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Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry

jmcvetta Re:To be fair.... (273 comments)

It's not really a big deal as a one off thing, because any damned fool who will open his eyes can see no special skills are required to drive passengers in an ordinary car. The function of the professional license in this case is to restrict employment mobility, nothing else.

FWIW, I don't plan on asking my local DMV. There's a 4-hour line to do anything there... and I'm 99% sure after waiting in that line, they'd tell me they don't know or care why a professional license is required. Either that, or they'd tell me there is another 2-hour line to wait in if I want someone to tell me they don't know/care. SF DMV is a texbook example of government inefficiency, sloth, and intransigence.

about three weeks ago
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Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry

jmcvetta Re:To be fair.... (273 comments)

Depending what you mean by "limo" - is it a regular black Lincoln Town Car, or is it one of those 50ft long behemoths? - some special skill may be required. Certainly I imagine driving a city bus would be rather more challenging than driving an ordinary car.

about a month ago
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Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry

jmcvetta Re:To be fair.... (273 comments)

the law is still on their side

Fun fact: most genocides throughout history have been considered "lawful" by their perpetrators. (No, professional licensing is not similar to genocide. Yes, lawfulness is always an unpersuasive argument.)

about a month ago
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Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry

jmcvetta Re:To be fair.... (273 comments)

Actually I don't really see it as a money grab. The big effect of most professional license regimes is to restrict an individual's freedom to earn a living. It's not enough just to be a person who is good enough at driving to freely attract willing passengers. No - one must be a cabbie - it's more than work, it's caste. This is a small part of a vast cultural trend moving toward neofeudal servility.

about a month ago
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Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry

jmcvetta Re:To be fair.... (273 comments)

Why should they need a special license? What kind of special skill is required when driving with a passenger, that is not required when driving solo?

I suspect that our onerous licensing requirements lower the quality of taxi drivers, by reducing the pool of candidates to those willing to jump thru obnoxious hoops.

about a month ago
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Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry

jmcvetta Re:I'll take a regular cab, thank you. (273 comments)

I don't know why anyone would want to hop in a car with someone of dubious character, who may or may not have proper insurance, who may or may not have a proper driver's licence, who might be driving a jalopy in any sort of condition

Wait I'm confused. Are you talking about the city taxi system or Uber/Lyft? The average licensed cabbie 'round here is way more dubious of character than the average Uber driver. Cabbies are also way crazier drivers, again on average. That said, because they drive crazy/aggressive/fast/dangerous, the cabbies usually get there just a bit quicker.

about a month ago
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Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry

jmcvetta Re:Taxi Medallions (273 comments)

In NY, ask the people in the outer boroughs if they can get cabs.

Hell, ask the bankers in the UES if they can get a cab headed downtown during morning rush...

about a month ago
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Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry

jmcvetta Re:Taxi Medallions (273 comments)

Here's a fun exercise: Go to your nearest big city. (I'm gonna guess you're not somewhere that you actually ever ride in a cab.) Do a little research, and find a neighborhood that is both A) reputed to be poor and violent, and B) a long way from downtown, the airport, or anything else interesting. Then hail a cab, and before you even hop in, tell the driver where you're headed. See how well that works out for you.

about a month ago
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Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry

jmcvetta Re:I love getting into strangers' cars (273 comments)

I gave an Uber driver a bad rating because he didn't know where he was going and took a long route. Uber refunded the the difference between a reasonable route's fare and what I had been charged. I thought it was pretty good service. Not sure if that's what you mean by "ripped off" since there's no driver-passenger money transaction.

I bet if the driver had mugged me (while on the clock working?!) Uber would have cooperated with the cops to catch him. Not that SF cops would have given a shit or made the slightest attempt to solve the crime, but I digress...

Now if Uber itself started ripping people off... well there's a big fat $17B target for the class action lawyers.

about a month ago
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Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry

jmcvetta Re:Good? (273 comments)

Yet, it's the self-employed, unskilled labor in the cottage industry of driving taxis that "enjoys regulatory capture". Yeeeeah, right.

