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Ask Slashdot: Where's the Most Unusual Place You've Written a Program From?

immaterial Re:My Job (310 comments)

A 24 Horus deadline? Just six of those falcon-headed bastards strutting around all godlike and hassling me about missed TPS reports is bad enough, but 24... To be honest, at that point I might just throw myself into the Nile and let my ka move on to the realm of Osiris.

about 7 months ago
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Apple Says Many Users 'Bought an Android Phone By Mistake'

immaterial Re:Whoosh (711 comments)

Wait... Does this mean the next OS X isn't going to be called Oxnard? But I was so looking forward to the smell of manure every time I boot up...

about 7 months ago
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Seattle Approves $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage

immaterial Re:Behind the curve (1040 comments)

A 5% increase in the minimum wage could easily be 20% increase in costs.

This is mathematically nonsense. Even if a business's costs come 100% from employee wages (a mythical business that pays no rent, has no equipment, no licenses, no worker training, etc.), a 5% increase in wages is... a 5% increase in costs.

That is the worst-case scenario. You are correct that small businesses don't have the level of efficiency of Walmart - payroll is probably going to be a higher fraction of total cost. The healthcare and the service industry tends to have the worst fraction, with about 50% of costs being payroll. That includes benefits, but if we ignore that for the moment and assume it's all wages, and wages get increased 5% you're still looking at a worst-case increase in costs of 2.5%.

about 7 months ago
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Seattle Approves $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage

immaterial Re:Behind the curve (1040 comments)

Because wages are generally only a fraction of the cost of goods sold, raising wages doesn't result in anywhere near as much of an increase in prices. Raising Walmart's minimum by ~50% would result in 1.1% price increases.

My guess would be that a large chunk of the workforce having significantly more spending money would help most companies sell *more* product, even with a minor price increase. Why doesn't Walmart just up it's wages, if it's such an obviously good idea? It still has to compete with others who probably won't follow suit. The only way to ensure a level playing field is to set a general minimum wage that applies to everyone - and set it high enough that full-time employees can actually afford the goods and services needed to survive (and maybe even participate in the economy a bit beyond that). The Walmart CEO himself asked Congress to do this in 2006.

about 7 months ago
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Apple Announces New Programming Language Called Swift

immaterial Re:Good bye source compatibility (636 comments)

No, but you can use a different browser and set it to send a desktop user agent string so you don't get bullshit "mobile" versions of websites (posting this from my iPhone).

about 7 months ago
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Apple WWDC 2014: Tim Cook Unveils Yosemite

immaterial Re:Compareatively unspectacular, but not bad. (411 comments)

Seriously, I'd like to see you present a single example where Apple has been benevolent towards the OSS community.

Clang? ALAC? libdispatch? mDNSResponder (Bonjour)? Their CalDAV & CardDAV server? Darwin Streaming Server? ...

about 7 months ago
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Apple WWDC 2014: Tim Cook Unveils Yosemite

immaterial Re:Off-topic Maybe (411 comments)

Given that Apple created Swift to (eventually) replace Objective-C, I'm not seeing "wannabe C++ killer" there either.

about 7 months ago
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Apple WWDC 2014: Tim Cook Unveils Yosemite

immaterial Re:Off-topic Maybe (411 comments)

"Yet another wannabe C++ killer"? You say that like Objective-C is some new kid on the block that is out gunning for C++. Neither of those is true - Objective-C has been around as long as C++ and nobody is trying to use it to take out C++. In fact, they work together quite well (even in the same source files) should you need to do so. I do agree that Swift will probably ultimately be Apple-only, but that's the status quo with Objective-C and doesn't seem to have caused a serious lack of developer attention so I don't see that as an issue.

about 7 months ago
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Is Google CEO's "Tiny Bubble Car" Yahoo CEO's "Little Bubble Car"?

immaterial Re:what's wrong with public transportation? (190 comments)

That's kind of the point - government services are (should be) to the benefit of society as a whole, and since we all live together in society, we all reap the benefits even when it isn't immediately obvious. People without children may complain their taxes fund schools - but those schools allow them to live in a society where even the poor are educated enough to have decent prospects (instead of falling to desperation and crime), where employers can expect a decently educated workforce, etc. Even if you're a rich man driving a private limo everywhere (in the strict, immediate sense a non-user of public transport), public transportation reduces traffic for you, reduces pollution for you, and ensures that the poors who shine your $1000 shoes can get from home to their shoeshine stations.

about 7 months ago
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Amazon Confirms Hachette Spat Is To "Get a Better Deal"

immaterial Re:Time to become a better shopper (211 comments)

If Wal-Mart raised wages and benefits, that cost would translate directly to higher prices, shifting the burden of the subsidy from the top third to the bottom third, income-wise.

