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Comment: Costs?!?? (Score 4, Insightful) 193

by ErikTheRed (#47006361) Attached to: Are Glowing, Solar Smart Roads the Future?

I've seen a pile of articles on this, and never once in them has anybody even scratched the topic of cost. Which would kind of be important, one would thing. Turns out, they don't know or aren't saying. From their FAQ:

"We are not yet able to give numbers on cost. We are still in the midst of our Phase II contract with the Federal Highway Administration and we'll be analyzing our prototype costs near the end of our contract which ends in July, 2014. Afterward, we'll be able to do a production-style cost analysis."

There are a hundred billion cool ideas out there, but if they're not cost effective than who cares?

Comment: Re:Buggy whips (Score 1, Interesting) 417

by ErikTheRed (#46956389) Attached to: London Black Cabs Threaten Chaos To Stop Uber

Uber has been operating in my city for many years now (we were one of the first to get it) and if there are any dark spots, I sure haven't seen them. You get a clean, polite driver driving a clean, well-maintained car. If for some reason you don't get a clean, polite driver driving a clean, well-maintained car you can give feedback to Uber letting them know this. I would imagine that they axe any problematic drivers fairly quickly, because reports of bad ones are rare and I haven't had any (nor has anyone I know personally). It does cost a bit more than a cab (with a $15 minimum where I live), but it's very quick, friendly, polite, and clean (and in many areas they have a lower-cost UberX option).

The one thing that gets people is that they go to a supply / demand bidding system during ultra-high-demand periods like New Year's Eve. They put warnings all over the place when they do this, but prices can get VERY, VERY high.

Comment: Wrong battle. (Score 4, Informative) 410

by ErikTheRed (#46828751) Attached to: F.C.C., In Net Neutrality Turnaround, Plans To Allow Fast Lane

The problem here isn't differentiated services - which can be valuable to a lot of us. The problem is that here in the US we have effective ISP monopolies or duopolies in nearly every region. Whenever your choice is so severely constrained you're going to get screwed at least a hundred different ways. Net neutrality isn't the worst of them - the crappy bandwidth levels are first in my personal book. The battle should be couched in terms of "we'll trade away net neutrality in exchange for getting rid of telecommunications and cable franchises." If I can get 18 different providers competing for my business, then some of them will offer net neutrality, some will offer more bandwidth, etc. Until there is competition we're always in the position of having to beg the government to not cave into the desires of megacorporations, which is always a losing battle in the long run.

Comment: We are not anywhere near running out of addresses. (Score 4, Interesting) 306

by ErikTheRed (#46823931) Attached to: ARIN Is Down To the Last<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/8 of IPv4 Addresses

We're running out of free ones. And like any freely available resource, they've been squandered. Once the free supply is exhausted, they'll simply no longer be free - meaning that actual incentive will exist to conserve them and organizations will have incentive to sell unneeded blocks. Economics 101, people.

+ - Satanists Propose Monument at Oklahoma Statehouse Next to Ten Commandments

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "The Tulsa World reports that in their zeal to tout their faith in the public square, conservatives in Oklahoma may have unwittingly opened the door to a wide range of religious groups, including satanists who are now seeking to put their own statue next to a Ten Commandments monument on the Statehouse steps. The Republican-controlled Legislature in Oklahoma authorized the privately funded Ten Commandments monument in 2009, and it was placed on the Capitol grounds last year despite criticism from legal experts who questioned its constitutionality. But the New York-based Satanic Temple saw an opportunity and notified the state's Capitol Preservation Commission that it wants to donate a monument too. "We believe that all monuments should be in good taste and consistent with community standards," Lucien Greaves wrote in letter to state officials. "Our proposed monument, as an homage to the historic/literary Satan, will certainly abide by these guidelines." Brady Henderson, legal director for ACLU Oklahoma, said if state officials allow one type of religious expression, they must allow alternative forms of expression, although he said a better solution might be to allow none at all on state property. "We would prefer to see Oklahoma's government officials work to faithfully serve our communities and improve the lives of Oklahomans instead of erecting granite monuments to show us all how righteous they are," says Henderson. "But if the Ten Commandments, with its overtly Christian message, is allowed to stay at the Capitol, the Satanic Temple's proposed monument cannot be rejected because of its different religious viewpoint.""

