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Comment Good for India (Score 1) 52 52

Step 1: wait for Uber to come to town
Step 2: let them build some momentum and drop some cash investing in scaling up
Step 3: act outraged when cab companies complain and promise to shut them down
Step 4: drop a lot of fines on them to absorb even more of that phat US VC cash
Step 5: repeat step 4 until the taxi companies, Uber or citizens force your hand into either legitimising them or actually banning them.

This seems to be the tactic of my home town (Brisbane, Australia). Last I saw we'd fined Uber $1.7m, all while pretending they can't be stopped and letting them operate (they just announced they're hiring more staff).

They'll have to provide a better licensing framework at some point - where I am now in Columbus, OH they seem to have a great one - but in the meantime it seems their plan is just to keep fining them to see if they're going to blink first.

As a Brisbaner I love the idea of us taking all that money. As someone that actually wants to go to places though and not be at the mercy of the taxi companies, I hope they negotiate soon and build a framework that takes into account this new age we live in.

Comment Re:Quite a few obstacles remain. (Score 1) 883 883

I'm an Australian currently spending a lot of time in Ohio (Columbus); I worked here last year and am now holidaying here for a few months before moving on.

I don't own a car but almost everyone I know does, so it's been interesting observing how cars work here. Certainly Teslas are rare - I've seen three unique ones in the wild here, one of which I was pretty sure was a demo one from the Tesla store being out on a test drive. (The third one I saw literally yesterday, so until then it would have just been two.)

One thing I've noticed in Ohio is there are a lot of people that drive Hondas. Like, way more than I expected to see in the US, assuming many people would be driving US-made cars. I was surprised by this - until I discovered there's a Honda factory nearby. This seems to be a Big Deal for many locals.

Coming from Australia I've also been interested in how people deal with the weather. We live close to downtown in apartments; almost everyone in this area seems to be stuck with an outside carpark largely exposed to the elements. No idea how hard it would be to convince our landlords to put in an external charging point but suspect it would be tricky.

A bit further out though, many people seem to have proper garages attached to their houses. I would imagine for these people an EV is a much more realistic proposition; the garages are usually all wired anyway (for light and/or heat). I've read batteries don't work as efficiently in the cold so there is that to deal with too, especially if you don't have covered parking at the other end (many of the car parks around here are not covered).

There is a dedicated Tesla EV charging bay at Easton (the big local megamall thing). Looking at the Tesla map there are some supercharger stations here already and a few more planned. I imagine things will change a bit once the charging infrastructure becomes a bit more common.

Comment Re:In the US. (Score 1) 883 883

Again, this works in the US with big suburbs where everyone has a parking lot with an electric outlet. In other countries (like good old Europe), where most people live in apartments and there is just no way you can plug your car at night, it doesn't work. It is just impossible until you can refill your car in 5 minutes like with gasoline...

FWIW I was in Norway several years ago and saw an EV charging point just on the sidewalk in the middle of the city (photo - I think it was Oslo).

My recollection is this was an early experimental programme and they were free to use for the presumably very few people that had EVs at the time.

This was the first time I'd seen anything like this (I'm Australian) and I was struck by the simplicity of it - literally just a random pole stuck into the street. I've not looked into it but I'm guessing building those things is not significantly expensive because most of the important infrastructure they need to deliver the electricity is already in place.

I've since been to France a couple times and seen similar things there, although I believe they were dedicated ones for a car sharing scheme that happened to use electric cars. But again, these things were just plonked into the middle of the city with seemingly little effort or disruption.

Comment Re:Why not both? (Score 1) 239 239

Thanks for the explanation. When we talk about "more efficient", how much are we talking about here? The article link mentions "5% or more of the power loss occurs" but as it's a Google Translate, not sure if it's talking about the same thing.

Does it basically mean these DC A/C units are 5% more efficient?

Comment Re:Wrong tool (Score 1) 144 144

The morals of this is never, ever use spreadsheets program for non-trivial work.

This is only really a valid conclusion if you compare it against the lost billing rate of other solutions though. I have seen organisations that would happily allow billing stuff to fall through the cracks with specialised software simply because it was easier than trying to fight the software for certain situations.

I can imagine that someone with Excel might end up saving more money for that reason, although I certainly agree the average complicated spreadsheet probably has a lot of errors.

