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The Best Parking Apps You've Never Heard Of and Why You Haven't

eepok Re:tl;dr (163 comments)

Because rageful pseudo-alpha nerds found a target and are ganging up.

4 days ago

The Best Parking Apps You've Never Heard Of and Why You Haven't

eepok Re:What is going on?? (163 comments)

No, it's a news aggregator that will sometimes source content from its readership ("Ask Slashdot"). So this submission isn't done under the flag of "Ask Slashdot"-- he deserves ridicule for this? All I see here are pseudo-alpha nerds taking some joy in hating on a "lesser nerd" because he had the audacity to do something outside of the norm.

There is too much rage here for what used to simply be "TL;DR".

You guys are taking Slashdot posts way too seriously.

4 days ago

The Best Parking Apps You've Never Heard Of and Why You Haven't

eepok Re:What is going on?? (163 comments)

How in the world is this insightful? What's with all the rage against the author?

The guy has a question. He has an idea. He describes it all clearly enough. And he somehow deserves ridicule?

This is News for Nerds. Not "News for Me and Only Me".

4 days ago

Algorithm Challenge: Burning Man Vehicle Exodus

eepok I'm a Transportation Professional and I say... (273 comments)

The only way to make a difference is with sectional priority exit. Google an image of the playa and you'll see that their parking arrangement intertwined with exhibits, housing, etc. However, since we can't expect everyone in a section to be packed up at once and we want to give all sections a chance at leaving every "exit day", we need a rotating priority schedule.

Solution: Sectional Priority Exit on a rotating schedule. Assuming there are twelve wedges to the radial playa organization (there doesn't actually have to be 12), each section will get 1 hour at a time to send Burners away. At 6am, the 6 o'clock section's exit will be given priority. If the stream of cars thins out before 7am, the 7 o'clock section is allowed to begin its exit. At 7am, the 6 o'clock section exit is halted and the 7o'clock section continues until 8am, etc.

This allows for a predictable control of flow off the playa and gives a predictable exit to those who want to leave the soonest without requiring that those who want to stay another day to exit.

about two weeks ago

Department of Transportation Makes Rear View Cameras Mandatory

eepok 13 Deaths, 1,125 Injuries (518 comments)

Of the 34,000+ people that died on the road in automobile-involved collisions (2012), this is a very small population to target. We can do a lot better than that.

Here's a list of technologies that would better to mandate in the name road safety:

** Automatic braking systems (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_braking)
** Hardware Speed Limiters
** GPS-controlled in-dash speed limit display (shows the speed limit for your road/area in the dash)
** Veering Alerts (use of radar to sense when one is veering out of lane/off the road and sets off an alarm)
** Mandatorily installed, but optionally activated automobile black boxes. If your insurance provider wants to offer an incentive for proof of your safe driving, activate the black box, and provide monthly, quarterly, or yearly updates.

Here's a list of policy changes that would change driver behavior and thus decrease the yearly death/injury toll:

** Revised road funding policy that combines gas tax, vehicle weight, and vehicle miles traveled to better fund the roads.
** Vulnerable Road Users Law that would put the assumption of fault (along with extra penalties) on the automobile driver when a pedestrian, bicyclist, horse rider is injured or killed by an automobile on the road.

about two weeks ago

If Ridesharing Is Banned, What About Ride-Trading?

eepok This is Not Rideshare - Stop Calling it That (353 comments)

Intro: I am a transportation professional. "Rideshare" is my industry.

"Rideshare" and "Ridesharing" is a federal-, state-, and industry-specific term that describes the use of carpooling, vanpooling, transit (bus, rail), and even biking and walking as a form of transportation. Other industry terms used depending on era and region include alternative transportation, commuter choice, and sustainable transportation. "Rideshare" is a subsection of the Transportation Demand Management. Yes, it's weird to call biking "Rideshare", but that's what happens when old terms are continually used for additional purposes.

These distributed taxi systems are *not* "Rideshare" unless the driver was already going to a destination and picked up someone with a similar or en route origin and destination (which is almost never the case). Their use of the term "Rideshare" is deceitful. They are not a form of "sustainable transportation". They're just as bad driving one's own vehicle except that one needn't own a vehicle or worry about parking.

Lyft calls itself a ridesharing app and the co-founder, John Zimmer, should know better. He actually co-founded an actual rideshare-matching website/utility called Zimride which is used by TDM professionals all over the country. As someone in the industry, he knew the value of painting Lyft as "rideshare" (dodging taxi fees, getting funding, etc.) but he also knew the conflicts.

