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Comment: Re:Competition (Score 1) 80

by Trailer Trash (#49546461) Attached to: Amazon's Profits Are Floating On a Cloud (Computing)

Given that Microsoft seems to be investing heavily in Azure, I'd wonder exactly how they plan to beat AWS. AWS had some new machine learning algorithm added a month ago; Azure doesn't have that. Either way, however, is a win. If Microsoft's making some fatal mistake with their new business model, then maybe they'd go bankrupt and help the industry by going open-source before death. If Azure stays where it is or ranks up in usage with its SaaS model, then there'll probably be some interesting competition between them two and Google with large user bases. Either way, there's competition, which will (almost) forever spiral downward prices and upward capabilities.

The scary thing about Microsoft is that they have at least 10s of billions of dollars in the bank. They will likely never go bankrupt, but I'm not sure they'll ever make money in computers again if the Windows/Office gravy train ever comes to a halt.

Comment: Re:It is a cycle. (Score 1) 80

by Trailer Trash (#49546449) Attached to: Amazon's Profits Are Floating On a Cloud (Computing)

Back when IBM executive predicted "the world will probably need six computers", the main computing model was a mainframe at a distant location and time share on it via (overpriced) telephone lines and VT-100 terminals. Eventually workstations appeared and the move was to get off the mainframe and do local computing. Then came along Sun, "The network is *the* computer" and diskless workstations that would boot into an X-11 display terminal off a distant server. Well, PCs came along and desktop became powerful enough to run even fluid mechanics simulations. Then came high performance computing, and now the cloud.

A bigger machine in a far away place always had the cost advantages of the economy of scale. Everytime there is a jump in connection speeds and bandwidth some customers found it cheaper to "out source" computing to a remote machine. But eventually the advantages of local storage and local computation adds up. So let us see how long this iteration lasts.

The difference is that we still have really strong clients now and use the back end mainly for storage and some computation. It's not very comparable.

The other difference is that the technologies in use today make the "cloud" pretty much infinitely expandable, unlike a mainframe. Amazon has petabytes of storage and adds more continuously.

Comment: Re:Misinformed (Score 2) 138

It won't matter. Initial negative experience will color all future opinions. Apple really screwed the pooch on this one.

Yeah, badly. I mean, they only presold 1,000,000 of them with an average price of around $400. That's $400,000,000 in one single day.

This is version 1.0, which in the open source world would really be version 0.8 or so. It's a beta. Totally new product for Apple, and the people who are lining up to buy them know this.

Give it a few versions and it'll likely be faster and have longer battery life, as well as some very reasonable native apps.

Comment: Re:What? Why discriminate? (Score 1) 700

by Trailer Trash (#49480067) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status

Most of what you say is true, but irrelevant. There are other ways that compensation happens, particularly in a church setting. If you look at the truly rich preachers they tend to have everything owned by the company - house, cars, etc. There are really few rules for limitations on that sort of stuff. Even the executive compensation isn't capped as you think. The IRS rules (which they rely on a court to enforce) looks at comparable compensation in the same general area of business and may try to get a court to declare some "salary" as "dividends" which are then taxed at the corporate level as well as the individual level.

Little of that would matter to huge "churches" any more than it matters to huge corporations. They'll find ways to get rid of any "profits" before the tax man comes.

Comment: Re:What? Why discriminate? (Score 1) 700

by Trailer Trash (#49478711) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status

This. I tend to cringe at these megachurches that collect (metric) tons of money from poor people with the (false) promise of "health, wealth, and prosperity" - only to turn-around and spend hundreds of thousands, or even millions, to buy a fancy plane, property for a bigger parking-lot (I've personally seen that same church humiliate a poor, homeless person - by putting a suit jacket on them for service, then refuse to provide any kind of real material help.

The bible's position on it is pretty simple, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's..." - "USA" is printed on the dollar, churches ought to pay taxes. Even money that falls out of the sky counts as income.

This seems to be a recurring theme with people who have no understanding of taxes and corporations. Removing the tax exempt status from most churches wouldn't change anything - at least not at the federal level.

Churches aren't people. If you buy a car, you buy it with money that's already taxed. Same with your house, clothing, food, etc. You get to deduct charitable donations.

But corporations only pay taxes on profits, which are [generally speaking] what's left over after the expenses are paid. That means the plane, big building, parking lot, etc. gets paid for before taxes. Same with salaries. They would likely have no problem getting by with little or no taxes. Actually, it would probably end up like the corporate world where the biggest players pay little or nothing and the small guy gets screwed because he can't afford as good of an accountant.

I see this from the left quite often. I get stuff in my email every couple of weeks about how we need to revoke the NFL's tax exempt status. The NFL lost a couple hundred million last year - think they care about taxes? If they weren't tax exempt they'd be getting a substantial refund (and I'd likely be getting emails about *that*).

