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Why Didn't Sidecar's Flex Pricing Work?

ottothecow Re:Duh. (190 comments)

Did you even read my comment?

I click because the headline interests me and I don't immediately recognize it as a Bennett post. He often picks interesting topics, but his actual responses are awful.

I comment because I choose not to just ignore it. Sure, I could install a greasemonkey script to eliminate Bennett, but that is not going to help slow the downfall of slashdot. I comment because I want to make sure Dice knows that there is public opinion that doesn't want this crap. I comment so that any new users who happen upon slashdot and click on Bennett's junk aren't led to believe that his content is accepted as reasonable discourse by the community.

FWIW, I don't usually check the "Disable Advertising" box that they give you for having good karma (it eventually unchecks itself and you have to re-check it). But when I read a Bennett article, I immediately go and check that box. They aren't getting any extra ad revenue from me out of Bennett's drivel.

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

ottothecow Re:Duh. (190 comments)

I think it is a two-fold issue.

First, most of us think Bennett is an idiot and simply don't want to read his drivel. Slashdot doesn't provide an easy way to ignore his stuff (although other users have written greasemonkey scripts to get rid of him). If he posted comments like that, I personally think that he would be moderated away. If stories were subject to moderation, I think the same would happen. If this were reddit, his posts would never see the light of day.

Second, and more importantly IMHO, is the issue of why is Bennett special? Slashdot links to articles. With the exception of things like ask-slashdot and posts about slashdot itself, everything is cited to an external source. RTFA is a thing, because usually there was an actual article with content. Why does this Bennett guy get to use slashdot as his personal editorial platform? He should have to post this on his own person blog, just like everyone else. And like everyone else, I believe it used to be frowned on to self-promote to slashdot. If you want your articles to show up on slashdot...write good articles and hope other people post them. I 100% believe that if he was posting this stuff on his own blog, it would either not get submitted at all, or the editors would reject it. It simply doesn't meet the quality standards of slashdot (at least the quality standards that there *used* to be). If the articles aren't good enough to stand on their own, why does this post-Dice slashdot feel the need to give this guy a soapbox to stand on?

Slashdot will probably never be what it used to be...but Bennett's crap is one of the most noticeable things that numerous long-time users absolutely hate. The articles often hook you in with an interesting prompt...but the writing is terrible and you soon realize you are reading a moron's rantings. This isn't an ad-hominem attack--I don't reject his articles because they are written by him. I usually don't notice it is a Bennett piece until I am halfway through reading it and say "Oh man, this is terrible" only to look and realize that it is another one of his poorly thought-out editorials which has been given free web-hosting and promotion by slashdot. Every single one of them is bad. If he were to write a decent piece (and preferably post it elsewhere with just a summary and a link on slashdot), I wouldn't complain. But they are all *awful*.

5 days ago
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French Cabbies Say They'll Block Paris Roads On Monday Over Uber

ottothecow Re:To hell with taxis... (295 comments)

Maybe most people where *you* live use them twice a year.

You clearly don't live in Paris where this article is from. You probably don't live in NYC, Chicago, or SF (the actual cities, not their suburbs) either. I probably take taxis/ubers twice a week or more. Having UberX as a significantly cheaper (and usually cleaner and friendlier) option has greatly increased my taxi use. Taxis are just one component of a public transit system. They are the piece that lets you get to/from under-served areas of the city, or that let you make a direct trip when you don't have time for a bus or train.

Part of why uber works, is that they are better able to meet demand. A lot of the UberX drivers do it part time. They finish work at 5, and sign on to uber for a couple of hours (maybe until a fare takes them close to home). Because most big cities have a limited number of taxi medallions to the point where every taxi in the city is basically in operation 24/7, trying to catch a cab at 5:30 on a rainy day used to be almost impossible in busy areas. UberX drivers being able to fill in the gaps have made that much less of an issue. Even if you don't want to pay surge pricing (In my town, I think you have to be above 1.75X to be more expensive than a cab)...every person who is willing to pay surge pricing is one less person getting into a yellow cab, leaving them open for you.

