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Uber Capping Prices During Snowmageddon 2015

danheskett Re:So what will this accomplish? (154 comments)

Why is this rated 5? Yes, paying drivers more *might* slightly increase supply but my guess is that the number of drivers is somewhat

You guess? Well lets just throw out the Iron Clad Law of Supply & Demand, on which almost all of the worlds productive economy is based, because you guess.

fixed so without also charging passengers more you do nothing on the demand side. The point of demand pricing is to reduce demand
so that you don't overwhelm the relatively fixed supply. If your goal is to always have cars available, then increasing the price while
paying the drivers the same would actually be a better solution than increasing the pay while charging the same but that would also be
idiotic.

You cannot look at one side of the equation.

When demand is up, there are only two options. Option number one is shortages (of supply). Option number two is that supply must increase.
When supply is down, there are only two options. Option number one is shortages (of demand). Option number two is that supply must decrease.

In either case, the solution is price elasticity. When the price drops, because supply is too high or demand is too low, drivers will drop out of the market. When the price raises, because supply is too low or demand is too high, drivers will enter the market.

Uber has a flexible work force, and it is no way fixed. They also posses 100% more information about the market and their drivers than you do, or the AG does.

This is the case of government using consumer protection laws in a way that will hurt consumers. Economics and the market are not friendly, but they do produce desirable outcomes. If the desirable outcome is fairness, than what the government and AG are doing will produce a fair outcome - everyone regardless of ability to pay will have an equal chance of getting or not getting a car, based on random luck, your skin color, or whatever else motivates you.

If the outcome is to provide as many rides possible, this requires a market with supply and demand efficiency. By curbing supply efficiency by limiting price elasticity, you provide fewer rides than the market will optimally support. If you are frequent driver, you know that by going to where the demand is, to when the demand is, will produce more and more profitable rides. If you are a rider, you know that by relying on Uber during exceptionally busy times, you will only be able to get a ride by paying far more than you would otherwise.

This is really a great case of the nanny government stepping into a situation which is drastically over it's head, in the name of "fairness". Fairness is not an economic goal, it's a social goal, and it's stupid to try to enforce a social goal like this on the very tail end of the policy stack.

3 days ago
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Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

danheskett Re:Not about code (307 comments)

When Apple's prices change (actually, has that happened in the last few years? I think the price has been steady for a while) the market doesn't reconfigure around that price.

Apple has effectively raised prices. The Iphone 5 and 6 lines both have less stuff (namely, storage) for the same amount of money. This is a price increase in everything but optics. While prices should be declining, they are actually stagnant (while adding higher price points).

Apple's control extends only to their own product

No, I don't think this is true. Cell phone sales slow and crawl for all carriers and brands before a new Apple product announcement or release. Additionally, what's unusual, is that typically if there is a constrained supply of a product, some of the unfilled demand bleeds off into other competing products. Like, around Xmas, you go to the store, Toy X is gone off the shelf. Do you give no present? Nope. You substitute a competing product. There is surprisingly little of this in cell phones. One good theory why is because of platform lock-in. In this way, Apple is able to constrain the ability to switch to a competing product effectively. It produces a magnifying effect to their market share. This is very similar to the tying claims that Microsoft go in trouble with in the 90's.

If Apple disappeared tomorrow, the world would still have smartphone manufacturers.

This is true, but not that relevant. There's always another dog.

The only way this monopoly argument could hold water is if we decide that Android and the handsets it runs on should be considered a completely different category of product.

I don't think this is true. Android is not a thing you buy, just like iOS is not something you buy. You buy the phone, with the OS. So for comparison purposes, you can't say it's "Android v. iOS". It has to be handsets for the iPhone. Until you can reasonably buy phone OS's, really, there is no such thing as a market for Android the platform. Since the platform is so fragmented, switching between Android platforms is non-trivial.

