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Taxi Medallion Prices Plummet Under Pressure From Uber

DavidinAla It was always about limiting competition (329 comments)

It's hilarious that the summary of this story uncritically accepts that the origin of taxi medallions was about "public safety." This is a lie and it's always been a lie. The system was about limiting competition. Pure and simple. The people in the industry want fewer people competing, because there's more profit for them. They made friends with the right politicians, who then introduced the system and controlled how the industry was "regulated." I put that word in quotes because it wasn't regulated in the sense that people believe. It was regulated to avoid competitors hurting incumbents operators. This is the way pretty much all regulation really works. (Look up "regulatory capture" if you're interested in how it works.) There is no legitimate reason to control the number of taxis. Period. I don't even see a valid reason to license them, but if it were about safety, licenses would be available to anyone who could meet certain safety and insurance requirements. I don't have much sympathy for the owners of the current medallions. They've had a government-granted license to print money, which is why these medallions have had value. It's time to let the market take over. The medallion system needs to die.

about three weeks ago
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Mayday PAC Goes 2 For 8

DavidinAla Lessig is a bright guy, but he's a political idiot (224 comments)

I spent 20 years as a political consultant, so I have a strong understanding of what it takes to win elections. Although Lawrence Lessig is a smart guy, he makes the mistake that's common to many other smart people. He assumes his intelligence and knowledge about one field should make conquering another field simple and easy. He's wrong in his diagnosis of the problem with U.S. politics and he's even more laughably wrong about how change happens. It's amazingly arrogant for him to believe that his tiny effort would make the slightest difference in what voters believe about the issue he cares about. He and his group are like tiny fish bumping against the side of a supertanker and wondering why they're not changing its course. He needs to stick to something he's at least somewhat qualified to deal with. He doesn't understand politics.

about a month ago
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Google Sells Maine Barge For Scrap

DavidinAla This was Google at its worst (79 comments)

Google has become so successful from its advertising business that it casually throws around money on goofy projects which either don't work or just peter out. This is presumably an example of one of those. Having plenty of profits is a good thing, but it also causes a company to completely lose focus and leads to the hubris that Google exhibits — that of believing it can do anything and everything. I know that a lot of techie fans of Google don't want to hear this, but Google's lack of focus is going to come back to bite it. Those "cool" projects that geeks tend to like are going to be on the chopping block once there's finally a disruption to Google's advertising business. (And that day will come.)

about 5 months ago
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Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch?

DavidinAla A watch doesn't fill a need for me (381 comments)

It seems to me that current wearable products are a case of technology looking for a problem to solve. There's nothing they do that matters to me that my iPhone can't do better, and the idea that it's a burden to pull my watch out of my pocket seems laughable to me. The Android Wear products are vaguely interesting as technology demonstrations, but I see nothing that they DO that I need done —and I don't want to wear a device on my arm and charge yet another device, too. It's theoretically possible that someone will release a new product that does something that I'm not even conceiving on, in which case I'll re-evaluate my opinion. But right now I can't see anything interesting about them. If Apple releases anything even vaguely similar (in function or anything else) to what the Android companies have been releasing, I'll have zero interest in it. I need products that solve real problems that I have. Nothing about what I see so far even attempts to address anything that I consider a problem to be solved.

about 5 months ago
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Foursquare Splits To Take On Yelp

DavidinAla Unbundling seems like an odd fad (24 comments)

While I don't want an "everything including the kitchen sink" app, the idea that functions should be broken into separate apps seems like an odd (and insane) fad to me. If the functions are related, they belong in the same app. If they're not related, why were they ever designed into the same app? For instance, in Facebook, the messaging app is for messaging people I'm connected to on Facebook. I don't want it for anything else and I'm not going to make that messaging system into my primary messaging system. It will ONLY be for communication with people I don't know well enough to be connected by email. It just seems as though folks in Silicon Valley talk to each other and somebody came up with the idea that functions should be different apps, so many companies are doing it with no rational reason behind it.

about 7 months ago
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E.T. Found In New Mexico Landfill

DavidinAla There's nothing 'infamous' about this story (179 comments)

"Famous" and "infamous" don't mean the same thing. Look them up. There's nothing "infamous" about this landfill or the legend. Please quit misusing this word.

about 8 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: An Open Source PC Music Studio?

DavidinAla Getting a tool or making a religious statement? (299 comments)

If you're making a statement of your religious faith OR if you're just tinkering, going to the trouble of finding something to run an open source package makes sense. If you're actually interested in the right tool for the job, then buy a real music studio with a Mac or a Windows PC instead. There's a reason that real musicians generally use real tools that suit professional needs.

about a year ago
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Leak: Almost a Third of Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatches Are Being Returned

DavidinAla As for the other 70 percent... (365 comments)

About 10 percent don't mind looking like dorks and wearing useless technology, because they can pretend they're in a sci-fi movie. The other 60 percent haven't been able to find their receipts.

about a year ago
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Java Spec Compatibility Weakened Android's TLS Encryption

DavidinAla The blame is Google's, not Oracle's (82 comments)

Nobody forced Google to use Java. Google made its own decision what to use and how to use it. Quit trying to give most geeks' favorite company a pass when it makes lousy decisions that come back to hurt users.

about a year ago
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Microsoft Makes Another "Nearly Sold Out" Claim For the Surface Line

DavidinAla I don't believe a word they say (262 comments)

