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Comment Porable Laptop Solar Panels are a thing, now (Score 3, Informative) 144

There's an outfit on amazon/ebay that sells 18v "Allpower" solar panels with an array of adapters to use with whatever brand laptop you have for reasonable prices. They just unfold, and then plug right in to your laptop. On a modern laptop, you could probably get away with running/charging a laptop on a 21w array for $90, but they make up to a 28w array for $130. Modern Haswell/Broadwell laptops run at about 15w with the display at full brightness. There's a 14w array too for $60, but if you're seriously considering buying a device like this you probably want the ability to run and charge at the same time, and it's unlikely you'll find a place that allows you to put the panel in full sun and comfortably work on the laptop. With 18v, you'll never fully charge the battery (you need 19-19.5v to do that) but it'll satisfactorily charge your laptop to about 93% very reliably.

Of course, if you're stuck in a rainstorm for three or four days and you wear down your laptop battery, you might have trouble getting it charged back up until the sun comes back out. But with modern 15 hour batteries in laptops you should be able to squeak by for a day or two of normal office work.

Comment Re:Copyright in game streams (Score 1) 94

It's free advertising that has amazing marketing data generation, and customer interaction levels on par with the Victoria's Secret fashion show they televise every year. If they don't already directly address copyright issues in their EULA now, they will soon. All of the major publishing houses have been promoting e-sports for a while and there have been close to zero takedowns based on game streaming.
I see the potential for conflict here, but in the last four years it has been a non-issue, and Google's army of lawyers have vetted the project so I'm reasonably sure they're in the clear here for all but the smallest/out of touch developers.

Comment Re:Surge Pricing - Why The Hate? (Score 1) 250

The point of the government (in the US, originally) was to regulate interstate, international trade and provide a common defense. At some point along the lines, states lost a lot of their power to the federal government and we've moved in to a welfare state model (i.e. socialism). That's not a bad thing, especially as manufacturing is increasingly automated, and computers replace white collar jobs at an alarming rate, we're probably going to need some sort of guaranteed minimum income, but to answer your question, the primary purpose of government is/was to protect businesses and enforce trade agreements and defend against invasion/pirates. Neat stuff like guaranteed vacation, maternity leave, social security, health care etc are luxury items, like leather interior or power windows over the standard package.

Comment Re:Just call a taxi... (Score 1) 250

It's near impossible to get a taxi to pick you up during peak hours from your house to go to a bar. The taxi drivers just plain won't do it for the $6 or so they get, plus time/gas lost going to pick you up, it's not worth risking missing an airport ride.
With Uber though, the invisible hand of the market selects them, and they must respond. I get rides to work on time, nearly every day. You can't reliably use taxis as transportation in my town, sadly.

Comment F5 key is more important (Score 1) 240

I use the F5 key all the goddamn time, mostly refresh/rerun/recompile
F5 is generally the left-most Function key of the second block, separated by a space from the F4 key. I use the F5 way, way more than I do the 6 key (which is over on the numpad).
I got a wireless Microsoft Sculpt ergo keyboard and while I love it, it's taken me a while to get used to the fact that the F5 key is not in the middle, I have to look for the F6 key, then go one to the left. After six months or so I'm used to it, but old habits die hard, and that visual cue between the F4 and F5 keys being gone was hard to get used to. To be fair Microsoft has the corresponding Function key above each number key, although that's dumb because anyone buying this keyboard is a touch-typist.

Comment Re:Like IE 6 it will be here for 10 more years (Score 1) 220

HTML 5 won't let you set persistent cookies as deeply as Flash will. When you're tracking click through and then where they continue browsing through to and doing deep analytics on that sort of thing, flash cookies are amazing compared to what flash will do for you.

Comment Re:Foolproof (Score 1) 258

I commute to work about 4 miles each way by bicycle, in Dallas, in August. It was 104 here last Friday, and ~85F by the time I arrived to the office, but I don't sweat too much getting to the office. I wear typical business-casual riding in to the office, leave my shirt + undershirt untucked, and unbutton the top button, then tuck everything in when I arrive. I use a fan for when I first sit down but most people aren't even aware I cycle to work. The ride home on the other hand is a bit warmer. In London it's about 58-65 degrees at 8am in the summer, which is absolutely perfect weather for a commute of up to about 10 miles over flat ground. Most metro areas (seattle and SF excepted) are built on relatively flat areas compared to the surrounding terrain. Showering before you leave for work instead of the night before helps too, as you're very clean and slipping in to almost sterile clothes so stink isn't an issue going to work. I wouldn't cycle from work ten miles after work straight to a date, though.
But yeah if you're a fat couch potato who's grossly out of shape, you're going to have trouble not sweating, at least for the first two months until your heart and body regain some strength. The first two months of commuting were not ultra-pleasant but now that I'm back in shape with a strong healthy heart, 3-7 miles on an empty stomach in the morning (without coffee, even!) is a snap.

