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Comment Re:I own two Zunes - both brown (Score 2) 66

I don't know about ever, but I have a brown Zune too, and up until this year (when I switched to Sonos) it was the main audio source for my kitchen/dining room speakers. I used the radio a lot, and being able to sync wirelessly was great for the time. When my kids were smaller I would load videos on it for traveling. I even prefer the Zune software to iTunes. I got it cheap from Woot, and it has been one of the best electronic purchases I've ever made.

I never trusted MS for music purchases, but the hardware and software were really pretty good.

Comment It doesn't take too much (Score 1) 151

I have a spider on my front door which drops down when it hears a noise. Can't remember where I got it, but it is great for the little kids - they love to be able to knock and have it fall and scare them. Some even remember it from year to year. It's just a cheapo toy, but it's been the best bang for the buck of any of my stuff.

The other hit I have is a cauldron with fake flames made with silk triangles blown by a fan underneath and a couple of orange lights - like what they do here: Again the younger kids are fascinated with it; it really does look pretty realistic.

Martha Stewart's Creepy Halloween sounds through a bluetooth speaker in a bush adds a bit of atmosphere.

Comment Re:Price tags are the greatest innovation of retai (Score 2) 439

I wind up paying 20% to 50% more for a vehicle than my counterparts in the UK or Germany, and wind up with a shittier vehicle to boot.

I have relatives in the UK, and lived there for years. My rule of thumb is that most things there cost in pounds what they do in dollars in the US. Cars aren't quite that bad, but a quick search shows a Toyota Yaris starts at ~$16k in the UK, ~$14k in the US. So I'm not seeing your 20% markup in the US.

Comment Re:What they really need (Score 2) 394

And if they put their new housing development near the transit, so much the better. It seems to me, as an East Coast observer, that San Francisco's high prices are due to physical limitations (like Manhattan lite) and rules against new development. If there are 100,000 homes, and 150,000 households wanting to live in them, you are going to have high prices. It should be possible for Seattle to avoid that.

Comment Re:Decentralized power (Score 2) 421

I think the parent might have meant inefficient in the sense that they are way more expensive per kwh generated than large windmills. If you spend $1000 on a small setup which only produces 100 watts for an average of 8 hours a day, it's much more efficient (economically) to buy from a wind farm. And possibly environmentally too, since that $1000 represents a real amount of raw materials extracted and energy invested in production.

Now, if you can't connect to the grid, fine. But if you can, you should take this into account.

Comment Re:My Kobo is unplugged from the internet (Score 1) 145

I have a older nook (I think it's the first touch screen one). Do you like your Kobo? I think something with a built in light would be very nice, but I am not keen on buying into the whole Amazon ecosystem. Where did you buy your Kobo? I would think that since Rakuten owns Kobo, you could get them at, but it pretty much seems like the site is the only place they have them.

Comment Re: Verizon/ATT Astro Turf (Score 1) 182

Around me, it's certainly not a myth. I switched from T-Mo to Cricket (AT&T towers) last year, and I noticed a decided improvement in my coverage. I was happy enough with T-Mobile since i don't really make many calls anyway, but there were certain routes where Pandora would drop on T-Mo & the Cricket data is uninterrupted.

Comment Re:Missed opportunity (Score 1) 105

In addition to the fraud etc, there is the fact that for someone like me who pays their balance each month, the credit card company is loaning me the money at no interest. That's not free. Plus they actually give me 1-2% of my purchases as cashback. I'm all in favor of reducing the transaction costs, but I don't see it happening so meanwhile, I'll try to get the most out of the system we have.

Comment Re:How long will the company stay up? (Score 2) 494

VW make better cars than American companies.

Umm, JD Powers disagrees:

Anecdotally, everyone I know with VWs have had plenty of annoying problems. Ford & GM, not so many. I am surprised that VW comes in even worse than Chrysler, though.

My theory is that a lot of European manufacturers just don't fully understand just how much Americans drive. In addition to having almost twice as many vehicles per capita than the EU (any statistics that say otherwise are probably excluding light trucks in the US numbers), each of those vehicles gets driven almost twice as many miles in a year. Basically, American drive 3-4 times as much as Europeans.

My other theory is that the fact that their home markets are protected from the Japanese manufacturers has allowed them to rest on their laurels a bit. US manufacturers suffered vs the quality of the Japanese cars for years, but they eventually upped their game.

I've got a bad feeling about this.