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Comment RSH has a working (i.e. profitable) business model (Score 1) 413

I find it funny how so many Slashdotters are critical of the current RS business model. Has anyone actually looked at how the business is doing? RSH has had only one unprofitable year in the past 20. And although they don't have the exact same inventory lists, their most direct competition for most of what they sell has been big box stores like Best Buy and Circuit City. Look how many big box stores have died during the past 10 years - meanwhile RS keeps on going and going, generating cash at an impressive clip.

Requisite Anecdote: I was at a friend's house last weekend, and he had just bought a new digital camera at a garage sale. He was wondering aloud where he could find a cable for it. Standard USB cable used by thousands of cameras, cell phones, etc. His first thought was "Radio Shack probably has it." He was fully prepared to go there and probably spend way too much for it, esp. when compared to Monoprice or other sites that sell this type of thing at very low prices. I think lots of (normal, less-nerdy) people still think of RSH as the place to go for any kind of accessory item related to electronics. These are high-margin items. A few USB cables at 80% markup or more will cover a lot of missing component/part sales.

Plus, they sell a LOT of cell phones and plans. This is a profitable business. As an investor, I guess I don't really care too much that everyone on /. thinks a couple of bucks is WAY TOO MUCH for a capacitor or whatever. Their management seems to realize this also - they have been buying back the company's stock at a pretty good clip at current prices. Also, the market has beaten this stock price down to where another company may buy it just to pick up the additional cash flow - the stock is trading at very low multiples.
Social Networks

Submission + - The HB Gary email that should concern us all ( 1

bstender writes: "According to an embedded MS Word document found in one of the HB Gary emails, it [speaks of] creating an army of sockpuppets, with sophisticated "persona management" software that allows a small team of only a few people to appear to be many, while keeping the personas from accidentally cross-contaminating each other. Then, to top it off, the team can actually automate some functions so one persona can appear to be an entire Brooks Brothers riot online.

Persona management entails not just the deconfliction of persona artifacts such as names, email addresses, landing pages, and associated content. It also requires providing the human actors technology that takes the decision process out of the loop when using a specific persona. For this purpose we custom developed either virtual machines or thumb drives for each persona. This allowed the human actor to open a virtual machine or thumb drive with an associated persona and have all the appropriate email accounts, associations, web pages, social media accounts, etc. pre-established and configured with visual cues to remind the actor which persona he/she is using so as not to accidentally cross-contaminate personas during use.
And all of this is for the purposes of infiltration, data mining, and (here's the one that really worries me) ganging up on bloggers, commenters and otherwise "real" people to smear enemies and distort the truth."


Submission + - 'Chore Wars' Turns Household Drudgery into Fun

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Chris O'Brien writes in the Mercury News that "Chore Wars," a free game that combines fantasy elements similar to those you might find in Lord of the Rings or World of Warcraft with household tasks, is being cited in Silicon Valley circles as a prime example of how people can use video games to influence the way people behave in the real world. The game allows you to select a character, create rewards, and sometimes while performing a chore, to encounter a monster. "These days, when my son wakes up, he says, "Dad, I've got to do my Chore Wars." He often wanders into the living room to fetch the laundry I folded the night before and then heads to the dishwasher to empty it. All without a nudge from me," writes O'Brien. "If there's a downside, it's that there is occasional squabbling over who gets to claim their Chore Wars points first. And I do have to keep an eye on them to make sure they're not claiming any extra chores just for the thrill of getting to click a few extra buttons.""

3D Blu-ray Spec Finalized, PS3 Supported 157

Lucas123 writes "The Blu-ray Disc Association announced today that it has finalized the specification for Blu-ray 3-D discs. The market for 3-D, which includes 3-D enabled televisions, is expected to be $15.8 billion by 2015. Blu-ray 3-D will create a full 1080p resolution image for both eyes using MPEG4-MVC format. Even though two hi-def images are produced, the overhead is typically only 50% compared to equivalent 2D content. The spec also allows PS3 game consoles to play Blu-ray 3-D content. 'The specification also incorporates enhanced graphic features for 3D. These features provide a new experience for users, enabling navigation using 3D graphic menus and displaying 3D subtitles positioned in 3D video.'"

