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Comment Amen to that: Car Analogy Alert (Score 1) 59

Why do OS designers (or, more accurately, the suits who manage them) feel moved to swap around the main controls for known tasks with each new release? It is so silly to have such a steep learning curve for new versions. Windows 8 was too stupidly different (not hard, but different) from its predecessors. And it was obvious to anyone with the common sense that God gave a parakeet that people would hate doing familiar tasks in novel ways. People want to do stuff they are used to doing, Don't they? But boy do people despair of gratuitous novelty.

If auto designers did what OS designers routinely do, then we would be steering with a stick one year and with our feet the next. Accelerating with our thumbs one year... (Oh, wait! We DO do that.) But it's okay... We can still use our foot pedals. Why not design something more stable, faster and more bullet proof? It is no accident that schools are gravitating to Chrome OS, which is essentially a browser, which everybody already knows how to use. Chromebooks are admittedly cheaper. And there is no doubt that functionality and choices are sort of basic and limited in Chrome. But ask the fast food industry how restricting choice and reducing ambiguity actually improves the user experience. I use Mint because I hated Unity. Again... Why ax the steering wheel in favor of a cyclic? Why, I ask... Why? Why? Why?

Comment Actually, Insurance probably stands to benefit. (Score 1) 211

Hard to say who might be behind this FUD in TFA (If anyone. Might just be the writer trying to slay a sacred cow to get noticed.). Environmental interests maybe or public transport companies, seeing an oportunity, could be pushing back on autonomous cars. However, Insurance companies (health - auto) will certainly face lower risk from an autonomous fleet. But individuals and the auto industry itself will still have to buy insurance -- by law. The underwriters will certainly lower rates, but my guess is that profits will increase because rates will never completely bake in the lower risk. The insurers would be fools to do so. Fewer claims equals higher profit.


The auto industry itself could very well lose as you point out. Service and repair is a huge money maker for them. They could be behind the FUD. But then why tout public transport? They have lobbied against it for years. Bit of a mystery as to who gains from this particular narrative.

Comment Sooner than you think... (Score 1) 211

Volvo has really advanced the game. The play is a kind of super cruise control. The car will drive itself safely when driving is boring. If the situation gets too complicated it turns control back to the driver, who can take control when he or she wants anyway. If the car can't wake the driver up the car will slow and stop when it is safe to do so. Volvo's CEO stated publicly that the company accepts liability in cases where the autopilot is in control when an accident takes place. He says any car company that wants to play in this space should be prepared to do the same. The system is to be tested in Sweden in 2017 with 100 regular drivers. It is just about ready for prime time


TFA appears to be some kind of FUD. No one has any doubt that Autonomous Vehicles will do better than people. With thirty thousand dead every year in the US it is arguable that trained chimps could do better than people.

Comment I concur: Basic static ads okay by me (Score 1) 263

I started blocking ads and killing scripts a long time ago -- when they became animated and risky . I don't mind Google's text ads particularly. But stuff moving and jumping in the corner of my eye ruins my concentration and interferes with my enjoyment of whatever content I am reading.

The orienting response makes it impossible to ignore such movement. (Marketing psychologists know this.) As long as it keeps still -- like a good old-fashioned magazine ad --I will live with it. And, if of interest, perhaps click through. I also insist on a simple link. No risky dog and pony shows thank you. When advertisers learn some manners I will turn off my ad censors. This might take some time.

Comment Destruction is in response to detection attempts (Score 3, Informative) 107

This malware is very hard to detect under normal conditions. But it is outfitted with counter measures. When it detects activities that are consistent with malware detection, study and or/and removal it responds in many destructive ways. It makes it difficult for a white hat to suss it. But, no, it does not give itself away by cutting up rough. It only starts the visible signs of infection when it deems the jig is up anyway.

There is a very good (and somewhat scary) article from The Register. on Rombertik.

This is as nasty a piece of work as you will ever not wish to see anywhere near your equipment.

