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Comment: Re:customer-centric (Score 1) 260

by Solandri (#47793925) Attached to: Microsoft Defies Court Order, Will Not Give Emails To US Government
While I generally agree with you that this judge's order is silly, I don't think it's as cut and dry as you make it out to be. If you base jurisdiction over the data entirely upon where the data is stored, then multi-national corporations will start criss-crossing their data storage. e.g. Data for their European operations gets stored in the U.S. Data for their U.S. operations gets stored in Europe.

If the U.S. government investigates Microsoft demanding they turn over info about their U.S. operations, Microsoft will say sorry, that data is stored in Europe. The U.S. will then have to go through the European legal system to get their hands on their data. Same if Europe asks for data on Microsoft's European operations. Microsoft says it's stored in the U.S. And they have to petition the U.S. government before they can get their hands on the data. The company gets double-protection - in order for a government to subpoena any corporate data, they have to first clear it with their court system, then clear it with the court system of the country where the data is stored. Both countries' courts have to agree to release the data before it actually gets released.

I don't know what the solution is. But it's not as simple as you're making it out to be. The relevance of the data to the country requesting it somehow needs to be taken into account.

Comment: Re:Baby steps (Score 5, Insightful) 231

by Solandri (#47791549) Attached to: Hidden Obstacles For Google's Self-Driving Cars
Put another way, if autonomous cars started off working on 0% of roads and you want them to eventually work on 100% of roads, well somewhere in between you have to pass through 1%, 5%, 10%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 90%. It's rather disingenuous to criticize them for not getting all the way to 100% in one fell swoop. I'm shopping for a new car right now, and the new autonomous-like features like adaptive cruise control, lane change assist, and parking assist are really nice (haven't gotten to play with lane departure warning or assist yet). By themselves, no they don't make a 100% autonomous car. But each gets you a small fraction of the way there.

It will be decades before these vehicles can handle real life situations. You will need AI that can improvise as well as a human. Good luck with that.

I see that problem mostly being attacked from the opposite direction. With cars getting radar and proximity sensors, and being able to electronically communicate their intent with each other before actually moving, you reduce the need for the AI to improvise. If an autonomous car wants to pull in front of your car, the two car AIs will communicate it with each other and work out a plan to make it happen before changing lanes. No improvisation required. Sure you might get the stray deer hopping through traffic that requires a human to take control and improvise. But the vast majority of improvisation situations can be eliminated before they ever happen with better communication. That is after all the whole idea behind brake lights and turn signals - to allow you to communicate your intent to the drivers behind/beside you so they don't have to improvise in response to your sudden moves.

Comment: Re: Say what you will but this is cool (Score 1) 52

by ScentCone (#47787217) Attached to: Google Testing Drone Delivery System: 'Project Wing'

So where does the liability lie when these things fall out of the sky, or collide with helicopters, planes, trains or automobiles? How will they "innovative" around that?

Where does the liability lie when a UPS truck backs over a baby stroller, or a FedEx delivery person loses control of a handtruck full of boxes and breaks someone's ankle? Where's the liability when an aircraft flown by DHL crashes short of the airport and burns a row of houses to the ground?

You make it sound like small plastic/foam flying wings with four battery-powered motors are the first dangerous thing that business has ever considered operating, and that there's no such thing as the liability insurance industry. Which means you're clueless about the real world, or just trolling. Or both.

Comment: Re:Welcome to Australia, Ferengi. (Score 1) 132

by Solandri (#47785121) Attached to: Australian Consumer Watchdog Takes Valve To Court

all taxes have to be included in prices

It's the government's fault that U.S. companies don't do that, not companies'. Most countries have a single unified tax structure. A store can set a price, and advertise that price inclusive of taxes nationwide.

The U.S. is an amalgam of tax-governing bodies. The States can set their own sales tax. The counties can set their own sales tax. The cities can set their own sales tax. Consequently, the sales tax rate differs, sometimes from city to city. A store sets a price and advertises that price + taxes, it's correct for one locale, incorrect everywhere else. The only way to advertise a "correct" price is without taxes. Not because the price varies or because they're trying to hide the final price from you, but because the tax rate varies.

There are currently close to 10,000 different sales tax rates in the U.S. With more states trying to impose sales tax on Internet purchases, it's actually becoming a barrier to entry for small businesses trying to start up Internet sales. The sales tax rates can change at any time if some local governing body decides to change it, so you have to either watch daily for new tax rate changes, or hire someone to do it for you (but you still have to pay if they make a mistake). Amazon tried to harmonize sales taxes in the U.S. because of this, but the States were more interested in casting it as "protecting brick and mortar stores from unfair Internet competition" than addressing the real problem.

The best solution (other than a harmonized sales tax) would be if the Federal government set up a website listing the ~10,000 different tax rates, and forced states and local governments to update their entry in the site before a sales tax rate was "official". Businesses could then just download all the different tax rates every night and be sure they're charging the correct sales tax.

and if you buy something you have all kinds of rights (two week period to send stuff back/cancel contracts

That's the case for nearly everything in the U.S. too. In fact most shops have 30-90 day return policies.

two year warranty on physical items and such) that cannot be taken away by ToSs.

Warranties are just insurance policies. Just because the law forces companies to provide them to everyone does not mean they're free. Their cost is rolled into the price of the item you're buying.

In general, insurance is not worth it (otherwise someone wouldn't be selling it to you). It makes sense to insure items whose prices are so high it'd be difficult for you to replace (e.g. cars, houses, maybe appliances depending on your income level). But for items costing a few hundreds of dollars or less, you actually save money by just replacing the things which break rather than taking out an insurance policy/requiring a warranty for them. This is why larger companies and organizations self-insure rather than buying insurance for things like mailed packages and fleet cars. You'll notice the more expensive items like large appliances and cars already come with multi-year warranties exceeding what's required by EU law. That's because being an insurance policy on something that's difficult for the buyer to afford to replace, it's additional profit for the manufacturer to provide the 5- or 10-year warranty and raise the price accordingly.

