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Comment: Re:If too expensive, move (Score 2) 319

by wardred (#46691365) Attached to: SF Evictions Surging From Crackdown On Airbnb Rentals
*Most* people who live in San Francisco are renters. A little over 60%. For many of those people, rent control is keeping them there. Their costs aren't going up by much year over year. . . though as pointed out it does keep one tied to a particular rental unit.

As far as quality of life, that's subjective. In San Francisco you have access to great parks, decent beaches, a huge range of restaurants, bars, cafes, and even bookstores, neighborhoods with more than a bit of diversity, it's possible to live in the city without a car, and all the good and bad that comes of living in a city.

Just outside of the city you have access to the Redwoods, with a relatively short drive wine country, you're not far from the mountains if you want to ski. There's a reason so many people want to move to the city. Oh, and for the moment, at least in the tech sector, there are a fair number of jobs to be had.

I think there are more homes in San Francisco setup to be multi-family homes than there are places setup to be single family homes, though I could be mistaken on this point. Even if that's not the case, it's certainly a large percent that are setup this way.

Comment: Re:You have your politics confused (Score 1) 319

by wardred (#46691071) Attached to: SF Evictions Surging From Crackdown On Airbnb Rentals
For the guys in rent controlled units, they'd pretty much be forced out of the city if rent control were to go away for everybody. For everybody else, for a short while, there would be such a glut of units on the market that the prices would depress. By how much? I couldn't say. I don't know the % of people who are paying $600-$1000 for that 1 bedroom instead of $3000. (Throwing arbitrary numbers out there.)

Even after the glut of units on the market goes away it has been shown that without rent control, overall prices in a rental market are lower because people are more mobile. There are more units available at any given time. If you're a tenant in a rent controlled unit that you've had for any amount of time, you simply don't leave because you can no longer afford what's on the market. Without rent control you're paying market rate, so you're more likely to move for any number of reasons. Better neighborhood, move closer to work, don't like your landlord, whatever.

Also, at some point, you can no longer afford to live in the city so you move out. There'd be a larger number of people in this group. All of this leads to a higher percentage of vacant units and an overall lower price of rentals. . . but that doesn't mean the rental prices don't go up year over year at a steeper rate than inflation. They may go up slower, but I don't think the benefits of a "free rental market" in the city would outweigh the downsides to a renter who can't count on being able to afford his unit when his lease is up.

Comment: Re:You have your politics confused (Score 1) 319

by wardred (#46690375) Attached to: SF Evictions Surging From Crackdown On Airbnb Rentals
In San Francisco rent control applies everywhere. The "elite" don't control which units are rent controlled. There are other programs, like low income housing, that would better fit your argument.

The trick with rent control is that it only applies to the unit you currently live in. So you rented a 1 bedroom a few years ago when you were single. Now it's a great deal, but you get married and have a kid. As long as you're willing to live in that one bedroom you and your family are still under rent control. But as soon as you try to get a two bedroom, you're stuck with looking for units at the current market rate.

Rent control protects all long term renters who aren't moving. It *does* run the prices up on the units that are available because there are fewer units on the market. That said, I think the benefits of rent control and a renter being able to predict what they'll have to make to cover rent far outweigh the downsides to it. It's not a perfect solution, it's just the least bad of the solutions out there for a city that has traditionally had more people who want to live in it than living units available.

Comment: Better interfaces aren't everything. . . (Score 1) 101

by wardred (#46282439) Attached to: Are You a Competent Cyborg?
I also posted this on O'reilly's site.

Edit: After thinking about it a bit, having the device as another "person" that everybody interacts with might be a way around somebody pulling out of a social interaction to check something on Google.

There are some things where a "better interface" would allow technology to slide into the background. A simple example is a good GPS unit with great voice recognition rather than having to type in a start and end destination. Maybe with a see through display on your car's HUD rather than on a small screen set somewhere out of the "normal" view of the driver so that all you have to do to see your next turn is change your focus point, rather than look away. Taken even further your car drives itself and you no longer have to worry about the road - you can interact, safely, with the passengers in the car, or over a cell phone.

That said, we're single taskers. If I'm composing a note to billy, be it with pen and paper, on a cell phone's screen, a keyboard, or a device capable of reading my thoughts so I don't have to talk, type, or write, I'll still be concentrating on that note. I may *try* to talk with people around me, but then both my conversation and my written note would obviously suffer.

There are a couple ideas that excite me, but neither really solves the problem of ignoring those around us in favor of our toys. One is the idea of an augmented mind via a neural interface. This is a long way off, but having the "hud" behind one's eyes, rather than something strapped on top of them is kind of exciting. Add in a computer as part of one's brain, and some wireless technology built into that, and I could see a realm where you get the best of the binary and analog worlds when it comes to thinking. The wireless bit would allow one to offload tasks that are too big for your built in computer, but just having the built in computer offers some cool vistas. There are just some calculations that computers are better at than humans, and being able to think in both modes would be quite exciting, I'd think. I don't know if we'd ever really get to the point where the silicon, for advanced interactions like programming or mathematics ever actually "feels" like a part of the brain, or if it'd just be a much faster interface than keyboard and monitor. I could see having sensors, like a compass, that the brain simply uses, similar to the interaction with our eyes or ears.

