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Comment I really hate reports like this (Score 3, Interesting) 622 622

1) Combine two things that are sort of similar but not really - e.g. EVs and hybrids or tablets and e-ink e-readers
2) Make a statistical claim about the combined group - 'People are leaving EVs and hybrids", "Tablets and E-readers bad for sleep/eyes"
3) Forget to mention one of the two in the headline - 'People dump EVs', 'E-readers bad for sleep/eyes"

By combining the two, this report doesn't really tell us anything useful. I'd love to know the different rates of people abandoning EV or hybrids, as I think they are two very different propositions.

Hybrids, at the end of the day, are simply a different way of building efficient petrol/diesel powered cars. From what I've heard that efficiency has been a lot less in real life, with milage claims for things like the Prius not really living up to the hype. With ever more efficient petrol engines on the market, and gas prices so low, the efficiency improvements have to be pretty significant to make a big difference and to offset the higher cost of buying many hybrids.

EVs on the other hand are a totally different beast, and the reasons people might give up on them are different. Are people buying EVs and then finding range is more of a problem than they thought? Did they have problems finding charing points? Was overnight, at-home charging not good enough for them? Etc, etc.

In addition, this report talks about the number of people who are trading in their EVs/Hybrids for something else. But that doesn't really tell us anything about how much people like EVs and Hybrids as it only includes people who are switching. It doesn't provide any analysis of how many people are keeping their EVs for longer.

What's most annoying is that there are genuinely interesting questions to be asking about the EV and hybrid market, but this data isn't really answering any of them well.

Comment Summary misses out the actual feature... (Score 4, Informative) 70 70

What a shock, a slashdot summary that misses the actual salient point of the linked article...

Here's the description of the new feature from the linked article:

If the same site was accessed in Chrome 43 -- which is beta now but should be stable in May -- the warning should vanish thanks to a browser Content Security Policy directive known as Upgrade Insecure Resources. The directive “causes Chrome to upgrade insecure resource requests to HTTPS before fetching them”, Google explained today.

Here's Google's own description of the feature from the Chromium Blog:

Upgrading legacy sites to HTTPS

Transitioning large collections of unmodifiable legacy web content to encrypted, authenticated HTTPS connections can be challenging as the content frequently includes links to insecure resources, triggering mixed content warnings. This release includes a new CSP directive, upgrade-insecure-resources, that causes Chrome to upgrade insecure resource requests to HTTPS before fetching them. This change allows developers to serve their hard-to-update legacy content via HTTPS more easily, improving security for their users.

So basically this means you don't have to worry if you accidentally miss an HTTP asset link on your site when upgrading to HTTPS, Chrome will automatically do that for you.

Hopefully the other browsers will follow suit soon, otherwise it's of limited use.

Comment Re:15 minutes buffer ? (Score 2) 447 447

That's pretty much what happens with the voice and data recorders anyway, although for longer periods. The voice recorder records two hours (at a minimum), which is going to pick the entire runup to pretty much any crash (MH370 possibly being the exception).

Recording video for the same 2 hours seems very sensible to me. It's very easy to misinterpret noises or things people say if you don't have the full context.

I honestly don't understand the objections to video recording when you already have voice recording. What aspect of the privacy of someone who has died in a crash is going to be more negatively affected by seeing them, than by hearing them?

Comment Re:I don't think that means what you think it mean (Score 4, Interesting) 83 83

I can kind of see what he means, although I think the comparison with the uncanny valley is a bit weak.

I've taken to using Google Now's voice commands to set timers while I'm cooking, so something like "Ok Google, set a timer for 20 minutes". I don't have to touch my phone and it works brilliantly even in the noisy environments of a kitchen.

I've gotten used to talking to it in a very naturalistic way, which is where the problems occasionally crop up, and when they do they can be quite jarring.

A good example was the last time I asked it to set a timer for "an hour and a half", which Now interpreted as 1:00:30s, i.e. an hour and a half *minute*.

The jarring effect is at this edge where we feel like the speech recognition system is understanding what we say, but really it's just trying to use lots of different rules and patterns that have been coded in. If you happen to just fall outside of one of those rules it fails completely, and it can seem very arbitrary.

Comment Re:Might be a fit for EVs (Score 1) 103 103

The other reason is that an ICE can't generate force when at rest (unlike an electric motor), so getting going from stationary is impossible without a clutch. That's why, if you drive a manual, the engine has to be revved and the clutch gradually engaged, bleeding power into the axels while allowing the engine to run without stalling. Engage the clutch too fast and the engine will simply stall.

I believe External CEs like steam engines can generate force when at rest, so they don't need gearing.

It's one of the reasons by diesel trains (and some very large vehicals) are diesel-electric. A rail engineer I used to work with told me the gearbox and clutch needed to gear down a diesel engine to the point it could start a train would be enormous, bigger than a train car. Diesel electric trains are basically diesel generators that power electric motors, which is why they are sometimes used for emergency power.

Comment Re:On the shoulders of giants (Score 5, Interesting) 81 81

I second this. A lot of attention gets paid (understandably) to those researchers who discover some new particle, material, species etc, but science is utterly dependent on the brilliant people who are prepared to work in the background on less "sexy" topics.

X-Ray crystallography is a brilliant example, without all the work being done by brilliant experimentors like Elspeh Garmen who have worked so hard to make other people's discoveries and inventions possible.

As the biologist Steve Jones once put it, "Science is the last refuge of the mediocre". People focus on the geniuses but it's really a massive collaborative effort by a lot of actually pretty ordinary people who just like to investigate the unknown.

