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Comment Re:It'll never happen (Score 1) 280

Yep, doesn't work for everyone. We live in a cool area so going out for us is walking outside; I'm on a sabbatical so am "working" from home and my partner walks to her job. So we're much better off than if we owned a car simply because our "base driving rate" is pretty close to zero anyway.

Would be totally different if we needed to drive to work regularly.

Comment Re:It'll never happen (Score 3, Interesting) 280

They don't want their car to drive off, pick up someone who has sex in it or their kid vomits or a pet shits, etc. Efficiency is all well and good but reality is people are disgusting and we generally want to keep to ourselves because of it.

I would have thought this would be a huge problem, but after using car2go for about a year, there is only one time where I've had a mess on the interior - some weird sticky stuff spilt on the passenger seat (which, luckily, I saw before I sat in it) - I suspect it was some takeout sauce spilled out from a container or something.

In many other rides though the cars have been spotless. Generally (anecdotally obviously) the system of simply saying whether the car is clean or not from the previous driver seems to work to keep out bad actors in the system. Having to have your credit card details on file probably helps too.

Overall though car2go is great; we don't own a car here so we use it all the time now.

Comment Good for India (Score 1) 54

Step 1: wait for Uber to come to town
Step 2: let them build some momentum and drop some cash investing in scaling up
Step 3: act outraged when cab companies complain and promise to shut them down
Step 4: drop a lot of fines on them to absorb even more of that phat US VC cash
Step 5: repeat step 4 until the taxi companies, Uber or citizens force your hand into either legitimising them or actually banning them.

This seems to be the tactic of my home town (Brisbane, Australia). Last I saw we'd fined Uber $1.7m, all while pretending they can't be stopped and letting them operate (they just announced they're hiring more staff).

They'll have to provide a better licensing framework at some point - where I am now in Columbus, OH they seem to have a great one - but in the meantime it seems their plan is just to keep fining them to see if they're going to blink first.

As a Brisbaner I love the idea of us taking all that money. As someone that actually wants to go to places though and not be at the mercy of the taxi companies, I hope they negotiate soon and build a framework that takes into account this new age we live in.

Comment Re:Quite a few obstacles remain. (Score 1) 904

I'm an Australian currently spending a lot of time in Ohio (Columbus); I worked here last year and am now holidaying here for a few months before moving on.

I don't own a car but almost everyone I know does, so it's been interesting observing how cars work here. Certainly Teslas are rare - I've seen three unique ones in the wild here, one of which I was pretty sure was a demo one from the Tesla store being out on a test drive. (The third one I saw literally yesterday, so until then it would have just been two.)

One thing I've noticed in Ohio is there are a lot of people that drive Hondas. Like, way more than I expected to see in the US, assuming many people would be driving US-made cars. I was surprised by this - until I discovered there's a Honda factory nearby. This seems to be a Big Deal for many locals.

Coming from Australia I've also been interested in how people deal with the weather. We live close to downtown in apartments; almost everyone in this area seems to be stuck with an outside carpark largely exposed to the elements. No idea how hard it would be to convince our landlords to put in an external charging point but suspect it would be tricky.

A bit further out though, many people seem to have proper garages attached to their houses. I would imagine for these people an EV is a much more realistic proposition; the garages are usually all wired anyway (for light and/or heat). I've read batteries don't work as efficiently in the cold so there is that to deal with too, especially if you don't have covered parking at the other end (many of the car parks around here are not covered).

There is a dedicated Tesla EV charging bay at Easton (the big local megamall thing). Looking at the Tesla map there are some supercharger stations here already and a few more planned. I imagine things will change a bit once the charging infrastructure becomes a bit more common.

Comment Re:In the US. (Score 1) 904

Again, this works in the US with big suburbs where everyone has a parking lot with an electric outlet. In other countries (like good old Europe), where most people live in apartments and there is just no way you can plug your car at night, it doesn't work. It is just impossible until you can refill your car in 5 minutes like with gasoline...

