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Comment Nothing is perfectly safe. (Score 1) 263

His point is a good one. Some people want self driving cars to reach the point of absolute safety. That's an impossible goal; there will always be things that the vehicle cannot predict, like a pedestrian who appears to be walking on a sidewalk suddenly darting into the street.

But once self driving cars reach the point of being able to drive more safely than human drivers, a point that they may have already reached, publicity that discourages people from using self driving cars is dangerous. It might lead people to making the more dangerous choice of driving the car manually, even if they are tired or under the influence of alcohol, rather than letting the car drive itself.

Comment Re:Great way to kill the competition by making it. (Score 1) 301

The objection that people often have to upgrades that are purely software is that the hardware (which they are already paying for) is the expensive part and the software should come along for free. That may have once been true, but nowadays a lot of the expense is in software development. Self driving cars are not easy.

But in this case, I suspect the main expense is neither hardware nor software. It's funding for the legal defense pool.

Comment It's probably a legal CYA thing (Score 1) 301

One problem that Tesla faces: if an autonomous vehicle gets into an accident, it is currently likely that the maker and designer of the vehicle will be sued. Here in the US, they're likely to get sued for a LOT of money. And that legal risk is higher if the car is being used commercially. By taking control of where their vehicles can be used as autonomous cars for revenue purposes, they're taking some control over their legal exposure; they will probably only make the Tesla Network available in places where the risks are acceptable.

So far as I know, this only affects using a Tesla in autonomous mode. If you want to DRIVE your Tesla for Uber or Lyft you're still free to do that, even if the car has autonomous capability.

Comment Re:Holy flamebait batman! (Score 1) 885

Why should this be out of bounds? The tagline of Slashdot used to be "News for nerds. Stuff that matters." I don't see anything in that mission that limits the site to discussion of purely technological subjects. The social impact of technology, which is what this story is about, is definitely fair game.

Comment Interesting number but not the whole story (Score 1) 44

That statistic doesn't necessarily mean that they spend 12x as much time watching Netflix. Suppose they watch Netflix every day and Amazon or Hulu every other day; that might mean only a 2x discrepancy in actual viewing. The 12x number says something about people's dedication to the site, but I'd also like to see numbers for viewing time.

Comment Re:They've created search anxiety!! (Score 1) 113

There is some truth to that. Recent laptop development has prioritized battery life rather than CPU performance. Even if you buy something with an i7 CPU, it's probably an ultra low voltage part that only has two cores and is no faster than the CPU in your seven year old laptop. On the bright side, the new system is two pounds lighter and runs twice as long on batteries (three times as long if you stream video because the new one does video decoding in hardware), and once you're up over $700 it probably has at least a 1080p screen and maybe better; laptops with 3200x1800 and 2160p displays exist. It also came with a decent size SSD, rather than making you buy one as an upgrade.

Disclosure: my new laptop falls firmly in that realm. It's an Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 with a ULV i7 (6500U, last year's version, discounted because the new one is on the way). It's fast enough for what I do but won't rival a good desktop. And the 12GB RAM and 512GB SSD are nice.

There is still one sub-genre of the laptop market that is putting the emphasis on performance: gaming laptops. But some of those don't really qualify as laptops in any conventional sense, and most of them aren't cheap. The boundary case is the liquid cooled ASUS "laptop" that weighs 23 pounds when connected to the optional liquid cooling dock. (It can also be used without the dock at reduced performance, and will even run for a short time on batteries.)

Comment Re:Define "free" (Score 1) 87

The books are free as in beer. They are also free in that they are not encumbered by DRM. They are not free/libre in the sense of a free license; they are copyrighted works. O'Reilly has published some books that have free licenses (GNU Free Documentation License or Creative Commons) but these are not among them.

Comment Re:Genesis 6:3 NIV (Score 1) 290

So far as I know, Stairway to Heaven does not quote the Bible. But if there is ever a second volume of the Book of SubGenius it will probably reference Stairway to Heaven.

There are songs that do quote the Bible. Pete Seeger's song Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season) - best known from the cover version by The Byrds - is probably the best known example; aside from the words Turn Turn Turn, it's lifted pretty directly from Ecclesiastes 3:1-4. Lists with many more songs that contain Bible references are online; here is one: http://www.christiantoday.com/...

(You probably know all of this already, PopeRatzo. But maybe somebody reading the thread does not.)

Comment Re:Movie theaters (Score 1) 342

The Netflix comment isn't about the tentpole movies. The current system is doing OK for them. No-budget indies are doing as well as they ever have, or perhaps even better because some of them get picked up by Netflix or Amazon in lieu of a theatrical release.

The films that are struggling are the midlist. Films with budgets in the $5 to $50 million range. Those are the ones that would benefit from changes to the current system, and they're the ones that Netflix is talking about.

Comment Re:Movie theaters (Score 1) 342

There is one problem with that plan that is not the fault of the theaters. If a movie is released to some other distribution channel before it is shown in theaters, it is not eligible for any of the major movie awards. That especially hurts for documentaries, because winning a documentary Oscar is one of the few hopes that most documentaries have of ever making money.

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