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French Cabbies Say They'll Block Paris Roads On Monday Over Uber

Soft Re:I am wondering (295 comments)

independant workers who paid in the 100kâ - 300kâ range to get a state-regulated taxi licence plate. ....

Please show evidence/source of what you write here and where in the Euro-Zone those prices appear.

For Paris, I found at least one English source: http://www.rudebaguette.com/2013/08/07/anatomy-of-the-paris-taxi-market-past-present-future/. If you read French, you may try Wikipedia or this article in Le Figaro.

4 days ago
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French Cabbies Say They'll Block Paris Roads On Monday Over Uber

Soft Re:I am wondering (295 comments)

what would happen if the cab drivers would also act as Uber drivers?

They'd lose their taxi license / medallion, which they may have invested over 200,000 euros in, depending on where they operate. The license price is dropping, though, with the arrival of Uber and similar services.

That's the basic problem: the government used to enforce a license scarcity that drove prices so high that taxi drivers now consider it an investment or a retirement package. It's very like a housing price crash, except that the government has a direct responsibility for creating this bubble and letting it burst. No wonder taxi drivers are angry.

about a week ago
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French Cabbies Say They'll Block Paris Roads On Monday Over Uber

Soft Re:The issue seems simple (295 comments)

The problem, if I understood it correctly (not a given as I know only the german taxi situation well), is that french taxi have some hoop and loop to go thru (http://vosdroits.service-public.fr/professionnels-entreprises/F21907.xhtml roughly translated says you need a licence, you need to not have been guilty of certain crime, there is some lessons you ened to follow). All costs.

What the page you cite doesn't tell is that the number of licences is limited, like taxi medallions in some US cities; you can get one free after a couple of decades on the waiting list, or you can buy one from another taxi driver who retires. In Paris, the market value of such a license is over 200,000 euros; in some other cities, it's even higher. However, the arrival of Uber and similar services are making these values drop.

So, when they speak of "families" left out to dry, they actually mean that they won't be able to sell the license they invested in, as they expected to. A bit like a housing price crash, except that license prices used to be kept high by a state-mandated scarcity. I guess taxi drivers are lashing at the government for not enforcing this scarcity anymore.

I don't really have an opinion on this subject. I think the government is at fault for letting people depend on a business model and then not being consistent. On the other hand, it happens all the time with any change in subsidies and policies. And blocking roads is definitely a step too far, but it's not the first time: the French administration has never been a good negotiator in that kind of situations; violent strikes have kind of become the default solution...

about a week ago
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What's Been the Best Linux Distro of 2014?

Soft Re:Mint (303 comments)

I thought Mint just used Ubuntu packages?

Regular Mint, indeed, is based on Ubuntu and each Mint release is derived from the corresponding Ubuntu release. LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition) is based on Debian, and doesn't really have releases: the packages get upgraded (from Debian Testing, I believe) perhaps twice a year.

On paper, I'd prefer LMDE's update scheme, but the apparent lack of day-to-day security updates is a big no-no.

about 2 months ago
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What's Been the Best Linux Distro of 2014?

Soft Re:Mint (303 comments)

I personally use Mint's Debian-based distro

How do you handle security updates? I thought this distribution (LMDE) was ideal for my needs until I realized that, apart from Firefox and Thunderbird, practically no packages were being regularly updated despite vulnerabilities being discovered: LibreOffice, ffmpeg, file, apt, libnss, qemu to name some recent ones. Bash did get updated recently, and openssl eventually did after heartbleed, though I'm not sure it got all the updates.

I read some flamew^Wdebates on this topic online, which I think boil down to "LMDE is not a server OS, if you want security use Debian". This neglects the fact that even an end-user's desktop or workstation handles data from the network, which could be malware. To this kind of security philosophy, my reaction is that LMDE shouldn't be used except in very controlled environments.