+ - Amazon Uses Robots to Speed Up Human "Pickers" in Fulfillment Centers

Submitted by cagraham
cagraham (3027657) writes "The WSJ, combing through Amazon's Q3 earnings report, found that the company is currently using 1,400 robots across three of their fulfillment centers. The machines are made by Kiva Systems (a company acquired by Amazon last year), and help to warehouses more efficient by bringing the product shelves to the workers. The workers then select the right item from the shelf, box it, and place it on the conveyor line, while another shelf is brought. The management software that runs the robots can speed or slow down item pacing, reroute valuable orders to more experienced workers, and redistribute workloads to prevent backlogs."

+ - TSA cancels $60 million Rapiscan contract; Congress to increase TSA Tax anyway->

Submitted by McGruber
McGruber (1417641) writes "Bloomberg has the news that the US General Accounting Office (GAO) has forced the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to cancel a contract for carry-on baggage screening equipment (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-06/naked-scanner-maker-osi-systems-falls-on-losing-tsa-order.html). The contract had been awarded to Rapiscan, a unit of OSI Systems Inc. (OSIS), less than three months after the TSA nearly barred the company from future contracts, over how Rapiscan handled software fixes for body-scanning machines known as "naked scanners”.

Another contractor protested the award of the baggage screening contract to OSIS/Rapiscan. The protesting firm pointed out that OSI’s Rapiscan unit planned to make the machines in Malaysia in violation of federal rules and was using outdated technology that might miss dangerous objects and trigger false alarms.

Two House committees said in a report last year that the TSA spent $184 million on Rapiscan scanners that are now stored in a warehouse instead of being deployed at airports. The agency was spending $3.5 million a year to lease and manage the warehouse, the committees said.

Sadly, not even Congress reads reports produced by house committees, as demonstrated by this Businessweek report (http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-12-03/tsa-passenger-fee-increase-proposal-spurs-airlines-to-lobby-2) that Congress is posed to increase the TSA Tax: "Eager to find new revenues to fend off automatic spending cuts next month, Republicans are embracing an increase to the so-called Sept. 11 security fee on U.S. airline tickets they’ve long resisted. Eager to find new revenues to fend off automatic spending cuts next month, Republicans are embracing an increase to the so-called Sept. 11 security fee on U.S. airline tickets they’ve long resisted. It’s one of the few money-raisers that has bipartisan support in budget negotiations, even as its surprise emergence mobilized resistance from airlines in the U.S. and abroad, the Air Line Pilots Association and the Consumer Travel Alliance.""

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Common knowledge (Score 2) 270

Yeah, no kidding. Back in my younger and less persuasive days, we were on a project where we were forced by PHBs to use consumer drives in an enterprise system (storing and retreiving syslog data in a VERY busy environment). We were literally blowing them out every three months or so until the Powers That Be finally relented and let us put in proper storage (back then that also meant shelling out for a pricy SCSI HBA). I think that the gap has closed somewhat since then, and there are also some interesting options in drives that are purpose-built for things like DVRs and low-volume RAID. Also, back then (I don't know if it's still the case today) enterprise HDDs were tested individually for quality control, whereas consumer HDDs were just randomly sampled from each batch.

For many enterprise applications, though, the difference in things like seek times and sustained data transfer rate can be substantial in a busy environment.

Comment: Really? (Score 1) 273

When Facebook screws up its data mining, I see a stupidly-placed ad on my wall.

When the US government screws up its data mining, you get a million dead Iraqis.

Predicted response from Robert S. Litt and his ilk: "Iraqis don't vote in our elections... they don't donate to our political campaigns.... I don't get it...?"

Comment: Re:Walled gardens... (Score 3, Interesting) 291

by ErikTheRed (#41754095) Attached to: The Greatest Battle of the Personal Computing Revolution Lies Ahead

Also good for people who value their time (not having to worry so much about fraud and malware, research, etc.) more than their ability to do things with a device that they would never bother doing anyway.

It's perfectly fine for tinkerers on Slashdot to have the opposite preference and express it verbally and in the market with their purchases, but to presume that their preference - which is shared by an extremely small minority of people - is ideal for everyone else is a bit silly. I fully support people who want to tinker - I used to be that way myself. But as I've gotten older my interests have shifted and I simply don't want to spend my very limited time on vetting everything that goes into my mobile device, and the limitations imposed by the "walled garden" don't really affect my interests. It's a simple trade-off.

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