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Comment Re:Uh huh. (Score 1) 378

This is a real engineering company, if the "principal engineer" knew about the cheating he will be going to jail, he knew that when he signed up for the job. No different to a principal civil engineer who cheats on concrete formula when building a bridge. However, other posters have pointed out that GM set a precedent that says cheating on the US test is not a criminal offense.Which on face value is odd given the US throws people in jail at ~7X the rate they do in China and the EU

Comment Re:More like Large Bogus (Score 1) 378

Ditto, I have had a few, best one was $2500 for a weekend, I was offered $3000 to babysit a telco system on new years eve (Y2K thing), I turned it down and politely pointed to the clause I had put in my contract that said I cannot be forced to work that day. The boss laughed and said, "Yes, I remember signing that, you bastard" ("bastard" is often a term of endearment here in Oz). The boss took my place and baby sat it himself.

Comment Re:Uh huh. (Score 1) 378

Yep, auto-manufacturers, especially those that make engines and gearboxes get preferential treatment from the state because their factories are a strategic asset in times of war, and "jobs". It ain't right, but I can't see the power balance changing in my lifetime. With or without lobby money, global car companies have more than a few local legislators over a barrel.

Comment Re:How it went down (Score 1) 378

I've been in the industry for 25yrs, I have not met many software engineers who would respond well to those kinds of threats. Many would simply fold their arms and say "sack me now, I dare you! Besides the company bought the software from BMW who told them using it in production would be illegal, I'm pretty certain the engineers did not set up the technology swap between two multi-nationals. From the engineers POV it's likely seen as third party code, written and maintained by BMW, therefore not their problem.Somebody obtained that code from BMW and the (deliberately?) forgot to pass on the illegal part, next thing you know testers are saying "The BMW software is giving us great results, it can pass standard emissions tests without some of the additional hardware, we should definitely use it in production".

Intentional or otherwise, this is a global fuck-up. VW are facing well-funded, criminal investigations in multiple jurisdictions, they can't just sacrifice a CEO and a couple of engineers to appease investigators. If it was deliberate cheating then it was likely an open secret in the board rooms of both companies and could unfold into an industry wide scandal.

Comment Re:same as guns (Score 1) 174

Drugs need not be addictive, eg: dope is generally considered to be non-addictive.

I agree the US has a gun 'problem', you are ~40X as likely to get murdered by a gunman in the US as you are in UK/AU. It's not just about the lack of regulation in the US, it's a cultural thing. Even when handguns were legal here in Oz and sold in hardware stores (yes, I am that old), most people held the same attitude as they do now - "only cowards and crooks need a gun for self defense". The vast majority of Aussies strongly support the current restrictions, and we like the fact that our prime minister can get on a city tram or go for an early morning jog without a small army of heavily armed spooks and bodyguards following him about.Yanks are different, they are more fearful of their own countrymen, and more often than not fear is what pulls the trigger.

Comment Re:same as guns (Score 1) 174

It may no be a gun but encryption algorithms are classed as a "munition" by US/UK/AU. Exporting a controlled algorithm to a foreign country was tightly controlled up until the late 80's - early 90's when Phil Zimmerman released PGP and demonstrated that the export controls could be circumvented by a changing a #define in legally exportable code.

The horse has bolted, the global financial system depends on encryption for their bread and butter. Doesn't matter what a retired IRA supporter thinks.

Comment "Vendor lock in" vs "Targeted ads" (Score 1) 415

True, this "middle class joe" doesn't have a porsche or a smart phone, nor am I interested in what data my car can provide. However my mechanic is interested and it would be neat if he could pull my car's diagnostics with an off the shelf device rather than have to pay the manufacturer thru the nose for proprietary equipment and certifications. My car even has a sticker behind the visor proudly boasting that only approved Mazda dealers can install upgrades for the car's software, for my safety of course, nothing to do with their after market sales figures...

Google are also interested in monetising my car's data but in a different way, the people who buy my data cannot link it to me, selling it to a third party has no direct/indirect impact on me other than dictating who pays for the adverts I see, it doesn't add to the cost of maintaining my car, in fact it could help to reduce servicing costs.

Data (information) has intrinsic value, it is the fuel that has driven the technological explosion over the last century, it can be traded for cash or used as a tool for 'good' or 'evil'. When everybody has access to it, technological and cultural progress goes into hyperdrive and everyone has a better chance of "keeping the bastards honest". When it is in the hands of a few, human nature dictates it will be used to extract/deny resources from/to those who don't have access.

Disclaimer: If I swapped my Mazda 6 'Sports model' for a real sports car, I would definitely want it to have a geeky performance display on the dash. If the car had an open API, it might even inspire my artistic side to write my own display layer.

Comment Re:If the black cabs have a legal monopoly... (Score 3, Insightful) 215

Let's get one thing straight, in almost all jurisdictions where taxi's are regulated, Uber is not a "revolutionary" taxi company, it's not even a taxi company, it is a plain old 'limousine' company.

You book the limo over the internet and a sub-contracted driver+car turns up at an agreed time and place. Uber's "freedom loving" marketing strategy is to use the "on a computer" fallacy to undermine the existing market such that they can rebuild it in their own image. The people who will be hurt most by their racketeering are the workers, ie: the drivers in both camps.

This is just clever marketing in that the way to win an unwinnable argument is to convince the audience it is all about a higher morality, in this case Uber paints itself as a "Heavyweight freedom fighter for the little guy", IMO nothing could be further from the truth.

Comment Re:This is a taxi (Score 1) 140

That makes a lot of sense, here on Oz it used to be that every taxi was a Ford, this is because Ford made a special "hose down" model, rubber instead of carpet, optional front bench seat for one more passenger, factory fitted LPG, etc. Not sure if they still do that, there are now more non-Ford taxis on the road but the vast majority are still late model Fords. Also interesting to note that Nissan and Ford are buddies, (circa late 80's) a Ford "Maverick" was the same car as the Nissan "Pajero" without the flared guards and the extra $10K on the sticker price. If you look closely at the Maverick you will find "Nissan" stamped on various parts such as the seat belt straps.

Comment Re:Young people? How about soccer moms? (Score 1) 140

young people insurance rates

Insurance rates are a better indicator of risk than anecdotes. What they show is that inexperience and the "arrogance of youth" is deadly on the roads. Australian stats show that the day a kid drops the 'L' plates and goes solo the risk of them causing an accident goes up 50X (5000%) and stays that high for the first six months. I taught both my kids to drive in an empty car park. Having attempted to teach my son to drive on the road, my advice is to hire a professional who has a brake pedal on their side of the car.

"Lead us in a few words of silent prayer." -- Bill Peterson, former Houston Oiler football coach