Given the fact that Microsoft has shown a willingness to badly mislead on this subject, the company has zero credibility about it. It's possible they're being completely honest and accurate about it this time, but since we've seen them lie (or "mislead" to put it charitably) before, how can we know? This is common for many, many companies, but when a company starts down this road, we lose the ability to trust anything they say in the future.

about a year ago
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Lowell Observatory Pushes To Name an Asteroid "Trayvon"

DavidinAla It's ridiculous to make this political (588 comments)

Trying to name an asteroid after Martin is an overt political act that has no place in the naming of such bodies. It's absurd and wrong.

about a year ago
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The Greatest Keyboard Shortcut Ever

DavidinAla On Safari for Macs (506 comments)

If you close a tab that you didn't mean to close, just hit Command-z and the tab will reopen. It was the last thing you did, so it makes sense that Command-z would undo that. This isn't exactly rocket science.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best/Newest Hardware Without "Trusted Computing"?

DavidinAla Re:get a mac. (290 comments)

You absolutely don't have a clue what you're talking about.

about a year ago
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Apple Isn't the Next Microsoft (and That's a Good Thing)

DavidinAla This writer is a moron (269 comments)

Anyone who thinks that iOS 7 is nothing more than a graphical change is an idiot who isn't keeping up with the technical changes going on. This is a classic case of ignoring the facts when they don't fit the narrative you want to use as an argument. What a moron.

about a year ago
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A Radical Plan For Saving Microsoft's Surface RT

DavidinAla Why write about business if you're this clueless? (391 comments)

So many people in the tech world seem to think that products are priced randomly and that if a company really wanted to, it could sell them at half the price and still make money. The truth is that the Surface RT was priced as it needed to be for Microsoft to make a decent margin on the hardware. Now that the price has been cut this drastically, the odds are strong that there's no profit (and they're probably even be losing money on each unit). So to claim that this is a way to save the device is to assume it should have lost money from the beginning. Although Microsoft is clearly willing to take a discounted price right now — because the alternative is not selling them at all — pricing this product at the current price would have been a financial disaster because it would have let the public believe that this was a "fair price" for such a product. It can't be profitably built and sold (at the current quality level) at the fire-sale prices you're seeing now. So it's silly to think this is anything more than a way to recover some of the huge amount of money that's been lost ona product that never made sense in the first place. To suggest it as a business plan is to prove that you're completely ignorant of how financial reality works.

about a year ago
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Google Betting Its Google+ Systems Know What's Best For You

DavidinAla This is typical of Google's arrogance (109 comments)

The people at Google believe that if something can be quantified and identified, it MUST mean sometime. In the example given in the article summary, the only reason Google would assume that certain shots are "special" is that it happens to have the capability to identify certain locations, so OBVIOUSLY those would matter. Right? No, not at all. Google doesn't know what I want. Google doesn't know what I think is special. Google doesn't know what I think. The ONLY way it can have any hope of even making intelligent guesses about those things is to become more and more intrusive in the data it gathers about me. I don't want that. I don't want some collecting that much information about me. I don't even want some algorithm trying to figure out what matters to me. I like the idea of certain things being programmable. I like making the UIs to those things easier to understand. But I want to be in control. I don't want Google or any other company doing things because it thinks it understands me and what I want. That's prelude to Big Brother, at best.

about a year and a half ago
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Washington AG Slams T-Mobile Over Deceptive 'No-Contract' Ads

DavidinAla This isn't deceptive at all (371 comments)

All T-Mobile has done is separate the cost of the phone from the cost of the service. You can quit using the service at any time, but you still have to finish paying for the hardware you've purchased. How is that deceptive?

about a year and a half ago
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Not Even Investors Know What Google Glass Is For

DavidinAla This is a toy for geeks having nerdgasms (496 comments)

There will be a few real-world uses for Glass that are positive and cost-effective. For the vast majority, this device is a non-starter at any price, IMO. If you want to walk around pretending you're in a sci-fi movie, yeah, it's probably great if you're a 14-year-old, but most people aren't going to have a use for this AND they're not going to want to be seen wearing it AND it's not going to be socially acceptable. Once again, this is technology desperately in search of a problem to solve to justify its existence.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Protecting Home Computers From Guests?

DavidinAla Guest account on a Mac is perfect for this (572 comments)

If you have a Mac, there's a standard user account called Guest. This account has privileges to do normal user things, but can't install apps or make other changes to the computer. (And the account has no access to other users' data.) No matter what the guest user does in that account, it can't hurt you —and the entire Guest account is in a fresh state each time you log in to it. It's designed exactly for something such as this, and it works very, very well in real use.

about a year and a half ago
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Blink! Google Is Forking WebKit

DavidinAla Re:Lots of hypocrisy going on here (252 comments)

It's hard to tell whether you're truly ignorant or you're just trolling. Apple was never a part of the KHTML project, so they never worked with those guys. They simply picked up their code and started using it when they wanted to launch a browser. Apple and Google have been working together on WebKit for years now, and Google is splitting off to go its own way. The two situations aren't even close to analogous if you actually know what happened. This would only be similar if Google had never had a browser of its own and never contributed to WebKit and then announced that they were going to create an engine of their own based on WebKit. There's nothing WRONG with it, but I'm amazed at how fanboys treat the two companies very differently and have "selective" memories about the past.

about a year and a half ago

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