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Comment Re:I understand this (Score 1) 390

Isn't the Jeep Wrangler also rated as one of the most unreliable cars being sold now?

I don't know about you, but one think I really don't want is to spend a bunch of money on a new car and then have to spend lots of time taking it back to the dealer to be fixed (and then, after the warranty expires, spending either a bunch of money or my time fixing more stuff).

Jeep has an absolutely abysmal reputation for reliability. I guess that saying really is true: "It's a Jeep thing. You wouldn't understand." No, I don't understand the appeal of an unreliable vehicle with a shockingly high sticker price and really crappy interior materials and fit-and-finish.

Comment Re:The Homer! (FP?) (Score 1) 390

It's called the "Emergency Stop Signal" and it's activated by ABS systems. It's required in some European countries. In the US automakers have to apply for special permission to use blinking flashers. Apparently the feature exists in many vehicles already but is disabled by software (and it's illegal to enable the feature in those vehicles). The NHTSA is still studying the issue and will probably have to modify their regulations.

Sounds typical. The Europeans get a nice safety feature, and it's illegal in the US until 30 years later when they finally decide it's a good idea after all. No place in the world has more NIH than the US.

Comment Re: The Homer! (FP?) (Score 1) 390

I guess that manual window controls must be more expensive to install. They don't seem to be available on any recent car

That is exactly why even the cheapest, crappiest econobox has power windows these days. The component cost isn't that much, and the labor is probably cheaper. Also, there probably isn't much demand for them (anyone that cheap usually buys old used cars, or just keeps their 1967 car running). The mechanisms are totally different too. 20+ years ago, power windows used the same mechanisms, and just added a motor instead of a crankhandle. These systems were trouble-prone and slow to raise/lower, so they've replaced them all with cable-driven mechanisms that are much more mechanically efficient, but only work with a motor. Having to design cars to support both kinds of mechanisms would add cost, just to support the few cheapskates who insist on manual everything, so they simply eliminated manual windows altogether.

(I want to be able to unlock only the particular door I want unlocked.)

Why? Every car with power locks I've seen has either an option or a standard mechanism where unlocking the car only unlocks the driver's door first, and you have to do something extra to unlock the other doors (either turn and hold the key longer, press the unlock button twice, etc.).

As for parallel parking, that's usually easy for people to do when they're used to it; the problem is that in the US, most people aren't used to it, because there aren't that many places where you have to park that way any more. I probably parallel park a handful of times a year, at best, so of course I'm out of practice and end up sucking at it.

Comment Re: The Homer! (FP?) (Score 1) 390

It wasn't freedom for me. I got freedom when I got a bus pass

Then you lived someplace with at least somewhat-usable public transit. When I was in high school, I was in a (comparatively wealthy) suburban town outside a city of around a half-million people. There were no buses that I recall.

for my 20something child, getting a license wasn't one. She still has no interest in getting one.

Then she either never leaves the house, or lives someplace where there's usable public transit (like the downtown area of a large city, which is where all the 20-somethings seem to be moving these days).

Comment Re: The Homer! (FP?) (Score 1) 390

Oh please. Bicycles are impractical for most people in most places in the US; you can't bike to the mall 15 miles away in the rain on a bike with your high school friends. And public transit in many US cities is abysmal. It's good in some select cities (Boston, NYC, DC), and everywhere else it's total crap. Even if it exists, it'll take you 3 hours to get there and you'll have to transfer 5 times.

Comment Re: The Homer! (FP?) (Score 1) 390

Why would anyone pay for OnStar when you can get most of the services for much cheaper when not car integrated?

The car integration is the big selling feature, above all else. My phone can certainly hold all my music (with the right sized SD card, and a proper phone that has an SD card slot instead of some shitty phone with non-upgradable memory), and comes with a free app to play that music, or I can use other free or paid apps to listen to music if I choose. Then I could plug the phone into the car's "aux" jack (a line-in jack) with a headphone-to-line-in cable. However, messing around with a phone to choose music while driving is distracting and dangerous (and probably illegal in most places), and just not as slick as having a screen on the dashboard and some method of controlling that easily from the driver's seat while driving. So if you're the kind of person who likes a nice car and not a bare-bones econobox, and doesn't want a bunch of wires draped around, then having a nice built-in stereo system which plays from USB (preferably with a screen) is a selling point.

