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Comment Re:Better question (Score 1) 438

Because they require more service than an electric car, as the article mentioned. I don't buy the argument that electrics are too different from ICE cars Most car sales people don't know much about a full featured ICE car, either. Their primary objective is to sell you something on the lot, because it has a carrying cost. Better still, lease it to you or "help" you finance it and get you to buy an extended warranty. But the big money comes when you service it.

You can make an argument that having a lot of inventory is one advantage to the dealer system. But for the most part, I think car dealers are worthless and the process of buying a car is truly insulting, even with high end cars. My next car will be a Tesla or Uber or Lyft or some combination of the above. I'm done with ICE cars and the jokers who sell them.

Comment Re:WTF is with the US utility tie-in? (Score 1) 145

The problem here is that there's a low-grade civil war brewing in Crimea after Russia's invasion. Wake me up when/if the US has a similar problem. Zzzzzz....

I would not be too complacent about this. Clearly we are going to reasonably wonder "could it happen here?" and what would it mean. A valid concern, but the much greater issue as I see it is that it appears Putin has a new and serious challenge on his hands. How many more problems can Russia manage before something snaps? A breakdown in Russia could be a very big problem, especially if it is chaotic.

Submission + - Apple offers $50 off Apple Watch with any iPhone purchase in select stores (

Strudelkugel writes: Apple has started a new limited time in-store promotion that offers customers $50 off an Apple Watch Sport or Apple Watch with the purchase of any new iPhone, including the latest iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, the company confirmed to MacRumors. Apple Watch Edition and Apple Watch Hermès models are ineligible for the discount.

Submission + - Three counterintuitive scenarios for driverless vehicles (

Strudelkugel writes: The standard story is that traffic deaths will dwindle, cities will spread out magnificently, and you’ll all be reading Marginal Revolution on your morning commute rather than fighting the traffic. Maybe so, but what other options are at least worth considering, if only out of contrarian orneriness?

Comment Re:Let the Public Decide (Score 1) 439

My God Man! What you are describing sounds like a free market or something.

This is AMERICA!

Speaking of free market, how much longer until people don't need to own a car anymore? This is one of the promises of automation, but before that comes to fruition there will services such as Uber and Lyft that take the marginal car buying customer; people who live in cities. I would get rid of my car in an instant if I could. It's an expensive object and is parked most of the time. I share the opinion that dealerships are essentially worthless and provide the worst retail experience of all. But they will go the way of CDs. There will be a few dealers left selling specialty cars, but big dealers that exist today will be gone and no one will miss them.

Submission + - Why Self-Driving Cars Must Be Programmed to Kill (

Strudelkugel writes: When it comes to automotive technology, self-driving cars are all the rage. Standard features on many ordinary cars include intelligent cruise control, parallel parking programs, and even automatic overtaking—features that allow you to sit back, albeit a little uneasily, and let a computer do the driving.

So it’ll come as no surprise that many car manufacturers are beginning to think about cars that take the driving out of your hands altogether (see “Drivers Push Tesla’s Autopilot Beyond Its Abilities”). These cars will be safer, cleaner, and more fuel-efficient than their manual counterparts. And yet they can never be perfectly safe.

Comment The car is great to drive, but... (Score 4, Interesting) 222

I always wondered how the door handles would work after an ice storm or freezing rain. I've dealt with my share of frozen car door locks, but at least I could get the handle to move. I think the touch screen console was a big mistake. You need to be able to manage things like climate settings, radio stations, etc. by touch. Forcing the drive to look at a screen for mundane things was a bad idea. I don't own a Tesla, partly because they are so new and I don't like the design elements I mentioned. But I have driven one. There are very few other cars that are as much fun to drive.

Comment Re:My view of this (Score 2) 662

Wasn't there, don't know he people involved, so who knows what the situation was. What I don't like is the fact that Ahmed Mohamed didn't accomplish anything worth of presidential attention, yet he was invited to the White House. There are children who do far more interesting things. Let's not forget David Hahn. I think it can be said Hahn set the bar quite high for teenage science projects.

Comment Re:Lawsuits like hers are very difficult to win (Score 1) 234

You must not be in California, where the labor laws are so stacked in favor of employees it is absurd. For example, if there is a wage and hour dispute, and employee can file a complaint with the DLSE. The first meeting is a settlement hearing, not one in which the facts are presented and discussed. IOW, the employer is guilty by default. If no settlement is reached, the employee can decide whether to go to a judgement hearing, or just sue. If the employee doesn't have a case, he or she will sue, paying their lawyer on a contingency basis. Because it costs so much to defend in court, employers are usually forced to settle for a 5 figure number. The employee doesn't incur much risk since we do not have "loser pays" in our legal system. I'm not saying that is always bad, but it does have an impact. Notice also that the NLRB just ruled franchise parents can be considered to be in the "dual employer" role. That means plaintiffs attorneys have deeper pockets to go after, so there will be a lot more of this litigation.

The cold result of this is that it becomes much more difficult for people with limited work skills or employment history to get a job. For an employer, it simply is not worth the risk. Of course the laws were put in place to protect employees against unscrupulous employers, but the reality is that the people who need jobs the most are the least likely to get them now. This is an unmentioned reason why we have a growing underclass of unemployed people. Ellen Pao has become one of these individuals since she is now known to be litigious and therefore an unacceptable risk. She might get a job at a non-profit, though, since non-profit directors have special immunities.

Comment Re:It doesn't work. (Score 1) 396

All Amazon is going to have in a few years is Type A assholes who are willing to kill themselves and they'll have no creatives, no inventors and nobody who actually is innovating. They'll have people who happily work 100 hour weeks to reduce the delay after clicking "Buy Now" and nobody coming up with the next Kindle.

Just noticing my own consumption patterns. I find myself buying far less from Amazon than I used to. I go the public library for most books now, keeping just a few in my Kindle app for reading while traveling or reference. I stream music now instead of buying it. I reverse showroom - Go to Best Buy, look at a few products, then read the reviews on Amazon to determine which one to buy since BB will match.

Amazon's big advantage in the early days was their ability to sell new products to consumers without sales tax. Bezos leveraged this to build mindshare and brand, but now he doesn't really have that huge advantage over other retailers. Sooner or later Amazon will be average internet retailer - Lots of products for sale with low margins. That may be one reason they push their people so hard, the profit margins they have now are not sustainable. Could even turn into another Sears.

Comment Re:Cortana? (Score 4, Interesting) 44

It's possible that phone apps are the punch cards of the future. Most apps require a network connection. What if there is a better way to launch and manage them via Cortana and they run on a cloud system, turning your phone into smart terminal? Then you won't care what OS a phone running as long as it can render the information you want. Maybe Microsoft is now thinking "The Network Is The Computer" as Sun did years ago. The approach might work, it might not, but that would be a reason to get Cortana on as many platforms as possible.

Comment Re:You could see Obama's character in '08 (Score 2) 211

, if Obama had done even half of what he promised to clean up the government, he could have asked for a Cuban-style health care system

Cuban-style health care system? I know an American who lives in Cuba. His wife (Cuban) had a spot on her tongue and was worried it might be cancer. The Cuban health care system could not schedule an exam for her for two months, so her husband flew her to the US to be looked at the next day. Turned out a dental fixture was irritating her tongue. Whenever the people I know have a problem they think requires immediate attention, they fly to the US. This doesn't happen very often, but at least they have a choice. In the meantime Cuba rents^H^H^H^Hsends its doctors to other countries to bring in money for the regime. No thanks.

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made. -- Jean Giraudoux