Comment: Re:Watt is this article about? (Score 4, Interesting) 281

by Trailer Trash (#49450259) Attached to: The Myth of Going Off the Power Grid

This seems to be an article more about condemning Tesla's batteries that about energy. In fact the word "watt" appears nowhere. Before you can have a discussion about energy you need to be armed with some facts about actual energy needs and potentials. This is just more anti-Tesla propaganda.

As well as anti-reality.

"Stover worries that shifting responsibility for solutions to climate change from governments to individuals creates an 'every-man-for-himself' culture that actually works against energy solutions and does little to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions."

Right - because central planning is a much better idea <eye roll>.

The bottom line is that when I reduce my carbon footprint I save money, at least in the long run. I've invested hundreds of dollars in the last year in getting LED lights throughout the house. I'll make that money back within 5 years - I can already see the difference on my light bills. Next year I'm hoping to start my solar farm on my very large southern-facing roof. I'll likely have negative light bills when I'm done and it'll pay for itself within 3 or 4 years (yes, that's less than average and there's a reason for that having to do with my air conditioning and the solar panels taking heat off the house).

So, yeah, we need the grid upgraded. But at this stage we need a lot of people trying a lot of different things so that we can find out what works and what's economical. Ultimately, if it doesn't save me money it ain't gonna happen.

Comment: Re:It's a farce (Score 1) 62

by Trailer Trash (#49445407) Attached to: Uber Finally Accepts Cash -- For Autorickshaws In Delhi

This is an ongoing subject. According to some other poster it cost x amount of dollars to run a cab. A taxi can't run at a loss so the more taxis there are the less riders per taxi means higher fares to keep all those cabs running. That million dollar medallion might have something to do with cost though.

It's so funny to see stuff like this written so seriously by someone who doesn't understand basic economics.

Here's something to chew on: why does this "problem" only apply to taxis? Why don't we have a medallion system for grocery stores?

Be careful, your brain might catch fire thinking this hard....

Comment: Re:Systemic and widespread? (Score 1) 489

by Trailer Trash (#49441147) Attached to: The Courage of Bystanders Who Press "Record"

I don't think you know what "hyperbole" is.

His blood wasn't really an alcoholic drink, but at .20% a person is stone drunk. There's video of him standing around talking closely with other officers who would later claim that a) they didn't smell alcohol and b) he didn't act drunk. Neither claim is remotely credible.

Comment: Re:Systemic and widespread? (Score 1) 489

by Trailer Trash (#49441125) Attached to: The Courage of Bystanders Who Press "Record"

In Ferguson we see that blacks have "contraband" in their vehicles at a lower rate than whites, yet black cars still get searched more. I agree that blacks commit crimes at a higher rate than whites, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that they tend to be lower income than whites. They're also scrutinized more as you can see in Ferguson. Note also in Ferguson we find that blacks are more likely to be ticketed when pulled over, etc.

The bottom line is that blacks who commit the same crimes are more likely to be convicted and get harsher punishment.

Note that doesn't invalidate what you say. The answer is far more complex than a simple fix.

Comment: Re:Systemic and widespread? (Score 5, Informative) 489

by Trailer Trash (#49438205) Attached to: The Courage of Bystanders Who Press "Record"

These stories of police corruption come from north and south, from many different cities and neighborhoods.

This isn't police corruption, it's police brutality, which is a separate issue. I have friends and family members who are police officers, the lion's share of them are decent people, but knowing them and the small handful of their colleagues who aren't decent people I can proffer a few opinions on what drives behaviors such as these:

1. There's a siege mentality in modern law enforcement, manifested as "I'm going home to my family, no matter what it takes." Do you have to worry about getting shot at your job? Probably not. LEOs have to worry about that every single time they pull someone over. Is it a soccer mom, a businessman, or a three strikes felon who doesn't want to go back inside? They don't know.

Police are safer than they've ever been. The job isn't even in the top 10 most dangerous jobs. Yes, there are people who shoot at an officer who pulls them over. There are also people who shoot at the guy working the 2AM shift in Mapco. But I don't walk into Mapco at 2AM and have the guy pull a gun on me "just in case".

2. Modern media reinforces #1, by making line of duty deaths/injuries more accessible than ever before. Follow the "Officer Down Memorial Page" on Facebook; there's a line of duty death in the United States nearly every day of the week. Statistically speaking law enforcement is safer today than it has been in a long time, but in a large country statistically rare occurrences happen with distressing frequency and modern media ensures that we know all about them.

Right. In other words, a big part of the problem is cultural, both within law enforcement and from without. I know cops, too, and they're always talking in hushed tones about how it's just becoming so much more dangerous. A big part of why is that they don't feel they have as much support from the community as they used to. And a big part of that is a) municipalities using cops for revenue enhancement (see Ferguson) and b) cameras are now exposing just how much corruption there is in law enforcement and the justice system as a whole. See recent videos of a judge asking a prosecutor if she's going to charge a police officer with perjury after he obviously committed perjury as a good example.

3. The War on Drugs provides such a profit motive that criminals are encouraged to arm themselves and resist violently, which in turn drives the militarization of law enforcement while reinforcing the siege mentality. The War on Drugs also alienates the police from our poorest and most vulnerable communities. The same thing happened during prohibition, this is not a new societal phenomenon. Nor can you blame the police, they enforce the law, legislators write it.