In this regard iPhone is a huge market leader and has a greater share than competing products. And that gulf is wide enough that in other industries, combined with the market power, there is a reasonable case to be made that Apple has monopoly control of the smartphone market in the US.

about a week ago
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Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

danheskett Re:Not about code (307 comments)

As people are always delighted to point out, Apple's market share is by no means the majority. Apple isn't a utility.

I agree, but only for now. In the future, if they are running a communication service over a public utility (i.e. regulated internet access), it certainly seems iMessage is exactly like other communication services over regulated infrastructure, namely phone service. Carriers can't lock out each other from similiar over the air services, like SMS, for the same reason.

BlackBerry missed the boat about a dozen times at this point and that's their fault, not Apple's.
Yeah, BB is totally irrelevant to the meat of the discussion. They are screwed.

As far as Apple and monopoly power, it's an interest case. A company does not need to have X% of a market to have a monopoly. Companies have monopoly power with much smaller shares. In some industries, a company can have monopoly power with even 20% of the market. In terms of Smartphones, it's often seen as "Google v. Apple". But really, Google is just a small player. Just because Android runs on many smartphones, does not mean that Google is a direct actor in the market. Apple competes with partnerships of Google/Handset maker. If you were to look at share in this light, I think Apple is by far the largest player. (But I can't find any numbers. Last I found was in mid-2014, with Apple around 40% and Google around 45% and everyone else doing the rest).

The key elements of Apple's monopoly power are there though: they can effectively set prices in the market, they have the ability to raise or lower production to affect prices and availability of the good, they can suppress or increase the market by withholding or releasing products. This last one is important.

This is an interesting time to see what happens with Apple. The practices and behavior of Apple right now are not far off from where MS got itself into trouble in the 1990's. Especially with regards to bundling, tying, and price controls.

about a week ago
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Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

danheskett Re:Please develop for my dying platform! (307 comments)

Yeah, it's close to those examples.

The phone analogy almost fits, in that after the phone monopoly was ended, they really did have to open up the service to any phone. The difference being a phone has no operating system (at the time), it was just an electro-mechnical device operating to common standard.

The wording is just really bizarre. Downloading a service.

about a week ago
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Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

danheskett Re:Please develop for my dying platform! (307 comments)

"Net Neutrality means mandating that developers and services must create something that works on your dying platform? Does that mean that NetFlix will have to make sure it works with Symbian too? How about PocketPC 2003?"

I am not sure that's what he is saying.

Partly because he uses phrases like "downloading the service".

about a week ago
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Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

danheskett Not about code (307 comments)

"Neutrality must be mandated at the application and content layer if we truly want a free, open and non-discriminatory internet. All wireless broadband customers must have the ability to access any lawful applications and content they choose, and applications/content providers must be prohibited from discriminating based on the customer’s mobile operating system."

The application layer doesn't necessarily mean code, it means making the application layer, as well as the content layer, available to outside developers, to facilitate a non-discriminatory policy of open content access.

I think there was a big leap made here from "open access" to "force app developers to write code for Blackberry".

Chen has a strong point Apple's iMessage service, which is proprietary and closed. It is odd to imagine iMessage running over regulated, public utility internet access while at the same time using patents and copyright and trademark law to prevent interoperability. If Apple is going to run a communications service over a public utility, and use monopoly tactics like lock-in and tying, why should that be permitted?

about a week ago
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Should We Be Content With Our Paltry Space Program?

danheskett Re:No we shouldnt (287 comments)

There's an awful lot of economic activity in Silicon Valley. That economic activity feeds everyone from Google employees to coffee shop barristas and grocery store clerks. The taxes paid by Google, their employees, and the supporting economic activity support city, state, and federal government functions that benefit you. Vibrant economic activity provides social stability that benefits you.

But there is also a cost. A great example is Google. Google & craigslist has almost single handledly destroyed the ad revenue base for most small newspapers in the country. Thereby depleting the pool of local newsources, and depleting a critical civic resource. More consolidation, more centralization of the economic benefits.

