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Topics - ergophobe

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Traffic / Home page link "best practices"
« on: February 19, 2020, 12:32:36 AM »
Someone I know (not me) just got a report from an SEO agency who, citing "best practices," advised:
 - No text links on the home page
 - All links on the home page should be buttons
 - All buttons should have the anchor text: "Learn more."

I'd be curious to know what "best practices" document they are referencing.

Monetization / Affiliate SERPs in 2020
« on: January 31, 2020, 04:25:21 PM »
From Glenn Alsop (formerly Viperchill)

It's hard to extract one quote or summarize this... but it turns out that all the privacy invasions that are being used FOR spying are also making it hard to BE a spy

By the early 2000s, the agency ceased running certain types of operations in the Southeast Asian city-state, because of the sweeping digital surveillance there. The Singaporeans had developed a database that incorporated real-time flight, customs, hotel and taxicab data. If it took too long for a traveler to get from the airport to a hotel in a taxi, the anomaly would trigger an alert in Singaporean security systems.

So serious is the concern about biometric tracking that in late December the Defense Department’s chief intelligence official co-signed a memo, obtained by Yahoo News, advising all military personnel to avoid using consumer DNA kits, noting worries about surveillance, among other security concerns.

But I still can't stop my family from using 23 and Me.

OPM = Office of Personnel Management for the US govt
In one previously unreported incident, around the time of the OPM hack, senior intelligence officials realized that the Kremlin was quickly able to identify new CIA officers in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow — likely based on the differences in pay between diplomats, details on past service in “hardship” posts, speedy promotions and other digital clues, say four former intelligence officials.

The beginning of the CIA’s cover and tradecraft crisis dates back to at least February 2003, when a Muslim cleric known as Abu Omar disappeared off the street in Milan. He didn’t resurface until 2004, when he called his wife from Cairo to tell her about his kidnapping, detention and torture at the hands of the CIA.

Italian investigators, eager to get to the bottom of the audacious abduction on their streets, were later able to track a web of cellphones communicating only with each other in close proximity to the disappearance, leading them to a series of hotel bills, credit card statements and other identifying indicators, according to a 2007 investigation unveiled at an annual hacker conference in 2013. Italian authorities charged 23 Americans, including the CIA’s former Milan station chief, for their roles in the scheme — most in absentia.

And so on.

Economics & Investing / Bill Gates: Rich should pay more taxes
« on: January 04, 2020, 03:33:31 PM »
This year's Year in Review on Gatesnotes is a plea for higher taxes on the rich

Basically says we should raise the estate taxes, raise capital gains tax, remove the cap on income subject to Medicare tax.

In the 1970s, when Paul Allen and I were starting Microsoft, marginal tax rates were almost twice the top rate today. It didn’t hurt our incentive to build a great company.

Marketing / Dark patterns on travel websites
« on: December 21, 2019, 04:12:59 AM »
You know those counters:
 - 32 people are looking at this hotel
 - 3 seats left

It turns out many of them are simply Javascript pseudo-random number generators.

Not just travel... but travel is a major offender

Economics & Investing / States people are fleeing - guess #1
« on: December 10, 2019, 07:01:10 PM »
Sorry guys, no it is not CA.

This is from Jan 2019. Should have then 2019 numbers in a month or so

Water Cooler / Climate impact of heating with wood
« on: November 26, 2019, 09:07:33 PM »
I have sometimes idly wondered, given all the wood that comes down around here, whether it would reduce my footprint to heat with wood. I've never looked into it, but just stumbled across this:

 - It it renewable: obviously yes, but only over relatively long time spans (more time than we have)

 - Carbon-neutral: sort of. If all you measure is carbon and your time span is long enough, then yes, but the problem is all the other by-products, many of which are worse than CO2.

 - better than fossil fuels: only in the case where you burn pellets that are made from sawmill and paper mill by-product. If you are cutting down standing trees, much worse than just burning propane.

Water Cooler / Nano-particles may be more dangers than PM2.5
« on: November 22, 2019, 06:10:39 PM »
And almost nobody is measuring them

“I expected a certain level of variation [in particle number]”, she says, “but the level of fluctuation really surprised me… The volume of cars that went past had very little impact on people’s exposure to PM2.5. But it had a massive impact on ultrafines.” As the volunteers pounded the pavements, they were exposed to a minimum of 36,000 particles at a time, up to a maximum of 130,000. When they took the same route by bicycle (tricky, but not impossible, with all the equipment), the maximums and minimums went up by another 20,000.

