Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Re:Never finish (Score 1) 172

by Rich0 (#48946741) Attached to: George R. R. Martin's "The Winds of Winter" Wiill Not Be Published In 2015

A problem with this approach is spoilers. The shows cut out characters/events all the time. If the next season of GoT leaves out some character from Book 4, it stands to reason that this character is a dead-end plot wise. So, you end up getting the trimmed down version first, and then you get the richer version of the same story, knowing that the parts that make it richer don't really matter all that much.

Comment: Re:So.... (Score 1) 261

How so? Food source... pollinator... is there an unknown benefit of having a blood-borne disease vector?

There are many different species of mosquitoes. Only some of them are disease vectors. The Anopheles mosquito, which carries malaria, used to be common in Southern Europe and parts of America. When they were exterminated, they were displaced by less harmful species, with no known detrimental effect (other than allowing human populations to grow).

Well, if they're different species, then by definition they don't mate. That means that releasing the modified mosquitos of the dangerous species won't affect the harmless ones, and hopefully as you suggest the benign ones will take over.

Comment: Re:If it ain't broke... (Score 2) 272

by Rich0 (#48941549) Attached to: VirtualBox Development At a Standstill

don't fix it. I mean sure I'd like more features and stuff, but it works out of the box. No tweaking (other than to guest vm's) or anything necessary. It just works. Sure there are other (paid) alternatives out there but VirtualBox does it's job well for me.

Meh, I abandoned it when it started refusing to run because there was a symlink in the path to its binary. It was less work to just move to virt-manager, which is just a wrapper around KVM which means I'm now running on a fully stock kernel as a bonus. Took a bit of effort to get networking working right, but it wasn't a big deal and the same setup works well for containers also.

Comment: Re:So what will this accomplish? (Score 1) 154

by Rich0 (#48941513) Attached to: Uber Capping Prices During Snowmageddon 2015

... but anybody with a need to drive could pay the $20/gallon to drive...

That's quite a big assumption that everyone who supports the emergency surge pricing idea is making - that those who need the service will be able to afford the hugely-inflated price.

If people can't afford the price of things they need to live, then they should receive public assistance. The solution isn't to try to manipulate the market (unless it is subject to monopolistic behavior, or externalities, neither of which was the case here). Just mail everybody affected by the hurricane a check for $1000, and then let the price of gas be what it needs to be. Let the market operate efficiently, and don't try to use it as some kind of meals on wheels program.

Comment: Re:only trying to help? (Score 1) 154

by Rich0 (#48941499) Attached to: Uber Capping Prices During Snowmageddon 2015

That stuff isn't the result of the free market so much as the fact that we rely on the free market to address everybody's needs.

The free market is NEVER going to take care of a mentally retarded quadriplegic. That isn't a problem with the free market. The problem is with idiots who expect it to do so.

The solution is to just give everybody a basic income, or other social safety net. Leave the market alone. If people want to work for 5 cents an hour, let them. But, if they don't work they should still have food and shelter. Companies would quickly find that it is hard to hire people who are well-fed for the wages they offer the desperate.

Comment: Re:The solution is obvious (Score 1) 579

And even if you guy, eg, a Galaxy Nexus with an unlocked bootloader, the company that sold it to you (Google) only provided support for 1.5 years from the date the device FIRST went on sale.

It was nearly 2 years November 17th 2011 to Octover 31 2013, but yes. And you still have a phone with an unlocked bootloader that can run whatever software you want on it.

The last Galaxy Nexus update was made available on July 24th, 2013. But, whatever, if you bought the phone in Oct 2012 (when it was last available for purchase) you'd have gotten updates for 9 months, or maybe a year if you want to argue that a phone that it was still supported until Oct 2013.

Comment: Re:So what will this accomplish? (Score 1) 154

by Rich0 (#48920371) Attached to: Uber Capping Prices During Snowmageddon 2015

But you did suggest they're doing this "so you don't have to", which has the connotation that they're doing us a favor. I'm pointing out they are only doing themselves a favor.

The whole point of a free market sale is that you're both doing each other a favor. You'd rather have a trip home than the money in your pocket, and I'd rather have the money in your pocket than the time/expense it takes me to give you a lift. It is a service industry even if it isn't charity.

Since we can't exactly force rationality into individuals, nor can we force buyers to not give their money away, the pragmatic solution is to limit what is considered a rational maximum price on sellers. If you as a buyer still choose to pay more, that's all you, man. Society already warned you.

How can a buyer choose to pay more if the government regulates the maximum cost of a ride?

Hey, if word gets out that people are willing to tip extra, you'll get your results of getting more drivers out there and more people getting home. So please, if you really believe what you're saying, go out there and leave those big tips yourself.

Tips are just part of the price if they're negotiated in advance. If they aren't negotiated in advance then they have no impact on the availability of the service. Nobody is going to go out in a storm hoping that somebody is going to be nice and give them a big tip.

Tipping after a service is rendered really doesn't make that much sense economically unless you're a regular customer (in which case you're really just tipping way before the next service is rendered, which is why it works). Having payment based on performance certainly makes sense economically, but only if both parties are bound by the agreement.

