Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment Easy of use (Score 1) 369

Cards that get input into the electronic device so I can try to use that in place of the card? Well, it's better than writing a check, but is otherwise completely unappealing.

So you are saying you haven't tried it. I have and you should give it an honest try. At the risk of sounding like a fanboi, ApplePay is easily the most convenient means of paying I've used and I now use it whenever I can. Easier and faster than cash and WAY better than swiping a CC. No (dirty) change, no signature required (usually), more secure than a plain CC, I don't have to give my ID to the store clerk, and I don't need a wallet. It works smoothly and quickly. I'm not always a fan of Apple's products but they hit the mark with ApplePay.

Now I'm NOT bashing cash. Cash is super useful sometimes and I think it's a vital financial tool, especially in certain circumstances like emergencies. But Apple and Google's smartphone payment systems are excellent and underutilized. I think Tim Cook targeting cash is missing the mark. What he should be targeting is replacing the need for a wallet. I sometimes need cash but I could happily do without having to carry a wallet 99% of the time. There is no reason my smartphone couldn't also serve as my wallet, insurance cards, credit card, driver's license, library card, etc. We could still have plastic cards and cash for when we need them but why do I need to carry them with me all the time? Makes no sense.

Anyone who still uses checks is just an idiot who is unwilling to grow up and join the 21st century. Why checks are still a thing absolutely baffles me.

Comment Real advantages and problems with cash (Score 1) 369

The convenience vs. using a credit/cash card which doesn't depend on batteries, which is both smaller and lighter than a phone, is accepted in many more places than a vendor unique RFID payment "solution," and comes with long established and legally enforced protections against abuse?

A strawman argument. First off the fact that smartphone payments require batteries to work is pretty much a non-problem except in some rare emergency circumstances. We all carry smartphones and they work fine. And in those rare circumstances you can still use cash. Second, if you are using a smartphone for payment you actually are using a credit card with all those same legal protections. Third, the smartphone system is (so far) MORE secure than either cash or direct use of credit cards. Fourth, since I'm likely going to be carrying my smartphone anyway why would it matter which is lighter? Fifth, my wallet is just as awkward and actually less useful to carry as my smartphone. I've used ApplePay and frankly I MUCH prefer it when available to paying with cash 99% of the time. I would happily get rid of my wallet if the functionality could be integrated into my smartphone. I can't say the same in reverse.

There are good reasons to want to carry cash but you didn't enumerate many of them and your arguments against smartphone payment systems are just nonsense. Good reasons to carry cash? Accepted almost anywhere, doesn't require power, largely anonymous, untraceable, accessible to everyone regardless of credit. Bad parts about cash? Requires a wallet, clumsy to handle especially in large quantities, anonymous, insecure, hard to track spending, untraceable, dirty. You'll note that some of those things are both good and bad features. It has all the good and bad features of any bearer instrument.

Or simply carrying cash, which takes almost no space, weighs next to nothing, and is accepted everywhere?

Umm, what? Cash takes up a substantial amounts of space especially if you carry any significant value of it and it requires you to carry a wallet to keep it in. My wallet takes up roughly the amount of physical space as my cell phone. I would be delighted to get rid of my wallet in favor of using a smartphone most of the time.

Comment The problem is the wallet, not the cash (Score 1) 369

There are a metric crapton of us out here who like to carry cash.

True but there are just as many if not more who don't like to carry cash. I personally don't like using or carrying cash routinely though I like having the ability to use it should the need arise. I don't see any credible circumstance where it would be practical to do away with cash in general.

My distaste for carrying cash actually is more about having to carry a wallet than the cash. I really would rather not have schlep at bunch of plastic cards and bits of paper everywhere I go. I'd rather carry just my smartphone under normal circumstances. It should be possible to use my phone for 99% of what I need a wallet for. I realize there are some logistical problems with replacing the wallet but I think it's achievable.

Comment Russia is not simple (Score 1) 1007

Only if you are short sighted.

Short sighted about what?

This is all about energy. Russia wants to control it.

Energy is a piece of the puzzle but there is FAR more to Russia's world view than merely controlling energy supplies. If you think a major nation state and culture like Russia can be simplified down to one short sound bite then you don't understand Russia at all.

Also, not even remotely halfway around the world if you look at it like this:

Are you familiar with the term "figure of speech"? Yes I'm well aware that Alaska is actually only 55 miles from Russia. But substantially all the population of both countries lives between 3000-8000 miles apart and there are oceans and polar caps in between. Stop being so pedantic because you are missing the point.

Comment Gas lines vs fiber (Score 1) 202

That seems high considering the local gas utility has been replacing gas lines in the neighborhood (largely built in the mid-50s), and I would imagine that active work on natural gas lines is more complicated than laying fiber -- ie, you can't disrupt gas service and you're dealing with a flammable and potentially explosive gas.

Laying gas lines isn't really any harder than laying fiber. Easier in some ways because joining them is easier and the pipe is less complex. There are of course a few safety concerns which are serious but well understood and straightforward to mitigate. As for cost I would expect them to be roughly comparable in most circumstances. The main cost is really in the engineering and labor, not in the materials.

