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Comment Re:The ending comment (Score 3, Interesting) 60

What are you talking about? Is UberPOOL different in Mexico City? In SF, UberPOOL is just another mode of UberX. Same drivers, same cars. UberPOOL is a dynamic ridesharing system because the app basically finds other people on the same route when you request a ride. It's not set up in advance, and the driver doesn't set the destination. It's not like a carpool to work, it's more like sharing a taxi.

UberPOOL drivers aren't typically driving to work, they're at work. I think the point of the ads is that if you have 2-4 riders (not including the driver) in each car, then the number of cars on the road should go down, reducing congestion and pollution. Of course, making access to anything cheap and fast tends to drive up the usage, so it may actually end up with more people taking an Uber rather than walking or taking a bus.

Comment Re: Vuze is malware too (Score 1) 61

Yes, in Ubuntu I'm using the qbittorrent-nox package and running it as a daemon with a web UI. It can also monitor folders for torrent files, move them when it loads them, and have default directories for in progress and completed downloads. Or you can load torrents via the Web UI, or from the command line.

Comment Re:Ride Sharing is hype. (Score 1) 72

Disclaimer: I don't know anything about Atlanta.

Kennesaw seems to be a decently distant suburb of Atlanta. From there to Downtown is 26 miles (31 minutes according to Google Maps). Uber claims it costs $23-30 on UberX. UberPOOL isn't available. That makes a big difference. A similar trip (in time and distance) where I am costs $32-40, but right now on POOL it would be $20.80. Back of the envelope math means the Atlanta trip would be $15-20 for on POOL, if it was available. That's pretty cheap when you consider the IRS says driving your own car 26 miles costs about $13. Of course it will be a lot cheaper when UberROBOT comes out.

Mind you, in San Francisco crossing the city from east to west costs less than $9 on UberPOOL.

Comment Re: Wow, the UK is even more screwed up than the U (Score 5, Insightful) 238

You're forgetting a lot of downsides of the U.S. system, and the fact that individual states do have referendums, and you're oversimplifying the UK system.

David Cameron wasn't ousted, he pushed hard for a specific outcome in the referendum, and he lost. The voters rejected a deal he had negotiated, and a policy he willingly bet his premiership on. All that said, he could have stayed as long as the Conservative party wanted him, but it's reasonable for him to step down after losing.

The vote itself also wasn't binding, it's up to Parliament to execute it. This wasn't a law that was passed by referendum. Unlike in the U.S., Parliament (technically the "Queen in Parliament") is supreme in the UK, and can change any law it wants. There's no written constitution, and thus not really the concept of an "unconstitutional" law. The PM is elected by a majority of parliament. This system means that a government usually can get its manifesto legislation passed, and it's easier to hold a government responsible for keeping its promises. The U.S. system can allow for years of deadlock, and whereas an independent commission is responsible for defining constituency boundaries in the UK, they're set by politicians in the U.S. If a party can gain control of the legislature of a state (quick - name any member of your state legislature), it can effectively control that state's seats in Congress for a decade. All of this lends a lot more legitimacy to the UK government.

So yes, getting things done in the U.S. system is harder, and it's easier for a few states to block legislation. That doesn't mean the U.S. system has greater legitimacy, quite the opposite. The state governments are barely accountable for their actions, and even a party with strong popular support can fail to get its legislation passed thanks to the byzantine electoral system.

Comment Re:Uhh... (Score 1) 240

making a living off the arts is like winning the lottery.

There's too much free/discounted stuff out there for the masses to want to pay top dollar for something that can be easily acquired for free.

Just because there's free art out there doesn't mean that's why people aren't buying. I don't buy CDs or books because I find them inconvenient, but that doesn't mean I'm replacing them with something that's free. I don't buy paintings either, because I don't find them interesting. In fact, there's a lot of 'art' (be it a painting, book, film, photograph, song, poem, etc.) that gets produced that nobody finds interesting. The reason it's hard to make a living as an artist is the same reason it's hard to make a living as an actor - many people try, very few people are actually any good at it. I'd bet that more than 99% of the art that's produced each year couldn't be given away for free. Just because an artist likes their own work doesn't mean anyone else would be willing pay for it, no matter the condition of the market.

Comment Re:Ban Uber (Score 5, Insightful) 96

If those medallion owners (many of whom, by the way, rented their medallions out, and thus were also rent seekers) had kept their businesses up to date then Uber wouldn't exist. They spent years fighting Uber, even trying to ban the idea of smartphone ride-hailing, rather than building their own alternative.

Don't feel bad for the taxi business, it stagnated and had to be replaced before it became a drag on society.

