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Comment: Some BMWs (Score 1) 194

by unencode200x (#48435607) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Most Hackable Car?
Spend some time on Bimmerfest.com there are a ton of BMW enthusiasts and there are all sorts of ways you can hack into the cars' various electronic systems and change things. For example, mirrors fold in automatically when you lock the doors. Windows roll up and moon roof closes at push of a remote button, turning on cameras, feeding video to your GPS or HUD display (from your cameras or another sources), change the cluster display's colors, info, etc., and lots of other things. Mine already has a digital display (called the "sports" display) that shows most of what you're talking about. You can also put the vehicle in different modes (Eco, comfort +, comfort, sports, sports +, and M) that changes both the feel of the vehicle and the displays. For example, sport mode changes the HUD and cluster displays to digital readouts, in comfort and below they are analog displays (digital but the images are of a needle speedometer and tachometer, etc.). Of all the cards I've had this one is the funnest and most hackable.

Comment: Re:It's the OS, Stupid (Score 1) 252

by unencode200x (#48237003) Attached to: Apple's Next Hit Could Be a Microsoft Surface Pro Clone
Sorry to hear man. The mouse pad is multi-touch and has gestures. I turn most of them off as pinch/zoom works like crap on it. But scrolling with two fingers and two finger context menu work really nicely for me. I haven't run Linux on it yet. On Windows Firefox scrolling works great.

I'm looking forward to Windows 10 or whatever the heck they're going to call it to put on this thing. It took a little while to grow on me but it's now my favorite device for real work. Although, I'm getting an iPhone 6 soon so we'll see if that remains true :) Good luck!

Comment: I think BMW does it right (Score 1) 208

by unencode200x (#48086993) Attached to: Studies Conclude Hands-Free-calling and Apple Siri Distract Drivers
I think BMW does it right. You hold a steering wheel button down for a moment and you have Siri with most functionality except things blocked during driving mode. Texting, Calls, appointments, notes, and music all work nicely. It's awesome, easy, and works.

The BMW speech recognition for the vehicle's functions works really well too. If you're busy you also have a live concierge to help with almost anything.

BMW's iDrive is amazing, it's engineered so that you rarely have to take your eyes off the road to operate it. BMW has a whole video and discussion about it. When you do have to look at the screen you can still see the road well. It was designed this way and has been refined over many years. I love it. For example each button has a slightly different shape and height right next to the wheel which you can even "click" with your wrist. They feel different so you build muscle memory right away.

Some of the others out there such as Ford, Lincoln, Toyota, Lexus, and more basically just tried to stick an iPad-like touch screen or Franken-mouse in the cabin that is confusing and distracting even if you read the manual and learn the ins and outs.

Mercedes has something that tries to be like iDrive but fails in so many ways. If you want examples ask. I had a 2014 Mercedes and was so disappointed with the day-to-day usability. The bullet points are there, but it's the little things that don't click.

I spent a lot of time with a lot of vehicles over the last few years as I've bought a few. BMW's tech and perhaps Audi's have always impressed me in how they are sophisticated, understated, and actually really useful. If it was made illegal I would argue against it.

Comment: BMW does it right (Score 1) 208

by unencode200x (#48083999) Attached to: Studies Conclude Hands-Free-calling and Apple Siri Distract Drivers
I think BMW does it right. You hold a steering wheel button down for a moment and you have Siri with most functionality except things blocked during driving mode. Texting, Calls, appointments, notes, and music all work nicely. It's awesome, easy, and works.

The BMW speech recognition for the vehicle's functions works really well too. If you're busy you also have a live concierge to help with almost anything.

BMW's iDrive is amazing, it's engineered so that you rarely have to take your eyes off the road to operate it. BMW has a whole video and discussin about it. When you do have to look at the screen you can still see the road well. It was designed this way and has been refined over many years. I love it. For example each button has a slightly different shape and height right next to the wheel which you can even "click" with your wrist. They feel different so you build muscle memory right away.