So please -- Pretty please. Stop calling these taxi systems ridesharing. Or else we'll have to start calling Best Buy and Apple store employees "programmers" and "network administrators".

about three weeks ago

Adjusting GPAs: A Statistician's Effort To Tackle Grade Inflation

eepok Competitive Access to Higher Education (264 comments)

From the experience of someone who has worked in both K-12 and higher education, the problem is innate to the competitive access to higher education and the roots are way deeper than 4-year research universities.

Elementary Schools (grades K-6)
Elementary schools have not been well known for their grade inflation. They are held to stronger minimum student competency standards that allow them to get away with giving a kid an "N" (needs improvement, aka: Fail).

Middle School (grades 7-8)
Grade inflation starts in middle schools where educators understand that proper placement into advanced high school courses poise students for better quality education (regardless of work completed).

High School (grades 9-12)
High School grade inflation most often occurs in advanced classes, to facilitate increased chances of being accepted into a well-respected 4-year university. This problem is exacerbated by helicopter parents and administrators/teachers that don't want to deal with them.

Community College
Grade inflation here is rare unless you're one of the very few students who are actually making the effort to transfer to a 4-year university. These students get "known" personally by instructors and under-staffed counseling centers and relationships are built, exceptions begin to be made/justified, etc.. I've helped to navigate student through CC specifically by connecting them to the right people to make sure they make the transfer in 2-3 years.

Undergraduate (4-year University)
Grade inflation here exists in part because faculty and lectures want students to "have every opportunity possible" to go to grad school (much like what happens in high school), but also because lecturers (without security of employment) that get bad reviews (grade rage) are less likely to be invited back to teach again. This problem is exacerbated by helicopter parents and administrators/teachers that don't want to deal with them.

And all of this exists because we make access to quality education a competition! There would not be grade inflation in middle school if every regular high school teacher was as effective and driven as those who teach high school advanced placement courses. There wouldn't be grade inflation if public universities put less weight into GPA and more into impromptu writing (submitted writing is too biased) and proctored exams. (Instead, GPA should only be for the valedictorian prize and as a progress report on the effort made towards one's education as exhibited by assignment submissions.)

Thus, there wouldn't be grade inflation if we made access to higher education an expected right given that minimum qualifications are made.

"But college education is so expensive! We can't educate everyone to the same caliber with what we have!"

I call BS. At a luxury- and notoriety-based research university, undergraduate education is expensive. At non-research universities, education is relatively cheap. Solution: Make the very specific and public differentiation between "College" and the "Research University". Want a good education with the potential to access research-based careers? Consider attending a Research University. Want a good education so that you'll be a better person, member of society, and have a head start in a chosen industry? Consider going to College.

In California, it's the difference between attending one of the California State University campuses and attending one of the University of California campuses. We need more Cal States and we need to utilize GPA less.

about 2 months ago

US Cord Cutters Getting Snubbed From NBC's Olympic Coverage Online

eepok Do my taxes fund the Olympics? (578 comments)

That's what it comes down to: Do my taxes directly fund the Olympics, the American athletes, or any other reasonable aspect? If they do, I want to be able to see them for a reasonable service fee without commercials or have access to the NBC stream, free of charge, but with commercials.

If I don't get that, then I'll probably find another means. Likely a streamed Canadian channel which provides the additional benefit of non-asinine hosts, generally cordial and likeable interviews, and no one screaming "USA USA USA!"

about 2 months ago

Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

eepok Re:And that's exactly what I asked for. (2219 comments)

I concur. I really don't like the feel and the low-density of Slashdot beta. On the front page alone, there's too much white space (too bright of white for that matter) and the right column is much too wide.

But, this is the best response from developers I've ever seen. Quick, insightful per the demands of the users, and a commitment to do even better.

Yes, people will froth at the mouth because they like how it is now. Hell, I would prefer to keep Slashdot as it is now with only minor changes, but in my experience, if you want something to turn out as best as possible but lack the dictatorial control to make the changes yourself, you have to work within the context presented. Our context as users and contributors is:

(1) Someone with control-level power, has declared that Slashdot needs to be "updated" to modern "hip-looking" standards.
(2) The long-time Slashdot employees understand that a direct swap would be bad and need useful input from users to create a blended solution.

Given those variables and my desire to continue to value Slashdot as my go-to nerd site, I will give the best instruction I can help bias the blended solution towards traditional instead of "modern".