Sometimes I just use the Uber app to hail regular cabs (especially since they don't surge). It means payment is handled automatically--no arguments over whether or not the CC machine is broken--and the drivers have been reviewed. Most of the regular "yellow" cabs that use uber are cleaner and friendlier than average. The drivers don't drive like assholes because if they get a bunch of bad reviews, they will lose their Uber privileges. Sure, they will still be able to pick up people on the street in their cab, but they lose automated hailing from customers who never have trouble paying and always tip (since it is built in to Uber). And the uber app doesn't discriminate between independent cabbies and different companies....ANYONE can sign up. Some of the cab companies in my town have started trying to make their own apps, but who wants to be locked into one? Why would I want an XYZ Cab that is 10 minutes away, if ASD Cab is just around the corner?

5 days ago
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The Case For Flipping Your Monitor From Landscape to Portrait

ottothecow Re:Have one giant high-res monitor! (567 comments)

Interesting, I didn't know that. Looks like as of Win7, they don't even have to be the same resolution.

Unfortunately for me, I omitted some detail. I actually have to open a full-screen citrix session before starting remote desktop. While you can get citrix to span multiple monitors, it seems like it treats it all as one big montior (if you hit maximize, it covers both screens, even though they are mismatched resolutions). The documentation says it should work like normal...but that is not what I am observing with my particular citrix setup.

about a week ago
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The Case For Flipping Your Monitor From Landscape to Portrait

ottothecow Re:Have one giant high-res monitor! (567 comments)

Yup. And the current trend towards 16:9 ratios leaves you with monitors that are too skinny in portrait mode.

No need to go portrait when you can get a screen that is as tall as a portrait screen from a few years ago. 16:9 sucks for viewing websites because it is super wide without much height (and most websites exclusively scroll up and down). But a browser window docked to 1/2 of the screen is pretty much the perfect width for reading, and on a big monitor, has plenty of height. 16:10 is a little better, In portrait, it feels a little more like a piece of paper...but again, side by side windows on a big 16:10 are better than a single window on a smaller portrait 16:10. 4:3 works pretty well sideways (or its LCD cousin 5:4), although at that point you have a lot of height and may not need to go portrait.

At home, I just use a 27" screen and half-screen dock everything. cleaner than a dual-monitor setup and almost as functional. The only think it can't do that my dual-setup used to do is that I can't have a full-screen game open on the primary monitor, and a browser open to some reference page on the secondary monitor. When I remote desktop into the office, it is actually better than dual monitors...remote desktop doesn't support dual-monitors, but it is perfectly happy doing split-screen docking on a giant single screen.

about two weeks ago
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Court Orders Uber To Shut Down In Spain

ottothecow Re:What is fair competition? (280 comments)

What I find even more interesting is that in NYC, UberX actually costs more than a taxi. Here in chicago, I use uberx and lyft a lot (often when I might have otherwise not even bothered with a cab)...because they are significantly cheaper. It helps that they are usually clean, smell normal, and have a friendly driver who isn't muttering away on the phone...but I mostly take them because they are cheaper.

But taking taxis in NYC can apparently sometimes suck so much that people will pay extra to ride around in some random dude's car. They aren't even undercutting the competition on price. They are purely succeeding on quality of service (and availability).

about two weeks ago
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Court Orders Uber To Shut Down In Spain

ottothecow Re:What is fair competition? (280 comments)

Well, some cities have figured out how to fix these things without simply banning anything that would compete with the shitty services the regular cab companies provide.

I believe NYC requires UberX drivers to get a commercial license, and I think Chicago has asked for taxes/surchages (as well as specifying insurance and background check requirements for Uber).

about two weeks ago
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Court Orders Uber To Shut Down In Spain

ottothecow Re:Greasing Palms. (280 comments)

Yup, and these regulations are all coming thanks to local politicians. Average people don't even know the names of their state representatives...and those representatives all won their seats thanks to money from people like the local Taxi Company owners (or influence from people with large groups/unions that they can cajole into voting in local elections). It doesn't take a lot of money to influence a local politician, and there is not a lot of visibility to prevent it.

about two weeks ago
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The Cost of the "S" In HTTPS

ottothecow Re:Yes (238 comments)

Why can't you cache facebook?