Comment Re:wish this existed in silicon valley (Score 0, Offtopic) 258

And your house could be hit by a meteor and crush you instantly at any moment.
I get the fear, but in urban areas cyclists are becoming a more and more common sight in the states. It's way less prevalent in the suburbs, but in the urban core it's less uncommon to see cyclists, and drivers are slowly becoming more aware of cyclists and expecting to see them on the roads. I definitely agree that cycling in a cylist-poor environment is way, way more hazardous than a cyclist rich one. In the last four years of cycling to work here in Dallas (home of the massive SUV) I've noticed that drivers give me a lot more room as they pass than they once did. I'm also seeing 4-5 people cycling to work on my ~20 minute morning commute, where before I saw none. Presumably if I was headed out of downtown I'd see more.

Comment Re:Big Mistake. (Score 1) 167

Their Atom text editor is built on top of Chromium/HTML 5/Javascript and whatever else web 2.0 stuff they could cram in there, it's not a huge stretch of the imagination that this app is built on top of that. Nobody builds projects from scratch in Java anymore (except, perhaps Cisco)

Comment Re:Yeah 22 seconds? (Score 1) 664

My uncle keeps a small loaded shotgun on "display" in a rack over the double doors in the informal dining room that leads out to the back yard as a matter of home security. While I don't fully agree with this concept, he's otherwise a very successful businessman and relatively normal. It would probably take 30+ seconds from yelling "Jeb! Get my gun!" until Jeb fetches the gun from the kitchen and gives it to his father, but probably not a whole lot.
Keep in mind this guy with the loaded shotgun in the kitchen is fairly normal, holds down a good job and well respected in the community. That leaves a lot of room below him for some crazy guys walking around with loaded shotguns in their trucks, strapped to their backs, or maybe just wandering around the backyard drunk looking for the neighbor's rooster who wakes him up too early every morning but has finally "trespassed" in to his yard. Law of averages says eventually a drone is going to be flying overhead of some redneck while he's within arm's reach of a loaded gun. It was only a matter of time.

Comment Re:It'll never happen (Score 1) 280

I ride UIer about three times a week. I live just far enough from the office, and I have to pay for parking downtown that it's right at the tipping point where riding my bike or taking an uber boils down to the weather.
That said, over half the drivers I talk to have been driving for over six months, and it's their primary source of income. None of them seem particularly malnourished. Right now it's about $4 for a ride in my city, I would imagine if you cut the driver out of the equation the cost will drop significantly. Especially if you can get bulk rate on electricity and switch to electric cars, where you strip out most of the mechanical failure.
If Uber doesn't offer some sort of Owner Operated ride share program (they already finance car loans), then someone else will come behind them and do it.

Comment Re:the economics will for these... (Score 1) 280

There's not really much overhead for Uber, uber runs a couple of servers in the cloud, employs a small army of developers, and then operates a field office in each market. Eventually the army of developers will dwindle to a skeleton maintenance staff, and field offices are simply required for how things work, but their overhead long term is going to be very, very low.

Comment Re:It'll never happen (Score 3, Insightful) 280

Yeah I'm not super keen on renting out my Toyota Corolla or VW whatever car, but I would be willing to buy a car designed and maintained by uber, but I could take on road trips/extended whatever simply by turning "off" the taxi mode an hour or two ahead of when I need to use it, like going camping for the weekend or whatever.
To avoid getting crappy uber users, just set your car to only accept fares from users with at least 100 rides and an average of 4.8 stars or higher (out of 5 = 96%). Yeah on that rare occasion you will get a drunken 5 star rider who barfs in your car, but just send the car over to the Uber service center to get it cleaned up at a minimal cost. Small, almost inconsequential price to pay for basically a free car, maybe even make a profit renting your car out while you sleep/work.

We want to create puppets that pull their own strings. - Ann Marion