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Comment Re:Declare SSID's expensive (Score 1) 193

That requires a data connection, so international roaming, and is slower than an app which caches all exchange rates and updates (or so it seems) once a day.

I don't see what's wrong with an app. Converting currencies is something I do fairly often, probably for about 10 weeks a year (holiday + business travel).

Comment Re:Declare SSID's expensive (Score 1) 193

currency converter app ? Look up exchange rate of country you're about to land in, do math while there. Why is that hard ?

Because Europe, and because I don't like dividing by 13.5.

Four friends, renting a holiday house together, from three countries, in a fourth. We were paying for things in SEK, we wanted to know the cost in CHF, GBP and DKK (perhaps surprisingly, no-one was from the eurozone). An app is quicker than using the calculator.

Comment Re:Declare SSID's expensive (Score 1) 193

The one flight I took with in-flight WiFi, on a Norwegian plane, blocked access to the Google Play store, App store, etc (and this was written clearly when I accepted the T&Cs). Presumably, for exactly this reason.

It was a little annoying, as the purpose of connecting to WiFi was to install a currency converter app.

Comment Re:No (Score 4, Interesting) 318

A young woman was elected as an MP in Scotland, regardless of the "colourful" Tweets she'd written since she was 14: http://www.express.co.uk/news/...

Wikipedia says "as most of them were a few years old they were generally ascribed to immaturity and did not appear to do any significant damage": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

Comment Re: Won't allow forwarding? (Score 4, Informative) 204

The trick to "out-witting" the US Mint's genius bill-recognition scheme is to move some of the circles around –the yellow ones. They are 5-circle constellations, which is how Photoshop recognizes them as US currency. This has been known since the 'new' $20's came out about 15 years ago.

The US didn't invent everything ;-)

It's been known about since 2002, when it was found in European banknotes dating back to 1996. It's thought to be a Japanese invention.



Comment Re:Your card will likely not be welcome... (Score 1) 294

However, the card will likely have limited geographical scope (eg the London Oyster Card), so if you're travelling widely you'll need a bunch of them or pay higher fares.

London introduced the Oyster card before contactless credit/debit cards existed, and even before the standards for transport cards were completed.

Since some time last year, contactless credit/debit/phone payments have been accepted on the London Underground, trains, buses and trams. There were suggestions in the media that Transport for London wanted to reduce Oyster card use, since it costs them more. I can believe that, with the huge number of adverts encouraging people to use contactless cards.

Comment Re:Don't worry (Score 1) 294

The retailer is on the hook for physical verification of the card in the way you are suggesting ("hey, they are accepting physical cards without checking the limit. SPREEEE!!!!!")

Sure, but they still need a valid PIN, and the retailer can balance the risk against a lost sale.

EasyJet selling a pack of crisps in the air for £8.50 obviously take that risk, a supermarket might choose not to sell a TV. This could be complicated to explain to staff though.

Comment Re:US (Score 1) 294

If you have a US "Chip & Signature" card, and plan to use unattended payment in Europe, make sure your bank understands what you expect to do, and has issued a card that agrees to Chip only transactions when told a signature is impossible. Or better, get one that has Chip & PIN. Because if your card stubbornly requires a signature, and it's talking to a vending machine in a cheap hotel it will get told to fuck off.

Much more importantly than a vending machine in a cheap hotel, a machine selling metro or train tickets.

My experience in the UK (where I live) is such machines require a PIN even for small amounts (£2), but in Germany it's only required for large amounts.

At a large station and/or in commuting hours there might be a ticket office open, but you can't rely on that.

Comment Re:11 rear enders (Score 2) 549

Do you have an example of how they prepare you more for driving than other countries, including the US?

My experience is that in my driver's education class, we spent ZERO time in high speed driving, ZERO time in congested traffic. We got NO practical experience of ANY sort in ANY kind of defensive driving or even how to drive on anything other than a flat straight road in broad daylight.

I failed my UK driving test on Tuesday.

I reached around 50mph (the speed limit), in heavy traffic on a dual carriageway in London. Had I not reached at least some "reasonable" speed (40mph?) on that road, I would have failed for that reason. I turned left on a roundabout to get onto that road, and turned right at a big (multi-lane) roundabout to get off it (so I had to move over to the "fast" lane for that).

The examiner asked me to do a three-point-turn in the road, he could alternatively have asked me to reverse round a corner or parallel park.

There was a lot of driving round smaller roads, dealing with junctions, mini-roundabouts, cars parked on either side of the road, oncoming buses that need the whole road width, pedestrian crossings, etc.

I was expected to be aware of traffic around me (including behind and beside) at all times.

I failed through repeated "undue hesitation", i.e. yielding for too long when I had a chance to go. (This is partly bad luck, but it's something I'm not that great at. I'm overly cautious.)

However, the test is known to be easier in rural areas (e.g. parts of Scotland), since there's a lot less traffic and complicated junctions.

Before the practical test there's a theory test. You can try a mock one online: http://toptests.co.uk/mock-the... (most UK signs follow international convention, although the US doesn't — remember we drive on the left).

There's also a hazard perception test: http://www.driving-test-succes... — the actual test is 15 driving clips, you are expected to identify "developing hazards" in reasonable time. Apparently many people fail this first time, but I passed easily -- probably because I've been cycling in London for 7+ years.

Comment Re:No, because it sucks. (Score 1) 654

I take public transportation occasionally to and from work in San Francisco. But in general, there's a huge amount of crazy homeless people at all hours of the day who take public transportation.

This seems to be a uniquely American problem. Why do homeless people ride buses all day, and why do people put up with it? (Have the homeless people paid the fare?)

186,000 Miles per Second. It's not just a good idea. IT'S THE LAW.