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T-Mobile To Pay $90M For Unauthorized Charges On Customers' Bills

cduffy Re:And where is my money?? (43 comments)

More like $20, and that's for people who don't look up how much they were actually charged.

And cash, not a voucher. I'm a former T-Mobile customer, and they looked up my new contact information and got in touch to let me know that this was available (how to ask them to research my actual charges, vs how to accept the default amount).

A lot of these settlements are BS, but you might do a bit of homework for claiming that this is just more of the same.

8 hours ago
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Why Didn't Sidecar's Flex Pricing Work?

cduffy Re:Supply and demand (190 comments)

Did you miss the part where (per said driver's assertion) Sidecar paid a better post-deduction base rate even without the temporary promotion?

Also, it's not exactly like there are substantial costs associated with switching which service a driver chooses to work from. If rational economic decisions were being followed, one would expect a driver to want to double their money while it was possible to do so, and then switch back to a different service if that paid better the rest of the time.

4 days ago
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Why Didn't Sidecar's Flex Pricing Work?

cduffy Re:Supply and demand (190 comments)

Except that drivers aren't making more money with Uber or Lyft.

Saturday night I took a Sidecar home, and our driver was talking about how Sidecar is currently offering better base rates (after accounting for deductions -- Uber shows drivers the price a customer is paying before their cut is taken out), and currently offering double payouts from their marketing budget as a limited-time promotion to attract more drivers.

The premise that Uber or Lyft pays better is, presently, false.

4 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Can a Felon Work In IT?

cduffy Re:America, land of the free... (718 comments)

There is no law barring employment for felons â" on the contrary, the state goes out of its way to encourage employers to hire them, to reduce recidivism.

...but they do a rather bad job of it, as a great many of your larger employers have a zero-tolerance policy.

To be born and raised in the USA â" the country, to which millions of people dream of migrating (legally and otherwise) â" and waste your youthful years on crime?

The advice the OP is asking for applies to other folks as well. One of my friends has a felony record for running web hosting for a brothel a friend of his owned, and otherwise offering services and support to a business which was to the best of his knowledge strictly offering services between consenting adults... and not turning her in when he changed his mind about being willing to continue to provide that support. That folks who don't follow a libertarian philosophy could see that as a lapse of ethics is certainly granted -- but a lapse that should mean that 4/5ths of employment prospects are permanently off the table? That's harsh.

That said -- he's working today, for an employer well aware of the entirety of his background (including his meticulous attention to detail and corner cases in software design and development). So, yes -- fewer options, but some do still exist.

about two weeks ago
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Cops 101: NYC High School Teaches How To Behave During Stop-and-Frisk

cduffy Re: Civics class (481 comments)

From my perspective, it tends to be the people who say they support "family values" that actually support legal and social measures that keep families small.

Look at who it is defending zoning laws enforcing "single-family household" status as excluding larger chosen (non-blood-related) families, and compare to who it is embracing legal and social norms that allow maximum flexibility in assembling a strong, self-supporting structure from such components as available. Look at who is trying to restrict legal marriage and adoption and who is trying to extend it. Look at the group voting for judges that view large aggregated families-of-choice as evidence of perversion -- from which children should be protected -- and the group voting for judges who view a large, stable support network built from people who love and care for each other as precisely that. I'm all for "family values", in by that one means values that support large and strong families... but if I say "family values" in public to a random stranger, what's going to come to their mind is not the same as what I'm actually referring to.

I say this as someone who is overwhelmingly happy to have participated in the upbringing of children -- two of whom are now legal adults -- in whose genes I have no role, but to whose memes and ethics I am gratified to have contributed. I'm glad to have contributed to the financial stability of their household; I'm glad to have been another person there to help with homework and listen to their stories and serve as a role model and help keep things running. The people who say they support "family values" but who would have broken apart that family? I cannot, at such short notice, find words for the damage I see being done -- or attempted -- in the name of "family values".

*sigh*.

