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Comment Re: So now Trump controls where we vacation (Score 1) 197

For the first 700 of those years, there were no crusades. But there were the invasions of North Africa, Gaul (Spain), Byzantium and Sicily, not to mention Israel. All Islamic

622 - start of Islamic calendar
715 - conquest of Spain
1096 - First crusade arrives in the Levant

So if with 700 years, you mean about 400... sure :-)

(a 300 year difference might not feel like much in this context, but note that the US declaration of independence was well less than 300 years ago...)

(Please also note that Israel was founded in 1948 so is well outside this timeline, and if you mean the biblical Jewish kingdoms, they were conquered by the Romans well before the Muslims. AFAIK there were no jewish-ruled territories conquered by the Muslims, see e.g.

Comment Re:Failure is always an option (Score 5, Informative) 200

>There are plenty of people who haven't figured out how much money they're going to end up spending on vehicle maintenance as a result of all that extra driving.

The IRS mileage rate is supposed to be an average cost for operating a vehicle. It is 53.5 cents per mile. Uber pays about twice that per mile in San Francisco. So if you can go at 60 MPH you'll be making about 30 bucks an hour, which is not bad for unskilled labor.

(1) You're assuming all miles and hours are 'billable', while in reality you would be driving empty towards a pickup and waiting for the next pickup.
(2) 60MPH in San Francisco is going to get you some pretty bad fines most of the time :). But even if you drive only on highways that allow those speeds, your average speed is going to be much lower, probably closer to 30MPH for realistic cases.

So, let's assume you spend every hour waiting for 10 minutes, driving 30MPH to the pickup for 10 minutes, and driving a customer at 30MPH for 40 minutes, your average hourly gross income is 20$ (40/60*30*1$) and your expenses are $13.375 (50/60*30*.535), giving you a real income of under 7$ per hour. Good luck finding a house and food for that in SF area...

Comment Re:So true (Score 0) 188

Although I agree with you on the need to check out 3d party libraries before making your code dependent on it, it sounds like you might err on the side of rewriting. The biggest issue with code isn't writing it, it's maintaining it; and if a 3d party library is actively used and developed it means that in general someone else will be doing the maintenance, even if the codebase might not be the best ever. Writing and maintaining a new sockets/csv/oauth library is not what I want to spend my time on...

Comment Re:Sounds good to me (Score 1) 334

And you've pretty much outed yourself here as not knowing what you're doing. A Thai taxi or Tuk Tuk driver will only use the meter when they've spotted a fresh off the plane tourist. They do this because everyone else knows the meter is rigged to run at three times (or more) the normal speed and that you negotiate the rate. There are very few areas that are exceptions to this rule, in Thailand for example you'd never trust a meter in Phuket but a Bangkok taxi driver is fairly trustworthy. This is because the Bangkok taxi authority runs regular checks of taxi's and will strip the license from anyone caught with a dodgy meter whilst the Phuket drivers pay the politicians to look the other way.

Yeah my Thaiand experience is limited to BKK, but there the metered fares are much lower than the negotiated prices, and I've been refused multiple times when I demanded a taxi use the meter.

In Saigon it's the same in my experience, if you get a metered fare from any of the big companies you'll get there for pennies; if they quote a price (to a white guy) it will be 3-4 times overcharged . Of course, real men rent a motorbike :)

If taxi cost uncertainty is making you that nervous, we already have solutions like private hire cars where they'll happily service you for a fixed fee. For the reasons I've mentioned above this is always going to be more expensive than a taxi. However that is not your problem, whatever issues you can give me about taxis and the taxi industry, they still look like saints compared to Uber. Cost apprehension is not the reason you're running into the arms of a company even worse than the industry you complain about.

It's not just cost uncertainty though. I've used taxis in a lot of countries and until you've been somewhere for a while it's always uncertain how to minimize fare, how much to expect, whether a taxi will accept credit card and/or have change for big notes, whether the driver speaks English, whether the driver actually understood you, etc. Of course, you can research all of that, Internet has the information etc, but if I just arrived from a 10 hour flight the last thing I want to do is spend 15 minutes researching local taxi culture. I just want to get to my minibar :)

I would be much more willing to use taxis if they could get their act together and launch a sort of decentralized uber app. Preferably globally, but per country/city if need be. It might reduce scamming opportunities, but on the whole it could well increase taxi usage and help taxis get more rides.

Comment Re:Sounds good to me (Score 1) 334

It would be really cool if this was done with an (micro) auction system: you post a route (plus specials like luggage, #people etc) and all registered taxis can bid on the route. You see all bids plus review scores and you pick the ride for that guaranteed price. That would be much nicer than the queue system you normally see in busy places like airports.

Comment Re:Most countries you can't just sue the governmen (Score 1) 97

TFA and the linked Dutch source are not very specific, but I'm pretty sure this is a claim in civil court, not in public/administrative court, using the "damages from illegitimate acts" (BW6 art 162).

Note that the Dutch High Court rules that the blank-CD levy is not a compensation for illegal downloading, and that an EU ruling in 2014 (?) made downloading illegal. However, the government didn't really do anything with that, and the goal of the lawsuit is presumably to prod the government into action against downloading.

* Loosely translated: "(1) if you commit an illegitimate act you have to pay any damages that someone suffers from it; (2) an illegitimate act is a breach of someone's rights or an acting or failing to act in violation of legal duty or societal norms"

Comment Re:Honest Question: (Score 1) 160

Pretending you don't understand someone because of a trivial mistake doesn't make you look smart, it makes you look like a pedantic smart-ass.

This is especially true since we're discussing Norway, so there's a good chance that the GP is Norwegian and it is actually spelled with an "o" in Norwegian and most other Germanic languages. You should appreciate the fact that people from other parts of the world learn your language and contribute to your knowledge of things outside the US, not annoy them with your stupid pedantry.

(and if you actually wanted to help him improve his English, that's very nice of you, but adopting a different tone will help you get your message across in the future...)

Comment Re:Sounds good to me (Score 5, Insightful) 334

This comment does have merit. One of the really annoying things about traditional taxis is the uncertainty cost.
- You almost never know beforehand because the cost is calculated en route
- in some countries (thailand, vietnam, probably more) they try to avoid using the meter if you don't know what you're doing
- After the journey seemingly random extras can get added for luggage, toll roads, airport fees etc. In civilized countries most are probably legit, but as a visitor how do you know?
- Tips add to the uncertainty. If you travel a lot, you need to learn tipping customs for each country you visit.

With uber, you see the total price on the app, including service and all extras, before you book the ride. I hate their business model and their disrespect for local laws and practice, but in Europe I almost totally avoid cabs because of the reasons above, and a decent app would go a long way towards making me use taxis more often.

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