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Comment Betting on the weight of Steven King's next dump (Score 1) 171

I am setting up a website where I am going to allow online betting based on the weight of Steven King's next bowel movement. I need to sneak into his house tonight to put pressure sensors under his throne and a turd cam just under the seat.

So everyone come check out and give me all your money.

Comment Feel sorry for any scientist who looks into this (Score 3, Funny) 174

It must suck for any genuine scientist who might come up with an interesting idea as it relates to small scale or cold fusion. I can just see the grant request meeting:
So you have filed a grant form on researching neutron production at low temperatures?
Isn't that cold fusion by another name?
Not really but...
You're fired, we are stripping your PhD, and we are having the art department make funny cartoons about how much of a loser you are.
But I only asked for a $2 grant.
We are also requesting retractions on all your papers including ones that have been lab verified by over 1000 independent researchers.
We also just burned your house down and killed your dog.
I don't have a dog.

Comment Re:Cable company propaganda (Score 2) 157

I can point to my family. We moved to a location where nearly unlimited wireless is not a terrible price. There is no need beyond me, the software developer, to have a huge connection. If I had genuinely unlimited LTE or better then I would switch in a heartbeat. I am a pretty demanding data user so if I could cut then few couldn't.

If my siblings lived where I live then I would have helped them all cut their internet by now. My mother has netflix but barely even uses that. I think her monthly data usage is around 2Gigs a month or less. I think that a typical Netfllix family uses around the 300Gig mark in Data.

Where wireless gets interesting is when the antenna is also directional. In some countries where they leapfrogged that last mile of wire they combine cool telco antennas with these can things on the houses that allow for wireless highspeed internet for very little money.

The key is that the cable companies are only seeing the cusp of this trend. They are trying to cut it off before it becomes a problem. Every day they can delay the progress of wireless data for the masses is a huge pile of money. So it is worth it for them to put a huge amount of effort into this project even if it only buys them a year or two.

Now it's not perfect. Ping times go up so gamers wouldn't be happy. But I can use products such as skype and facetime on my data plan and I can't tell the difference between that and a wired internet connection.

It is also very cool when I am in a park and can download a new version of some SDK that I use without really thinking about it.

Comment Re:Cable company propaganda (Score 1) 157

But the independent evidence shows that there is no problem. They are trying to convince the public that their Wi-fi will be imperilled by the evil telcos. When one large group of companies are battling with another group of large companies their lobbying suddenly cancels out and they have to turn to the voter.

Comment It is wrong in many situations and correct in some (Score 1) 270

If the project is the equivalent of moving dirt from pile A to pile B then then many hands make light work until it gets to a point where people are just getting in each other's way. So 20 might be 4 times better than 5 but 1,000 is just a huge waste of resources as maybe 950 would be best kept out of the way.

Then there is the statistical genius issue. If you have one good programmer trying to solve a horrific problem then two or so programmers might allow for some interesting insights that one might not have. But this sort of hits a rate of diminishing returns in that the average programmer isn't that much smarter than any other programmer. Thus 10 might not be much better than 2. Except that if you have 1,000 programmers the simple probability is that one of them is a genius and thus the program might be solved more than 1000 times faster than a single programmer or more realistically it may have never been solved by a handful of programmers, ever.

Then there are the classic programs where people try to architect it into wonderfully separate abstract sections where individual programmers or small groups can work on each piece. This might sound good in reality but all projects have a certain amount of spaghetti to them and thus their reaches a point where each new programmer isn't able to hive off a part very easily without excessive communications with other programmers and thus not really help that much. This is a fairly typical corporate project flow and thus the Mythical Man month does apply to many projects, just not all projects.

Comment Cable company propaganda (Score 4, Interesting) 157

Holy crap. This is completely disproved cable company funded research. Basically the cable companies are not only seeing cord cutting in the realm of people cutting their TV cables but also now many people are going with tablets and phone only internet connections and are cutting their local wi-fi/cable internet connection. This is a disaster for the cable companies.

So they are doing their damnedest to keep the wireless companies from being able to use the bandwidth that is becoming available as various old technologies such as analog broadcast TV frees up more and more of the spectrum.

On top of that any new frequency opened up to wireless will often then be used by the newest and best data technologies so a given bit of spectrum used in 4G will of course pack in way more data than a 3G spectrum of the same "size" and 5G will probably pack in just that much more into anything that newly opens up for it.

Eventually the 2G spectrum will be retired for use for maybe 6G sort of stuff but it is the new spectrums now that are used for the newest and best data streaming.

If you look at a graph of the spectrum opening up, combined with existing spectrum being re-purposed, combined with the ability to not only send data down that spectrum, but cool things like phased array antennas that can basically laser the data directly at a customer that graph will actually show that the typical netflixing customer could potentially go entirely wireless in not that many years.

