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Apple's iPod Classic Refuses To Die

profplump Re:Car Jukebox.... (265 comments)

Bluetooth audio quality is fine if you use something with A2DP support. Not everything does, but it's well worth the effort to find things that do -- then you can get regular AAC or aptX or other reasonable codecs at respectable rates.

5 days ago
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Bluetooth Gains Direct Internet Access, Security Enhancements

profplump Re:I don't get it (46 comments)

My toaster does not need to be online. But neither does your phone, or even your home or office for that matter. If we're going to limit ourselves to "need" as the basis for which technology we build you're gonna have to give up a lot of things.

No one is going to make you put your toaster online if you don't want to. But just because you can't think of anything to do with that technology doesn't mean that no one else can, and whining that other people want to try is just sad and selfish.

about two weeks ago
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British 'Porn Filter' Blocks Access To Chaos Computer Club

profplump Re:Suprised *gasp* (135 comments)

The fact that you have to actively opt-out is a problem all by itself.

about two weeks ago
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The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

profplump Re:Urban performance worse than a human driver (257 comments)

Or you could just decide as a member of the public to hold driverless cars to the same standards as human drivers and allow them to potentially hit a pedestrian in the same situation. And remember the give them the bonus from the thousands of deaths related to simply driver error.

about two weeks ago
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The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

profplump Re:Robot bus (257 comments)

If you're depending on a driver to stop fighting and bullying you're either not taking those threats seriously or not taking driving seriously. One person cannot handle both things safely at the same time.

about two weeks ago
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The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

profplump Re:Better than Light Rail (257 comments)

You shouldn't confuse "not allowed by law or public opinion" with "not technically possible".

about two weeks ago
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The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

profplump Re:Stress (257 comments)

Obviously we can't all live within 6 blocks of our offices (though probably a lot fewer people could go to offices in the first place if we cared). But some of the people telling you to "live close to where you work" just mean "don't live in the suburbs" which is typically possible even when meeting the conditions you note above. It's also advise that's well-supported by research demonstrating that people wildly undervalue the cost of long commutes compared to the benefits of a larger house or whatever they're buy with that commute time.

about two weeks ago
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The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

profplump Re:Or Just Maybe... (257 comments)

People are far too attached to the decisions they've made, the systems they know, and the arbitrary distinctions used to define them to consider that in the future things could work differently. I'd guess there's at least one generation that has to die before we can really get into transforming transportation, even if the technology was 100% ready tomorrow (which it can't be in part because the people who control the capital required can't understand how they'd make money on the new system).

about two weeks ago
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The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

profplump Re: Buses are already better. (257 comments)

"Freedom" is inherently selfish because individual freedoms are inherently contradictory. Your freedom to murder me interferes with my freedom to live.

And of course you should remember that most people who are alive today, and almost everyone born more than a few decades ago, can't "retain the freedom of just hitting the road and seeing the things you want to see" because they never had it in the first place.

We're all selfish, and it isn't necessarily terrible. But it is important to recognize when it's happening if you want to be able to keep your life in balance and avoid hurting others.

about two weeks ago
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The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

profplump Re:Buses are already better. (257 comments)

Or instead of regulating 100% one way or the other -- because to be clear, not funding buses means there are no buses, not that people have a choice to take a bus or buy a car -- we could simply ensure that both bus users and car users pay their fair share of the infrastructure costs and other externalities not currently represented in the cost of gas or bus fare. Then people could make an informed decision that is aligned with their values instead of being forced into one or other depending on who happens to be in power.

But that almost certainly means taking more money from individual car drivers, which is super unpopular (and somewhat technically complicated to account), so we can't implement that solution. So currently we "subsidize" bus service with general taxes. If you have a better solution in mind I for one would love to hear it.

about two weeks ago
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The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

profplump Re:Eliminating the bus driver is Pareto-stupid (257 comments)

If your question is "how does the economy work when there is no demand for everyone to be employed for 40 hours/week" that's a reasonable question. We should definitely talk about that.

