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Comment As an ex-cabbie... (Score 5, Interesting) 445

...I am biased, but there is logic behind my bias.
Municipalities require licensing for taxi services because the taxi drivers are conducting the actual business transaction -- agreeing to transport the customer for a price, whether pre-agreed or subject to a meter reading, at the point of pickup within the municipality.
Most municipalities also require background checks for the drivers and company owners, and have safety requirements for the vehicles, as [a means to ensure customer safety | a revenue generator].
Passengers, however, are unscreened and unknown. They might come in from a phone call, or they might hail a taxi on the street.
Most of the risk, both financial and otherwise, falls on the drivers.

So, along come Uber, Lyft and their ilk, conducting the transactions online (thus, outside the municipality) and essentially reversing the standard cabbie/passenger dynamic: the passengers are pre-identified (to sign up, they needed a cell phone, a credit card and a valid address to go with it), and the drivers are unknown (except to the companies, which do little or no effective screening). The vehicles used are unlikely to meet the requirements for taxi use, and are often flat-out unsafe for drivers, passengers, or bystanders.

The companies start doing business anywhere they like, and fight against the requirements -- only if challenged -- with funds from their financial backers.
Municipalities are not happy about this, for both safety and financial reasons. Taxi owners and drivers, most of whom have invested considerable time and money to clear regulatory hurdles, are understandably upset at this end run around the law.

Imagine if Internet gun sellers showed up doing business in NYC or Washington, D.C. and claimed similar exemption from the local (highly restrictive) laws...

Comment Health care... nope (Score 1) 47

I work for a major assisted living provider.
Not only do we not have a plan, we don't have a clue. Our Windows machines are still running an old version of Java, and everyone is local Administrator. There is no official policy against downloading or installing stuff, so the place is a Festival of Malware. We have three people on the Security team for 60,000+ computers.

Comment Re:Lockdown - so? (Score 1) 173

A better idea would be to ask people willing to volunteer and work as a special team to tackle the problem rather than arbitrarily keep everyone there. Offer overtime pay or some sort of bonus or stock option to those who stay and join the team, thereby only keeping the ones that really want to be there on the task.

Comment Re:Hardly suprising (Score 1) 141

If only there were a universal protocol that ties people to a domain name and can allow them to send messages between each other. Maybe a few set of protocols as well, one for chat, like an Internet Relay Chat, and another one being a Simple Mail Transport Protocol.

Nobody wants to publish standards anymore, they just want to create their own shitty infrastructure based around obscurity.

Comment um, that's not OK, Google... (Score 5, Funny) 214

We were fresh off a seven-night cruise in New Orleans, with a lot of dirty clothes to wash, and our hotel did not have laundry facilities for the guests.
So, I said to my Nexus 6p, "OK, Google: I need a f***ing laundromat."

I never imagined there was so much laundromat pr0n in the world...

Comment We called id Software...to pay them (Score 5, Interesting) 351

After we had played the heck out of the one-disk Doom demo, someone gave us a bootleg copy of the 3-disk full game.
We played it, were suitably awestruck, and called the phone number in the game.

"Hi, we're calling because someone gave us a bootleg copy of Doom...
Suspicious voice: "And...?"
"...and we want to pay for it. How much do we owe you, and where do we send the check?"
Stunned silence, then "Send it to this address, and mark it attention [forgotten name]. Oh, and make sure you include your return address!"

Some weeks later, a large box arrived with a retail copy of Doom, and a whole bunch of Doom and Castle Wolfenstein swag.

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