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Comment: Re:No exhaustive.. (Score 1) 283

by SethJohnson (#47409491) Attached to: The World's Best Living Programmers
Sounds like you missed an opportunity to capitalize on his genius. You could have been the Steve Jobs to his Steve Wozniak. No disrespect to yourself, because this is clearly one of those impossible-to-predict scenarios. I guess the lesson learned is to watch for these types of talents and make sure the work they have in front of them is sufficiently engaging on levels that will interest them.

I suppose this is one aspect of Google's 20% projects. People who are bored with their normal work may find satisfaction with their own pursuits and stay with the company to continue working on them.

Comment: Hall of Fame is different than these projects (Score 1) 283

by SethJohnson (#47409383) Attached to: The World's Best Living Programmers
While each of those are significant milestones in implementation achievements, I'm not aware of a single individual who can claim credit for enabling the completion of those projects.

To put those projects in proper scale to what the programmers on this IT World Hall of Fame have done, the above examples were all built with budgets of hundreds of millions of dollars. The needs of those systems were readily apparent by everyone involved. It was a matter of assigning an army of workers to put all the pieces together.

The accomplishments of these hall of fame programmers revolve around smart people identifying a vacuum of need that others hadn't recognized even existed. Then these people set about filling those needs by building essential tools themselves from scratch.

Comment: Cab companies are not LLCs (Score 2) 139

by SethJohnson (#47404207) Attached to: Uber Is Now Cheaper Than a New York City Taxi

What difference does it make if it's an Uber driver or any other driver who paralyzes you?

Difference being that Uber is sucking up around $213,000,000 per year by avoiding significant insurance coverages that their competitors are having to pay. They're offloading this chunk of the insurance burden on their 'independent contractors' who are not able to cover injuries like a $1 Billion / year revenue company can.

What does it matter? It's the difference between being compensated properly for a life-changing injury caused by an 'independent contractor' working for Uber and suffering "tough luck" by getting zilch in compensation. Compensation is the deciding factor between institutionalized living or as normal-as-possible life for the remainder of your years.

And if you think you can get lots of money out of taxi companies, think again: they are usually limited liability.

That corporate structure doesn't work the way you think it does. An LLC is created so it can implode in the face of a liability claim and protect the owners. If Yellow Cab were operating as an LLC, they would have dissolved after the first accident by one of their cabs.

Instead, in the big cities like New York and Chicago, the cab companies are trying to shield themselves from liability in the same way as Uber-- the drivers are independent contractors.

Comment: Re:And in other news (Score 4, Insightful) 139

by SethJohnson (#47403049) Attached to: Uber Is Now Cheaper Than a New York City Taxi

Why shouldn't the same insurance rates apply to everybody, simply based on mileage, driving history, and vehicle type? I mean, if I wanted to pick out a category of drivers to charge more, it would be mothers with children in their cars (they are dangerous), not Uber drivers looking for rides.

Consider the scenario where you are standing on a street corner and a car comes rushing towards you at a high rate of speed. Collision is imminent. You're going to survive the impact, but you'll be paralyzed from the neck down for the rest of your life.

If the car that crippled you was operated by an employee of a cab company, it might mean that a legal settlement would be reached such that you'd spend the rest of your life at your house with inhouse nurse care.

If the car was an Uber driver rushing down the street to pick up a customer before becoming inpatient and choosing a different car in the app, well, I hope you have substantial insurance through your own job. When you attempt to sue Uber over your injuries, they'll say they have no liability in the matter because their driver wasn't on the clock with a passenger. And they'll exert significant legal resources to prevent creating a precedent that'll put them out of business. They'll happily spend more fighting your case than the amount for which your suing. In this scenario, you're likely to have to live at an institution to be provided needed medical care for the rest of your life.

As for your stereotyping of mothers with infants, the most common cause of car accidents is distracted driving due to cellphone usage. Seems that Uber drivers looking for fares would strongly fit into that category....

Comment: Re:Tonka Tough (Score 1) 431

by SethJohnson (#47258667) Attached to: Chinese-Built Cars Are Coming To the US Next Year
This AC speaks the truth.

I saw this happen in the US with the skateboard deck industry. In the eighties and nineties, all legitimate wooden skateboard decks were manufactured in woodshops located in North America. Sure, Chinese-made skateboards would show up in big-box retail stores, but they weren't taken seriously by serious skateboarders. They were junk for kids.

In the early 2000's, certain California-based vendors contracted their entire production of these boards to Chinese factories. Within just a couple of years, the margins forced the all the other mainstream deck vendors to follow suit. As it ended up, the companies in California now just design the pictures on the boards, purchase advertising, and promote the decks made by Chinese companies. Whereas previously, Chinese-made skateboards weren't accepted by the skateboard industry, the Chinese factories have co-opted the California industry members to promote and market their products.

Comment: Recommend that you keep reading /. (Score -1, Flamebait) 165

by Dystopian Rebel (#47201319) Attached to: Recommendations For Classic Superhero Comic Collections?

