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Comment The Subject is misleading (Score 1) 494

The VW diesel issue only impacts Porsche and Audi because a) the two additional execs who are leaving were at VW when the diesel issue started and b) the Audi A3 used the same EA189 engine.

People continue to post stuff here like this issue effects all VAG diesels, when the problem is just the EA189 engine and not the more expensive engines that use urea to reduce NOx emissions. Do you homework before you post.

Comment Re:That'll teach you... (Score 4, Insightful) 301

The CEO of VW can start cleaning out his desk, and a bunch of executives will be headless in the coming weeks, as well. That serves them right. However, in typical corporate fashion, VW will end up firing ordinary, innocent workers, who had nothing to do with the fraud at all.

Written by someone who does not understand the on-going boardroom drama at VW.

The VW Group CEO (Winterkorn) recently came out ahead in a boardroom battle in April. I have to wonder if his Winterkorn's opponent (Piech) knew that this was coming.

Comment Re:Thanks, Obama? (Score 1) 411

Well, the entire synopsis is pretty bad, but that is often the standard on /., isn't it?

Why does the synopsis spend so much time comparing what VAG has done with malware (huh?), but doesn't mention key info like how this issue applies only to diesel-engined cars and their nitrogen oxide emissions?

As far as I been able to tell, the source of the "recall" story seems to be the NY Times story. All I have seen from the EPA is the Notice of Violation. According to the Notice, the investigation is continuing and the issue has been referred to the Justice Department. I think that the recall talk is premature at this point, though it will likely happen at some point. I think VW would need time to develop software and certify its compliance with the Federal standards before any vehicles could be recalled. BTW, one source indicated that, according to the statutes, the fine for this violation is $37500/vehicle, or over $18billion for the number of vehicles involved.

Comment Re:subjects in comments are stupid (Score 1) 280

In the USA, a recipe can't be covered by copyright because it's a collection of facts and directions, but theoretically it can be patented as a process and/or composition of matter. It's very difficult to get a recipe past prior art and obviousness, but it is considered patentable subject matter.

Unless that recipe is called "software"

Comment Re:Drop in the bucket (Score 5, Insightful) 48

No. No one wants it. It is junk, like most storage places. Why people want to keep junk around I'll never figure out. Some of those manuals are for vacuum tube stuff. Vacuum tubes aren't making a comeback. If someone needed it, it would have been referenced in the last 20 years and it would have been saved.

And it is attitudes like this that demonstrate why anyone who has been in the computer industry for a while keeps seeing reinvention of the wheel and bogus patents that don't recognize prior art. I guess that is one way to create internet billionaires, but it isn't helpful for the industry in general.

Comment Re:As Sen Dirksen said... (Score 1) 200

I recently picked up a Nokia N9. I love that phone.

The big problem with it is that many apps don't work because they make references to web sites and services that no longer exist. Not even the Twitter and Facebook apps can talk to home. You can't even put it into developer mode because it needs to download packages from now-non-existant servers. Plus, it is really slow on Wifi networks.

Now that I have used the N9 and Meego, I think that it is a big shame that Elop and MS killed it off. Makes me a bit angry.

At least I was able to get the terminal app onto the N9, so I have a shell prompt. The package files are out there and there is a Sailfish OS port, so I can play with things and try to get it working better.

Comment I call BS (pending the full report) (Score 3) 83

I have read the NTSB Executive Summary. As far as I have seen, the full report has not yet been made available.

The claim made by the report is the accident was the result of human error because one of the pilots unlocked the feather prematurely and that the actuators that control movement of the feather were overcome by aerodynamic forces (while going through trans-sonic speeds) and the feather moved. Deploying the feather is a two-step process, unlocking, which one pilot can do, and commanding it to move, which require both pilots to take action.

What I didn't see in the Executive Summary was whether Scaled Composites expected the actuators to be able to control movement of the feather while the vehicle was going trans-sonic.

Just after the accident, there were statements attributed to Scaled that the actuators should have been able to hold the feather in position after it was unlocked. If the people working on and with the vehicle thought this, how could it be human error for the feather to be unlocked when it was?

