Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Compare cell phone plans using Wirefly's innovative plan comparison tool ×

Comment Re:Man up, NASA. (Score 2, Insightful) 83

NASA lost contact with their STEREO-B satellite nearly twenty-two months ago when performing a routine test. NASA scientists are afraid to turn on the computer at this point because it may cause them to lose contact again.

What's the point of being able to talk to it if they can't turn it on and actually do stuff with it?
If they thought they lost it 22 months ago, they have nothing further to lose if it goes away again now.

Reading the article helps determine what the point is...

Seems the point is that they want to try to see if there is something they can do to point the satellite at the Sun in the 1 to 2 minutes they think they might have before the startup of the computer drains the battery and they have to wait another 6 months until the battery randomly charges up as it gets sunlight on its solar panels at the wrong angles. The sensor that keeps the satellite pointed at the sun failed, but maybe they can keep it pointed at the sun by sending commands from Earth and then they can better assess the health of the systems with more time.

Based on the article its seems they might have just enough time to give it some commands to point toward the sun and then hopefully the battery starts charging up again so they have more time to work with before it powers down.

Comment Re:Mobile Web (Score 1) 75

It wasn't just designers. Ad companies like Google were big culprits in subverting this vision. If your content is delivered in a structured form, then it's trivial for the receiver to just not display the bits that are adverts. On the other hand, if you get a big glob of executable code that produces some output then it's a lot harder to identify which bits are real content and which are cruft.

Comment Re:Jobs is dead (Score 1) 351

No one objects to the MacBook having a USB-C port. People object to it not having any other ports, which means that you need a dongle for basically anything. Even having two USB-C ports (one for power, one for other stuff) would have been a big improvement. The other annoyance is that no one - not even Apple - yet sells a monitor that connects with a single USB-C cable, provides power to the laptop and exposes USB, GigE and maybe eSATA ports.

Comment Re:Correction (Score 1) 173

It doesn't matter. I'm not sure why this is news, because Facebook has sold a service for quite a few years based on this. They know which constituency each of their users live in (even if you don't provide a real address, the IP that you connect from most frequently and the location of your phone if you install their app give them a good idea). They have a good hit rate for identifying the undecided voters and, importantly, what issues they consider important. They will sell parties the ability to run ads targeted at people in a particular constituency based on the issues that they find important. If you pay more, they will even sell you the names, addresses, and key issues for these voters so that you can send people around to canvas, briefed with exactly the right talking points.

It doesn't matter that Facebook has a few outliers like yourself, they still have enough information to have a disproportionate amount of influence on the political process.

Comment Re:Taxis are a municipal transportation service (Score 1) 442

No, they will still drive for Uber. People are desperate, obviously. The point is that no one is going to find a $12K vehicle that lasts 130,000 miles so no one is making that $13/hr. Uber is just a bottom feeder that is taking advantage of people who have no other way of making an income. The government is trying to make sure companies treat their workers fairly but apparently Uber has worked around that.

By your numbers 100,000 miles would be about how long a car would have to last to be around the highest state minimum wage. That puts many small cars in the $12k range new, and even more if you considered used cars. Seems there is plenty of room to make what the government currently considers acceptable compensation.

I am all for a higher minimum wage of $15 or even $17 per hour, but to claim the government is trying to protect workers when so many people are wage slaves with brutal and inflexible hours below what the rate Uber is paying is absurd.

It is fairly simple to figure out what the equivalent wage is for Uber drivers. Apply the standard mileage cost estimate for the distance of the requested ride and deduct it from the compensation for Uber drivers would be making. The Uber app should be doing this before the ride using the distance estimate and the minimum wage data for the state to ensure that the price is at or above the minimum wage threshold.

Comment Re:Taxis are a municipal transportation service (Score 1) 442

People keep saying that, yet obviously there cannot be too many cars on the road. Also, you want the drivers to actually have some profit potential. This is something that is not currently happening with Uber. There was recently an independent analysis and an Uber driver will make $13 an hour *IF* they only pay $12,000 for their vehicle and it lasts 130,000 miles. That's pretty difficult circumstances to operate in.

If people can't make enough money for it to be worthwhile then they won't drive for Uber and any oversupply will go out of the market. Artificially constraining supply of individual transportation choices could put more cars on the road if the best option then becomes a car rental or owning your own car versus the periodic Uber ride.