"Due to being in a relationship with a comics geek"

This must mean that you are a girl who enjoys basement lodging. Therefore, your post is false and was either submitted by a program that won the Turing Test or by a CIA operative.

It's 2014 and Slashdot is full of Golden-Age Comics.

Comment: Re:Not impressed... (Score 1) 636

by BostonPilot (#47154537) Attached to: Apple Announces New Programming Language Called Swift

From what I've read so far, I have to agree. Like lots of people I first went to and started reading and got really excited. Wow.. Apple has taken this dataflow language and adapted it as a programming language. What a cool way to keep all those cores busy! Finally, a parallel programming language adopted by the mainstream.

Then I realized my mistake. Now I'm pretty let down. Seems kind of lame, from what I've read so far. Also, I think I prefer the elegant way of handling nil in the runtime versus spreading ?'s all over my code

Comment: Re:Solar power is cheap as coal? (Score 1) 462

by BostonPilot (#47086597) Attached to: Fiat Chrysler CEO: Please Don't Buy Our Electric Car

Really, solar power is as cheap as coal now. If that is true then why don't I see solar panels popping up everywhere?

OMH they are! I'm a helicopter pilot and when we fly around these days we're amazed at how many solar panels there are! We see two different forms: lots and lots of rooftop installations, both commercial and residential. They're *everywhere*. And then, solar gardens, i.e. 5-10 acres of land someone has installed solar panels on. Again, we see huge numbers of these around.

It's been an amazing thing to watch over just the last 2 years. Also, on a slightly different subject I was ferrying a helicopter across the country a couple years ago and was amazed by the number of windmills in Kansas. Thousands and thousands and thousands of them!

People are making investment in solar and wind

Comment: It's a taxi service, duh... (Score 1) 79

by SethJohnson (#47040445) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Travis Kalanick About Startups and Uber

One thing that Lyft does and Uber does not do is Lyft requires both drivers and passengers to log in with their facebook account.

Required Facebook membership? No thanks.

Lyft could do some interesting analysis to match people up based on shared characteristics.

These people need to get out of their comfort zone. Expose them to different cultures and ideas. Using FacEbook to ghetto-ize drivers is xenophobic. No sympathy for the OP complaining about immigrant drivers, either.

Comment: Call Uber's insurance company (Score 1) 79

by SethJohnson (#47039819) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Travis Kalanick About Startups and Uber

Uber explicitly states that it is up to the driver to remain compliant. Drivers aren't Uber employees, they're independent contractors.

If the drivers get money from Uber as independent contractors, then Uber's workers' compenation and liability insurance policies cover the independent contractor unless the contractor provides proof of their own coverage. Without proof in Uber's hands, the liability falls on the general contractor, not the subcontractor.

Any city that wants to expel Uber should simply have the state insurance board examine Uber's insurance coverage. Once their insurer has been identified, a quick call to that company is all it would take to convey the real shenanigans being played by the policy holder.

Comment: Re:a question that will not be answered (Score 2) 79

by SethJohnson (#47039531) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Travis Kalanick About Startups and Uber
I love this rationalization---

"If you pay for premium service, you can expect a higher degree of safety. If you purchase standard service, it's a roll of the dice."

If Uber isn't requiring proper licensing and insurance from these service providers, but is referring people to use them, Uber will be held liable for insurance claims.

The lawsuit won't come from the guy's family who got paralyzed after an Uber driver ran over him on his bike. The paralyzed guy's health insurance company will sue Uber because they don't want to pay for quadraplegic care for the rest of his life.

Guess who has the tougher set of lawyers...

Comment: Re:Infrastructure (Score 1) 659

by BostonPilot (#47030439) Attached to: Future of Cars: Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Or Electric?

All this report shows is the the grid can handle a few EVs it says nothing about handling a lot of EVs.

Some quick googling shows lots of similar articles and studies. The utilities don't seem to be worried. My guess is that they are happily anticipating becoming the energy provider for transportation in addition to their current business. And, if BEV takes a decade to become commonplace they have a full decade to upgrade the grid.

"As the power grid stands right now, it can already handle millions of electric vehicles without bringing any further power plants online."
( http://science.howstuffworks.c... )

"Kjaer is less concerned about transmission or generation being overtaxed, as long as consumers are taught to charge their plug-in cars at night, during off-peak demand periods, to smooth the load. "
( http://www.scientificamerican.... )

"Doggett is CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas – which oversees the state’s electric grid. On Tuesday he told lawmakers on the Senate Natural Resources Committee that he doesn’t believe even widespread adoption of electric vehicles would have any negative effect on the transmission system."
( )

"“Surprisingly, we found that in general, the electric utility infrastructure is already prepared to meet the President’s 2015 challenge. Our research revealed that utilities will not likely need to upgrade or expand transmission or generation capacity in the next ten years specifically to meet electric demand from EVs at projected adoption rates."
( )

And here is a paper from Southern California Edison which doesn't seem too worried about the impact of BEV on their grid:

"Morality is one thing. Ratings are everything." - A Network 23 executive on "Max Headroom"