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Comment: Just flew from PDX to ORD... (Score 1) 128

by bennomatic (#47373843) Attached to: FAA's Ruling On Smartphones During Takeoff Has Had Little Impact
...and they made it clear that only larger devices (laptops) needed to be powered off. I know it's just an anecdote, but I kept my iPad mini on with iBooks open (learning Swift!), my kid kept playing 2048 on my iPhone, and I saw two other people within view of my seat using their devices during take-off, even more during landing.

Comment: Re:portland should charge Google (Score 2) 106

by bennomatic (#47225519) Attached to: Portland Edges Closer To Google Fiber
I'm over in SE Portland, near Reed, and Verizon's fiber offering may be available on the west side, but it's certainly not available here.

Over here, CenturyLink's 20Mbps DSL offering isn't even available; speeds are 1-1.5 Mbps, tops, with their service. Doesn't stop them from sending me monthly invitations to switch to them and get up to 20Mbps. You'd think that they could integrate their mailer database and their service availability database and only send offers to people who (a) can take advantage of those offers and (b) haven't already told them to F off multiple times.
"Thankfully", there's Comcast. Honestly, Comcast's service is really, really great. It's fast and reliable, and on those rare occasions that I've had to call into their support team, the people on the other side of the call have been awesome. My only complaint about them is that, since they're effectively a monopoly, they are clearly charging WAY more than they could afford to charge and still be very profitable, and certainly well above what the rates would be if there were any real competition. Again, DSL just isn't a competition here.
I've heard that where Google Fiber exists, Comcast's broadband fees are something like half of what they charge here. I can't wait for Google Fiber to come in. I'd switch in a heartbeat, just out of principal.

Comment: What a great idea! (Score 5, Insightful) 230

1. Build an electric car that's heads and shoulders above the competition.
2. Build an innovative charging infrastructure to allow for long distance driving.
3. Open up the technology for that charging infrastructure so that gas stations and the like can start getting in on the action and making some profit.
4. With charging infrastructure becoming ubiquitous, that takes away many people's concerns about buying your car.
5. Also, with charging infrastructure becoming ubiquitous, that may encourage other auto manufacturers to move past compliance cars and actually start selling quality vehicles.
6. Tout competition's success as your own success, as it's built on your platform. Competition isn't only good PR in this context, but it carries with it the subtext that electric cars are a product category that is here to stay.

To some degree, I still like the idea of plug-in hybrids for the time being. But if this "open supercharger" thing is as successful as I think it's going to be, there could be a sea change in the consumer automotive market.

Comment: Re:Wealth Pooling (Score 1) 187

by bennomatic (#46449589) Attached to: Is Traffic Congestion Growing Three Times As Fast As Economy?
Yes, there is definitely a divide between the most ideal definition of Libertarian and the more common implementation. You're clearly a thinker, and I'd trust proposals made by you to be worthy of debate.

Most of the folks I've met who claim to be Libertarian are either more of the greedy sort, or are at least ideological purists, even to their own detriment. To go back to the garbage example, there are self-proclaimed Libertarians I've spoken with who would rather buy their own can and haul their own trash at a cost of X (plus their time) than be "forced" to be complicit with a government program for hauling trash, even though it only costs .5*X.

Even if the goals are lofty, idealogical purism is typically more destructive than not. See RMS for a fine example.

Comment: Re:Wealth Pooling (Score 1) 187

by bennomatic (#46447211) Attached to: Is Traffic Congestion Growing Three Times As Fast As Economy?
You make a good point, but I'm not sure we're quite to a place where remote-piloted garbage trucks will be considered safe, except maybe in the dead of night when there's few other vehicles on the road.

Even then, though, in my locality, they don't force everyone to use a uniform (i.e. easily lifted by a robotic arm) garbage can. There's a strong libertarian bent in Oregon, so forcing everyone to pay $2/month or buy outright the type of can that'll interface with the truck isn't going to happen. As a result, probably 2/3 of my neighborhood uses their own, cheap cylinder cans, requiring that the garbage guy gets out and lifts.

It's my understanding that the garbage utility wanted to simply give everyone the cans and bury the cost because of the savings through efficiency. However, that was greeted with scorn; people who, on principle, didn't want to pay for other people's cans nor be forced to pay for their own, rallied to ensure that they would continue to be allowed to use whatever can they wanted, damn the cost to everyone else.

Comment: Wealth Pooling (Score 2) 187

by bennomatic (#46423095) Attached to: Is Traffic Congestion Growing Three Times As Fast As Economy?
If you look at places like San Francisco and the way wealth is pooling there, it's easy to understand why traffic congestion is growing faster than the economy.

If you put a bunch of rich-ass people together in one highly-concentrated place, even if all of them are working from home or taking Google busses to work, they're going to need services. Grocery stores, plumbers, babysitters, teachers, restaurant workers, you name it. Many of those sorts of jobs are not ones which are compatible with telecommuting--if my garbage man starts working from home, I'm going to be pissed!--and most of them are not of an income level which would allow a comfortable residence within the city where the job is. If you're making $30,000 a year as a teacher, spending $2,000 a month on a 400 sq ft studio apartment so you can walk or bike to work doesn't leave much left over for food and the like.

So inevitably, thousands upon thousands of workers need to commute various distances to keep their jobs and live in some level of comfort.

I realize that SF, as a peninsula, is a fairly unique scenario: it provides a high-value destination with severely constrained access points. Maybe not the actual logical conclusion of all similar circumstances, but a useful indicator of how things might play out in areas where money is aggregated into smaller and smaller groups who then take over relatively small and very desirable locations.

Comment: Re:100% write? (Score 1) 444

by bennomatic (#46030883) Attached to: Who Makes the Best Hard Disk Drives?
I was working on a project with a large bank, and during one of my calls, the bank's project manager told me a comical story about their back-up procedures. They had switched from tapes to hard drives, and every day, when the truck drove up for that office's data back-ups (not actual banking data, but backups of all the administrative systems in that office), due to contracts which were still in force after years, it was a huge trailer truck with nothing to put into it but a single 3.5" hard drive. The contracts apparently specified a vehicle that could handle peak data activity with old-school tapes, and hadn't been amended.

Beyond cost, it just amazed me that they were putting a huge empty truck on the streets of Manhattan every day, and I wondered how many times that got repeated each day.

Comment: Re:Amazing how times change. (Score 3, Interesting) 444

by bennomatic (#46030761) Attached to: Who Makes the Best Hard Disk Drives?
I'm just kind of amazed that Seagate is still around. I remember some years back, there was a huge fraud scandal where they were claiming huge volumes of unsold inventory to be sold in order to keep their stock price up. They were storing the drives in 18-wheelers and, at night, they were backing the trucks up against each other so that if an investigator wanted to break in, they had to physically move the truck, giving them time to respond. It was crazy.

Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at the moment. -- Robert Benchley

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