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Comments

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Chicago Red Light Cameras Issue Thousands of Bogus Tickets

sl149q Municipal collection of fines is the problem. (229 comments)

If you allow municipalities to a) collect the fines and b) game the system be prepared for problems.

In BC it is mostly the opposite. Ticketing and cost of enforcement IS covered by the municipalities (who fund the police) but the fines go to the provincial government. So increased enforcement (which may be a good thing) will cost the municipality more. And if they are willing to fund that then good for them. But they won't increase their revenues. And in fact may increase their policing costs if the ticketing officers have to attend court more often to defend the tickets they write.

Gaming the system (short Yellow lights for example) will result in higher revenue to the province. But more complaints to the municipality. So mostly doesn't happen.

While the province can (to some extent) game the system by trying to introduce things like traffic cameras, in practice they are more sensitive overall to campaigns to complain about them. So they move slower with more political caution.

We also have a provincially mandated insurance (for which there are lots of pro's and con's...) One of the side effects is that intersections that are expensive (i.e. high number of accidents) to the Insurance company will get money flowing from there back to the municipality to improve it. E.g. better signals, barriers etc. The point is that money to improve safety may be less than paying out for accidents. They also will make suggestions back to the city engineering department WRT to things like signal timing which will help reduce accidents.

about a week ago
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Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

sl149q Re:What of the downstream bandwidth usage? (390 comments)

Its quite possible that upgrading the interconnect would all of a sudden cause Verizons network to melt down (i.e. push their overall utilization from a nice manageable number to something unmanageable.)

But if that is true it simply means Verizon is not charging THEIR customers enough to provide THEIR customers with the traffic that THEIR customers have requested.

Yes it is Netflix that is the source of the traffic. But it is Verizon CUSTOMERS that are requesting that traffic based on representations made by Verizon (pay this much and we will allow you to download XXMbits/s.) If Verizon cannot provide that download then they are not doing the job they are being PAID to do.

about a week ago
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Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

sl149q Re:Help me understand (390 comments)

No, on the Internet you pay for YOUR traffic period to YOUR provider.

Verizon needs to charge THEIR customers for all costs. Level 3 needs to charge their customers (Netflix in this case) for their costs.

The problem is that the new model of watching streaming video requiring larger bandwidth and providers like Verizon are looking for ways to pay for that infrastructure. Charging additional fee's to their customers is difficult (image for a second if Verizon tried to market broadband connections for $X/month or 2x$X/month if you want to stream video... )

So instead they try and bully the other end (Netflix being the easy target with the deepest pockets) into kicking some money their way.

about a week ago
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FBI Concerned About Criminals Using Driverless Cars

sl149q Re:Really? (435 comments)

Yes, because running over people, animals and into farmer's fields are such a good way to advertise your vehicle and its benefits. So we can just assume that the car manufacturers simply won't bother to try and minimize that. Or that you are simply so much smarter and this is simply something that they would not think of. Years from now they'll look back and say if only we had read Slashdot and thought to build cars that didn't do that we would have to recall millions of cars for a software upgrade...

about two weeks ago
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FBI Concerned About Criminals Using Driverless Cars

sl149q Re:Hack the car (435 comments)

The question is not whether they will cause problems.

The question is whether the cost of the problems will out weight the cost savings.

Sometimes this gets lost, especially when the costs are born by one organization and the benefits are gained by someone else.

This is not a new dilemma. Personal computers aid criminals. So do Smart phones. So does the Internet. Should we make laws against all of those?

In point of fact cars themselves greatly benefit criminals. Perhaps we should just outlaw cars.

about two weeks ago
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FBI Concerned About Criminals Using Driverless Cars

sl149q Re:FBI crime prediction (435 comments)

Officials predict misuse of new technology! News at 11:00!

about two weeks ago
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Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis

sl149q Re:DGW Dinsaurogenic Global Warming - crisis of ti (389 comments)

Natural adaptation to fast changing CO2 might be hard.

But certainly fast adaptation of food crops is not only possible but already in progress (accelerated breeding and genetic modification). We simply don't grow the same stuff today that we did 50-100 years ago.

