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Comment Re:Not surprising (Score 1) 307

That's what Android Marshmallow will partially fix with changes in permission handling. It supposedly won't ask you for microphone until you click the voice command button.

And, if you say "no", hopefully it won't turn around and delete the app.

Not worried about that, it isn't Apple we're talking about here.

Comment Re:Why do they need ANY info? (Score 1) 307

Mixed feelings: Porsche (do want) with nanny controls( don't want). Sort of like watching your Ferrari going over a cliff driven by your mother-in-law.

However people who drive performance cars often do want to know a lot of information about them including throttle position, coolant temp (everyone should want to know this, but sigh), oil pressure, boost pressure, oil temp, intake pressure and a heap of other stats... Especially if they're a tuner... and what kind of a car buyer buys a Porshce over a Mercedes?

Comment Re:It's not what Google wants.... (Score 1) 307

Yeah. This is useful for lots of automated diagnostics functions.

Also, SOME of that data (not all of it) is highly beneficial for augmenting navigation systems (most notably, vehicle speedometer and steering position). Google even explicitly mentioned how this data would be used by Android Auto in a presentation somewhere (I don't have the link to it now...) It's hinted at a bit past one minute in to but I'm fairly certain I saw a presentation somewhere explicitly stating that vehicle GPS, steering position, and wheel speed would be used for location sensor fusion.

Yeah, everyone wants minute by minute logging of their Coolant Temperature and Throttle Position.

Think about the kind of cars porsche make and are famous for then think about the kind of people who'd choose a porsche like that over a Mercedes or BMW sedan (would be approx the same price).

Then tell me they wouldn't want second by second logging of vital statistics.

If that was Apple, Slashdot's Apple-Haters would be setting the Internets on fire with the hate-posts.

If you could abandon your hopeless fanboyism for a moment, you'd realise how ridiculous you sound.

Comment Re:London is not the rest of the world. (Score 1) 214

Europe is a large place, so making massive generalisations like that is very likely going to make you wrong. As I have had excellent taxi service across Europe, I can't agree with your claims, and I guess my anecdote disproves your assertion.

Much like Uber paying for articles like these, I'm also convinced Uber tells its shills exactly what to complain about when trying to rubish regular taxis.

I've travelled across 5 of the 6 populated continents. I've certainly seen rude, incompetent and expensive taxis but they are definitely not the norm in western countries. 95% of taxi's I've gotten in Australia, the US, UK and Ireland, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan have been nothing but polite, knowledgeable and clean. I'd include Germany and France but I'll admit I speak neither German or French. Taxi's in Oz are a bit on the expensive side (yep, but what in Oz isn't) however Uber isn't any cheaper. To get a taxi from my house to the Perth domestic airport is $55-60 by using a normal taxi, it's $55-60 by using UberX. The difference is with a legal taxi company I'll get a midsized to large car that'll fit 3 adults and luggage, with UberX I'll get a small car that wont fit three adults. This distinction is important when going to an airport.

The only places I've been to with consistently bad taxis are places with no taxi regulations (or no effective taxi regulations). Places where they refuse to even turn on the engine unless you pay that countries minimum wage... and that is just for turning on the engine.

Bangkok is a demonstration of this contrast, a meter taxi will take you from the international airport to the city centre (35 KM) for 400 baht and that is leaving the driver with a small tip (I usually chuck another 20-50 B on top unless the driver was a complete maniac, 450 THB is still under A$20/US$15), meter taxi's are heavily regulated. The problem with Bangkok is you need to know where the meter taix's are because there area a lot of touts in the arrival hall charging 700-1000 B for the same trip in a private hire car (meaning some Thai bloke with a small sedan or maybe a Camry).

Comment Re:If the black cabs have a legal monopoly... (Score 1) 214

just because some people like the business model doesn't mean that Uber should be breaking the law.

You make it sound like whatever is legal is moral, and whatever is illegal is immoral. If only the world were that simple.

Yeah, blah blah, Uber fans always trot this out. Was Rosa Parks wrong to break the law about where black people sat on a bus? No, therefore anyone can break any law they disagree with.

Counter the Rosa Parks argument with the Timothy McVeigh argument.

Timothy McVeigh thought it was right to bomb an oklahoma government building even though it was illegal. Therefore using Uber fan logic, Timothy McVeigh was correct.

Comment Re:Monopoly on what exactly (Score 1) 214

The question is, is Uber comparable to a Minicab service. And if it is, how come the drivers do not have to pass the same checks as other minicab drivers? Looks like a Minicab service to me.

First, the background checks are meaningless, and Uber also does meaningless background checks, so they have parity there. They also get logged via the Uber app, so there is the digital equivalent of "a paper trail allowing them to be located quickly if they are involved in crimes".

The background checks that English mini-cabbing companies have to do aren't meaningless.

But you're right about the Uber ones. Uber outsource all their background checks in Australia through a company in Barbados. Considering it's illegal for the government to give out sensitive personal information to foreign companies I have no doubt the background checks Uber are doing have been completely falsified.

