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Comment Re:Amazon is awesome for knockoffs! (Score 1) 333

A lot of times, "knockoffs" aren't even that. If you take a knock-off to be a close approximation in appearance to a known brand, in some cases you'd be wrong. In some cases they don't even have to design or reverse engineer the product. "Second Shifting" is a thing too. A chinese contractor that has an order for 20,000 widgets already has the tooling setup and the materials at hand. It's no problem for the night shift to keep the machines running for their own private production run of an identical product (but often using cheaper then specified materials) and just sell the result on the gray market. No approximation or development needed.

Comment Re:You just argued for AirBNB case (Score 1) 242

I'm sure Uber could be fined if they let a known unapproved vehicle on their network and let a customer take a ride in an uninspected vehicle too. No different. The difference here is that Uber doesn't allow non-approved drivers on the road, whereas Air BnB has no problem listing and renting out unapproved rooms on their platform.

Comment Re:There are some good reasons for this (Score 1) 242

If Uber and Lyft can do it, ABnB can do it. In Minneapolis/Saint Paul, all TNC drivers are required to present their car for inspection annually to a city designated inspector and pass the same automotive inspection that the taxis and limos go through. It's $50. It's an analog piece of paper with no on-line process available. You get the form, you physically take it to an inspector, have your car inspected, and you pay the fee. You must carry it and have it in your glovebox anytime a police officer asks for it. It's not a big deal. Air BnB should have no problem with this either.

Comment Re:What's it going to take to get Netflix and Amaz (Score 1) 114

I too am running an El Capitan Hackintosh. I followed the guide and parts list on 9to5mac by Jenn Benjamin, except I used the OSXWIFI card which is natively supported instead of the wifi and bluetooth dongle he recommended. Everything, I mean, everything works as it should. From continuity, handoff, sleep, sound, wake on lan, everything. I bought some parts used on eBay (cpu, ram, cpu cooler) and made out for under $900

Comment Re:Mod parent up (Score 1) 767

It probably varies by street and maybe even county, but in St Paul MN we were assessed for road repaving of our street, new l.e.d streetlamps, and sidewalk widening. $17k added to our own property tax, to be paid out over the next 20 years. No HOA, Not a gated community. Just a simple 900sq ft starter house in the city.

Comment Re: Half arsed (Score 1) 921

There was an interesting guest on Planet Money a few weeks back. They studied the whole notion of "retraining" and education when jobs go away (mining jobs, buggy whip jobs, whatever). Turns out people aren't as flexible as a "rational person" economics theroy would have you believe. Generally the real person - even with retraining - never finds equally paying employment for the rest of their life, and has financial obligtions in line with the old lifestyle which almost always results in spending the rest of your life struggling or entering bankruptcy.

Comment Re:Waste of money (Score 2) 335

Austin Limo's and Taxis are already fingerprinted. All they wanted was for Lyft and Uber to make a one time 30 minute visit to get fingerprinted like the other drivers.

This is not about Austin getting in on Uber and Lyft's cash. It would be a one time fee, and you know it would be paid for by the drivers as independent contractors - just like the required vehicle inspection is, so how is Austin getting in on that sweet, sweet rideshare money?

I disagree about your premise of the quality of the rideshare background checks too. Uber and Lyft background check the input of the phone app - which could be anything. Uber never meets you in person after all. "Borrowing" an identity someone else isn't too hard in that case. At least doing it by fingerprint matches up the human to the background check.

Comment BearTooth and Gotenna are Outdoors Gadgets (Score 3, Interesting) 67

BearTooth and GoTenna are communications companies looking for off-grid comms. I can see why "the company" would be interested in this off the shelf solution. They both pair your Android or iOS devices via Bluetooth to their off-grid communications product.

Beartooth forms a mesh network with other Beartooth units it can "see", operates in the 900mhz band, and offers text private and group messaging, gps sharing, and voice messaging across the mesh network it creates between it's users. It also charges your device via it's onboard battery pack.

GoTenna is more expensive but does less. It offers point to point (meaning the person you want has to be in range of you, there is no mesh network) text communication and gps location sharing. It operates on the MURS bands. The only bonus is that it supposedly offers better battery life than BearTooth, and you can get it at consumer retailers like REI rather than ordering online.

Comment Re:Security threats are a strawman (Score 4, Insightful) 146

I didn't read the article, but I heard the interview on NPR. Basically his reasoning is this: Cybersecurity is our biggest defense gap. It's clear now that the chinese have stolen designs for expensive weapon systems of ours and we've seen signs that foreign entities have the ability to manipulate our power grid and infrastructure, and possibly the stock market. In this context, building in any weakness at all - even for a seemingly slam dunk case such as terrorism, we should be cautious. In a landscape so woefully filled with security holes, it is more incumbent upon us to protect Americans by tightening security, than gaining a little extra information about some lone wolf shooters.

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