John85851’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Sep 26th, 2016 @ 5:14pm

    Everyone makes money

    I think the real reason these people are angry and stresses is that other sellers are selling their product for a higher price and getting away with it.
    Let's see if I have this right:
    1) Seller A lists it on eBay for $50.
    2) A customer buys it.
    3) Seller A buys it from the Ruckels for $40.
    4) The Ruckels make $40, the seller makes $10, and everyone makes money.

    I completely understand how customers might feel ripped off if they paid $50 for an item that's sold for $40 on Amazon, but shouldn't the customer have shopped around first?

  • Sep 26th, 2016 @ 5:13pm

    How to measure advertising

    This was an interesting article. I have an idea for a follow-up article:
    If the number of viewers or readers can't be accurately measured, how do companies accurately measure the effectiveness and results of an advertising campaign?
    If a site says it gets 6 million unique monthly views and it charges $200 for a banner ad and it gets 5,000 clicks, how many people actually buy the advertised product and how much money does the advertiser make? Or is this another "dirty secret": companies pay $200 for banner ads to get in front of 6 million "unique views", fully knowing that they might make 1 or 2 sales?

    Or has the advertising industry basically brainwashed companies into thinking that they need to get their products "out there" or that any advertising is "good exposure", whether it leads to a sale or not? After all, how did companies measure the effectiveness of highway billboards in the 1920's?

  • Sep 22nd, 2016 @ 2:26pm

    But Facebook is a private site with its own rules

    I'm confused. Why are people blaming the government or calling this tyranny?

    The fact is that Facebook is a private site with its own rules of what it (or its bots) will allow to be posted. If we don't like it, we should switch to another platform, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, or start something new. And if enough of us start to leave Facebook over these issues, maybe they'll start changing their rules.

  • Sep 22nd, 2016 @ 2:25pm

    This is all part of Trump's plan to make nice with Russia

    Mike, although your arguments are well-thought out, I have 2 rebuttals:
    1) We live an age of anti-intellectualism. Most Trump and Cruz supporters, and by extension, many Republicans, don't trust scientists or other experts. Instead, they feel things "from the gut", so if Trump is for it, and Obama is against it, then everyone should be with Trump.

    2) If we take the assumption that Trump is in league with Putin, then giving the US more control of the Internet will logically lead to more control by Russia and China, which is probably Trump's goal. Then Putin can ask for more power from there. But for now, this is the easiest way for Russia to get a toehold.

  • Sep 22nd, 2016 @ 2:24pm

    Gouging or quality control?

    I'm going to play the devil's advocate here:

    Suppose this issue happened in other industries: say you bought a BMW and the battery dies. You go to your local auto supply store and see a Ford battery for $50, which the clerk assures you that it's compatible with your BMW. Congratulations! You just saved money by not buying the official battery from the BMW dealership for $200. We all know how car dealerships like to gouge people, especially the higher-end ones like BMW!
    Except the battery from the supply store doesn't quite fit, so you have to hammer it in place... then it runs out of a charge after 3 months. Then you complain to BMW that they made a crappy car that won't take Ford batteries.

    So for argument's sake, let's assume this happened to HP: customers would use cheap-brand ink, the printer would fail, and then they'd complain to HP or return the printer to the store (in which case, the store would return it to HP). The printer works perfectly, except for the fact that the nozzles can't handle the cheap quality ink.

    And here's another example: I have a LEGO set and I have a knock-off-brand set of bricks. The LEGO set was $24.95, which seemed a tad expensive for the content. The knock-off brand was $9.95 for a larger set with more pieces.
    However, after building each set, I noticed the LEGO bricks are "stickier", firmer, and seem to hold together better. The knock-off brand bricks seems looser, as if they didn't quite get the measurements right or they used poorer-quality plastic.
    Most of the time, a cheaper price usually means a cheaper quality product.

    So is this really a case of HP trying to gouge everyone or are they trying to maintain quality control?

