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Author: Subject: Tales of Uber
denverpunk
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posted on 12-7-2015 at 05:45 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Tales of Uber

With parking so expensive in Denver, my girlfriend and I often use Uber to go out. Something crazy/strange/cool happened in our last trip, so I thought a thread where everyone could share cab/Uber stories might be cool.

So, we go out a couple of nights ago, and the Uber driver is an older white guy with long hair. Making small talk, I ask him what kind of music he listens to.
“I like country & western and Christian music.”

Not wanting to go down the Christian music wormhole (and only liking country music slightly more), I talk to him about Willie Nelson. It turns out in the mid-80’s, Willie Nelson walked into this small bar in Morrison and basically asked if he could play for them. It turns out this guy got a second row seat to an impromptu Willie Nelson show. Cool story if it’s true.

Then he asks, “Have both of you ever thought about what you’d do if the electricity went off forever?”

I actually have thought about that a little, so I said something stupid about finding water. He informs me that Wal-Mart has water filters that can filter up to ten thousand gallons of fresh water each. Good answer, denverpunk.

He then asks if we have an escape route out of the city. This we have not thought about.

“Well, you won’t get out by car, I can tell you that. You’ll have to walk it or ride a bicycle out. People say they’ll just bunker down and stay in their house. No you won’t! Gangs and marauders will be taking anything they can find. You’ve got to get out of Denver. You should probably follow the river [Cherry Creek] all the way out.”

It continues. “How will you protect yourself? You have to have protection. If you don’t have a gun now, you’re crazy. You’ve got to have a gun.” Talking to my girlfriend, “I’m not trying to be sexist or nothing, but a woman works better with a .38 caliber revolver. But you, my friend, you need a Magnum and you need to learn how to shoot it. I also recommend shotguns. A good shotgun with buckshot can kill consistently up to fifty yards. I have this now. The world’s a crazy place now. You’ve got to have a gun.”

Can we go back to country music? Note: I didn’t actually say this.

My girlfriend asks our driver if he has a bunker. “Oh yeah, somewhere outside the city. I can’t tell you where it is, because then people would want to stay with you and mooch off of you. Can’t have that – you should have been better prepared. The warning signs were all there. It’s armed to the teeth, though, I can tell you that.”

It turns out our Uber driver is an entrepreneur who trains to people to survive in case of economic meltdown or apocalypse. “Here’s what I do. I go to your living room for two nights and teach you how to survive. We make a plan together. Then my buddy has about two hundred acres out towards Conifer (did he just tell us where the bunker is?). We go out there for two nights with very little on our backs, and I teach you how build a fire, find water, and find food. And then, I teach you how to shoot for a day or so. Then you’re on your own.” I didn’t ask his prices, and it this point our Uber ride is over. He gives us a card with a very vague title on it – “I don’t want unsavory types finding out what I do and snooping around.” Who those unsavory types are can be implied.

It’s easy to make fun, but he was actually very nice and helpful beyond the doomsday theory. A few water filters will be pretty useful in any case. If shit really does go down, this guy might not be wrong.

[Edited on 12-7-2015 by denverpunk]

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OOMike
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posted on 12-7-2015 at 09:29 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Interesting... if you read some post-apocalyptic books you can also get some good ideas.

If you want an interesting read, the Dies the Fire series by S.M. Stirling is interesting because everything electronic goes out, along with fire arms (change in the laws of physics, its science fiction) so I would also add some bow training, since bullets don't last forever.





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janerd75
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posted on 12-7-2015 at 10:35 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
I don't remember driving you around Denver, dvp. Hee. Sounds like a righteous dude. Find a way to vet him and make sure he's not just gonna bury you in a 55 gallon drum somewhere along the front range, but I'd say give him a go an get some experience from a "crazy" prepper dude.

Also, check our William R. Forstchen's books "One Second After" and "One Year After" for scenarios of what it's like when the electricity goes out permanently. It's like the Walking Dead except without the zombies and a shitload more Wolves running around, plus goes into actual explanations of the cascading horrors (no gas, JIT manufacturing/deliveries/medicines go bye-bye, etc.) of what life would be if that happened. Good times.

