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Comment: Why track with GPS? (Score 1) 825

by RobinH (#49736487) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

There's a lot of talk about the fact that this would mean tracking everywhere you went. Why not just track miles driven by your odometer? I don't know about Oregon, but here you report your odometer reading when you pay for your license plate. You could just also pay the estimated tax (you already tell your insurance company how far you're probably going to drive) when you license your vehicle, and then pay/receive the difference when you re-register it next year, plus when you sell it. Seems a lot simpler and less expensive than a GPS tracker.

Also, seems like there should be a per-distance tax for roads, plus a gas consumption tax just to cover the increased societal costs of using gas. Use the gas tax to build out charging stations.

+ - Jason Scott of textfiles.com Wants Your AOL & Shovelware CDs-> 1

Submitted by eldavojohn
eldavojohn writes: You've probably got a spindle in your close tor a drawer full of CD-ROM media mailed to you or delivered with some hardware that you put away "just in case" and now (ten years later) the case for actually using them is laughable. Well, a certain mentally ill individual named Jason Scott has a fever and the only cure is more AOL CDs. But his sickness doesn't stop there, "I also want all the CD-ROMs made by Walnut Creek CD-ROM. I want every shovelware disc that came out in the entire breadth of the CD-ROM era. I want every shareware floppy, while we’re talking. I want it all. The CD-ROM era is basically finite at this point. It’s over. The time when we’re going to use physical media as the primary transport for most data is done done done. Sure, there’s going to be distributions and use of CD-ROMs for some time to come, but the time when it all came that way and when it was in most cases the only method of distribution in the history books, now. And there were a specific amount of CD-ROMs made. There are directories and listings of many that were manufactured. I want to find those. I want to image them, and I want to put them up. I’m looking for stacks of CD-ROMs now. Stacks and stacks. AOL CDs and driver CDs and Shareware CDs and even hand-burned CDs of stuff you downloaded way back when. This is the time to strike." Who knows? His madness may end up being appreciated by younger generations!
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:I'd like to see the environmental nightmare die (Score 1) 369

by RobinH (#49643763) Attached to: Keurig Stock Drops, Says It Was Wrong About DRM Coffee Pods
Yeah, no kidding. My wife wanted one for Christmas, so she got one (not from me). Thankfully it's a Keurig 1.0. I insisted on finding one of the good re-usable stainless steel filters and I just put regular ground coffee in it. Works great for me. She only cares about the convenience, and won't use the re-usable one. It's sad to me, but it's her choice. Honestly, how people can think throwing out all these plastic k-cups are a great idea is beyond me.

Comment: Re:Defense of the Article (Score 1) 425

by eldavojohn (#49620497) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

So there could be two groups, those who look to improve their skill, who quickly distance themselves from the group that doesn't. Of course, there will still be wide variance in skill between the members of each group. I'm sure you can think of other ways it could happen.

No, I can't. I started out and I sucked. I got better eventually through experience. In order for it to be truly bimodal, people have to start in either camp A or camp B and end in the same camp they started in. Because if you transition from one to another over time, any point in time will capture a group of people in between the modes. Now, you can argue that people don't spend much time in between those modes but you haven't presented any evidence for that. What's more likely is you have geocities coders on one tail and John Carmack/Linus Torvolds on the other tail. And in between are people like the presenter and I. And since I'm not instantaneously going from bad to good, the reality of the situation is most likely some degree of a normal curve filled with people trying to get better at programming or even just getting better though spending lots of time doing it and learning a little along the way.

For all your attacks on the presenter, your argument of a bi-modal distribution sounds more flawed to me. I would love to see your study and hear your argument.

+ - Recent Paper Shows Fracking Chemicals in Drinking Water, Industry Attacks It->

Submitted by eldavojohn
eldavojohn writes: A recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences turned up 2-Butoxyethanol from samples collected from three households in Pennsylvania. The paper's level headed conclusion is that more conservative well construction techniques should be used to avoid this in the future and that flowback should be better controlled. Rob Jackson, another scientist who reviewed the paper, stressed that the findings were an exception to normal operations. Despite that, the results angered the PR gods of the Marcellus Shale Gas industry and awoke beltway insider mouthpieces to attack the research — after all, what are they paying them for?
Link to Original Source

Comment: Defense of the Article (Score 1) 425

by eldavojohn (#49619837) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

This guy doesn't know how to measure programming ability, but somehow manages to spend 3000 words writing about it.

To be fair, you can spend a great deal of time talking about something and make progress on the issue without solving it.