Comment Re:Laying cable (Score 4, Informative) 202

Great! Can you please elaborate? Particularly about equipment costs and stuff?

Cost is a complicated and depends on the situation but a very simple case probably would be somewhere between $5000-20000 per user for data cable for a simple run presuming there were multiple users along the route. High power lines can be far more expensive. Underground cable is somewhere between 4-8X as expensive to lay as overhead cable. The biggest costs are typically the civil engineering involved. Especially if you have to dig up or work around any existing infrastructure.

Equipment? Depends on what you are doing and where you are doing it. Ignoring the equipment to hook into existing infrastructure you're looking at trenching equipment, cable feeding equipment, and a variety of other goodies. You also have to watch for buried power, data, gas, water, and sewer lines which aren't always well documented. Dig by hand? Don't make me laugh. To do it right you have to lay the cable below the frost line in most cases which can be several feet deep in many places. I know code near me for a simple drop requires a minimum depth for cable TV cable of 18 inches.

Comment Laying cable (Score 4, Insightful) 202

Dammit! How hard is it to dig a trench and lay a cable in it?

It's challenging. Not in the sense that they don't know how to do it but rather that it's expensive and unless you already have customers it's financially risky. To build a whole network is enormously expensive.

I know the trench-digging part at least is easy, because where I live they manage to knock out at least one vital utility a year digging around at random.

Umm, that would be evidence that it is NOT easy.

Do I have to do it myself? Because me and at least 20 people I know would gladly volunteer to buy a spool of fiber and dig a mile of trench each with hand shovels if we knew for sure they wouldn't arrest us for it.

I don't think you have the foggiest idea what you are proposing. I have immediate family that has been in the business of laying underground cable. There is a lot more to it than digging a trench and dropping a cable to the bottom of it.

Comment Least worst (Score 1) 1007

If you want your voice heard, you should probably vote for the person who you align with best.

I think people should vote for the person who most closely fits their worldview who actually has a prayer of getting into office. Voting for a third party candidate who might get 2% of the vote is a waste of time. It just is. If it makes you feel good I won't quibble as long as you understand that it will accomplish nothing of value. If you actually want your voice heard then you should actually get involved in politics directly. There are far better ways to make yourself heard than through a protest vote for a fringe candidate.

The two-party lock-in is pure rhetorical garbage. I can't in good conscience vote for a completely unqualified demagogue or someone who is the closest thing to a living embodiment of the establishment.

I'll agree that the two party thing is annoying but it definitely is not "rhetorical" in nature. It's an inevitable function of how our voting system is set up.

I take a more realpolitik view of who I vote for. I rarely have warm feelings for either of the major party candidates and this election is no exception. I basically am trying to pick what I think is the least worst option among the available candidates that have a real shot at office. In this election Hillary is clearly the least worst option when the alternative is Trump so that is how I'm voting. It's not that I think she's amazing but she fits my worldview far better than Trump and I she is clearly far more competent to hold public office. Donald Trump is easily the worst presidential candidate I've seen in my lifetime.

Comment Nothing to gain (Score 1) 1007

Actually, my question is, what do any of these three nations have to gain by invading any of one another?

Nothing. Which is why it hasn't happened. The advantages of working together actually hugely outweigh any conceivable benefits of going to war. The only reason countries like Germany ever invaded Russia is that they elected a psychotic person with aspirations of conquering an empire.

Comment Paranoid Russia (Score 1) 1007

They are justifiably paranoid.

Paranoid yes. Justifiably no.

That's what Westerners do not get about the Russian national psyche. They trust no one, especially the US.

True but a bizarre stance since the US is actually not a threat to Russia unless Russia gets really out of pocket. Why? The US is halfway around the world. China is a FAR bigger threat to Russia than the US could ever hope to be outside of a nuclear missile exchange. There is zero chance of the US ever invading Russia. Even if the US wanted to there aren't enough people and resources to make it happen. China on the other hand has 8X the population of Russia and a physical border with them and is an emerging super power. Russia worrying about the US makes almost zero practical sense.

Comment Two candidates (Score 1) 1007

We have 4 candidates.

Not in any meaningful sense. Two of them have an actual chance at being elected with one of those doing everything in his power to lose the election. The other two have as much chance of being president as I do. So really we have at most two candidates just like always. Only way that will change is if we change the voting system and get rid of gerrymandering.

Comment Feeding the trolls (Score 4, Insightful) 1007

Nearly everything the mainstream news has been feeding you about Trump is either taken out of context, twisted, or just an outright lie.

Nice troll. There's almost nothing about Trump that is out of context. He's the one putting it all out there like a monkey flinging poo. You have to be either a troll or a completely moronic fanboi to actually believe that statement.

I'm amazed at how otherwise intelligent people can be so easily manipulated by lies that come from so-called experts that the media routinely trots out on stage.

You support Trump and you're complaining about people easily manipulated by lies? Hahahahaha.... I haven't laughed that hard in quite a while. That's one of the more astonishingly stupid things I've read in quite a while. Let me guess, you think folks like Hannity and Coulter are telling you the gospel truth too, right?

Slashdot Top Deals

"Take that, you hostile sons-of-bitches!" -- James Coburn, in the finale of _The_President's_Analyst_