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Comment: Re:No exhaustive.. (Score 1) 285

by SethJohnson (#47409491) Attached to: The World's Best Living Programmers
Sounds like you missed an opportunity to capitalize on his genius. You could have been the Steve Jobs to his Steve Wozniak. No disrespect to yourself, because this is clearly one of those impossible-to-predict scenarios. I guess the lesson learned is to watch for these types of talents and make sure the work they have in front of them is sufficiently engaging on levels that will interest them.

I suppose this is one aspect of Google's 20% projects. People who are bored with their normal work may find satisfaction with their own pursuits and stay with the company to continue working on them.

Comment: Hall of Fame is different than these projects (Score 1) 285

by SethJohnson (#47409383) Attached to: The World's Best Living Programmers
While each of those are significant milestones in implementation achievements, I'm not aware of a single individual who can claim credit for enabling the completion of those projects.

To put those projects in proper scale to what the programmers on this IT World Hall of Fame have done, the above examples were all built with budgets of hundreds of millions of dollars. The needs of those systems were readily apparent by everyone involved. It was a matter of assigning an army of workers to put all the pieces together.

The accomplishments of these hall of fame programmers revolve around smart people identifying a vacuum of need that others hadn't recognized even existed. Then these people set about filling those needs by building essential tools themselves from scratch.

Comment: Cab companies are not LLCs (Score 2) 139

by SethJohnson (#47404207) Attached to: Uber Is Now Cheaper Than a New York City Taxi

What difference does it make if it's an Uber driver or any other driver who paralyzes you?

Difference being that Uber is sucking up around $213,000,000 per year by avoiding significant insurance coverages that their competitors are having to pay. They're offloading this chunk of the insurance burden on their 'independent contractors' who are not able to cover injuries like a $1 Billion / year revenue company can.

What does it matter? It's the difference between being compensated properly for a life-changing injury caused by an 'independent contractor' working for Uber and suffering "tough luck" by getting zilch in compensation. Compensation is the deciding factor between institutionalized living or as normal-as-possible life for the remainder of your years.

And if you think you can get lots of money out of taxi companies, think again: they are usually limited liability.

That corporate structure doesn't work the way you think it does. An LLC is created so it can implode in the face of a liability claim and protect the owners. If Yellow Cab were operating as an LLC, they would have dissolved after the first accident by one of their cabs.

Instead, in the big cities like New York and Chicago, the cab companies are trying to shield themselves from liability in the same way as Uber-- the drivers are independent contractors.

Comment: Re:And in other news (Score 4, Insightful) 139

by SethJohnson (#47403049) Attached to: Uber Is Now Cheaper Than a New York City Taxi

Why shouldn't the same insurance rates apply to everybody, simply based on mileage, driving history, and vehicle type? I mean, if I wanted to pick out a category of drivers to charge more, it would be mothers with children in their cars (they are dangerous), not Uber drivers looking for rides.

Consider the scenario where you are standing on a street corner and a car comes rushing towards you at a high rate of speed. Collision is imminent. You're going to survive the impact, but you'll be paralyzed from the neck down for the rest of your life.

If the car that crippled you was operated by an employee of a cab company, it might mean that a legal settlement would be reached such that you'd spend the rest of your life at your house with inhouse nurse care.

If the car was an Uber driver rushing down the street to pick up a customer before becoming inpatient and choosing a different car in the app, well, I hope you have substantial insurance through your own job. When you attempt to sue Uber over your injuries, they'll say they have no liability in the matter because their driver wasn't on the clock with a passenger. And they'll exert significant legal resources to prevent creating a precedent that'll put them out of business. They'll happily spend more fighting your case than the amount for which your suing. In this scenario, you're likely to have to live at an institution to be provided needed medical care for the rest of your life.

As for your stereotyping of mothers with infants, the most common cause of car accidents is distracted driving due to cellphone usage. Seems that Uber drivers looking for fares would strongly fit into that category....

Comment: Re:Tonka Tough (Score 1) 431

by SethJohnson (#47258667) Attached to: Chinese-Built Cars Are Coming To the US Next Year
This AC speaks the truth.

I saw this happen in the US with the skateboard deck industry. In the eighties and nineties, all legitimate wooden skateboard decks were manufactured in woodshops located in North America. Sure, Chinese-made skateboards would show up in big-box retail stores, but they weren't taken seriously by serious skateboarders. They were junk for kids.