  • Sep 14th, 2016 @ 3:43pm

    Hackers can plant evidence

    ... and any hacker worth his or her salt isn't going to leave evidence of the hack or their ties to a nation state.
    Yes, but any hacker worth his or her salt can easily plant false evidence that points to almost any party he or she wants the FBI to believe did this. I wouldn't be surprise if officials found "evidence" that they say ties the hack to the Russians. Though the media won't ask if the evidence is real or if they're putting it out there to support a new war with Russia.

  • Aug 25th, 2016 @ 2:31pm

    Which religious belief is more important: person or country

    Here's my issue with all this: whose religious beliefs are more important: the person's or the country's? Should people dress according to their belief or dress according to the country's culture?

    And as a more specific example:
    When Muslim women go to other countries, their religious belief tells them to wear full-body swimsuits on the beach, even if the country's culture is to wear swimsuits with far less coverage.
    Yet if I go to a Muslim country, my religion says I can wear a bikini on the beach, yet the country's culture won't allow it.

    I know this will get a lot of downvotes, but I think Muslim women need to be more careful. Yes, in theory, they should have the right to wear whatever they like, but there's a HUGE amount of Islamophobia (just look at some of the comments to this post, especially about how a guy could dress in a burqa to hide a bomb).
    Why would women wear something that clearly marks them as "different"? Sure, they're following their religious beliefs, but again, it's a different country with a different culture.

  • Aug 19th, 2016 @ 2:53pm

    Just don't put anything in the comments

    I know PayPal takes it's instructions from OFAC, but come on. Do they really honestly think the following scenario will happen:
    Note for payment: Thanks for your review of Castro's Cuba.
    PayPal: Your comment includes flagged words. Although you have no history of sending money to Cuba in the past 10 years of doing business with PayPal, please write an essay about why this transaction should be allowed.
    Sender: You got me. I'm actually a Cuban sympathizer looking to overthrow the Castro regime and return Cuba to a democracy. And I would have gotten away with it if it weren't for that meddling comment!

    So, like other posters are saying: let this be a lesson to everyone to NEVER including a comment when sending a payment- simply send the recipient a separate e-mail saying the payment was sent. Or if you must include a comment, make it generic like "Payment for services".

  • Aug 18th, 2016 @ 8:58am


    Sure, the general public might be ignorant and go along with Trump, but where are the people from intelligence agencies to say they use social media to infiltrate and learn about enemy groups? How do they feel about Trump talking about taking away one of their best tools to track terrorists? What if Trump does become president and he figures out a way to do what he says? Sure, it's a long shot, but last year, it was long shot that he'd become the Republican candidate.

    I'm not sure what's worse: that Trump is saying these kinds of things or the fact that there's not much blow-back about it.

  • Aug 18th, 2016 @ 8:47am

    Keep doing what you're doing

    I've been posting here for about 6 years and I agree you should keep doing what you're doing. ;)

    I don't think it's a good idea for people to game their site to fit anyone else's social-site, for the simple reason that you're always chasing someone else. How many sites "optimized" for MySpace or Webcrawler, but those have died off? How many people optimized their site for LinkedIn, only to see it not quite take off like Facebook. And now Facebook keeps changing their algorithm, which means more website changes.

    And how many sites have resorted to click-back headlines just to set themselves apart from the other news sites, only to see everyone else using similar click-bait headlines.

  • Aug 18th, 2016 @ 8:31am

    What if their target audience isn't on Facebook?

    Here's another question: What's the average age of NPR's target audience? What's the average "Internet intelligence" of their audience?
    Have they considered that many of their visitors may be older and not have, or more importantly don't want, to use Facebook or Twitter? This is basically NPR's way of saying they don't care about people who don't have these accounts.

  • Aug 18th, 2016 @ 8:29am


    Those are nice statistics, but can you show use how many people read the comments? And how many of those people find the comments as entertaining/ interesting as the article?
    I would wager that many of the regular contributors add more value to the story since they add their own thoughts and opinions.