But to assert that the only solution to that problem is to stop increasing labor productivity -- or by some other means to stabilize the relative value of labor -- ignores both long and short term history. The amount of time people have spent working -- and the proportion of people that were in the workforce -- has varied greatly over time, and not with any fixed relationship to productivity. Within bounds many such changes can be accommodated without fundamental changes to the economy, as we have seen in the past. And if we exceed those bounds we can restructure the economy to suit us, again, just as we have in the past.

about two weeks ago
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The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

profplump Re:Eliminating the bus driver is Pareto-stupid (257 comments)

There are already a bunch of driverless transit systems in use around the world. And in many larger transit vehicles with a human driver the driver is isolated from the passengers and not in a position to "restore order" or even notice that such restoration is necessary. These systems carry millions of people every day, including women at night. Is there some reason you think driverless buses would be different?

about two weeks ago
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The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

profplump Re:I disagree (257 comments)

"Bus route" ceases to be a useful concept if you allow passengers to "book" travel. You could tell the bus where you are, where you are going and it would reply with a time and place for pickup and drop off. During heavy travel times it's easy enough to bundle people with similar sources and destinations -- it doesn't have to be perfect, just good enough to keep the bus fairly full and total trip times reasonable -- and during low-volume times efficiency is not very important as there are lots of vehicles available. You could even allow people to pay more if they want priority routing (to eliminate waiting/transfers) or service to a specific address (to eliminate walking) or pay less if they are more flexible, all on the same physical vehicles.

about two weeks ago
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The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

profplump Re:I disagree (257 comments)

Bus service is bad for small business? You wanna walk us through that one?

about two weeks ago
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The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

profplump Re:I disagree (257 comments)

It's unclear why you think the two aren't complimentary. A car near your home picks you up at your door and takes you to a bus stop. A bus comes 3 minutes later and takes you near your office. Another car meets you there and takes you to the door of your office. You had to make 2 transfers, but didn't have to wait or walk, and no single-passenger cars had to transit the congested roads to get you where you wanted to be. You had to leave at the right time to catch the bus, but you didn't have to figure out when that was or wait someplace other than your home.

For some people that still will be too much work, or they'll still be put off by the "public" part of public transit, or they'll just be insensitive to price and willing to pay more for private transportation. But a system like that would certainly make me more likely to take the bus, and I doubt I'm alone.

about two weeks ago
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The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

profplump Re: Was on a bus once (257 comments)

Frequent faults on the rear doors of buses are a problem with or without a human driver. Infrequent faults aren't worth much prevention unless the consequences are catastrophic.

In the case of a fault an announcement can be made to the passengers that the bus cannot leave until the rear door is clear. This is already a common occurrence with human drivers; the most frequent cause for a rear door to remain open is passengers accidentally triggering it. Automating this processes is no more complicated than timing how long the door has been open and playing a prerecorded message after an appropriate delay, which is something answering consumer-priced machines from 1989 could do.

If bus was delayed for some reason it could immediately report the problem, summon a replacement, and give passengers instructions and an ETA all before the service tech even finishes reading the alert. Passengers on that particular bus would have to wait for the new bus to arrive, but it wouldn't significantly affect anyone else in the transit system, and again isn't any different than the scenario today when a bus fails while in service with a human driver.

Finally, extrapolating from the coordination failure of human-computer system to a computer-only system is pretty meaningless. The particular failure described was caused because the driver was not physically in position to control the bus, which is simply not possible for a functional bus control computer. If the driver were in position having the rear door interlock release the brakes would constitute normal operation.

Also note that door interlocks are not mandatory (and therefore probably not standard in their operations) and at least the ones I drove with did not require additional human input after the door was closed to release the brake -- they released the brake as soon as the door returned to the locked position.

about two weeks ago
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The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

profplump Re:Uber, uber, uber, uber (257 comments)

Will the human supervising the road train know to stop when something is wrong? How will he supervise any but the few trucks immediately around him, except by use of electronic sensors?

On rail trains there's actually quite a lot of equipment to alert the human about problems, or even to react to problems automatically, and those vehicles don't have to steer or be independently powered.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Biometric Authentication System?

profplump Re:None! (127 comments)

There are lots of perfectly valid uses for biometric identification, including as a factor in a set of authenticated credentials. It's just that they shouldn't be used alone (nor should any other factor).

about three weeks ago
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Is LTO Tape On Its Way Out?

profplump Re:Shyeah, right. (284 comments)

Snapshots are available in many filesystems as well as at the volume level via LVM and similar systems. Rsync will happily detect and copy changes without propagating whole files; it will even do in-place updates for circumstances where that's relevant. ZFS cannot detect bit rot until and unless you ask it to read all the data necessary to generate the checksum, which is exactly what rsync will do if you ask it to always use checksums.

There's nothing wrong with ZFS -- if you have an appropriate workload and disk system have at it. But if you're going to compare it to other tools you should first know what they do.

about three weeks ago
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Head of FCC Proposes Increasing Internet School Fund

profplump Re:21st century? (107 comments)

You can't indite Khan's methodology without dismissing the value of most public schools in general.

Not that you're wrong, just that singling out Khan is like noting that 4th grade isn't very good and ignoring the other 11 years of "education" we subject young people to.

about a month ago

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