Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:No matter what Uber says ... (Score 1) 176 176

The trouble with impounding cars is that those aren't the people who are behind it all. They're just the people desperate enough to themselves into the ground for negative income once you subtract out costs like fuel and depreciation, or those gullible enough to think they are gonna be rich. Maybe a few true believers or those who just treat it like entertainment to meet people. It would be like attacking Herbalife by arresting every seller.

But I agree with you about Uber not being a tech company. U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen agrees:

“Uber is no more a ‘technology company’ than Yellow Cab is a ‘technology company’ because it uses CB radios to dispatch taxi cabs, John Deere is a ‘technology company’ because it uses computers and robots to manufacture lawn mowers, or Domino Sugar is a ‘technology company’ because it uses modern irrigation techniques to grow its sugar cane,”

Comment Re:Technically right (Score 1) 245 245

The anti-trust trouble for Google is if you want to futz around and ship your own version of Android you are banned from shipping ANYTHING with Google services, due to the anti-fork provision in the agreement required to ship Google services.

That's why Samsung has Tizen instead of an Android fork: if they shipped a version of AOSP with their own apps and store running on top of it they wouldn't be able to ship anything with Google services on it. Not only that but you can't contract manufacture those devices either, which is why Amazon has to go with third-tier companies to make their Fire tablets and why factory Cyanogen installs are likewise limited to small one-off manufacturers.

It is no different than Microsoft or Intel saying "Sure you can ship a -nix/AMD device, but you can't ship a Windows/Intel device at the same time. Oh that would completely obliterate most of your business? Funny how that works isn't it."

Comment Re:"everyone from PayPal merchants to Rand Paul" (Score 1, Insightful) 67 67

Dollars have the value of being able to pay off your US Govt (and state) tax/tarriff/whatever obligations. Even if you barter bits of string in exchange for a chicken the chicken seller will need to convert some of that string into dollars to pay off their tax bill. Even if everyone switched to using something else day to day they would have to convert a whopping $3 trillion a year to pay off their government debts. So as long at there exists economic activity in the US which requires taxes the dollar will have some sort of value.

Then of course there are myriad other benefits to the dollar such as taxes are a heck of a lot easier to calculate for a transaction executed with dollars, the US court system basing judgements and awards in dollars, everyone in the US (and most trading partners in the world) having/accepting them which leads ease of use, etc.

Could the dollar go away or become worthless tomorrow or in a year? Perhaps, but any event of sufficient magnitude to completely wreck the value of the dollar in a short time would pretty much nuke (perhaps literally) the world economy. But I'd put better odds on someone breaking SHA-256 or figuring out a catalyst allowing extraction of gold from seawater. Also

Comment Re:Regulation Strikes again (Score 3, Insightful) 194 194

Yeah if the ECU was shutting the tractor down when the sensor when out it likely was important for proper operation or safety. For the most part if it is an unimportant sensor the new machines will complain about it but let you continue operating it, perhaps with the system controlled by the sensor disabled or limited in some manner. Similarly to how a new car will show a warning light or enter limp mode for minor sensors being out but refuse to crank for more important ones.

Everyone thinks "oh its a tractor, it is simple" but these things are very, very far removed from the things you would see in quaint rural settings shown in movies. It is an extremely complex, powerful, and dangerous machine and they do kill people with depressing regularity. The controls for the hydraulic system are something you really don't want to have people monkeying around with as overpressure/overtemp could cause damage to the implement and rams or even (and I've seen this happen) a leak the engine compartment which sprays onto the exhaust manifold totals the machine at best or kills the operator at worst. Underpressure could cause the implement to drop unexpectedly and dump a few tons of steel and blades on an unfortunate worker or cause overheating (as some systems use the hydraulic system to run the engine fan).

The real problem in this is that the sensor keeps going out for whatever reason. Deere parts aren't cheap but he should talk with his equipment dealer about having a spare on hand at the farm that he can swap out himself if it fails. Takes two days waiting for the part down to an hour or so to swap it.

Comment Re:What an idiot (Score 5, Interesting) 180 180

Yeah they had two agents get into a fight right behind him and when he jumped up to see what was going on (just like anyone would do) another agent snatched the laptop and started the task of getting evidence off it and mirroring the drive's contents.

