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Comment Most are warehouse employees (Score 1) 44

Relevant quote

>“If you look at non-ops related employees — essentially everyone else — that growth rate, while strong, is below our revenue growth rate, so we are seeing some leverage,” he said.

Outside of Seattle, Amazon resembles the backend of Wal-mart more than anything else.

Comment It's never been about the specific tech (Score 4, Insightful) 108

A bad ad network is a bad ad network, whether they're sending out flash units, html5 units, or putting up billboards on a highway overpass. A middleman injecting malware doesn't care what the underlying tech is, they care about if the network vets their shit on delivery.

Nobody with a brain thought HTML5 was 'more secure' than Flash in of itself.

Comment I had sympathy for Gawker until the trial details (Score 5, Interesting) 284

At a high level, sure, money shouldn't give you the ability to completely shut down voices you don't like.

But at the trial, Gawker seemed to both not take the trial seriously (the infamous 4 year old line) and simply treated it like another story they'd post to get clicks. Denton and Daulerio seemed to think they were above the entire fray until the judgment, at which point they turned the entire other way and started trying to rouse sympathy from their readership. They mishandled their own defense to the point of comedy and made the jury entirely unsympathetic. It's hard for me to think they didn't bring this on themselves.

I hope Deadspin and Jalopnik find new homes, there are some good writers for those two sites.

Comment Number of accounts matters as well (Score 4, Interesting) 153

I strongly suspect that 'millennials' have password protected accounts at far more places online than 51+ people. At that point it doesn't matter how strong your password is, but which shitty service stores your password as unsalted MD5 and lets the intern leave the remote login session active

Comment UBI vs Deflation (Score 1) 372

The concept of helicopter money's been making the rounds as a more effective alternate to QE money (QE gives the money to governments, who may end up spending it unwisely), but it should be noted that it's a direct response to deflationary pressures around the world that's attacking currencies and sapping credit. Helicopter money the economic concept is only meant to be applied until the threat of deflation goes away - a UBI is a social policy, not a fiscal one.

It would be interesting to explore how a UBI would affect the core consumer price index. My suspicion is that the US might be the only country that could pull it off, only because the dollar is the world's standard reserve currency.

Comment Re:What they mean is.. (Score 4, Insightful) 460

Regulations are an attempt to avoid tragedy of the commons/race to the bottom type scenarios. Why buy expensive ass properly sealed and insulated tanker trucks when I can just toss cheap plastic jerry cans into the back of a shitty toyota pickup, just like Ethiopia? For the three weeks the guy with jerry cans does business before a 'tragic accident' occurs, he can significantly undercut the guy who's doing things cleanly and safely, and once things do go boom, the guy who did things right eats the bill while the guy who cheaps out either escapes to the Cayman islands or gets cooked by his own gasoline.

For every honest businessman who wants to do good by their customers, there's a bunch of shady assholes looking to make a quick buck, and no amount of pretending the bad actors don't exist will actually make them disappear.

Comment Re:What they mean is.. (Score 5, Informative) 460

Call me a statist all you like, but I am 100% for regulation of the equivalent of gas tanker trucks meandering neighborhoods and commercial parks topping off people's cars, and having taxes on that service in order to fund the regulation, because I don't want to see some 20-something communications major driving around every day with a U-Haul full of jerry cans tied down with bungee cords. I say this even though I am 100% behind having the service available, because I'd find it amazingly useful.

The alternative is letting it go unregulated, watching some fly by night operation have their delivery driver explode along with all his cargo, the execs of the company 'vanishing', a media shitstorm, and the industry being literally banned.

Comment There's meaning and there's 'meaning' (Score 2) 207

If all you want to do is figure out what's happening, speed reading does what you want - tells you what's going on. You isolate the actual actions and events of the story from the cruft. Writing generally has a ratio of meaningful descriptors versus 'words for their own sake' nonsense, ranging from technical writing to Finnegan's Wake, and speed reading lets you handle most of the former quickly.

Does it help you figure out what's going on in Finnegan's Wake, no, but I find that works on that spectrum of the scale aren't really worth bothering with anyway. If it literally cannot be speed-read because there's not enough clear descriptors (in an attempt to infuse their work with some variant version of 'meaning'), it's just an linguist's mental masturbation on a page

Comment Magnified stupidity (Score 5, Insightful) 195

Developers: If we can't resolve the IP lets just give it a default center of the US coordinate, instead of returning a 'could not resolve location'
Project Manager: Sounds good to me!

A moron sysadmin: I'm getting tons of inbound spam traffic coming from this farmhouse in the middle of Kansas that has curiously rounded coordinates! They must be the culprit, clearly this IP GIS lookup has 5 digits of precision on lat/long!

