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Comment: It was always about limiting competition (Score 3) 329

by DavidinAla (#48485955) Attached to: Taxi Medallion Prices Plummet Under Pressure From Uber
It's hilarious that the summary of this story uncritically accepts that the origin of taxi medallions was about "public safety." This is a lie and it's always been a lie. The system was about limiting competition. Pure and simple. The people in the industry want fewer people competing, because there's more profit for them. They made friends with the right politicians, who then introduced the system and controlled how the industry was "regulated." I put that word in quotes because it wasn't regulated in the sense that people believe. It was regulated to avoid competitors hurting incumbents operators. This is the way pretty much all regulation really works. (Look up "regulatory capture" if you're interested in how it works.) There is no legitimate reason to control the number of taxis. Period. I don't even see a valid reason to license them, but if it were about safety, licenses would be available to anyone who could meet certain safety and insurance requirements. I don't have much sympathy for the owners of the current medallions. They've had a government-granted license to print money, which is why these medallions have had value. It's time to let the market take over. The medallion system needs to die.

Comment: Lessig is a bright guy, but he's a political idiot (Score 1) 224

by DavidinAla (#48345499) Attached to: Mayday PAC Goes 2 For 8
I spent 20 years as a political consultant, so I have a strong understanding of what it takes to win elections. Although Lawrence Lessig is a smart guy, he makes the mistake that's common to many other smart people. He assumes his intelligence and knowledge about one field should make conquering another field simple and easy. He's wrong in his diagnosis of the problem with U.S. politics and he's even more laughably wrong about how change happens. It's amazingly arrogant for him to believe that his tiny effort would make the slightest difference in what voters believe about the issue he cares about. He and his group are like tiny fish bumping against the side of a supertanker and wondering why they're not changing its course. He needs to stick to something he's at least somewhat qualified to deal with. He doesn't understand politics.

Comment: This was Google at its worst (Score 1) 79

by DavidinAla (#47595461) Attached to: Google Sells Maine Barge For Scrap
Google has become so successful from its advertising business that it casually throws around money on goofy projects which either don't work or just peter out. This is presumably an example of one of those. Having plenty of profits is a good thing, but it also causes a company to completely lose focus and leads to the hubris that Google exhibits — that of believing it can do anything and everything. I know that a lot of techie fans of Google don't want to hear this, but Google's lack of focus is going to come back to bite it. Those "cool" projects that geeks tend to like are going to be on the chopping block once there's finally a disruption to Google's advertising business. (And that day will come.)

Comment: A watch doesn't fill a need for me (Score 2) 381

by DavidinAla (#47440201) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch?
It seems to me that current wearable products are a case of technology looking for a problem to solve. There's nothing they do that matters to me that my iPhone can't do better, and the idea that it's a burden to pull my watch out of my pocket seems laughable to me. The Android Wear products are vaguely interesting as technology demonstrations, but I see nothing that they DO that I need done —and I don't want to wear a device on my arm and charge yet another device, too. It's theoretically possible that someone will release a new product that does something that I'm not even conceiving on, in which case I'll re-evaluate my opinion. But right now I can't see anything interesting about them. If Apple releases anything even vaguely similar (in function or anything else) to what the Android companies have been releasing, I'll have zero interest in it. I need products that solve real problems that I have. Nothing about what I see so far even attempts to address anything that I consider a problem to be solved.

Comment: Unbundling seems like an odd fad (Score 4, Interesting) 24

by DavidinAla (#46914439) Attached to: Foursquare Splits To Take On Yelp
While I don't want an "everything including the kitchen sink" app, the idea that functions should be broken into separate apps seems like an odd (and insane) fad to me. If the functions are related, they belong in the same app. If they're not related, why were they ever designed into the same app? For instance, in Facebook, the messaging app is for messaging people I'm connected to on Facebook. I don't want it for anything else and I'm not going to make that messaging system into my primary messaging system. It will ONLY be for communication with people I don't know well enough to be connected by email. It just seems as though folks in Silicon Valley talk to each other and somebody came up with the idea that functions should be different apps, so many companies are doing it with no rational reason behind it.

Comment: Getting a tool or making a religious statement? (Score 4, Informative) 299

by DavidinAla (#46087917) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: An Open Source PC Music Studio?
If you're making a statement of your religious faith OR if you're just tinkering, going to the trouble of finding something to run an open source package makes sense. If you're actually interested in the right tool for the job, then buy a real music studio with a Mac or a Windows PC instead. There's a reason that real musicians generally use real tools that suit professional needs.

Comment: I don't believe a word they say (Score 3, Insightful) 262

by DavidinAla (#45051943) Attached to: Microsoft Makes Another "Nearly Sold Out" Claim For the Surface Line
Given the fact that Microsoft has shown a willingness to badly mislead on this subject, the company has zero credibility about it. It's possible they're being completely honest and accurate about it this time, but since we've seen them lie (or "mislead" to put it charitably) before, how can we know? This is common for many, many companies, but when a company starts down this road, we lose the ability to trust anything they say in the future.

Comment: Why write about business if you're this clueless? (Score 1) 391

by DavidinAla (#44364667) Attached to: A Radical Plan For Saving Microsoft's Surface RT
So many people in the tech world seem to think that products are priced randomly and that if a company really wanted to, it could sell them at half the price and still make money. The truth is that the Surface RT was priced as it needed to be for Microsoft to make a decent margin on the hardware. Now that the price has been cut this drastically, the odds are strong that there's no profit (and they're probably even be losing money on each unit). So to claim that this is a way to save the device is to assume it should have lost money from the beginning. Although Microsoft is clearly willing to take a discounted price right now — because the alternative is not selling them at all — pricing this product at the current price would have been a financial disaster because it would have let the public believe that this was a "fair price" for such a product. It can't be profitably built and sold (at the current quality level) at the fire-sale prices you're seeing now. So it's silly to think this is anything more than a way to recover some of the huge amount of money that's been lost ona product that never made sense in the first place. To suggest it as a business plan is to prove that you're completely ignorant of how financial reality works.

If it is a Miracle, any sort of evidence will answer, but if it is a Fact, proof is necessary. -- Samuel Clemens

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