And yes, I know that you're acknowledging much of the above, and that a great deal of my rant (perhaps all of it) doesn't apply to you. Please forgive that. I don't believe your assertion that anyone (for a statistically significant value of same) views state programs as an adequate replacement for having a genuine support structure... but would suggest that, perhaps, there are those who would like those who don't have a support structure to have somewhere to turn.

I've known too many people whose blood families weren't a healthy place for them -- physical abuse and the like. Several of those people were welcomed into a family of choice that gave them the support that they needed -- but not everyone can be that lucky, and establishing social policy in a way that only helps those who are already fortunate... well, there's a lot of that done already, and a lot of people it leaves behind.

about three weeks ago
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In a Self-Driving Future, We May Not Even Want To Own Cars

cduffy Re:In a Self-Driving Future--- (454 comments)

Finding road edge boundaries in snow, at least, is actually a place where existing self-driving car systems do better than humans already. Keep in mind that they're not limited to the visual end of the EM spectrum.

For the rest, I'll defer to empirical studies on effectiveness under varying conditions. It's easy to think of corner cases -- but the real question, corner cases or no, is whether the average amount of liability incurred per hour of driving is greater or less than a human at the wheel.

about a month ago
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In a Self-Driving Future, We May Not Even Want To Own Cars

cduffy Re: In a Self-Driving Future--- (454 comments)

I guess, if you like the state or insurance companies telling you when and where you may travel.

The power of the state is one thing. On the other hand, doing harm to others without means to provide recompense is legitimately immoral even under reasonable Libertarian frameworks.

Motor vehicle insurance allows the externalities which would otherwise be created by individuals defaulting rather than being able to pay off debts they incurred to be priced by the market -- quite transparently, given as the profit margins are known and available to customers as well as shareholders. If you can't pay for the harm you're doing to others by an action, even as aggregated and normalized by the insurance industry, can you truly morally justify that act?

about a month ago
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AT&T Stops Using 'Super Cookies' To Track Cellphone Data

cduffy Re:Why even report on it? (60 comments)

How isn't it verifiable? The whole thing that made this extra, extra evil was that they were deanonymizing their clients for everyone to see. Run a web server? Access it from your phone, see if your subscriber ID is still there in a header.

about a month ago
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How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa

cduffy Re:Hybrids (377 comments)

Thinking that farmers from Ghana will not be able to make a rational decision between buying industrial seed every year or saving whatever strain they have already from year to year is a not so subtle form of racism.

Or maybe what is or isn't rational varies based on local conditions. Capital availability is a concern. Distribution infrastructure (and differences in cost based on same) is a concern.

Ghana is one of the best-governed countries in its region, but even so, there's still an infrastructure gap -- a decade ago (which is as recent as I had knowledge) you had daily rolling blackouts even in the capitol as a matter of course; electrical generation capacity wasn't growing with demand.

Accusing those who disagree with you of assuming anything other than rational behavior in light of full knowledge of local conditions strikes me as starkly unreasonable.

about a month ago
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Duke: No Mercy For CS 201 Cheaters Who Don't Turn Selves In By Wednesday

cduffy Re:Or just practicing for an actual job (320 comments)

Sorry kids, Library use is copying. Copying is not a bad thing, you save a lot of time by doing it.

Shared libraries or static libraries?

Static library use involves copying at the link phase. Shared library use doesn't. Depending on your license, the distinction can be legally significant.

And, well, that's the thing. Those of us who are professionals think about liability... which is why we can actually find a large company willing to buy our startups without doing an absolute freakout (or requesting a huge discount for cost of reimplementations) analyzing the codebase during due diligence.

about a month ago
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Secret Policy Allows GCHQ Bulk Access To NSA Data

cduffy Re: Yes, what are YOU going to do? (95 comments)

"However, I do like other people paying for things I can use. You know, good roads, schools, a health service, mass transportation and so on."

Well, uhh, yeah. The whole point is that that kind of thing is so expensive that no one person can pay for it alone.

Is this supposed to be controversial?

about a month ago
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Germans Can Get Free Heating From the Cloud

cduffy Re:Great in the winter .. (148 comments)

Your company doesn't have a gym? And what do cycle commuters do?

