Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
For the out-of-band Slashdot experience (mostly headlines), follow us on Twitter, or Facebook. ×

Comment: Re:Goodbye free speech (Score 1) 210 210

True and true. I meant judged in the judiciary sense, but there are always consequences to speech, even (especially?) protected speech. And you are correct that you can still be sued (for just about anything), and you still have to present your defense to the court.

If the truth of your statement isn't materially in dispute, or its clearly a statement of opinion not fact, then you can potentially get the case thrown out early on in summary judgment. It doesn't obviate court entirely, but it's much cheaper than going through discovery and (heaven forbid) trial.

Comment: Re:Goodbye free speech (Score 4, Interesting) 210 210

1. Freedom of speech is a government thing.

That rejoinder gets tossed around quite a bit. While it is technically true, it's misleading--the First Amendment (along with the rest of the Constitution) does inform the standards by which private conduct is judged.

The Supreme Court in Hepps decided that not only is truth an absolute defense to defamation*, but also that the burden is on the plaintiff to prove the defendant's statements are false (ie presumption of truth). This is contrary to old English common law (presumption of falsity) and a direct result of First Amendment protection.

For the same reason you have to prove actual malice in the case of a public figure (Sullivan), and are protected from foreign judgments that would be contrary to the 1st Amendment (2010 SPEECH Act).

Other amendments also have things to say about private conduct. In Shelley, SCOTUS applied the for-government-only 14th Amendment to racially restrictive property covenants. It may be a contract between two private parties, but enforcement of a contract or judgment is a government thing.

*Public interest/public figure, if we're being exact.

Comment: Re:Does Uber need executives in France? (Score 1) 329 329

Agreed, I would love to see some citations for this backcanceling practice.

I did some quick googling, and insurance carriers are certainly threatening to cancel (future tense) coverage for RS drivers, and refusing to pay for claims occuring within the passenger pickup gap.

But basic contract law fundamentally condradicts the notion of backcanceling. If the contract was void the moment you turned on the Uber app the first time, your insurer would have to refund all your premiums so as to avoid being unjustly enriched.

Of course, they can also argue for a course of action that's not legally correct just to hassle you and hope you give up.

Comment: Re:Taxi licenses are crazy expensive (Score 1) 329 329

Wait a few years when licensed taxis are out of business and there are no taxis on the road when you need them.

This isn't an inexorable death spiral brought on by price warfare. It's eminently fixable by just joining the 21st century. Cab companies, who already have the advantages of incumbemcy, capital, licensed labor force, tailored infrastructure, and favorable regulations, could pretty much close the gap just by creating a decent app and guaranteeing credit card acceptance. It's not about skirting regs to sustain cut rate pricing, it's about convenience.

Wait till there are few if any handicap accessible vehicles and few will pick up certain minorities.

Lol wut?

Comment: Re:Fucking Lawyers (Score 2) 181 181

Mod AC up.

The trial court ruling is how things ought to be, but how things actually are is a much different story, as reflected by the CAFC and SCOTUS.

You need a vanishingly small amount of originality to meet the copyrightability threshold. Like choosing categories for yellow pages rather than listing everything alphabetically. Like selecting and arranging public domain stories. Like adding a few lines to someone else's pictures.

It's worth arguing that even by the lowest standards, the APIs do not possess even a modicum of creativity. It's also worth arguing that they are so purely functional on a basic and elementary level that they should not be afforded copyright protection at all. But since the higher court rulings force us to concede copyrightability arguments, what's left to argue is that Google's use of these validly copyrighted APIs was fair and thus permissible.

Comment: Re:Why is Uber better? Serious question. (Score 1) 227 227

Of course it smells clean, Uber hasn't been around for that long. They will have forced taxi's out by the time they start smelling 'off'. Do they even have a requirement to make the seats washable? Eww.

Seeing as Uber comprises an army of private people's vehicles that they have to drive around in all the time, and not a commercial fleet of 24/7 3-shift cabs, I don't think that's accurate. Plus bad-smelling ride == bad review, so in theory even if it did happen its self-correcting.

As for "forcing out," even though I personally prefer Uber to traditional taxis, I don't think the latter is going extinct any time soon.

Fluff, I see from your many posts on this issue that you have a very negative view of RS services, even to the point of making posts like the above that are just silly. I'm asking honestly, what's fueling the vitriol? Did something bad happen to you or a loved one while using one of these services? Are you from somewhere in Europe where you have an awesome, heavily vetted taxi regime that you don't want to see undercut? Just curious.

Comment: Re:Why is Uber better? Serious question. (Score 4, Informative) 227 227

My wife and I use Uber on a regular basis. We, and most of our friends and acquaintances, have switched to ridesharing platforms and have not looked back. The main reasons are:

1) Convenience - car to your doorstep in minutes, rather than 20 minutes after the 15 minutes you waited on hold. Immediate availability and prompt, easy service is probaby 90% of the reason we use Uber. Certain use cases are possible now that were highly impractical before, like requesting an Uber from the office at lunchtime and having it be there by the time you get out of the building. I don't live in NYC so street hailing is a long shot and phone dispatch is a long wait.

2) Ease of Payment - just arriving at your destination completes the transaction on your chosen credit card; no more lies about only accepting cash and dirty looks when the cabbie has to dust off the old credit card imprint machine.

3) Quality of Service and Ratings - I have had mostly great experiences with Uber drivers, who get 5 stars. I had one that was awful, he got 1 star and a report that he (literally) didn't know how to drive. The ratings seem pretty accurate. In cab world, it's a crap shoot, and the quality of drivers has been 50/50 at best. To be fair, none of the bad cabbies have been as bad as the one awful Uber driver I had. But I've had plenty of great Uber drivers that were better (personality, road knowledge, driving skills) than all but the best few cab drivers I've ever had.

4) Cost - at least in my region, Uber is not really competing on cost; that is to say they're often as or more expensive than a comparable cab ride. Sometimes, certain rides are a few bucks cheaper, but it's almost never a pricing slam dunk that would drive choice over the above reasons. The cost is always reasonable unless it's big surge, in which case I can choose another RS, a traditional taxi, public transport, etc. They don't pull any funny business with the cost, unlike many cabs I've been in--no games with meter vs zone pricing and haggling over a short ride that somehow costs double what's on the sticker.

For us, the Uber platform has just been a hands-down better experience. It's not a bunch of hoopdies offering cut rate prices, it's a fast, no-hassle experience for which we frequently pay extra.

Comment: Magnets in the Sidewalks! (Score 1) 36 36

... including the possibility that Lexus put some very strong rare-earth magnets underneath the sidewalk in the video.

I don't see why we couldn't just do that everywhere. It won't cost more than a trillion dollars, and it would pretty much solve all the problems we constantly have with sidewalks lacking strong magnetic fields.

I mean, it would create some new problems for non-hovering skateboards, bikes, carts, segways, other wheeled vehicles, people in wheelchairs, people with piercings or surgical plates, people who wear steel-toed boots, people carrying hard drives, clumsy people who drop ferrous items, people whose job it is to clean debris off sidewalks, compass-wielding explorers, and any metallic objects anywhere near street level in cities or suburbs. Small price to pay for working hoverboards everywhere!

"May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." -- George Carlin