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Comment Re:Paved with good intentions... (Score 1) 247

Probably true. On the flip side, if you do nothing, you can be certain that a large number of people will die, and that threat is immediate. Which is worse? Hurting a kid or standing by and watching thousands of people die? I would tend to argue that the latter is far worse. But it should be a difficult decision for anyone with a conscience, because hurting a kid is wrong; it just might be less wrong than the only alternatives available.

Comment Re:Airstrikes on population centers (Score 1) 395

But by disproportionately attacking non-terrorist anti-government fighters, he is effectively strengthening the terrorist groups by making them a larger part of the population. If I went to Afghanistan and killed everyone who wasn't a member of Al Qaeda or the Taliban, I'd be on a non-stop flight to Gitmo. Just saying.

Comment Re: It's not what Google wants.... (Score 1) 291

You're talking about reading the ODBII data. That's a very different application to an information display that most drivers will be using routinely. So if nothing else, there's probably a good chance that many of those downloads were professionals who work on cars. Most of the rest were presumably enthusiasts who enjoy tweaking, and if you reckon you've personally saved $5-10K just on diagnostics with Torque then clearly you're not a typical driver.

Comment Re:It's not what Google wants.... (Score 1) 291

But lets see if you can compromise it without taking off a panel, disconnecting a wire, or otherwise having privileged access to it.

Does your definition of privileged access include being within radio range? Being within radio range when the legitimate owner activates a remote feature? Gaining access to the manufacturer's facilities, either to extract sensitive information or to initiate contact with vehicles through the manufacturer's own remote access tools?

(If you're wondering if these questions aren't random and this line of questioning is a trap... Yes. Yes, it is.)

As for "infotainment" systems you can't have a bad system without a good/better one to compare it to.

I hope we could all agree that, for example, a system that allows a potentially dangerous compromise of the vehicle's control systems is bad even if all cars have the same defect.

Also, the standards of presentation of these systems are awful. There is nothing good/better for comparison only if you exclude pretty much the entire field of user interface design in modern technology outside of cars.

Comment Re:And why should this be done? (Score 1) 257

Obviously, all women that want to be coders ...have a more than good shot at becoming coders. That is what matters. ... "getting more women into coding" sound like trying to trick or coerce people into doing things they do not want

You make it sound like people's preferences are fully formed when they emerge from the womb. They aren't. Society, and subgroups within, try to mold preferences for all kinds of reasons..

Comment Re:FUD (Score 1) 291

The auto manufacturers are looking for this data themselves -- this is a matter of public record in some cases, and widely acknowledged privately in others -- and so it is logical that they will choose their commercial partnerships in light of that. If Google want to keep that data for themselves but someone else will implement more integrated telemetry that lets the manufacturers spy on drivers and send the data to insurers, the second person is probably going to win the deal, unless and until the privacy regulators start stepping in.

As for ads, just tracking the locations someone visits regularly is a treasure trove of mineable information, and you can probably tell a lot about someone from their driving style as well. Of course, the implications of commercial services literally tracking our every move are pretty unpleasant for some of us.

Comment Re:FUD (Score 1) 291

The information isn't that interesting either, the most likely use would be applications to help people

The most likely use of collecting data about vehicles and driving style is probably selling it to insurers for a huge profit.

The next most likely use of collecting data about vehicles and driving style is probably selling it to advertisers for a huge profit.

Somewhere down the list there are probably things to do with law enforcement.

Somewhere near a footnote on page 17 there are probably things that will actually help make cars better for their owners, or least make future versions of cars better for their future owners. Auto manufacturers already do a huge amount of both simulation and real world testing during development of a new vehicle, using vastly more sophisticated and comprehensive systems than anything fitted to a production car you or I would drive on the road. There is only so much extra they could learn from large scale collection of real world driving data that they can't already determine from other sources.

There might be a decent argument for some sort of black box style recording for all cars, to help with investigating after something went wrong and hopefully make the roads safer for everyone in the long term. But like any black box, the integrity of that data would be important, so some remotely accessible system that is also hooked up to all kinds of infotainment widgets is probably the last place you would want it.

Comment Re:It's not what Google wants.... (Score 1) 291

Information about the car is what CONSUMERS want.

Are you sure about that? What little actual user research I've seen suggests that most customers don't think much of in-car "infotainment" systems generally. The same research suggests that these systems are almost never a deciding factor in sales, except in the wrong direction if they are so bad that they stick out or, in a few cases, because of security or privacy concerns.

And really, who can blame those customers, when these systems almost invariably look awful and work even worse, even in very expensive prestige vehicles? It bends my mind that luxury car brands spend so much money getting metalwork and paint colours and seat shapes just right, but then throw in a "high tech" system that looks like the love child of a 1990s "under construction" web site and a first generation iOS app written by your neighbour's 14-year-old kid.

One day I really want to walk into a dealership for one of these brands and when they do the spiel about how great their high-tech keyless entry and infotainment systems are, see if they're willing to bet me the car that I can't compromise their system in some significant way in under 24 hours. Given I've worked in several relevant industries and have some idea of how low the standards are in the auto industry in this area, I find it disturbingly possible that I might actually be able to do that. But even if I couldn't, it would be fun watching the sales guys squirm, a bit like the SEO people who spam me saying they can get my business onto page 1 of Google in our field, when I reply that we actually are on page 1 of Google in our field and but when I searched for SEO I didn't see their site on the first page.

Comment Re:Its laugh track is a crime against humanity (Score 2) 369

I felt fine about those Colbert and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart (holding out judgment on Noah) Because those shows were funny already. The Big Bang Theory is not.

It's like the pretty much the difference between splitting a bottle of wine with your partner to celebrate closing a giant deal, and splitting a bottle of whiskey because you lost one.