Lots of stupidity to go around here

Comment Re:They're correct - because it's about survival (Score 3, Insightful) 339

The average person might not give a fuck, but iPhone buyers outside US/EU are not average - they tend to be well off, or enterprise customers (who I can assure you will care very much so about this). More importantly, it'd be very easy for governments to spin this against the US and Apple - how easy would it be for the PRC to talk about how the US is spying on China, and mandate that all Chinese citizens/enterprise buy Xiaomi?

You minimize the impact at your own peril.

Comment They're correct - because it's about survival (Score 4, Insightful) 339

Apple knows that complying with this order will essentially destroy most, if not all of their overseas business. If they comply with this order, they will lose anyone who is even remotely suspicious of US govt motives; this includes literally billions of non-Americans around the world. The net result would simply be people moving to phones that are perceived as more secure, there's an easy market opportunity for a non US based company to put out 'secured' phones (for example, a phone that rejects all firmware updates in addition to the secure area tech) and gain all the business that Apple would lose.

The question is, of course, if the government knows this, and I'm pretty sure the law enforcement/'intelligence' personnel here are so scoped into their mindset that they're totally unaware of this, and would reflexively brush it off as hyperbole (hint it isnt).

Comment There's a certain audience for this type of post (Score 5, Insightful) 97

I've always maintained definitions of the 'enthusiast' and the 'professional' when it comes to sufficiently technical fields. The enthusiast reads some media briefs, becomes enamored with some tech, wanders into his imagination in order to describe what the tech is actually capable of, then writes articles like this talking about how awesome their tech is and what it can do, while sitting in a coffeehouse waiting for their freelancer's paycheck to clear. These articles spawn another generation of 'enthusiasts', and the enthusiasts swirl around each other in a whirlpool of 'factoids' and buzzwords while other people try to extract money from them with silly books and scam kickstarters

The professional in the field has an actual job and deliverables and has no time for any of the aforementioned nonsense. New professionals are created when intelligent people read those articles and goes 'the fuck is this shit', then does actual technical research.

I used to blame Kurzweil for a lot of this but it goes back much further in history.

Comment Re:I work in online advertising (Score 3, Interesting) 259

No, the ads just move out of ad spaces into 'native' space, embedded with content and interspersed into feeds and streams. That's what all those sponsored articles and stuff are, and it's really terrible. Don't get me wrong, I'm not particularly pro-advertising, but I see polite, safe ads that are placed into their own corner of a page as a good compromise in order to avoid the corruption of actual page content. I've seen (and run) enough high quality content sites that can't pay for their own hosting or bandwidth, and it sucks to see them go away.

Comment I work in online advertising (Score 5, Informative) 259

But I agree with the general premise. It's just that the picture generally gets complex - let me explain.

The way an ad gets served is this. Places that show ads (websites, mobile websites, in-app ad spaces) are inventory. Inventory is of varying quality - an ad on the front page of the NYT is costly, whereas an ad on or something is dirt cheap. Small sites sell their inventory to brokers, who pack it up with other sites to sell on advertising exchanges (the firm I work for runs one of these exchanges).

On the other side of the issue, advertisement costs money. A firm wanting to run ads will contract with an online media agency, which will create an ad and then find inventory to place the ad in. The firm commits to spending X amount of money for Y amount of impressions (hits), so if the agency can find inventory that performs (hits whatever ad metrics required, such as 'time in ad' or 'number of clicks') while being dirt cheap, it pockets the rest. If multiple agencies bid on the same inventory, the price of that inventory goes up (and the website runner makes more money), so it's a game of scooping up cheap inventory on random sites at the times they're cheap.

Typically, a given source of inventory (a site) will contract out to a large number of brokers in order to guarantee that at least one of them will, upon request, be able to serve an ad in the space. 90% of ad networks vet their ads to run clean, because running a malware ad is essentially a death sentence if you ever want to run any kind of premium ad (the ones that make you a lot of money) or buy premium ad space (lots of premium advertisers will specify they only want premium space, like the front page of the NYT). Above-the-board ad networks will run clean, vet their stuff, and charge a higher exchange fee, whereas unscrupulous networks (many based in eastern europe) will charge a lower fee and let all sorts of shit go through.

What does this mean? An attacker with a crafted ad that can beat cheapo mal-detection can buy cheap inventory on a shady network, intentionally outbid other people and pay a minor premium for that cheap inventory, and get their ads wherever they want. The ad network will get shut down if it was really egregious (since running a malware ad can theoretically open you to litigation from other advertisers on your network), but for every network that shuts down there's another that can pop up promising minimal overhead and minimal vetting.

The only real market solution is to whitelist a certain number of ad networks, and have sites commit to only running ads from those ad networks, but this segments the internet into the haves (premium inventory, high quality sites, premium ad networks, premium ads, all expensive) and the have nots (mom and pop sites with mediocre inventory that nobody visits because of the chance of getting cancer from the shit networks they have to run). Beyond that, this problem is unlikely to go away - it's simply too easy to game the system and put whatever you want into many adspaces.

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