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Comment No governments doing IoT, just infrastructure (Score 1) 147

My old city was planning a citywide Wifi project. I suspect that this will be shot in the face by the local telcos but assuming it did go ahead I begged them not to pooch it with things like an "I agree page" it is very hard for me to get an arduino to "agree" thus they will have old yeller'd their IoT from day one if they put in a "I agree" page.

I suggested various workarounds if they were forced to put in an I Agree Page by people like the mayor who probably wanted his picture on the I Agree page "Welcoming" (polishing his ego) the users.

But the last thing I would want is the city trying to actually build their own IoT in some grandiose way that is certain to fail. Especially if they were thinking that this IoT was going to somehow fund the network itself. Cities should be rushing to get city wide Wifi as this could very well cause local companies to be first to the post when it comes to cool new IoT technologies. I have a long list of things that I could build with a citywide wifi. Bike Lojack systems. Drones that I can control from anywhere. Taxi dispatch systems. Car GPS for security.

Not to mention things like alarm systems that don't need to have stupid monthly fees, etc. These are things that could end up saving the taxpayers more money than the system would cost. But only if it is done simply and done right. The city is good at things like infrastructure. The city is terrible at things like R&D.

I liken the "I agree" thing being like a car that wouldn't pull onto the road unless you went through a pile of menus to get to an I Agree to use the roads properly page. Then you could keep going. One other thing with the I Agree pages is that often instead of using fairly commodity networking gear it requires that you hire some two bit company that specializes in crappy little hotel networks. These networks are often shoddy affairs where the packet inspection and whatnot in dealing with all the user management vastly increases the costs while killing the capacity.

But one of the great advantages for a tiny few people within the city when dealing with these crappy little companies..... kickbacks.

Comment I would correct the wrongs around me (Score 1) 820

I would use my technological/business skills to properly and permanently correct the wrongs around me, except that I would make sure the combine it with things that I love. So for instance where I once lived the local aid organizations were always begging for their local food banks. There are families who need food, this is a terrible thing in a modern country. Thus I would spend my money buying up some prime farmland where half of it would be to grow food, and the other half would be leased out to create a revenue stream to fund the growing half.
Then in the downtown I would do the same pairing. One property would be purchased to lease out and fund the food bank operations, while another building would be the food bank.
The key would then to completely opensource the above model.

The same sort of thing could be done with homeless shelters, research organizations, etc. This way where the government does not charge the wealthy elites enough taxes, I would just charge them rent.

The key would be that I would aim to charge the wealthy money that then goes to fund the worthy. Other examples would be to have a luxury hotel that funds a rehab center.

One other odd thing that I would set up is a medical research charity where my money covers all administrative costs. Donor money then 100% goes to actual research. Except that I would not spend the money with established researchers. I would only hire researchers who were working on their PhD or had graduated within the last 5 years. They would then get 10 years of funding that could only go to people meeting the same PhD conditions. At the end of 10 years they would either have delivered or failed. Close would be something for another funding organization to look at.

Thus donors to the charity would know that exactly zero of their money would be going to a bloated administration or to "established" researchers, many of whom have only established themselves as really good at getting grants. The 10 years would allow these young researchers to break the chains of convention and ignore their established peers and potentially explore areas that would be impossible if their established peers had any say. There would also be little auditing except to watch for violations where the designated researchers were somehow forced to hand the money over to others or egregious fraud.

Comment ROBOTS!!! (Score 3, Interesting) 130

When I am building robots my battery choices very much are the limiting factor in my designs and the final capabilities of the robot. I can go for big lumbering beasts with piles of lead acid. Or I can break the bank with enough lipo to keep a laptop factory running for a week. Or I can pair my design down until it is simply a toy. Other options are to make it sound like a garden tool and put some kind of gasoline motor in.

But if I had a reasonably priced source of reasonably power dense batteries then my robots would improve proportionally. For this doesn't just increase the power available to my existing designs but it also reduces the overall costs of a robot. For instance the more efficient the motor or cost computer module, generally the higher the cost. But it would be great if I could slap in any old small motherboard, and use run of the mill DC motors instead of ultra cool brushless.

Then whole other motor systems become possible. Linear motors, pneumatic systems, hydraulic systems, etc.

So a revolution in batteries would precipitate a revolution in robots; real robots doing real jobs in the real world.

Comment I have a better hope (Score 1) 154

Here is a better hope for the cab industry. Remove the cap on how many cars there are and introduce competitive pricing. Maybe there need to be some regulations when it comes to preventing the worst of the worst abuses but that is about it.

Then cabs will be competitive and uber will just be one of the many excellent options.

Comment SDCs should cut way back on useless policemen (Score 2) 236

SDCs should cut way back on useless policemen because most police spend 99.9% of their time either doing nothing or harassing drivers for money. Very few police spend very little of their times preventing or investigating crimes. With the revenue stream of bullshit tickets gone the police budgets for bullshit police should also dry up.

Thus the remaining police should be, in theory, actually busy doing actual policework. Thus like many worries about self driving cars, their ability or inability to stop them shouldn't really end up being much of an issue with just a tiny few strange edge cases.

Where it will get interesting is if you watch a typical episode of cops the police often have the same MO. A board cop looking to show off for the cameras will go to a poor neighbourhood. He will wait for a car with 4 or more black men in it drive by. Then he will follow behind for the 30-60 seconds it takes them to break one of a massive set of traffic violations, and then the cop will pull them over with his ready made excuse in hand. But then the police will "search them for weapons" demand ID and eventually search the car. Then somewhere somehow a felony or warrant will be discovered and the policeman can make some excuse that he took some more "dirtbags" off the streets. Except that warrant was probably for not paying fantastically expensive bullshit traffic tickets issued during previous similar stops. And if the driver doesn't have a licence it will be because the guy lost it for not paying said fines.