When I didn't live a few blocks' walk from work, I wouldn't even start to consider an employer that didn't have showers at work.

about a month ago
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Mayday PAC Goes 2 For 8

cduffy Re:Bread-and-butter brainwashed (224 comments)

Unless it's upwards of $5.3M in value, the estate doesn't even need to file.

I think he'll be okay.

about a month ago
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A Smart Electric Bike: Taking the Copenhagen Wheel Out For a Spin

cduffy Re:what's the point? (136 comments)

I owned a little Piaggio MP3 at the time -- that was my drive vehicle if for some reason I couldn't bike -- and yup, it's a great option... but, well, there's something to be said for arriving at work having just finished a nice workout as opposed to having just spent time breathing fumes on I-35. Did wonders for my stress level, and no better way to get exercise than to have it be over the course of accomplishing something you were going to do (and spend time and money on) anyhow.

about a month and a half ago
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A Smart Electric Bike: Taking the Copenhagen Wheel Out For a Spin

cduffy Re:what's the point? (136 comments)

Did you actually read my post at all? You're not getting any exercise on a Vespa.

On an Opti, you get where you're going, and you're maintaining an 80-100rpm cadence getting there.

about a month and a half ago
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A Smart Electric Bike: Taking the Copenhagen Wheel Out For a Spin

cduffy Re:what's the point? (136 comments)

Most users don't want to go that far on a bike.

Really? Where I'm from, "range anxiety" is a thing -- people buying an electric vehicle don't want to run out of power off in the middle of nowhere.

I was an Optibike owner back in the day, and active on their mailing list -- one of the questions we got most often from folks deciding on whether or not to buy was how realistic the range numbers were (something like 47 miles in economy mode on the internal battery alone, and 105 with the external touring battery). It's a very real concern to folks who haven't yet bought in and realized how little of that range they'll habitually use. :)

about a month and a half ago
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A Smart Electric Bike: Taking the Copenhagen Wheel Out For a Spin

cduffy Re:what's the point? (136 comments)

Electric bikes tend to be lousy bikes.

The cheap ones, yes. If you're not going for cheap, then you get in-frame batteries and bottom-bracket motors -- and your stock components are made by named, high-end manufacturers.

Still a markup, sure, but that markup paid for Optibike to fly one of their engineers in to Austin to train a local bike shop on replacing their electrical components when mine broke, so I'm not much complaining. ;)

about a month and a half ago
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A Smart Electric Bike: Taking the Copenhagen Wheel Out For a Spin

cduffy Re:what's the point? (136 comments)

and sort of ignores the fact that there are you know derailleur gears to cope with hills

...which works, but can be incompatible with getting where you're going in a reasonable amount of time, if there's significant distance between points A and B.

Switching from a car to an electric bike did my health a huge amount of good commuting from Austin to Round Rock -- a 30-minute drive was a 50 minute assisted bike ride (acceptable), or a 90 minute unassisted bike ride each way (not always acceptable). Getting that 100 minutes of pedaling in each day (both directions) improved my health enough that in six months I was able to do the same commute on an unassisted bike on those days when I had three hours to spare. I don't see how that's anything but win.

As an aside -- my strongly preferred variety of e-bike is mid-drive, with the motor's power going through the chain, so you're still shifting. A really well-designed system such as that from Optibike is tuned such that the motor is only in its optimal efficiency band if you're pedalling alongside it -- one gets more assistance from an Opti if maintaining a constant 80-100rpm cadence, which is a good place to be in from a cardio perspective regardless.

about a month and a half ago
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A Smart Electric Bike: Taking the Copenhagen Wheel Out For a Spin

cduffy Re:too expensive (136 comments)

The United States market doesn't fall into that "most places on Earth" -- laws are state-by-state, but most follow CSPC guidelines, which puts the limit at 1hp (750W), or 20mph, and has no pedal-assist requirement.

about a month and a half ago
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Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare

cduffy Re:Redistribution (739 comments)

Because if you banned pre-existing condition exclusions without forcing folks to be insured, people wouldn't get insured until after they were sick.

about a month and a half ago

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