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Comment Re:Encouraging corporate arrogance. (Score 2) 79

I believe it's not just the investors who are subsidizing Uber rides. It's also the math-challenged drivers. And there seems to be excessive churn in the driver ranks, as evidenced by the increasingly abundant and aggressive recruiting ads I hear. Once drivers figure out they aren't really making money, they abandon the gig.

A not too sharp friend of mine recently started driving for Uber. He was excited to tell me he made $1000 in his first month driving part-time. So I asked him how many miles he had to drive to earn that. About 2200 miles, he said. I pointed out to him that driving a late-model car like he has costs about 50 cents per mile, including depreciation, maintenance, fuel, etc. Not to mention the self-employment and other taxes he will have to pay on his income. In fact, he didn't even realize that he would have to pay taxes or that Uber would be sending a Form 1099 to him and the IRS.

One driver told me he rents his car by the day and even driving 12 to 15 hours he often doesn't make enough to pay the daily rental fee.

I don't see how this scam can go on much longer. It shouldn't cost Uber much to just run a website and payment system, but as long as investors and drivers have to subsidize the fares to attract customers...

Comment Has it ever happened? (Score 1) 385

Although in theory someone could walk by my wallet and scan my RFID credit card and buy something*, can anyone cite a case of this actually happening?

*Actually, this can't happen because I have too many RFID cards in my wallet and they all garble each other. Some people can just touch their wallet to board a bus, for example, but I can't due to having multiple RFID cards in there.

Comment Sorry dude, it's fake (Score 3, Interesting) 211

I recently spotted a waiter with an iPhone in a third-world country so I went over to ask him about it. But it quickly became obvious that it was a fake. The sad thing is, I don't think the guy knew it. He said his mom paid $120 for it but it was basically unusable. You had to press real hard on the screen and the location calibration was way off (I'd played with another fake iPhone when I was in Laos and it was much better than this one). I showed him mine and the way it's supposed to work, with just a light flick of the finger.

Once I'd convinced him it was a fake, he asked me how much fakes like his go for in the U.S. I told him we don't have the fakes because you can get a new real one for $99 (with two-year contract). I ended up talking to the guy for a half-hour and it was a learning experience for both of us. But I felt bad for the guy, having spent several months' salary on a phone that barely worked (and possibly thinking that Apple makes such poor products)


Hand Written Clock 86

a3buster writes "This clock does not actually have a man inside, but a flatscreen that plays a 24-hour loop of this video by the artist watching his own clock somewhere and painstakingly erasing and re-writing each minute. This video was taken at Design Miami during Art Basel Miami Beach 2009."

Bill Gates Calls for a 'Kinder Capitalism' 601

Strudelkugel writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft's Chairman Bill Gates is going to call for a revision of capitalism. He will argue that the economics that drive much of the world should use market forces to address the needs of poor countries, which he feels are currently being ignored. 'We have to find a way to make the aspects of capitalism that serve wealthier people serve poorer people as well,' Mr. Gates will say in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. 'Key to Mr. Gates's plan will be for businesses to dedicate their top people to poor issues — an approach he feels is more powerful than traditional corporate donations and volunteer work. Governments should set policies and disburse funds to create financial incentives for businesses to improve the lives of the poor, he plans to say. Mr. Gates's argument for the potential profitability of serving the poor is certain to raise skepticism, and some people may point out that poverty became a priority for Mr. Gates only after he'd earned billions building up Microsoft. But Mr. Gates is emphatic that he's not calling for a fundamental change in how capitalism works.'"

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