Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Would I eat it? (Score 1) 128 128

Written, I sure, by somebody under 40. I'm 57. If the adverse affects may manifest themselves in 30-50 years then I would start being at risk at 87. Given my health, my genes, and medical science, barring any accident, I fully expect to live into my late 80's or even into my 90's. To blithely dismiss the risks to people in their 50's or 60's is pretty calloused. Perhaps you'll view your longevity differently once you're in your 50's.

Comment Re:I have no problem with this (Score 1) 130 130

Great idea, in theory. I used to use HSBC and got tired of telling them that I'd be traveling to a foreign country only to have them put a security hold on my account when I used my card in that country. One priceless conversation with a support droid went like this:
Me: Why is there a security hold on my account?
Droid: We noticed an attempt to use the card in Mexico.
Me: I called and notified the bank that I would be traveling in Mexico. Don't you record and track that information.
Droid: We certainly do. It would be right here in your customer.... Oh. I see it says you'll be traveling in Mexico.
Me: (heavy sigh)

Even the foreign country thing isn't a valid measure. HSBC put a security hold on my account because we used the card in Canada. They told me that I should have notified them that I would be traveling in Canada. (This was before the Mexico incident.) When I pointed out that the city I was in was right next door to us, but they had no problem with me using my card in Seattle which is quite a ways away, their response was that I was in a foreign country.

Needless to say we no longer use HSBC. HSBC was also the bank that put our account on hold for suspicious activity because we'd used it to buy something on the internet.

So the issue isn't whether the bank knows where you are, it's whether they can effectively utilize the information for the stated purpose. Some may be able to do so, but I'm willing to bet that for others the request comes from the marketing department instead of the fraud department.

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

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) 276 276

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) 142 142

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 197 197

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) 120 120

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) 120 120

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) 113 113

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) 287 287

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.

Time-sharing is the junk-mail part of the computer business. -- H.R.J. Grosch (attributed)