This basically takes the whole "last mile" concept out and shoots it in the face. Then the last-mile turns into the-last-pile-of-expensive-crap.

Yes there will be some customers who need such absurd amounts of bandwidth that wireless really won't be it but for the average person watching netflix; they really will hit a limit where they then only slowly increase their demands.

So again I cry a little bit for slashdot to see this sort of corporate shilling happening again.

Comment What? (Score 3, Insightful) 102

One thing has nothing to do with the other. This is just misleading propaganda from companies that have dropped the driverless ball. This is about lying cheating executives. Executives can lie and cheat about anything. Are those tires safe? Is the gasoline really unleaded? Do the ignition switches kill people?

If anything the companies that are leading the charge with driverless don't have a long track record of cheating and killing their customers. The reality is that they are going into this new arena with unblemished records. This probably scares the crap out of the old companies.

For instance, anything that Ford, GM, or Chrysler tell me is probably a lie or an exaggeration. I don't really trust any of the Japanese Manufacturers and even the Koreans aren't looking too good with the emissions testing. Thus I am far more likely to believe a Tesla, Google, Apple, etc. If they say their car can go 200 miles on a charge I will actually plan on going roughly 200 miles on a charge. If GM tells me that I can go 200 miles on a charge I will assume that they lobbied the government to allow them to have a tail wind and go downhill the whole time. Plus they won't mention that the battery caught fire 3 times each test and the driver's seat is the battery.

So this straw man argument is just pure PR being put out to distract us from the fact that the old school car companies are run by a bunch of psychopathic MBA types. And instead of changing their ways they are trying to paint the aggressive young newcomers with the same brush.

Comment Re:Uber is at least as good (Score 1) 219

I don't call for full deregulation. I mostly call for an end to any quota system. I also call for the lightest touch possible in any remaining regulations in that if the regulation doesn't have a clear purpose then can it.

No system with Taxis is going to be perfect. But as the internet comes to have an ever greater impact competition is going to be key to keep everyone on their yelp inspired toes. Present regulations have allowed taxies to pretty much ignore the customer.

A great example of where technology can make a difference was when a regular taxi company went with a computerized dispatch system. One driver told me that it pretty much eliminated the older drivers and the older dispatchers. What had evolved over the years was that the older drivers were giving kickbacks to the older dispatchers to get the best rides. So the drivers could hear a taxi being called who was clear across town with a fare in the car for another fare if that fare was a damn good one. So the customer had to wait and the other drivers would know that this damn good fare was going some old fart.

But the computerized dispatch system queued the drivers based on geo location and whatnot so there was no room left for kickbacks and whatnot. Also it turned out that many of the older drivers were illiterate and thus couldn't work the system.

So the driver told me that overnight his wages more than doubled because he was getting his fair share of the rides. Then the near monopolistic cab companies significantly upped the cost to rent one of their roof lights.

So a few regulations that I would be happy with would include rate limits but not minimums. But beyond that there needs to be very few regulations and only those that are called for by customers, not by cab companies or cab drivers. I really don't care what their problems are. In crafting the new regulations there should be zero input from the existing companies and only representatives of the cab using public.

Comment Loved the book, loved the movie (Score 1) 236

I kinda preferred the book's ending but my main (and still tiny) quibble is that when they are walking on the ring they were definitely walking down a slope, instead of around a ring that was spinning to provide gravity. Along side this they were able to redirect themselves unnaturally in zero g. They could just make a course change without touching anything. So pretty much the special effects people on set simply had no idea about how things work in a zero G environment. These slipups weren't momentary but repeated many times. It kind of ruined the whole suspension of disbelief for a moment. I noticed that when on mars, that there was a scene here and there where they would make a nod to the lower gravity of mars but then go right back to 1G. But most annoyingly there were moments where I could effectively imagine the wires and others where I could picture the ring movie set and which actors were in earth's gravity and which actors were pretending not to be.

Comment Re:fair competition (Score 1) 219

In Nova Scotia (famous for fish and watery stuff) one guy has bought nearly all the licences where licences can be bought enmass. In Halifax two companies own nearly all the cab licences. In Canada our milk costs a fortune because there are crazy dairy quotas, our chicken costs a fortune because of strange laws preventing it from moving around Canada. Our cheese/yogurt costs a fortune because you will only get approved to make cheese/yogurt for the country if your company is located in Quebec.

All of these laws are to protect the little guy and have only ended up protecting the boss hogs.