Comment I like my four T-Mobile lines (Score 1) 136

I have to say that T-Mobile seemed the fairest provider to me because I travel overseas. Their European roaming coverage is better in a way than their US coverage. (Also I had a Galaxy I liked with a European version of Android Kit Kat and they were very cool to let me BMOD) Four lines at $100 (all in the family) Each gets 1 GB high speed, which is enough for me since my pattern puts me onto wifi a lot and I don't use the 3G that much just moving around. And there is free music streaming. (That data does not count against the 1GB) And world wide free texts (over 100 counties) Free roaming web speed data (Not 3G) in over 100 counties (This is nice. Data roaming in Europe has been notorious (it is better now). The free data in Europe has been fast enough to stream tunes and check emails and read my news feeds. As I said I travel internationally and T-Mobile is a great fit. Long Distance calls from overseas to the US are charged at 10 cents a minute with no roaming fees. Not awesome, but not like the bad old days of Euro roaming. When they gave me the run down on their roaming plan I could hardly believe it. Basically a world phone for four people for 25 bucks a month. Had to be a catch thought I. As it turns out...There is a juicy profit center for them. Long distance out of the US to overseas. I made the mistake of simply replying to a call from Kiev from DC. Ouch! I won't do that again. Ouch, ouch, ouch! Oh and I like their data rollover deal. Unused data does not evaporate at months end it rolls and accumulates. I really am a happy customer and not a shill. But this T-Mobil experience was simply good enough to pass on. Also I get a kick out of their foul-mouthed in-your-face CEO. Can't say why.

Comment Agreed. Guaranteed Security would be key. (Score 1) 415

Currently, I do shell out for an annual security subscription -- three seats. (I just tired of all the nagging and hoop jumping needed to perpetuate free AV accounts.) In my experience MS Security Essentials etc. is just not enough.

Here is the thing: If Microsoft offered top-flight security baked into the OS for a reasonable annual fee I might spring and drop the after-market application. Perhaps a two-tier sub or no sub : Windows option A would include bare-bones security and updates, basically the status quo (no sub). Option B would include a deluxe annual security package with good native utilities and maybe a little free support (with sub). You would have a choice between A or B when you activated your OS, with the subscription offered at a steep discount. Later you could still buy into the security, but at a higher price.

I mean many of us pay for some security anyway, Why not pay the OS developer? Especially if the security suite caused fewer problems since it was native. My current AV vendor currently gives me a free seat for my Android phone. Maybe the MS sub could throw in some phone security as well if you had a Windows phone. If MS could do this -- and do this right -- then they might get on the subscription gravy train. But again Microsoft's competition is doing much of this gratis. This makes the growing success of the Chrome OS internet appliances pretty understandable. MS has a pretty tough row to hoe.

Comment Hard to see how a subscription would play well. (Score 1) 415

Users are becoming increasingly OS agnostic. They use OSX, Android, iOS, Chrome OS, Windows and (some) true Linux. Enterprise might subscribe, but will consumers? "You mean I have to pay an annual subscription to keep this box working? Sorry, dude but I see that Mint model over there advertising no subscription and machine life updates. Can I do my Internet on that?"

There is one possible exception to my mind: Guaranteed security and stability. If MS says it new Windows will be self contained. That one won't need add ons like subscription AV, anti Malware, or tweakware to keep it running smoothly and safely. And that MS commits to doing all the work to keep its OS in optimal shape, then perhaps, but only perhaps, would an annual fee be acceptable to some. But really they pretty much do that now for free with weekly patches and Security Essentials etc. Moreover, let's remember that Chrome OS does the same hidden maintenance thing for free, too. And better IMHO. Granted Chrome OS is pretty limited, but more and more applications are on tap to work on the platform within Chrome OS and the browser. I also think hardware vendors would see a MS subscription OS as a drug on their market.

The world is moving the other way as the OS is becoming increasingly less prominent. Heck, many people use two or three different OSs and don't even realize it. MS is practically giving 8.1 away to sell its hardware -- as well as that of its partners' -- and to keep market share. Chrome is a giveaway as is Android. I am sure MS would love to get subs for an OS. But it would be a hard sell in today's world of computing appliances. If they couldn't do subs earlier they won't manage now when the rest of the space is in giveaway mode.. And to try would probably hurt their business. What they have to do is make a disruptively cool, kick-ass OS that people have to have to make their new computers do new and wondrous things in the real world (deep learning, AI, robots and smart homes anyone?). They have the resources to do it. Do they still have the vision?

Comment Why mess around? Why not go Open Source? (Score 1) 195

With a Tabby

Get yours today!... Er, tomorrow... Would you believe...

Okay, okay, already. Apologies in advance for the snark. This really is a cool project.. And one worth watching. I do think the name is poorly positioned, however. Hey! What about Carduino? No? Anything but Tabby. I got it.. I got it... The Stallman! Hmmm. On second thought not for a car. I'll keep thinking.

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