It is not clear that Google provides a net benefit to anyone. It very well could be a net extractor of wealth. Whereas before you had tens of thousands of newspaper employees, all over the country, from lower to middle cloass to executives, you now have a smaller number of employees, centralized in one area, competing viciously and competitively for scarce resources, with the profits being scrapped off for pet projects and immsense wealth.

There really is very little evidence that anyone outside of Silicon Valley and the government that scrapes off some taxes, gets anything of benefit from Silicon Valley. When you factor in the distortion of local real estate markets, increase cost of living for everyone else, and distortion of many different industries.

about three weeks ago
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Should We Be Content With Our Paltry Space Program?

danheskett Re:No we shouldnt (287 comments)

You have failed to explain why I should care if the next Sergei Brin or Elon Musk is a resident of the United States.

What has Sergei Brin or Elon Musk ever done for me? Or, for that matter, anyone other than their shareholders and employees?

about three weeks ago
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Better Learning Through Expensive Software? One Principal Thinks Not

danheskett Re:How about no (169 comments)

South Korea, Finland, Japan (a little lesser)

about a month ago
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Better Learning Through Expensive Software? One Principal Thinks Not

danheskett Re:Did You Even Read What You Wrote? (169 comments)

The dirty little secret is that we're wasting too much money trying to educate kids that don't give a damn about education and would rather be doing something other than learning.'

Yes, bring back tracking. Your parents don't care, you don't care, you want to be doing something else? Fine, you are done at Grade 6, you can come back to adult ed and the remaining 6 years of education when you want it.

It is highly controversial, but the system worked well. The concept of "no child left behind" is a monstrous lie. All children cannot attain to the same levels. It is cruel to try to force children who do not posses the correct attributes to meet a standard that is designed above their level. It is as mean as asking a 5'1" basket player to dunk against Yao Ming.

about a month ago
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Better Learning Through Expensive Software? One Principal Thinks Not

danheskett How about no (169 comments)

"why not give her a crack at Ed-Tech, including a healthy budget and some Lab Schools where she could have educators and technologists brainstorm-and-prototype to separate the Ed-Tech wheat from the chaff without undue vendor influence and short-term test score pressure?"

Uhh, no. How about we don't experiment on kids. Instead, let's do the three things that we should never have undone in the first place:

a. Institute tracking, immediately.
b. De-mainstream kids with severe mental, emotional and some physical issues that prevent them from functioning to 90% of the median achievement level for their age-based cohorts.
c. Remove all unfunded Federal mandates, kick out technology from the classroom at least until age 10.

For something pro-active, we can do what other successful countries have done, which is to:

d. Focus on reforming the teaching profession, from the ground up, so that teachers are the best educated, most well respected, most prominent members of the community. This almost certainly will require ending tenure, replacing principals, and keeping for-profit entities away from schools. Overtime this will mean that the average teacher goes from average to slightly below average IQ and attainment, to +1SD above the median. It will also mean more male teachers at all age levels, and fewer teachers teaching for many years.

about a month ago
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CIA on UFO Sightings: 'It Was Us'

danheskett Perfect (197 comments)

This is a great example of unnecessary government secrecy leading to massively decreased trust in government, and the utility of government to be honest and to solve problems.

The government had solid evidence that the reports were not bogus, and not unidentified, but they left people festering and ultimately distrusting government mostly or completely.

And for what? These were flights over DOMESTIC soil. With regular citizens writing in. What is the possible harm vector? That a foreign national would send in a UFO report, randomly without seeing one, and then wait for the CIA to confirm it? To what end?

Maybe in another 50 years the government will learn that security based on obsucrity and misinformation is not really security, it's an illusion thereof. Unnecessarily suppressing information breeds distrust. Tell two people that something they can see with own eyes is not what they can see with their own eyes, and one will come up aliens and government and conspiracy, and one will become a cynic and distrust everything you say, and both are not unjustified in their beliefs.

about 1 month ago
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The One Mistake Google Keeps Making

danheskett Re:The one mistake Forbes keeps making.. (386 comments)

Margins on search advertising continue to drop, because cost per click continues to fall. That's the problem Google has to face, in the long-term. More advertising venues - and there continue to be more and more - mean a lower cost per impression (or whatever they come up to charge with next).

