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Comment Re:I grew up in Atlanta... (Score 1) 723

While it may be counterintuitive, my experience has been that using engine braking is generally more forgiving than the traditional brakes. For me, it's a lot easier to manage the friction coefficient with the engine than the brakes because braking force tends to be much more binary in nature. When slippery conditions exist, you're either on the brake pedal or you're not (although ABS helps here).

In fact, one reason that I really like a manual transmission is that manipulating the clutch and engine RPMs in combination with the transmission goes a long way toward getting just the right balance to slow down without losing traction. Newer computerized automatic trannies and engines do the same thing. So far, though, I haven't found a combination in a mass produced vehicle that does a very good job of it. Maybe we'll see some additional improvement in this space in the future.

Comment Winter driving in the Twin Cities (Score 1) 723

I won't argue that most people in the Twin Cities with 4WD and AWD vehicles don't have a clue how to drive them. I've passed enough of them sitting forlornly in the ditch on Hwy 10 over the years! :-D

That said, though, we're not talking about the loose nuts behind the wheel but the inherent capabilities of the vehicles themselves. When I was living northeast of Elk River up near the Isanti-Anoka county line and commuting to the south side of St. Paul, I traded in the 2WD pickup for the 4WD and was glad that I did. The 4WD was MUCH better at handling deep snow, which in turn made using back roads as an alternative to jammed up freeways at least plausible. Engine braking with 4WD also made avoiding the idiots who were overdriving a lot easier. ;-)

We lived far enough out back then that about 1/3 of the drive home was well off the freeway, too. More than once I had to tackle the last 10 miles or so on unplowed county roads with up to a foot of snow on the road. I hated that stretch in my 2WD pickup. In those conditions the truck had a tendency to break traction even with 150 lbs of sand behind the rear wheels. BTW, I tried my wife's Saturn a couple of times but it wasn't much better as it was too low to the ground for the deep stuff.

Now that I'm living in Woodbury and commuting to Richfield, I no longer regard 4WD as a necessity. I never see more than the 4-6 inches of the white stuff that you mentioned. I sold off the 4WD pickup a couple of years ago and I'm driving a front wheel drive sedan. I still miss the extra traction of that old 4WD pickup, though.

My next vehicle is probably going to be a smaller SUV with a towing package. Something that I can get up to the lakes with, out in the woods hunting, and reasonable gas mileage. Now, if Tesla would simply build a 4WD vehicle with a decent range... Hey, a fella can dream, can't he? ;-)

Comment Re:I grew up in Atlanta... (Score 1) 723

Don't even get me started on how unnecessary 4 wheel drive is, you can do 6+ inches of snow in 2 wheel drive just fine

With you so far...

and 4 wheel drive does nothing to help you stop any faster

Aaand this old fallacy shows up.

Look, I grew up in northern Minnesota and I have commuted to work in the Twin Cities for nearly 30 years. My commute these days is about 25 miles one way and used to be about 50. Trust me, I know driving in bad conditions. :-)

I've driven rear wheel drive mini-pickups, front wheel drive sedans, all wheel drive mini-SUVs, and a couple of 1/2 ton pickups (one two wheel drive, one 4 wheel). The little all wheel drive SUVs and the 4x4 were by FAR the best vehicles in snow for both acceleration and stopping.

You don't rely on just the brakes, use the engine. Downshift!. The extra braking force applied through the second axle can make all the difference.*

Granted, it's easier to manage with a manual transmission and clutch than an automatic. However, even the cheapest automatic tranny has at least one low gear below Drive. Use it!

*Note: Most vehicles are sold with open differentials so a two wheel drive is really a one wheel drive in bad conditions while a 4WD is really a 2WD. However, the extra axle not only means twice the force applied, but the force is applied on two different parts of the road surface. This can make all the difference in some circumstances.

Comment Re:Right idea, wrong amendment (Score 1) 263

Sigh. I'm on your side and you just don't know it. :-)

I suggest that you go back and re-read what you wrote initially, the 6th amendment, then go read Federalist Paper #84. The 9th and 10th amendments were added precisely to prevent the sort of misinterpretation that you were railing against in the first place. The courts had to rule the way that they did specifically because the 9th and 10 amendments were added. (Not that they haven't been trampled with every increasing frequency by judges who should know better.)