Sure, nothing on there is a static page, but if a million people are sharing the same 1MB image, you can still cache that. The text after "So and So shared..." will change, and the comments/likes will change, but somewhere there is a jpeg that keeps getting reused. Not everything makes sense to cache, but for things like images shared by George Takei, caching them once at the ISP or corporate network level could stop many gigabytes of external transfer.

about two weeks ago
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Android Policy For Nexus and Google Play Devices Updated To Excuse Carrier Delay

ottothecow Re:Doesn't apply to Google (73 comments)

Why not get a free phone? I don't know about this lollipop business, but my 2013 Moto X has been an absolutely excellent phone running android 4 (the 1st gen Moto X is optimized for user experience rather than raw power...and it isn't as huge as the new Moto X). Big improvement over my old android 2 phone and I believe they are available for free on a contract right now.

Before anyone jumps on my neck about "on a contract does not equal free", you've been paying for your current phone service since 2009. If you had gotten a free phone back in 2012, that contract would have expired by now and you'd be in exactly the same situation as you are currently in, except you would have a new phone. T-mobile I believe is the only big carrier who offers a discount for owning your own phone, so unless you really plan to switch carriers all of the time, it is silly to keep paying the same rate and *not* take advantage of the phone subsidy.

and FWIW, you should be able to keep your old contract terms. Until last week I was on some ancient grandfathered texting plans and another family member was still on unlimited data despite updating our phones multiple times. Discovered last week, that the whole family plan could be ~$30 a month cheaper if we went to shared data between the phones (with a cap greater than our combined usage), and we got switched from limited minutes/texting to unlimited talk/text.

about two weeks ago
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Android Policy For Nexus and Google Play Devices Updated To Excuse Carrier Delay

ottothecow Re:Doesn't apply to Google (73 comments)

Was yours a 2013 or a 2012? I haven't updated mine yet (was trying to figure out if it was safe to accept the OTA update if I had rooted it with Towelroot...and I lost my train of thought and the notification disappeared), but now you have me worried.

about two weeks ago
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Married Woman Claims Facebook Info Sharing Created Dating Profile For Her

ottothecow Re:Zoo what? (189 comments)

Are you sure? They have had quite a lot of advertising across many forms. I distinctly remember a bunch of ads involving some woman's talking pillow who was kind of an asshole.

My guess is that even with that advertising, they aren't getting enough women to sign up (because what's going to attract women better than an angry pillow berating them for spending an evening at home instead of on a date) so they resort to stuff like this to make their male customers think they actually have real people to talk to.

about a month ago
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Ohio College Building Indoor Drone Pavilion

ottothecow Re:Why do we call remote quadrotors "drones"? (42 comments)

While I agree with you (even fancy things like a Phantom DJI aren't really drones...they can return to you automatically, but they are still just remote control quadcoptors), this is a university doing it.

Odds are that many of the people making use of this pavilion will actually be working on things that can be called drones. Seems like a perfect place to experiment with completely autonomous flight since you don't yet have to handle weather and you don't have to worry about bystanders.

about a month ago
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Customers Creating Fake Amazon Pages To Get Cheap Electronics At Walmart

ottothecow Re:wont last (287 comments)

Serious question. What does walmart think about shipping costs?

