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Comment Re:Why is it a failure (Score 3, Insightful) 95

You're forgetting the other half of the supply & demand equation:

When prices go up, it pushes consumers to consume less. You still get a market-clearing result--everyone who needs a ride is able to get one quickly, because those people who can wait or go by some other means (or can't afford the new price) will remove themselves from the market.

Turns out that the effect on demand is much stronger than the effect on supply. Customers drop their requests faster than drivers can get to the area. Uber probably sees it as a failure internally because they make less money when prices go up (even though it is still a success at ensuring availability and short wait times).

Comment Re:Why is it a failure (Score 4, Insightful) 95

I think it is considered a failure because it doesn't really work for uber.

If surge is low, it isn't worth a driver heading across town without a fare just for a 20 or 40% bonus in fares (especially if surge is gone by the time he gets there). Low surge doesn't do much to increase supply.

However, if surge is high, customers won't want to pay. At least in my market, taxis are still a perfectly viable option (and can be flagged off any street corner), and last I checked, a surge of 1.7x or more made UberX more expensive than a taxi. I would also be willing to take a bus or ride a bike in some instances (or simply wait for surge to go away). I think I have only paid surge over 2X once, and it was for a short ride where the money just didn't matter much.

High surge is great at reducing demand. This helps clear the market and is overall a market success. Unfortunately, Uber is in the business of selling you a ride. Reducing demand for their own product is not exactly a success.

The only times that it is really a success for uber are times where many drivers expect surge in advance. New Years Eve is a great example of this. In my city, there weren't crazy surges on NYE like there were a few years ago. Drivers knew there was money to be made and they went out. They may have been disappointed that they weren't seeing huge surges (averages were less than 2...probably a lot in the 1.2-1.4 range), but they were out there driving, and customers were surprised by the low fares and took more ubers.

I think the idea is that they could use machine learning to predict the non-obvious times. Get drivers on the road in time to meet the demand...thus increasing supply rather than decreasing demand.

Comment Re:What is the relevance of the gov adresses? (Score 2) 50

I originally interpreted it as a joke--out of over a million people who have been deemed beautiful enough to participate in an exclusive dating service...only 170 of them are government employees.

But looking at the tweet that announces it, I'd say it is just a judgement of "what idiot uses their government work email to sign up for a dating site"

Comment Re:Facebook is for Losers. (Score 2, Informative) 387

Really? It makes me go "me me me me"?

So I rarely post anything and mostly browse through photos, events, and articles posted by my friends...because I only care about myself?

It's a tool. It is a way to connect with others. You can use it in a shitty way, or you can use it in a positive way. The only downside I see is that it gives the shitty people a lot more reach. Those people were shitty and obnoxious before they had facebook accounts...it was just that you only saw it if you were in the same room as them. Now you can see their dumb thoughts in comment sections across the globe!

Comment Re: Yes (Score 1) 566

I love docking stations.

My thinkpad sits in a docking station. It has DVI connections to two displays, USB to keyboard and mouse + accessories, headphones/speakers, power, and ethernet.

I press one button and it pops free. Can take it to a conference room and attach it to a projector. Then go push it back on the dock and it switches back to my chosen display setup and everything is how I left it. No bunch of cables to plug in, no need to worry about which order I connect the displays (and heck, I don't even know how to connect two displays over digital connections without using the docking station...can it be done?).

Comment Re:Technology Paradox (Score 1) 226

People consider you poor because it takes 40% of your income to pay for some tiny studio apartment.

I hate to break it to you...but where you live, you are poor. Nobody said you couldn't be happy and poor, but you're poor all the same.

There are all sorts of places where you wouldn't be poor on 50k, You don't even have to live in bumfuck nowhere...you wouldn't be poor in Nashville.

Comment Re:R vs. Python vs. other (Score 4, Interesting) 105

R is kind of a shitty language compared to Python. It is based on S, which is itself an old statistics language. It isn't awful, but it lacks the refinement of a language that was developed from the ground up in the modern era. Syntax can be wonky or inconsistent....

But, R is all about stats. It has great charting and analysis libraries, far exceeding those that exist in Python or any other general purpose language.

SAS is kind of the corporate standard if you want long term maintainability and a large selection of potential workforce...but it is expensive and if I were starting out today, I am not sure I would pick it. It is however much more easy to scale to huge datasets than R...SAS pretty much works as long as you can fit the data on your hard drive. No need to fuck with breaking up projects into small pieces or investing in boxes with 1TB of RAM. Millions and billions of observations are totally OK as long as you are willing to wait for the program to finish running.

R has been making inroads at replacing SAS and Stata as the teaching language of choice (mostly because it is free)...so it is probably easiest to find straight college grads with some R experience than anything else.

Comment Re:Do Not Want (Score 2) 103

Hell, I just try to remotely control my computer from a distance and it will suck ass at random moments in time.

Some days I can load up a citrix desktop from across the country, RDP to a machine back in my state from that citrix session, and use it so well I almost forget I am remote (although for some reason, Chrome is barely functional over this connection...lags like hell, even if it is just in the background and not the active window ...IE works fine). Yes, I know a Remote Desktop Gateway Server would save me the shitty citrix layer that I use for absolutely nothing besides the RDP client...but I guess IT doesn't like it.

