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Comment: What was the survey verbiage? (Score 5, Insightful) 110

Without knowing how the questions were phrased, the survey is pretty much meaningless. For example:

1) The pilot's association believes that drones present a real and tangible threat to air safety. Do you think they should be permitted to fly in areas where airplanes may be flying?

2) Do you believe that drones which have been proven to be safe should be allowed to be flown by trained individuals in urban areas?

Those two questions essentially ask the same question but will illicit opposite answers from most survey takers.

Comment: More Robust Search Criteria Formatting (Score 1) 276

by JimMcc (#49502983) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Features Would You Like In a Search Engine?

1) Exact string matching. As an example, if I search for " 'x.25' " don't give me hits for something with dimensions of 45mm x 25mm.
2) Allow more complex search constructs . For example I'd like to be able to specify the search term " 'x.25' near protocol -handbook ". You can sort of do that with Google's Advanced Search, but it's extra steps and you still don't get terms like 'near' or exact match.
3) Bonus points for boolean constructs such as " (lions or tigers or bears) near woods ".

In short, provide a robust search engine that will support meaningful search terms that can be used for more than shopping for a new TV or figuring out who stars in your favorite reality tv show.

Comment: Speed isn't everything (Score 3, Insightful) 142

by JimMcc (#49478631) Attached to: How do your actual ISP speeds compare to the advertised speed?

Once we get things moving through the intertubes the sustained speed closely matches what we pay for. Notice my qualification "Once we get things moving". We have high latency and frequent dropped packets. So while our speed matches our plan, the over all quality sucks. I should also add that speed is a relative term. We get 3mb/s for $50/month and we're glad to be able to get it. Our neighbor not to far down the road only has old fashion dial-up.

But then again we live in a rural area with CenturyLink as our only option so it isn't surprising that our connectivity is so poor. CenturyLink has a proven track record for not investing in new infrastructure, never mind maintaining what they already have in place. CenturyLink epitomizes all that is wrong with intrenched monopolies.


W. Virginia Bans Direct Tesla Sales, With Urging of Car-Dealer Senate President 197

Posted by timothy
from the I'll-cui-bono-you dept.
Ars Technica reports that another state has buckled to the auto dealership lobby, though with an interesting twist: West Virginia became at least the fifth state to ban the direct-sales approach practiced by Tesla Motors following Friday's signature by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. ... The bill was championed by West Virginia's Senate president, who is an auto dealer in his home state and Kentucky. ... The legislation says a vehicle maker may not “act in the capacity of a new motor vehicle dealer” or “operate a dealership, including, but not limited to, displaying a motor vehicle intended to facilitate the sale of new motor vehicles other than through franchised dealers, unless the display is part of an automobile trade show that more than two automobile manufacturers participate in.” ... The Palo Alto, California-based electric-vehicle company operates so-called "galleries" in Texas, Arizona, and Maryland because the company's sales practices are barred there, too. Customers can see Tesla cars in these galleries, but they may not order vehicles, discuss prices or take test drives."

Comment: Re:Standardized pricing? Good luck with that. (Score 1) 120

Not really my point.

My point is that if a large company establishes "standard" pricing there will be areas where it works well, and areas where it doesn't. The big problem, which I guess I didn't touch on, is that the sheeple will just spout whatever price they are fed by a big company without thinking about the realities of the areas in which they live. "What do you mean that you won't install my bathtub for the Amazon price just because I live up a 100' flight of beautiful artistic rock stairs and the house has the original lead plumbing in it."

But like so many other things, the service is tailored to densely packed cookie cutter regions and will be force fit to areas that are outside the norms.

Comment: Standardized pricing? Good luck with that. (Score 1) 120

What caught my eye in the fine summary was "One of Amazon's goals is to help standardize the price for various services, so there aren't any surprises when the bill comes due." We live on a rural ferry served island. It is considered a destination for tourists and rich retires alike. The result is that the cost of living is significantly higher than on the other end of the ferry. The ferry consumes several hours for a round trip and is $40-$50 depending on the season so even if you commute from the mainland it is still quite expensive. So is Amazon going to tell a service person who registers here that they must charge the same amount as somebody on the mainland?

I can understand trying to normalized rates at a macro level like a greater metropolitan area or a large region, say "southern California", but to break it down detailed enough to take care of micro regions is going to be pretty tough, or expensive.

Comment: Wrong place at the wrong time.... (Score 5, Insightful) 113

My biggest fear of this technology is that people may be investigated for no reason other than that their car was seen in close proximity to where a crime was committed. Police and district attorneys have been found to fit the evidence to match an individual. This has lead to, at a minimum an extended "interview" at the police station, and at a maximum being put to death. Was your car parked at the entrance to an alley while you picked up a pizza at the same time somebody was raped in the alley? How much money do you have for an attorney?