[Edited on 12-8-2015 by janerd75]





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gobbledygooker
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posted on 12-8-2015 at 03:13 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
As a semi-regular utilizer of all things Uber, I don't have anywhere near that type of story. if anything, all of my drivers have been extremely pleasant and un-noteworthy, which is fine by me in someone who is driving me to a destination. At least that's in the rides that I remember.

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CCharger
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posted on 12-11-2015 at 01:25 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
I find it funny that people think "the world is a crazy place". It is, to be sure, but statistically speaking, the world is less dangerous now than it has ever been in human history.





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denverpunk
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posted on 12-11-2015 at 03:24 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
I think life is better than it ever has been for people living in good areas. But for people living in unstable parts of the world (ISIS-controlled areas, parts of Africa, etc.), then the world really is as dangerous as people think. As fucked up as our country is, I realize how lucky we are to be here.

Maybe I say this because I don't have kids to protect, but I'm not sure I'd want to live in some post-apocalyptic Mad Max/Walking Dead world. It's pretty fun to watch on TV, but unless if that future needs someone with teaching/counseling skills, then I'm probably not a candidate to survive long-term there. Uber boy is definitely better prepared for that than I am.

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OOMike
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posted on 12-11-2015 at 04:35 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Not to get into a philosophical debate, but my wife and I have talked about different apocalypse scenarios and wondered if we could survive and if we would want to.





2017 where Nazis are defended and being against Fascism is a bad thing.

Prejudices are rarely overcome by argument; not being founded in reason they cannot be destroyed by logic – Tryon Edwards

Never let the facts interfere with a good rant.

The only OO columnist that has never written a column.

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punkerhardcore
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posted on 12-11-2015 at 05:40 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
I've never used Uber, because anytime I've gone on a trip anywhere the past few years, I've driven.

But out of curiosity, why is it such a thing? Like, is it that much better than a taxi, or is its whole appeal the ability to order a car via an app and be done with it?





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dRob78
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posted on 12-11-2015 at 05:55 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
the few times i've used it, Uber winds up being a) cheaper than a cab, and b) much, MUCH cleaner than a cab. I know the rates fluctuate based on how many people in the area are logged in as a driver, so it might not always be cheaper than taking a cab.
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salmonjunkie
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posted on 12-11-2015 at 07:51 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
I live and work in the city and hardly drive now. I use it when I want to go somewhere I know I'll be drinking and don't want to deal with driving. It is cheaper than a taxi. Even when surge pricing is in effect, it's generally been cheaper than a cab - holiday weekends are usually when surge pricing can be more expensive than a cab.

The app makes it so easy to find a driver and makes it easy for a driver to pick you up where you want it to (as opposed to walking to a busy street and hoping to flag down a cab). Also, the app has your credit card in file, and it automatically takes care of paying the fare rather than paying it yourself and dealing with cash/change or credit card/signing when the ride is done.

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denverpunk
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posted on 12-11-2015 at 09:02 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Being able to use the app is key. It beats the hell out of being put on hold from cab companies, and you know where your driver is immediately. Cabbies hate them, but whatever.
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BBMN
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posted on 12-11-2015 at 09:43 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Here's one person's thoughts... I don't really disagree too much with it.

http://www.salon.com/2015/10/31/the_uber_economy_fks_us_all_how_permalancers_and_sharer_gigs_guts_the_middle_class/

It's a cool thing for one to be able to supplement income, but it's also pretty fucked if it's your only job. And it's fucking lower skilled workers, which in many areas don't have many options. I've never taken one.





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denverpunk
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posted on 12-15-2015 at 05:59 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by BBMN
Here's one person's thoughts... I don't really disagree too much with it.

http://www.salon.com/2015/10/31/the_uber_economy_fks_us_all_how_permalancers_and_sharer_gigs_guts_the_middle_class/

It's a cool thing for one to be able to supplement income, but it's also pretty fucked if it's your only job. And it's fucking lower skilled workers, which in many areas don't have many options. I've never taken one.