Same goes for navigation, except that here cars have a massive disadvantage in update costs and frequency and also ease-of-use (Google Maps is hard to beat when it comes to finding a specific business you want to go to).

OnStar, however, I don't really see the point of any more now that everyone has a smartphone. Unlike radio or navigation, features which many people make absolutely constant use of while driving, OnStar seems to only have two uses: 1) an emergency service, and 2) a concierge service. For emergencies, I have my cellphone, which will probably work fine if I roll over (OnStar may not if its antenna gets crushed). (Also, don't some newer cars now have a built-in automatic 911 calling function, provided you've paired the system to your phone with Bluetooth?) For concierge, why would I bother when I can just use my phone? No, I can't easily talk to a live operator who will reserve airline tickets while I'm driving with nothing more than a phone and a regular cellular plan, but who wants something like that besides retired old Cadillac-drivers with too much money and not enough sense or savvy to buy their own tickets online? I can't imagine there's enough people who actually want, and are willing to pay for, a concierge service like this to buy tickets, make restaurant reservations, etc. while they drive to actually make that much money for the company. Sure, someone like Donald Trump might think it's cool because he doesn't care about getting a good deal on tickets and doesn't mind paying $$/month because that's peanuts to him, but someone like that also has his own chauffeur and probably his own personal on-call concierge/secretary anyway and doesn't need a mass-market solution. I dunno, maybe there's enough Lincoln and Cadillac customers willing to pay for that kind of service, but for any normal brand, forget it. Some guy driving a $20k Ford is not going to want to pay out for that.

Comment Re: The Homer! (FP?) (Score 1) 390

Do you find that Sync Services has any value? It just seems odd to me that they couldn't have found a better way to communicate with the system than using your phone as a modem, thus requiring a subscription service. I'm not really into that side of things, but couldn't they have used Bluetooth to transfer the required information?

Of course they could, that's the way every other infotainment system works. And connecting to an online service over the internet is easy, certainly easier than using a phone as a dialup modem. But maybe they wanted to be able to have the system work for people who don't have a data connection on their phone (people who only use WiFi for data. as data plans are expensive compared to voice-only plans). Still seems rather hokey to me.

Comment Re:So I guess CEO's don't get hit with non-compete (Score 1) 119

In practice, an ex employer is not even going to know what a former employee is doing after he or she leaves, let alone who they are working for without having to spend time and resources following what that person is doing outside of company time

That used to be true, but these days with LinkedIn it's hard to *not* know what your former cow-orkers are doing and where they're working.

Comment Re:"quality of finish" does anybody really care? (Score 1) 119

"Quality of finish" includes things like whether the seam between face and sides is smooth, if edges are nicely beveled, etc. Almost everyone cares about such things

I can't see any of those details after I put the device in an Otterbox case.

Honestly, I'd rather see someone make a semi-ruggedized phone that has a bigger battery and an Otterbox-like case built in (not an add-on). They'd have a better-performing product and save space by not needing the regular case which just gets covered up by the rubberized one.

Comment Re:Wait for the lawsuit (Score 1) 169

Um, this isn't an antitrust issue, unless Google decides to get into the recruiting industry (meaning they look for candidates and then sell their services as a recruiter to *other* companies, to help find them employees).

If Google got in trouble for recruiting employees on their own instead of hiring a recruiter, that's be a really bad precedent. By the same logic, taxi companies could sue you for driving yourself to work instead of taking a cab or hiring a chauffeur. Restaurants could sue you (and grocery stores) for cooking your own dinner instead of going to a restaurant. Merry Maids could sue you for cleaning your own toilet and making your own bed.

Oh, so there you are!