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Comment: Re: The lesson (Score 1) 329

by MDMurphy (#48487947) Attached to: Taxi Medallion Prices Plummet Under Pressure From Uber

It's a difference that has existed for many years in NYC, long before Uber. Uber vehicles are not taxis, but "Black Cars" which can only be dispatched, not hailed. These are not taxis with a medallion. Uber changed / improved the dispatching process and pricing, but didn't create a new class. Lots of businesses have had accounts with a particular service, Uber makes it easy for an individual to do the same thing.

http://www.driveubernyc.com/tl...

Comment: Re:Talk about an unsupported hypothesis (Score 1) 277

by MDMurphy (#47974661) Attached to: Phablet Reviews: Before and After the iPhone 6

A better comparison would be not with one of a larger phone or phablet from two years ago, but to compare to reviews of them just before the larger ones from Apple were announced. Personally I have no desire for a larger phone, but I can see how someone would be resistant to the jumbo size and then warm up to it after a while.

Do I think many people are influenced by the Apple reality distortion field? Absolutely. I just don't think the linked article showed that reviewers changed their mind based on Apple releasing jumbo phones. Lumping in the release of the new Apple phones with 2 years of exposure to the Android versions doesn't make that point.

If I cared enough I'd look for reviews from those same sources from 2014, not 2012. But really, I don't. I didn't rely on any of them when I bought my current phone, why would I care what they think about a phone I won't buy? (My interest in this was about accuracy and consistency in reporting, not in choosing a phone )

Comment: Re:New flash: Humans get bored (Score 1) 190

by MDMurphy (#47568029) Attached to: UK To Allow Driverless Cars By January

I agree. Expecting a driver who's had no interaction with the vehicle for a long period of time to be alert and ready to grab the wheel is a fantasy. Having a "no driver" vehicle from the beginning is the better approach than relying on the fiction of an alert and ready human backup driver.

One article I read about VW's automatic steering mentioned that the driver always have to have their hands on the wheel, indicating their presence and keeping them engaged. That seems a better idea than a system that would allow the driver to hop in the back seat for a nap, but still lulls them into a state where they aren't paying attention and are near-useless in taking over in hurry.

The only practical "driver still required" automatic vehicle I can imagine in the near term is one that works to make highway driving more efficient. Change HOV lanes into "well behaved automatic vehicle lanes" where spacing and discipline is maintained. The best use of machine-driven vehicles is most likely to be in an environment where the vehicles are cooperating to optimize traffic flow. Let the drivers do the stop and go, find the parking spot stuff, let the vehicle do the part where working as a pack or flock is the better approach.

Comment: Re:Perfect (Score 4, Interesting) 171

by MDMurphy (#47567877) Attached to: Quiet Cooling With a Copper Foam Heatsink

Dirt and dust is what I thought of also. While no moving air will help in that it won't draw as much air through it as a filter might, it will still collect lots of dust in hard to clean areas.

The only thought I had, which seems impractical, is to be able to remove the heatsink and place it in a ultrasonic cleaning bath like those used for jewelery. I could see it as an interesting curiosity, one I wouldn't mind cleaning once a year so so if it were on display. But I can't see it being a practical alternative for home use.

If it's very efficient maybe there's a benefit on putting them on rack-mounted servers that have cool, clean, air blown through them. Might decrease the density of servers you can put in a rack though, so there'd have to be a pretty good efficiency gain over active cooling to make that worthwhile.

Comment: May not be a testing problem (Score 2) 291

by MDMurphy (#47507679) Attached to: Why My LG Optimus Cellphone Is Worse Than It's Supposed To Be

As someone who tests hardware / software I took exception to the assumption that testers didn't find a long list of issues. I'm working on a shipping product that has hundreds of open software issues. These bugs have been documented in detail but were skipped to make ship dates, then skipped over and over again when updates were released in lieu of new features to lure in new buyers. Most bugs are seen as something not sexy enough to spend time on. If the problem they can create is considered an annoyance and not crucial to the product's operation they are skipped over.

So don't assume that bugs weren't found in testing. It's entirely possible that they were found, and the product shipped anyway.

Comment: Mercer Girls (Score 4, Informative) 315

by MDMurphy (#47011655) Attached to: You've Got Male: Amazon's Growth Impacting Seattle Dating Scene

If this is not debunked, then it's not a new issue for Seattle.

The Mercer Girls were an 1860s project of Asa Shinn Mercer, an American who lived in Seattle, who decided to "import" women to the Pacific Northwest to balance the gender ratio.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M...

Which inspired the TV series:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H...

Comment: Re:Still ugly (Score 1) 164

by MDMurphy (#46341837) Attached to: Electric Bikes Get More Elegant Every Year (Video)

Regenerative braking appeals most to the people who think perpetual motion is possible. "If I go down a hill I'll get back the power I used to go up!" My guess is that most companies offer it more for marketing purposes than for actual usefulness.

Here's a link to a good breakdown and a quick summary: Not all drive systems are engaged all the time to be able to generate power. Of the ones that are, the amount of potential power to be recovered while braking in normal stop & go is small. The amount that could be generated comes in high bursts, often at too great a rate to be used to charge the battery.
http://www.ecospeed.com/regenb...

Comment: "Black Mirror" episode (Score 5, Informative) 241

This is the basis of S02E01 of "Black Mirror"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L...

The episode did a pretty good representation of the idea, showing things that the the dearly departed's avatar would know and not know based on their chat and email history.

Comment: Not in the U.S. (Score 1) 127

by MDMurphy (#46091853) Attached to: New Zealand Schools Find Less Structure Improves Children's Behavior

This wouldn't work in the U.S. While the article says they tossed out all the rules, I think more likely they just let kids be kids. But here in the U.S. the school and the teachers would be screwed if a kid got hurt even in the slightest falling from a tree. So, here they do stuff to avoid blame for anything (with the associated lawsuit), even if it's not better for the kids in the long run.

Comment: $15 per month... per service (Score 3, Insightful) 160

If this was deemed viable and studios signed up there'd be no consensus on how to run it. So, there'd be 2 or 3 (or more) different services, all offering you "all" of their movies for $15 a month. But you'd find Disney films only one one service, Marvel superhero movies only on another and so on...

It might be that it were possible to get all the back catalogs of movies all available to stream, but I'd strongly suspect it would take several flat fees to do it.

Comment: Re:bootloader still locked? (Score 1) 88

by MDMurphy (#44951381) Attached to: Amazon Launches Kindle Fire HDX Tablets

It's safe to assume:

The microwave will cook food no matter what store it was purchased from.
The TV will play programs from any cable, satellite provider or appropriate OTA station.
The car will work with fuel purchased from any station.

I own all of the above but do not own a Kindle or iDevice specifically because part of their reason for being is to limit the owner's choice in apps or media content. Generic Android also limits apps to those coming from the Google Play store by default but has an option to remove that restriction that's no more difficult to change than adjusting your backlight brightness.

If there was a new Kindle that had a combination of features and price that was so compelling I wouldn't mind getting it and hacking it then I'd be tempted. But it would have to be a very attractive combination of factors.

Comment: Expectation of Privacy (Score 1) 259

by MDMurphy (#44314967) Attached to: DOJ: We Don't Need a Warrant To Track You

The first "we're tracking your car" pushback on privacy was that knowing where you went was thought to be no different than a cop car following you everywhere you go, just more efficient.

How long will it be before listening in / recording your calls is explained as "it's no different than if we just walked 3 feet behind you all the time"?

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