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Comment Re:Contrary to widespread thought... (Score 1) 274

Exactly. It will be one day, just not right now. New products need curb appeal. A cool factor. It's really hard to wow a first time user with a product filled with ads. Once they get enough users things will change. The original google search engine did the exact same thing. Once it was in common usage they started inserting "sponsored links." First you develop the technology, get everyone to use it, THEN you squeeze them.

Comment Re:Just means they will make their money another w (Score 2) 274

They are going to eat some costs. This is like video game console development. You eat some costs upfront to get the entire ecosystem out there. They did the same thing with Android. Facebook did the exact same thing. If the platform is a cesspool of ads, no one will want to use it. Once it's in widespread use they can do what they want with it. I doubt they have a lot of interest in developing hardware either. They want to get the ecosystem into widespread usage any way possible, then take a step back and be the masters of that ecosystem, letting everyone else do the work for them. Then they'll begin figuring out how to integrate ads, but that is 5 years away I'm sure. Ads are like step 30 and they've just barely reached step 1.

Comment Florida resident here (Score 4, Informative) 53

This story has a long history. Basically these places were operating with a variety of names (cafes, arcades, sweepstakes, probably others) for many years. They operated based on loopholes in Florida law and their sole purpose was for gambling. A very large one got shut down because they crossed the line from simply unethical to illegal. They were operating under the premise they were a veterans benefit organization and not actually giving veterans and significant amounts of money. The lieutenant governor was involved with the company somehow so the story exploded. Rick Scott is already wildly unpopular and the Florida Republican party is on the path to possibly losing 2014 so the hammer came down to make a point that the legislature can still get things done.

It's pretty telling that the company that was shut down was run mostly by lawyers. They operated along the cracks and loopholes of Florida laws. These places are usually in poor and retired neighborhoods so I'm not that sad to see them go away. Maybe if we can do something about the "WE BUY GOLD" and check cashing places we can start to clean up these communities.

Comment Re:Just set it to clock speed (Score 1) 400

I don't think it's such a black and white issue. There needs to be specific algorithms for determining speed limits. In America, speed limits vary WILDLY from county to county for equivalent roads. I'll give an anecdotal story...

Where I live, there was a road that had a speed limit of 35mph. All the state guidelines said the speed limit should be faster. It was 35mph because the mayor lived on that road and he blocked it every time anyone tried to raise it. When he left office, all of a sudden it was 40mph. So all the people that got tickets for going 40mph on that road were in the wrong 6 months ago, but are not wrong now? Nothing has changed except a sign. The road is no more or less safe.

In the Gainesville, FL area the surrounding towns know there are a lot of people passing through that don't know the local speed limits (that's where the University of Florida is). That area of Florida is very poor and for some small towns, speeding tickets are a significant source of revenue. They will do things like post a 35mph limit, then soon after a jump to 50mph within a few hundred feet. When people see the 50mph sign they begin to speed up even though 50mph doesn't technically begin until the point of the sign. They hide behind billboards trying to see how fast they can clock you before you've technically reached the new speed limit.

While in most places it's illegal to have an official ticket quota, I know for a fact all tactics just shy of a quota are used. I've heard of whiteboards with all officers tickets for the month on display for all to see. Enforcement programs get very aggressive during times of budget shortfall. There needs to be a disconnect between funds raised by the legal system and where they go. If the money stopped going to police departments and say directly to the federal government, the police departments would lose motivation to try and cheat people out of money.

Comment Whitelists and blacklists? (Score 1) 216

This seems like a late 90's solution to email spam. Why not a system that prescreens the call with a welcome message from you. This would trip some sort of probabilistic model that matches known waveforms of audio data that are robocallers. If after a few second delay it doesn't match anything, let the call through. Phone numbers in your contacts list are automatically let through. *123 reports a caller as a robocall at anytime during the call if one gets through. Anti-spam companies already have a good deal of the staff needed to implement this sort of thing. My guess is not enough people are affected by this to think this tech will be profitable.

Comment Re:NC has these Sweepstakes places as well (Score 2) 124

That's exactly how they are here in Florida. The reason for this legislation in the first place is that the lieutenant government was involved with a company that was operating one of these places under the cover that they were helping veterans. It turns out they were giving almost none of the money to any veterans associations. The really important part that very few in the media are reporting is that they were mostly run by lawyers. They knew exactly where the line for legality was and operated within inches of it for years. It wasn't until they got greedy and crossed it that they were caught.

Comment Florida resident here (Score 5, Informative) 124

These things have been around a long time. I remember when one first popped up about 8 years ago. My friends and I went to it and were amazed that they were legal. Instead of straight cash they paid out visa gift cards. Then about 4 years ago the zoning board approved one in my immediate area. Once they realized the name "arcade" was a cover for gambling, they immediately rescinded.

The reason this is news is because our lieutenant governor was involved with a company that managed to take it to a new low. They operated these things under the guise that it was some sort of organization helping veterans. I think that was the last straw. After the bust, this legislation was introduced and quickly passed. It was completely reactionary and I'm sure poorly written due to the quickness with which it passed.

As I said before, these things have been around for years. I must have at least a dozen near mean in the counties that allow it. Everyone knew they were shady, so no one can act like they are surprised by their existence.

Comment Sparkfun (Score 1) 325

For about $30 dollars you could connect an AVR to a serial enabled lcd and use a PS/2 keyboard. Run it on rechargeable batteries. I did this exact thing years back when I was studying communications protocols. My guess is that even if you don't have the skills to put together such a thing, if you contacted sparkfun and told then what you're trying to do, someone experienced would donate the 4 hours it would take them to design and program this.

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