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Comment Re:Hmmm. (Score 2) 698

I grew up in the city and moved out to the suburbs. While local activists in my current town have marked a lot of bike lanes, I don't see them getting much use; if you go out on any particular day you might see one or two cyclists using them. But I took a detour through the old neighborhood recently, and was astonished the degree to which bicycling has caught on there. Driving over the course of about a mile I must have seen at least fifty cyclists using the sharrow lanes.

The point is, to get people in my current neighborhood using bikes instead of cars, you'd have to invest serious money; the pavement and traffic impact alone in my old urban neighborhood probably pays for the lane markings. But where would the money be spent? Probably where there are already a lot of cyclists. It needs to be spent, ironically, where people find cycling inconvenient or dangerous.

Not far from my house is eight miles of bike path that link five communities with about 200,000 population. But the path is fractured into four fragments; getting from one to the other is a tricky and dangerous; the gaps amount to maybe 150 yards in total. At the end of the bike path there's another bike path that leads to the town where I grew up, an industrial suburb where 80,000 people live and quite a few people from the five communities work. It's only 700 feet away as the crow flies, but getting there by bike takes three miles of riding along a major traffic artery. That city has an extensive bike trail network, and you can get anywhere easily on a combination of quiet side streets and rail-converted trails.

If every cyclist in these five communities paid $12, perhaps we could close that roughly 1000 feet of gap, creating a single trail network linking over a quarter million people. Thousands would potentially be able to bike to work across a path where there are currently no good direct mass transit connections. City dwellers would have easy bike access (granted after a ten mile ride) to the beach, and to a 2200 acre forest.

Comment Re: Good (Score 1) 698

30,000 pounds is on the high side for a modern bus. My local transit authority's buses weigh in at 27500, but then you do have to factor in the weight of passengers.

In fact transportation planners are quite aware of the pavement impact issue; it's one of several factors they have to balance. Increasing the number of passengers on the bus increases the pavement impact but decreases the air pollution impact; reducing the passenger load (e.g., with more frequent service) reduces the pavement impact and improves service, but increases air pollution.

Probably trackless trolleys are the champ here, with no fuel tanks, transmission, and a modest battery to travel short distances.

The local transit authority is introducing electric buses that are articulated, tri-axle affairs, probably because of the mass of battery involved. But possibly smaller, more frequent electric buses would be a better choice, at least from the pavement standpoint. Possibly when autonomous buses become practical.

Comment Re:Hmmm. (Score 2) 698

I'm happy to pay my $30 annual fishing license, which pays for conservation and access programs, as well as a fish stocking program I'm not particularly partial to but serves a purpose for young anglers. It costs less than the sport fishing conservation organizations I belong to, and probably does more.

I'd be happy to pony up $12 on a bike, but I do see some difficulties. Money spent on access or conservation anywhere in the state benefits me as a fisherman, but bicycle infrastructure spending largely benefits local cyclists. So it's quite possible that some people will be paying the tax and seeing no benefit out of it.

One thing that might be useful is driver education. Sharrows are appearing all over the place, but I don't think most drivers understand what they mean. There's also widespread misunderstanding about some basic things like how a motorist is supposed to make a right turn after a stop across a bike lane (you're supposed to move into the bike lane in most jurisdictions; that eliminates the possibility of cutting of the cyclist).

Comment Re:Sell! Sell! Sell! (Score 2) 114

However, new products are not an indicator for success. Sales is!

Not exactly; and sales does not necessarily equal good cash flow, although it contributes to it. You can nearly always generate more sales by spending more money on promotions -- more sales, more cash going in, but often even more cash going out.

What's more, sales and profit aren't necessarily the same thing; you can easily go bankrupt while profitable; you can also run a company that loses money for years on end if it has a cash cow.

What businesses need to keep going, day to day, is to meet current obligations (bills they have to pay right away). That's the significance of cash flow. Vendors will always accept cash for debt; getting them to accept a share of *Stranger Things* wouldn't work, although you can get bond holders, investors and banks to in effect do that, all at a price of course.

Having positive cash flow is always good; but burning cash, while always risky, is normal in certain circumstances (e.g. startups or companies acting like startups). So the big question isn't whether Netflix was cash negative, but whether cash flows are proceeding as planned.

If this is the cash flow situation Netflix expected, the CEO is right to point to things like the products they're developing. That shows that things are indeed proceeding as planned: they were always planning to burn cash over a number quarters to do stuff like that. However if cash inflows that were expected didn't materialize, or if cash outlays occurred that were unexpected, that's just bad. It's not necessarily fatal, however. As long as Netflix can keep paying the bills and is generating *value*, it's possible to engineer some kind of soft landing.

Submission + - Developer Secrets That Could Sink Your Business

snydeq writes: In today’s tech world, the developer is king — and we know it. But if you’re letting us reign over your app dev strategy, you might be in for some surprises, thanks to what we aren’t saying, writes an anonymous developer in a roundup of developer secrets that could sink the business. 'The truth is, we developers aren’t always straight with you. We have a few secrets we like to keep for ourselves. The fact that we don’t tell you everything is understandable. You’re the boss, after all. Do you tell your boss everything? If you’re the CEO, do you loop in the board on every decision? So don’t be so surprised when we do it.' What possible damaging programming dirt are you keeping the lid on?

Comment Re:Tabs are a poor approximation (Score 1) 164

I shared a ski cabin with Eric Allman's sister. Actually, it was sort of the Berkeley and Sun Unix cabin. Everybody but Bill Joy stopped in. So Eric heard from me directly that I didn't like Sendmail.

I changed a number of projects from Autotools (which I am joyous to have left) to cmake. Cmake's language design leaves something to be desired, but it is in general sane, portable, and more capable than make, and you rarely have to look at the makefile (or whatever) it generates.

Comment Tabs are a poor approximation (Score 2) 164

Tabs descend from the manual typewriter, where they were a poor approximation to properly-formatted columnar layouts. Unfortunately now they join several other forms of white-space (because of Unicode) which are sometimes impossible to distinguish from each other. The safest thing to do is thus to only use space for horizontal spacing. Certainly software should not distinguish white-space characters differently. I'm looking at you, "Make", and yes I've heard the story about it being too late to change because there were already 12 users.

Comment Re:This already exists. What has changed? (Score 3, Informative) 181

Google has been doing phone app prompts for 2FA for a while.

If you're talking about the Google Authenticator app, then yes, this is different. I started using it on my Galaxy S7 this week.

The way it works is, you hit your username and login, and instead of a screen that asks you to type in the code you received, it basically just says "Wake up your phone." When you do, you immediately see a screen saying, "Is this you trying to login? Yes/No." You hit the Yes button and the site instantly logs you in. It's pretty slick, actually.

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