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Comment "Vendor lock in" vs "Targeted ads" (Score 1) 310

True, this "middle class joe" doesn't have a porsche or a smart phone, nor am I interested in what data my car can provide. However my mechanic is interested and it would be neat if he could pull my car's diagnostics with an off the shelf device rather than have to pay the manufacturer thru the nose for proprietary equipment and certifications. My car even has a sticker behind the visor proudly boasting that only approved Mazda dealers can install upgrades for the car's software, for my safety of course, nothing to do with their after market sales figures...

Google are also interested in monetising my car's data but in a different way, the people who buy my data cannot link it to me, selling it to a third party has no direct/indirect impact on me other than dictating who pays for the adverts I see, it doesn't add to the cost of maintaining my car, in fact it could help to reduce servicing costs.

Data (information) has intrinsic value, it is the fuel that has driven the technological explosion over the last century, it can be traded for cash or used as a tool for 'good' or 'evil'. When everybody has access to it, technological and cultural progress goes into hyperdrive and everyone has a better chance of "keeping the bastards honest". When it is in the hands of a few, human nature dictates it will be used to extract/deny resources from/to those who don't have access.

Disclaimer: If I swapped my Mazda 6 'Sports model' for a real sports car, I would definitely want it to have a geeky performance display on the dash. If the car had an open API, it might even inspire my artistic side to write my own display layer.

Comment Re:If the black cabs have a legal monopoly... (Score 3, Insightful) 214

Let's get one thing straight, in almost all jurisdictions where taxi's are regulated, Uber is not a "revolutionary" taxi company, it's not even a taxi company, it is a plain old 'limousine' company.

You book the limo over the internet and a sub-contracted driver+car turns up at an agreed time and place. Uber's "freedom loving" marketing strategy is to use the "on a computer" fallacy to undermine the existing market such that they can rebuild it in their own image. The people who will be hurt most by their racketeering are the workers, ie: the drivers in both camps.

This is just clever marketing in that the way to win an unwinnable argument is to convince the audience it is all about a higher morality, in this case Uber paints itself as a "Heavyweight freedom fighter for the little guy", IMO nothing could be further from the truth.

Comment Re:This is a taxi (Score 1) 138

That makes a lot of sense, here on Oz it used to be that every taxi was a Ford, this is because Ford made a special "hose down" model, rubber instead of carpet, optional front bench seat for one more passenger, factory fitted LPG, etc. Not sure if they still do that, there are now more non-Ford taxis on the road but the vast majority are still late model Fords. Also interesting to note that Nissan and Ford are buddies, (circa late 80's) a Ford "Maverick" was the same car as the Nissan "Pajero" without the flared guards and the extra $10K on the sticker price. If you look closely at the Maverick you will find "Nissan" stamped on various parts such as the seat belt straps.

Comment Re:Young people? How about soccer moms? (Score 1) 138

young people insurance rates

Insurance rates are a better indicator of risk than anecdotes. What they show is that inexperience and the "arrogance of youth" is deadly on the roads. Australian stats show that the day a kid drops the 'L' plates and goes solo the risk of them causing an accident goes up 50X (5000%) and stays that high for the first six months. I taught both my kids to drive in an empty car park. Having attempted to teach my son to drive on the road, my advice is to hire a professional who has a brake pedal on their side of the car.

Comment Re:Bullying (Score 1) 443

People love picking on nerds.

Maybe. But if they were nerds they were pretty pathetic. I'd have expected plans on how to handle the bullies that did NOT end on the evening news with the statement "before turning the weapon on himself".

And talking about it where other students can hear? Not smart.

Comment Herding cats (Score 2) 162

Not where I grew up, the 'manager' was the master tradesman/artisan, the person you are thinking of was his assistant, sometimes called a 'coordinator' or an "overseer". Sure any arsehole can shuffle task lists but skillfully herding cats is something very few people can do.

In 25yrs I've only encountered two people who did it really well, neither of them were me and one of them died after 40yrs in the business. My own attitude now is "no thanks, tried that", I really am content being the metaphorical "brain surgeon" in the GP's post. I also get on well with my boss(es) because I have some idea of what they are trying to do and don't take it personally if they occasionally ask me to wade thru sewerage to fix something.

Comment Re:22 years (Score 2) 162

Sorry to hear #8, none of the IT companies I have worked for in the past 25yrs have had that attitude, companies ranged in size from IBM down to a three man startup.. As for #4, I spent 15yrs in blue collar work before stepping inside an office, so I knew how to handle arseholes before I started. The working conditions I have now are light years ahead of any blue collar job.

Hard work or otherwise I know that I'm lucky to be in my position, having spent time as a member of Australia's "working poor" I think a lot of the people who haven't had that experience simply don't appreciate their good fortune.

Comment Re:You know what's wrong with the world? (Score 1) 162

The product line I have helped develop over the last 15yrs is nearly all command line stuff with a web gui on top. It means that 99% of the C/C++ code base will build cleanly on linux, solaris, hp, aix and windows. We haven't started using powershell yet because some of our customers are still stuck on win2003. That's the "problem" when your project makes money, using new O/S features is a trade off between improved functionality and pissing off luddite customers.

If it has syntax, it isn't user friendly.