However, the highest averages were recorded inside the cars and buses: the closer to the source of the pollution, the exhaust pipes spewing out the fumes, the higher the total number of nanoparticles. The difference between walking by the kerbside of the road, and by the building side, on the same pavement – just a few short steps – was an average of 82,000 particles versus 69,000. The same readings registered no change in PM2.5.

Marketing / Auto-Responder Madness 2 available free
« on: November 22, 2019, 06:04:16 PM »
Andre Chaperon is gearing up to release ARM4 soon and is offering ARM2 for free.

I know someone here really liked the original ARM - Jason? Jason, where are you?

Economics & Investing / 11 facts about San Francisco's housing market
« on: November 20, 2019, 06:57:10 PM »
A tiny snack for all you California haters out there...

We just had some research that showed that our most common customer cohort has a single-family home (I hesitate to use the word "owns" since the bank owns most of these) with a value of over $1,000,000. I was curious what that meant and came across this article.

11 facts about San Francisco's housing market that will make you glad you live somewhere else

Average price of a home in SFO went from $420,000 in 2000 to $1.38 million in 2019.

Since the largest cohort of customers are from the Bay Area, that means our customers with million-dollar homes are just regular, average people by Bay Area standards.

The craziest thing, though, is that condos in the 2009 Millennium Tower, which has sunk 18 inches since 2009 and tilts 14 inches are still selling for $2 million.

For the Bay Area at large, the median price is $996,000

For California at large, it is $611,000

For Fresno it is roughly $250,000. Bakersfield is even more affordable, but they didn't give a price.

The flip side, is that if I look at the most affordable cities in the US, the list in april (same source) was:

Fort Wayne, Ind.
Wichita, Kan.
Cleveland, Ohio
Buffalo, N.Y.

Thanks, but no thanks. First of all they are all cities, just for starters. Second of all they are all all hundreds of miles from the nearest thing that could be called a mountain (Buffalo is closest - a mere 343 miles from Lake Placid).

Despite what RC posted the other day, for me, I have noticed that proximity to mountains has a high correlation with happiness, whereas proximity to ocean does not.


TL;DR - they're cheaper. The batteries lose charge - range drops from 260 miles to 200 miles by the 300,000 mile mark

Water Cooler / Americans - tomorrow is Veteran's Day
« on: November 10, 2019, 05:14:08 PM »
Americans - it's Veteran's Day tomorrow. I am always troubled on this day by how little attention is paid to the people *still* fighting in our War on Terror.

As stated in a recent article in Time Magazine: "In the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections, 42% of Americans didn’t know whether we were still at war in Afghanistan."

If you have 15 minutes this Veteran's Day, please read this article:

It is a plea by a veteran and a father to bring back the draft. Regardless of how you feel on that issue, I think it is worth reading for his perspective on fighting a war in which the soldiers are mostly ignored and the society at large is asked to make absolutely no sacrifice whatsoever. Since he has an eloquence and a moral authority on the subject that I do not have, I will not attempt to summarize and just say that reading this article will be worth your time.

Two of my friends who were Marines in Iraq complain that most people they talk to do not have a single friend or family member who served in this war and, therefore, hardly ever think about the people who have been sent there.

And just a few other thoughts for you on this Veteran's Day.

 - 2.77 million Americans have served in Afghanistan and Iraq in the War on Terror as of early 2018.
 That is more than the 2,709,918 Americans who served in Vietnam.

 - This month marks the 18th year of this war. That means that some of those fighting there were not even born with the war started. They literally inherited this war. That is unprecedented in American history. As long as the Vietnam War was, if you were born when US involvement began, you were 14 when it ended.

 - Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. In other words, the interval between the start of the war and now is 50% longer than the interval between the fall of the wall and the start of the war. If you were born when the Berlin Wall fell, you were 12 when we went to war in Afghanistan and then Iraq. If you were born when we went to war, you are 18 now.

Sorry if this is "political," but I think it is shameful that we ask so much of people and pay so little attention to them.

Web Development / You might not need JQuery
« on: November 06, 2019, 06:30:25 PM »
Library of plain vanilla recipes for things like dropdowns and lightboxes that function without external libraries

Mostly linking out to other resources, but a nice place to find what you need

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