The FBI is often really fucking good at what they do.

Comment Re:What's so special about Google? (Score 2) 334 334

Yeah a lot of it is politics but you have to admit it is very difficult for anyone to get off the ground because whenever anyone comes up with something marginally better, usually for a specialized subject (like say flights), Google puts their own version of the same at the top of the Google search results and effectively attempts to use their current dominance in normal web search to completely eviscerate the newcomer's traffic. A nasty "secret" of the search industry is most people will only hit the first result or so because why click further when "eh close enough" is already there right in front of you?

You don't have to be forcing customers to use your product to be exhibiting anti-competitive behavior, using your market position to make sure that no other companies can be profitable is just as effective.

Comment Re:People missing the point (Score 1) 125 125

It is, but Facebook having their own TOR address is much more reliable (and likely faster) than having to use one of a limited number of exit nodes. Every person using the internal address will also reduce the burden on the exit nodes and give higher speeds so this is a win for everyone.

Comment People missing the point (Score 1) 125 125

A lot of people here are really completely missing the point of this. It isn't for privacy conscious US or EU users, it is for users in countries where Facebook is completely banned/blocked. China, Iran, Syria, etc.

And it is a great thing to happen. It would be wonderful if Twitter did the same.

Comment They don't need fancy gadgets (Score 5, Insightful) 221 221

This is just puffery because it is trendy to beat up on every government agency now, and the SS in particular after the Columbia prostitute scandal.

They have everything they need to protect the president but they are smart and respond to each threat based on the *actual* threat it poses. The snipers that hang out on the White House roof could have dropped the man before he made it ten feet, but had they done so everyone would be screaming about how they killed an unarmed man when the president and his family weren't even on the grounds.

Comment Re:DSL paload + ATM = 16% (Score 1) 355 355

This is exactly the cause. The ATM overhead is being counted by AT&T and it has been a problem ever since they started metered billing.

Now they *shouldn't* be doing so because that is a bit like the water utility charging you for 11000 gallons when you only used 10000 to account for leaks in their system or the gas station saying you pumped 1.2 gallons for every actual gallon to cover the fuel used to bring the gas to the station, but until they are regulated like a utility and the appropriate regulator steps in there is just about jack you can do.

Comment Re:Pitfalls of sharing economy (Score 1) 255 255

When money changes hands everything changes. Expectations both from the customer and in terms of legal liability are so much higher that you cannot compare gift or free exchanges to a fundamentally commercial one such as Uber or AirBnB. There is all sorts of really interesting research into this from the psychology side showing that things shift the instant people see something as a monetary transaction instead of a social one.

The services like to act as though they are some hybrid between the two (Lyft is particularly over-the-top about this) but they are not. Just as you can't be "a little pregnant" you can't be a little commercial in nature.

Comment The admins are complicit (Score 1) 390 390

The article talks about "Stigmas about seeking help" but only focuses on undergrad and the students' internalized stigmas with the school being super helpful. That has not been my personal experience with graduate TAs and RAs. A close grad student friend worked out that his stipend was so low that he (and all other similarly paid grad students int he department) qualified for food stamps. He jokingly told one of the other grad students when he was within earshot of a professor, and got called into a meeting with the department head threatening retribution if he "made the department look bad" by applying for food stamps.

I don't know if there were any real teeth in that threat but grad students can't exactly rock the boat too much if they hope to get the all-important recommendation for post-doc work.

Comment Re:Already taken care of (Score 1) 184 184

Exactly, but I think they should be baked into the OS and automatically activated (unless expressly disabled in system options) when they detect a car bluetooth pairing (normally detectable by the features supported by the paired device, but you could ask if it is a car upon initial pairing).

Another Android one that is extremely useful because of a hidden feature is A2DP Volume in the Play store. There is a silence all notifications on connect option, settable per bluetooth device. So you hop in your car and your hands-free phone, voice commands, streaming audio, and audio nav will work while incoming texts and alerts are silenced. No temptation at all and if people need you right away they can call. People are normally very understanding of it when you tell them why you didn't immediately respond to their text.

Never ask two questions in a business letter. The reply will discuss the one you are least interested, and say nothing about the other.