Posts by BenWilson

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  • Hard News: Friday Music: Apple and the…, in reply to andin,

    I had a waterproof phone last year, the Sony Xperia. Of course when it comes to actually putting it in the water, at $800 for the phone that says water damage voids the warranty, I was never going to risk it, and kept it in a waterproof bag anyway. Under those conditions, I could certainly have found a possible use for my expensive wireless headset. But actually, I just never did. Usually, at those times, I preferred the sounds of nature.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10096 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to goforit,

    Yup, I've never got the impression that he actually knows how it works at all, nor what the law is. I think this process is just moving around him. Maybe he's playing a deeper game. Who can say, really? Who cares, even? The bill contains the important seeds of a saner approach to app driving, whether the Minister has his head screwed on or just plays golf with Uber all day.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10096 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to goforit,

    with what Bridges was saying in The Nation interview I am thinking something else is up between him and Uber.

    Well he better get on with that fast, because Parliament is how we change laws in this country, not secret deals! If this gets to Parliament without any Uber clauses in it, they're screwed. So far, I'm not seeing it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10096 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to goforit,

    I can't see anything good in the bill for Uber at all. It does, at least, give a legal framework for the service that Uber provides. That framework, however, specifically eliminates their ability to operate from offshore. They have to have a local license and that can be taken away.

    From what I understand of the review process that led to this Bill, Uber has talked up working with the government, but actually done bugger all. Their submission was a joke, looked like maybe a couple of days work by a few people, compared to the Taxi Federation's lengthy professional document looking at all aspects. I find it hard to believe that NZTA will work off Uber's one, which essentially proposed that they should be allowed to do what they subsequently did in Christchurch, and then "rolled out" to the rest of the country.

    They're keeping a positive spin on legislative changes that are spelling the death of Uber in this country, unless they change quick smart.

    As for improvements to Auckland's transport issues, the only possible thing he can be talking about is uberPool. Which is not in NZ, and has no barriers to being here beyond the fact that it's not viable and everyone hates it all around the world, and Uber already operates completely illegally for a big percentage of its drivers. Beyond that, it's all good.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10096 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Apple and the…, in reply to Moz,

    Like I said, there are advantages to the inductive hob, and there are some disadvantages. Some will find that in the balance the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, and switch across. But others won't because it's not a giant quantum leap the way getting rid of floppies was. For many, using electric hobs and aluminium/teflon cookware (and all other cookware is compatible too) are perfectly acceptable ways to cook food. Just as wired headphones (and a plethora of other devices) are still a perfectly acceptable way of listening to music. Robust, and they always work. If you don't listen to music every day (yes, such people do exist) you don't have to worry that your expensive device is going to shit itself and die, the way so many wireless things do, or have slowly degrading quality as the battery carks out. This is technology that is compatible with many devices so you can plug into other people's devices easily, and it's got better and better in quality as time has passed as well.

    This is quite unlike floppies, which had literally had their day by the late 90s. They hadn't got any worse in themselves, quite the opposite they were cheaper and more reliable than ever before. But our need for data had made them go from being the bomb in 1985 to being a complete bastard in 1995, to completely untenable by 2000. They were being superseded by things that were a thousand times better. Now, a million times better. Whereas I rate wireless listening devices as maybe 10% better. They trade off getting rid of a cable and having a digital experience (well at least as far as the acoustic coupling that pumps the data into the brain via a meat machine, losing almost all of the digital fidelity in the process), with the hassle of having to keep a battery maintained, and mucking around pairing devices, and having devices that are 5 to 10 times more expensive. Hence my comparison to the hob - it's certainly a bit better, but will it become pervasive? Maybe, we'll wait and see. Many of the advantages are actually a matter of opinion, rather than simple calculation of storage, size and transfer speeds. Quite a few people wouldn't know digital fidelity if it blew their ears apart.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10096 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Apple and the…, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Yes, I was meaning on a PC. I haven't had an Apple since about 1995. Nowhere I've worked used them so it just fell by the wayside and I certainly wasn't going to pay the tax just to have yet another incompatibility in my life. But I'll give that they've driven some technological revolutions and consider their fanbase to be public spirited on that account. They test all the whack ideas, and some of them stick. At their own cost, for the most part.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10096 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Apple and the…, in reply to Russell Brown,

    There wasn’t any other good rewritable medium in 1998 when the iMac debuted – just Zip drives and a bunch of also-rans

    Sure, but there were burnable CDs that stored 650 times as much as a floppy and cost a few dollars, and there were hard drives. On those odd occasions where you wanted to give someone some files that were too big for an email (which also made them too big for a floppy), you'd burn a CD.

    But the port doesn’t fill up with lint and become unusable either.