  • Aug 18th, 2016 @ 8:23am

    So give up your privacy or pay for groceries

    Mr. Thomas M. Lenard is actually trying to claim that adding a privacy surcharge to what's already some of the most expensive broadband in the developed world will somehow help the poor buy groceries.
    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you have it backwards.
    I think what he's saying is that poor people won't have to pay the privacy surcharge, which gives them more money to spend on groceries. Of course, he fails to follow-up and say that this means AT&T will continue to collect and mine their data in exchange for *not* paying the surcharge.
    So this is yet another way the poor get screwed by big business.

  • Aug 17th, 2016 @ 6:53am

    Re: In a Perfect World

    Yes, but who pays for all these filings? The companies aren't going to use their own profits: they'll raise the fees they charge customers or they'll make up new fees. I can easily see a new line item on the AT&T bill: "Mandatory legal recovery fee for defending 'thank you': $10 per customer".

  • Aug 16th, 2016 @ 11:23am


    That's a great idea. I have some shows on videotape that I recorded back in the 1990's and it's fun to watch all the obsolete technology like 10-10 numbers for calling long distance or the old AT&T "Reach out and touch someone" commercials. Kids of today have no concept of what "calling long distance" even is.

  • Aug 16th, 2016 @ 11:01am

    Just stop making music

    At what point will musicians stop making music because there's too much of a risk of getting sued by someone who made a similar song 40 years ago, which they've never even heard of?

    I'm not sure whether to mark this post as sarcasm or not.

  • Aug 16th, 2016 @ 10:49am

    What's the file format

    I wonder what file format the documents on the computers are using? What happens if they're in VisiCalc '82 format that's unreadable simply because no one's needed a VisiCalc emulator for 25 years? Or are there plenty of smart people who can write an emulator? :)
    And is there any chance that the files could be in an unknown format that can't be emulated or read?

  • Aug 16th, 2016 @ 10:41am

    Crowdsource the value of posts

    Keep in mind that most Internet trolls make stupid comments to get attention, so the solution is to take away that attention. Here's an idea from an online commenting system, possibly Disqus: crowdsource the postings.

    What this means is that people vote up or down on the posts. When an post gets enough negative comments, it's hidden *but* it's still shown to the person who posted it. This way, the poster won't claim his post has been deleted or he's being "censored". Then if he posts enough comments that get down-voted, all of his posts are hidden like this. He can continue to post anything he likes, but he no longer has an audience and he no longer gets any attention. He'll wonder why people are ignoring him and move onto another site.

  • Aug 16th, 2016 @ 10:28am

    What are police doing

    The main question to ask is whether police are scanning plates as they're doing other things (as one poster said) or if their primary mission is to drive around scanning plates? If this is their primary mission, is it really a good use of resources?

    But this brings up an obscene incentive program: at the end of the month, which officer looks better? The one who spent 3 weeks investigating a crime and was able to determine that a victim was killed by accident (which is good police work)? Or the officer who roamed the streets and brought in $50,000 in unpaid fines to the department? After a few months of this, why wouldn't every officer want the cushy job of driving around, scanning plates, bringing in income, and then getting "officer of the month" awards for it?

  • Aug 16th, 2016 @ 10:11am


    There was an interesting article I read recently, possibly on The Atlantic, where the author argued that drugs were made illegal to make it easier to arrest certain types of people.
    Communities in the south thought they had a problem with Mexican immigrants, but obviously, they couldn't arrest people for being Mexican. Instead, they found that many Mexicans smoked marijuana (which was completely legal), so their solution was to criminalize marijuana and start arresting the Mexicans.
    California thought they had a problem with Chinese immigrants. Again, they can't arrest people for being Chinese, but they found that many of these people used opium. They made opium illegal and they arrested the Chinese people.

    In the 1980's, crack cocaine was used as a way to disproportionately arrest black people: white people with powder cocaine would get far less sentences than black people with the same amount as crack cocaine.

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