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Comment Re:Don't worry (Score 1) 411

I'm not right-wing at all, but I was wondering what all the hubbub was about here. As far as I know, Uber didn't even exist just a few years ago. Furthermore they billed themselves as a "ride-sharing" company, which to mean means you'd be a lunatic to quit your day job and drive for uber full time. Presumably those driving for uber did something else not so long ago for their primary income.

But if your sentiment is that Uber should be treated as any other taxi company, I agree with you there. And stories like this drive home the fact that Uber really is a taxi company but it wants to play by its own rules because Internet.

Maybe if Uber drivers knew about the taxi industry they'd be more realistic about their expectations.
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I've talked to taxi drivers all over the world and the vast majority of them work many many hours each week, often 60-80 hours, to provide for their families. It's very hard work. And in several countries I've visited, taxis are owned, operated, and maintained by the driver but all fares go through the taxi company which takes its cut. In Israel, it's sometimes best to negotiate a fare when you get in the taxi, since if it goes on the meter, the driver doesn't get as much of the fare, and I'd rather he get a good fair share of it.

Comment Re:So do the employees get to write that off? (Score 2) 379

I'm sure Alphabet wrote it off on their taxes. So your present was a donation to charity and a tax break for your parent company.

Well, it's a writeoff either way. Spending money on employees or donating cash to charity, either way it reduces a company's net profit and reduces tax liability.

Comment Re:User Convenience? (Score 1) 189

Yet somehow millions of people managed the risk of traveling without a cell phone, and did it their entire lives. Sometimes they weren't heard from for months at a time by friends and relatives. Life managed to continue.

I would say they lived to tell the tale, but pretty sure life had a 100% mortality rate back then. Good thing we live nowadays!

Just a thought, but do you suppose that these days with all of our cell phones and connected devices that we are much less inclined to look out for and help each other in daily life because we assume that everyone has a phone and someone they can call for help for things like a broken-down vehicle, a flat tire, or worse? Seems like we're more in bubbles than ever before.

Comment Hype is a two-edged sword (Score 4, Interesting) 110

Years ago my boss worked for a software company that sold layout and design software (desktop publishing essentially) to newspapers. They were quite successful and had a lot of clients across the world. They had a few ideas of some cool new features that they would like to build into their next release, and the boss thought it would be neat to demonstrate these future features at a major trade show, to get the clients excited. So they mocked up a convincing demo of how the product *would* work, complete with scripted mistakes (undo) and everything. They did this all live with a guy pretending to interact with the software. But it was all faked.

Well, they were right about the clients and potential clients. They were pretty excited. Very excited as a matter of fact. So excited that all of the companies that had signed on to buy their current version of the software immediately canceled their orders in anticipation of this new version. The problem was of course that it didn't exist and wouldn't for years if ever. Unfortunately that little demo completely killed the company. Their real product just couldn't compete with the hype of their imaginary product. Had they been honest about it up front, they would probably done fine and eventually implement many of those cool features.

Comment Re:Google, Motorola, Intel . . . (Score 1) 266

Every GOP dominated state has severely failing economies. See Kansas as a perfect example.

Define "failing". Red states, by and large, have lower economic growth because they are more rural, and urban centers generate more economic activity. That's a generality, though. If you look at a list of states by GDP per capita, some red states rank very highly. https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Li....

If you're talking about fiscal responsibility, it's pretty much exactly the opposite of what you say. The states that are on the edge of bankruptcy are nearly all blue states, while those with the healthiest governments are red states. https://www.mercatus.org/state...

Kansas, BTW, is firmly middle of the pack on both measures. Kansas is #25 of 50 in terms of GDP per capita, and according to the Mercatus rankings, they're #27. So Kansas isn't a perfect example.

Comment Re:More likely medical practice, not evolution (Score 1) 276

What I considered really interesting was the question: if cesarean became the normal method of delivery for an extended period of time (many generations) could humans end up at a point where natural birth was not possible?

I think it's likely that before too many more generations the normal process will be to grow babies in artificial wombs, and that could eventually make it so that a significant percentage of women become unable to bear children the old-fashioned way. Although we'd lose the evolutionary pressure for wide hips for birthing, it doesn't seem like there are any evolutionary pressures against wide hips, so I don't see why they'd disappear.

Comment Re:People use this? (Score 1) 73

Anyone who defends this convenience-over-privacy should download and print Jihadi-type information, nuke plans, bio-weapons info, etc. through this service and see how long it is before there is a knock on their door.

Sure. Got a link? I have absolutely zero concern about any sort of problem like that.

Comment Re:People use this? (Score 1) 73

I can't believe people willingly send their documents to Google where they will be processed by their systems and stored for however long.