In the early 2000's, certain California-based vendors contracted their entire production of these boards to Chinese factories. Within just a couple of years, the margins forced the all the other mainstream deck vendors to follow suit. As it ended up, the companies in California now just design the pictures on the boards, purchase advertising, and promote the decks made by Chinese companies. Whereas previously, Chinese-made skateboards weren't accepted by the skateboard industry, the Chinese factories have co-opted the California industry members to promote and market their products.

Comment: It's a taxi service, duh... (Score 1) 79

by SethJohnson (#47040445) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Travis Kalanick About Startups and Uber

One thing that Lyft does and Uber does not do is Lyft requires both drivers and passengers to log in with their facebook account.

Required Facebook membership? No thanks.

Lyft could do some interesting analysis to match people up based on shared characteristics.

These people need to get out of their comfort zone. Expose them to different cultures and ideas. Using FacEbook to ghetto-ize drivers is xenophobic. No sympathy for the OP complaining about immigrant drivers, either.

Comment: Call Uber's insurance company (Score 1) 79

by SethJohnson (#47039819) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Travis Kalanick About Startups and Uber

Uber explicitly states that it is up to the driver to remain compliant. Drivers aren't Uber employees, they're independent contractors.

If the drivers get money from Uber as independent contractors, then Uber's workers' compenation and liability insurance policies cover the independent contractor unless the contractor provides proof of their own coverage. Without proof in Uber's hands, the liability falls on the general contractor, not the subcontractor.

Any city that wants to expel Uber should simply have the state insurance board examine Uber's insurance coverage. Once their insurer has been identified, a quick call to that company is all it would take to convey the real shenanigans being played by the policy holder.

Comment: Re:a question that will not be answered (Score 2) 79

by SethJohnson (#47039531) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Travis Kalanick About Startups and Uber
I love this rationalization---

"If you pay for premium service, you can expect a higher degree of safety. If you purchase standard service, it's a roll of the dice."

If Uber isn't requiring proper licensing and insurance from these service providers, but is referring people to use them, Uber will be held liable for insurance claims.

The lawsuit won't come from the guy's family who got paralyzed after an Uber driver ran over him on his bike. The paralyzed guy's health insurance company will sue Uber because they don't want to pay for quadraplegic care for the rest of his life.

Guess who has the tougher set of lawyers...

Comment: OnStar proves there's a market (Score 1) 216

by SethJohnson (#46984783) Attached to: GM Sees a Market For $5/Day Dedicated In-Car Internet
I'm with everyone else pooh-pooing this misguided disservice. It's not for us.

But, GM is not floating this concept out of sheer ignorance. They already have hooks into a certain collection of consumers who don't know crap and subscribe to OnStar because operating a GPS themselves is too complicated. GM marketing executives are sitting in board rooms laughing at how much money they are still getting out of these subscriptions while cellphones would seem to have made OnStar obsolete. This internet package is just an added service fee they're trying to pile on top of these clueless subscribers.

A closer look would likely reveal that many of them are still subscribing to AOL at home.

Comment: First-Responder's Award (Score 1) 192

Give out an annual award to someone on the IT staff who jumped on more Severity 1 tickets than anyone else. When everyone else wanted to be in bed asleep, this person was the one who tirelessly answered the pager and ran into the burning buildings to rescue the crashed servers. The holder of the award is your best first-responder. Having this plaque on the wall reminds management of the crises that were resolved in heroic fashion.

Sure, there's no award for the person who prevented drama from happening in the first place. But that's kind of the way it goes with heroes.

Comment: fix it at the proxy level (Score 3, Informative) 84

by SethJohnson (#46902279) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Communicate Security Alerts?
Modify your outbound proxy rules to redirect every outbound http request that has a useragent string belonging to the affected browser. Send them to an internal HTML page that explains the security threat and provides a link to download and install the browser preferred by the organization.

This will:
  1. Selectively communicate the issue to only the affected users.
  2. Prevent anyone on the internal network from being compromised due to this vulnerability.
  3. Prevent anyone from ignoring the 'advisory.'

If you're not using an outbound proxy, god help you.

"Just think of a computer as hardware you can program." -- Nigel de la Tierre

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