It's not the drivers. It's the taxi companies, often said to be affiliated with organized crime, who own the monopoly (taxi medallions) and make the big money. The drivers get shafted, like all workers who do not control the means of production. There are a few independent cabbies who own their own medallions, but they're exceedingly rare.

Not only does an independent driver need to buy a fabulously expensive medallion (probably from the mob), but he also needs to buy a city-spec taxi. Around here taxis are required to have all kinds of expensively-proprietary looking hardware attached. Uber/Lyft/etc use ordinary cars owned by their drivers. So already their workers own an important part of the means of production. They still don't own the dispatch system, but when there are several competitors they must compete for drivers as well as passengers.

I recently spoke with a taxi driver who was taking me to the airport (in a yellow city cab). He said he also drives for both Uber and Lyft. In his opinion he preferred Lyft, because he made the most money. To him it was all the same work, just different employers and different pay.

One good thing the current taxi medallion regime in SF does provide is a sort of indirect retirement system for the drivers. Don't recall the exact details - heard about it from another cabbie. Apparently after working a long career, a driver is given the opportunity to buy a taxi medallion from the city for rather less than its market price. The driver can then sell it or rent it out. So in effect it is their retirement plan.

about a month ago
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Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry

jmcvetta Re:Good? (273 comments)

NSA already knows the location of my personal tracking device. The city taxis in SF all have a (mandated?) bug eye style night vision camera watching the passenger. I'd be kinda surprise if that data isn't getting run thru facial recognition algos.

about a month ago
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Facial Recognition Might Be Coming To Your Car

jmcvetta Re:In other news (131 comments)

Is this being driven by the lawmakers who are frankly desperate to crush all remaining vestiges of individual freedom?

FTFY

about a month ago
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Girls Take All In $50 Million Google Learn-to-Code Initiative

jmcvetta Re:spoiler (548 comments)

Where the fuck are these brogrammers?? I've worked in software for over a decade, in Silly Valley, NYC, and Boston.. with over a dozen companies of different sizes and industries.... and never yet met even a single person I would describe as a "brogrammer".

If anyone knows some real, live brogrammers in SF or LA, by all means PLEASE introduce me to them. I want to see one of these creatures first-hand!

Until then, I'm gonna go on assuming the brogrammer stereotype is a 100% fictional creation of the corpmedia.

about a month ago
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Girls Take All In $50 Million Google Learn-to-Code Initiative

jmcvetta Re:Grace Hoppper would be PISSED (548 comments)

The old boys network is real

The "old boys' network" is real. However it has jack shit to do with gender, and everything to do with social class.

The software industry is one of the few left in the US where skill trumps credentials in hiring decisions. Consequently programmers are - in my first-hand observation - rather more likely to come from lower-middle and working-class families than workers in other "white collar" professions. Good luck convincing commoners who grew up under the boot heel of centrist plutocracy that we are the beneficiaries of an old boy's club.

about a month ago
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Cable Boxes Are the 2nd Biggest Energy Users In Many Homes

jmcvetta Re:Oblig (394 comments)

In Soviet America, everything watches you!

FTFY

about a month ago
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Cable Boxes Are the 2nd Biggest Energy Users In Many Homes

jmcvetta Re:Power Strip Power Off (394 comments)

Yup, physical switch. Sleeping is for pets not consumer appliances. When my TV & Roku are off, they're OFF.

about a month ago
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Twitter Capitulates To Governments, Censors Users

jmcvetta Censored from the beginning (91 comments)

This Twitter has been censored for a long time, at least since 2007. I know this first-hand. If you don't believe that, then obviously you've never tried to tweet anything worth censoring.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Does Your Job Need To Exist?

jmcvetta Re:That's totally how it works (343 comments)

TED had an interest one on this once. Turns out that over paying can be worse than under paying

VC propaganda.

about 3 months ago
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Theo De Raadt's Small Rant On OpenSSL

jmcvetta Re:Why OpenSSL is so popular? (301 comments)

I've long wished we could find crypto libs that were well-engineered, both internally and in their APIs.

Have you looked at the Go standard library's crypto packages? I have not done any thorough examination of them and could NOT vouch for their quality - but they were written by security conscious folks (including Ken Thompson) at GOOG, and the code is fairly easy to read.

about 4 months ago

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