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Comment: Re:1984 (Score 1) 400

by ubercam (#43407161) Attached to: Speeding Ticket Robots — Laws As Algorithms

Those average speed cameras are usually only in construction zones on the motorway where the lanes have been narrowed and speed reduced to 50mph, and they have a fairly generous leeway as well. I've never been ticketed for driving 54mph (actual speed, speedo shows 59mph) on cruise through these areas for years, and you're constantly overtaken by people going at least 3-4mph faster... who knows if they get ticketed though. There are also fixed speed cameras, red light cameras and CCTV cameras all over the place for your surveillance pleasure.

Don't pick on the UK too much though, if you drive in France on the Péage (toll) motorways, I've heard they clock your time in and time out, and at the exit tolls your speeding fine is payable on the spot. Most of Europe has on the spot fines, but it's usually tens of Euros, not hundreds of dollars like in the US or Canada.

Comment: Re:Used both - will leave both (Score 1) 258

by ubercam (#36931520) Attached to: Tens of Thousands Flee From BT and Virgin

Depends where you are..

If you can get TalkTalk Plus, go for it. It's their FTTC offering. Our exchange isn't being updated for quite some time by the looks of things. Check out for anything you wanted to know about your exchange.

We've been with Tiscali/TalkTalk for a few years. The best part is the unlimited international calls package (we make good use of it). The DSL speeds have dropped over the past year though. We used to get a solid 3.5mbps down and 800kbps up, which is fine, but it's dropped to 2.5mbps down and 700kbps up... it's tough to stream video on two machines at once. Also, they actively DOS torrents between 6pm and midnight. I say actively DOS because throttling would imply that it's based on need and network congestion, but they just murder the download down to about 1-5k/sec. Upload is unaffected.

Comment: Re:So if I leave wifi on? (Score 1) 300

by ubercam (#35443818) Attached to: Wi-Fi Shown To Interfere With Aircraft Systems

The ban on electronic devices in general is for no other reason than to force you to pay attention. Takeoffs and landings are the most critical phases of flight where the most can go wrong. They want your maximum attention during these times in case of an emergency. Yelling brace brace isn't gonna get through if everybody's got their MP3 players turned up to 11. That's why they still let you have your headphones plugged in to the in seat entertainment system, because any announcements pre-empt whatever you're doing and come over the headphones as well. They obviously want to minimize risk as much as possible, so transmitters aren't allowed the entire flight.

Not everyone listens though, myself included... I've been able to send & receive texts during take off but once we got into the clouds I lost the network, whereas a friend of mine managed to send a text in flight over Atlanta on his way to Cuba from Toronto. I've left my phone on for entire flights without realizing as well, as I'm sure thousands of others do every day. I also usually have my MP3 player on, but I do pay attention to what's going on around me. A family friend owns a Cessna 152 float plane and he rigged up a system to use his cell phone over his headset, but when the phone's in use, he says the instruments go wacky. Unfortunately I didn't see it in action.

Comment: Up close and personal... (Score 1) 185

by ubercam (#35226382) Attached to: How To Build a Telescope That Trumps Hubble

I've been lucky enough to have had a peek inside one of the cases (as it was being built and having the kinks ironed out) they're going to use to transport the reflector sail things from the manufacturer to the assembly plant, one case per sail. My friend is the shop's computer guy. The case was enormous and had to be perfectly air tight so it could be filled with nitrogen to protect the sail during transport. I saw it in July so I'm pretty sure they've finished and shipped them all by now.

Granted, it wasn't a component of the actual spacecraft, but an important piece of the puzzle nonetheless. I still think it was very cool to have had the privilege of poking my head inside, snapping a few photos and chatting with the guys making it.

Comment: Re:bad (Score 2) 536

by ubercam (#34919788) Attached to: Cosmological Constant Not Fine Tuned For Life

Yes, but when the cops enforce the law and you get punished, you go to jail or you get a fine. It's tangible.

When you "do bad stuff" and don't listen to "God" (or whatever term you feel like using), there's no direct punishment. It all takes place after you die. You go to heaven or hell. Very conveniently, no one can confirm their existence, since you have to die to get in. It seems as if the people who invented this nonsense purposely made it so it couldn't be disproven by any living being. Good thing the dead can't talk.

They don't call it the opiate of the masses for nothing.

And to quote Ricky Gervais, "Thank God for making me an atheist."

Comment: Re:Yeah i was thinking about that. (Score 1) 620

by ubercam (#34641676) Attached to: Electric Cars May Be Made Noisier By Law

Really, huh? Last time I checked they still taught "FIRST look left, THEN look right, THEN cross the streets" to our kids, did they forgo that in your country?