Comment Re:Sorry man, but not everyone agrees with you (Score 1) 1098

No, not the code. It's about giving freedom to the user. With GPLed code, nothing prevents a user from being able to maintain their system, except their own limitations (budget, tech knowledge, time, etc). With BSD-licensed code, the user may be able to maintain the system (if the developer opted to also BSD-license it to them) or they might have no (legal) options at all, other than to go begging on their hands and knees to the developer and agreeing to whatever terms are demanded. (It's almost as though, in the user-developer relationship, there are [at least] two perspectives. Imagine that!)

Some people, if they have ever stood in the shoes of a user rather than a developer (or been in a complicated love triangle, where there's a library/compiler/whatever hacker, an application hacker (who lives in both worlds at once), and a user), have a problem with that whole "go begging on your hands and knees" part, thinking it to have some faint whiff of not-freedom in it. I think this only happens to those people who don't create their entire systems from scratch, like when that guy who wrote that text editor, suddenly found himself needing to use someone else's printer driver. Because he was too much of a wimp to build his own printer, I guess. You know, a zealot.

Comment Facebook IS different (Score 2) 193

What i would like to know is what separates Facebook from AOL, Myspace, AIM, ICQ, BBS etc that came and went.

Facebook is more integrated into the rest of the web than all those other things.

None of the things you just mentioned, had millions of other sites embedding "like buttons" which give free intelligence to them whenever someone loads that other site's pages. Facebook, Google [Analytics], AddThis, and a few other things (Comscore and Quantcast) do something sort of similar (but at greater cost to themselves). I don't remember seeing AOL/MySpace/AIM/ICQ play that game. Go ahead, tell me what script or iframe tag MySpace (or AOL, ha!) ever got some other site to serve to all their users.

AOL and MySpace never (AFAIK) ran an OpenID server, or if they did, they convinced hardly anyone to use it. Facebook did that, except went a step further and did their own protocol instead of OpenID, and lots of sites use it. Look at the "sign in with" part of this page and tell me you see AOL or MySpace. The four (and only four) companies you see there, fucked the users by deviating from standards, and as their reward they get an explicit mention/branding instead of a generic enter-your-openid-URL blank. (If this ain't proof that Evil Is Basically A Good Idea, then I don't know what is. But that's beside the point.)

Do you remember ever seeing other sites show free ads to users, for MySpace or AOL, and where the webmasters thought it was basically a good/sane idea in their self interest? I can think of lots of sites I visit, where that site says "follow us on Facebook" complete with a link to Facebook. Facebook pays $0.00000000 CPM for this ad. It's a dumb ad too, since if you follow the link, you just see a scaled down abbreviated version of that site's own content and links back to that site. (Well, that plus some additional ads that Facebook got paid to run -- and where some of those ads, might even be for competitors to site you came from!)

If in 1997 you told you something like that could possibly exist, I would have laughed in your face. I still do laugh in your face in 2014 over the same thing, but it's a laugh of madness, drowned in the cacophony of a world gone mad.

Facebook is a bad site (there's no reason you should ever point your browser there), but on the other hand, they were brilliantly clever compared to all that came before them, in terms of getting value out of other sites. When Site X becomes the next big thing, there's a reasonably good chance that every pageload they acquire, will also help Facebook a little. Can you say MySpace was ever in such a position? Ever heard of dialup BBS that gained free data, sent from the user's computer, whenever a user picked any menu option on any of a few million other BBSes? Did you ever go to any site, where if you had firewalled off ICQ's servers, that other unrelated site wasn't able to offer all its usual interactivity?

Facebook is a totally different beast than MySpace, with basically nothing in common with it. MySpace was just some website that was popular for a while. Facebook is Shub-Internet.

Comment Right idea, wrong amendment (Score 1) 263

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Why does everyone forget these two?

Comment Problem solved (Score 1) 359

Geeks: "The public does a bunch of very insecure things. Someone could abuse all the myriad mistakes, where we don't even vaguely try to adopt best practices, and they do something bad."

News: "These people have started exploiting everyone's known bad practices. So have these people. And these people. And them. And them."

Geeks: "Also, theoretically, these people and these people and these other people, could started exploiting our bad practices too."

Public: "Yeah, but that's hypothetical."

