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Comment Re:How to make it cheaper? (Score 1) 64

I've got to say though - Uber seems like it pays much better than most courier services used to pay drivers to deliver things!
I tried working for one of them, once -- and quit within a week. During the lunch rush, they had us delivering boxed lunches to various locations where we were only compensated about $1.50 for each successful delivery. Since you had to seek out people, parking your vehicle and taking things into buildings to them, you wasted a lot of time too.

The vehicle maintenance is always a factor -- but for people doing these jobs part-time, I think most rationalize some of it away, so to speak. (If you drive your car or truck a lot for various activities, adding some Uber trips means at least you're offsetting the total cost of its operation by doing some things that actually bring in revenue. With or without the Uber driving, you were going to have items breaking down and wearing out anyway.) The fact is, vehicle purchases are terrible investments. They depreciate 20% the minute you drive a new one off the lot, and in many cases, keep plummeting in value based on nothing more than the whims of the buying public, as the years pass. Viewed that way? I guess ANY time you can drive one someplace and get paid something, you're lessening that overall bleeding of money.

Comment Interesting .... but .... (Score 1) 64

As others commented, this really seems to just be part of a "long play", ensuring a piece of the self-driving taxi business once it becomes possible. As heavily as Google has invested in self-driving vehicles, it seems obvious they wouldn't want to just give the whole market for self-driving cabs up to business like Uber or Lyft.

If they just want to establish their name in the market, in the meantime? Google could operate something like this at a loss, considering that "marketing expenses", as they evolve towards eliminating the human driver.

(I also get that the "original" part of this is supposed to be the idea that it works more like carpooling, where it tries to match up groups of people all headed the same direction to share costs. But really, I doubt that business model will be too effective. If people hailing a cab have to wait for others interested in heading the same way at the same time, they'll often find that's too slow except in major cities around "prime time" travel hours. And unless the driver has a full size van or bus or something -- you're not going to get that many people you can take around at one time.)

As a side note? I don't know what the experience of others has been, but I'm finding Uber going downhill. I was truly impressed with the service the first few times I used it, in the DC metro area. But more recently, like during our weekend trip in Ocean City, MD last weekend? I've had some struggles with the iPhone app where it offers to auto-fill your start location from the GPS location detected on its map. But I wind up where it gets my start and destination info reversed, or doesn't get the start location just right - so the driver goes to the wrong place to try to pick us up. Then, it seems like the drivers try to resolve it by calling me, but are invariably nearly impossible to understand due to bad cell connections and thick accents.

Meanwhile, the Lyft app just seems to get things right on the first try -- working more smoothly. Unfortunately, Lyft seems to have much less presence around here so most of the time, it says there are no available vehicles.

Comment I don't have any yoga emails .... (Score 4, Insightful) 563

But I can say that something like this isn't too surprising, assuming you hired a lawyer with a brain in his/her head. They really like the idea of deleting evidence that could be used against you in a court of law, if they're hired to work FOR you.

This is why businesses are being pushed to start purging all of their employee's email on a regular basis. They want to preserve that plausible deniability and ensure some former employee didn't say something in a company email you weren't aware of that winds up costing you $'s in a lawsuit.

If this is an attempt to discuss if Clinton is guilty of anything or not with running her own private mail server? I think the answer to that is really pretty obvious.... Yes, of course she is. If any of us worked for an employer who provided us with a company email system for use with company-related things and we just decided to conduct business via our personal Gmail accounts, or some home-brew Linux server? How long do you think we'd stay employed there once that was realized? In a case like hers, it's only magnified as a problem because we KNOW she was allowed to handle classified content in her mail. So the hunt is on to prove she actually possessed some of that on this unofficial server. And if her lawyers did their jobs properly, there won't be much concrete proof that she did so, or at least that she ever accessed it once it was sent out. That doesn't make her less guilty though .... just smart enough to dodge some legal repercussions for her behavior.

Comment Re:Oh please (Score 3, Informative) 72

Sure, it's just a game... but it's also a $60 expense, which I think it's reasonable to expect plays as advertised.
There's way too much nonsense in the current game industry where you pay retail prices for new game releases that are really still only "beta" quality.

A lot of these mods are just minor changes or edits, sure.... But I saw at least 11 "fixes" posted there too.

Comment I'm happy T-Mobile customer, BUT .... (Score 1) 195

I'm not sure I like the fact that this plan seems to be replacing all of the other data packages for new customers. Personally, I don't go through more than 1.5GB or so of data per month on my phone because I'm usually on a wi-fi connection anyplace where I'm downloading updates to apps or what-not.

I get that I'm allowed to keep my current plan, which is exactly what I'm going to do. But especially with all of the streaming audio and video services T-Mobile agrees to let you use without them counting against your data usage, it's actually rather difficult to go over my monthly data allotment. And I'm paying $20/month less than the new unlimited package costs.


Comment Sounds pointless to me .... (Score 2) 264

I mean, the big reason consoles are still popular is their nature as essentially "set top boxes" to attach to your television(s) at home.

There's really no reason you couldn't make every single game title ever played on a console run just as well on a properly configured computer. But even if *everything* was ported over, it wouldn't change the situation.

People like consoles for the ease of use and their nature as single-purpose devices. (Well, multi-purpose if you count gaming as one task, and playback of media as another.) They're designed to just plug in the wall for power, attach a single cable to the TV for audio/video, and go.

Once you start blurring the lines, selling "upgradable consoles" or "PC/console combo" devices? I think you're losing sight of what they're all about to begin with.