Research shows that most raids on "drug houses" either turn up "no weapons" or a handgun. There's very little violent resistance.

4. There are a handful of people in law enforcement who have no business being in law enforcement, or any other field that requires them to interact with human beings as a matter of course. They have chips on their shoulders, the stereotype is the kid that got bullied a lot in high school, now he has a badge and a gun, so don't you dare fuck with him. These people are a minority, out of the dozens of LEOs I know I can only name one that falls into this category. Short tempered and thin skinned are bad personality attributes for LEOs.

Let me give you an example of why you're wrong. And I could come up with a hundred (literally) but I just need one. Take the David Bisard case in Indianapolis. You can look it up in Google, but short version: Bisard got stone drunk before work one day, jumped in his squad car, someone mentioned that they were doing a simple drug arrest on the radio, Bisard said he'd be right there, they said they didn't need him, he came up to a stop light where a bunch of cars and a couple of motorcycles were stopped, he hit the motorcycles going on top of one (killing the rider) and seriously injuring two other people. At that point he jumped out of his car and began screaming at the dead/dying guy under his car telling him that he should have got out of the way.

In all, 19 police officers of all ranks showed up at the scene. None of them had any idea (this is sarcasm) that he had been drinking. Finally, 3 hours after the accident and after they had stopped for snacks another officer took him for a blood draw at a clinic.

According to state law at the time the blood draw wasn't legally valid because none of the officers thought he was drunk and so, for it to be valid, it would have had to be done at the hospital where the people are "certified". In case you're wondering, his BAC was .20% 3 hours later. Yes: .20. His blood was an alcoholic drink.

Had any of the officers stepped up and said "yeah, I suspected he had been drinking" the blood draw would have been legal. They didn't search his car, his duffle bag, etc.

The prosecutor knew his job. He ran right to court and claimed he couldn't use the blood draw so there was just no way to make this a drunk driving incident. The people of the city had had enough bullshit by this point that in an election months later they put in a new prosecutor who made it plain that Bisard was going down if he got elected. He won handily and fought like hell to get the blood draw accepted in court.

Meanwhile, someone at the police department (they have no idea who (again, sarcasm)) took the blood samples in the evidence room out of the cooler. Bisard's lawyer would later claim that the evidence had been ruined and just couldn't be used because of that. His lawyer, by the way, paid for by the Fraternal Order of Police.

Bisard's world came crashing down during his trial when he wrecked his father-in-law's truck while stone drunk. He begged the officer to just take him home, but the officer was an honest man (note it's taken me this long in the story to get to an honest police officer - we've had 19 other officers and a prosecutor so far) who took him in. At that point the FOP could no longer hold the ruse that Bisard was being set up and they quit paying for his lawyer. Someone paid for a lawyer, though, as he never lost legal representation.

It's really easy to say there are a few bad apples. I hear that all the time. But let me tell you something - the guy who covers for the bad apple is worse than the bad apple. The original prosecutor, the 19 guys who never thought to see if Bisard was drunk - treating it as an "accident" instead of a "crime scene", the people who tried to destroy evidence - all of them are bad apples. Everybody in that department covered up for Bisard - after he killed a person and permanently injured two others.

If you think that's rare, look up Stephanie Lazarus - she's an LAPD cop who murdered someone in cold blood and got away with it for 20+ years. The only people harassed were those who investigated her.

I could go on and on. Thank God we have more cameras now.

5. Reinforcing #1, the media and body politic never make a story out of LEOs doing their jobs correctly. They only make the news when they screw up. There was a police shooting captured on body cam a few months ago. It was a clean shoot, so naturally it got perfunctory treatment by the national media, not the 24/7 coverage that we would have seen had it been unjustified.

Regarding racism, I haven't met any genuinely racist LEOs, even from category #4 above. I have encountered a certain level of cynicism, best demonstrated by a quote I heard from a LEO friend, "Law enforcement is a customer service orientated business; unfortunately, all of the customers are assholes."

Yeah, we know that no particular cop is a racist (I hear this all the time from apologists) but the numbers tell a different story. Blacks are more likely to be pulled over, more likely to be searched, more likely to be harassed, etc. Something's not right.

Comment: What it's really about (Score 5, Insightful) 191

"But on August 11, 2011, however, BART took an unprecedented step. Under orders from BART police, the system shut down underground wireless service for three hours. The interruption covered stations in downtown San Francisco. In a statement, administrators clearly identified “organizers planning to disrupt BART service . . . us[ing] mobile devices to coordinate their disruptive activities and communicate about the location and number of BART Police” as the rationale behind the move."

It has nothing to do with "bombs". We had to get the patriot act in order to fight terrorists.

"Of the 22,741 warrants issued since 2003, 21,838 (96%) were issued under the heading of "Narcotics."

How many times are we going to fall for this trick?

"Joy is wealth and love is the legal tender of the soul." -- Robert G. Ingersoll