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Living with Schizoaffective Disorder

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Kids These Days:
Why DICE Holdings Won't Listen

Beta-Fuck:
to screw over users by testing "improvements" on a small to mid-range group
before throwing the entire community into a tizzy.
- Urban Dictionary

Michael David Crawford

Michael David Crawford, Consulting Software Engineer
Solving The Software Problem
mdcrawford@gmail.com

I've been going on for weeks with my exhortations as to why and how all of you should not only blackhole the analytics servers, but also why and how you hould assist your nontechnical friends family and coworkers in doing so.

I've also been asking complete strangers for several months whether they knew who Edward Snowden was. Most often I ask this question when a cashier asks whether I have his store loyalty card. The last time I asked that question, I grew concerned that the cashier at the Fred Meyers grocery store deli was going to call 9-1-1 to have the local constabulary YET AGAIN haul me off to the nuthouse in handcuffs.

That's a rather common problem for me. A while back eighteen Reno PD Officers and Washoe County Deputies as well as some manner of mental health practitioner turned up, handcuffed me then threw me in the nuthouse because my mom reported me as missing and endangered - "But I know right where I am, just south of downtown Reno, and no one is attacking me". I was held involuntarily for ten fucking days because I told some p-doc I planned to go camping in the desert.

It turns out that in Reno, those who plan to go camping in the desert later turn up dead of suicide.

Strange, don't you think, that Beta is still running? Just the other day I got redirected to Beta. I kept trying to work the "?nobeta=1" magic, only to find that it did not work. I mean it took ten solid minutes for me to make Beta go away.

I could have just logged in, but when nobeta=1 didn't work, I knew DICE Holdings was up to no good.

DICE itself is quite likely the leading resume bank and job board for high-tech. I expect Monster is bigger but they cover other kinds of employment. Craigslist is more widespread but far less effective. Craiglist is also free of charge to post job ads when they enter new markets. Its only revenue source is its job ads, all the other kinds of ads are gratis, so it establishes a beachhead in, say, Halifax Nova Scotia by just showing up, someone somehow manages to clue in to both to advertising work there, someone else clues into finding work at the Halifax Craigslist, eventually everyone does one or the other. Craig then starts charging money for the ads.

The vast majority of that paying customers of DICE.com, as well as of the high-tech trades on Monster, are the "Body Shops". It's not like I should have to explain Headhunters to Soylent.

For example a while back I got a new GMail, adjusted my resume, posted it to all the boards, then maybe a month later happened to look in my Spam folder.

Imagine my delight upon finding that every single day for a solid month some joker by the name of Mike McCarthy said he might have a gig for me and politely requested my Word resume.

However none of the other "borkers" - what alt.computer.consultants.moderated used to call "brokers" before its moderator found himself on the business end of a high-powered rifle and scope - got marked as spam. Why then Mike McCarthy?

Mike McCarthy has been been politely, respectfully requesting my Word resume every single day for ten solid years. I was at first excited by Mike's personal interest in me, yet grew concerned when he kept asking me for further copies. Surely he could refer to the one I sent him just last week?

Some Googling turned up that Mike McCarthy had been spamming every coder who ever has or who ever will walk the Earth, every single day, for years.

Clearly Mike McCarthy is a bot, whoever operated McCarthy just harvests "Word doc resumes" - never PDF, never HTML, never plain text, never OpenOffice - then passes them on to other recruiters.

My understanding is that the "Going Rate" for placing a candidate is thirty percent of their first year's salary, payable if they are still employed after three months, as well as thirty percent of their hourly pay for, uh, "consultants", for the entire time they are consulting through the agency.

Thirty percent is what they will openly admit to, to me, however it is commonly a great deal more, such as the irate young newbie also on a.c.c.m who reported that his agency paid him thirty an hour, which at that stage of his career was a huge chunk of change, but was billing the client ninety!

Browse around dice.com for no more than five minutes, and you will readily agree that you and I are not DICE Holding's customers, nor are the companies that would employ us. No, the body shops are!

What better way to turn up a lot of product for DICE's paying customers than to acquire SourceForge and Slashdot outright?