Comment But who says Google ever wanted to be your ISP? (Score 1) 160

From everything I read when Google started rolling out fiber, the idea *really* was never to become the next big nation-wide ISP for broadband. It was more of an attempt to "shake the tree" ... to get existing providers to sit up and take notice that people really did want better, faster connections than they were currently selling.

That's one reason there was always such a big "to do" about Google trying to select where the next city was going to be for a fiber rollout.

I think this was a strategic move to dial up the pressure on the existing providers to improve their offerings. (Once you have a critical mass of people asking, "Hey Comcast/Charter/Cox/Verizon/AT&T/whoever .... why is it I can move to Kansas City and get broadband from Google that's 100x faster than what you're selling me for more money?!" -- you've hopefully created some momentum for a change.)

Comment Claims like this insult our intelligence.... (Score 1) 101

Doesn't matter if it's Comcast, Verizon or any of the other carriers out there. I hate when they market nonsense like "the fastest wi-fi". That is impossible to ascertain, for starters.... It's not like they have a new 802.11 series standard in use exclusively! Their gear uses the same wi-fi protocols as everyone else, and so far, even 802.11ac tends not to maintain the full throughput of what you pay for with a faster broadband tier. There's no reason to believe it outperforms good quality 3rd. party wi-fi routers. I guarantee something like a Netgear Nighthawk has a faster CPU inside it for routing traffic than anything a provider like Comcast gives you.

Furthermore, if any of them actually CARED that you got good wireless performance with their service, they'd, at the very least, send out a technician with signal strength measuring gear to do a site survey of your property, and install wireless repeaters where necessary.

Comment Re:Write in Bernie Sanders (Score 1) 993

I really don't get this mentality. I was a big fan of Ron Paul back in 2000 but there was never any point writing him in on later elections, just as writing in Bernie's name now is a useless effort.

I mean, look -- I get it. You feel Sanders got a bad deal and he should have been able to stay in the running. Maybe the DNC committed fraud that locked the guy out? Who knows? But the fact is - right now, he's not one of the possible choices on the ballots.

Write in candidates just get tossed in the trash as invalid. Nobody's going to sit there and count how many people wrote in Bernie's name and publish an official percentage.

The smart move if you don't like Clinton or Trump is to vote for the 3rd. party alternative who actually IS still a ballot option in all 50 states; Gary Johnson.

Comment re: 1394 on STBs and encryption (Score 1) 137

The encryption flags can be set 3 ways, actually:

Copy-Freely = unencrypted. This can be recorded directly to a PC or Mac or D-VHS unit. You could also play back a D-VHS tape which contains material flagged as Copy-Freely and use the 1394 port to send it to a Mac or PC (or even another D-VHS unit). If your recording were flagged as Copy-Freely then, yes, you would be able to transfer that to your computer via the 1394 port.

Copy-Once = encrypted. This can only be recorded once and no duplications\transfers are allowed. D-VHS units are able to record this, but you can't copy the tape. You only get that first generation, and it is not possible to create a 2nd or 3rd generation copy, nor is it possible to transfer the recording to a Mac or PC.

Copy-Never = This can't be recorded whatsoever (OnDemand/PPV type stuff)

Except for pay-per-view type content, the cable providers usually set the flag to "Copy-Once" with the 5C encryption, not "Copy-Never" -- so you get the chance to make one personal recording directly off the back of the 1394 port into a D-VHS VCR with the "iLink" (Firewire) connector on the back of it. Those units, unlike a PC, are licensed to decrypt the 5C for the purpose of making the first generation recording.

Comment Trying too hard .... (Score 1) 177

Obviously, you want a self-driving car to have the best possible auto-pilot technology you can put into it. But purposeful attempts to trick it into not detecting objects, or into thinking objects are there that aren't really there? That means nothing, IMO. What matters is that it does a reliable job of these things in real-world situations where nobody is TRYING to fool the system.

Human drivers see things all the time and misinterpret them. (There's that popular photo going around social media where someone painted a tunnel on the side of a concrete wall and a car tried to drive off the road, into it, for example. And certainly, people have reported mirages ahead of them on roads for decades.)

Comment re: firewire on back of cable box (Score 3, Insightful) 137

Actually, I don't think you're talking about something equivalent, even though I know what you're saying. (I have Comcast too, and my set top box also has a FireWire port on the back of it.)

The thing is though? In order to download the files on your DVR to your computer, you'd still have to do all of that via the hardware Comcast provided you -- meaning you'd also presumably only have access to content that you were paying your monthly subscription for in the first place. (I remember when people first discovered that ability to connect some of the digital set-top boxes to computers via FireWire, the whole "piracy" thing was a hot topic. But it quickly settled back down when people realized it was just a digital version of exactly what you could always do with a VCR or DVDR connected through a different set of connectors.)

I think what the cable providers don't like with the current FCC proposal is the idea that they lose direct control over what the set-top boxes do that decode their programming. For example... What if someone designed a digital set top box that worked the way the Plex media server works on a computer, where you can share your content with other users? One person could pay for a Showtime or HBO subscription, record a bunch of shows to a DVR built into such a box, and then allow any of their "friends" to stream the content to their own box of the same make/model, regardless of what their personal cable package contained in it.

Comment Re: Wait for it... (Score 1) 447

I was with you until you started in with that "White people get hours and tear-gas. Black people get bullets." stuff.
Actually, white people get killed for the same kind of thing by cops, but black people get news coverage and white people get media silence. So unless you dig a little deeper to follow such things, you wouldn't realize it.

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