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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) 104

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."

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.

Comment Re:I'm ashamed that I never get sick of these stor (Score 1) 104

> Bitcoin has no similar intrinsic value that isn't easily copied (and possibly improved upon) by any number of altcoins.

What you are calling "intrinsic value" is more correctly "utility value", the value we put on things for their usefulness. However, it is not an intrinsic property of an object. A gallon of water in the desert when you are thirsty is worth much more than a gallon of water to take a shower at home, when you have it supplied by a water utility at low cost. Both gallons are useful, and people are willing to pay for them, but different amounts.

In the case of bitcoin, it is the Bitcoin Network which gives it usefulness. Without the network, you cannot make transactions, and thus any coins you have are useless (you can't send them to anyone, and thus can't buy anything with them). Bitcoin has by far the largest network of it's kind. It consists not just of the relay nodes that forward transactions, but custom hardware, software applications, merchants who accept it, and users. That network isn't easily copied, it has to grow over time.

With the network, I can pay a programmer in Kiev from Atlanta easily, cheaply, and quickly. That's a pretty useful thing. I can also make payment contingent on a software script written into the transaction, because bitcoin was designed with a scripting language. I cam make my money programmable. That's a whole new useful feature.

Like many other networks, bitcoin responds to Metcalfe's Law. The more people who use it, the more valuable the network becomes. This is also true of fiat currency networks. Lots and lots of people use the US dollar. The dollar is thus highly useful, because you can spend it on lots of things in lots of places. Try spending a Zimbabwean Dollar anywhere, even in Zimbabwe. It experienced 10^25 inflation, and now nobody wants it. So if you have a stack of them, they are useless, except as a collector's item. Even though they were issued by a government, the size of the network that uses the currency trumps that.

Comment Re:Found? (Score 4, Interesting) 104

> The fishy part has always been that the theft occurred from offline, "cold storage" wallets,

According to a Reddit AMA today from a former Mt. Gox employee (he had kept silent until the arrest, because his testimony was part of the investigation), there were no cold storage wallets. It was total amateur hour on Karpeles' part: no proper security, no proper accounting, customer funds used for business and personal expenses, etc. The likely situation is the "missing" bitcoins never actually existed. Customer accounts were credited with fake coins to cover the fact that their funds were being used for other things. Eventually customer demands for cash or sending out their bitcoins elsewhere could not be met, and they declared bankruptcy.

Comment Re:Touch it with a 12 mile pole. (Score 3, Insightful) 140

You get the 12 mile military and 200 mile fishing limits for your land per international law. However, this must be land above the water. You cannot find land under the surface, dump tons of dirt on it, and claim those rights, per same law.

This doesn't mean you can't create the islands, but you can't do the 12 mile/200 mile thing. China [a nuclear power with a massive army and permanent UN veto] ... can.


Comment Re:Intervention? (Score 1) 140

That's actually a pretty good technique. Multiple exclamation marks is one of the most grievous grammatical gaffes generated these days. I almost always read them sarcastically on first scan. (Perhaps I'm giving the author the benefit of the doubt)? If I can't parse the phrase sarcastically, I'll lump it into the MySpace social media transplant group and just move along.

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". 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 Off Topic Editorial Complaint (Score -1, Offtopic) 599

So how many of you know that Slashdot is up for sale? It's been on the firehose and elsewhere on the web all morning, but, as near as I can tell, not on the Slashdot front page? Is Slashdot ownership not news for nerds or stuff that matters anymore?

Oh, and way to go USA on finally getting around to answering that petition... Nice to see such a quick, open, and transparent response to the citizenry. At least this one is honest.

Shortest distance between two jokes = A straight line