They are now closing the loophole to block matching to 3rd party sellers (which is probably fair), but what if the $80 PS4 were legitimate? An $80 PS4 with $350 shipping. The original $80 price was either taken down quickly, or someone tried to buy it (and then had it declared out of stock by the 3rd party seller), but if you sold it for $80 plus a shipping cost to make up the legitimate cost of the unit like many ebay sellers used to do, would walmart honor it or would they try to calculate shipping?

about a month ago
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Window Washing a Skyscraper Is Beyond a Robot's Reach

ottothecow Re:A cost equation (203 comments)

Granted, there have probably been a lot of improvements since 1997, but at that point they already had 40 years of engineering improvements and they decided "Dangling men with squeegees over the side of the building" was still a better option than trying to find a new rotating solution.

I think robots will be the answer. Trying to build some kind of mechanism into every single window becomes astronomically expensive...especially if that mechanism is only going to be used once a month or less. Having a couple of robots that can do a whole building (or a whole block) every month is going to be a lot more efficient. But since statistically, window washers are not anywhere near being one of the most dangerous occupations, it won't happen until the robots are both cheaper and better than the human window washers.

about a month ago
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Coding Bootcamps Presented As "College Alternative"

ottothecow Re:The end result (226 comments)

Except right now, this kind of works.

The people going to those bootcamps already have college degrees and may have worked for years in unrelated industries (or non-coding functions in related industries). So when you hire someone out of one of the bootcamps, you may only be hiring someone with "Junior Developer" level coding skills, but they aren't going to behave the same way as the 22 year old brogrammer you are also interviewing for the same position. They have experience working in a business environment, collaborating with others on multi-year projects, interacting with people outside of +/- 3 years of their own age, possibly in managing employees. Since many are coming from lower paying fields, they probably have similar salary expectations to what the 22 year old is looking for. l

As a catalyst for a career transition, the boot camps aren't a bad thing. But if you step away from college grads with work experience (and the few exceptional kids who went for a boot camp instead, but probably would have been successful either way), I think it starts to break down. Other posters have mentioned the growing market for the "auto mechanics" of programming (or even the "quick lube techs")...but even if that were true and it had potential to be a long term career (without having to eventually go to college anyways to step up from the trenches), I don't know that the boot camps are appropriate--they aren't an equivalent to vocational schools. I know it is harsh to say, but many of the people who become mechanics instead of engineers are not going to thrive in the intense environment of a 19 week boot camp. The people I know who have done them worked hard. They found the programs challenging despite being college graduates from good schools. So even if your goal is to just produce code-monkeys...you aren't going to get anything good from pushing boot camps on high school kids.

about a month ago
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Window Washing a Skyscraper Is Beyond a Robot's Reach

ottothecow Re:A cost equation (203 comments)

That has been tried. One Prudential Plaza had rotating windows. Normally held in place by inflatable moldings, they could be deflated to allow the windows to rotate for easier washing.

Must not have been all that great though...because after 40 years, they decided to replace them all with conventional windows and start using window washers.

about a month ago
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Will Lyft and Uber's Shared-Ride Service Hurt Public Transit?

ottothecow Re:It's only worth it (237 comments)

It is ok, the complainers don't live somewhere where the trains have wide ranging routes and service that can be faster than driving. In those cities, I don't know that a shared ride service is a threat.

Here in Chicago, you pay a premium to live near a CTA line in the city (or a metra stop in the suburbs). Living near one means you don't have to have a car (or maybe your family can only have one car since you don't need to make separate commutes). When people look at jobs or new homes, they factor in access to public transit so they don't get stuck in situations where people say "oh, I could take the bus, but I would have to transfer twice and it takes 3 hours". I have the option to take 4 different routes to work: Motorcycle, Bus, Bicycle, Train. I live a short walk from the train and right next to an entrance to Lake Shore Drive (basically a highway straight to downtown) so I can take an express bus that gets on the highway and skips stopping in the middle.

The difference between this is mostly a tossup. The motorcycle is faster in the summer unless traffic is randomly bad, in which case it is slow (and once school starts in the fall, I think a lot more parents start driving again and traffic gets worse). I am able to sneakily park the motorcycle for free, but I would be paying $235 a month to park a car. The express bus involves very little walking and I always have a seat and can read, but it is subject to the whims of traffic and since it does make some stops, it will never be faster than the motorcycle. The bicycle is quick...I am a fast rider, but I can probably beat the bus unless there is zero traffic (and we have showers at work, so I just leave earlier and shower in the office instead of at home). The train requires a bit more walking on either end, and I usually don't get a seat in the morning, but it is consistent rain or shine since it is not subject to the whims of traffic, and it takes about the same time as the bus on a low-traffic day.