Brick and Mortar mini-cabbers on the other hand have to get their background checks from the UK government, same as brick and mortar taxi companies here in Australia.

Comment Re:Just wait (Score 1) 119

How do you hijack a truck that's constantly remotely monitored and controllable?

Feed them false data?

But why bother, all you need to do is jam the signal so they cant send new commands.

If all you want is the cargo, pick somewhere where there wont be any responders for at leas half an hour (not like there will be many spots like this), order the truck to stop (it will have half a dozen safety protocols designed to do this, you'll just have to trip one and chances are you wont need to have the authority to issue commands to the truck to do is).

So the theft is simple:
1) Trick the trucks sensors into stopping (make it think there's a log or deer on the road... or actually use a deer, lo-tech works just as well).
2) Jam the signal to prevent new commands from being received (Off the shelf cellular jammers are available from any tech bazaar in a number of developing countries, presumably UHF and VHF can be found just as easily).
3) Help yourself to the contents of the back of the truck.
4) ????.
5) Profit.

Comment Re:Teens shouldn't have access to guns... (Score 1) 443

Do you have something wrong with your brain?

No. Do you have a problem with people pointing out logical inconsistencies, mixed premises, and hypocrisy?

Not at all.

And I'd like to start by pointing out that your comparison of vehicles to firearms is completely logically fallacious and the above quoted statement is extremely hypocritical.

First off, a vehicle is a method of transportation, not a weapon. It is designed for the duty of conveying people from point to point faster than they can walk, not intended to do bodily harm and just because it can be used for that purpose does not mean that it is any way equivalent to a firearm which is expressly designed to do bodily harm. It would be like saying a gun is a can opener because it can be used to open a can, it is utterly incorrect that it is a can opener because that is not the purpose it was designed for nor is it particularly good for that purpose, which leads me to my second point.

Secondly, cars are terrible at killing people. Seriously, every feature on a modern car is designed to minimise harm to the occupants an the people they hit. They make terrible killing devices just like a gun makes a terrible can opener.

Thirdly, there are far more cars than guns. Going by deaths per 100,000 vehicles to deaths per 100,000 guns the car is a positive haven of safety even in the hands of terrible drivers.

Forth point, cars are used far more than guns. So we add add frequency of usage to deaths per vehicle, the risk of cars compared to firearms is minuscule.

Fifth point, We dont let people near cars who 1) aren't trained to operate them or; 2) have demonstrated they will operate them in an unsafe manner. We license drivers, register and test cars, we charge and even imprison drivers who break laws and make themselves a danger to other road users, drivers who are dangerous have their licenses taken off them. Considering that guns are more dangerous than cars, why aren't the same measures taken with firearms?

Finally, if you want to improve road safety, there's plenty you can do. Begin by becoming a motor vehicle instructor. Start teaching people how to use the manual transmission (this teaches novice drivers how the car works and forces them to start thinking ahead of what they're doing) start teaching defensive driving. Stop speeding, learn what an indicator does, don't drink and drive, stay off the phone when in the car. I can give you a million suggestions and yes, I'm a licensed MVDIL (Motor Vehicle Driver Instructor License) in Western Australia, so I find your comparison laughable and your hypocrisy insufferable.

Comment Re:Safety (Score 1) 443

Are you trying to cleverly imply that since the presence of the law doesn't stop people from breaking it, the law should go away?

No, he's pointing out that people who want to kill other people for notoriety are going to do it, laws or not. The laws are there so that there's a mechanism by which to punish people who do such things, should they be apprehended. The laws don't actually stop evil little shits from being evil little shits.

Nine-tenths of any crime is opportunity.

Put people in an environment that glorifies violence, has a strictly enforced hierarchy based on physical dominance and then give them ready access to guns and what do you expect is going to happen?

The first and most effective step is to remove the ready access to firearms. Like it or not, this will stop the mass shootings that are prevalent in the United states but rare events in other western nations.

However unless you also take steps to fix the causes (glorifying violence and strictly enforced hierarchy) you'll just be turning murder-suicides into plain old normal suicides.

Comment Re:Why don't taxis just provide good service?! (Score 1) 132

I've cabbed in Vegas a lot over the years, and I've always found the cabs to be clean and in good shape, the drivers (with one exception out of a long list) to be polite and capable, and the fares consistent. I've never been taken on a long ride, and I've actually gotten a lot of good information from the drivers about going-ons in the city.


The only places I've been to that regularly have dirty taxis with poor drivers are places that don't regulate their taxi industries.

This is why I cant buy the "dirty taxi's, bad drivers, harassment and so forth" excuses from the Uber crowd. Every one parrots the same tired old myth about taxi's that just flat out aren't true. I have to wonder if Uber themselves are writing these complaints for them and people are just parroting them.

