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Comment Vehicle data already being sent. (Score 1) 327

I work on in-vehicle systems and the servers that talk to them. There are plenty of existing, deployed services that combine external information with the location of your vehicle (e.g. concierge, route planning with points of interest, vehicle locator, charge station finder for EVs, geo-fencing, insurance scoring, and many more). For all of these, your location data must be sent to a server. And any in-vehicle system that provides at least some services that need vehicle location, will make a habit of sending the vehicle location along whether the owner is using those services or not, provided some kind of account activation has occured. Generally, the automotive manufacturers consider vehicle location data great for providing attractive services to their customers.

I've noticed restraint from auto OEMs on taking the data and using it for things other than the services offered to the users. And unlike webbish companies like Facebook, Google, or Twitter, the auto OEMs are focused on selling vehicles, not data. But that can all change if you fall asleep.

The networked collision detection stuff is interesting, but doesn't change the nature of the problem. The data is already being collected for boring old services from three years back.

Comment No ties, pillories, gimmicks. (Score 1) 1127

I would stay away from cute ideas like wearing silly ties. People will interpret this as childish and arbitrary corporate policy. Also if someone harasses another person, a public display keeps the story alive and further contributes to the victim's embarrassment. You want to set the expectations of culture when new people are hired. Both that bad behavior will not be tolerated and that there is a safe communication channel for complaints to be made. The second point can't be convincing if you don't have an HR staff member that stays outside of the workings and politics of the company. The other part of the battle is the ongoing culture of the company that happens amongst employees. One person that is willing to complain and object fearlessly will positively make a difference. And I mean informally, person-to-person, e.g. "You just called her a bitch, and I'm not cool with it." If you have 2 or 3 people like this in a group of a hundred, that's enough to win the culture. People will leave their bad jokes and sexy wall calendars at home.

Comment Headline misleading. (Score 5, Interesting) 128

The article (not the original paper) is averaging together all of the people that said "Naw, I wouldn't pay anything extra" along with all the people that said one, two, or five dollars, etc. So of course it's going to be some sad little number, leading to a headline that sounds like people are selling their souls.

A more useful question, "of those willing to pay for privacy, how much would they pay?" Read the original paper (not the cheap little article) and you see things like "A non-negligible proportion of the experiment’s participants (13–83%), however, chose to pay a ‘premium’ for privacy. " The paper is actually supporting the idea that some people are willing to pay enough that it would fit into the business model of different content providers.

I also think that a bunch of us hate the idea of paying for privacy, not because we don't value it very much, but because it is offensive to think we would need to pay for it. So again the article headline gives a false notion of everyone selling out for 65 cents, when the stats are unlikely distinguishing between apathetics and holy rollers that would both decline to pay for privacy.

Comment Re:Net neutrality issues? (Score 1) 98

Yeah, like you, I'm reluctant to say it's a bad thing Google is doing, and its definitely not so onerous as intentionally slowing down other content delivery. But I can imagine a future where the infrastructure spending is poured into special pipes to content partners while general connectivity to everything else is neglected. In that case, Google (or others) hasn't done anything to hamper the general Internet, but as investment in maintaining it goes down, it becomes slower and more unreliable.

Comment Net neutrality issues? (Score 2) 98

This approach illustrates how a company can provide content over favorable bandwitdth/networking conditions without running afoul of typical network neutrality rules. Not saying it is good or bad yet--just noting that building special pipes/signalling systems for certain content seems to be a loophole.

Comment Self-defeating to dim your window? (Score 1) 186

Windows let light in, which you'd otherwise use electricity to generate. Although the film is see-through, it must reduce the amount of incoming light. I'm not an expert, but wouldn't the effectiveness of the film increase proportionately to the amount of light it absorbed without passing through? It seems like a window is not the best place to put a solar collector, even if it is easier than installing on a roof or other surfaces.

Comment Re:Why even bother specifying INTERNET perms? (Score 2) 97

You know that sounds like a solid idea, but I scratch my head at the specific implementation of it. If you say that internet connections for ads are a separate permission, then would Google maintain a white list of ad providers? And then for ad providers, there'd need to be some policing to check that info going to the ad servers doesn't contain personal info.

Maybe the way to handle it is to have a separate Android OS advertising API that manages the request sent to an ad provider, disallowing any possibility of sending app-specified info to the server. And then any ad provider that follows the protocol can be accessed via the advertising API with no risk of sending private info like what HTC is exposing.

Comment Re:Why even bother specifying INTERNET perms? (Score 1) 97

Your point is mostly true, but I think there are legitimate cases to call out internet permissions. I have installed a password manager that doesn't have internet permissions. If it did have it, then it could send the passwords to an internet server someplace. So I honestly checked that the program did not have internet permissions, and would not have installed it if it did have them.

Comment Re:Skeptical (Score 1) 130

Yeah, there is a quote in the article "Doctors at the Edinburgh Sleep Center can't even determine what stage of sleep Hadwin is in when his creative impulses kick in." Is this just a tricky way of saying "Doctors at the Edinburgh Sleep Center didn't actually see anything matching the claim?" The dude could be faking.

Comment Too many browsers. (Score 4, Interesting) 144

I would be happier to learn that I had less choices in browsers. But that is the developer bias. Still, it seems to me that you really have to raise the bar if you want to be taken seriously, not just be Chrome+1. And I'm resistant to features which are tied in to services offered by certain companies (Facebook, Twitter) instead of just standardized services (RSS, FTP).

Larger question... would we not be better served if we started treating the browser more like a commodity item? Basic, standard features in an unglamorous browser, and... that's it. And then with a nice stable development platform that doesn't change around every 2 weeks, the real interesting features can start arriving at the web application layer. Standardize the browsers so we can forget about their individual features.

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