I don't like a lot of things about Uber. I'd really prefer that all of the vehicles and drivers be tested thoroughly for safety. Up front fares (which they seem to be implementing) would be nice too. I do like the idea of being able to report bad drivers, and pooling cars. I also like that Uber can review routes taken by drivers, it's a frequent problem in NYC that drivers intentionally take a longer route to increase their fare, or refuse to take riders to or from certain parts of the city. Don't forget that Uber was founded because the taxi cartel in San Francisco had successfully captured its regulators, keeping the number of medallions too low (restricting available service, but increasing the resale value of their medallions).

Banning Uber and forcing us all to go back to the discriminatory, fraud-ridden, unreliable taxi system is just not an option.

Comment Re:Fuck Spotify (Score 1) 327

In fact, Apple should go further and block their macOS app from installing as well, for one simple reason: every time the app updates it sets itself up to run on login. I used Spotify from the week it launched in the U.S. until Apple Music launched. I bought a Pro subscription almost immediately after I started using it. But every time the app updated it would throw itself into the login items list again, like this is Windows 98 and we need 80 programs to start and put themselves in the System Tray before you can use your computer.

Then Apple Music came out. Sure, the UI isn't as good, and it took me hours to manually transfer my playlists. But hey, I finally have all of my music in one app (yeah, Spotify has the ability to sync songs, but the feature was very flaky, and it wasn't easy to organize hundreds of songs). But, iTunes never starts up when I login to my computer, and I've long since made sure the iTunes "helper" was permanently disabled (by "damaging it).

Spotify could have kept at least one customer if they just hadn't been so damn pushy.

Comment Re:Stupid people (Score 1) 129

You're sent a document from someone you interact often with. Maybe it's a business that might use odd security measures (like a lawyer, bank, or doctor's office).When you open the document it says:

Click to view document

That's it, no more content.

Now, I wouldn't click on it, you might not either. But there's enough people out there who will follow instructions, or will click on the most obvious button to make an annoying alert go away.

Comment Re:WYGIWYP (Score 0) 96

Believe it or not but the US does have valid national security concerns that need to be dealt with so unfortunately the NSL and FISA programs are needed unless someone can come up with a better way to handle threats to national security.

The Stasi had a huge number of spies watching for dissident activity. A system like that would be more effective at protecting national security than one that focuses on digital communications. These people watched practically everything their neighbors did, and reported it to the state. Stasi agents would enter people's homes at will. Surely, that would make it easier to stop terrorism.


Now do you understand that national security is not the only metric by which we measure a policy?

P.S. and yes, parallel construction. Criminals (a surprising number of whom seem to work in law enforcement) always get greedy.

Comment Budget shenanigans (Score 2) 302

<quote>"In the past three years, the TSA and Congress cut the number of front-line screeners by 4,622 -- or about 10% -- on expectations that an expedited screening program called PreCheck would speed up the lines. However, not enough people enrolled for TSA to realize the anticipated efficiencies."</quote>

So, really, this was just congress cooking the books with the budget by cutting something that would have to be restored. PreCheck (or, rather, the Trusted Traveler programs that give you access to PreCheck) require an in-person interview. Last time I checked, the next available appointment at SFO (the only location for this in the Bay Area) was November! Plenty of people have signed up, but there isn't enough capacity to process the applications.

Congress should have realized that enrolling millions of people in a new program would require significant funding.

Comment Re:Why... (Score 1) 134

The devil is in the details. What is the interest rate on that credit card?

Why, why, why would you ever borrow money on a credit card? I mean, I'll admit I took a balance transfer to fund a move once, but that was $5000 for a 3% up-front payment and no interest for a year (by which time I paid it off). Normal "purchase" interest rates on a credit card are insane. Looking at my cards, the range on purchases is 14-24%! The rates are there basically to punish anyone who tries to use a card as a credit facility rather than paying it off every month.

Some payday operations are legal. Some aren't, a few advertised on TV have recently been found to be illegal, and others have been found to be breaking other laws, like those which prevent them from offering loans to soldiers. None of them should be legal, but even if they are, Google (a private entity) is free to refuse to do business with them. Now, if Google was doing this to lock out competitors that would be different, but Google doesn't compete with payday lenders.

Comment Re:Why do sites need so many trackers? (Score 1) 206

You can make it so a given tracker is enabled only on a specific site. I suppose knowing which sites you've enabled trackers on would allow someone to know which sites you visit, but that only holds if the Ghostery extension uploads your configuration to the Ghostery servers. Do you have any evidence that it does?

Comment Re:Why do sites need so many trackers? (Score 2) 206

[quote]with Ghostery, you have to access their web site to change settings[/quote]

The settings page built-in to the Ghostery extension is not part of their website, just as it isn't for uBlock, Adblock Plus, or any of the other extensions that use the same mechanism for settings.

As for giving them information, even if Ghostery does know what trackers you've blocked (and I'm not sure they do) - which trackers you've blocked doesn't tell them much, certainly not what your interests are. Besides, why wouldn't you just block all the trackers?

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