Comment: Re:Misdirected Rage (Score 1) 579

by Rich0 (#48920329) Attached to: Google Explains Why WebView Vulnerability Will Go Unpatched On Android 4.3

I would, and do, buy the nexus and sony phones. The nexus 4 is upgradable to Android 5.0, and the xperia z1 is still upgradable to 4.4.4 i think.

And the Nexus 4 would still be under contract if you bought it on a 2 year contract on the last day that it was sold. Let's see if it gets the next update.

That said, Google has been getting better. The Nexus 4 is the longest-supported Nexus phone to date. The previous ones didn't get any updates after about 1.5 years from their first sale.

Comment: Re:only trying to help? (Score 1) 154

by Rich0 (#48920273) Attached to: Uber Capping Prices During Snowmageddon 2015

Free market guarantees shortages that is it's function. What you are really saying is if you can not afford it, meh, fuck you, ha ha, die in the blizzard.

Not being able to afford something doesn't mean that there is a shortage.

And I'm not suggesting people that can't afford a cab should die in a blizzard. Free markets and socialism are orthogonal. You can have either with or without the other.

If you're going to die in a blizzard, then call the police. They won't charge you to respond, and if we're talking a really big issue then the national guard should be bussing people out of dodge.

There is also no need to have poor people in a free market. You can give people a basic income so that they can afford food, and then let the prices reflect scarcity, so if there is a big chicken shortage the poor people can just switch to eating hamburger. You don't have to keep the price of chicken cheap and then watch as every store runs out of it anyway.

Comment: Re:So what will this accomplish? (Score 1) 154

by Rich0 (#48915767) Attached to: Uber Capping Prices During Snowmageddon 2015

Since the national guard wasn't around to give people a lift, maybe we should offer additional compensation to the folks who take the risk of getting into an accident so that you don't have to.

I'm sure your local police, fire department, national guard, and other emergency services accept donations. Those are your "folks who take risk so you don't have to".

Uber drivers are "folks who take risk so they might make a buck". They're a company. They're there to make a profit. Remember Adam Smith on how we get our bread.

I'm not suggesting that they're motivated by anything other than making a buck (though the reality is somewhere in-between - workers are motivated by more than money).

The thing is, I bet that even with the price caps Uber drove a whole lot more people home than the local police department did. I bet that if prices were higher they'd have driven more people home (after all, the goal of the algorithm is to charge the highest price possible while utilizing drivers 100%).

So, if you want to feel good then donate money to the police. If you want to get home, then offer to pay a driver whatever they feel the ride is worth.

Comment: Re:The system is corrupt ... (Score 1) 180

I won't argue that governments created the cable monopolies, but network effects tend to create many others. What government action prevented anybody from buying an alternative OS pre-installed on their home PC without paying a fee to Microsoft in the process?

If you want to believe that monopolies are harmless you can do so. It really doesn't matter - corruption like the one in this article will ensure we never get rid of the government-sponsored monopolies let alone get rid of the ones I'd want to see go away.

Comment: Re:Well... (Score 1) 235

by Rich0 (#48915601) Attached to: White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

I suspect you could also use an unregulated trebuchet to launch something over a fence, or perhaps an unauthorized weather balloon with a payload to drop something on your neighbor's lawn from altitude. Or a slingshot (although those might be illegal within city limits). The notion of a serious "security gap" is farcical because any reasonably intelligent person could come up with a number of clever ways to outwit fences and exclusion zones.

Yup. If it is THAT important to protect the president's life, then he shouldn't be anywhere near a window or wall that isn't armored.

Comment: Re:So what will this accomplish? (Score 1) 154

by Rich0 (#48914509) Attached to: Uber Capping Prices During Snowmageddon 2015

If you are freezing to death and the only thing that can save your life would be using that check in your pocket for a million dollars, you would burn that check, in order to save your life.

If this were literally a matter of life and death then the national guard should be herding people onto trucks to get them out of danger, and shooting looters in the street.

Since the national guard wasn't around to give people a lift, maybe we should offer additional compensation to the folks who take the risk of getting into an accident so that you don't have to.

Comment: Re:So what will this accomplish? (Score 4, Insightful) 154

by Rich0 (#48914477) Attached to: Uber Capping Prices During Snowmageddon 2015

Correct me if I'm wrong, but in normal operation on a busy night you can see Uber prices surge up to 500% or more. If you want to see anti-gouging laws implemented like they have in New Jersey, where gas stations and service providers are not allowed to increase their prices during a disaster situation, go ahead and support Uber's right to surge pricing whenever they want it.

What a surprise that during hurricane Sandy there were huge lines in NJ and it was impossible to buy gas there. Maybe if they allowed prices to float people would have reconsidered the importance of their trip, but anybody with a need to drive could pay the $20/gallon to drive, or at least easily obtain enough gas to drive to someplace where it was cheaper (you only need a few gallons to get to an area not impacted by the storm). Also, if prices were higher you'd see everybody with a tanker truck driving east to fill up and offering the gas for sale at a street stand, which would provide far more gas to the region.

Instead it worked a bit like the USSR. If you knew somebody you could go buy cheap gas from FEMA, and if not you either stood in line all day long, drove 150 miles yourself for gas, or went without.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. - Edmund Burke

Working...