And then other days, somewhere in the middle, something chokes and even a bare citrix session is barely usable

Comment Re:Jarvis or Siri? (Score 1) 115

Google already does half of these things if you have an Android phone with Google Now.

It's not perfect...for instance, while I don't own a car, it often alerts me to traffic conditions that would slow my commute (but don't impact my train)... It works pretty well, but considering whenever I ask for directions, I ask for either Public Transit or Cycling, you would think it would stop giving me traffic alerts.

Or it will scan my email, notice that I replied to an email that appeared to be a party invite, and then notify me "You had better leave now to make it to this event by 8pm". Oddly, here it often gives me public transit directions instead of car.

It has some synchronization with your computer if you use Chrome, although it isn't complete.

Comment Re:star wars has marketing? (Score 1) 207

You guys are all missing the point.

Its not that they didn't market the shit out of star wars back then. Because we all know how much star wars merchandise there was.

The point is that they already did it--back in the 70s, someone came up with Star Wars, made some movies, and marketed the shit out of it. Now, here in 2015, instead of finding someone with a new idea and backing it, Disney has simply bought the franchise, rehashed it, and turned the marketing machine up to 11.

They don't want to take the risk anymore, so we don't get cool new things.

Comment Re:Wait, what? (Score 1) 57

I see this being used for more distributed tasks and for tasks not tied to the core business.

I can't quite envision exactly why you would need this, but lets say you have a compute cluster spread out across many locations. Additionally assume that you are using this for something internally on-demand rather than automated or in response to customer/user interaction. Things you might use AWS for like ad-hoc queries and machine learning exercises being run by your analytics team instead of whatever it is your company actually does for money..

If some of your systems are down, it doesn't have a real impact on the bottom line. Your data scientists might be delayed (or temporarily halted), but not your customer facing systems. Perhaps you can even mix and match within the same datacenter. Storage and processing for your core business go in the $$$ high-redundancy racks. Toys for the PhDs go in the cheaper low redundancy racks.

Comment Re:Looking forwards (Score 1) 181

These gentleman's agreements are bunk, making the very idea of sports competitions a joke. These are not the best of the best, they're the best of what they feel like allowing - for now.

Maybe they need to have both. For instance, in sailing, there are several types of competition. There is One Design racing, where the boats are all required to be pretty much identical. Different boats have different restrictions (some restrict costs by doing things like limiting how many sets of sails you can buy each year, others pretty much say no limits), but within a fleet, the boats are pretty much identical. At some events, boats are even provided and/or you rotate between boats. This really means that the best sailor wins since they can't do anything to significantly alter the boat.

Then there are classes where the boats are all similar, but not identical. They are built to a specific rule, e.g. "As long as the boat fits in X dimensions and has sail area less than Y and the ballast doesn't weight more than Z". The boats tend to be fairly even, since a fast design soon takes over the competition, so the best sailors still tend to win. But it also leads to innovation. For instance, the Moth class has evolved from a boat that looks like this, to a crazy high performance design that hydrofoils above the water like this. The old moth would never be able to compete with the new designs...but that's ok. That's the price of allowing people to innovate.

There are even events that really have no rules...but generally people don't care much about them since the competition completely turns into a money pit. Generally what happens there, is a standards body assigns a handicap to level the playing field. So the super rich dudes still compete for who can have the flat-out fastest boat, but everybody else (and the people who have the fastest boat from 10 years ago) just compete for the best corrected time according to handicap.

Comment Re:Is a JPEG at 0% compression a RAW image? (Score 1) 206

I think it is more like saying, they want a print and/or a negative that was handed off to a teenager at a 24 hour photo place.

They want to stop people from screwing with photos...but their solution is basically to say "let the camera make its best guess at what you were trying to capture". So instead of spending time in the dark room trying to get the best print possible (starting from a raw file), you are handing it over to to a pimply kid to run through an automated machine (letting the camera guess at brightness/contrast/white balance/etc).

Sure, you could do some unacceptable retouching in the darkroom...but most of what you are trying to do is get the photo to come out right. Same with raw files...you don't need a raw file to Photoshop an extra explosion into the background (although it might make it a little easier to make it hard to detect)...but you do want the raw file when you are trying to correct your exposure. This is particularly important for photojournalists who are not working in studio conditions. Maybe you were shooting in a combat zone and your only non-blurry shots came out way under-exposed...having the raw file gives you the most detail and ability to correct the image back to something usable.

Comment Re:NYC taxi system could DESTROY uber (Score 4, Informative) 210

Plenty of cab companies and taxi associations have tried to create "official" taxi apps.

They are all god awful. People use uber partly because it is cheaper (is it even cheaper in NYC? I thought it cost more than a yellow cab there)...but they also use it because it is seamless, the cars are clean, and the drivers aren't smelly dudes yammering away on their phone. See the use of the more expensive "Uber Select" and "Uber Black" as proof that it is not just about undercutting the taxis.

Most NYC rides aren't dispatched anyways...they are flagged down on the street.

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