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Comment other enforcement? (Score 1) 121

What "other enforcement"? o.k., presumably the FTC is doing other things with their time than just antitrust. But if you're talking about getting the largest enforcement effect for your tax dollar, wouldn't going after a huge company be a good buy? 1) big company = big effect (in $) on the market. 2) big company = big news = littler companies telling themselves, "Well, if google can't get away with it, than neither can we."

I'd be interested to see the actual numbers behind this comment. It smells to me like not just a case of maximum efficiency, but rather a total imbalance in the numbers. Either google is so huge that they can outspend the U.S. Government - in which case, um, antitrust? Or alternatively, it's code for, "We're stretched so thin that we genuinely can't do our job."

But, hey - limited government, right? Thank God we don't have fascist socialist muslim regulators preventing Google from coming up with yet another half-baked product that they abandon as soon as someone finds it useful.

Comment my lightbulbs are on the internet! (Score 1) 163

My primary objection (and others' as well, judging by the comments on this story) is having all my network-aware toasters and lightbulbs and whatnot connecting to systems outside of my house.

Does anyone know of an alternative with the same plug-it-in-and-it-just-works-ness, but with a more sensible scheme that lets me run without an internet connection? Or better still, with a single, secure internet-facing control, and everything else just talking in-house?

Secondary objection is that iirc (maybe just early versions), the Nest had no "dumb mode", where I could just set the schedule myself, preferably with a motion-sensor override in case I wake up or arrive home early. Again, is there a plug-and-play alternative that does this?

Ideal would be plug-and-play, but also scriptable via python or something in case I want to get fancy later on.

I know there are gajillion home automation standards / systems, and that I can roll my own from stone knives and bearskins - but honestly, it's overwhelming trying to sort through all the options. So please skip the "google it" style replies, if you can.

Comment Brilliant! (Score 5, Insightful) 162

Now, if only Slashdot had some sort of a system whereby submitted stories could be rated "thoughtful", or perhaps "not written by Bennett Haselton", thus preventing the front page from degenerating due to stupid, or offensive, or offensively stupid contributions.

Seriously - what is this, some sort of test to see how many screen-inches can be filled with the random bleatings of one jackass, before it impacts readership numbers? Like slashdot's version of the "cinnamon challenge"?

Comment ohh... well no wonder (Score 1) 312

"Public sentiment toward the company turned abruptly negative after the unveiling of its phone app, which responds to car reservation requests by announcing, 'Die UberMenchen are coming to pick you up!,' and asking the customer to don a distinctive badge, so that they can be identified."

Submission + - 35% of (American) Adults Have Debt "In Collections" 1

meeotch writes: According to a new study by the Urban Institute, 35% of U.S. adults with a credit history (91% of the adult population of the U.S.) have debt "in collections" — a status generally not acquired until payments are at least 180 days past due. Debt problems seem to be worse in the South, with states hovering in the 40%+ range, while the Northeast has it better, at less than 30%. The study's authors claim their findings actually underrepresent low-income consumers, because "adults without a credit file are more likely to be financially disadvantaged."

Oddly, only 5% of adults have debt 30-180 days past due. This latter fact is partially accounted for by the fact that a broader range of debt can enter "in collections" status than "past due" status (e.g. parking tickets)... But also perhaps demonstrates that as one falls far enough along the debt spiral, escape becomes impossible. Particularly in the case of high-interest debt such as credit cards — the issuers of which cluster in states such as South Dakota, following a 1978 Supreme Court ruling that found that states' usury laws did not apply to banks headquartered in other states.

Even taking into account the folks to lost a parking ticket under their passenger seat, 35% is a pretty shocking number. Anyone have other theories why this number is so much higher than the 5% of people who are just "late"? How about some napkin math on the debt spiral? (And unfortunately, cue the inevitable geek snobbery about how people in debt must be "idiots".)

Comment heritage report (Score 1) 63

In response to concerns both about possible export of American technologies to China as a result of IBM's involvement, and claims by climate scientists that emissions in China contribute significantly to global warming, think tank The Heritage Foundation released the following report:

"Heh, heh - His name is 'Dong'. Heh."

C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'Informatique. -- Bosquet [on seeing the IBM 4341]