Comment: Re:I can see this working! (Score 1) 287

by JimMcc (#49331941) Attached to: Ford's New Car Tech Prevents You From Accidentally Speeding

I don't know about most, but I'm sure many do. I know I do. My normal vehicle is my work E250. Occasionally I drive my wife's Subaru and frequently notice that I'm driving 10 or 15mph over the limit. While the Subaru can certainly handle corners and stop a heck of a lot quicker than the van, it doesn't make up for the one constant, human reaction time. We live in a rural area with narrow roads and a lot of twists and blind driveway entrances. Being able to easily keep one's speed reasonable would be a handy feature.


How Activists Tried To Destroy GPS With Axes 247

Posted by samzenpus
from the here's-johnny dept. writes Ingrid Burrington writes in The Atlantic about a little-remembered incident that occurred in 1992 when activists Keith Kjoller and Peter Lumsdaine snuck into a Rockwell International facility in Seal Beach, California and in what they called an "act of conscience" used wood-splitting axes to break into two clean rooms containing nine satellites being built for the US government. Lumsdaine took his axe to one of the satellites, hitting it over 60 times. The Brigade's target was the Navigation Satellite Timing And Ranging (NAVSTAR) Program and the Global Positioning System (GPS). Both men belonged to the Lockheed Action Collective, a protest group that staged demonstrations and blockaded the entrance at the Lockheed Missiles & Space Co. test base in Santa Cruz in 1990. They said they intentionally took axes to the $50-million Navstar Global Position System satellite to bring the public's attention to what they termed the government's attempt to control the world through modern technology. "I had to slow the deployment of this system (which) makes conventional warfare much more lethal and nuclear war winnable in the eyes of some," an emotional Kjoller told the judge before receiving an 18-month sentence. "It's something that I couldn't let go by. I tried to do what was right rather than what was convenient."

Burrington recently contacted Lumsdaine to learn more about the Brigade and Lumsdaine expresses no regrets for his actions. Even if the technology has more and more civilian uses, Lumsdaine says, GPS remains "military in its origins, military in its goals, military in its development and [is still] controlled by the military." Today, Lumsdaine views the thread connecting GPS and drones as part of a longer-term movement by military powers toward automated systems and compared today's conditions to the opening sequence of Terminator 2, where Sarah Connor laments that the survivors of Skynet's nuclear apocalypse "lived only to face a new nightmare: the war against the machines." "I think in a general way people need to look for those psychological, spiritual, cultural, logistical, technological weak points and leverage points and push hard there," says Lumsdaine. "It is so easy for all of us as human beings to take a deep breath and step aside and not face how very serious the situation is, because it's very unpleasant to look at the effort and potential consequences of challenging the powers that be. But the only thing higher than the cost of resistance is the cost of not resisting."

Comment: Re:In the US (Score 2) 122

by JimMcc (#49158661) Attached to: Craig Brittain (Revenge Porn King) Sues For Use of Image

Interesting comment to post as an Anonymous Coward. If you feel that strongly you should be posting from a username which is your true legal first and last name and include your phone number as well. Oh, and to prove you really believe what you are saying, post a compromising nude photo of yourself as well. Umm, on second thought skip the photo.

Yeah, yeah, I know, don't feed the trolls.

Comment: They got caught this time... (Score 3, Insightful) 266

by JimMcc (#49095007) Attached to: Lenovo To Wipe Superfish Off PCs

But what about next time?

What about other vendors?

The quest to further "monetize" customers that have already paid for a product is one that more and more companies are doing. I understand the business reasons behind it, but what about the consumer's rights? Do we have any let? Superfish is an especially egregious example if this problem. It is, in essence, a back door installed into millions of consumer devices. The penalties on a company should be so severe that they couldn't just make it disappear in one quarter, but not so severe that it forces the company in bankruptcy. In other words it needs to be painful enough that other companies will think long and hard about possibly doing something similar, but stopping short of putting the head of the villain on a stick outside the castle walls.

Sadly, I think the extent of the punishment will be a little bad press for a few days, then they'll continue on as if nothing had happened.

Comment: Re:Cred? (Score 1) 47

Be careful with that advise. I friend asked my what specific recommendations I had for a product. I told him to buy anything but Brand X. A few days later he's showing off his beautiful new Brand X. I asked why he bought it and he said it was because he remembered me saying "Brand X". Most people these days are so tuned into brand names, it's the name they remember, not the good or bad behind it.

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