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Comment Re:Is that even worthwhile? (Score 1) 105

Is it even worthwhile to use an app like that to save a few cents on gas?

Not EVERY TIME you need to fill-up, but it's very good for finding which gas stations in your area are consistently inexpensive, which ones play games with pricing (occasionally cheap to bring-in business, then crank-up the prices). And when traveling it absolutely INVALUABLE for avoiding gas-traps that can be $1 per-gallon more than the gas station half a mile ahead...

If I have to spend even 5 minutes looking up gas prices and driving out of my way to go to a cheaper gas station, it's not worth saving 30 cents a gallon on gas.

At $8/hour (a reasonable minimum wage), 5 minutes of effort is worth 67 cents, making even a 5 cent/gallon price difference worth the effort.

Personally, there's nothing I would love more than an app (or maps/navigation feature) that would show me which cheap gas stations are along my route, rather than a dumb radius search that might tell me to do a U-turn and drive a 10 mile loop to save 1 cent/gallon, or going 5 miles away from the highway, when in both cases continuing on my route for 5 miles to the next cheap gas station is most often the far better option. GasBuddy's map is utterly useless for such things, and would take an hour of clicking-on each pin to figure out the answer to that simple and frequent question.

I see Gas Guru is a solid competitor to Gas Buddy. I'll have to compare their terms and see which is slightly less evil.

Comment Re:So what's up with those bitcoins? (Score 1) 103

Having a currency with deflation has never been really tested.

"Japan's economy was caught in a deflationary spiral for the past 20 years. It started in 1989, when the Bank of Japan raised interest rates causing the asset bubble in housing to burst. During that decade, the economy grew less than 2% per year as businesses cut back on debt, spending and lost productivity with excess workers (Japan's culture discourages employee layoffs). The Japanese people are also savers, and when they saw the signs of recession, they stopped spending and put away funds for bad times."

"Massive deflation helped turn a recession into The Great Depression. As unemployment rose, demand for goods and services fell. Prices dropped 10% a year. As prices fell, companies went out of business. More people became unemployed. When the dust settled, world trade essentially collapsed. The amount of goods and services traded fell 25%, but thanks to lower prices the value of this trade was down 65% (as measured in dollars)."

"As prices fall, people put off purchases, hoping they can get a better deal later. This puts pressure on manufacturers to constantly lower prices. Constant cost-cutting means lower wages and less investment spending."
http://useconomy.about.com/od/...

A deflationary spiral is a vicious circle where decreases in price lead to lower production, which in turn leads to lower wages and demand, which leads to further decreases in price. The problem exacerbates its own cause.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

Comment Re:Sugar Daddies? (Score 1) 550

I believe in quality over quantity, and /. doesn't have the intelligent conversations with knowledgeable people that it once did. They've nearly all fled.

I learned a huge amount from submitting stories to Soylent and Pipedot, and comparing them to the crud was on Slashdot at the time... Namely, /. likes to publish a completely inaccurate and twisted stories any idiot knows is slanted and wrong, and then 99% of the comments are made-up of people correcting (and ranting about) the bad story. If you don't publish such crap, you can have informative discussions with 1% of the audience...

In addition, it's the very few, high-quality commentors that make the site, not the rest of the horde. You can have a very small community, as long as it contains a few very smart people, and have just as much insightful conversation. I saw it working wonderfully back in the early days of /. but there's nothing of value left here, now. If Pipedot can continue to maintain the high signal-to-noise ratio as it grows, it *could* be better than /. ever was. But who knows what the future may hold...

Comment Re:You just described SoylentNews. (Score 5, Informative) 550

You've basically just described SoylentNews, a Slashdot clone that appeared when the Slashdot Beta shit really started heating up.

SoylentNews never aspired to be anything like slashdot. Instead NCommander stated clearly "SoylentNews intends to be a source of journalism", which just resulted in it becoming HuffingtonPost with discussion, instead of a /. replacement.

The only direct replacement for /. that appeared was PipeDot. "pipedot intends to be a better slashdot". https://pipedot.org/comment/2C... Unfortunately, the word hardly got out, and readership over there is pretty low.

Comment Re:Sugar Daddies? (Score 2) 550

/. is just an empty name, and it has less value than ever. All the best parts of /. can and have been forked.

SoylentNews is like HuffingtonPost on slashcode, while PipeDot is a working rewrite of slashcode that kept the sci/tech focus and high standards, but hasn't managed to build a big community of users so far. Just pointing /. readers to Pipedot instead would do the job, and rescue millions of dollars from Dice's pockets.