    Not a problem I've ever experienced. Lint's pretty easy to get out. But I do keep the phone in my pocket upside down with the jack port point down. What I have noticed is my cable getting worn by being stuffed too vigorously into dozens of different ports every night. I always tell them to be gentle, but kids these days just can't stuff it in fast enough once they get their hands on it. The silly thing is that they're doing more damage to the own device. The cable is only worth like $10.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10096 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Apple and the…,

    If this spawns and popularizes wireless sound technology that isn't flakey as shit, the way bluetooth is, I'll be in favor and might adopt it in, say, 5 years.

    There's been a certain old skool beauty to being able to hand riders an aux cable and having it work 9.5 times out of 10. Bluetooth experiences have been more like 5 out of 10, and invariably involve a lot more stuffing around each time. There are some amusing tradeoffs with the digital control too. With Bluetooth, there is no master volume control, the user is literally seizing the stereo. OTOH, if I don't like what is being played, I can push next on the stereo itself and that sends a message back to the phone. Presumably these features are offered by Lightning. Do I offer it via some no-doubt super expensive gadget that I can plug into the aux port to give a partial solution to riders who have chosen deliberately incompatible hardware with one of the few constants in the music world for the last 50 years? I'll think about, it, but probably nah. They can supply that. Aux port too annoying to carry around? OK, then carry a lightning to aux converter around instead and make sure you keep it charged.

    I admire the public spiritedness of it all, though. For 5 years or so a hard core of iPhone users will be unable to play their choice of music in many situations and have to suffer on everyone else's. They won't be able to wow anyone with the brilliance of a wireless solution because Bluetooth isn't exactly new, and it's quite widespread. But when they are in control of the devices, then the tables will turn. And eventually, people will come around to what a burden 100% compatibility and 2 extra grams of electronics always was. And we'll all look back on wired headphones and stereos and speak of the bad old days, while the youth roll their eyes heavenwards.

    Or that might not happen, of course. Comparing to floppy drives is a little unfair, since something many orders of magnitude better was available instead. Whereas the jump up from wired to unwired has been a bit of a meh in a lot of cases. As in, when both are available, still many people prefer the wired as being a higher quality solution, when all factors are considered. It's a bit more like the inductive hob revolution. Yes, they're clearly superior in many ways to an ordinary electric hob. So long as you replace every single piece of stovetop cookware, and accept that other people's will quite often not work, and be careful with your jewellery and metal utensils, and don't mind the price.

    It's probably not quite as silly as cordless vacuum cleaners, though.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10096 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to goforit,

    And you keep on associating yourself with them

    I’m associating with the drivers. Our association is most certainly not for Uber’s benefit, unless they change their ways. It’s purpose is to lay bare, from within, what the true story of working for Uber is. That can’t really be done from the outside, by competitors. While Uber is still able to operate, it is growing a base of isolated weakened workers set against each other and the entire taxi industry as well. As they gain cohesion, they gain strength, against Uber, and whatever comes after Uber, if Uber doesn’t change and is run out of town.

    I’m certainly not working on behalf of the taxi industry itself. Our interests may be temporarily aligned, though, at least with the drivers.

    Sure, I could walk away, and leave it to the incredibly ineffective protests that I’ve seen from various disconnected taxi groups, who don’t have the full picture, or any plan, don’t work together, and are generally seen by the public as just protecting their patch. It would be in my financial advantage to walk away. That is precisely what Uber counts on, that people walk away in disgust before they ever get organized enough to do jack about it. Their machine is designed to leverage off that, rather than be deterred by it. Staff churn is not a downside to their business, it’s part of their strategy.

    So I’m not going to make any apologies for doing this. And questions about what I personally get out of it are simply answered with “nothing except that I think it’s the right thing to do”. Followed by “and when did that start being an incomprehensible motivation in this country?”.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10096 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I've never met any staff. They don't have an office that you could do that in. They have a place where they sign people up, manned by people who are almost always clearly not from NZ (by their accents), and who never last long. These people are meant to handle day-to-day parts of the operation too, which is extremely inefficient, since the location of the office is somewhere that it is nearly impossible to park a vehicle, and you have to take a number to see them at all, and often wait while they sign drivers up, a lengthy process. That's all there is.

    Oh and there's the security guard, a recent addition. He opens the door for you. Or not, presumably, sometimes. Also deals with the drivers who come in to deal with some operational matter and get stonewalled, become angry, and raise their voices.

    Invitations to meet with them, given directly by hand by association members who have been hand picked for special meetings have met no responses. There is no phone number to call, nor any email address to write to. They're basically deliberately unreachable. It's not even clear whether there is any NZ based infrastructure of any note at all. They could actually close down their offices, move everyone overseas, and still operate as efficiently. Probably more efficiently, since the signup center is really a sham front. I think that might even be their game plan.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10096 posts Report Reply

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