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Comment: Re:It all comes down to payroll (Score 4, Informative) 263

by Rene S. Hollan (#48868359) Attached to: The Tech Industry's Legacy: Creating Disposable Employees

As a former H1-B visa holder, current lawful permanent resident, and eligible for U.S. citizenship, you should know that the LAW requirs H1-Bs to be paid at least 90% of the prevailing wage, the employer to handle their INS legal expenses, AND bear the cost of sending them and their family home when they are layed off or their visa expires. H1-Bs generally cost MORE than locals, with all the extra hassles.

Now, where I would likely agree with you is that many companies BREAK those laws to bring in cheap labor, something which I would opose as well.

Comment: Disorderly Conduct (Score 1) 877

by Rene S. Hollan (#48822477) Attached to: Pope Francis: There Are Limits To Freedom of Expression

Yes, it's called "Disorderly Conduct", and is a misdemeanor most places.

HOWEVER, which that might explain a violent response, it does not excuse it: if you assault or kill someone because of what they say to you, even though their actions are criminal, so is your violent response. The proper response is a harassment charge.

Furthermore, that covers speech directed at you, not indirect speech intended for anyone who cares to listen: If I call a black man a nigger, I can certainly expect a punch (or worse). But, at least in the U.S., with it's First Amendment, I can write all the books and cartoons about niggers I want, without breaking any laws. Your recourse, if I offend you is simply to shun me.

Comment: Its all about the timing... (Score 1, Interesting) 360

by Supp0rtLinux (#48669063) Attached to: UK Man Arrested Over "Offensive" Tweet
The irony here is the timing. As poor taste as the comment was if you fast forward a year and let a comedian say the same thing or let Eminem rap about it and it'll be just fine. I guess I'm glad freedom of speech is still protected here in the States... unless you want to assault someone while also making rude comments in which case then its called a hate crime.

Comment: I'm not the only one that heard the bathroom... (Score 4, Funny) 244

by Supp0rtLinux (#48574375) Attached to: Excuse Me While I Kiss This Guy: The Science of Misheard Song Lyrics
OM f'ing G... I remember being like 8 years old driving from LA to Victorville and hearing that song and asking my mom why they'd sing about a "bathroom on the right". She just laughed and told me it was "bad moon on the rise" and kept laughing and laughing and laughin. All these years I thought I was the only one. Thank god for this article. Now I know I'm not alone or weird. I don't have to kill myself now as all my reasons for being depressed stemmed from this one incident and now that I know others heard it too I feel so much better. Guess I can take the suicide hotline off my favorites list now...

Comment: My daddy taught me what not to do... (Score 1) 481

Granted I'm in the backasswards, hick part of the country, not NYC, but I was taught the appropriate response to the "this is how we're gonna do it, boy" scenario thanks to my father driving home drunk from the bars all the time. Thankfully I was smarter than him (or at least smart enough) to realize that this was a lesson best learned by watching how he responded and then doing the opposite. To this day I've never had an issue... I just willingly accept that as long as the popo are present I have no rights or any expectations of civil liberties. Once gone, I re-evaluate things and determine if its worth my time to complain to someone

Comment: From a non-driver perspective (Score 4, Insightful) 218

by dada21 (#47589001) Attached to: The Great Taxi Upheaval

I stopped driving 2 years ago, voluntarily. My SUV cost me around $800 a month in replacement costs. Another $200 in maintenance. I was burning through $12,000 a year in gas. I spent an average of 1000 hours a year in the car, for work, for groceries, for fun. 999 of those hours were spent focused on the road. I hate talking on the phone while driving.

Consider my annual total: about $25,000 + 1000 hours of my time. For the "privilege" to sit in Chicago traffic.

I'm a consultant. I now use UberX every day. I also use public transportation when I'm not in a rush or when someone isn't paying me to swing by.

