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Comment This is not surprising (Score 5, Interesting) 245

After their interference in the last election where the FBI was on the same side of a US election as the GRU, is this any real surprise? The perception it creates is an image of a law enforcement agency that's gone off the rails. Snooping without a warrant and the nearly unchecked expansion of surveillance powers makes me wonder where this country is headed and whether the FBI needs a reboot.

Comment Re:What in the blue hell are you talking about (Score 1) 834

there's a lot of opportunities to reduce our costs in this area, and the alternative of keeping all the work here in the States just got a little worse.

And if the big boss knew they were going to pay a tax or tariff on outsourced services, that might also change the decision math.

Maybe the only good thing Trump has done so far is to put companies on notice that if they keep dicking over American workers it's going to catch up with them at some point. It doesn't even have to be 100% enforcement. Stomp on one, scare 10,000. At least he's doing something, as much as it gags me to support that idiot on anything.

I see outsource providers who think they have a right to US markets and foreign workers who act like they have a right to the US labor market. Trump has proven that both of those assumptions may be false.

Comment Re:OK, help me out... (Score 1) 834

So, what's the "group think" on this one?

I'm not certain about the group think but maybe we could admit we were letting too many people into the country in general and letting too many companies get away with abusing work visas.

I don't think it's racist or xenophobic to suggest we needed to clamp down on abuses in the H1-B program long ago. What makes people from other countries feel like they have a right to our labor market?

I hate Trump but can we at least admit he identified a real problem that was eating at many Americans? Or are we beyond the capacity to have a rational discussion about anything related to his policies?

Comment Re:Convenience, assurance and cost (Score 1) 61

I don't have to pull out my wallet, worry about tips or even talk to the driver.

Drivers have a word for people like you, Captain One Star. Keep that up and your user rating will eventually drop low enough you'll start having trouble getting a ride.

Tip your Uber driver...every single time. Just a couple bucks is enough. Most of them are making between $9 and $13 hour, before expenses. In a few major high density areas (LA, New York, Boston, Seattle) they're making between $18 and $25 but that's not normal. Working the surge at LAX, some really good drivers can average $27 over a ten hour shift. You try operating a car profitably on $13/hour. Write back, I'll wait.

Some of those poor chumps are sleeping in their car trying to squeeze out a living and you can't part with a couple bucks in spare ones?

Comment Re:6% yearly? I find that hard to believe (Score 1) 61

not because if price (it's expensed after all), but because of quality of service.

If Uber keeps promoting Pool, the quality of service is going to decline dramatically. Experienced drivers won't take Pool rides, even in the face of being deactivated. That means the best cars and best drivers are the most likely to go do something else rather than be forced into competing with mass transit with bottom feeder rates. Uber had a great business model but Pool is corrupting the entire industry.

Comment Now we need "Alexa, ask Google..." (Score 1) 63

After a year of so living with Alexa I find her to be exceptionally useful for many things, not including deep searches. For everyday things (and being Amazon, for selling things) she does a marvelous job but the AI behind Alexa is pretty much an Eliza-class AI. Google has and is in the position to continue developing better deep-thinking AI's, as does IBM.

I think Google and Amazon need to bury the hatchet, and add "Alexa, Ask Google..." to Alexa's skill set. There comes a time when a user wants a better search result than one gets with Alexa's default Bong search. A skill that would permit Alexa to consult with a better AI would be a very useful addition. In that same vein, it might be nice for Amazon to buy some IBM hardware and add "Alexa, Ask Watson..." to the universe of skills.

We're better together.

Comment Uber is off mission (Score 1) 92

Uber started out as a simple middleman, matching up people with a car with people needing a ride. Now they're burning billions of dollars trying to shape the future of transportation. Instead of letting market forces shape the future transportation market and adapting to it, Uber has a grandiose vision they're trying to cram down the market's throat.

I don't think people really want the future Uber is trying to push. They should stop the self-driving car research, today. That future will happen anyway but it's not clear when cars will be able to transport passengers without a driver. Uber and Lyft are already treating human drivers like the machines they're working on to replace them. Neither will survive until robots are ready to take over unless they go back to basics. They'll need human drivers at least three years, probably closer to five. They can't survive that long burning through cash like they are today. The rider experience is already suffering from second rate drivers and high turnover.

Think about self checkouts at grocery stores when contemplating how long it will be before cars can drive themselves.

Comment Not -Exactly- Renewable (Score 2) 160

Tapping geothermal energy is a great idea, but it's not precisely renewable.

The process, whether using natural (in place) water or by water injection, is removing paleolithic heat from a piece of solidified rock. That rock only has so much heat in it and the process of tapping that heat cools it. There are already geothermal fields in Northern California (The Geysers) that are producing reduced power output due to local cooling.

The upside with deep geothermal is that there is a whole lot of crust to drill into and depleted wells can be deepened. With better grid technology more remote geothermal sources can be tapped including shallow magma.

There is a lot of energy available but technically speaking it is neither infinite nor renewable any more than anthracite coal fields were renewable. At the turn of the 20th century mining companies were looking forward to mining these vast fields of coal forever.

Comment Have they actually prodcued anything? (Score 4, Interesting) 99

I know they have concepts and maybe some engineering drawings but have they actually contracted out for the development of anything? There has to be some supporting equipment they could be accumulating right now, right?

I wonder if they ever considered partnering with a company like SpaceX?

I could see this going somewhere with the right mix of companies, but right now I just don't see one organization pulling it all together.

Comment Yes,but it's not about Computer Programming (Score 1) 381

These are books about algorithms. I've read them all, and worked the problems.

At the risk of exposing myself as an elitist snob, I wonder about the people who don't think one has to understand the basis of an algorithm, and what makes for an algorithm as opposed to a heuristic.

Decades of research went into understanding how computing machinery accomplished the things that they did. A certain Bill Gates came along and decided none of that highbrow stuff applied to the new paradigm of PC's. That's one of the reasons that we had fifteen years of the worst memory manager on Earth, in Windows. In point of fact Knuth talked in detail about this memory management as a counterexample of how it should not be done. But it was simple amd worked on PC's and hey, memory is cheap.

Knuth's books are about the Fundamentals. They're not practical guides and they never were practical guides. They are insight into how a certain variety of stochastic machine operates and the kind of things one must think about to design proper algorithms that work all the time, as opposed to work most of the time. They are the Zen of computer programming, a philosophy of thought and a discipline for creating algorithms. This is not how to write code.

It certainly isn't for people who confuse how to speak a language with how to converse.

Comment Re:Which media company would refuse to stir up shi (Score 2) 588

Sure, it's an appalling idea, but can we wait until it's an actual plan before pouring out the vitriol?

So, we should wait until the actual contracting stage to express indignation? The fact the other companies didn't unanimously and immediately shit-can this idea says more bad things about America than burning a flag could ever accomplish.

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