For example the current metrics are abysmal so it's worth explaining why they're abysmal. I just was able to delete several thousand lines of JavaScript from one of my projects after a data model change (through code reuse and generalization) -- yet I increased functionality. My manager was confused and thought it was a bad thing to get rid of code like that ... it was absolute dopamine bliss to me while he felt like our production was being put in reverse. KLOC is a terrible metric. But yet we still need to waste a lot of breath explaining why it's a terrible metric.

Another reason to waste a lot of time talking about a problem without reaching an answer is to elaborate on what the known unknowns are and speculate about the unknown unknowns. Indeed, the point of this article seemed to be to advertise the existence of unknown unknowns to "recruiters, venture capitalists, and others who are actually determining who gets brought into the community."

So he doesn't know......programmer ability might actually be a bi-modal distribution.

Perhaps ... but that would imply that one does not transition over time from one hump to the next or if they do, it's like flipping a light switch. When I read this I assumed that he was talking only about people who know how to program and not "the average person mixed in with programmers."

If he had collected data to support his hypothesis, then that would have been an interesting article.

But you just said there's no way to measure this ... how could he have collected data? What data set could have satiated us? The answer is quite obvious and such collection would have been a larger fool's errand than the original article's content.

+ - Patent Issued Covering Phone Notifications of Delivery Time and Invoice Quantity->

Submitted by eldavojohn
eldavojohn writes: The staggering ingenuity of the US Patent system has again been showcased by the EFF's analysis of recent patents. This week's patent and follow up patent cover the futuristic innovative idea that when you order something, you can update your order and add additional amounts to your order while it's being processed. But wait, it gets even more innovative! You may one day be able to even to notify when you would like it delivered — ON YOUR PHONE. I know, you're busy wiping all that brain matter off your screen as your head seems to have exploded. Well, it turns out that inventor and patent holder Scott Horstemeyer (aka Eclipse IP, LLC of Delray Beach, FL) found no shortage of targets to go after with his new patents. It appears Tiger Fitness (and every other online retailer) was sending notices to customers about shipments. Did I mention Professional waste-of-space Horstemeyer is a lawyer too? But not just a regular lawyer, a "SUPER lawyer" from the same firm that patented social networking in 2007, sued Uber for using location finding technologies in 2013 and sued Overstock.com as well as a small time shoe seller for using shipping notifications in 2014.
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Can't wait to get this installed in my house (Score 1) 514

by RobinH (#49594301) Attached to: Tesla Announces Home Battery System
I also live in Ontario and did a calculation for that based on prices of Chinese lithium ion batteries at the time (6 months ago). Back of the napkins said it would be greater than 10 years to get a payback, but the prices are still dropping. I'd say this kind of stuff is going to happen soon. I recently installed a whole home power monitor for interest sake, and honestly for $3500 even if it paid itself back to break-even over the 10 year warranty period it would be an interesting project to take on. Still I imaging the switching equipment you need to install along with this is pretty serious cost, and I don't think this comes with a charger/inverter either.

Comment: Non Sequitor (Score 5, Insightful) 334

by eldavojohn (#49539223) Attached to: Drone Killed Hostages From U.S. and Italy, Drawing Obama Apology

I'm not disappointed at all. Drones are so much better than actually invading Pakistan, and reduces the number of kids that get killed in war.

I never got the hate for drones in the first place. Why would you want to launch a ground invasion instead, which means MORE kids getting killed?

Sure, if you want to kill someone, you're right. I think the argument against drones is that if you push a button and someone dies on the other side of the Earth and you didn't have to go to war to do that ... well, fast forward two years and you're just sitting there hitting that button all day long. "The quarter solution" or whatever you want to call it is still resulting in deaths and, as we can see here, we're not 100% sure whose deaths that button is causing. Even if we study the targets really really hard.

And since Pakistan refuses to own their Al Queda problem, we have to take care of it for them.

No, no we don't. You might say "Al Queda hit us now we must hunt them to the ends of the Earth" but it doesn't mean that diplomacy and sovereignty just get flushed down the toilet. Those country borders will still persist despite all your shiny new self-appointed world police officer badges. Let me see if I can explain this to you: If David Koresh had set off bombs in a Beijing subway and then drones lit up Waco like the fourth of July and most of the deaths were Branch Davidians, how would you personally feel about that? Likewise, if Al Queda is our problem and we do that, we start to get more problems. Now, that said, it's completely true that Pakistan's leadership has privately condoned these strikes while publicly lambasting the US but that's a whole different problem.

Also, we must always assume that war = killing kids. The fact that people think kids shouldn't be killed in war basically gives people more of an incentive to go to war in the first place. When Bush invaded Iraq, the public should have asked "OK, how many kids are we expected to kill?" Because all war means killing kids. There has never been a war without killing kids.

