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Comment Re:Youtube next? (Score 3, Interesting) 173

Fair points, but those concerned with privacy take issue with that last remark, that you can use that data however you want. Many countries have laws that may not forbid the collection of data outright, but put limitations on how you can use the data and what for. Often, there is a law that says that you may only use the data for the stated reasons you collected it, and never sell it on to third parties. And there's such a thing as implied reasons and reasonable expectations: the purpose of Facebook's "like" button is ostensibly to allow FB members to show approval for a site, and perhaps to entice non members to sign up. Visitors and site owners rightfully do not expect that button to track them. By the same token, people can reasonably expect to end up in a server log if they visit a site with embedded images. But the implied reason for collecting a server log is to diagnose issues and compile aggregated site statistics, not to track individual users. And tracking cookies can get a lot more information than you can glean from your server logs.

FB's practise of tracking users through their Like button clearly violates privacy regulations in a number of countries. And even so, I don't think legislators are looking to stop people from collecting server logs or to ban 3rd party cookies. They are however putting limits on what companies can do with the data.

Comment Re:More nation-wrecking idiocy (Score 1) 592

This is about visual modifications. There is no actual lane narrowing nor are there hourglasses, the road is only made to look narrower, either for the entire length of the road, or at a place where the speed limit changes. In places where they painted red "bike paths" on the roads, the road was already quite narrow and shared between cyclists and motorists; the red path is not an actual bike path that is exclusive to bikes. On those roads, there is no room for 2 cars and a cyclist to ride abreast. Observation and statistics have shown that these are effective measures on most of the roads where they were tried.

I agree that hourglasses are horrible. We have a lot of them in my town, though they are made to let cyclists pass safely to the right of them. But it definitely encourages speeding: the road near my house is a 30 km/h road, but many motorists who see an oncoming car at an hourglass will speed up to get there first... of course the other car also speeds up so they sometimes end up doing 70.

Comment Re:More nation-wrecking idiocy (Score 4, Interesting) 592

No idea why this got modded down (perhaps it was the SJW remark?). The comment is right on the mark though: in this region there has been a lot of research into influencing motorists with visual "tricks". We're not talking about removing the center divider on the highways, but about modifying the smaller roads where speed limits of 60 or 80 km/h are in effect. Some of our roads never had a central line to begin with. Other roads have been made to appear narrower by coloring a strip on each side of the road in red (the colour used for bike paths), leaving a black space that is too narrow for two cars to pass. This has had a measurable effect on the speed at which motorists drive there. Other tricks include using lines, fences or even planting trees to make a road appear to narrow on the approach to small towns (where a lower speed limit is in effect). This also results in motorists slowing down unconsciously.

Most accidents happen on these crappy little roads, and speed is a large factor in most of these accidents. In the past two decades or so there has been a lot of attention to safety on those roads, and numbers show they have succeeded in making them safer. Social / environmental engineering of roads is a relatively new phenomenon, and measures do not always work out the way they planned it, but it generally works well. Also keep in mind that over here at least these changes are not designed by idiot council members with an agenda; there are engineers involved who know about this stuff. And in some cases, instead of removing the white line, they add a center divider.

Comment Re: Management structure and meritocracy (Score 1) 273

I agree: disorganisation can be managable in smaller companies but it doesn't scale well. But a flat org chart and a meritocracy is not the same as disorganisation. I've no idea about GitHub (I don't use their services) and perhaps they had a problem with disconnected employees and a lack of organisation. Their management structure might well have been one of the causes of that, but not the simple fact that their management structure is flat. My point being that there are successful companies with a flat org chart. Maybe the company can be successful under a stricter hierarchy, but going that route is bound to piss off a lot of people, not just the ones who feel sleighted. Corporate culture is an important factor in choosing where to work.

Sounds like you're working for a decent company, by the way.

Comment Management structure and meritocracy (Score 5, Insightful) 273

By ditching their management structure they threw out an important part of their corporate culture as well. Not smart. Instead, they might have looked at ways to make the existing structure scale up. There are other large organisations with a flat org chart and seniority based on merit, like W. L. Gore. Go talk to them instead of the regular MBAs.

By the way, I don't know if I'd have an issue with a lack of remote working options or a shift to a more hierarchical management structure, but what I read about their diversity and social impact team would certainly be enough to make me run, screaming. Also, they brought in a former Yahoo exec...

Comment Re:Good news! (Score 1) 132

apply those [responsible and irresponsible] behaviors to protect original ideas.

That sounds a lot like kids will learn to protect the original ideas of others, in other words to respect the stakes driven into the ground by the incumbent corporations in prior intellectual land-grabs. Sure, if you come acros an original idea yourself, you might be able to stake your own claim, but most of these "ideas" are already locked up tight.

Comment Re:How is this newsworthy? (Score 1) 294

Not everyone can; in most European countries guns are strictly regulated. But it sure looks like 3d printed guns are improving; I expect that they will soon be more reliable than what a regular person can cobble together himself. Not reliable enough to fire 100 rounds at the range every week, and certainly not better than real guns, but better than a baseball bat for home defense in countries where you're not allowed to have a firearm of any kind.

Of course for this design you'll still need a barrel, which is a strictly controlled part in such countries, and which can't be 3d-printed reliably even for .22lr rounds. Oh, and you'll need ammo. Not easy to get either. Unless you manage to convince that Romanian bloke in the pub down the road. And in that case he'll probably sell you a perfectly good "real" firearm as well.

Comment Re:Require that patents be defended (Score 3, Interesting) 134

That doesn't solve anything, this isn't just about submarine patents. As soon as a patent troll is awarded their patent on "Activity X that has been practised for millennia, but on the Internet", they can start "defending" it by having their lawyer sent letters to any infringing party who started using it after the application was filed.

Maybe we shouldn't have software patents at all, nor award patents on stupid, trivial stuff. Or, since it is rather hard to define exactly what is trivial and what isn't, we could adjust the duration of a patent instead. Invest a few billion in discovering a new medicine, and yeah maybe you deserve a couple of patents with a long validity. Spend a few million on a think tank to come up with good ideas, and you'd deserve some patents with a duration that depends on how good those ideas are. Be the first to come up with a clever little algo in the course of your normal work, and maybe you ought to get a patent as well even if it's for something more or less "obvious to someone skilled in the arts"... but only one valid for a few years.

Comment Re:Yeah, automated tweeting to PR mouthpiece... (Score 3, Interesting) 154

For a simple speed test the Raspberry Pi might well suffice. I'd be interested in this Internet monitor if it could perform a few more checks. We offer WiFi in a few of our rental properties, and it's frustrating when the tenants complain about intermittent connectivity issues or slowness: by the time I get to the property, the problems have of course magically disappeared. Besides I don't want to get up at all hours to go and check the equipment. Would be great to have a Raspberry Pi monitoring the WiFi and wired connections and performance, logging the results.

Comment Re:What could go wrong (Score 1) 407

Re. Point 4, the key factor is how durable the solar panel surface is compared to regular roads. Servicing roads comes with a ton of hidden costs in the form of increased traffic jams or long detours when a road is (partially) closed. If solar roads have to be resurfaced much more often than regular roads, it quickly becomes an unattractive option.

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