So am I concerned if those police all lose their jobs, NO; am I concerned that they might have trouble pulling people over, NO. The threshold for pulling a SDC over should be that they are certain that the specific car contains an active and ongoing serious crime such as a kidnapping. But if they start doing things like redirecting all the SDCs to a checkpoint so they can do warrant checks or with some BS excuse that there was a recent robbery then screw them and their fourth amendment violating inbred deliverance level thinking.

Comment I would laugh so hard... (Score 4, Funny) 105

I would laugh so hard if they develop a drug based on this and the only skills that people gain are the ability to recognize mice better and to be less scared of open spaces and cats. Oh and to find hidden escape ways.

But really I do look forward to what will happen someday if these cognitive enhancement drugs turn out to be safe and make people smarter. I am not talking a limitless sort of thing but what happens if a university course ends up be retuned to be just too difficult for most people unless they are taking these sorts of things? If that hasn't already happened with things like Modafinil.

Comment Very simple corruption test (Score 1) 231

Blocking uber is a clear and unambiguous test that the local government is corrupt and has been bought off by local business interests. Clearly Uber is in the public interest. Regardless of insurance or other values imposed by the local regulators Uber customers are choosing to drive with uber. They have made a clear and unambiguous rejection of the existing system and any "virtues" that regulation has blessed it with. Yet local governments then proceed to spit in the faces of these users and drivers with the clear goal of protecting the local taxi industry.

How exactly each local government official has been bribed is probably as different as there are governments but when democratic governments are acting in the interests of the very few and against the very many there has to be some form of incentive driving this undemocratic behaviour. Essentially corruption.

Comment The men in grey suits are upset (Score 2, Interesting) 206

This sort of mad rush for the finish line tends to upset the men in grey suits. But when you are in a gold rush you don't spend time making detailed maps, building beautiful camps for the miners, setting up a day care, and otherwise making everything perfect. You yell "Charge!" and run at the enemy with your sword waving above your head.

Even the business plan should simply read we don't really know and even then the plan will change. Love Uber or hate uber we must all admit that it is shaking things up. I recently took a normal taxi in my city from the airport for the "standard" $55 plus a tip. I took uber back to the airport for $32 and no tip. But also at the airport I asked the first driver what the charge was and he said, "Standard charge $75 same as everyone else." except that he was a "Limo" driver. So the first taxi driver in my new city lied to me and tried pulling a fast one. With Uber this sort of crap is massively curtailed.

So on this issue get back to me when uber has finished growing; if at that point they still don't have profits then it might not actually be an uber good business model.

Comment Re:I think that we can all agree on two facts... (Score 1) 213

I might actually think that a guy with commodore 64 certifications on his wall was cool. I would first figure out if he took them seriously. "We are a commodore shop here." would probably leave me stunned for a minute or two before I could run.

Comment I love these rate my doctor sites (Score 1) 245

These rate my doctor sites seem to generally be right on the money. Our first two dentists really sucked, and when I checked them out on these sites the consensus was that they sucked. Then when I read about some doctor losing their licence in my area I will check out their rating and with a single glaring exception they always have comments such as, "I have no idea where Dr. X got his licence to practice but a crackerjack box would be a good start.".

Then when I finally used these sites to find our present Dr. and Dentist the sites said they were great and they were causing me to add the chorus of glowing reviews.

Comment I think that we can all agree on two facts... (Score 3, Insightful) 213

The first fact is that this guy is technically correct. HR departments go all weak in the knees for certification. I wouldn't be surprised if there is some certification farm out there crapping out certifications in cmake.

But this completely misses the point as to the actual value a certification actually has when it comes to the reality of programming or maintaining/implementing systems. Most of us will agree that the value here is low to potentially negative. A wonderful personal example was that years ago my company asked me to become MSDN certified in something. In order to regurgitate the correct answers for the test I memorized all kinds of crap. But some of it was actually quite helpful. There were some bits about NT boot configs that suddenly made sense.

But the flaw was that I was already very good at working with NT servers. If I were in some stripmall comp collage studying this as my first exposure to computer stuff then it would have meant nothing and yet with some good studying I would have been "certified" to administer NT servers.

But where this really breaks down is when you get a shop that is completely filled with people from a certain company's certifications. I have met companies that say "We are a MSDN shop." Full stop. They won't even consider any other technology.

But my happy moment was years ago when our head of IT who had "over $20,000 worth of Novell certifications there on that wall" was installing a Novell server on his brand new shiny Dell powerhouse. But it wouldn't install. So he gets Dell tech support on the phone and ends up with their top tier who said, "We don't support that old Novell stuff anymore. If it runs on any of our machines it is luck not design. But I know for a fact that it won't run on that machine you have there." Now with this IT guy the whole development staff had long been trying to get Novell out of the building but the IT head swore by it and had a thousand defences as to why it was the best. But the day Dell said No was the day we were able to leverage that into finally getting Novell out of the building.

I have similar stories with other certifications.

So while I don't doubt that they can often increase the individual's salary and I don't doubt that the process of an existing capable user would potentially be enhanced by certification. I do suggest that the damage that is done by certifications being turned into religious scrolls could be enormous to companies that suddenly are "locked in" to a certain technology and not only stop considering alternatives but actively consider alternatives to be heresy.

As long as we're going to reinvent the wheel again, we might as well try making it round this time. - Mike Dennison