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Here are the last five posts to the TimeMachiner Stream:

The Uber Shortage
November 12, 2021

It's no secret that Uber upended the taxi industry and have caused real hardship. The price of NYC taxi medallions plummeted because of ridesharing. Getting around went from standing at the curb with an outstretched arm into tapping some buttons in an app. It's really convenient but convenience comes at a price.

Uber was thought to be rich with cash prior to going public. After disclosing their financials people learned that Uber was subsidizing every single ride in order to keep fares low. They paid good fares to drivers in order to entice them to drive for Uber. It was a "grow at all costs" mentality.

In the second quarter of 2019, Uber lost $5.24bn on 1.68 billion trips, effectively paying consumers an average of $3.12 per trip to take over large swathes of the global taxi market.

The Newstatesman

Over time, the fares have gone up and the pay for drivers have gone down. I'm not surprised at all to find that it's getting harder to actually use Uber as time has gone on. Basically there is an Uber shortage: in drivers, in customers still not comfortable with the pandemic, and affordable fares to make it worthwhile.

Reporting from The Statesman reveals that drivers are declining offered rides because of the low price offered.

As we spoke, Awaad was offered a 24-mile job – 48 miles in Friday afternoon traffic around Luton – for £29. Some jobs offer less than £1 per mile. “Hundreds of drivers are the same, because the jobs that are coming in have no value,” he told me.

The Newstatesman

A fare of less than a dollar-per-mile. Consider the high cost of gas plus wear on the car and this is once again a terrible gig. No wonder there's an Uber shortage. It's not just a shortage in trying to find a ride, but for workers to not take awful fares that are a losing proposition. As time goes on, gig work makes less and less sense.

Connor McDavid Is A Cheat Code
November 9, 2021

I rarely post about sports, but even as a hockey fan I can recognize this goal would excite anyone. Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers scored this amazing beauty against four players on the NY Rangers.

I could describe it, but you should see it for yourself. Having this guy on any team is like inputting a cheat code. What a talent.

Thieves Steal Truckload of Graphics Cards
November 8, 2021

Something I never thought would be reality in 2021: graphics cards being so desirable that people are stealing them. That is exactly what happened last week though.

Thieves made off with a whole truckload of EVGA RTX 30-Series graphics cards. The graphic cards were in transit from San Francisco to EVGA’s southern California distribution center at the time of the theft, and it remains unclear how many cards were affected.

The Verge

There is the chip shortage affecting everything lately. Another constraint are the groups mining crypto with these cards. However, it is crazy to think that people are resorting to full-on theft, nabbing high-end graphics cards to sell on the secondary market for people to mine virtual currency. I don't know if we live in bizarro-world or not, but we have surely hit some tipping point somewhere. This is what it's come to. Also, know that it's a crime to buy anything you suspect is stolen. So if a deal for these RTX-30 cards lands in your lap, it is good to be cautious.

Amazon Thought Keeping Flex Drivers' Tips Was Okay
November 5, 2021

Amazon, a company worth $1.75 TRILLION, uses normal people to deliver goods from Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh. Amazon calls their program Amazon Flex. It's a near-identical setup to DoorDash and Uber Eats jobs. Normal people use an app for "gig work" and deliver stuff using their own vehicles. Earlier this month Amazon settled a lawsuit with the FTC about pocketing the tips of Flex drivers.

Earlier this year, the FTC sued Amazon for withholding tips in its Flex program between the years 2016 and 2019. Amazon continued to collect portions of the drivers’ tips up until the government filed its lawsuit outlining the alleged illegal behavior in 2019, according to the FTC’s investigation.

“Rather than passing along 100 percent of customers’ tips to drivers, as it had promised to do, Amazon used the money itself,” said Daniel Kaufman, acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in February.

The Verge

Amazon did the same thing DoorDash was caught doing in 2019: lowering their payout and subsidizing that shortfall with customer's tips. When comparing these two, Amazon is the bigger loser because they have so much more money. It defies logic for a company so cash-rich to implement tip theft. However, I am far from surprised. The greed of Amazon, DoorDash, Instacart, and others have no end. If they can skim dollars off the top from people just trying to make ends meet, they'll do it.

Just another example of how doing gig work on any extended basis is a terrible choice.

Pixel 6 Gets a Waitlist
November 5, 2021

An funny thing happened on the way to getting Pixel 6 phones out the door: Google has no inventory. The phone, which was announced only a couple weeks ago, seems difficult to obtain depending on the color, capacity, and carrier.

When visiting Google's store for the Pixel 6, you need to choose the normal or Pro model. Afterward you can go down the decision tree of carrier, capacity, and color of the Pixel 6 you want. Depending on what phone you choose, Google will tell you if there's a waitlist you can join. As of this writing, it's the Pro models when paired with Google's Fi service.

Chalk this up to either giant demand for Google's long-awaited return to higher-end Pixel phones or potentially the chip shortage. Either way, this is good news for Google. The Pixel is the first phone in a long time that is not a simple slab of glass on both sides. It doesn't try to be the iPhone or Galaxy. Google's ace though is its prices. At $600 and $900 respectively, the Pixel 6 has a leg-up on others, especially with this being the first year of Google's homegrown Tensor chip inside. I should also mention Google's commitment to 3-years of OS updates & 5 years of security updates. It's not quite to Apple's iOS support level, but I do like the strides Google is making on long-term support. This keeps more phones out of landfills.

If you're ready to upgrade your Android phone to the latest & greatest, the Pixel 6 is looking to be the best Android phone you can get.

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