The worst people are the ones that romanticize war, by saying war is clean and happy and everyone shakes hands at the end. War is the worst, most horrible thing, and we need to make sure people understand that, or they'll continue to promote war.

Yep, think of the children -- that's why we should use drone strikes, right? Look, war means death. Death doesn't discriminate and neither does war. If you're hung up on it being okay to take a life the second that male turns 18, you're pretty much morally helpless anyway. War is bad. Drone strikes are bad. There's enough bad in there for them both to be bad. This isn't some false dichotomy where it's one or the other. It's only one or the other if you're hellbent on killing people.

News flash: you can argue against drone strikes and also be opposed to war at the same time. It does not logically follow that since you're against drone strikes, you're pro war and pro killing children. That's the most unsound and absurd flow of logic I've seen in quite some time.

Comment: No, This Is Important for People to See (Score 5, Insightful) 256

by eldavojohn (#49536145) Attached to: Wellness App Author Lied About Cancer Diagnosis

Wait. A person who made dubious claims that had no scientific backing to them was actually lying? What next? Water is wet?!!

I think pretty much everyone but the nutjob, true believers in psuedo-science knew all along that this woman was lying.

So you're saying everyone knew she was lying about her charity donations as well? Or was it only the charities that knew that? From the article:

The 26-year-old's popular recipe app, which costs $3.79, has been downloaded 300,000 times and is being developed as one of the first apps for the soon-to-be-released Apple Watch. Her debut cook book The Whole Pantry, published by Penguin in Australia last year, will soon hit shelves in the United States and Britain.

So you're saying the 300,000 downloads are by people that knew they were downloading the app architected by a liar? And they were paying $3.79 to Apple and this liar for a recipe app that contain recipes that someone lied about helping her cure cancer? And you're saying that everyone at Apple that featured her app on the Apple Watch knew they were showing a snake oil app on their brand new shiny device? And that the people at Penguin did all their fact checking on any additional information this cookbook might contain about Belle Gibson's alleged cancer survival? And that everybody involved in these events know society's been parading around a fucking liar and rewarding her with cash money while she basically capitalizes on a horrendous disease that afflicts millions of people worldwide ... that she never had?

No, this is not the same as "water is wet" and it needs to be shown that holistic medicine is temporarily propped up on a bed of anecdotal lies ... anybody who accepts it as the sole cure for their ailment is putting their health in the hands of such charlatans and quacks.

Comment: Oh Look, a Car Analogy for Last Week's Story! (Score 1) 649

by eldavojohn (#49514253) Attached to: Automakers To Gearheads: Stop Repairing Cars
Why don't the automakers just seek refuge under the DMCA from all those evil automobile hackers? Clearly, figuring out how your car works is a direct attack on the very hard work and property of those automakers.

Time to pass a bill state by state. I'm the sure the invisible hand of the free market will line all the right politicians' pockets to rush those through. Hopefully someday we won't be able to own our cars and we can go back to the Ma Bell days when every phone was rented.

Comment: Re:The third factor (Score 1) 385

by RobinH (#49502783) Attached to: Can High Intelligence Be a Burden Rather Than a Boon?

There is some truth to this. I am a "successful" programmer (in my opinion, since I get paid to do it and people are generally happy with the results). My job every day consists of a series of frustrating problems where the solution is not obvious, but I'm sure it should be possible to solve it. A 3rd party library causes a heap corruption about once a week, or customers refuse to send data files in a consistent format. The print spooler service keeps stopping.

People come to me with the *simplest* of problems, and they can't even be bothered to type their question into Google, let alone *read* the results that come up! Most people aren't even willing to try it or learn for themselves, just waiting for someone's permission, I guess.

"It just doesn't work" is such a commonly repeated phrase, right next to "the Internet's not working". What doesn't work? Did you try doing it like this? Did it work yesterday? Has it ever worked? Can anyone else get it to work? Don't you want to know how it works? Do you even want it to work, or are you just relieved that you have something external to blame for why you couldn't get your work done?

Seriously, the key to success is just not giving up when you know something's possible.

Comment: Difference (Score 3, Interesting) 254

by RobinH (#49501257) Attached to: The Upsides of a Surveillance Society
There's a difference between a "surveillance society" which is where a small class of people or organizations owns or has access to all the surveillance, or just a "public society" where lots of private individuals have cameras, phones, etc., and decent means of communication. In the latter case, it's the people (society) who actually have the power. It's much more democratic, i.e. "I'm publicly shaming this person because the vast majority of people feel their behavior is unacceptable." In the former, it's about centralized power, i.e. "Make this person's life miserable because they're a threat to my power." I'm all for distributed cameras and communications, I just wish people would keep the data local by default, and not provide it so willingly to 3rd parties to aggregate it.

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