FWIW I was in Norway several years ago and saw an EV charging point just on the sidewalk in the middle of the city (photo - I think it was Oslo).

My recollection is this was an early experimental programme and they were free to use for the presumably very few people that had EVs at the time.

This was the first time I'd seen anything like this (I'm Australian) and I was struck by the simplicity of it - literally just a random pole stuck into the street. I've not looked into it but I'm guessing building those things is not significantly expensive because most of the important infrastructure they need to deliver the electricity is already in place.

I've since been to France a couple times and seen similar things there, although I believe they were dedicated ones for a car sharing scheme that happened to use electric cars. But again, these things were just plonked into the middle of the city with seemingly little effort or disruption.

Comment Re:Why not both? (Score 1) 239

Thanks for the explanation. When we talk about "more efficient", how much are we talking about here? The article link mentions "5% or more of the power loss occurs" but as it's a Google Translate, not sure if it's talking about the same thing.

Does it basically mean these DC A/C units are 5% more efficient?

Comment Re:Wrong tool (Score 1) 144

The morals of this is never, ever use spreadsheets program for non-trivial work.

This is only really a valid conclusion if you compare it against the lost billing rate of other solutions though. I have seen organisations that would happily allow billing stuff to fall through the cracks with specialised software simply because it was easier than trying to fight the software for certain situations.

I can imagine that someone with Excel might end up saving more money for that reason, although I certainly agree the average complicated spreadsheet probably has a lot of errors.

Comment Re:No nuance allowed. You're for us or against us. (Score 1) 557

Thank you for neatly summarising exactly how I feel about Gamergate. I wasn't sure if I was an idiot and was just missing the point, but I felt a staggering amount of the commentary I read on it was /clearly/ trying to take a position - but I could never understand /what/ position!

Comment Re:Do your part nerds! (Score 1) 283

I'm not sure what Firefox or Chrome have to do with the discussion (or why you feel the need to be abusive towards me). Perhaps you are thinking of the other Slashdot thread that popped up a few hours later about Firefox blocking Flash?

Technically competent users are at less risk of Flash exploits, of course. But they are not the problem. Non-technical people take their cues from what their technical friends do and say; my point is that without us continuing to do the work that Apple started it's just going to take forever to get rid of it.

It's clear that as long as Flash exists it will continue to be a major vector for security-related problems. Entirely the point of the Facebook bloke that started this entire thread, of course. I am merely saying that we should do what we can to hasten its demise and encourage others to do the same. But I guess I'm not so helplessly dependent on a handful of sites that continue to use Flash as some people might be.

Comment Re:Do your part nerds! (Score 1) 283

The writing is on the wall for Flash. Everyone knows it. It has been ever since Apple gave them the epic finger.

The only question is how quickly people abandon it. If you're a nerd - the precise person that I was addressing in my comment and the precise person I expect to be reading comments on Slashdot - I feel you have a /duty/ to lead the charge.

Uninstall Flash. Tell Pandora why you can no longer use their service. Find a competing service that offers HTML5 or some other mechanism.

I've never used Pandora; I stream radio for my music discovery (via a good ole fashioned mp3 stream that I can play in a wide variety of software). Certainly I don't get people that are married to Pandora that hard - but if you're an actual nerd - you have options.

Comment Do your part nerds! (Score 4, Interesting) 283

Uninstall Flash. Just stop using it. Encourage your friends to do the same.

I uninstalled it a couple months ago. I no longer have to worry about updating it or being exposed to the vast amount of vulnerabilities - it should be clear to everyone by now that it is a /major/ vector for infection.

Only a few times have I hit content that still requires Flash - usually sites that have an old Flash video player. Most big sites or sites using modern players happily support HTML5 video. Those that don't I can live without. (Bonus: far less irritating animated ads. For now.)

But make sure you provide feedback to sites that still have Flash - let them know you can't use the site properly. Fortunately - largely thanks to Apple's refusal to allow Flash in iOS - there are fewer and fewer of these today.

Software production is assumed to be a line function, but it is run like a staff function. -- Paul Licker

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