The linked patent expired in 2006, so that specific one isn't an issue in this case. Also, round connectors in general are a pain to line up properly and connect.
There is a reason a lot of companies are located on the outskirts of Austin proper. More companies are moving to the domain area, and there are a lot of companies along 360.
Sure, some companies are downtown, but there isn't really a need for it within Austin.
Other large companies do just as many acquisitions, you just don't see them on the front page because they aren't Google. Apple bought nearly as many companies in 2013. Then you look at other large companies (like Cisco) and see how they buy up competitors fairly regularly.
Austin rarely gets freezing rain weather (that can bring down trees and utility poles). The worst Austin could get would be high winds that could bring down trees (which may topple utility wires). It's cheaper and easier to put up poles than to have to dig. Plus when you need to run new cables (like what Google is doing), it is a lot cheaper to add these. If google had to go and burry new cables throughout the entire city, the costs would be a lot higher.
I spent a short stint working for a SAN company in their drive group. You are definitely correct about the firmware within drives that SAN companies ship with their drives. The primary reasons for custom firmware on SAN harddrives that I remember: disable write-cache, change timeouts/retries, and most important: lock-in.
There was no way to go from the off-the-shelf version of the firmware to the SAN companies version of the firmware (well, nothing that was public, and that process was very tightly controlled). The SAN could then verify that the drives were running their specific firmware, if they were not, the drive would be rejected.
For me, Amazon + prime isn't a better deal than newegg sometimes when buying computer parts. I have to pay sales tax on purchases from Amazon, while Newegg isn't collecting sales taxes in my state.
I think it's important to remember how complicated the full mechanical/electrical system of a car is. Over the life of a model of a car (normally 3 years), there will be hundreds of changes to the manufacturing process. This could mean sourcing different parts, changes to how different components are made, and lots of other junk. Rolling out a firmware update that works across all the different models of that car can be very difficult for them.
When I did my printer hunting a little over a year ago I ended up with a Xerox 6505. I was looking for a color printer, and they have overall good reviews. When you are looking at toner, there are fairly cheap aftermarket toners you can get for Xerox printers that keep costs down.
One thing I looked for in a printer that would let it work on any OS was that it could accept PCL and PostScript (that way you don't need a print driver). Though, still having a printer driver is nice for configuring little things (like duplex printing if your printer supports it).
This data is out-of-date at this point, but I put together a spreadsheet of all the different printers I was considering.
I don't remember my exact issues with HP and Brothers printers at this point, but the one thing I did like about Xerox versus some of the others was their toner cartridges were stand-alone from other components. So it made it cheap to get after-market toner.
My thoughts exactly. To take it further. "Dispatch" for these self-driving cabs would just be sitting there watching feeds from all the cabs they have out and about. They could look illegal behavior and either send someone to look into the problem or to call authorities.
As for someone "hiding in the cab", I'm pretty sure they could easily tell the weight changes to the vehicle (preventing someone from sticking around).
Just wondering, when did you have that car experience and what model was it? Lemon laws in many states protect consumers against faulty cars (it's a massive pain-in-the-ass to go through the process), and I think it dissuades auto manufacturers from completely cheeping out on cars anymore. Though, there may be issues that creep up beyond the lemon-law time window, then you're basically at the whim of the manufacturer to fix it.
As for electronics, if you buy from a company like Apple that has a good warranty or return program, buying a new device on day-1 isn't that much of an issue. I've owned 3 models of iphones (original, 3Gs, 5), and every one of them I got a full replacement from Apple on (original I had replaced twice). All 4 times I've had my iPhone replaced, it didn't cost me anything to do it. (Note that I've had great service from other companies like Amazon with the Kindle and Philips with their electric toothbrush).
My basic understand of it is: for when a new auto manufacturer comes around, they don't have to setup a dealership themselves in every city across the country, instead they can just ship their cars to all the existing dealerships. This is a service provided by the dealership to the automaker to help the automaker grow when it is young. Then, to prevent the automaker from cutting off all their shipments to dealerships when they are big enough to setup their own stores, laws were put into place to prevent automakers from setting up their own stores.
Looks like they are going to be keeping their open source products open (ClamAV, Snort, and others).
Also, it looks like Snort is dual-license: http://www.snort.org/snort/license
It seems like at least a few states us a thing called the "Average Daily Attendance" to track how many kids are actually going to school. Then this is the number that is actually used when allocating funding to the school. Here's a story about how much 1 student being chronically absent costs the school (87 days missed, school lost $2464).
This isn't all the funding a school gets, but it is part of it.
I've been doing a lot of car research recently (shopping for a new car), and I've been reading a ton of different reviews from consumers and professionals.
A lot of people don't like the Ford SYNC stuff as it is just too complicated for them. They want a radio and climate controls in their center stack, not all that other crap that some auto makers are pushing. GM with their Buick brand is having the same issue, their older customers are annoyed with a lot of the center-stack tech that is being added, as they don't understand it or want it.
My other issue is how relevant all these features will be in 10-15 years. Will Pandora still be around? How about BlueTooth? Will iPod support even matter in 10 years? My current car is pushing 17 years old, I'm pretty sure it has outlasted most tech that could have been put into it at the time.