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Comment: Cars aren't the most expensive element anymore ... (Score 1) 276

by Qbertino (#48445527) Attached to: In a Self-Driving Future, We May Not Even Want To Own Cars

In private powered transport, cars aren't the most expesive element anymore. Unjamed roads and especially parking space are. In Europe at least.

So, yes, if we'd all take a step back and turn on our brain, no one would want to own a car, they'd rather own the right to use a reservationable parking space. Cars would be used on-demand.As they are in the car-sharing offerings poping up all over Europe - even in Germany! German automotive manufacturers actually are scratching their heads, because there is a whole generation growing up in Germany just now that simply isn't interested in buying cars.

Our cities are absolutely packed with them. ... Germans spend 4.7 Billion man-hours per year in traffic jams.
So, yes, there are tons of insentives to move the burden of ownership somewhere else, away from the private owner.

Comment: Probably some truth to that ... (Score 1) 177

by Qbertino (#48445465) Attached to: Blame America For Everything You Hate About "Internet Culture"

There's probably some truth to that.
Three possible explainations:

1) I could imagine that overall presence of higher education is more dense in Europe than in the US.

2) Right now, life in general probalby sucks more in the US than in central/western Europe, hence the need for more distraction.

3) The US is used to quick sensations in media due to their TV history. In Europe the viewing habits are more ... 'sophisticated' ... although they have degenerated massively since the 80ies. Even prime news today is unbearably stupid and dumbed-down compared to two decades ago.

Comment: When cars are self-driving and shared (Score 1) 276

by Animats (#48445261) Attached to: In a Self-Driving Future, We May Not Even Want To Own Cars

...they'll all be owned by Uber.

There's a network effect for shared vehicles. Availablility is best if you have one big pool of cars rather than lots of little ones. So there will be a single winner in that space for each city.

Imagine Uber having the power of GM and Google combined. Run by the current team of assholes.

Comment: Not easy to go nuclear, though it's the answer (Score 1) 62

by SuperKendall (#48444737) Attached to: Prospects Rise For a 2015 UN Climate Deal, But Likely To Be Weak

It would be easier to get everyone to agree to switch to nuclear energy than to agree to meaningful limits on CO2 emissions

Even though going nuclear is the only practical solution, I don't think it's any easier - you have decades of people devoted to scaring people about anything nuclear, and those groups are still around piping that tune - even to the clear detriment of the earth and environment. They just are too afraid to do anything else.

even in countries that actually want to do something about CO2 (like Germany) are switching away from nuclear, so that tells you how hard the problem is.

Exactly my point, if even GERMANS can't be rational about this there is no hope for anyone.

Comment: Prof. Yunus "Creating a World Without Poverty" (Score 4, Informative) 76

by lkcl (#48443465) Attached to: How "Big Ideas" Are Actually Hurting International Development

this is really really important: anyone wishing to make a difference in the world really REALLY needs to read the book written by Professor Yunus, the joint winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Price, "Creating a World Without Poverty".

in his book, Professor Yunus describes how he naively studied Economics because he believed that he would be able to change his country's financial situation through studying first world economies. after graduation he set out just after one of the worst natural disasters his country had experienced and realised how completely pointless his studies had been. however he did not give up, and set out to work out what the problem actually was.

he learned that the poor are first and foremost incredibly resourceful... mostly because they have to. he also learned that many of them are, because there are no enforceable usury laws, permanently kept in debt to money-lenders. this shocked him so badly that once he freed an entire village from debt just from the small change in his wallet: something like $USD 15 was all it took to pay off a decade of usury.

what he discovered is that the gratitude of these people when freed from their former situation is immeasurable. the Grameen Bank doesn't have lawyers or debt collectors. the people that they lend money to are so GRATEFUL that they work non-stop to turn their lives around and pay off their loan. in fact, the repayment success rate is around NINETY EIGHT percent. it's so high that the *GRAMEEN BANK* considers it to be THEIR FAULT if one of their customers is ever in default. by contrast in the western world the default rate is 88%. i'll repeat that again in case it's not clear: only TWELVE PERCENT of creditors in the western world pay their debts on time, every time, and in full.

but the main reason why anyone wishing to help the emerging markets and the third world should read his book is because he patiently, with all the knowledge from his economics background, outlines why NGOs, Charity and the "Corporate Social Responsibility" clauses of standard profit-maximising Capitalist Corporations are all worse than doomed but are guaranteed to be ineffective at best and invariably seriously damaging and counter-productive.

right at the start of his book he outlines a surprising offer by Danone to work with him (follow his advice) to actually be effective. it was Professor Yunus's first experience of having been "under the microscope" of people with both big resources and heart. in other words the team at Danone were huge fans of what Yunus was trying to achieve: when he explained to them the financial structure that was needed, they listened, and they did it. they did not go in with a charity, or with donations: they set up a "non-loss, non-dividend" business, selling *locally-produced* yoghurt that happened to have the nutritients that the local population happened (by a not-coincidence) to be chronically deficient in.

the yohurt was sold not at a loss but at an affordable financially sustainable price because the focus was on remaining *stable*, not on exploitation through maximisation of profits: the focus was on allowing people to feel proud of what they achieved, and to take responsibility for their own wealth. they were EMPOWERED through the enormous generous resources of Danone's, but it was a successful venture because they LISTENED to what Professor Yunus had to say.