That cost would come out in the wash. You conservatives and libertarians love to claim any rise in the minimum wage will translate to an equivalent rise in prices - as if a 25% wage increase would mean a 25% increase in prices. Anyone with half a brain knows this is bullshit FUD, because wages are only a fraction of a product's price. Raising Walmart employees' wages to $12.50/hr would result in price increases of 1.1% (or $12 per year for the average shopper). I'm pretty damn sure the bottom third would love to trade 1.1% higher pieces for a >1.1% wage increase.

about 7 months ago
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Amazon Confirms Hachette Spat Is To "Get a Better Deal"

immaterial Re:Time to become a better shopper (211 comments)

Face it: hatred for Wal-Mart is a tribal identification thing, not a rational economic argument.

What an idiotic statement. Was hatred of Standard Oil irrational? Allowing a monopoly to control a market has the potential to be efficient (at least in the short term) but ultimately consumers lose when choice and competition disappear.

about 7 months ago
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The Singularity Is Sci-Fi's Faith-Based Initiative

immaterial Re:Science Fiction is fiction made up by authors (339 comments)

Hey! I want my transporters, warp drives, and a galaxy full of humans-with-extra-bumps-embodying-a-particular-stereotype, and I want these things NOW!

about 7 months ago
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Kids With Wheels: Should the Unlicensed Be Allowed To 'Drive' Autonomous Cars?

immaterial Re:Well, of course. (437 comments)

Trusting strangers for help isn't remotely dangerous. 99.99% of people will do nothing to harm a random child (do you really think there's a pedophile on every street corner waiting for his opportunity to abduct a kid? Muggers ready to steal the large amounts of cash children carry?). But regardless all that, if we ignore that the majority of such situations will be short local rides (replacing that walking or biking to school/friend's house with an autonomous ride) any parent who sends their kid on a 3 hour drive somewhere alone should only do so if they know the child has the maturity level and experience to handle it, which is no different than the current situation of sending their kid alone anywhere on foot, on bike, or on public transport. And it's easy for a patent to ensure the kid has a way to communicate in case of a problem (cell phones are cheap, and I doubt any automated cars won't have a cell/data link). People used to let their kids roam all over town on their bikes without half the safety that modern technology and automated systems provide, and society did not collapse. If you don't trust your kid to handle it, don't send them.

about 7 months ago
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Kids With Wheels: Should the Unlicensed Be Allowed To 'Drive' Autonomous Cars?

immaterial Re:no (437 comments)

If you're afraid of getting hit by automated cars, it's by definition irrelevant whether there's a kid in them or not - the kid isn't driving. Your statement as useful and relevant as saying you'd rather be hit by a kid on a bike than by a car driven by his dad.

about 7 months ago
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Kids With Wheels: Should the Unlicensed Be Allowed To 'Drive' Autonomous Cars?

immaterial Re:Well, of course. (437 comments)

I'm confused, because you brought up distance but you haven't explained why distance is relevant at all (we were discussing a kid getting into an accident without parents around... And even outside of that I don't see what it is relevant to).

about 7 months ago
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Kids With Wheels: Should the Unlicensed Be Allowed To 'Drive' Autonomous Cars?

immaterial Re:no (437 comments)

Did you think we were discussing all the automated cars on the road right at this moment?

about 7 months ago
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Kids With Wheels: Should the Unlicensed Be Allowed To 'Drive' Autonomous Cars?

immaterial Re:no (437 comments)

This is absurd. There is no 'fixing' the human. Driving was already incredibly risky before cellphones (humans are 'proven' to drive terribly, I mean really? Google's automated cars already have a far better record than the average human and the technology is still in its infancy). Humans do not have 360 degree vision or the mental capacity to focus specific attention on dozens of details and separately moving trajectories simultaneously - even if they ARE paying 100% of their attention to the road (which is obviously grossly optimistic).

What if the computer can't tell the difference between a bag and a rock? Then it assumes the highest-risk possibility and takes the appropriate mitigation action with reflexes so quick that it has probably begun before the meatbag in the car even takes note of the bag.

What happens when the perfect driver is checking his side view or rear view mirror right at the moment the rock rolls into the lane in front of him?

Automated systems are never going to be perfect, but I see no reason they can't be far, far more safe than a system guided by a human being.

about 7 months ago
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Kids With Wheels: Should the Unlicensed Be Allowed To 'Drive' Autonomous Cars?

immaterial Re:no (437 comments)

We already allow kids alone on the streets on foot and on bicycles at parental discretion. As you say, a proper automated vehicle will be safer than a car piloted by an adult human, so it will be far, far safer than a bicycle piloted by a child. I don't see how there's even a question.

about 7 months ago
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Kids With Wheels: Should the Unlicensed Be Allowed To 'Drive' Autonomous Cars?

immaterial Re:Well, of course. (437 comments)

How old does a kid have to be before they can walk to school on their own? How would it be any different in an autonomous car? Leave it up to the parents to determine the independence/maturity level of their own children.

about 7 months ago
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Fiat Chrysler CEO: Please Don't Buy Our Electric Car

immaterial Re:misleading (462 comments)

Given that least year's model sold out by June and they didn't raise the price at all between then and this year's model, I suspect you're wrong.

about 7 months ago

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