It would not then be any violation of their privacy policy for DICE to datamine both sites. I tend to get modded up all the way to five on certain topics. I tend to get all the way down to -1 on other topics. What I do to myself by getting moderated both ways is to pigeonhole myself into a specific market segment.

Experienced C++ coders who are good at image processing are quite difficult to find these days. Funny that; I'm interviewing with a high end digital photography software firm on Monday. I'm not even doing a phone interview, I'm going straight to the on-site. How did they find me? Hell if I know.

I don't know exactly that DICE is accepting pay in return for passing our resumes on to the body shops, but I do expect that is using both Slashdot and SourceForge to increase their "conversions". For any website, a conversion is getting what you want out of your website. For me that's a signed consulting contract with a client who found me through my site. For Mary's Club in Downtown Portland, a conversion would be a new patron who either purchases lots of liquor, or who always sits right up front in the seats that are reserved for tippers.

(I'm on my way there now. I don't drink much so I tip every dance.)

But how to monetize the two sites directly? They are quite clearly "Cost Centers", and significantly so. Corporate Bean Counters are quite heavily into Cost Center search-and-Destroy missions; the only way for a Cost Center to survive is to find some way to monetize itself directly such that someone who simply cannot enable "Hello World" to do anything other than BSOD his box is able to quite clearly understand that it is no longer a Cost Center.

Thus Apple Computer laid off four thousand of my coworkers both times I worked there. I expect those layoffs were due, in large part, to the fact that it was at one time collosally expensive to be a third-party Apple Developer. Now it is free-as-in-beer to be a Mac OS X or Safari developer, with an "Apple Tax" of $99.00 per year not so much to be an iOS Developer, but to get the cert required both to install on a device as well as to post your App in the App Store.

Apple only charges a reasonable $150.00. I think there is a bulk discount. Never in my entire life have I paid for an incident; quite commonly I ask for help on a list, or I file a bug, and the Apple engineer who was slacking on the job the day he caused that bug either fixes it or personally figures out my workaround.

This because Stevie fired all the Bean Counters. When I worked there in 1995-1995, Apple had 11,000 employees, now they have 90,000, I expect twice as many temps and contract coders.

You must know how to analyze your web server logs. If you do not, you have no hope whatsoever of succeeding with a business that depends on website conversions.

Log file analysis, as well as adjusting one's site in response to the knowledge gleaned from one's analysis, is a form of "data driven marketing". I know all about that from my days in direct mail at Working Software in the early nineties. WSI was unable to get into distribution, so they decided to burn bridges with the channel, and dropped their last dime to test just one drop of one thousand pieces. At their peak while I was there, we employed twelve people, we grossed $3M per year, and once dropped a quarter million pieces in just one day.

At that same time, Apple was quite clearly not practicing data-driven marketing as once dropped a million pieces without testing anything. Hence all the layoffs, and its near bankrupcy around 1997 and 1998.

I expect Apple's survival upon Steve Jobs return was not just that he enabled Apple to ship NeXTStep as Mac OS X, but that Steve by then had also clued into data-driven marketing as a result of Pixar. The motion picture studios are quite heavily into that.

I once was paid a hundred clams to attend a focus group. Some anonymous client had retained a headhunter to turn up experienced C++ coders. It turned out that the client was Microsoft, something to do with a new tool to make Microsoft COM easier to deal with. I played The Devil's Advocate throughout he entire process by insisting that whatever MS did to the C++ language itself, be readily portable to BeOS without monetary charge or any license agreement whatsoever. At the end of the group, the moderator quite cheerfully handed me a crisp, new $100.00 bill.

You'd think DICE would have tried the Beta on such a focus group? Or by now have clued into that those who get moderated to 5, or like me use a hosts file to blackhole web analytics servers?

I am in reality dead certain that DICE focus group-tested Beta, that they really do analyze their logs, and a lot more thoroughly than I analyze my own.

Why does Beta yet persist?

The kinds of Slashbots who like Beta are also the kinds of Slashbots who like to click on ads.

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