And we won't be growing today's crops 20 years from now even IF the climate stays exactly the same as it is today (which is unlikely, it will be slightly colder or slightly warmer or slightly drier or slightly wetter depending on where you are.)

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

sl149q Re: Good? (273 comments)

No because the elevator operators and Ether would still be tilling the farm. Even those jobs where "new" in the early part of the last century. And allowed by improvements (read technology) in farming that freed up workers for those "new" jobs.

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

sl149q Re:Good? (273 comments)

You can replace your land line phone with a flip cell phone.

You can replace your flip phone with a "smartphone" (well they did call them that at the time...)

You can replace your smartphone with an iPhone or an Android.

Do you think that we really would want to go back to what was the standard phone service in the 70's and 80's?

Or TV service (all 3-4 channels) of the sixties?

Taxi service has not changed all that much. There is a bit of automation in the dispatching. But the basic model of a regulated (medallioned) driver getting hailed or dispatched by radio (now computer) is essentially the same as it was 50-60-80 years ago. And really that was little changed from the horse drawn equivalent in larger cities in the 1800's.

It is seriously time to look at new models of service.

about three weeks ago
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Researchers Claim Wind Turbine Energy Payback In Less Than a Year

sl149q Re:Coal has downtime as well (441 comments)

Funny you should mention maintenance. Presumably the smaller generators on wind turbines will last longer with less maintenance. Especially since any maintenance that is required is distributed across a larger number of remote points (some in the ocean) and many feet in the air.

We have a gas fired plant locally that used to have yearly tours (sadly suspended after 9/11). Highly efficient and large turbines, but at the expense of frequent (well once every year or two if I recall) maintenance and overhauls. But large power plants have built in cranes to lift the turbines out of their cradles and move them to the attached tool shop that has all of the required tools and mechanics to rebuild them.

Wind turbines require that the mechanics with their tools get transported to the site, lifted in the air and then work in cramped and dangerous conditions. Of course if you are looking for a challenging and probably rewarding (financially) career the Wind Farm service industry is hiring. There are a lot of Wind Turbines coming off warranty.

about a month ago
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How Apple Can Take Its Headphones To the Next Level

sl149q Re: Seriously? (196 comments)

And if you don't want DRM patent-encumbered connectors on your ear phones / ear buds then just don't buy an Apple device. It really really REALLY is that simple.

Personally I'm looking forward to new ear buds with Lightning. Most likely they will have a smaller connector, have better strain relief and last longer.

I suspect that currently Apple swaps about 1 set of ear buds for every Apple Care they sell for iPhones. IFF going to Lightning reduces that by any significant amount it will pay for any increased manufacturing cost and increase customer satisfaction.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?

sl149q Re:Cool solution looking for a problem (427 comments)

When I can get it as an electronic tattoo. No charging and don't need to remember to put it on or take it off.

about a month ago
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One Developer's Experience With Real Life Bitrot Under HFS+

sl149q Re:Isn't Samsung the largest UNIX vendor? *grin* (396 comments)

Is it more important that Linux be considered to be POSIX or for POSIX to figure out how to accomodate LInux?

about a month and a half ago
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California Regulators Tell Ride-Shares No Airport Runs

sl149q Re:Translation : (314 comments)

With Uber's recent capital infusion a quick end run would be to start a chain of hotels (UberHotels) that are located very close to airports. This could be easily and quickly done by buying existing ones.

Then just have the UberHotel shuttle take people to and from the airport to the UberHotel for a small fee. Once at the UberHotel the passenger could book a room or arrange for an UberX ride somewhere else.

about a month and a half ago
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California Regulators Tell Ride-Shares No Airport Runs

sl149q Re:"Safety Requirements"? (314 comments)

If this was about insurance then they would simply require that UberX drivers have the proper insurance. That is simple to mandate and relatively simple to check.

about a month and a half ago
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Is Google CEO's "Tiny Bubble Car" Yahoo CEO's "Little Bubble Car"?

sl149q Re:what's wrong with public transportation? (190 comments)

Because most public transportation is less efficient than autonomous cars.