Heavy Rain Previews Show Promise 84

As the February release date for Quantic Dream's Heavy Rain nears, several publications have gotten a chance for some hands-on time with the game and seem to be intrigued by what they saw. Quoting the Opposable Thumbs blog: "The game grabs you during the quiet moments where nothing 'happens.' When you look at a picture your child drew. When you're questioning someone about a crime. When you're trying to figure out how to react to a violent situation. The preview we were sent put me in different situations as I played a small handful of characters, and each one provided a few tiny moments that were surprising in terms of storytelling or subtlety." Eurogamer's previewer had a similar reaction: "To my great delight as well — Heavy Rain isn't a mature game because it has unhappy families and moody lighting, it's a mature game because it anticipates an adult response from the player and is prepared to receive it."

Comment Re:His appeal (Score 1) 385

I'd be willing to bet that an ad worded "Just $X" would have some positive impact on the number of people who would respond to the ad in some way, compared to a similar ad that displayed only the price. It's human nature - the word "just" suggests an unusually low price for the item. There are plenty of people in this world who have virtually no skepticism about things like this.

Comment Re:From Mark Cuban? Take it with a grain of salt (Score 1) 251

what else has Cuban done? While it's easy to poke fun at Cuban when he behaves like a spoiled child, most people would agree that he's made some very wise business decisions. Between his basketball team ownership and his involvement in many other businesses like HDTV programming, there is plenty of evidence of "what else" he's done. One small example: you know those three-sided 24 second clocks on top of the backboards in the NBA now? Probably wouldn't have happened if Cuban wasn't listening to his customers:

Comment time fixes all (Score 1) 300

I don't know about anyone else, but after I play GTA I notice myself driving a little more aggressively. But after I play Assassin's Creed I somehow manage to avoid skewering random people with my sword. Go figure. I guess all my social behavior filters are in place.

When a gamer does something unstable, all bets are off and gaming gets blamed like "rock and roll" got blamed for the sexual revolution. After a while almost everyone will be a gamer and then that will stop, just like you rarely see people now blaming rock and roll for Sally's teen pregnancy.

My guess is that gaming probably affects us in the same ways anything else we experience affects us.

Comment Re:Seems like the correct procedure (Score 0) 344

It seems to me that many defamation cases could be avoided if people would just use some basic qualifiers to lend truth to their statements.

If someone says "Maybe you have sex with farm animals" that statement is less libelous than the statement "I know you have sex with farm animals."

We just need to teach trolls how to use the proper qualifiers in their statements.

Comment Re:Seems like the correct procedure (Score 1, Interesting) 344

do you think every time some punk in WoW calls me a "faggot", I should be able to turn around and sue him?

IANAL, but yes, if you choose to do so. But if he says "I think you are a faggot" then you probably won't get anywhere. If he says that he knows for a fact you are a faggot, and assuming that being known as a "faggot" is a bad thing for you, and assuming a ton of other conditions apply, then maybe you could sue him and get some relief.

But, as with many legal options, practical financial considerations often drive the outcome, rather than strict rule of law. What would be your financial motivation to sue the person ("punk" is kind of libelous, don't you think?) that is calling you a "faggot" online? If I were his attorney I'd try to convince the jury that you are not really legally damaged in any financial way by this comment, and that you are trying to abuse the court system by suing over something that would be considered trivial to most people.

None of this means you can't sue - it just means that it probably wouldn't be such a good idea.

In this case, I'd guess the burden of proving actual damage would fall on the plaintiffs. This might be one of those court cases that will get settled for pennies on the dollar, or outright dismissed, and THAT story most likely won't make the wire service, because it doesn't really spark any debate like this one does...

Comment Re:From TFA (Score 2, Informative) 344

so if it's not in the Bill of Rights then you aren't allowed to sue over it? hey, everybody, the U.S. legal system has been simplified, and now all laws have been reduced to only what is in the Bill of Rights. Free speech is only free up to a point. Not everything that comes out of your mouth (nor, apparently, your keyboard) is protected by this right.

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