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Comment: Cut the cable (Score -1, Offtopic) 147

by PopeRatzo (#47734521) Attached to: "MythBusters" Drops Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci

What is this, a TV show or something?

I love not having cable. It's one of the most liberating things I've ever done. With the time I saved by not watching TV for the past seven or eight years, I've learned to play jazz pretty well, and my eyes don't burn in the morning from staring at stupid television for hours. I'm not a great player by any means, but I'm good enough to play out at clubs with professionals. It's not that I'm at a high level, but I can hold my own, and people like it. Learning to improvise jazz as an adult has really lit up parts of my brain that were sitting dormant for decades, and that's a good feeling. All because I decided to ditch TV.

From what I can tell, the past seven/eight years have been nothing but reality TV, dramas with titles that are acronyms, and shows where you pay a subscription AND get commercials. Really high quality stuff, like Deadwood or The Wire, I'll get when it comes to Netflix or via other means, but I'd have to be so interested in it that I'm willing to go look for it. The thing that was the killer for me was when I found myself flipping through channels looking for something to watch. There just seemed something really wrong about that.

Anyway, if this is some big show for nerds where they confirm your bias about the world, I hope the changes turn out to your satisfaction. Back in the day, I was an avid TV watcher I seem to recall something about a cartoon about a family where the father was stupid, the son a smart-ass who road a skateboard and the mom had big blue hair. It's probably not on any more, because the guy who did the voice for the really old rich guy who owned the nuclear plant where the stupid father worked would now be almost as old as, what was his name..."Mr Burns", I think. I don't look down on people who watch television, it's just not for me any more. I suppose it's something of a social hindrance though, because all I can do is have a quizzical expression when someone mentions some show like "Iron Chef", which I assume is about a super hero.

Comment: Re:Simulations are limited by imagination (Score 1) 115

by PopeRatzo (#47734119) Attached to: Google Wants To Test Driverless Cars In a Simulation

Real life is far more creative than any scenario designer.

Ain't that the truth.

This is why I don't see everyone in driverless cars in any of our lifetimes. I'm thinking it's at least 70 years out. And not least because a) who's going to pay for all the necessary infrastructure? and b) shared liability will make it a nightmare.

Maybe first let's see if we can have a driverless NASCAR race without crashes. And then I want to see the CEO of a driverless car company put his kids in the car and send them on a coast-to-coast road trip, including LA at rush hour, Chicago's Dan Ryan Expressway Southbound at 3:30am and on small roads crossing the Appalachians.

Comment: Not putting up with jerks (Score 3, Interesting) 201

by Animats (#47732661) Attached to: When Customer Dissatisfaction Is a Tech Business Model

You don't have to put up with jerks.

  • Internet provider - Sonic.net DSL. No packet filtering, good support, no nonsense.
  • Phone - Caterpillar B15 ruggeized Android phone.. Bought from Caterpillar dealer, not carrier. Declined Google account at first power up. Google services disabled. No updates from Google.
  • Cellular carrier - T-Mobile. Has no control over phone. No carrier apps.
  • Email - IMAP server. SpamAssassin spam blocking.
  • Main desktop machine - Ubuntu 12.4 LTS.
  • No Google account. No Twitter account. No pay TV. Ad blocking on all browsers.
  • Main news source - Reuters. (More news about Ukraine and ISIS, less about Bieber and Apple.)
  • Main food store - Trader Joe's. No "club card" required. Good prices.

For almost every crap business, there's a competitor that isn't crap. Find them.

Comment: Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (Score 1) 66

by mlts (#47732555) Attached to: Apple CarPlay Rollout Delayed By Some Carmakers

XM still has a place. They used to offer a deal where you paid $800, and the car receiver had permanent access. Forever. Vehicle changes hands? Irrelevant. Then, it was useful for some alternative on a long trip, or listening to a talk radio station (although some of the AM stations in rural areas can go in some strange subject directions.)

Oddly enough, I have been happy with Ford's SYNC service. It works well with both Android and iOS, and can handle handsfree calls as well as A2DP.

Time will tell... but, since phones change so often compared to how often someone changes cars (well, unless they are super rich), it would be nice to have the audio head firmware intended to be as phone OS agnostic as possible and not have to be iOS or Android specific. Who knows... 2-3 years down the road, Tizen, FirefoxOS, BlackberryOS, Symbian, or some OS we may never have heard of might be a third contender.

I'd like to have the audio head have the ability to use media, both as a mounted drive, as well as MTP/PTP access. Bluetooth formats of handsfree and A2DP go without saying. The key is going with established standards, not something that depends on one OS or company.

Maybe the answer might be a modular system. A generic program that would work with everything, then CarPlay and other middleware if the user wants it. However, this seems like a bunch of redundant work, when the car audio system should be a completely separate entity from the phone.

Comment: Garmin & TomTom already set (Score 1) 66

by SuperKendall (#47732461) Attached to: Apple CarPlay Rollout Delayed By Some Carmakers

They charge $600 for that GPS system in the car and I'm sure Garmin, Tom Tom, Magellan, & Nokia are lobbying to keep their turf safe.

Garmin & TomTom already make (expensive) navigation apps, so they really shouldn't care about the revenue source changing.

It's the car makers that get most of the cash from those way expensive in-car GPS systems (which are invariably horrible compared to the most modest GPS app).

Comment: Wrong Message (Score 1) 366

by SuperKendall (#47732409) Attached to: UK Police Warn Sharing James Foley Killing Video Is a Crime

Releasing the hostages for any amount of money would at the very least decry to the world that America loves and honors life

What good is helping one to hurt thousands. That is not valuing life at all.

It says exactly the opposite, that America cares so little for anyone's life that they are willing to encourage more kidnappings.

The true way to value a life is to say its worth is without measure, so you cannot demand money for it.

Comment: Re:Standards? (Score 2) 66

by laird (#47732077) Attached to: Apple CarPlay Rollout Delayed By Some Carmakers

Note that the car companies care about compatability, and there's a while ecosystem built around using cigarette lighters into cars. That's why they're all over minivans - they're no longer for cigarettes, they're now the standard car power plugs. :-)

That being said, cars are starting to get USB jacks. That's a good thing. But car technology changes slowly, for good reasons - if they put something into millions of consumer cars, people have to live with it for many years, so they are cautious about making changes.

Comment: Re:Standards? (Score 1) 66

by laird (#47732057) Attached to: Apple CarPlay Rollout Delayed By Some Carmakers

I'd think that as a part of integrating iPhones/Lightning cables into cars, Apple would have to commit to supporting the technology for 5+ years, with backwards compatibility, so that people could plug their phones 5 years from now into the car that they buy now and have it "just work". Both the car companies and Apple care about that. Google too, most likely.

Comment: Re:Enough of the Tesla circle jerk (Score 1) 174

by evilviper (#47731885) Attached to: How Does Tesla Build a Supercharger Charging Site?

In quite a lot of Europe you simply cannot do that without substantial changes to a lot of things, which is why EV's and hybrids have quite some way to go yet.

Actually, it sounds like Europe has "quite some way to go yet."

If EVs continue to develop, and become cost-effective, they will be widely adopted, and it will be Europe that lags behind and at a disadvantage, not EVs.

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