I love it. It's super convenient to be able to print to my printer from any device, anywhere. Even when I'm printing from a computer rather than my phone or tablet, I frequently find that the native print drivers are unreliable and buggy over the network, and especially over Wifi. Not so much that I can't get it to connect and print with a little fiddling but Google Cloud Print just works, every time. As for Google "processing" the documents, (a) I'm fairly certain they don't data mine Cloud Print data and (b) I don't care. Most of what I print I either created in Google Docs or received in Gmail anyway. And even where that's not the case, the only thing Google would do with anything learned from my print jobs is to make better choices about what ads I might find interesting.

However... my printer is an Epson, and it was bootlooping a couple of days ago (I turned it off). I assumed the printer itself was having some problem and was planning to investigate when I have time this weekend. Sounds like I just need to wait for Google to sort this problem out and I'll be good.

Note that I work for Google, though not on Cloud Print. I'm just a (usually) happy user of Cloud Print.

Comment Re:Almost never go... (Score 1) 337

I almost never go to the cinema. It's useful when you're a kid wanting to date as neutral ground (although from what I understand kids don't date anymore- just hook up).

I'd much rather watch in the Living room than the cinema. No overly loud sound. No uncomfortable squished together seats. No popcorn stuck to the floor. The cinema isn't exactly a positive experience.

We must have much better theaters where I live than you do. Here it's all big, comfy stadium seating and they do a great job of keeping the floors clean. We tend to go to early shows (4-5PM usually), so we often have the theater to ourselves. At most there are few dozen others. And even when we do go to a later show where the house is closer to full, I can't remember the last time noise was a problem.

Anyway, my answer to the question is: Absolutely not. My wife and go see a movie pretty much every week. We have a weekly date night and we like movies. There's absolutely no way we'd want to watch those movies at home, because the primary motivation for the date is to go out, to get away from the house, the kids, etc. If the theater were an unpleasant place, we just wouldn't watch movies at all because we'd find something else to do on date night and we don't have a lot of spare time for movie-watching the rest of the week.

That's just me, of course, but judging by the people I see at the theater, I'm far from alone in that. Lots of people like going to the theater. There's a lot more to it than just watching the movie.

Comment Re:ARM Server CPUs, x86 on ARM (Score 4, Insightful) 85

So far in the micro server and embedded space, ARM has been particularly disappointing to me. I have a drawer full of ARM devices I've accumulated over the years. SheevaPlugs, GuruPlugs, RouterStation, etc. All are potentially useful devices, but ARM is hobbled by proprietary boot systems and differing device trees and proprietary supporting hardware. These devices rely on customized linux distributions, and they are often fairly hard to update to new kernels and new flash file systems. Some of these devices have good CPU performance specs, but in practice I've never had them outperform an intel-based server, even a small low-powered one like the atom.

And now in embedded space we have a plethora of Arm-based devices based on lots of different SoCs from companies all over the world. All with their own forks of Linux. We've got Raspbery Pis, Orange PIs, Pine64s, etc. All very interesting and probably useful. But a nightmare to do anything with in a sustainable way.

The Pi (and some of these devices) at least is easy to update since everything comes off of the sd card, with no kernel flashing required. And some of them like the Pi have a fair amount of hacker inertia behind them, so they are capable of doing cool things (maybe not as server replacements though).

With x86-based embedded systems and small servers, at least I can run more standard, off-the-shelf distros on them. I'd far rather deal with a conventional linux server than a sheevaplug, even if the sheevaplug is a nice tiny thing with lots of potential.

In fact my current home office router is a small, low-power Intel-based computer running bog standard, minimal install of CentOS 7. Wifi is hung off of that using a consumer-grade access point running in bridge mode.

If arm devices had a standard boot process like ufi or even the bios, and could boot off of a variety of devices in a standardized way, including ssds, hard drives, usb sticks, and internal flash storage, and could run stock distributions downloaded from distribution web sites, without custom kernels, then I'd say for sure x86's days are numbered. Arm is good at remaining fragmented though.

Comment Re:Wow... (Score 3, Interesting) 218

I would say it's a large percentage, actually. In fact I was astounded to find out a few years ago that college-age kids quite often listen to music exclusively on youtube while they are working on homework or hanging out in their flats. An astounding waste of bandwidth but it doesn't matter.

But comparing percentage of users is kind of silly. Yes 100% of spotify users are there for the music. A certain percentage of youtube users are there for the music as well, but the question is how many of them in total? I would not be surprised if youtube's total viewership that was there for music at any one time was greater than spotify's.

That said, how many billions would the record companies think is fair? 2? 10? infinity? Obviously I'd like a much greater salary too. But the market decides the fair price and if that doesn't match their greed, so be it.

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