As cost decreases, value decreases, and it becomes less and less possible to get a return on the advertising investment. Eventually, without a sufficent return, the sales will slow and then stop.

about 1 month ago
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Debris, Bodies Recovered From AirAsia Flight 8501

danheskett Re:Pilot Proof Airbus? (132 comments)

. He thought he had the speed, he just didn't know the airspeed was totally wrong.

Yup. I have to think that the two co-pilots were in a state of shock, one pulling, the other pushing, cancelling each other out. You can hear the exasperation.

We've lost control of the airplane, we've tried everything.

I have to think if they had just a few thousand more feet, they would have obtained enough speed, nosed up, engines full power, emergency climb, and start handing out free peanuts and drinks.

about 1 month ago
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The One Mistake Google Keeps Making

danheskett Re:They said that about cell phones (386 comments)

20 years though on cars is not a long time. People are buying cars now for 5+ years lifecycle, and then they go into used stock, for another 3-5 years. So basically, if you are half-way into your current car cycle now, not the next car, or the next car, but the third new one is the time cycle that Google loses it's patents. Are any of my next 2 cars going to be massively revolutionary, like the first big evolution of cars in 30-40+ years? Hard to say. I suppose it's possible.

about 1 month ago
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Debris, Bodies Recovered From AirAsia Flight 8501

danheskett Re:what? (132 comments)

The engines will never stall given fuel and clear path. Any angle, underwater practically, throw a frozen goose through it. The stall being talked about is an aerodynamic stall, where the flow of air over control surfaces generates insufficent lift, and the plane ceases to be a plane and becomes an object falling the sky.

Recovering from a high-altitude stall takes some skill. Depending on factors, you may need to scare the living s*#! out of your passengers, put your nose down to regain enough speed, and then gradually level off.

Apparently there were really nasty weather problems at the time of the incident. Some serious weather clouds can have drafts that can almost instantly stall a plane, removing all of it's airspeed. Going from 350+ kts to single digits knots all of a sudden can be very dangerous, as you would imagine.

about 1 month ago
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Debris, Bodies Recovered From AirAsia Flight 8501

danheskett Re:Stall? (132 comments)

True, but at that type of altitude, it seems like a co-pilot could have broken of for 15 seconds to let everyone know that they were gliding into open ocean.

about 1 month ago
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Debris, Bodies Recovered From AirAsia Flight 8501

danheskett Re:Pilot Proof Airbus? (132 comments)

This is the flight that basically caused the industry to adopt Flight Crew Management as a the normal protocol for running a plane.

about 1 month ago
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Debris, Bodies Recovered From AirAsia Flight 8501

danheskett Re:Pilot Proof Airbus? (132 comments)

The flight transcript is heart breaking because the two junior pilots are effectively cancelling each other out, they can't figure out why they are losing altitude even though the engines are screaming. The loss of airspeed due an aerodynamic stall is disorientating and confusing to them. The senior pilot is summoned, and realizes that they are in a stall because of insufficient airspeed. He wants the wings level on the horizon.

The co-pilot on the right finally realizes he's basically crashed the plane, losing 20,000 feet of altitude because of a stall. Even at 4,000 feet, he was resisting doing what he needed to do - obtain airspeed to regain flight control.

"This can’t be true
But what's happening happening "

Heartbreaking.

about 1 month ago
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The One Mistake Google Keeps Making

danheskett Re:The one mistake Forbes keeps making.. (386 comments)

Google has investors, and eventually, this type of spending will be curtailed. Time and competition will whittle Google's margins down to where they have to refocus on doing things which people will pay money for.

about 1 month ago

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