If it turns out that those earlier statements were incorrect and Scaled knew that it was a bad idea to, say, unlock while going through trans-sonic, then the Executive Summary should have indicated that. I just find it odd that it doesn't say anything about what Scaled had communicated to its pilots about the capabilities of the actuators for the feather once it was unlocked.

Comment Re:$805M budget (Score 1) 231

This comment is modded Insightful? It is more like clueless.

The purpose of this campaign is right on the Kickstarter page (and it isn't to raise money that would otherwise not be in their budget):

Kickstarter gives a wide audience the chance to be a part of this project. We're inviting you to go behind the scenes and be a part of the process – from fundraising through conservation to display.

Lots of people want the opportunity to be involved with stuff like this.

Comment Re:Lies (Score 1) 265


Given that a lot of the coverage of the New Yorker article leads with stuff like "Seattle will be devasted", yes, hyperbole. Things will suck in Ocean Shores and Seaside and other coastal locations that don't have large populations. Unless the Seattle Fault is triggered, there won't be a tsunami in Seattle. The USGS projections show damage in central Puget Sound as moderate.

What I would like to know is what is new about this story? There is nothing new about it. Could they not find someone to play up asteroid or Atlantic mega-tsunami risk? NYC publications seem to have a Seattle hang-up, so maybe they couldn't find someone to do another story about the damage that could be done by a lahar if Mt. Rainier goes.

Comment Re:Lies and statistics (Score 1) 265

This jumped out at me:

"In 2009, Dougherty told me, he found some land for sale outside the inundation zone, and proposed building a new K-12 campus there. Four years later, to foot the hundred-and-twenty-eight-million-dollar bill, the district put up a bond measure. The tax increase for residents amounted to two dollars and sixteen cents per thousand dollars of property value. The measure failed by sixty-two per cent."

The average house price in Oregon is $246,000. I assume in this area due to proximity to the ocean it will be higher, but let's just use the average. That "measly" $2.16 is $531.36 a year. The average American leaves home at 21 (and thus, even if renting, is in some way exposed economically to those taxes) and dies at 79. That's 58 years exposed to property taxes. Assuming an average interest rate of 3% over all that time, that school cost the average citizen $369,826.56.

I am happy to see, however, that 62% of people in that city know that $2.16 can actually cost them almost $370k.

Do you really not know how bonds paid off through property levy work? I supposed that you think that when someone takes out a loan to buy a car that he has to make that monthly loan payment for the rest of his life.

Comment How's this different from what they are doing now? (Score 1) 97

The last time that I (a US citizen) flew back from Canada (last December), I got directed to a kiosk that I inserted my passport into and that took a photo of my face. When I got my last passport photo, I was clean shaven, had just got my haircut and was 20 lbs heavier. When I went through Passport Control, I hadn't had an opportunity to shave for a few days, I hadn't had much sleep either and it had been a couple months since I got my haircut. The kiosk could not match my passport photo against how I looked, so I was directed to a Immigrations officer. He could instantly tell that the photo matched my face.

Most of the people going through Passport Control didn't seem to have the same problem, which was fine because there was a long line for the station after the kiosk and no line for an Immigration officer, so, in the end, I got through more quickly.

Comment Re:This is why I quit web programming (Score 1) 83

But isn't connecting a car to the internet inherently stupid (for the consumer, not the vendor)? The risk of theft and car crashes via hacking are inherent in such a design decision whereas there are few benefits, such as getting updates without visiting the dealer.


It's like connecting your toaster to the internet -- pointless and not very useful.

Right. There is no conceivable use case to connect a car to the internet. Current traffic conditions and best route information for current conditions? What use is there for that? Streaming music? Who would want that? Automated reporting of accidents when the occupants are non-responsive? What a dumb idea, right?

Comment Re: Definition of "Remote Attack" (Score 1) 83

In VAG cars, and possibly many others, that honk is an option which can be changed by twiddling an option code which can be looked up in the dealer's service data (which comes on DVD.)

What's your point? Most alarms give an indication that the system is armed and most people that I know look for that indication as they walk away. If the horn doesn't sound or the lights don't flash when I arm the alarm, I check to see why not.

Understanding is always the understanding of a smaller problem in relation to a bigger problem. -- P.D. Ouspensky