Comment: Re:NDAs (Score 1) 124

by Zontar The Mindless (#48443445) Attached to: Judge Unseals 500+ Stingray Records

That is why the U.S.A. has not declared any war in 50 years, so they can play word games and get around the geneva convention.
The only wars that the U.S.A has been declaring are against concepts: war, terrorist, etc.

See? The dangers from ACs trying to spread pernicious truths such as these is exactly why we need everyone's communications tapped at all times!

Comment: Re:Police legal authority (Score 1) 124

by IamTheRealMike (#48443435) Attached to: Judge Unseals 500+ Stingray Records

I know, the stingray is essentially a hacking tool. That makes you think though, why on earth is there a large wireless network carrying sensitive data without TLS (transport layer security), or encryption between the modem on the phone, and the carrier? Either the contents are not sensitive, or the carriers / cell phone manufactures are complicit or worse.. incompetent.

GSM dates to 1987. When it was created, the previous mobile telephony standard was analogue - you could listen in on calls just with a regular radio. There was a very small amount of digital signalling to the network, but the field of commercial crypto hardly existed back then and subscriber cloning/piracy was rampant. GSM introduced call encryption and authentication of the handset using (for the time) strong cryptographic techniques. It was very advanced. But it didn't involve authentication of the cell tower to the handset, partly for cost and complexity reasons and partly because a GSM base station involved enormous piles of very expensive, complex equipment that had to be sited and configured by trained engineers. The idea of a local police department owning a portable, unlicensed tower emulator was unthinkable, as the technology to do it didn't exist, and besides .... trust in institutions has fallen over time. Back then it probably didn't seem very likely police would do this because they could always just get a warrant or court order to turn over data instead.

When 3G was standardised, this flaw in the protocol was fixed. UMTS+ all require the tower to prove to the handset that it's actually owned by the network. Little is publicly known about how exactly Stingray devices work but it seems likely that it involves jamming 3G frequencies in the area to force handsets to fall back to GSM, which allows tower emulation.

The latest rumours are that the company that makes Stingrays has somehow found a way to build a version that works on 3G+ networks too called "Hailstorm", but it's dramatically more expensive and as mobile networks phase out GSM in the coming years police departments are having to pay large sums of money to upgrade. The whole thing is covered in enormous secrecy of course so it's unknown how Hailstorm devices are able to beat the tower authentication protocol. Presumably the device is either exploiting baseband bugs, or is using stolen/hacked/court-order extracted network keys, or it was built in cooperation with the mobile networks, or there are cryptographic weaknesses in the protocols themselves.

Comment: Re:Consent of the Governed (Score 2) 124

by Zontar The Mindless (#48443417) Attached to: Judge Unseals 500+ Stingray Records

That would be just peachy if votes for particular candidates/parties actually counted for something.

It really amazes me that someone who appears to be as intelligent as you do cannot see the state-within-a-state that has grown up in the US since the Second World War. Just as Eisenhower warned it would.

Comment: Re:Mistaken Western-centric thinking about China (Score 1) 102

I remind everyone that the Chinese Communist Party is made up of the smartest people in China.

I remind everyone that the CCP is also made up of people who happen to have the right connections, or be born into the right families.

Comment: Re: China's internet will become a smaller intran (Score 1) 102

Firstly, China isn't blocking everything in the world. They are blocking undesirable content into their own country that a majority of the Chinese public agrees should be blocked because their government tells them it should be, and they don't get to hear any opposing views on the matter.


Comment: Re:Except for Mozilla and Colts (Score 1) 102

Do you think I just fell off a yùtóu wagon?

I've been to China numerous times, have many friends from and in China, am married to a Chinese, and you are so full of it I'm looking for my waders.

This is *all* about maintaining order, under control of the CCP, by blocking (or at least slowing down) the ingress of as many "disruptive" ideas as possible.

Meanwhile, within China, it's common knowledge that many of the country's current social ills stem from the Cultural Revolution and its attempts at erasing this 5000 years of history of which you speak as though it were really a presence. It's common knowledge within the CCP as well--I know this because I've discussed it with Party members.

So please spare us the "preservation of our culture" spiel--it doesn't wash.

Comment: Small? Specialize and get billing, taxes, ... (Score 1) 148

by Qbertino (#48442367) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Starting and Running a Software Shop?

Small? Specialize and get billing, taxes, legal and ERP covered. Legal and taxes are other people, billing an ERP can be done with online tools like FreshBooks or small to midsized softwarepackages like Lexware.

What practices you need is up to you - especially if you code alone.
It also depends on the code you write. If it's just custom ABAP scripting for a handful of clients at a time, point and click testing and a few manually checked testpositions ought to be enough.
If you want to deliver software to a wide range of customers, perhaps even online, with demo-versions and stuff you *have* to have your pipeline standing, even and especially if you are alone. You want to be able to compile and deploy a hotfix wih a mouseclick.

Ask yourself: if the worst possible szenario happens with my software, will I be able to fix it inmediatel? If the answer is yes, with a few night-shifts and my leet Google searching skill I ought to manage somehow - that's OK. If the answer is no, compiling for XYZ takes days of time each time around - then you're doing it wrong and need to automate your process (more).

As for the business itself: Specialize in a field and a subset of that. There is no other way you can keep up with the big boys as a small shop. ERP, Web, Embedded, DB, etc. They all have their ups and downs and each have countless subcategories you can specialize in. Do it! Do not look left or right, unless you don't have any customers in the current field.

Good luck!

Genius is ten percent inspiration and fifty percent capital gains.