details on why "tags" were eliminated, see Macintosh Technote #94, "Tags," by Bryan Stearns, November 15, 1986.

Comment Re:Favorable? (Score 1) 296

Only if you want to punish someone for some reason.

I was suggesting we see how things go without burdensome rules and expensive enforcement, and then if something happens, make a rule so the problem can't continue. Make it a narrowly targeted rule so enforcement is inexpensive and it doesn't burden people who did nothing wrong. And pass it as a law rather than imposing it by decree.

Net neutrality is a rule that special interests dreamed up for an imagined problem.

Comment Re:Poster does not understand Algebra (Score 1) 361

The fact that someone owns wealth and has not consumed it requires that at some point, someone decided not to consume it, i.e. deferred their consumption.

This is a tautology, it's true by definition.

Also, that you believe the normal state is for people to start out life with different amounts of wealth (as if it's endowed by some random action), rather than as the result of choices and work people have done says a lot about your prior beliefs.

Comment Re:AKA "snowflake syndrome" (Score 1) 289

Let me guess, they were expected to be productive members of the team and not just the token minority, and that got to be too much for them, so they quit rather than be fired for incompetence.

Quoted for visiblity - thats not mere flamebait.

However, I wonder if the truth lies elsewhere: some people are smart enough to realize how badly the industry in general treats developers, and just pick a better line of work.

Comment Re:EE Degree (Score 1) 200

Yes, immutable objects are over-emphasized right now as the essence of good programming, from what I've seen. Still, it's nice to see recognition of the value of that style outside of functional programming. It's a shame none of the current mainstream languages have "const and not null" as the default for all declarations - I think the programming world with be a better place if you had to explicitly declare something either mutable or nullable.

Submission + - Corporate Call Centers are Now the Weakest Link in Security

Trailrunner7 writes: Criminals are targeting corporate call centers at an unprecedented rate, resulting in a 113 percent spike in the fraud rate in the last year, new data compiled by Pindrop shows.

Phone fraud has become one of the favored tactics for criminals as they look for less-risky and more-profitable avenues to get into targeted organizations. The phone channel typically is not as well-defended as other channels, including the web and in-person transactions, making it a juicy target for fraudsters. Data published in Pindrop’s 2017 Call Center Fraud Report today shows that these criminals are having more than their share of success.

In 2016, one in every 937 calls was fraudulent, a significant increase from 2015, when one in every 2,000 calls was fraudulent. The data, extracted from more than 500 million calls to Pindrop’s customers’ call centers, is an indication that the fraudsters running these phone scams are getting better and better and continuing to develop new skills and schemes to get past call center agents.

“The sophistication of the fraudsters, the expansion of criminal rings, heightened security in other channels, and the amount of information available on the dark web is making the call center the easiest fraud target in virtually every industry,” said Vijay Balasubramaniyan, CEO and co-founder of Pindrop.

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