PS - Thanks, Slashdot. You've turned turned me into a conservative... if just for one subject.

about 2 months ago

Old-school Wi-Fi Is Slowing Down Networks, Cisco Says

eepok What about "Good Enough"? (254 comments)

Ya, I'm no captain of industry and would consider myself pro-consumerist over pro-profiteer, but what's wrong with "Good Enough"? Most people have zero need for 6Gbps. Yes, most. Most people aren't downloading massive files over public networks nor does it matter if they get instant access to the newest viral craze on Youtube.

For most people 802.11b is good enough. Upgrading is too resource intensive when the cost of continuing the status quo is ZERO DOLLARS.

I equate this "issue" with Dell complaining that no one is buying their OctoCore 3GHZ 16GB dual-Video machines that support 4 monitors. Sometimes, old tech is good enough. Don't take that away.

about 3 months ago

World's First Multi-Color, Multi-Polymer 3D Printer Unveiled

eepok 3D Printed Helmet @ Home-- No Good (85 comments)

Nice bike helmet, but I won't be wearing a 3D printed helmet unless it passes all the same tests that all bike helmets in America pass.

about 3 months ago

California Students, Parents Sue Over Teacher Firing, Tenure Rules

eepok Re:Screwing the Experienced and Competent (399 comments)

You know, Irate Engineer, one of my employees (20+ years my senior) calls my fiance and I "DINKs". Dual-Income, No Kids. As "DINKs", it is possible to survive as teachers. It's even easier if you front-load your earning (like you have) and then give up all the earning potential to teach later in life.

And while that works, I don't think either of us want it that way. I hope to be able to make the switch back to education and inspire a thirst for education in middle school students so that those important years in high school can prepare them for their next steps after they receive their diplomas. But without that security of tenure and pension, like you say, it's fiscal suicide.

I wish you the best of luck and wisdom fighting for the balance between tenure, fiscal sustainability, and teacher performance in your position and as a member of your union.

about 3 months ago

California Students, Parents Sue Over Teacher Firing, Tenure Rules

eepok Re:Screwing the Experienced and Competent (399 comments)

Irate Engineer,

This is very well-put. The dilemma of tenure is what people are yet to sit down and discuss. It's a mix of philosophy and management and it just requires too much thinking.

Personally, I was on track to be a pretty damn fine teacher a few years ago. I had 4 years of higher education outreach (teaching every Saturday in low-income schools), 3 summers of teaching summer school, mentoring, and even staffing week-long camps on our campus. My passion for education couldn't be beat.

I was working a temp job after completing my BA to build up my bank for the all the testing, applications, and the move required to transplant for a Masters/Credential program. My goal was to be a middle school teacher-- the one you throw your worst kids at to be turned around. That was my gift, after all-- taming the worst and instilling the self-respect and vision for the future so that their life course could be changed. I wanted to give the worst kids a good chance of attending a four-year college and we all know that that change needs to happen in grades 7 and 8.

I knew that I would never make money in that position. I knew I would be over-educated, over-qualified, and over-worked. I accepted that all because, at the very least, I knew that I would be secure in my employment.

And then the recession hit in 2007/2008. My friends who had gone straight for their credentials after college to jump into classrooms ASAP were getting laid off. Some were being exploited by being laid off in June and having to re-interview for their jobs in August. Others were being given only part-time schedules. My now-fiance and I had a very serious discussion. We could live with me bringing in less money. We could be happy with me working myself to the bone. I could be fulfilled in teaching others even if my skills were not all being used. But we could never have a child if we didn't both have a steady source of income. So I gave up the dream. I took a position for which I am still passionate-- just not as much as teaching. I'm making nearly $60k/year and have been here only for 3 years. If I were to be teaching I would, hopefully, be making $40k in my preferred position. And my job would be insecure.

It really is too much to ask of our young people. Just consider the cost of becoming a teaching in California. You have to graduate high school, take the SAT a couple times, apply to universities, pay for your costs to attend and graduate, pay for your GRE, CSET, CBEST, Masters program, credentialing program, relocations, and then pay out of pocket to set up your own class and make up for your school district's short fall. And then the supplemental clear credentialing and continuing education. If you choose to go to a UC school, you could be looking at $200,000 spent for the opportunity to be an amazing teacher in California... and make $45,000/year after 10 years.

I still desperately want to go back and teach... but it's still just not safe enough.

about 3 months ago

California Students, Parents Sue Over Teacher Firing, Tenure Rules

eepok Re:This is a scam (399 comments)

To be fair, your example supports the comment to which you responded.