Snowden: "The government has decided to exploit everyone's bad practices."

Public: "HEY!!!!"

President: "Oh. Ok, we'll stop exploiting it quite so much."

Problem solved.

Geeks: "No, act--"


Comment Re: FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (Score 5, Funny) 340

but how long until an airline gets sued because a passenger was unable to take an emergency-related call?

If you leave it to the market and then a passenger chooses to buy a ticket on a no-phones airline, then it's the call receiver who is responsible for declining the emergency call. "Our customer wanted to be in a phoneless environment and paid for that, furthermore demonstrating his preference. Sue him for not taking your call."

Furthermore, it's hard to imagine any scenario where anyone could ever have a reasonable expectation for being able to take an emergency call. Even if I fab an extreme over-the-top example (as I, like anyone, would love to do).

Guy happens to be the Last Doctor In The World. He says, "I want to fly on someone else's airplane, but I want to not listen to anyone else talking." So he buys a ticket on a no-phones airline. While waiting in the terminal, he turns off his phone. One second later, the President's wife calls him, and leaves this voice mail: "The President is choking on pizza! What do I do? WHAT DO I DO!?" but since the doctor turned off his phone, he doesn't see the call come in. He boards his flight, oblivious to the coming disaster.

Mid-flight, one of the passengers starts talking to another passenger. The doctor screams, "hey, shut the fuck up!" and everyone quiets down, because you never know when you might want to be on The Last Doctor In The World's good side. The captain makes an announcement over the intercom. The doctor glares, hatefully. He doesn't make a scene, but he writes the captain's name in his no-treatment book. The engines drone on, and he grimaces with discomfort, noting he's never going to treat anyone who works at Boeing, where they make such loud engines.

An hour later, he gets off the plane. He turns on his phone, and sees a bunch of voicemails from the First Lady. He calls her back. "Get your husband to cough up the pizza," he offers, rolling his eyes, but his advice has arrived too late. The president has already asphyxiated to death.

Unfortunately, right after the president's death, a bill arrived on his desk, which would have outlawed mass puppy shredding. It didn't get signed quickly, because it took a while for the then-vice-president to catch up. So one hundred thousand puppies where shredded, while it was still legal to do so. One of those puppies had an important passphrase tattooed on its ear, but now it has been shredded. Without the passphrase, no one was able to stop the nuclear launch that resulted in the deaths of three billion people.

One of the people whose gardener died in the nuclear war, sues Samsung for designing a phone that has an off switch, based on the idea that people HAVE TO receive emergency calls, no matter what anyone (even the owner of the phone) wants.

You're on the jury. What's your decision? If you rule in favor of the plaintiff, Samsung owes someone $3 to replace the plant that the dead gardener never got around to watering. And I will harbor a hypothetical-$3 grudge against you, from now to the end of time. OTOH, if you rule for the defendent, then I agree with you, my friend. What's it going to be?

Comment "No evidence of abuse has been found" (Score 4, Informative) 359

Obviously LOVEINT is one example. But more details are coming out about how David Patraues was caught having an affair because of "metadata" collected by the NSA.

When Jill Kelley first reported getting threatening emails about Patraues, the FBI read all her emails as part of "a routine step".

They didn't have a warrant to read her email, they just hacked into google and made a copy of everyone's email. If you report a crime to the FBI they read your email. Simple as that.

Comment Re:FCC Shouldn't Ban It, But Airlines Should (Score 1) 340

It's the FCC. Their argument will be that they're banning a radio tech (and in a specific context, without regard for what ever someone is saying over that radio), not speech itself. See that person in the seat next to you? Tell 'em how unfair King George's tea taxes are, and how unfair it is that Parliament doesn't ave a seat for us. The FCC won't stop you.

The reason we should shoot this down, is that there's no technical reason to ban the tech. The FCC doing this is merely a horrible. unnecessary, and un-American. But it's not unconstitutional. It's not as though the framers ever thought to add "don't be evil." They just assumed we didn't want evil government. Little did they know.

Comment Re:Sensationalist headline is Sensational (Score 1) 292

Typically these leaks are very small and are no danger to the public, which is why they are allowed to persist.

You didn't read the article. You didn't even read the summary. There were 12 which were dangerous. They reported them and the gas company had only fixed 3 of them four months later.

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