The one place warranties do help is setting a baseline for product durability. i.e. It weeds out products which are so shabbily made it'll break after a few months. The cost of providing warranty service is so high the manufacturer goes back and redesigns the product to be more durable. At least usually that's how it works. Sometimes it doesn't (e.g. hard drives, where manufacturers can refurbish enough drives returned under warranty to replace new drives which fail during their warranty period). But overall, very few products I've encountered are that shabbily made (in fact the only one I can think of was a portable DVD player made by a company which went bankrupt anyway a few months later, so I would've been out the warranty even if I'd bought it in the EU).

Comment: Re:Say what you will but this is cool (Score 1) 52

by ScentCone (#47783909) Attached to: Google Testing Drone Delivery System: 'Project Wing'

Because everyone knows they just wouldn't work in our current world, let alone the laws that would prevent its flight.

But we have laws, passed by the legislature, that mandate the FAA publish new rules specifically covering the integration of this sort of thing into the NAS by 2015. The Obama administration has said, though, that they won't comply with the law, and are taking every opportunity to hinder this sort of thing. There's a reason that outfits like Google are now spending money, hiring, and testing in other countries: because those countries are less hostile to ventures like this.

There's absolutely NO reason in the world why the tests that Google is doing in Oz couldn't be done with farmers just like those in the article, but living instead in rural Iowa or Ohio or California. But no, the administration keeps releasing increasingly bizarre, increasingly punitive, increasingly job-killing "interpretation" of the 2012 law, with spin that runs exactly counter to the plain language and intent of congress. Thank you, Mr. Obama, for chasing ever more innovation and growth out of the country.

Comment: Re:old but somewhat effective (Score 1) 97

How many times will we hear a claim of "Russia invaded the Ukraine" and have that proven false before people ignore it completely?

So, just out of curiosity, what do you get out of spinning your particular flavor of nonsense? Who benefits from you trying to convince people that - despite what they can see with their own eyes - Russia didn't just annex Crimea? That columns of Russian armor with their insignia painted over didn't just roll across the border into southeast Ukraine? Your contention has to be that those events didn't actually happen, despite untold thousands of witnesses pointing out the exact opposite. So, what's your point? What you're saying is so blatantly false and disingenuous on the face of it that - unless you are actually delusional - even you have to know it, even as you type it. So I'm genuinely curious. Are you getting paid to push propaganda, even as you say that propaganda is bad? Or are you just basically a low-grade troll that assumes his audience is utterly uninformed?

Comment: Re:It's all a matter of energy (Score 0) 140

by ScentCone (#47770159) Attached to: Underground Experiment Confirms Fusion Powers the Sun

but the actual neutrino's observed then (and until now) were high energy electron neutrinos

I don't know why these observations are being thought of as a big deal. Why go to all the trouble of building some big underground Italian detector when we can see, right here, that passing neutrinos hit the /. servers and cause apostrophes to appear randomly (but due to a quirk of quantum behavior, almost always right in front of the letter 's').

Comment: Re:The death of leniency (Score 1) 601

by ScentCone (#47769343) Attached to: U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

If cops couldn't let thousands of people off per day on minor things, those minor things would cease to be illegal and our legal code would finally have some semblance of sanity.

You're right. If a cop sees you step outside the crosswalk at an intersection, he should have NO choice but to cite you for jaywalking, and generate all of the paperwork and costs involved, whether or not the reason you stepped out of the cross walk was to avoid walking through a big puddle of hydraulic fluid that was just spilled by a trash truck. It's situations like that where a cop's body cam might very well record such an infraction, and in the name of ridding society of any potentially abused judgement calls, we should use that technology to make sure that everyone involved toes the line, literally and figuratively. We can't have judgement calls! Your judgement call that we shouldn't is good enough for me.

Comment: Re:The death of leniency (Score 2) 601

by ScentCone (#47769291) Attached to: U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

It seems to indicate that the poor, defenseless disenfranchised police officers are the victims in all of this

No, the victims are the residents and business owners in a trashed place like Ferguson where a bunch of idiots decided that wrecking the place is the right reaction to events like that lovable big lug, Mike Brown, being shot for no reason whatsoever. We know it was for no reason because thoroughly reliable witnesses (like, the guy who was within him when Lovable Big Mike, the 6'-4" 300-pound Gentle Giant was intimidating a retail clerk) said so, and the witness who said he was "shot in the back, execution style" said so. Except both witnesses are full of crap, and they know it. The cop who got his face mashed by this giant guy would indeed have had an easier time of it if Lovable Giant Mike's altercation with the cop inside the cruiser had been recorded. But more importantly, there's a chance that a lot of people's businesses wouldn't have been wrecked by people who came in from out of town specifically to trash the place and steal stuff with the tacit blessings of guys like Al Sharpton.

Comment: Re:Irreversible? (Score 5, Insightful) 513

by Solandri (#47766253) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report
I have a slightly different take on it. Using absolutes like "irreversible" or "unavoidable" is dangerous is because it decreases public support for what you're trying to accomplish. People will think, "well if we can't do anything about it, then I guess there's nothing left to do but live it up in the time we have left."

Comment: I don't have a problem with that (Score 1) 333

Customers must pay more if they exceed limits â" but it's not a cap,

That's fine with me, if they'll also give me a refund if I don't reach my limit. After all, fair's fair, right? They estimate how much data I'll use when I sign up, and if I exceed it they charge me extra, if I don't reach it they charge me less.

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. -- Albert Einstein