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Comment Re:Free wifi (Score 3, Interesting) 178

Fine, but require AT&T to disclose (in large font) that it's not an internet connection, since the content is being modified en route.

Something like:

WARNING: Web pages you view may be recorded or altered by AT&T or its affiliates. Web pages and other content retrieved may not reflect the content available over a standard internet connection. Information you enter or retrieve may be transferred or sold to third parties. AT&T is not responsible for malware injected into your content by its affiliates, or damage done to you or your computer by said malware.

(Actually, I think that last sentence should be in large font at the top of every web page that uses ads inject by third parties)

Comment Re: These companies keep giving us reasons (Score 1) 386

I use my own Mac at work, if I didn't I'd be using a company provided Mac. I use a Windows (8.1 Pro) PC at home, but I'm planning to replace it with an iMac in the next year or two.

Nobody forces me to use Windows. If you do have to use a Windows machine at work... well, then it should only be the company's data that's getting spied on. If you put your own data on that machine, chances are your company IT department can spy on that already (if they're the kind of company that forces you to use Windows).

All that said, all of this sounds like an overreaction. I seriously doubt MS is going to send data about files stored on your HD back to its servers. The backlash would be immense.

Comment Re:If only... (Score 1) 245

Certainly not in San Francisco or other large cities, where the taxi systems are plagued by complaints of lack of service. Where I used to live in SF (Balboa Park area) it wasn't possible to get a taxi, same on the roads near Golden Gate Park. Before Uber, getting a taxi when a convention is in town was impossible (in fact that's why Uber was founded).

Go to NYC and you'll hear similar complaints (certainly about lake of service to areas such as Harlem).

Is Uber perfect? Hell no. Is it a good idea to ban all alternatives to taxis? Are you kidding?

Comment Re: Why do this? (Score 1) 112

They could also change the price, as Verizon did by raising one of their junk fees ("Regulatory Recovery Fee) during my contract. I called them and told them I wanted out, they claimed that only the basic monthly rate was locked in, they could freely raise the other fees sky high and force you to pay the fee or pay the ETF.

That's when I switched to Virgin, then to T-Mo. Signing a contract just isn't worth it if the phone company thinks they can legally raise your monthly bill from $75 to $750.

Comment Re:*This* is why Mozilla needs to stand down.... (Score 2) 88

It's not hypocritical. If Firefox starts taking on all of the "downsides" of Chrome, then the equation changes. Now the question is, what does Chrome have that Firefox doesn't? What does Firefox have that Chrome doesn't?

On Mac, I use Safari. On Windows, I use Chrome, not FF. Why? Because FF can not seem to *get out of the fucking way* and let me browse.

Every time it updates I have to close the stupid update page. On first install, I lost count of the number of prompts I had to close before I could just use the browser. Then there's the "plugin scan". If something has to be disabled, do it in the background and let me know! Same for updates.

Comment Re:There is no reason for any drought to continue (Score 4, Insightful) 387

Desalination is not, however, cheaper than not having almonds. Before we shell out billions (and generate more pollution) legal reforms will be needed to eliminate this "senior water rights" nonsense. Then the costs of any new infrastructure can be spread amongst all water users, according to usage.

Comment Re:My concerns (Score 1) 57

So that's 200 "errors" per day. Do you have any idea how many times cars encounter pedestrians on a given day? What would you say the error rate was on that? What if it turned out some cheaply made self driving car had an error rate of 1%? (or 5%?)

No matter how bad human drivers are, there will have to be standardized tests conducted by third parties before these things can be operated fully autonomously, or sold to consumers. The failure conditions will have to be understood. These cars are pretty fresh off the assembly line, no doubt well maintained. Just wait until regular people start driving them and maintaining them. The tests should combine those suggested by the industry with others that come from independent research. Minimum standard will have to apply.

I doubt the manufacturers will complain much, and I guarantee you that the regulatory approval will be used in advertising.

Comment Re:Well, sure, but... (Score 1) 295

The same argument could be used to require labelling to include all pesticides used in the process, the names of any other chemicals were applied, and even what mechanical processes were applied to the food.

In fact, I think part of the objection GMO manufacturers have with labelling requirements is that they're cherry picking the GMO label but not requiring all the others. If we gave full labels for every food product, with GMO being little more than a bullet point, the amount of text would be so huge that people would just ignore it, much like most of the text on a OTC medication label.