Your $13 per hour estimate is at least 30% higher than the highest minimum wage in all 50 states.

Comment Re:Taxis are a municipal transportation service (Score 1) 442

To me it seems easier for Uber just to do the work required to fulfill a cities needs like the taxi services do. Contract some drivers to wait around like the taxis do, force them to go anywhere the fares need to go, have some cars that are up to taxi standards and regulation, and have a certain number of cars for the physically disabled. Then the whole issue goes away.

So the thing that has made Uber successful is that it went around all those regulations that were put into place to protect the politically connected medallion owners. Taxi medallions are a protection racket in restraint of trade and you can't get one unless you play in local politics.

Comment Re:Uber is not "ride sharing" (Score 1) 442

Uber is simply not engaged in "ride sharing". Ride sharing is when a driver is going to make a journey, and takes one or more people with them, in return for covering their costs on the way. No money is made, and the journey happens regardless of the extra people along for the ride.

Uber is certainly not a taxi service. They aren't allowed to just pick up people that don't have a reservation in Massachusetts and most other places with a city medallion based licensing scheme. Uber is closer to a limo service that picks up people that have reservations.

Comment Re:What political compromise looks like (Score 1) 442

This tax is a very small bone that was thrown to the taxi industry who wanted far more crippling regulation of their competition. The ride sharing companies won big in this law.

Yes, and the taxi subsidy goes away after a few years and then after that state just pockets the tax to do with whatever it wants like any other tax. Also, the state hasn't decided yet how to distribute the subsidy so it is hard to say who is going to benefit. The subsidy could go towards the rich taxi owners or be give to taxi drivers as cash. To the drivers that actually might be impacted with fewer fares and lower tips and could use the money to help transition to new jobs or retire. Or what usually happens is that it could go towards some government boondoggle projects that are designed to do nothing else but give political supporters jobs for a few years at the public expense... either way there is some spreading around money which is what compromises are made of.

Comment Re:What is it that you say? (Score 4, Interesting) 442

The problem is that you're both right. The taxis are providing the service, the taxi companies are not. Taxi companies have long since adopted similar business models to Uber and Lyft: the drivers either bring (and maintain) their own car or rent it from the taxi company. The only service that the companies provide is a dispatcher, for which they take a hefty cut.

Consumers want to have a single dispatcher service that works anywhere and puts them in touch with a lot of taxi drivers. Uber provides something like this. The taxi companies don't want to, because this kind of thing naturally benefits from economies of scale: it's only slightly more expensive to provide a dispatcher service for the entire USA than for NYC.

If you really want to address the problem with a legislative fix then make every licensed taxi reachable via a single computerised dispatcher service and provide a well documented API for interacting with it. Provide (and fund out of the taxes on taxi fares and licenses) enough infrastructure that anyone can write an app that will hail any taxi in your jurisdiction and pay for it. If Uber wants to operate in your city, then they're free to do so by simply integrating their front end with your municipal back end.

Comment Re: Will Internet Voting Endanger The Secret Ballo (Score 1) 214

Laymen cannot build a modern car or airplane or understand how it works, which means they cannot trust this system...

That's irrelevant. The interests of the people who build the cars are aligned with those of the people who use them, and if that proves not to be the case then there are liability laws that ensure that you can be compensated if your car is not built to spec. In contrast, the interests of small subsets of the population are typically not directly aligned with the rest when choosing a government.

In the UK, our elections run by putting a cross on a piece of paper, which then goes into a box. The boxes are taken to a central location for each constituency and are then counted. If I don't trust the system, then I can watch the box from the time that I cast my vote until it gets to the polling station and can then watch the votes being taken from the box and put into piles and counted. The same is true for almost any member of the electorate. In contrast, with an electronic voting system the number of people who are able to verify it is tiny: I have a PhD in Computer Science and work in computer security and I wouldn't be confident that I could spot hidden manipulation of an electronic election and I doubt that there are more than 100 people in the world who could - if that. Do you trust those 100 people to decide who wins the next election? Remember what Stalin said: it doesn't matter who casts the votes, only who counts them.

Slashdot Top Deals

"Ada is PL/I trying to be Smalltalk. -- Codoso diBlini

Working...