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Comment Re:The real question does it matter? (Score 1) 271

As far as the middle east goes they are a lot closer to it than we are. If they want to take on those problems, I'd argue for letting them. The bulk of the oil money has already been made, the minor loss of influence over there in exchange for giving up the cost of responsibility for it is worth it.

Actually, a good swat of Eastern European countries are NATO members, to the infinite dismay of Russia.

Comment Re:Nice to see. . . (Score 1) 422

I am sure that if you're in the middle of a long term contract with unlimited data use, Verizon will let you walk away with no penalty when this change comes into effect. But I would guess most unlimited users are in month to month contracts, and both they, and the company can terminate at any time. What surprises me is that both Verizon and AT&T allowed unlimited plans to be grandfathered in for so long.

Just to make it clear where I stand: I would love to have the option of a truly unlimited plan. I don't think the companies should be forced to offer it though. There really is a competitive market in US wireless, go to a different provider if you don't like your current one.

Comment Re:Average car? (Score 2) 622

I will never set foot in a dealership until I know exactly what car I am going to buy (down to VIN), and how much I am going to pay for it, including taxes and fees and how am I going to pay for it, i.e. cash or pre-arranged finance with a third party. Everything is negotiated and agreed upon in advance. If they try any bait and switch I leave. They might try to lure me with their low APR financing, and I might take it if it is significantly better than what I have - say 0%. They might try to sell me extended warranty, which I will refuse. That's it. Any snag in the process and I give them a warning. Things don't go smoothly after the warning, I leave.

So yes, I never pay MSRP. I pay less.

Comment Re:Uh... let me think about it (Score 1) 622

Was crossing over from Austria into Germany, have to say that the first that I was in a different country was the No Speed Limit sign on the highway... then I noticed the border sign, because I specifically looked for it. Similarly, driving between Brussels and Amsterdam, the border sign between Belgium and Netherlands is positively tiny.

Comment Re:Let me guess... (Score 1) 179

Infrastructure projects are not sexy, they aren't politically appealing - and they don't attract donor money. What corporation is going to give you campaign finance because you "promised to patch the crumbling concrete of a bridge in your town" ?

Umm, the construction company that stands to get the contract to rebuild the bridge?

Comment Re:The brief puff of black soot... (Score 3, Interesting) 496

Funny, I've never seen ANY kind of visible smoke coming out of my new diesel sedan, even under hard revving. Not a VW though. Modern diesels come with filters that capture soot particles and urea exhaust treatment systems to neutralize NOx emissions. Barring cheating, a well built modern diesel vehicle is as clean as its gasoline counterpart.

Comment Re:OpenWRT? (Score 1) 77

Actually the Asus router comes with their own firmware called AsusWRT, which is licensed under GPL. There's at least one hobbyist derivative by the name AsusWRT Merlin. Asus has been known to cooperate with Merlin by providing them with beta versions and by pulling patches into their mainline firmware. Third party firmwares such as Tomato or DD-WRT can also be installed. The factory firmware isn't too bad as of now, but if you're the kind that likes to mod routers, Asus is a pretty good choice

Comment Re:Why no diesel hybrids? (Score 1) 420

Cost. Diesel engines, plus the associated emission control equipment, are expensive. Batteries, electric motor, regenerative brakes and other hybrid equipment are also expensive. Both provide pretty good mileage improvements, but having both on will hit diminishing returns, so it's not worth it.

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