I spent about $5000 a year on UberX. $100 a week. While I am being driven around, I can respond to emails, make phone calls. I bill for that time. When a customer wants me to visit them, I pass the UberX fee on to them plus 50%. No one scoffs at it. Some customers will realize the cost of me visiting them is more expensive than just consulting over the phone.

I figure I'm $20,000 ahead in vehicle costs, plus I've literally gained another 600-700 hours of phone and email consulting time a year. Call it $40,000 ahead.

I don't take cabs, because they don't like to come to where my HQ is (ghetto neighborhood). UberX comes 24/7, within minutes.

My little sister had an emergency surgery a few months ago. I immediately hired an UberX driver, who took me from the office, to the hospital. He waited. We then took my sister to her apartment to get her cats and clothes, then he took us to the pharmacy. After, he drove us to our dad's house to drop her off, in the suburbs of Chicago. Then he drove me back to work. 3 hours, $90. I can't get a cab to wait even 10 minutes while I drop off a package at UPS. Forget about them taking credit cards.

UberX charges my Paypal account and they're off. If they're busy, they charge a surcharge. I can pick it or take public transportation.

I know why the Chicago Taxi authorities want Uber gone. But a guy like me is their best customer. Next year I'll budget $10,000 a year for UberX, and it will make my life so much more enjoyable and profitable.

Driving yourself around is dead. It's inefficient. Ridesharing is "libertarian" because it is truly freeing.

Comment: Re:Philip K Dick called it (Score 3, Interesting) 127

by sg3000 (#47263295) Attached to: Emotional Contagion Spread Through Facebook

So the "Empathy Box" from "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" is real? And now?

Ok, you just blew my mind.

I remember never quite getting the whole "empathy box" idea in the book. It seemed unlikely and quite foreign. But you're right: that's what Facebook is. People sharing their good and bad news in order to participate in some group emotion. And, just like Rick's wife was "addicted" to it, lots of people were addicted to checking Facebook (at least for a while, the interest in Facebook seems to have waned). So Philip K. Dick was prescient about that after all.

Comment: Re:I was born at the right time... (Score 1) 153

by Rene S. Hollan (#47133547) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Inspired You To Start Hacking?

Conversely, I didn't dabble much with cassettes. The business for which I coded, very briefly used a cassette deck to load BASIC into the Altair, but switched to 8" hard-sectored floppy drives (being a business, it had "infinite financial resources" compared to my meager means, for some value of "infinite") very quickly: fiddling with the level settings and waiting eight minutes to load BASIC (after enterring the cassette bootloader by hand from the front panel) was not practical.

I DID once write a loader for that same Altair 8800 that used a TI Silent 700 with dual digital cassette heads that recorded at 5120 bps (IIRC) on digital cassettes (or high quality cassettes with a hole punched at the right spot in the leader :-) ).

I guess the punched card thing was more of a mainframe/mini-computer thing. When I started my undergraduate degree in 1979 most programming at the university was still done on punched cards and run "batch". We did have a row of ten DecWriters, and an express CRT terminal, but there were more punch card machines available. When accounts were issued, they were in the form of orange "control" punched card (80 column) "ACCOUNT command" cards. More mainframe CRT terminals were added over time, and were covetted because they were 1) faster than the DecWriters at 1200 bps over current-loop interfaces, and 2) didn't suffer the inconvenience of having to constantly go get scrap paper (and ensure that someone didn't comandeer your DecWriter!). The downside was that they displayed 24 rows of 80 colums text. So, having got a clean compile, one of the first things one would do was request a printout from the mainframe printers.

What I would do was code on the terminals, and at the end of the term, or when I was running out of my very small disk space allotment, get special permission to have my programs punched on cards for posterity. I got "mag tape" privileges about 1980/81 but realize that the recording density was 1600 bpi (later 6250) and the longest tape real was 2400 feet, so about five megabytes on a long tape (later 22.5 MB, but the 6250 bpi tapes were "finicky"). Only recently did I get rid of about 100 pounds of punched cards.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (10) Sorry, but that's too useful.