Comment Re:fair competition (Score 1, Insightful) 219

The cab companies/cabbies are mostly scared of one main thing. They invested a massive amount of money to by their exploitation licence. The main regulation that they are concerned with is this quota. The rest of the regulations are generally nonsense or exist to prevent gross fraud. If Uber is given the green light these exploitation licences become valueless. In some municipalities these licences have traditionally sold for the million dollar zone. There are even banks that specialized in loaning money for the this market. Thus the cabbies will be on the hook for a licence that is worthless while competing on price with an Uber driver who wasn't stupid enough to put that yoke around his neck. Then the pricing regulation was there to largely protect their ability to pay off that loan. Thus there are two groups here, one is those who have paid off the loan who love the huge amount of money that comes from exploiting Londoners with this monopoly, and the other group are those who must have that monopoly pricing in order to pay the loan. Then when the cabbie retires they could sell the licence for a fortune.

But I don't ever remember signing an agreement saying that cabbies could rape my wallet.

Their PR arguments also hold no water. Let's assume that all their arguments about safety, quality, crime, and so on are all true. Why should we not have the choice anyway to pick who drives us? I am happy driving a friend to a location, they are happy to drive me, people drive themselves, yet somehow cabbies have twisted this into licensed uber drivers as being the best way to get yourself killed. So the regulations that largely exist for all drivers such as not being drunk, having insurance, having a safe car, having a licence, all make sense for normal drivers; so why don't they make sense for Uber drivers. Does the uber app somehow make them worse drivers?

But again; even if uber is terrible and dangerous, why should we be treated like infants and not allowed to make up our own minds? Also continuing with the uber is a death trap; then other companies could come along in a free market and offer safer drives. People would probably choose them instead. Free market. Just like all the other vendors in London who don't have quotas. Restaurants, lawyers, dentists, clothing stores. All of those businesses would probably love a quota eliminating new competition. But it wouldn't serve the public at all.

If you want to see a wonderful example of something that is this taken to its extreme: try and get something notarized in Italy. Something like 1,000 Euros. I think a Notary in Canada or the US will run you around $50.

But if this monopoly had never been set up and competition had always been allowed we would not be having this discussion and Uber would be having trouble making any headway in London, it would simply be one more competitor in a competitive market.

Comment Uber is at least as good (Score 3, Interesting) 219

What I have read in the independant studies is that Uber drivers with their little GPS systems are just as good cost wise and in most cases drivewise as a full on London Cabbie who has studied "The Knowledge". The key is that while on some journeys the cabbie will be more proficient the extra cost more than evens it out with Uber. Except that because the Uber navigation system is getting better and better even that gap is narrowing. Also most journeys are pretty straightforward. You go out to main road A drive until near the destination, and then pull off main road A to the destination.

Then Uber brings the whole modern technology to bear. The app, the information feedback, etc. So about the only real thing left for the cabbies is to defend their monopoly seeing that they have potentially no natural advantage and thus no defence moored in reality. The problem with bending the rules of reality is that eventually they snap and the further and longer you bend them the worse the recoil will be. So at this point they might be able to modernize, take the hit on their monopoly value, take a hit on their wages and survive. But if they hold uber at bay for a number of years the flood will come in and will wash them away. Quite simply the harder they push back the harder reality will try to find away around. For instance a new batch of politicians might sweep into office with the promise of eliminating their monopoly. Thus on Monday they are safe and on Tuesday there is pretty much only Uber standing.

But the key argument that is used is that because the government granted them this monopoly it is the governments problem if they are ruined by taking it away. This holds no moral water; they thought that they were buying a licence to be able to ruthlessly exploit the people of London. They thought wrong. I have zero pity for what comes next.

Comment Re:Pop actually ticks me off (Score 1) 565

I didn't say, "Wish upon a magic star as to what you will find in my fridge." I effectively said, "From the selection that is presented upon opening my fridge choose any number of drinkable items that will satiate your thirst. If the options presented are not sufficient or do not meet your taste requirements then keep your pie hole shut as I don't want to hear it."

Comment Implies that but will actually reveal corp. waste (Score 1) 153

I am willing to bet that this engineering project was pulled of with a stunningly tiny cast of characters and a minimum of paperwork; which will make for an interesting contrast with the bureaucratic effort that would have been required to create such a "feature" through the regular channels.

If anything VW should learn from this how to efficiently engineer their cars into the future. But alas they will fire anyone who not only cheated but even worse didn't follow the practices and procedures laid out by people who had nothing better to do with their time than to layout and enforce practices and procedures.

Comment Pop actually ticks me off (Score 1) 565

I hate when I am grabbing a snack and it comes with a "free" drink and that drink turns out to be pop. So yes I pretty much see it as getting a free "gift" with some purchase and it turns out to be cigarettes. I am insulted when people on the street ask if I have a cigarette, and I am insulted when I tell guests to grab anything they want out of my fridge and they then ask if I have pop. I have to restrain myself from saying, "Do I look like an idiot?"

So while I never thought about it pop is sort of the new cigarette, except that I don't care if other people in the theater/plane/street/etc are drinking it. In that way, to each their own.

Nothing recedes like success. -- Walter Winchell