Comment Re:Morse Code (Score 1) 619

Oh, wait, you didn't need to pass a test for that.

I'm just trying to think how that would have been possible. I think back then there was a medical exception you could plead for. I didn't. I passed the 20 WPM test fair and square and got K6BP as a vanity call, long before there was any way to get that call without passing a 20 WPM test.

Unfortunately, ARRL did fight to keep those code speeds in place, and to keep code requirements, for the last several decades that I know of and probably continuously since 1936. Of course there was all of the regulation around incentive licensing, where code speeds were given a primary role. Just a few years ago, they sent Rod Stafford to the final IARU meeting on the code issue with one mission: preventing an international vote for removal of S25.5 . They lost.

I am not blaming this on ARRL staff and officers. Many of them have privately told me of their support, including some directors and their First VP, now SK. It's the membership that has been the problem.

I am having a lot of trouble believing the government agency and NGO thing, as well. I talked with some corporate emergency managers as part of my opposition to the encryption proceeding (we won that too, by the way, and I dragged an unwilling ARRL, who had said they would not comment, into the fight). Big hospitals, etc.

What I got from the corporate folks was that their management was resistant to using Radio Amateurs regardless of what the law was. Not that they were chomping at the bit waiting to be able to carry HIPAA-protected emergency information via encrypted Amateur radio. Indeed, if you read the encryption proceeding, public agencies and corporations hardly commented at all. That point was made very clearly in FCC's statement - the agencies that were theorized by Amateurs to want encryption didn't show any interest in the proceeding.

So, I am having trouble believing that the federal agency and NGO thing is real because of that.

Comment Re:Morse Code (Score 1) 619

The Technican Element 3 test wasn't more difficult than the Novice Element 1 and 2 together, so Technican became the lowest license class when they stopped having to take Element 1.

The change to 13 WPM was in 1936, and was specifically to reduce the number of Amateur applicants. It was 10 WPM before that. ARRL asked for 12.5 WPM in their filing, FCC rounded the number because they felt it would be difficult to set 12.5 on the Instructograph and other equipment available for code practice at the time.

It was meant to keep otherwise-worthy hams out of the hobby. And then we let that requirement keep going for 60 years.

The Indianapolis cop episode was back in 2009. It wasn't the first time we've had intruders, and won't be the last, and if you have to reach back that long for an example, the situation can't be that bad. It had nothing to do with code rules or NGOs getting their operators licenses.

A satphone is less expensive than a trained HF operator. Iridium costs $30 per month and $0.89 per minute to call another Iridium phone. That's the over-the-counter rate. Government agencies get a better rate than that. And the phone costs $1100, again that's retail not the government rate, less than an HF rig with antenna and tower will cost any public agency to install.

You think it's a big deal to lobby against paid operators because there will be objections? How difficult do you think it was to reform the code regulations? Don't you think there were lots of opposing comments?

And you don't care about young people getting into Amateur Radio. That's non-survival thinking.

Fortunately, when the real hams go to get something done, folks like you aren't hard to fight, because you don't really do much other than whine and send in the occassional FCC comment. Do you know I even spoke in Iceland when I was lobbying against the code rules? Their IARU vote had the same power as that of the U.S., and half of the hams in the country came to see me. That's how you make real change.

Comment Re:GnuTLS (Score 1) 250

OpenSSL has first-to-market advantage, and anyone who hasn't evaluated the quality differences will choose the simpler license. Plus there are other alternatives, like Amazon's new SSL-in-5000-lines which is also gift-licensed.

The time for OpenSSL to dual-license was when it was the only available alternative to entirely proprietary implementations. That might indeed have funded a quality improvement.

I don't know a thing about the quality of GnuTLS or the Amazon thing. I've seen enough of the insides of OpenSSL to know it's not pretty, but am not a crypto guy and this don't work on it.

Comment Re:Few people understand the economics (Score 1) 250

Maintaining FIPS compliance did not make anything easier. It's essentially a prohibition on bug repair, as you have to recertify afterward. But the people who wanted FIPS were the only ones who were actually paying for someone to work on OpenSSL.

I don't think any of the other Free Software projects ever tried to be FIPS certified.

Comment Re:Lawsuits and licenses are not the problem (Score 1) 250

If you are one of the infringed parties, I'd be happy to talk with you about what your options are. bruce at perens dot com or +1 510-4PERENS (I'm not there today, but it will take a message). I am not a lawyer but I work with the good ones and can bring them into the conversation if necessary.

The gent who wakes up and finds himself a success hasn't been asleep.

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