Some of the others out there such as Ford, Lincoln, Toyota, Lexus, and more basically just tried to stick an iPad-like touch screen or Franken-mouse in the cabin that is confusing and distracting even if you read the manual and learn the ins and outs.

Mercedes has something that tries to be like iDrive but fails in so many ways. If you want examples ask. I had a 2014 Mercedes and was so disappointed with the day-to-day usability. The bullet points are there, but it's the little things that don't click.

I spent a lot of time with a lot of vehicles over the last few years as I've bought a few. BMW's tech and perhaps Audi's have always impressed me in how they are sophisticated, understated, and actually really useful. If it was made illegal I would argue against it.

Comment: Steve Jobs would never have allowed a bulge (Score 1) 425

by unencode200x (#47922485) Attached to: Apple Edits iPhone 6's Protruding Camera Out of Official Photos
Steve Jobs would never have allowed the bulge. He micro-manged everything down to, literally, the millimeter. He would not like the way it looks, feels in your hand, and has no tactile usefulness. Although, perhaps it could be argued that it would help people not cover the lens with their finger.

A group of us asked a waiter who was about 60 years old to take a picture of us the other day with my iPhone. He struggled with it for minutes and kept putting his finger over the lens. I tried to help him but finally gave up. Got some great pics of his finger though :/

Comment: Re:Past due not reported by companies (Score 1) 570

by unencode200x (#47575729) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'
Most checking accounts (from every bank I've dealt with) have free, automatic bill pay. They will either pay your bill electronically for you OR they will mail a check on your behalf if whoever your paying isn't set up in their system. It's convenient, free, and easy. You just have to plan ahead. They want you to use this service as it makes you a sticky customer.

Also since you're "pushing" payments it's easier for you to control, change, etc. as you don't have to log into 20 different websites.

Comment: Re:The American Dream (Score 1) 570

by unencode200x (#47575667) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'
Agreed. Obviously inflation needs to be taken into account. But since real income is less, most people are losing a ton money over times. Your home should not be considered an investment.

One things that bothers me are realtors. They artificially inflate the value of homes so they can make their commissions. They're commissions are insanely high for the supposed value they provide. I submit some controls are missing there are there is a sort of monopoly (if that's the right term) on selling houses.

Comment: Did anything improve? (Score 3, Interesting) 285

by unencode200x (#47502897) Attached to: How One School District Handled Rolling Out 20,000 iPads
I read the article and it's scant on details about anything other than they're sucking bandwidth like crazy, taking the Internet down for the entire district, the IT guys were caught way off guard, and the kids and parents like them. The article doesn't talk about how the iPads (it also mentions some ChromeBooks) have improved or otherwise affected grades, education, or anything. Anyone that has actually done have insight on that? Yes, I've Googled it, but it'd be nice to hear from someone in the field. I'm looking at this for a school I volunteer at too. Bandwidth is definitely an issue.

Comment: Re:just now? (Score 1) 398

by unencode200x (#44052151) Attached to: Keyless Remote Entry For Cars May Have Been Cracked
Yes, these are concerns.

I do live in the US where they track the heck out of everyone anyway. However, I actually came from a communist country where there is much fear of the government and people are afraid to speak up. People who do have been known to disappear, etc.

What really bugs me is the common retort "if you have nothing to hide..." Well, why not just strip search everyone (which they basically do at airports), or put a police officer in everyone's house. Or stick a chip in everyone, or start tracking people's thoughts....

All that being said... there's nothing like a Mercedes V8. Can't get it w/o the tracking. Also if my wife or I were in an accident or an emergency it would help. The concierge service (where you can call in and get directions, etc.) is also very useful for someone like me that travels a lot.

Comment: Re:just now? (Score 2) 398

by unencode200x (#43919813) Attached to: Keyless Remote Entry For Cars May Have Been Cracked
So have my last two cars. My newest vehicle (CLS 550) does have a "valet" feature that will alert you via email or text if it leaves an area you set. Mercedes can also track its location, supposedly.

Definitely scary stuff, though as I'm one of those people who hates having things in my pockets and almost always leave my wallet in the car. Of course, I can see it from my office window and my house/garage are alarmed.

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