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Comment Re:Why Ubuntu (Score 1) 59

When you say "I can't claim to be knowledgeable or even comfortable with Linux" I agree with the ac, Mint is a good choice. I claim to be reasonably knowledgeable about and comfortable with Linux, but I don't have time to want to mess with every little thing. Mint gives me a reasonable desktop quickly, with good hardware support, so that I can spend time doing the things I actually use a computer for rather than troubleshooting drivers and suchlike.

For servers I use CentOS, for desktops I use Mint. But if you prefer Debian for either, you should use that.

Comment Re:legalism is a crap philosophy. (Score 2) 582

All of this should make the UK a very dangerous place for pedestrians if speed limits alone were a primary driver of road fatalities, but they aren't. The UK averages 3.6 fatalities per billion kilometres driven. The US average (where limits are on average lower) is 7.1, which is effectively double. It seems much more likely that issues like car quality, driver certification, road design, car design etc are far more influential.

I would say that the UK is much more pedestrian friendly than the US in general. Just one example is the use of zebra crossings. Also the level of driver education is higher in the UK, in my experience.

Comment Re:Windows Phone? (Score 1) 456

My youngest has been using a Lumia 630 for a year or so. It's really not a bad device; I like the the interface, and she hasn't had any issues with it crashing that I'm aware of. For a cheap phone the camera is ok - I got it for $50, unlocked. The only thing against it really is the paucity of apps.

She's getting an iPhone next, despite me trying to steer her towards an Android.

Comment Re:Law Enforcement Doesn't want the Technology (Score 2) 555

I dunno about you but I'd gladly take the tradeoff of a gun that fires 99.999% of the time when I want it to if it also fires 0% of the time if someone wrestles it out of my grasp or some less responsible member of the household somehow manages to get a hold of it and starts messing around with it.

Sure, but that's not the likely scenario. There's either going to be some biometric stuff, which won't be that reliable, or some sort of token which, unless you're super diligent and wear it all the time, will be available to a less responsible member of your household.

It's widely known that having a gun in the house significantly increases your chances of being shot. The scenario of having the gun wrestled out of your hand is statistically unlikely; you're most likely to shoot yourself (suicide accounts for 2/3 or so of gun deaths in the US). Smart guns wouldn't help there.

Guns are basically very simple machines, and I'm willing to wager that agencies will review the smart gun tech every so often, and conclude that it does not meet their needs. I won't be buying shares in any smart gun companies anytime soon.

Comment Re:This chaps my hide... (Score 1) 56

I just wish this type of solution can hit the consumer market.

It absolutely could. But how many people would buy it? A 6TB external drive is more than the vast majority of people need to hold all their personal files, simpler, smaller, and costs less than $200. And still most people don't bother backing stuff up.

Comment Re:600 USD (Score 1) 278

$600 + 20% (which I think is a pretty common VAT in Europe) is $720. So that might well explain most of the difference right there.

In the US, there's no VAT, and states all set their own sales tax rates from 0% on up (not sure if any are over 8 or 9%). But a lot of stuff you order online will come with no tax charged even if your state does charge it, so $600 is probably what most in the US will actually pay.

Comment Re:Why not self-driving trains first? (Score 1) 143

I'm in the camp of "demanding", in that if I were in a focus group I would tell them that the first sub-$50k self driving car which hits the market, I'll probably buy.
The blind and elderly may still be better served by taxis with "drivers" who could assist them, but the driving should be done by the car. And the goal of self driving cars is to have them able to drive with no one in them, ie. no need for a blind person to be in charge any more than you or I would be.

Comment Re:gmail (Score 1) 388

Au contraire, I found that using the Mailvelope plugin in Chrome is really easy, and I mess it up less than I did with PGP via Thunderbird. I use Thunderbird mostly, but if I want to send encrypted mail I use Chrome & Mailvelope.

Comment Re:Human drivers are terrible (Score 1) 748

The point is that human drivers are idiots and drive in all sorts of unpredictable ways.

All of this is true, yet accident rate of these idiotic humans is half of what rigidly-abiding robots are.

Did you miss the part where this accident rate is for accidents *involving* the robots, but not *caused* by the robots? The idiot humans are hitting them at double the average rate; the same rate would likely apply to any slower, rule following human drivers. But the point is, the robot was driving in a legal (though arguably excessively conservative) manner, and other drivers ran into them.

30,000 people are killed in auto accidents each year in the US. There is no way that widespread adoption of autonomous cars is going to increase that number, and I imagine that in 30 years that number will be decreased by an order of magnitude.

Comment Re:Lame (Score 1) 400

the original trilogy was re-released to theaters multiple times, the last being in 1997. I saw it again on the big screen then, and it held up as well as ever.

Ok, I saw the original in the theater at least 5 times as a kid, read the comics, etc. Saw the trilogy on VHS maybe a couple of times. So not a major fan, but interested enough. Then I didn't watch them again until the re-release in 1997. I have to say, even aside from the lame extra CGI, it wasn't what I remembered. It's still fun and all, but as a kid it was the best thing ever and as an adult, just ok.

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.

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