As for regular Mint, I like it better than Ubuntu, though I was disappointed by their not supporting OS upgrades: as I understand it, installing a new Mint version requires a reinstall. (I tried doing it anyway, from 15 to 16 I think, and X broke. That's when I decided to try out LMDE, in fact.)

Any advice?

about 2 months ago
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Rosetta Probe Awakens, Prepares To Chase Comet

Soft Re:ISEE-3/ICE says "get me a glass of water, junio (72 comments)

Not to diminish ICE's accomplishments, but it didn't do rendezvous, only flybys. Rosetta will place itself in orbit then drop a lander on its target comet.

about 10 months ago
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Rosetta Probe Awakens, Prepares To Chase Comet

Soft Re:The real question.... (72 comments)

If you worked in this particular mission control group, how could you possibly resist setting all the clocks forward about 2 minutes on the day in question?

Hold that thought, think of the tense wait... Then consider that the signal was actually received 18 minutes later than expected.

about 10 months ago
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Twin Probes Crash Into the Moon

Soft Re:Dark != Far (79 comments)

...the rotation of the moon just about exactly matches the revolution around the Earth

I think we can say exactly, as it's not a coincidence that the rotations align like that, it's a stable configuration of two bodies in orbit

Yes but there's still libration. Although the Moon's rotation and revolution periods are indeed exactly the same, its orbital speed changes slightly over each orbit. So "just about exactly" is justified too.

about 2 years ago
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Quantum Experiment Shows Effect Before Cause

Soft Re:Quantum Physics @ Home (465 comments)

What is different about the quantum case is that you can send, say electrons, through the slits *indivdually*, one at a time and they somehow interfere, that is what is intuitively strange.

Correct, but you can also send individual photons and have the same counter-intuitive result. It is not a different case, electrons and photons are both quantum particles.

more than 2 years ago
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Leap Second Coming In June, 2012

Soft Re:I won't care (142 comments)

Not just NTP; the reference implementation. On the machines I checked last time around, those with the reference implementation handled time correctly; those with OpenNTPD just ignored the leap second and resynchronized later. I'll check again next summer, we'll see what happens.

more than 2 years ago
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Superluminal Neutrinos, Take Two

Soft Re:Applied particle physics? (98 comments)

Actually, there was a piece of news today, warning against possible blackouts next winter: although France does usually produce more electricity that it consumes, it imports power dto handle strong peak loads--especially from Germany, it was said. If Germany shuts down its own reactors, and the winter is again especially cold, there might be problems.

OTOH, next year is an election year in France, nuclear power is sure to be an issue, and the news I mentioned originates from the (pro-nuclear) government. Who knows how reliable it is?

more than 3 years ago
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Superluminal Neutrinos, Take Two

Soft Re:Applied particle physics? (98 comments)

Yeah? Just wait until Germany gets hit with a tsunami, like Japan did. That decision won't seem so dumb then.

Switzerland is an even better example on that point. :-) They too are heading towards shutting down their nuclear reactors.

more than 3 years ago
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7 Days With a Google Chromebook

Soft Re:Questions... (127 comments)

How about a Let's Note R9 or J10 (...)?

Interesting, thanks. I couldn't find detailed specs in English, but they indeed seem lighter than the MacBook Air.

However, what I'd really been drooling about when checking out the Vaio X was the 0.7-kg weight without the extra battery. Even the R9 is over 0.9, and (to answer Anonymous' reply) so is the Eee PC X101. That's not light enough that I'd consider changing my current Eee PC.

Now, only tablets seem to be really lightweight, but they don't have a physical keyboard, and suffer more or less from the same problems as the ChromeBook in terms of usability. Though I could imagine working on an Android tablet if I could find a LaTeX distribution for it (not just an online compiler)...

more than 3 years ago
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7 Days With a Google Chromebook

Soft Re:Questions... (127 comments)

The device sounds great for travelling with its light weight and long battery life.

It's still half again the weight of a Sony Vaio X + extra battery, which could last almost 10 hours.