The BBC Radio 4 programme The Life Scientific had a great interview with Garmen who was very humble about a career that has had a massive impact on so many areas of research - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programme...

It's a really fantastic series if you want to get an idea of what real scientists actually do, and how they got to where they are in their careers.

Comment Education funding and excessive medicallisation (Score 5, Interesting) 558 558

Part of the problem in the UK (so may not be the same in the US) is that there is additional funding and support for kids with diagnoses like ASDs so there is a big incentive for schools and parents to push for it. It's driving a whole approach of medicalising behaviour. Kids who in the past would have been simply regarded as a bit unusual and who a teacher would have had to just cope with are now being given medical diagnoses and possibly additional help.

As discussed in the article what would be interesting to see is more detail on the distribution of ASD diagnoses, in terms of where they sit on the spectrum. If there is an increase the diagnosis of severe autism (the kids who would reasonably have been diagnose as autistic 30 years ago) then that would suggest that there is some environmental factor at work. If, on the other hand it's mostly high functioning and borderline then it seems likely to be mostly down to diagnosis.

While I'm very much in favour of education being better able to deal with kids' differences, I'm not sure medicalising it is the way to go.

Comment IMEI Number includes the model number (Score 5, Informative) 97 97

This submission appears to be nonsense posted by someone who hasn't read the article they linked to.

This isn't about blocking phones sold outside of Brazil, but models of phones that are not certified for use in Brazil. So you can take your Nexus 5 or iPhone, but it's probable that some no-name cheapo phones may not work.

The IMEI number contains codes for the manufacturer and model, so you can white-list those models that have certification from the Brazilian FCC.

Comment What about spam filtering? (Score 4, Insightful) 325 325

If the court decides that mail providers cannot, on principle, be allowed to scan the content of a mail message then I don't see why it wouldn't affect content based spam filtering.

This case could have interesting ramifications for all mail providers if the court decides this violates wire-tap laws.

Comment Use small, localised lights, not one big one (Score 2) 445 445

Rather than one big light (no matter how well targeted), consider a bunch of smaller lights all the way along the path.

There are various ranges available, most are solar powered LED, some have motion sensors built in. Here are some examples I found on Amazon

Mini "lamp-post style"

Motion sensitive, solar powered. Bigger, and you wouldn't need so many

Illuminated road/pathway studs. They look like cats-eye road studs, and would illuminate the edge of the path.

There are others that might be more appropriate for your pathway.

Hope that helps.

Comment What interesting things are people doing with it? (Score 1) 268 268

I'm quite interested to hear what, if any, new and interesting things people are doing with their 1 and 2gbps fibre connections, in Google neighbourhoods and in Japan.

While incremental increases in speed are nice, big jumps like this make whole new uses possible. For example before ADSL and cable we could do most of the things we do today just slower, but usable quality video wasn't really feasible, certainly not on-demand. I have a 120mbps (10mbps up) connection which is great for video on demand, and synching large files with Dropbox etc, but mostly it just lets me do the same old things, but quicker.

Are there any interesting new ways of using the internet that are coming out of these super high-speed areas with their 1 and 2gbps fiber connections. I'm especially interested in the effect having a symmetric connection of that speed, I can see it making video conferencing much, much nicer.

Comment People just need to be sensible (Score 1) 307 307

There seems to be a lot of hyperbole going around about Glass, almost makes me wonder if it's Google stirring things up to get more press.

Glass is going to have really interesting effects on how we treat public spaces, but I don't think it's going to destroy privacy for ever in the way some seem to fear.

People are already getting used to the idea that people have cameras ready in their pockets, and are more aware that what they do might not just be seen by others, but may be recorded. I don't think it's going to utterly change behaviour in truly public spaces for most people. Although I fully expect there to be lawsuits, punch-ups and altercations over one off events where people get freaked out because some Glass-wearer is staring at a woman for too long, or watching kids play in a park.

I also expect a lot more "semi-public" places like restaurants, pubs and bar to implement more formal "no-filming" and "no Glasses" policies. These are places that people go to relax and expect a certain level of privacy, and which are private property. Most places I know would probably ask you (politely) to stop/leave if you were constantly filming other patrons with your mobile phone. The same will happen with Glass. No great change here.

Basically it just comes down to people behaving with civility and respect to one another. New norms of society will be worked out and we'll adapt, just as we have with every other technological advance.

Some people will behave like jackasses to each other, just as they already do, while the rest of us get on with being polite and considerate of others.

Comment Re:A SIM only plan? (Score 2) 246 246

I knew the US mobile "market" was a bit crap, but I hadn't realised that things have been that badly stitched up.

Not that the UK market is perfect of course (especially now we only have three big operators), but the MVNOs and SIM only plans do create at least some competition.

Comment A SIM only plan? (Score 3, Informative) 246 246

Here in the UK (and Europe in general) cheap SIM-only plans are numerous, offered by both the major operators and the large number of "virtual" operators (known as MVNOs) who piggy-back on the actual network operators.

No need to buy a cheap phone and remove the SIM, they just pop the SIM in the post, or you can buy them at any mobile phone shop.

There's normally no (or very little) upfront cost. They are available as both pay-as-you-go and contract. Some will offer data, others will be just for voice and text.

Do you not have such things in the US?

If it is a Miracle, any sort of evidence will answer, but if it is a Fact, proof is necessary. -- Samuel Clemens

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