Comment Re:No nuance allowed. You're for us or against us. (Score 1) 557 557

Thank you for neatly summarising exactly how I feel about Gamergate. I wasn't sure if I was an idiot and was just missing the point, but I felt a staggering amount of the commentary I read on it was /clearly/ trying to take a position - but I could never understand /what/ position!

Comment Re:Do your part nerds! (Score 1) 283 283

I'm not sure what Firefox or Chrome have to do with the discussion (or why you feel the need to be abusive towards me). Perhaps you are thinking of the other Slashdot thread that popped up a few hours later about Firefox blocking Flash?

Technically competent users are at less risk of Flash exploits, of course. But they are not the problem. Non-technical people take their cues from what their technical friends do and say; my point is that without us continuing to do the work that Apple started it's just going to take forever to get rid of it.

It's clear that as long as Flash exists it will continue to be a major vector for security-related problems. Entirely the point of the Facebook bloke that started this entire thread, of course. I am merely saying that we should do what we can to hasten its demise and encourage others to do the same. But I guess I'm not so helplessly dependent on a handful of sites that continue to use Flash as some people might be.

Comment Re:Do your part nerds! (Score 1) 283 283

The writing is on the wall for Flash. Everyone knows it. It has been ever since Apple gave them the epic finger.

The only question is how quickly people abandon it. If you're a nerd - the precise person that I was addressing in my comment and the precise person I expect to be reading comments on Slashdot - I feel you have a /duty/ to lead the charge.

Uninstall Flash. Tell Pandora why you can no longer use their service. Find a competing service that offers HTML5 or some other mechanism.

I've never used Pandora; I stream radio for my music discovery (via a good ole fashioned mp3 stream that I can play in a wide variety of software). Certainly I don't get people that are married to Pandora that hard - but if you're an actual nerd - you have options.

Comment Do your part nerds! (Score 4, Interesting) 283 283

Uninstall Flash. Just stop using it. Encourage your friends to do the same.

I uninstalled it a couple months ago. I no longer have to worry about updating it or being exposed to the vast amount of vulnerabilities - it should be clear to everyone by now that it is a /major/ vector for infection.

Only a few times have I hit content that still requires Flash - usually sites that have an old Flash video player. Most big sites or sites using modern players happily support HTML5 video. Those that don't I can live without. (Bonus: far less irritating animated ads. For now.)

But make sure you provide feedback to sites that still have Flash - let them know you can't use the site properly. Fortunately - largely thanks to Apple's refusal to allow Flash in iOS - there are fewer and fewer of these today.

Comment Re:My Plans for Firefox (Score 1) 208 208

I feel like most technical people - the people who you really want filing bug reports - know that big open source projects are something of a blackhole for bug reports.

I think Firefox especially has an uphill battle at the moment - threads like this demonstrate that users clearly think that most dev effort at Mozilla is focused on new features rather than bug fixes.

The thought of going to the effort of battling Bugzilla, logging a bug report only to see it languishing (or WONTFIXed) for months or years is certainly a strong motivator not to bother.

Comment Re:Good for greece (Score 1) 1307 1307

And nobody has a drachma press - it takes longer to set up a press for mass production of a new currency than one might think.

That is a fascinating point. If they were serious about their stance one would imagine that, in the background, they would have been readying their drachma-printing equipment, to a) actually be ready in case the worst-case happens and they leave the Euro, and b) to /show/ they're ready to everyone else in the EU to help clarify how serious they are.

I don't recall seeing anything about this anywhere and a cursory search doesn't show anything obvious (e.g., Greek Finance Minister making a V for Victory sign over a printing press).

Comment Re:Good for greece (Score 1) 1307 1307

So whilst undoubtably there will be many further spending crises in advanced nations, democracy is not the problem - it just means a society has to learn to control their borrowing impulses as a group.

I would add to this that democratic societies - i.e., the citizens living in democracies - also need to get much much better at holding politicians to account for how they decide they spend their money.

The profligate wastes of government are nothing new, but - especially in the US - citizens in general seem to feel almost completely disenfranchised. They can vote, but almost every single conversation I see indicates that they feel that their vote is worthless and that it won't change anything.

This is terribly sad for a nation that holds itself up as the flagship of democracy. I am from Australia (though living in the USA for the last 18 months) and while it is not so bad in Aus, I can see the same sort of apathy starting to form.

Citizens need to become better at looking past the smoke and mirror show and holding their elected officials accountable, especially when they preach one thing and do something different.

A slow pup is a lazy dog. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"