Parent comment to yours: "When you hear that schools are having a difficult time getting teachers, that indicates that the school/district/state is an awful place to work."
Your comment: "Affluent school districts have no problem with applicants, but the rural and inner-city districts do."

I think it's more than fair to make the assumption that inner-city districts are awful places to work.

about 3 months ago

Roadable, Vertical-Takeoff Aircraft Is Eager To Hit the Battlefield

eepok Re:A terrible idea. (87 comments)

I had the same instinct about the word "roadable". Here's the Google N-Gram on the word's use in books throughout history: http://goo.gl/gd4xJh

about 3 months ago

People Become More Utilitarian When They Face Moral Dilemmas In Virtual Reality

eepok Re:Utilitarianism is correct (146 comments)

There are many flavors of utilitarianism and like all forms of ethics, philosophy, and sciences, the later versions tend to be the best.

Utilitarianism is a sub-category of consequentialist ethics within which are multiple versions of Utilitarianism. One of the first descriptions sought to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. That's old and busted. Another sought to maximize happiness (slightly different). These versions of Utilitarianism are fairly easily defeated by what I call the World Cup Conundrum: You are in the centralized satellite transmission station responsible for beaming the World Cup out to 75% of the world's population. The score is tied and there's 60 seconds left on the clock. Someone is charging the goalie with the ball when the power cuts out. A major power cable has snapped and there is no time to fix it properly. The only way to resume transmitting the game is to throw your co-worker on the cable gap and have his body act as a transmission line. Do you do it? Do you sacrifice the life of one man for the 45-second happiness of billions of people? According to these archaic versions of Utilitarianism, it may be your duty to do so.

But philosophies evolve.

One of the most modern and widely accepted versions Utilitarianism shows that the utilitarian calculus should consider the *preferences* of all those affected by a decision and weigh those against the various potential actions. In the World Cup conundrum, instead of considering the happiness or pleasure of the audience, it's your duty to consider their preferences to be entertained and weigh the value of those preferences against the preference of your co-worker to live (and his family, etc. to keep him alive). Most people would agree that the preference for the ongoing life of your co-worker outweighs the preferences to be entertained of even billions of people. Thus, the best choice is simply to due your best to fix the problem while not killing your co-worker. If everyone misses the last minute of the game, oh well. It was the best of all known options.

Did you use the Utilitarian calculus to choosing your course of action?
Did you use your best rational approximation of the preferences of those affected to choose your course of action?

If you answered yes to both, then your duty has been fulfilled. You've done the best thing you could do.

about 3 months ago

Who Is Liable When a Self-Driving Car Crashes?

eepok Novelty, Cruise Control (937 comments)

It's because of this conundrum that autonomous vehicles will only be novelty features on standard automobiles. It will be an auto-pilot or cruise control wherein the driver is still expected to take control in the case of an emergency that could not be measured by the car's sensors or accounted for by the car's algorithms.

And that's not bad! It's just not as idyllic as some would prefer.

about 3 months ago

No. of vehicle license types I hold:

eepok Re:Bike, Bus, Train, Walk, Carpool (312 comments)

Definitely true. Such is why it's particularly saddening when I don't see my regular fellow commuter cyclists on days when a drizzle is predicted or when temperatures drop to a "frigid" 7C.

about 3 months ago

No. of vehicle license types I hold:

eepok Re:Bike, Bus, Train, Walk, Carpool (312 comments)

Why in the world wouldn't you change clothes? I bike 5 miles to and from work and I have two bike bags for all my stuff-- one holds all my clothes, deodorant, etc. and the other holds my locks and repair tools (most frequently used to help other cyclists). On the hot days (remember-- I live in Southern California), I can build up a small sweat on the way to the office, so I cruise for the last mile and try to sit upright to get as much breeze as possible. I go to the restroom to change, rinse off my face and head with cold water, towel off any remaining sweat, and apply deodorant. I then unroll my clothes, put them on, and stuff my rider clothes in the same bag.

Then I walk into the office.

Now, asking a cyclist to commute with 78 lbs. of tools because you're on call 24/7 is a bit disingenuous. No one suggests that *everyone's* career allows them to cycle to and from work. Anyone on-call or who needs to carry around massive amounts of weight is not going to find cycling a part of their regular or expected commute.

about 3 months ago

No. of vehicle license types I hold:

eepok Bike, Bus, Train, Walk, Carpool (312 comments)

I'm 31, have lived in Southern California my whole life, and have yet to get a driver's license let alone a personal auto.

It weirds some people out and they just can't believe it's possible.

about 4 months ago


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