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Comment: Re:It happens... (Score 5, Interesting) 139

by TWX (#49361091) Attached to: Prison Inmate Emails His Own Release Instructions To the Prison
I had to go through jury selection a few months back for a capital case, going through three or four rounds of appearances and interviews. Part of what struck me about the experience is how incredibly poor the paperwork was. They gave us number cards when there were 250+ people to go through in my group, they were all handwritten even though the numbers corresponded with the computer-generated numbers we were assigned when the original mailing for service was sent. Forms and questionnaires looked like they were generated in Clarisworks by first-time users in elementary school. Nothing had letterhead, nothing had any sort of official feel.

Your story about no letterhead and using fax machines is totally believable to me, and I'm amazed that it isn't abused more often.

Comment: Re:So, everything? (Score 1) 311

by TWX (#49357503) Attached to: Amazon Requires Non-Compete Agreements.. For Warehouse Workers
Where I live no-competes are not enforceable, so here it doesn't matter. Even skilled technical workers that make real product-design contributions can change employers without penalty. One can go from Intel to Motorola to Honeywell and work in all of their IC packaging divisions without any penalty.

Comment: Re:Easy Solution (Score 1) 220

by TWX (#49357417) Attached to: Broadband ISP Betrayal Forces Homeowner To Sell New House
Free-markets would probably limit utilities to higher-density urban areas only. Regulation is supposed to force companies to do business that is not necessarily profitable in a small number of cases in order to reap the reward of the easy profitable business in urban areas.

What needs to happen here is enforcement against the monopoly that they have to provide service.

Comment: Re:Good Luck (Score 3) 311

by TWX (#49357355) Attached to: Amazon Requires Non-Compete Agreements.. For Warehouse Workers
There are lots of clauses placed into contracts that are not legally binding under current law. Some of those clauses are put in because the parties drafting the contract aren't necessarily aware that they're not legal, and other clauses are there so that if the law is changed, the clause might be able to come into effect.

An example, in my state, a real estate lender cannot seek compensation from the mortgagee-seller if a short-sale does not bring as much revenue as the mortgagee owes. Despite this, most short-sale contracts state that the bank may go after the seller for the seven years that debts may be collected in. Other states do not have laws preventing this, so if the seller moves out-of-state the bank might try to enforce against them, or if the laws in the state change then the bank may attempt to enforce.

As for the nature of illegal conditions in a contract, that's why contracts usually have clauses in them that state that if any part of the contract is deemed unenforceable, the rest of the contract remains in-effect.

Comment: Re:Not concerned (Score 1) 176

by TWX (#49356903) Attached to: German Auto Firms Face Roadblock In Testing Driverless Car Software
That sounds pretty good actually.

Apparently back in the day, telecom workers for the phone company didn't have their own service vehicles. One van or small bus would drop workers off at their sites so they could splice cables, which takes awhile, and would then collect them after they finished, to move on to the next area. After build-out has ended it has become more necessary for workers to have their own service vehicles as they don't need to drop five workers off along a ten mile stretch to each work for two hours.

For doing dense urban package delivery this does make sense. It might still make sense for one of the occupants to be licensed to drive the truck though, so that if they have to override the computer to park it they're legally allowed to.

Comment: Re:Not concerned (Score 1) 176

by TWX (#49356871) Attached to: German Auto Firms Face Roadblock In Testing Driverless Car Software
I expect that since Australia is so much more rural than even the western half of the continental United States, there will be more need for humans to be involved with trucking simply to handle situations that crop up outside of the computer's ability to handle.

How closely can road-trains operate to each other? I could see a lead truck with a human in it even if it's still driving mostly autonomously, a bunch of fully autonomous trucks, and a tailgunner with a human too, so that if there's a problem far down the line in such a convoy someone would notice it even if the computers didn't. Plus, if those drivers are responsible for tires and other on-the-road maintenance, having more than one person might be handy.

Comment: Re:Don't make it impossible, just make it hard (Score 1) 351

by TWX (#49356655) Attached to: Modern Cockpits: Harder To Invade But Easier To Lock Up
Yes, that is pretty absurd. It also requires pre-existing conditions (one of the switches being broken) and that the pilots have not other options (ie, descend and land at the first available airstrip or suitable flat surface as an improvised runway) such that there is indefinite time for the terrorists to attempt to defeat the door lock.

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."