I've taken taxis in 5 continents and dozens of cities. The taxi's that stand out as the cheapest and best were in very well regulated environments, more specifically Bangkok, Thailand and Medellin Colombia although Vegas rates highly with me also. Contrast this with areas that have little to no regulation (or no enforced regulation) such as Phuket, Thailand. To get from Bangkok airport to Bagkok city centre (a distance of 35 KM/20 miles) you're paying around 400 Baht for a meter taxi and you're leaving the driver with a 20 or so Baht tip. Just to go 5KM/3 miles down the road in Phuket costs you that much, the Tuk Tuk Mafia wont even switch on the engine for less than 200 baht and to put that into perspective the minimum wage in the Phuket province is less than 300 Baht per day. The Tuk Tuk Mafia also use violence and threats to prevent any municipal bus service (known as a Baht bus), this is the reason we call them a mafia.

In my own city, Perth, Western Australia, which is a very expensive place to live UberX is marginally cheaper than a licensed and insured taxi. To get from my house to the airport is A$55-60 by using a regular taxi, it's A$50-55 using UberX by their fare estimator. With a regular taxi service I know I'm going to be getting a Camry Hybrid, Ford Falcon or Holden Commodore sedan or wagon. With UberX I'm not so sure but given my experiences in Perth it's likely to be a small car like a Hyundai Getz or Kia Rio. If you've got more than 1 person with luggage it's a no brainier to get the normal taxi. Beyond this, taxi drivers are mostly Australians and most know how to avoid traffic hot spots. They pretty much have to because driving a taxi is such a low paying job if they waste time sitting in a traffic jam they're bleeding money. Taxi drivers in Perth have taught me a few good tricks for avoiding traffic. Uber on the other hand has taught me that 3 fully grown men wont fit easily into a Toyota Yaris.

Comment Re:Hogwash (Score 1) 320

Every single non-industry-funded study on GMOs has returned absolutely horrifying results about what their consumption does to, specifically, the digestive system and the immune system.

And guess what? All of them have been debunked. Furthermore, they're mostly done by people like this guy:

In other words, people who have an ideology they want to push, so they use borderline fraudulent tactics and gross scientific misconduct to try to push their "studies".

What do you mean by "borderline". They've been caught deliberately lying.

I have no issue with labelling GMO foods, it's just a label and it's better to have overly stringent labelling laws than overly lax laws IMHO. However it should also go the other way. So called "organic" foods also should be labelled with something like "This item is known to be produced in conditions that may not meet Australian/FDA/other safety organisation standards and can cause illness."

Comment Re: Selfies! (Score 1) 138

The summary misleadingly forgot to mention that
"The display function only works when the car is parked. In drive mode, all the driver can see are the various meters and controls necessary to drive the car and any maps that might be needed. "

So this means we'll have more people putting the car in P at the lights, getting distracted and not realising the light has gone green until someone a few cars down the line beeps them.

Nissan, stop making gimmicks that will never be permitted on the road in most countries and give us what we've been asking for, for the last 15 years... The S16 Silvia (and possibly another turbo straight 6 whilst you're at it).

Comment Re:Unionize (Score 1) 348

Say that to the auto industry that drove almost everything overseas. Right now, the IT industry is having it bad. Unionizing under the current paradigm would be WORSE!. It would be like "fuck it, ALL IT goes overseas, and the US as a nation is but a client purchasing all IT services overseas. There's nothing than can stop that happening now, but unionizing would definitely hasten that to occur.

I'm all about getting organized and having proper representation as a single unified voice to be heard, but unionizing as it's currently known as isn't the answer.

Explain why the highly unionised German auto industry isn't suffering?

Same with Japan that also has very strong worker protection.


Unions didn't kill the US (or Australian) auto industries, it's the companies. Germany realised that it cant make shit cars in Germany and profit on it, so they make them in Spain, the Czech republic and other places that are less expensive than Germany. Good cars that can command a premium are still made in Germany. The US didn't want to do this so in order to compensate for making cars that they cant profit on, they declared war on their own workers for daring to ask for a liveable wage.

The auto union in Australia has been nothing but helpful to the auto industry in Australia, often offering concessions to keep jobs in Australia but because we ultimately made crap cars that we couldn't export there every concession and subsidy only delayed the inevitable destruction.

So if unions are the problem, explain why highly unionised Germany has one of the strongest car industries in the world.

Comment Re:136 lbs? (Score 1) 178

I was going to ask how many pilots in the whole US Air force weigh less than 135 lbs, and then it occurred to me that this was just a way of keeping women out of their "no girls allowed" fighter jock club.

135 pounds is 61 KG. You would have to be a pretty small woman to weigh that much. I'd say that 61 KG would be small for an average height Caucasian woman. Probably a bit on the high side for many Asian sub races (particularly SE Asian). For a western woman who's gone through military training, 61 KG would be unusual (muscle is pretty dense making it heavier than fat). OTOH, how much does Tom Cruise weigh?

Comment Re:No, drinking soda != smoking (Score 1) 565

When people drink soda, they don't blow toxic and disgusting smelling fumes into people's walkways, they don't leave butts all over the ground, and they don't return from a smoke break smelling like an ashtray.

Chuck, I'm going with, "No, drinking soda isn't the new smoking."

Just apply Betteridge's law of headlines.

"Don't tell me I'm burning the candle at both ends -- tell me where to get more wax!!"