I’m of a few different minds about that article. For me, the success of Uber and Lyft points directly to how obsolete taxis have become, especially in the technology and customer service sectors. If the opportunity to taxi better wasn’t there, then the newer companies wouldn’t be doing so well. With Uber, I’ve never dealt with drivers purposefully going a longer way to get more fare, and I haven’t dealt with waiting for long periods of time without knowing where my cabbie is or not getting a phone call, and if I did, then I would have some kind of recourse. Taxi companies let that stuff go and refused to adapt for a long time, and now they’re paying for it. And don’t even get me started about how they operate in Europe and the scams that some of them pull.

So what’s keeping taxi companies from doing better? In Denver, they’re creating Uber-type apps, so that’s one way. From what little I’ve read about the subject, the main obstacles comes from city regulations and the medallion system. Some areas have begun regulating Uber and taxis the same way, reducing the price for medallions so more people can get in on the action. In any case, the old system can’t stay in place, because it’s been exposed.

I argue that the author’s fears about the middle class are correct, but the blame is misplaced onto technology and companies taking advantage of it. Creating interchangeable parts didn’t destroy the economy even if private part makers were then obsolete. The creation of the telephone didn’t either even if it replaced telegraphs. The problem for the middle class is the lack of new industries being created in the U.S. Technology will always be here, and it’s always put certain industries as commodities. The question is if there any new jobs and industries to replace them, and that is the problem for now. I do agree that since new technology as the base of any new industry, education becomes even more important. The racial and socioeconomic disparity of education really does matter here, and I think that is more important than technology in how lower skill workers are being subsidized.

I think the author makes a mistake by comparing Uber to writers. While professional writers can make middle class money, it’s not exactly a middle class job, especially when writing for larger magazines and companies. Not many people get those. Those kinds of jobs have been on the downswing since the internet was created. However, even though his job as an editor is becoming rarer, you can still make a living writing, starting with blogs and getting exposure. Yes, you have to hustle and get noticed (which the author doesn’t seem to like), but it can be done and opportunity is there. Jeb didn’t just fall into a job at Rolling Stone – he wrote for years and finally built the portfolio he needed. There’s plenty that this author could be doing to make a living. He probably has more resources than most, so he could be building his skills into something more, especially since change is always going to happen, right?

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posted on 12-15-2015 at 06:41 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
I don't really disagree with "get ready for change because change is the only constant" line of thinking. However I just look at the bigger picture. We will see people lose jobs because of Uber. And then in 20 years we will all have automated cars, and all those people will lose jobs... Which if true, easily eclipses some poor taxi guys loosing their jobs in the next few years, because it will also mean the loss of delivery drivers, semi truckers, ect...

I guess I was just thinking tangently of how our robot overlords will ruin everything for the majority of us in the not to distant future. Really I think there are only two possible futures. Either we get the utopian vision of Star Trek, or we get the dystopian vision of Elysium.



Well there I go on rambling again....







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denverpunk
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posted on 12-15-2015 at 07:02 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Well, I'm with you there. I'm not sure if technology has made our lives better, even if it has made them more convenient. I would hope a T2 situation would never happen, but it's certainly possible.

Does Uber equal Skynet?

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BBMN
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posted on 12-15-2015 at 09:08 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Oh no, that is Google for sure!

Uber is just an interesting topic to me. I've never ever used one and I kinda hope I never do. I'd rather help out some poor immigrant, or dude that has been doing the taxi gig for half his life, than help out some soccer mom that is working so she can make a few extra bucks, even if it means waiting a few minutes more and possibly having a driver I can barely understand.