Where does an uber car pool fit into this? I occasionally take a normal taxi or uber/lyft if I am running late (or if the motorcycle isn't working) since by the time I am "late", traffic has lightened up. But if it were some alternative car pool scheme where they had to drop off extra riders, I don't see the advantage over the bus or train. The public transit options are already almost as fast as driving through traffic. If you add in the time to drop somebody else off or wait for a pickup...you aren't gaining anything. The fact that a regular Uber X/Lyft is significantl cheaper than a taxi (which I understand is not the case in NYC), does mean that I sometimes use transit less, it doesn't replace the 2x a day I use it for the commute.

I can see it hurting the crappy public transit systems in smaller cities where they have mostly been relegated to the poor...but maybe at that point it is really becoming purely competition for the local public transit. If the local public transit makes you transfer between two buses that only come twice an hour, and this can get you an "app-delivered" car pool in 10 minutes (and then skip the transfer)...then maybe these things deserve to win (or at least kick the local transit into action).

about a month ago
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Window Washing a Skyscraper Is Beyond a Robot's Reach

ottothecow Re:A cost equation (203 comments)

Lake Point Tower in Chicago has an automated window system that seems to work pretty well.

https://lakepointtower.wordpress.com/2009/07/17/doing-the-windows-at-lake-point-tower/#more-461

Here is a terribly done youtube video that purports to show the machine and process (but...well...let's just say he isn't a very good cameraman). Of course, it is a design that is fully integrated with the building. I worked in the building for a while and I always found the windows to be quite clean. Better than other buildings because they could clean the windows more often. You need tracks running down the edges of all of the winows, so you couldn't retrofit this onto an old building...but this problem does seem solvable for new constructions.

Significantly more complicated for old buildings. I am in a ~100 year old brick and stone facade building. The windows are inset, and not uniform in size, They have window sills and some of them are divided into multiple panes while other areas have bigger sheets of glass. I don't know how a machine would manage this...and having a custom machine might make sense for a large condo building (pretty sure the lake point tower cleaner robots are running most of the time since they have 70 stories of wall-to-wall windows to clean), but a custom machine for a shorter office building with limited windows is not going to be more effective than having a couple guys scrub the windows every few weeks.

Here, the guys that clean the windows actually rappel down. I think a lot of older buildings have too much stuff sticking out (and the windows are more spaced out), so having a hanging scaffold doesn't make sense. Instead, they just harness in and kick themselves around the building, using a suction cup to hold themselves in place while they clean a window. Incredibly fast and even considering they get paid pretty well, incredibly cheap.

about a month ago
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Will Lyft and Uber's Shared-Ride Service Hurt Public Transit?

ottothecow Re: should be banned or regulated (237 comments)

And don't forget, in many places, the taxi license has nothing to do with driving skill. Here in Chicago, it is entirely about knowledge of local roads and landmarks. Sure, it is annoying when an uber driver has zero idea where they are going and needs a GPS to find the highway... But the way the cab companies talk about their "specially licensed" drivers, you would actually think it meant something about car-handling skill.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Pidgin adds Google Talk Voice and Video support!

ottothecow ottothecow writes  |  more than 5 years ago

ottothecow (600101) writes "While various attempts at video and voice support have been in the pipeline since long before GAIM became Pidgin, fully functioning support over XMPP is on its way. Lifehacker reports that Pidgin 2.6 adds voice and video support for GChat (and presumably any other xmpp network) for Mac and Linux. Windows still has a few bugs but they are being worked on. Pidgin 2.6.1 is only available as source at the moment (but precompiled versions are available at getdeb."

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