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Comment: Re:Paying by the MB (Score 1) 494

by cduffy (#47763815) Attached to: Net Neutrality Is 'Marxist,' According To a Koch-Backed Astroturf Group

We've been paying for roads by the mile for decades, via gas taxes -- an effective way of making people who drive more, pay more.

That might be true if gas taxes were more than double what they are now.

Funds from gas taxes go to a fund accessible to the federal highway administration -- which is to say that they don't pay for city streets at all, which are covered purely by property taxes. Even then, the FHWA only covers about 49% of highway costs, meaning that the majority of the costs of highways remain borne by the states, and are paid out of different taxes.

(This is a sore point because so many folks wrongly consider cyclists freeloaders on account of not paying gas taxes -- when the amount of wear put on roads is proportional to cubed vehicle weight, making the road wear caused by cyclists negligible, whereas the property taxes and state sales taxes paid are not).

Comment: Re:The world we live in. (Score 1) 579

by Vintermann (#47750377) Attached to: New Nail Polish Alerts Wearers To Date Rape Drugs

One who is aware of this could check up to 10 drinks for their friends.

Yeah, if those ten friends don't mind you sticking your finger in their drinks. If you don't explain, you might get unpopular very quickly. If you do explain, why aren't you just using a paper strip or something?

That this silly invention is taken seriously at all is a testament to moral panic.

Comment: Re:The world we live in. (Score 1) 579

by Vintermann (#47750307) Attached to: New Nail Polish Alerts Wearers To Date Rape Drugs

Sorry for what you went through man, but this is a great example of a case where this would not have worked. Assuming this nail polish existed, and no one would think twice about a man wearing it, would you have dipped your finger in the kool-aid?

There's a very narrow use case for this nail polish, and that's when you expect there's a good chance someone will try to drug you, but you still aren't sensible enough to stay the hell away from that place.

Comment: Re: The world we live in. (Score 1) 579

by Vintermann (#47750153) Attached to: New Nail Polish Alerts Wearers To Date Rape Drugs

Any social structure that diminishes personal responsibility is suspect.

I agree. It follows from this that alcohol use in itself is suspect, though, even more so than frat boys. Temporarily and selectively evading personal responsibility for your actions is the reason people get drunk in the first place.

Comment: Instead of a degree, try this (Score 1) 637

by johnnyb (#47619807) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

I actually noticed this trend about 8 years ago, and wrote a book to solve it. The book is called Programming from the Ground Up. It is a Linux-based assembly language book, but also teaches a lot about systems programming in general, but without being too technical.

For the other CS-oriented stuff that they don't teach, the two books you should get are how to design programs and Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs. After that, I have written a series of articles to apply those ideas to "real" programming languages on IBM's developerWorks. You can find links to them here.

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: You're welcome to them. (Score 1) 402

by Vintermann (#47588403) Attached to: Comparison: Linux Text Editors

Many of us use it because it's simply more productive to do so.

You feel more productive, but the usability research showing mouse navigation is faster, and non-modal editing is faster, is older than vi. Xerox PARC found it in the seventies, Apple confirmed it in larger studies in the early eighties.

What happened to "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool"?

Comment: Re: You're welcome to them. (Score 1) 402

by Vintermann (#47588375) Attached to: Comparison: Linux Text Editors

Yeah, illustrates nicely why it's not a good solution.

Of course, how we do things is largely a matter of habit and standards. Not entirely - for instance, there was solid usability research coming out of Xerox PARC showing that mouse-based editors were better than keyboard-only ones, and nonmodal editors were better than modal ones. Emacs was made in part in response to that research. But for the most part, one way of doing it is as good as any other.

It's just that vi and emacs (and wordstar!) lost that battle ages ago. Your browser, your IDEs, your widget libraries, your anything-that-isn't-actually-vi-or-emacs, use a standard based on IBM's CUA standard + Microsoft's defaults for cut-copy-paste (inherited from Apple). Odds are this very web from supports the old IBM shortcuts for cutting and pasting, (ctrl-insert, shift-delete, and shift insert), even though no one ever uses them.

You can keep forcing them to conform to obsolete standards with plugins if you must, but that is IMHO creating more trouble for yourself than it's worth,

You know, the difference between this company and the Titanic is that the Titanic had paying customers.