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Comment: Why isn't there a disable switch? (Score 1) 235 235

So why don't built-in webcams have a sliding cover? It seems like the equivalent of a 'WiFi Disable' switch for the camera would stop these things dead. Of course it could just be a switch on the power supply line, but that wouldn't encourage the same sort of consumer confidence as an actual sliding cover.

Comment: How about a simple tweak? (Score 2) 455 455

Many of the Windows ones look like a specific default theme - XP's blue Luna theme or the default OS X theme. How about if the default color scheme was mildly randomized? It wouldn't change things for users who set things to something other than the defaults, but that way everyone who just leaves it at the default settings would have slightly different colored windows. They would know their 'system color' and a fake window would stand out like a sore thumb as it would be a different color. The range of random colors would not even have to be that large to make it obvious to most people. If the Mac default color was 'nearly gray' instead of pure gray, nobody would notice until a fake window popped up that was a different gray.

Comment: Re:I can't wait. (Score 1) 327 327

Seat heaters can do quite a lot to increase core body temperature, and they're often less than 100W. A 1000W heater properly designed should have no trouble staving off hypothermia. The bigger problem with your hypothetical scenario is that the power of the batteries decreases as well at low temperatures. Thankfully the truly life,threatening temperatures are a corner case. Most of the population doesn't live there.

Comment: Re:GameBlaster (Score 1) 348 348

Yes, it really is. The older Intel chips don't have an onboard memory controller. The newer sockets support an onboard memory controller but required revision in order to add that capability. Without that they wouldn't have been able to leapfrog AMD in this most recent generation.

Comment: Re:What a waste of effort. (Score 1) 349 349

Wait a second there ... [citation needed] on that one. I find it very difficult to believe the seatbelts cost that much. There were many safety changes mandated starting in 1967, lots of them serious lifesavers. Here's a period article on the subject which highlights how much the industry had to do to cope with it. Of course it also shows how the driver training versus safety aid debate was raging even then, with the muscles car era in full swing.

Comment: I quote from a 1974 Road and Track article (Score 1) 349 349

Specifically, a review of the Mazda Rotary Engine Pickup. In 1974 cars had the truly horrible seatbelt interlock system, which would kill the ignition if you didn't put the seatbelt on at the right time. Pickup trucks were exempt from the requirement, as well as many other safety requirements, leading to the following lovely little snippet of text:

"We found the Rotary's cab refreshing in one way: it is devoid of a bunch of buzzers and warning lights and the seatbelt interlock system afflicting today's passenger cars. Once again, we are left to our own judgment as to whether to belt up (we always do), or whether to leave the key in the ignition switch when leaving the pickup. It was nice. We felt almost like grown-ups again."

I have disabled my car's seatbelt buzzer. It's a much calmer place now. I still wear my belt every time.

Comment: Re:Yes, interesting. (Score 1) 345 345

Those specs stink.

If the two sensors are being used to cross-check each other, they need to run in opposite directions. 0v-5v for the one sensor, 5v-0v for the other. That's the only way to get anything close to a sensible cross-check. Of course you won't be able to spot a shot at the crossover, but that should be easy to determine.

Comment: Re:Maybe this explains Toyota's problems (Score 1) 114 114

> an experienced driver knows that in a battle between engine and brakes, the engine will win, so it's utterly vital to get the engine out of play early on.

No. The brakes win on any car modern enough to have seatbelts - provided that you brake like you mean it. If you drag the brakes for two miles before deciding to actually get on them, of course the fluid will long since have boiled. That is what happened in this case. If you make the 'I need to stop now, this car is out of control' call and use the brake with authority you can bring the car to a complete stop.

I'm more worried about the start-stop button. Taking a three second press to turn off in some circumstances is obvious to us (PCs do the same thing) but would it be obvious in a car? We will end up with a label because of this, just you watch.

This is clearly another case of too many mad scientists, and not enough hunchbacks.