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posted on 12-17-2015 at 12:47 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
A lot dudes that have been doing the taxi gig half his life is now doing Uber. I chatted with my most recent Uber driver who had been a cabbie all his life. He made more money as a cab driver as it was a bigger cut of a bigger share, but does acknowledge that Uber is better for the customer.
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BBMN
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posted on 2-25-2017 at 03:09 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Uber is DOOMED

http://jalopnik.com/uber-is-doomed-1792634203

After a discombobulated 2016, in which Uber burned through more than $2 billion, amid findings that rider fares only cover roughly 40 percent of a ride, with the remainder subsidized by venture capitalists, it’s hard to imagine Kalanick could take the company public at its stunning current valuation of nearly $70 billion.






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posted on 2-25-2017 at 10:09 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
The sad thing is that he probably WILL try to go public, and some idjits will pony up a lot of (or all) of that 'valuation', because "WE can make it work! Somehow!"

The dot-com bubble burst, but the people behind it haven't learned much if tech IPOs are any indicator. Facebook. Whatsapp. All the other "social apps" that have no source of revenue, but have managed to fool people into buying them out. The more things change, the more there's an app for that.

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posted on 3-4-2017 at 04:01 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
The more I think about it, the more I realize that Uber is probably fine with burning through money, as long as the automated driving AI keeps moving forward at it's current pace. Once it's perfected, they'll just slowly shift from paying people too much money to be sustainable, to having no drivers at all.


And now we have this...

http://gizmodo.com/ubers-secret-app-for-tracking-cops-sounds-creepy-as-hel-1792949962

Precisely how Uber went to war with police is where this story veers into the realm of absurdity. The Times tells one story about a Portland code enforcement inspector who tried hailing rides downtown with little success. This is because the inspector had been “grayballed,” meaning that drivers were alerted to his status when they accepted the ride and quickly canceled. Meanwhile, Uber deceived the inspector and “served up a fake version of its app that was populated with ghost cars, to evade capture,” the Times reports.

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Count Zero
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posted on 3-4-2017 at 08:44 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
This link is for the "greyball" uber-app story too, if anybody is anti-gizmodo.
https://arstechnica.com/business/2017/03/ubers-greyball-tool-helped-company-evade-authorities-in-portland-paris/

[Edited on 3-4-2017 by Count Zero]

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CamstunPWG187
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posted on 4-6-2017 at 01:13 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Back when I visited America for a few weeks during Christmas 2015, I used Uber if my brother was working. Some of them should shut the fuck up, regardless of the homely service they are aiming to provide.

First guy I took was an absolute clown for basically TELLING me to give him a 5 star rating because this is how he makes a living. It was alright when he said it the first time, but then it got awkward and weird as he was about to drop me off. I told him my situation and how my phone doesn't have any network without Wi-Fi, and thanks to America sucking so much ass compared to China on the internet distribution front, Wi-Fi is literally impossible to get anywhere in business districts. He even messaged me when I got my wi-fi on at my friends later. I just ignored him.

Then I took one and this lady sat there and talked about morals and shit and then just fucked up people in general and even started using questionable language. I just figured that Uber was supposed to be different from taxis and that the people working for them should be more professional. At this point, I was starting to realize that all Uber drivers engage in conversation with any fares. It's just not something I care to do. I hate small talk in general and doing it with strangers isn't my cup of tea.

For one of the next ones I just pretended to be a foreigner and was pretty shocked at the dude's reaction being so ignorant. I spoke Russian to him to get the point across, and then he just wouldn't shut up, and persisted on trying to talk to me. It's bad enough when a Chinese taxi driver asks you the basic questions about yourself, and it shamed me to see that we do it as well to other "foreigners" .

No matter what I did, I couldn't escape the small talk.

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punkerhardcore
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posted on 4-6-2017 at 02:58 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
You should've just pretended to be deaf, like Elaine did.





Is everyone mad here?
Of course they are, and you are too... otherwise, you wouldn't have come here.

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CamstunPWG187
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posted on 4-7-2017 at 04:38 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
And since most of them are early to mid-20's, I would just assume most of them don't watch Seinfeld!
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