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Comment: Re:Force his hand..."Sue me! Sooner than later..." (Score 5, Informative) 259

by Shakrai (#49746761) Attached to: Student Photographer Threatened With Suspension For Sports Photos

they couldn't possibly hope to recover the $100k+ in legal fees.

$100,000? That's just a tiny bit inflated. My legal fees for two felonies were slightly more than $5,000. It's not going to cost six digits to get judicial relief in a circumstance like this. It probably doesn't even get the lawsuit stage, a demand letter sent to the school district and reviewed by their attorney would probably suffice. "Yeah, we're going to lose this one. Wipe the student's record clean, tell him you're sorry, and move on."

There's plenty of stupidity in the American legal system to make fun of without making stuff up.

Comment: Re:Contingency plans for the contingency planners (Score 1) 198

by swb (#49743825) Attached to: Secret Files Reveal UK Police Feared That Trekkies Could Turn On Society

Given the potential universe of wacky cults, from Scientology to the Heaven's Gate to Aum Shinrikyo to Jim Jones' People's Temple, it might make sense to think about the risks associated with cults.

Especially if you factor in that Heavens Gate attracted a lot of people with IT smarts and Aum Shinrikyo tried to sarin gas the subway. Even if they don't become mass phenomenons there's some risk that bizarre millennial thought coupled with above average intelligence could lead to some bad outcomes.

Comment: Re:I expect that gasoline is probably even better. (Score 1) 108

by swb (#49742489) Attached to: Hydrogen-Powered Drone Can Fly For 4 Hours at a Time

Why not one of those hobby turbines used as a generator?

This one:

http://www.mhzusa.com/MHZ-JetC... ...has a gearbox for driving the driveshaft of a boat, but maybe it could be adapted to run a generator. The specs show 8kw of power output and I think this is the smallest one they sell. Some of the others have power output in excess of 10kw.

Comment: Contingency plans for the contingency planners (Score 1) 198

by swb (#49742411) Attached to: Secret Files Reveal UK Police Feared That Trekkies Could Turn On Society

Given the vast weirdness of the government bureaucracy and its penchant for contingency plans for all kinds of events, I wonder if contingency plans for some branch of the government trying to take over based on paranoid contingency plans has ever happened.

Comment: Byproduct of a patent-and-monopoly mindset? (Score 4, Interesting) 99

by swb (#49735153) Attached to: US Levels Espionage Charges Against 6 Chinese Nationals

I wonder if this is a byproduct of the general corporate tendency to look at "innovation" as a way to get a patent which is then used to enforce a monopoly and collect rents. Collecting rents is a disincentive towards more innovation, product improvements and other business efficiencies. Why compete when you can just charge rents?

If there wasn't a patent-and-monopoly mindset, perhaps there would be greater effort put into innovation as a means to more rapidly improve products (as well as a focus on other business efficiencies). If somebody "stole" your IP in this model, it would matter less because your pace of innovation may render the stolen IP retrograde by the time it was turned into useful products, and your sales would be driven by the strength of your products not because you had a legalized monopoly.

Comment: Re:We need a VESA standard for accessory brackets (Score 1) 240

by swb (#49732173) Attached to: Why Apple Ditched Its Plan To Build a Television

That kind of thing has always been an option, but the glue from Velcro tape is a mess.

I'd rather see slots of a standard dimension molded into the TV enclosure. STB makers could either mold in matching rails or supply a bracket that would mate with them. Third parties could make accessory rails that would adapt the little keyhole openings so that legacy devices could use the molded in slots.

Comment: Re:Mixed reaction (Score 1) 316

by demonlapin (#49730885) Attached to: Battle To Regulate Ridesharing Moves Through States
  1. 1. Uber gives clearly posted rates and I've never had a bill higher than the expected maximum for the ride. Get a taxi to quote you the same thing.
  2. 2. It's insanely trivial to identify who an Uber driver is - it's tied to their smartphone. Not so much with traditional taxis.
  3. 3. A valid concern, one that Uber claims to have dealt with by having insurance themselves. However, it's not like you ask your taxi driver to show you an up-to-date, online verification of his insurance before you hop in, right? I mean, liability insurance is mandatory in my state... but I still have uninsured motorist coverage. So this is a general problem.
  4. 4. Have you ever ridden in a cab? Jankiest things on the road.
  5. 5. Uh, no, that's not how it works. If a company starts to abuse their position as a market leader, maybe you do that. But there's absolutely nothing illegal about being so damned good that you compete everyone else into bankruptcy. A monopoly is not inherently illegal, or even wrong.

Comment: Re:Mixed reaction (Score 3, Informative) 316

by demonlapin (#49730377) Attached to: Battle To Regulate Ridesharing Moves Through States
As an aside, I have found that showing a taxi driver your destination on Google Maps on your phone is a very reliable way to insure that they take you via the quickest route. And Uber Black is well worth the small premium for the ride experience if you're not depending on it for day-to-day transportation.

"Buy land. They've stopped making it." -- Mark Twain