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Comment: Stupid article (Score 1) 205

by RobinH (#47501335) Attached to: New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

Why is anyone complaining about this? It's a well-known problem, even in smaller cars but especially in minivans, that the people in the rear seat can't easily hear the people in the front seat, so the people in front typically have to raise their voice. This is simply because they're facing forwards. People in the front have no problem hearing the people in the back. So this new feature certainly makes sense as it amplifies the front seated person's voice but not the people in the back. This will actually prevent people from shouting. The parents don't start by shouting... it's more like:

Child: why do they paint road signs yellow?

Mother: so they stand out better and you can see...

Child: Mommy, why do they paint road signs yellow?


Comment: Re:What I want from movies is value for money (Score 1) 214

by RobinH (#47449361) Attached to: Economist: File Sharing's Impact On Movies Is Modest At Most

If the movie publisher insists that their movie costs $25 to view on my shitty little screen at home, then they should damn well expect me to look for a more economical way to view that movie - possibly including piracy if I'm sufficiently motivated.

I don't understand this rationalization. I agree that $25 is certainly wayyy too much money for most movies released to DVD. However that doesn't mean you automatically have a right to get it for free. It just means that you should control your urges and not watch it. Seriously, if you don't want to pay the asking price, just vote with your wallet and go do something else. The sheer entitlement is staggering.

Comment: Re:Government control of our lives... (Score 1) 155

by RobinH (#47432823) Attached to: Amazon Seeks US Exemption To Test Delivery Drones

That, right there, is the key to our disagreement. You want everybody, who wish to fly a drone, to prove, they've "taken precautions".

I don't think this is as black and white as you seem to indicate. Nobody's stopping me from building a drone in my garage and even flying it out in a field, as long as I follow some reasonable restrictions that were setup based on experience with model airplanes. The restrictions are on commercial use, and the FAA is basically saying: these things are dangerous when you fly them over a population, and we need rules in place with proper safety procedures before it's allowed. That seems pretty reasonable to me. Yes, I wish they would hurry up. However, what are the chances that these drones are designed such that in the event of a failure, the likelihood of hurting someone on the ground is mitigated? Does every system have 1 or 2 backup systems? Doubtful. Has anyone done an analysis of how dangerous the impact will be? What's the likelihood of surviving a direct hit? What's the likelihood of it happening? Is there a safe reference design? Are there regulated auditors who can certify these designs against a published specification to certify them for flying over a population? Certainly when I build an industrial machine there are published standards regarding machine safety that I have to adhere to, and I must have the design stamped by a P.Eng. before the machine can be used in a production environment.

I'm all for this technology, but I know human nature when it comes to people willing to put other people in harm's way to make money. The FAA is right to ban these, for the moment. Amazon should be working with the FAA and other stakeholders to draft a proper set of rules to allow flying these things over a residential neighborhood. This is hardly unreasonable. The "anything goes" mentality is just BS.

Comment: Re:Government control of our lives... (Score 5, Insightful) 155

by RobinH (#47431845) Attached to: Amazon Seeks US Exemption To Test Delivery Drones
I thought the idea was that you had that right, but only up to the point where it infringes on someone else's right to the same. So, for instance, you being an idiot and driving your car over a pedestrian infringes on their right to the pursuit of happiness. You see, when it comes to behaviors that put others at significant risk, why only punish the ones who were unlucky enough to have the negative outcome actually happen, when the act of performing the risky behavior was what you had control over, and what you should be prevented from doing in the first place? Similarly, Amazon flying drones over residential neighborhoods sounds pretty risky to me, even though I do appreciate the coolness of being able to have something delivered in 30 minutes. Therefore I'm not sure this ban is such a bad thing until we can prove suitable precautions are being taken.

Comment: Re:How fitting (Score 1) 333

I'm not really sure about that. It could be that men and women felt a different amount of dislike for the shock. It was my understanding that men and women have different pain thresholds (men's is higher, even though women like to use the whole childbirth thing against us, which... is fine by me).

Comment: Re:Sad, sad times... (Score 1) 333

I think it would be interesting to see what % of people actually didn't mind it at all, and did it correlate with any other personality traits or, um, professions...

I also don't think it would bother me at all, but I know it would really bother my wife. I know she can't be "alone with her thoughts" or they quickly turn negative. I've never really understood that. I'm constantly wanting to turn off the radio if we're in the car together so I can think, and she insists that we keep it on. The thing is, she's not depressed or anything. It's some kind of normal response that I completely don't understand.

The other thing that comes to mind is that in prison the really bad punishment is solitary confinement. It always seemed to me that if I had to go to prison and be stuck in a building with hundreds of possibly violent convicts, then please sign me up for solitary! I think they do have writing instruments and books, etc. too. Weird.

Comment: Re:Detroit calls Google arrogant? (Score 1) 236

by RobinH (#47351141) Attached to: Google, Detroit Split On Autonomous Cars

For that matter, although we've talked about it enough for the last two or three years to make it seem less insane, there's a good argument that even attempting to solve a problem as hard as a fully automated car requires tremendous arrogance. Except that they actually seem to be succeeding, which I guess changes it from arrogance to confidence.

I don't think there's any evidence that Google has actually "succeeded" in coming up with a car that's marketable to the general population. It's easy to say you're succeeding when you've solved 90% of the problems, but if the 10% remaining include nearly insurmountable obstacles without some more technological breakthroughs, then I don't think we can call it success. It won't be success until regular people are "driving" them.

Comment: Re:What logic! (Score 2) 139

by RobinH (#47335803) Attached to: Norway Scraps Online Voting
Electronic voting (i.e. voting machines) has its own set of serious issues, but this is about Online voting (i.e. from a home/office computer) which adds way more problems than just electronic voting, not the least of which is vote-selling. How might an employer treat two employees differently if one of them could prove that he/she voted the way the boss liked? What about a spouse? Why not just sell it to the highest bidder?

Comment: Re:Concerns about online voting (Score 2) 139

by RobinH (#47335721) Attached to: Norway Scraps Online Voting
Just to be clear (even though you may be trolling), we're talking about online voting here, not electronic voting. I do believe that electronic voting (i.e. with voting machines in a private booth) might be able to work, but it still has to generate a paper ballot which you then insert into a cardboard box on the way out. The only difference to a paper and pencil ballot is that it should provide a way of tabulating them really fast, but there still has to be a way to do a manual recount (and there should be manual recounts at a random sampling of polling stations every time).

You've been Berkeley'ed!