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Comment Re:Apple Music (Score 1) 461

So, at your suggestion I've tried saying "Play Appey Road" three times now. The first time it played Stanley Road and the last two times it said it can't find "Abby Road" in "my music". I almost threw the damned thing out of the window.

That's why I don't talk to machines, they never understand me and they invariably make me angry.

Comment Wasted a lot of my time (Score 3, Insightful) 66

So, the thing that got hit for me was 1Password. So I couldn't log into websites because 1Password wouldn't run. Fortunately I could use the synced copy on my phone and type in the passwords by hand but the whole reason for using a password manager is so that I can use passwords that are long sequences of random characters which are no fun to type by hand! I found that it was an App store problem from the Mac Rumors website. Running the App caused a box to pop up saying the App was corrupted, to delete it and re-install. So I followed the instructions and, guess what? I couldn't re-download from the App store!

This whole idea of having software that quits working based on some random policy is useless. I want software that I buy and is there when I need it. Not checking if some certificate has expired or that I paid a subscription or some other BS.

I've been using Macs since 1985, yes I use Windows and Linux too but Macs were always what I used at home because I could write a file five or ten years ago and still open it. That's fading away. Notice I wrote "what I used at home", I'm shopping around.

Comment No concept of family or shared homes. (Score 2, Interesting) 148

"In other words, TV viewing patterns will be used to serve ads to any device user who happens to be connected to the same network as the Vizio Smart TV — an obvious problem for households with a mix of say... adults and children?"

How about a house with a mix of older and younger adults. My kids (23 and 21) watch all sorts of stuff that I don't and watch a lot more TV than me so my TV, laptop or whatever device on the same network would show ads that are dominated by the tastes of my children.

Similarly how about students or other similar groups who share a house, and thereby the same IP address. The advertising would be a mishmash of varying tastes or maybe dominated by the one guy who has the TV on all day to provide "white noise" in the background.

Comment Forced rental. (Score 1) 153

Not a moment too soon. I had two rented set-top boxes that cost $20 each per month so $480 per year. They hadn't been changed in three years so that's $1440 paid. When I finally replaced them they wanted the old ones shipping back. UPS was slow delivering them due to bad weather and I got an email to the effect that if they didn't arrive within 30 day's I'd be charged $300 each of them. So $600 for three year old hardware (full of dust and stuff) that I'd already paid $1440 for! Fortunately they did arrive several days late so I didn't have to wrangle with Verizon over the charge but it's the principle of the thing.

Someone will probably point out that that is why you don't rent stuff, you pay over the odds and in the end don't own anything. I agree, but the cable companies are a monopoly you can't do anything other than rent.

Comment Must obey Betteridge's law (Score 1) 143

Since the title to this article is a question Betteridge's law states that the answer to the question must be no. So I have to come up with reasons:

1) There's nobody on Mars to ride on a Hyperloop system.

2) There's no manufacturing infrastructure on Mars to make one.

3) The whole point of the Hyperloop is to cut drag by running a train in a tube under a low pressure. Since Mars has a thin atmosphere already there is no need for the tube and hyperloop = train.

Comment Re:I would sell it (Score 1) 654

I was born and spent my childhood in the UK but have spent the last 25+ years living in the USA.

In the UK I never lived more than a ten minute walk from a bus stop. The busses were every fifteen minutes, they were relatively clean and affordable. They were a mode of transport used by many people not just people who didn't have a car (the very young, very old or poor). We would go grocery shopping and carry the shopping back home on the bus in bags. There were also shops within an easy walk of all the different homes I lived in. That limited our groceries to what we could sensibly carry but gave us quite a bit of exercise.

In the US the nearest bus stop is a mile and a half from my house. It is on the grass at the side of a four lane highway with no bus shelter and you have to stand on the muddy, wet grass. It's six miles from home to work but there is no bus that goes directly there, despite it being just one left turn from getting on the bus to getting off. According to Google Maps it is an hour journey with 25 minutes of that being the walk to the bus stop. There are no grocery stores on the bus route. The closest you get is dropped off on the wrong side of a six lane wide highway then a half mile walk to the store. So cross the highway twice (at peril of death) and walk a mile.

In my car it is a ten minute drive to work. A detour to grocery and other shops is negligible and I can easily get what I want on the way home from work.

My (rambling) point is that the US towns and cities that I have experience of (mid-Atlantic states) are set up for cars, and lots of them. They are impossibly unfriendly for walkers and cyclists and the public transport has very poorly thought out routes. In fact, now that I think of it, the area where I live has changed quite a bit in the last 25 years with new shops, businesses and housing but the bus routes are exactly the same that they always were.

Comment Re:The cat is out of the bag (Score 1) 92

I agree with you. It was actually very useful to me too that they did such a diligent job of restoring everything. My point, and warning, was that, even though I deleted my files myself and then closed the account the files were still "out there" on backup tapes etc. I wasn't too concerned for myself because everything was encrypted twice (encrypted files on encrypted disk images, yes I'm paranoid but it was tax data). What occurred to me after reading this Slashdot article is that someone could store unencrypted files with what, at the time, is a reputable company. That company goes bust and sells their assets including the backup tapes, databases etc. So, don't trust the reputation of the company that exists now unless you know that the files are encrypted on your machine before they are transferred to their servers or you encrypt them yourself (or if you are paranoid both!).

Comment The cat is out of the bag (Score 3, Informative) 92

It's already too late for us early adopters. Our information is out there and can't be claimed back now.

For example, up to a year ago I used a cloud storage service to store some files (fortunately encrypted) that I didn't want to lose, tax records and statements in PDF format. I found a better alternative so copied all of the files before deleting them and then asking the company to close the account. Fast forward a year and my "better alternative" announced that they were going out of business so I contacted the first company. I couldn't create a new account because it was keyed to my email address which was already in the system so they offered to reopen the old account. When I closed the account I still had several months left on the subscription and they kindly credited those to the reopened account. When I first logged in I was shocked to find that not only had they restored my physical address in the account info but also my credit card info. They also had helpfully restored all of the files that I had stored in the account. Remember, I deleted them before closing but they pulled them out of the backup from the day before I closed. That now has me thinking about both companies. The one that is still in business but doesn't delete backup copies and personal information of deleted accounts, and the one that went out of business that, presumably, had the same sort of info. Who now owns the databases with my credit card info and the backup tapes with my data?

The only two things to learn from this story are, encrypt whatever and wherever you can, and chose companies that you think (hope) are in there for the long haul.

Comment Re:Harder: self-stabilizing parachute, or balance (Score 1) 496

You also have :

c) Attach a ring of rockets to the top of the cylinder and allow gravity to balance it for you.

d) Use a teardrop shape instead of a cylinder so that it falls blunt end first, add fold out wings at the other end to produce drag and use the rockets at the top to slow the thing down.

e) Forget the land upright part, stick fold out wings on it and land it horizontally like an aircraft.

365 Days of drinking Lo-Cal beer. = 1 Lite-year