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Comment: Re:Taxi licenses are crazy expensive (Score 1) 325 325

On the surface these regulations sound useful, but I've still had a lot of bad experiences in taxis. Not every time I get into a cab, but it's happened a not-insignificant number of times. I've had multiple taxi drivers pretend that the meter is broken, and then try to charge me a ridiculously overpriced fare (which I refused to pay). I've been verbally abused because a driver didn't feel I was travelling far enough to be worth his while. Many drivers smell bad, and have dirty cabs. Female friends have been sexually propositioned, and drunk friends have been taken advantage of.

Since I've started using Uber and Lyft, I've never had any reason to complain. Never mind the lower price; the quality of the service is simply better. Drivers are friendly, and since the payment goes through the app, it's hard to get cheated.

Say what you want about the importance of safety and accountability, and the regulations needed to ensure this. But in my experience, the regulations around taxis don't work as well as whatever Uber/Lyft are doing. I'm guessing that the ratings systems in Uber/Lyft quickly flush out asshole drivers, whereas in the taxi industry you have to go to the effort to file an official complaint. In some cities you need to show up in court to argue your case, which is especially hard when you're using a taxi in a city that you're just visiting, as was the case for me in Sydney.

If the existing regulations don't work, then they're not worth defending. Good luck to Uber.

Comment: Re:I'm spending 60% of my monthly income on rent (Score 1) 939 939

A city of 4 storey buildings sprawls more than a city of 40 storey buildings. So maybe the roads would need to be widened but they would also be shortened, and this would allow people to find other methods of transport that are more efficient than hauling a 1.5 tonne steel cage with you everywhere you go. The costs get socialized either way, but the higher density layout is less socialized.

Comment: Dependencies (Score 5, Insightful) 119 119

Why do you think a numeric priority system gives "freedom" to the end user? To me, having to manually mess around with numbers is an annoyance, and it means that the init system is getting in the way.

Having numbers means that some dependency info gets lost. If you have an S10 and S20 script, is there any dependency between them, or were they just arbitrarily numbered? It's impossible to tell unless you go and read through the script and figure out for yourself. This makes it hard to debug when things go wrong. You also just end up with a bunch of scripts that all start with S99 or K99.

The NetBSD init system (which was introduced way back in 2001, and I think ended up being adopted by the other BSDs) has a simple way of solving this. There's a tool called rcorder that parses REQUIRE and PROVIDE lines in each startup script (it's tsort, essentially) and determines the order to run each script. If you wanted to debug something, you could run this yourself and check the output. "Runlevels" were implemented with dummy scripts (i.e. scripts that just had dependency information in them, and didn't perform any actions).

Other than that, it's as simple as the traditional sysvinit, but without meaningless numbers everywhere. You can read more about it here:

It's 2015, we should be naming things not numbering them.

Comment: Re:Advantages of living in a small town (Score 2) 38 38

Great! Since you seem to think my logic is unsound, you will demonstrate its failings for us by naming a single successful, low-crime majority-black area that has no local warlords and no "thug gangsta" culture destroying its own people. That would make me shut up, fast.

5 seconds of Googling came up with this:

Comment: Re: Tolls? (Score 1) 837 837

Right now a lot of it is paid for from the general fund. But if we do move to a pure user-pays system, indirect users would still be paying for what they indirectly use, because businesses would pass on transport costs to consumers. This would actually create economic incentives for people to buy local goods, like what the "locavore" movement is trying (but failing) to encourage. This is how the free market is supposed to work, and it's ironic that the private car has become a symbol of the free market even though so much of the infrastructure it relies on is socialized.

Schools are a little bit different because children shouldn't be punished for the mistakes of their parents. If you want a society with any sort of social mobility you need to have equal access to education for everyone.

Comment: Re:Need the pop up ad revenue? Doing it wrong.... (Score 1) 618 618

I don't particularly like advertising, but I do see it as a necessary evil on today's web. Obviously people dislike ads, but they dislike paywalls even more. I suspect that far more than 50-60% of sites would die without ads - I'd say it's more like 80-90%. When I look at the sites that I visit (including Slashdot) nearly everything is supported by ads, with only a few exceptions like Amazon and Netflix.

One solution might be Google Contributor, which lets you buy ads from the pages you visit. The ads get removed from the page and the site owner gets money from you, rather than from an advertiser.

Comment: Re:Good movie? (Score 5, Insightful) 776 776

This happens a lot on IMDB. The first people to see a movie are usually hardcore fans who have been anticipating it for a long time, and will enjoy it no matter what. So there's a sampling bias at the start, then normal people start watching the movie and the average rating goes down.

Comment: Re:Why would anyone start there? (Score 1) 123 123

You could halve your costs and lower your taxes by moving to Texas or North Dakota, but you'd also find it significantly harder to raise invement capital there. The big draw of the Bay Area for startups is the amount of VC money flowing around, and for some reason Silicon Valley VC firms have a strong preference for investing locally. Until this changes, or until people in other areas start investing heavily in tech, startups will continue to start primarily in Silicon Valley. And once established, it's hard for a company to move to a cheaper location, as it is extremely disruptive to its employees' lives.

Comment: Re:bad statistics (Score 1) 240 240


Net Applications uses data captured from 160 million unique visitors each month by monitoring some 40,000 websites for its clients. This means it measures user market share. If you prefer usage market share, you’ll want to get your data from StatCounter, which looks at 15 billion page views.

So Net Applications counts the number of users who use it, whereas StatCounter counts the number of uses (i.e. page hits). The difference you see with Internet Explorer being "overcounted" shows that it occupies a long tail of many users who don't browse the web very often, whereas heavy web users prefer Chrome so it gets "undercounted".

StatCounter stats are below, for desktop and combined (desktop+phone+tablet+console):

Comment: Re:Because beating up the clergy always works so w (Score 1) 249 249

The problem with pedophilia in the Catholic Church isn't just the prevalence of it, or the fact that the clergy are in a position of power. The problem is the way that they covered up the cases and protected the abusers. The right thing to do when discovering a pedophile priest would be to hand him over to the police, but the church would often keep things secret and move the priest to another location, to try to make the problem go away. This culture of secrecy went all the way up to the pope, and when an organization as large as the Catholic Church has systemic problems like this, it completely justifies the amount of media attention that they received.

Work expands to fill the time available. -- Cyril Northcote Parkinson, "The Economist", 1955