Another idea I like to kick around is a companion device along the lines of the movie "Her", with an optional robotic avatar ala Persocoms in "Chobits". I'm not talking the end game in either show where the computer surpasses us, but an actual companion device. It could be as small as a Furby, or as large as a human. (Technically it could be any sized, but I don't think we'd want anything bigger than that unless it's a vehicle we're riding in or a domicile.) Secretary, personal trainer, a more "natural" interaction with you and the people around you than typing in a screen, etc. You'd run into strange situations where an adult might become emotionally attached to the device. Asking something with even a hint of a personality about something that's available online could be a lot more natural than breaking off a conversation to look it up on one's phone, and a computer *would* be able to multi-task like that without breaking the illusion that the conversation is the center of its world. Japan's already looking into robots for elderly care, and if the robot had a bit of personality, it'd surely help there.

I guess if you combined the two ideas you could "ask" the computer side of you to Google for the currently tallest building in the world, or how close we are to getting long chains of carbon nano-tubes for a space elevator with a minimal amount of interruption and have it return the results to you. . . but even then, the regular gray matter would need to take some time out to send and receive the data from the computer half.

I think an external thing that's everyone could talk to, as a part of the conversation, rather than something one person does away from the conversation, could be more natural. Cell phones aren't that far from it. They have voice recognition and offline processing. Offload the computing and get a bit of rudimentary "personality" into it, put it into speaker phone mode, and it could join the conversation rather than taking people out of it.

Comment: Re:Whalewatching (Score 1) 373

by wardred (#45921657) Attached to: Google Co-Opts Whale-Watching Boat To Ferry Employees
I'd rather be working, daydreaming, socializing, sleeping,browsing the web, or nearly anything other than having to drive in commute traffic. It's a perk. As Anonymous pointed out, if only a few of their employees do more work while on the bus, or get their daily fix of Slashdot out of the way before getting to work, it probably saves them money. Heck, even if it simply means a small portion of their employees who don't like driving and live in the city stay with Google, they're probably ahead of the curve.

Comment: Thank you, Intel. . . (Score 1) 111

by wardred (#45820979) Attached to: Intel Releases 5,000 Pages of Open-Source Haswell Documentation
Intel, thank you for your continued strong support of Linux. Already, if 3D performance wasn't an issue on one of my machines, having an embedded Intel video controller was a plus. As your GPU performance continues to grow, and I see you continuing to support Linux, there are less use cases where I feel I need a discreet video card. The release of this documentation indicates to me that you intend to continue your support of Linux, and I appreciate it.

Comment: Re:Not bad, but still missing the point... (Score 1) 194

by wardred (#39847563) Attached to: Intel Unveils Tiny Next Unit of Computing To Match Raspberry Pi
i haven't fanatically followed their forums, but they are shipping *some* units, and they did get their CE and FCC certifications: There are people who've received their orders, how many, I don't know.

I may have misstated when I said they actually sold 100k units as opposed to those who expressed interest in purchasing them - 100k was the number being thrown around for "expressed interest" or "orders".

As far as shipping? I know there's a huge backlog and I've no idea how long it'll take to fulfill it regardless if the person actually placed an order or merely expressed interest in it, but there are *some* people getting their orders, and the regulatory stuff is no longer in the way. Now it's just getting the things actually manufactured and shipped, far as I know.

Comment: Re:MPEG2 (Score 1) 194

by wardred (#39846681) Attached to: Intel Unveils Tiny Next Unit of Computing To Match Raspberry Pi
A lot of compromised on the Raspberry Pi were because of pricing concerns. There's a whole thread about how MPEG2 license prices were insane compared to the MP4 licensing, so, alas, a no go on that.

I'm pretty sure the same thing could be said for the poster below and the VGA out. Adding another connector and the drivers for it to an already crowded board probably wasn't in the cards because of price.

Comment: Re:They don't get it (Score 2) 194

by wardred (#39846637) Attached to: Intel Unveils Tiny Next Unit of Computing To Match Raspberry Pi
While there are people getting excited about it for embedded uses, the stated goal for the Raspberry Pi is for educational and programming uses. So it really is aimed at being more of a really cheap desktop than an embedded device.

Doesn't mean that you can't use it in embedded applications. Things like the Gertboard should help on that front.

Comment: Re:Not bad, but still missing the point... (Score 1) 194

by wardred (#39846599) Attached to: Intel Unveils Tiny Next Unit of Computing To Match Raspberry Pi
The regulatory stuff was cleaned up within a couple weeks of them saying they needed to do it, I believe. They needed to do the regulatory stuff because they ended up selling 100k units, not their anticipated close to 10k developer units - which wouldn't have needed the certs.

The regulatory stuff passed and people who ordered are receiving their boards.

Comment: Re:There's Your Problem Right There (Score 1) 1108

There may very well be a God, or Gods - interesting how anybody wanting a Christian bent in the classroom really, really doesn't want Native American Gods taught, or Buddhism, or what have you.

That's not the point. So far as we've been able to determine the presence of a Goddess, God, Gods, or even Spirits is not provable, so outside the realm of science. There is no evidence we've been able to measure one way or the other. There is plenty of evidence supporting evolution. The existence of a being or beings we have no empirical evidence for doesn't belong in a science class room. Noting how religion(s) have affected a particular scientific subject might be worth noting, but anything much more detailed would probably be better off in a history class.

Heck, most Christian sects, including the stodgy old Catholics, have agreed that evolution and creation may coexist and that the Bible's 6 days of creation is not necessarily a literal 6 days starting at whatever date you'd like to choose. It's the minority Christian view of the "literal creationism" that seems to be butting heads with evolution.

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