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Comment Re:1. Area too large; 2. Expires in 30 days (Score 1) 174

You might consider giving Garmin some money, then. They have a product with offline maps which apparently lets you buy map data and indeed basic functionality piecemeal. It's a dollar right now, but it's supposed to remain cheap. I guess they are or were also offering deals on content. Linked article complains about spending a hundred bucks, but if that were lifetime that would be well worth it. The big problem with buying a Garmin GPS is that the hardware pretty well sucks unless you spend a lot, and your updates are tied to the device so you could get into a situation where you're motivated to give them money to repair a device that was kind of lame (hardware-wise) when you bought it. But if I can take their app to a new phone when I upgrade, then I can let that unit go to a friend and just use my phone, which has a much nicer screen overall. In particular, text input on my Garmin is horrible. I forget what model it is ATM or I'd include that info. Suffice to say it was a cheap refurb.

Comment Re:Problem with proprietary 'free' offerings (Score 1) 174

Guess that's why they killed it - people remember it, but didn't realize it was still around - you certainly don't see it advertised anywhere.

Well, there were really two reasons why it died. First, it required a windows machine to run, and until recently none of them have really been that nice to use in the car. You need a combination of battery life (in case you forget the charger, you won't be able to get another cheaply and you're depending on this thing, remember?) and form factor that just wasn't there. Second, even when it was brand new it was out of date, so why buy it new? If you bought one a year old you could get it for $20 with the GPS dongle. If they had actually put in the effort necessary to keep it up-to-date, then I'd have paid for it when it came out, rather than when it got old. I've bought it twice now, a couple years old both times. It would fall on its ass anywhere around new construction, but it was pretty sweet for route planning and it was a cheap way to get an adequate GPS dongle.

I also bought Delorme's software a couple years aged on the same basis. It was better at turn-by-turn but the interface was atrocious and that made it worse at everything else. The GPS dongle is bright yellow, so I suggest the Microsoft package instead. Either one is adequate as a time source :)

Comment Re:I Use Streets and Trips on RV Trips (Score 1) 174

I think the problem is that they can't compete with the dedicated units. Garmins and Tomtoms are fairly cheap and fit nicely on the dashboard, and even they're losing market share (or redirecting their business) to built-in systems.

Too bad Microsoft didn't have any synchronization between their automotive platform and streets and trips. If you could plot a route on your PC and then load it into your car (why isn't the key also a USB key?) then both Microsoft automotive bullshit and S&T might have received a boost.

Comment Re:Kind of like supermarket loyalty schemes (Score 1) 353

It's the perfect libertarian excuse for corporate abuse. You don't have to go along with the abuse. You can just live like an Amish person and avoid the abuse if you really want to. It's all your "choice".

Well, to be fair, Libertarians also often suggest the dissolution of borders. Everything which was not necessary for the function of the minimally-sized government would be private property, and you could sell it to anyone you liked. But they'd be motivated not to move to certain places because they'd be exposed to prejudice; under such a system, you cannot be forced to trade with someone. It's a sort of choose-your-own-feudalism-adventure.

Comment Re:Car Insurance Companies Too! (Score 1) 353

I'm glad that my cars are pre-OBD-II.

Don't be. If it is ever decided that thou shalt be tracked, they will simply install Accelerometer/GPS-based black boxes in all of the vehicles, and your engine will be irrelevant. They'll know how you were driving, and when you were doing it.

But really, it comes down to that they can raise your rates when they want to for any or no reason. The only thing stopping them is competition from others that want the same revenue source.

Yep. Anything which is mandatory and not fully transparent is guaranteed to be a scam.

Comment Re:quelle surprise (Score 1) 725

So you are opposed to a carbon free source that has killed no one in this whole country after 70 years but has elsewhere?

It only hasn't killed anyone in this country due to luck. We have the same shitty reactors as Fukushima, sitting on fault lines and so on, with spent fuel sitting around in pools dependent on backup power which is on-site. Only the Tsunami risk is absent, but a big enough 'quake will do the job and is feasible at a number of sites.

But you are for it there but not here?

I am for it in places which seem to be able to manage it, and not in places which are just piling up their waste and finding more and more excuses for not dealing with it.

Wait until you hear the number of people killed in plane crashes HERE!

I only care about the number of people killed by plane crashes, less the number of people killed in plane crashes. You can choose whether or not to get on a plane.

Comment Re:dont care (Score 1) 150

No, the real issue is what the NSA is doing. They're reading my damned mail, listening to my calls

Yes, and how are they doing that? Because you're using easily-tapped electronic forms of communication. If you were sending your messages via sealed scroll (presumably with something more modern than wax) you might have greater informational security. And indeed, when corporations or even simply savvy humans want to communicate, that's precisely what they do. The data gets bundled up and handed to a courier, and if security is sufficiently important, they will literally drive it to the airport, get on the plane with it, take it to another country, and hand-deliver it so that you have a reasonable expectation that there has been no eavesdropping.

Or, you know, you could just use encryption. But they'll still gather metadata. But then, they can do that regarding the travel related to your package. There's always going to be some kind of wrapper, even if the only one they get to read is your itinerary, gathered retroactively.

How do I "not use" the NSA?

Move out of the country, become a citizen of another nation (tricky if there's not a baby on the way) and renounce your US citizenship. Then, don't use electronic communications :)

Comment Re:Garmin for the win (Score 1) 174

I cracked open my wallet and spent $150 on a unit with lifetime traffic and maps. It was last year's. Might have been a good idea to spend another $50 and get a slightly more optioned one, but there it is. It's not even necessary to spend $300. Cheaper is better, because the units are still fairly fragile — especially around the cable connection. You don't want to be financially motivated to actually be sending units in for repair.

Comment Re:Using SSN? (Score 1) 74

I don't see this as a SSN problem; it's more a greed problem on the part of the seller, who failed to enforce due diligence.

He didn't just fail to enforce due diligence, his intent was to sell the car to someone not entitled to buy it, so that he could get a judgement. You can borrow against owed debt. It's all a very well-known scam.

Comment Re:Microsoft can't innovate (Score 1) 174

Well, they came up with the XBox, and established online gaming as a serious thing.

Well, no, PC developers did that. And they did it pretty much completely without Microsoft's help, because DirectX was just coming into being when it had really taken off.

the "start" menu (which incidentally was another MS innovation).

Because it does not resemble the Apple menu at all, simply with more launcher functionality added in?

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