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Comment: Re:Freedom, liberty and privacy, and the police (Score 1) 160

by xaxa (#49249625) Attached to: LAPD Police Claim Helicopters Stop Crimes Before They Happen

cops walking (note that walking and driving are NOT the same) a beat

I've heard the same thing. I wonder if it's because walking is slower than driving (stop beating the guy for a second as the car passes), or if it's because seeing 'people' has more of an effect.

Some of both, I think. Cars are very anonymous, and the driver will (hopefully) be concentrating on driving rather than observing.

A police officer on a bicycle can be a good halfway: they're still very much human (can speak and be heard, can stop immediately without blocking the road) but they can cover a wider area. Depending on local geography, they can get to some places faster than by car. About half the police I see around here (London, but not the centre) are on bicycles.

Comment: Re:Does AliBaba have them listed yet? (Score 2) 156

But the important question - Do they work?

Probably, but probably not especially well. Spend a bit more for the Chinese watch that isn't trying to be Apple, where the effort has gone into features, not imitation.

My flatmate bought an "iPhone 6" in Albania for about £40. He was convinced it was real, to the point that he's contacted Apple UK support because it wouldn't charge properly.

I haven't handled an iPhone 6, but I thought the buttons seemed a bit wobbly, although the rest of the case was convincing. The graphics were spot on, and smooth enough that I wasn't certain it was fake (I thought it could be stolen). What gave it away was pressing "iTunes Apps" opened the Android "Manage Applications" screen. There were a few other apps, settings etc that opened Android things but had Apple labels.

It could have been OK, a cheap phone with an Apple-like interface. Except the touchscreen was so shoddy it was impossible to dial "#" (I wanted "#*#*INFO*#*#"), and it won't recognise the SIM.

Comment: Re:piratebay proxies (Score 1) 113

by xaxa (#49227925) Attached to: UK ISPs Quietly Block Sites That List Pirate Bay Proxies LU up Very Fast

... and blocked by Sky — but I shouldn't be surprised when I have internet supplied by an enourmous TV company. That's provided by the Luxembourg Pirate Party, but I guess the British police/courts have no issue interfering with e.g. the British Green Party's campaigns when it suits them.

(Others on that list aren't blocked.)

Comment: Re:It says something bad about the US (Score 1) 734

by xaxa (#49197517) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should I Let My Kids Become American Citizens?

I've done four road trips, about 8-10 weeks travel in total, stopping in at least 26 states. I've passed through or changed planes in a few more, but I don't count those. (In fairness, all except three of these states were when I was a child, and we only visited France and Ireland as a family.)

My US relatives (in their 40s) get two weeks leave a year, and tend to visit family.

The lack of Americans is most evident when backpacking. I was in Ecuador last year. You can divide the backpackers into students and non-students. There are some American students, but disproportionately few American non-students. (I'd expected to see more Americans on my first trip to South America, but it was little different to Asia.)

Comment: Re:It says something bad about the US (Score 1) 734

by xaxa (#49195107) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should I Let My Kids Become American Citizens?

Americans don't travel as much, even in the US. They don't have much holiday time.

Many Europeans don't leave the EU, although I'd guess it's more common to visit the US than the other way round.

US culture between states is less diverse than Europe, but it does differ. Geography and climate differs more, although you need to remember some of northern Europe is arctic, which makes up for not having any desert. I think you'll find a bigger difference between Ireland, Austria, Estonia and France than any four US states you care to pick. If non-EU is allowed how about Belarus, Albania, Iceland and Georgia?

I've been to West Virginia, Texas, Ohio and Colorado. I've travelled through Alabama, by train (brief stop in Birmingham). I've been to/through Sioux City, so it seems I just missed Minnesota. I've not yet met an American who's been to more states than I have! But my parents' idea of a family holiday was a road trip.

Comment: Re:It says something bad about the US (Score 1) 734

by xaxa (#49192515) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should I Let My Kids Become American Citizens?

I can't think of any disadvantage to me gaining an additional European Union citizenship, with some exceptions (e.g. Estonia has military service).

Many millions of Europeans live in a different country to their citizenship. It's probably a lot more common than for US citizens, for all kinds of people (from the unemployed to millionaires), so the issues were solved long ago.

(I think there can be cases where if you don't live in a country "full time" you can lose the right to things like free healthcare, but that's separate.)

Comment: Re:Why not run with it? (Score 1) 223

by xaxa (#49184011) Attached to: <em>Star Trek</em> Fans Told To Stop "Spocking" Canadian $5 Bill

British paper money currently features (£5-10-20-50) Elizabeth Fry (prison reformer), Charles Darwin, Adam Smith (philosopher) and James Watt and Matthew Boulton (engineers), so there shouldn't be a problem from the queen. But I think people tend to have been dead for a while.

Comment: Re:Lack of appropriate options gripe: (Score 1) 230

by xaxa (#49175135) Attached to: Will you be using a mobile payment system?

I pay with a contactless credit card very frequently, which uses the same technology (at least outside the USA). I don't see the attraction for paying with my phone: I have to get something out of my pocket, and it's easier to touch a plastic card to a reader than unlock a phone, presumably open an app, authorise, etc.

Comment: Re: White board is and will always be the best way (Score 1) 164

by xaxa (#49157053) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Whiteboard Substitutes For Distributed Teams?

I'm surprised by how expensive they are ($1000). There was a push to get them in schools in Britain starting around 2002-3, and the three schools I've seen in the last couple of years have had them in every room.

They're accurate enough for my Chinese evening class. Share a screen with MS Paint, and get a decent conference microphone.

Comment: Re:fees (Score 1) 391

by xaxa (#49150821) Attached to: Verizon Posts Message In Morse Code To Mock FCC's Net Neutrality Ruling

I want Gigabit symmetrical with 1 TB of transfer for $50/mo.. This is absolutely 100% possible with current technology.

Then why don't you start a company that offers that service?

Here's an example (British, and £50/month, but £1 = $1 is pretty normal for technology...)

They're only installing into apartment buildings at the moment, and I think they ask the building owner to subsidise the installation, but I don't doubt it increases the rental value.

Comment: Re: Bloatware?! (Score 1) 210

by xaxa (#49150311) Attached to: Lenovo Saying Goodbye To Bloatware

Pay them to not fill your brand new machine with crap? Name another market where you do that...

Some people fly with Ryanair, who play advertisements several times in the flight. That annoyed me more than anything else last time I flew with Ryanair. They also have more up-sells on their website, which can be tricky for some people (e.g. old pensioners) to avoid, who end up buying insurance they don't need.

Paying for TV means paying for a load of advertisements.

Same with magazines and newspapers.

With your bare hands?!?