Comment Re:Page loading has always been far slower with ad (Score 1) 394

When you say the ads have "lousy" response rates, you're making a comparison. The only number they can compare to is either a fantasy (what they think the click-through rate should be so that they'll strike it rich) or existing obtrusive ads. Neither of these work with reality, where most people will rarely click on an ad intentionally, and even fewer will actually spend any money.

Advertisers will do whatever they can to increase their revenue, that's why we've had pop-ups, drive by installs, ads that spread malware, auto-playing video ads, etc. The only thing way to control it is for browsers to put heavy limits in place (like built-in pop-up blockers, or Chrome disabling secondary flash elements). Pretty soon things like uBlock will just start getting built in to the browser. When the advertisers bitch, we'll just point them to behavior like this that demonstrates their bad faith.

Comment Re:I've had issues with the Win10 NVIDIA drivers.. (Score 1) 317

No doubt peripheral manufacturers will take advantage of this to silently install shovelware on users' machines, like Logitech's "Download Assistant". This will be the new avenue used by advertisers to install themselves in the system tray or browser. Microsoft themselves have endorsed this by silently installing a Windows 10 nag using Windows update.

Comment Re:Nonsense (Score 1) 112

> Have gchq or other intelligence organizations ever used the data inappropriately?

Answer: "NSA Officers Spy on Love Interests"

If you allow intelligence agencies to gain access to unlimited amounts of information, with no regard for privacy, they can use it to blackmail anyone. Next time an organization like Amnesty International finds out about an abuse perpetrated by a British-supported regime, the Government might decide to "convince" them to keep their mouths shut. Even if that doesn't happen, individuals will still use the information and tools available to them illegally.

Practically anything can be justified in the name of security. All of these procedures always rely on the assumption that the security personnel have perfect morals. It never works out that way. For reference, see TSA.

Comment Re: Are you OK, samzenpus? (Score 1) 85

About half of the USF goes to providing phone service in rural areas. Another 25% goes to providing internet to rural libraries, and rural and low income schools. Some of the rest goes to Lifeline ("Obamaphone") so, if you want to cut that tax, let's start by eliminating support for all those rural areas, they're mostly Republicans anyway, so they should support the elimination of government services!

Comment Re:Taxi licenses are crazy expensive (Score 1) 334

Sorry, should have checked the number first. There were around 1500 medallions total. More were needed, but the cartel refused to allow more to be issued because it would reduce the value of the existing stock. After Uber proved there was pent up demand (back when UberBLACK was the only option, they were charging more than a taxi and getting plenty of business) the cartel finally relented and allowed about 700 more to be issued.

For comparison, Uber has 11,000 active drivers in San Francisco. The number of medallions isn't even close.

Comment Re:Taxi licenses are crazy expensive (Score 1) 334

If "within existing laws" means having a medallion, that simply isn't possible, as there are not enough available. Up until a year or two ago, there were less than 500 medallions total in San Francisco.

There are other problems too. Various laws prevent Uber from performing a background check going back more than 7 years. As a regulated business, Taxi companies are required to (and able to) run better background checks going back 99 years.

As for pricing, taxi fares in San Francisco are ridiculous, like a 50% upcharge if you leave the city. But lets say Uber did implement it. How long until the cartel starts complaining they can't do "surge" pricing?

The truth is the taxis should have used their entrenched market position by pooling their resources and building an e-hailing app, or at least participating in the ones that exist now. Even in SF, try checking out the sites for the major cab companies. Only one has an app, the rest either don't exist or haven't been updated in over a year.

I should note another site does list an app, one that renamed itself over a year ago. That app (Flywheel) has never worked on my iOS device, so I don't know if it works or not.

Instead, cab companies used their entrenched position to keep the supply of medallions so low that people had no choice but to switch to Uber/Lyft/Sidecar. There just wasn't any way to get a cab, especially if you were west or south of Twin Peaks.

Obviously all of this applies to SF, where Uber was created to solve the very problem of not being able to get a cab. However, I'll bet all of this applies well to Paris.

"Ignorance is the soil in which belief in miracles grows." -- Robert G. Ingersoll