Unforunately that's not a universal rule. If people did that where I live, there wouldn't be many left to tell the tale. I've almost stepped out in front of a car before I got used to looking "the wrong way" first. BTW, I'm Canadian and I live in the UK. My wife has done the exact opposite in Canada and Germany. Luckily I was there to stop her and vice versa. "The left side's the right side and the right side's the wrong side" is the saying I think.

The change in traffic handedness really screws people up. It doesn't take me long to get used to it while driving or as a passenger, but if I think about it for too long it really does my head in.

Comment: Re:Obligatory (Score 1) 419

by ubercam (#34623354) Attached to: Microsoft Puts the Kibosh On Kinect Sex Game Plans

Easily. Even if this company manages to develop the game (I believe the devkits require licenses), it won't be signed by MS, a necessary step to run on an unmodified console. If you had a mod chip, you would likely be able to run it as could then run unsigned code.

If they were smart, they would develop it for the PC. At the same time, they should also devote some devs to improve the open source drivers for the Kinect. That way they have their swingin 3D sex game and, aside from the fact that very few, if any retailers would actually sell it, no one could stop them from selling it. Microsoft might try to do something if they use a Kinect in their advertising, but I'm not sure how that would actually pan out.

Comment: Re:I bought some lighter fluid... (Score 1) 421

Then perhaps those states should mandate that they get the new formula. Any Sudafed I've bought in the UK and Canada no longer contains pseudoephedrine, the offending ingredient.

The box of pills in front of me now lists the active ingredient as phenylephrine and the nasal spray is xylometazoline hydrochloride. These are the UK products.

And the customary link to Sudafed's Wikipedia page for your reference.

Comment: Re:So what? (Score 1) 433

by ubercam (#34111104) Attached to: Prepare To Be Watched While You Watch a Movie

You'd think so, but...

I was in The George (Wetherspoon pub) on George St in Croydon a couple of weekends ago for breakfast, and in the men's washroom there were cameras with signs underneath explaining that they were there to prevent people using drugs in the washroom. It certainly took me by surprise. They seemed to be pointing at the sinks and the door. Some of the cameras were visible from the urinals so presumably one could be seen on camera using them. It was difficult to tell where they were pointing exactly since they were all the black dome type cameras.

I remember thinking at the time that if anyone wanted to snort some coke or whatever that badly, they could easily take a seat in one of the stalls and do whatever they wanted off camera.

Comment: Re:wow (Score 1) 334

by ubercam (#32377354) Attached to: UK Home Office Set To Scrap National ID Cards

No I don't believe retina scans were part of it.

I was issued a UK fiancé visa back in March and had my fingerprints taken digitally and a digital photograph as well for biometrics purposes. I suppose they measure the distance between your lips and nose and eyes and stuff. For fingerprints, the scanner might have looked at the blood vessel structure inside the fingers instead of the prints, but I can't be certain on that.

I'm glad the ID cards are gone now, mainly for privacy reasons, but if I could have used it as an EU travel document (despite my status as a foreign citizen), I would have put up with it for ease of travel.

Comment: Re:I'm sold, my only question is... (Score 1) 137

by ubercam (#31627234) Attached to: Could UK Tax Breaks Pave the Way For <em>GTA London</em>?

I know this is kind of a running joke in this thread, but they could go three ways with it.

1) Make it like San Andreas, where you had to eat/work out in order to keep your health up. A lot of people didn't like that because it was too much micromanagement, so they got rid of it in GTA4. They could add the option to pay the charge on to a cashpoint/ATM or something like that. If you didn't pay it within a certain amount of time, you'd get a fine or the cops after you.

2) Set the game in a time period before the congestion charge was introduced, so any time before 2003.

3) Not call it "London" (like Liberty City isn't called "New York") and just not include it in the game at all.

Comment: Re:Pepper spray is torturous. (Score 1) 267

by ubercam (#31602834) Attached to: Indian Military Hopes to Weaponize the Searing "Ghost Pepper"

I've been in a bar where someone pepper-sprayed somebody else and the place cleared out in minutes. I'm asthmatic but it's mainly allergy induced, and I was coughing like crazy and I couldn't see because my eyes were stinging and watering like crazy. I wasn't even sprayed directly, it was just in the air. At first I didn't know what was happening until I got outside and my mouth felt like it was on fire.

Not fun for about 5-10 minutes until everything was more or less back to normal. After that, I couldn't imagine being sprayed directly in the face!

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A guinea pig is not from Guinea but a rodent from South America.