The exceptions are very high bandwidth routes carrying a consistently high amount of riders.

Most of the time for most routes you have large, expensive, low gas mileage vehicles running mostly at a loss.

Autonomous cars will be able to work efficiently in a dense configuration where they can operate very close together achieving almost the equivalent of the best of mass transportation.

And for the rest of the time (probably > two thirds) they are simply more efficient than pretty much any other alternative.

Autonomous cars also optimize for peoples time. The latency of your travel (time to get from a to b) will be lower. Since you don't have to walk to the closest bus stop, then take the local feeder bus to mass transit, then switch and wait for that, etc. You get picked up at home, and read your paper or work on your laptop until it drops you off at work.

Finally, building this out doesn't require mega-investments by local or state or federal governments. Since autonomous vehicles will re-use the existing road network (and more efficiently at that) multi-billion dollar investments in public transit lines won't be needed. Just encourage adoption of autonomous vehicles. As the old fleet ages out and the new one rolls out it becomes more efficient in its use of the road network.

about 2 months ago
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Kids With Wheels: Should the Unlicensed Be Allowed To 'Drive' Autonomous Cars?

sl149q Re:Well, of course. (437 comments)

No, the equivalent is how old does a child have to be before they can take a taxi alone to school.

about 2 months ago
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Kids With Wheels: Should the Unlicensed Be Allowed To 'Drive' Autonomous Cars?

sl149q Re:Trains? (437 comments)

Or in Vancouver should they be allowed to ride the Skytrain which are indeed autonomous. No drivers. We do still have drivers in our taxis and buses though.

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

sl149q Re:no (437 comments)

Exactly. By the time this question is germane it will be equivalent of "would you let your kid ride in a taxi without you?".

The long term direction is a far safer driving experience solely based on removing human drivers from all cars. Allowing them to "override" the automated systems just makes them far more dangerous than cars today where at least the norm is drivers who are somewhat used to driving. Letting people who rarely if ever driver override is just a disaster waiting to happen.

about a month ago
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Microsoft Announces Windows 8.1 With Bing To Sell Cheaper Devices

sl149q Re:Bing = site for searching for Firefox (124 comments)

Download chrome
Download classic shell
Download cygwin

And you now have a really nice windows system. I prefer it to Windows 7!

Very occasionally I stumble across some weird "tile" like things but one of them is labelled Desktop and that restores things to normal quickly :-)

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Google Government Request App

sl149q sl149q writes  |  more than 3 years ago

sl149q (1537343) writes "While Google may or may not be the living up to their do no evil mantra it appears that they are trying to. This new Google App: http://www.google.com/governmentrequests/ is their attempt to show how many requests they have received from governments around the world. These can be requests to censor or requests about users or users data. This is a welcome response compared to other ISP's and Telecoms that have routinely denied or ignored requests for any information of this type. See their announcement here: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/greater-transparency-around-government.html for some background."
Link to Original Source
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WSJ: Time for a Climate Change Plan B

sl149q sl149q writes  |  more than 3 years ago

sl149q (1537343) writes "Whether you believe in Climate Change or Climategate the problem is that no one in the first or third world is really willing to actually pay enough to change things fast enough to make much difference. The bigger question is whether it is better to spend money to mitigate one problem (CO2) or solve other problems.

This from an article by Nigel Lawson in the WSJ article (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704107604574607793378860698.html) : "The reasons for the complete and utter failure of Copenhagen are both fundamental and irresolvable. The first is that the economic cost of decarbonizing the world's economies is massive, and of at least the same order of magnitude as any benefits it may conceivably bring in terms of a cooler world in the next century."

And: "The reason we use carbon-based energy is not the political power of the oil lobby or the coal industry. It is because it is far and away the cheapest source of energy at the present time and is likely to remain so, not forever, but for the foreseeable future."

And if we do need a conspiracy theory it is helpful to remember that 27 out of 50 of the worlds largest oil companies are state owned or controlled (http://www.energyintel.com/DocumentDetail.asp?document_id=245527)."

Link to Original Source

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