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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 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.

Comment They never expected to have a problem... (Score 1) 61

I don't know about the Exelon side, but Pepco was totally blindsided by the commission's original ruling. They were in meetings, watching the vote live, and they had no fallback plan in case it didn't go through.
The Pepco folks are surprised it appears to have gone through now, and they wouldn't be shocked if something derailed it at the last moment.

Comment I bought a Nokia Lumia 1520... (Score 1) 154

I was replacing an iPhone, and I liked the size, the screen and the camera.
I still like all those features, but I can't wait until the contract is up so I can get whatever the latest and biggest Nexus phone is at that time.

It works great, but it's like a two-year forced vacation from downloading apps. It doesn't have SiriusXM or Square apps, for FSM's sake... if I'd known those would never arrive, I'd have passed on the experience.

Comment imagine a business number... (Score 1) 193

My cell phone number is the primary for my small business, and it has been in the Yellow Pages for over 10 years.
I get the usual spam aimed at personal numbers, plus an amazing array of business-to-business (OK, mostly scammer-to-business) telemarketers.

I can't tell them what I really think for fear of being Google-bombed...

Comment Just bought this Dell laptop (Score 1) 558

Inspiron 7746
Core i7-5500U
16 GB DDR3 1600MHz RAM
1TB Seagate 5400RPM hybrid HDD
DVD-RW (replaced it with a BD-RW drive)
17.3" 1920x1080 touchscreen
nVidia GeForce GT 845M graphics with 2 GB video RAM

Wiped the drive on arrival and reinstalled Windows 8.1, Office 365, etc.
The only part of it I don't like is the illuminated keyboard: lit or not, it's almost impossible to see the markings on the keys.

Comment Re:I had no choice (Score 1) 116

What do you mean, no choice? Whenever I get one of those popups that says they want my cell phone number "for better security", I click the "no thanks, maybe later" option.

Of course, all that's for nothing if they can dig up phone numbers by any means necessary.

My cell number is also my business phone, so I had to provide it to create a merchant account.

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