Why don't they make them anymore? I was looking for a replacement for my Eee PC 901 (1.1 kg); the 2009-vintage Vaio X sounded great (0.7 kg, or 1 kg with the larger battery), but the best I found currently on the market was the MacBook Air (1 kg, half the battery life, not worth the change).

more than 3 years ago
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James Webb Space Telescope Closer To the Axe

Soft Re:Don't cancel it (226 comments)

Don't cancel it, just go through the project management and fire everyone who was mismanaging it causing it to go so far over-budget.

AFAICT, the reason why it's going so high over budget is that the budget itself was massively low-balled to begin with, so that the project would have a chance of being approved. In other words: lie about the true costs, they'll have to give you more later, when it's too high-profile to cancel.

The "mismanagement" here is that it wasn't spotted earlier. You can fire them, but you'll still have to either double the budget or cancel it all...

more than 3 years ago
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New SMS Trojan Found In Android Markets

Soft Re:For a new Android user (114 comments)

As someone who is about to get their first Android device, is there a good resource for practices for protecting it?

You may want to read this earlier Slashdot story, from which the suggestion that made the most sense to me was to install DroidWall and just not let applications access the network. Of course, they might not work then, and it can be difficult to single out a single app among, say, Google Services.

more than 3 years ago
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Space Shuttle Atlantis Launches On Final Flight

Soft Re:Godspeed Atlantis (275 comments)

Your comment resonates with what Arthur C. Clarke wrote in the post-Apollo preface to Prelude to Space:

Yet when, in 1947, I set this novel exactly thirty years in the future, I did not really believe that a lunar landing would be achieved even by that distant date [...] Still less could I have imagined that the first nation to reach the Moon would so swiftly abandon it again. ...

In one sense, the Apollo Project was indeed a Prelude to Space. Now there will be a short interlude; and sometime in the 1980s, the real story will begin.

The hiatus has been somewhat longer, but hopefully the rise of the commercial manned spaceflight will bootstrap a self-sustaining economic sector, which will no longer be at the mercy of the whims of governments and lobbies, and ossified agiencies crumbling under their own weight.

Only when spaceflight reaches that point, will that story begin.

more than 3 years ago
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Historic Pairing: Shuttle Docked To the ISS

Soft Re:Labels? (133 comments)

Great, thanks a lot! How did you figure which was Soyuz and which was Progress?

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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Android security practices?

Soft Soft writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Soft (266615) writes "Smartphone security recommendations seem to boil down to Windows-like practices: install an antivirus, run updates, and don't execute apps from untrusted sources. On my own computers, running Linux, I choose to only install (signed) packages from the distribution's or well-known repositories, or programs I can check and compile myself, or run them as a dedicated user--and I don't bother with an antivirus.

What rules should I adopt on my soon-to-be-bought Android device? Can I use it purely with open-source apps and still make the most of it? Are Android's fine-grained permissions (accessing the network, contacts...) reliable? Can apps be trusted not to scan your files and keyboard for passwords and emails? What precautions do security-conscious Slashdotters take to keep control of their phones?"
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Soft Soft writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Soft (266615) writes "Citing Islamist terrorists traveling with European passports as a threat to America, the Secretary of the DHS announces that visitors to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver program will have to register online 48 hours in advance, and fill out a questionnaire. According to other articles, this would include personal data such as previous travel destinations and credit card number; this in addition to data already requested directly from airlines, from name and address to luggage ticket number and frequent flier miles collected. Presumably the questions will also include whether the traveler intends to blow himself up in the coming 90 days, or has ever done so in the past? The questions on the back of Form I-94 also come to mind."
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Soft Soft writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Soft (266615) writes "`Did you hear the one about (...) the astronaut who became so despondent after his orbital experiment failed that his colleagues feared he would blow the hatch on the space shuttle?' Jon Clark, a former NASA flight surgeon, tells Alan Boyle's cosmic log about a number of horror stories which happened in space over the course of the space program. (To ward off predictable jokes, there are none with diapers; that didn't happen in space, anyway.)"
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