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Comment Polished turds (Score 1) 292

I don't think I've ever come across a modern in-car GPS/entertainment system that is *not* a polished turd. The GPS navigation software is always terrible - slow, counterintuitive and annoying to use with an unresponsive UI meaning you're not sure if it actually accepted the touch screen input, difficult and costly to have updated, and if it allows over the air updates requires a contract (more cost). The system will also be hilariously dated before the car is even a third of a way through its expected lifetime. Often they are hilariously dated the day the car rolls off the production line.

I'd rather a car came with an entertainment system that had just one thing: a decent Bluetooth audio system and nothing else. That way the updates are on whatever device I use.

Comment Re:Microsoft... (Score 2) 292

The best one I had was a Chevrolet rental car. The Bluetooth device list was full (it only allows 5), but trying to delete any of the devices left by previous renters did nothing. We tried turning the car off, trying it with the engine stopped, trying it parked with the engine running etc, but no difference. The UI went through all of the motions of deleting it, but didn't actually delete it. Googling brought the following procedure to reset the system. Stop the car, turn it off. Open the drivers door. Wait for 5 minutes with the drivers door open. Close the drivers door. Turn the car back on again.

It actually worked. It was bizarre. We could now remove the old bluetooth devices from the list.

It even remembered and automatically connected with my phone afterwards too.

Comment Re:Battery cases prove market for fatter phone (Score 1) 377

It doesn't make it awkward at all. The external batteries are easily pocketable, and a short bit of cable isn't a problem. I have a MiFi with a battery you can swap, but I've never swapped the battery - it's easier and simpler just to plug it into an external battery when the charge gets low.

Comment Re:This simply means we're succeeding. (Score 1) 235

Not so fast.

Passenger air travel is becoming ever more fuel efficient. Airlines are keenly interested in the lowest fuel used per passenger seats, especially the low cost airlines. EasyJet's fleet (a low cost European airline) is almost brand new, same with RyanAir (who are notorious for making everything as cheap as possible). Not only do the airlines want efficient planes, but they want them as full as possible. EasyJet's load factor is 90% for example (meaning on average at least 90% of the seats are filled).

EasyJet's A319-neo aircraft have an average fuel burn (no wind) of about 2L/100km per passenger seat (about 115 mpg (US)). Adjusting with a 90% load factor about 103mpg per passenger flown. This is roughly equivalent to a reasonably efficient mid-size car carrying 3 people (note: most cars most of the time only carry 1 person), but remember the plane is doing 500+ mph while getting this efficiency, whereas the car will only be doing about 60mph to get that efficiency per seat.

A well-loaded electric train can better this of course, but airline travel isn't as absurdly fuel thirsty as you presume - there have been very impressive efficiency gains over time.

Comment Re:No no no. (Score 1) 275

Making PCBs isn't all that hard, nor is soldering SMD. I've soldered 0.4mm pitch LQFP chips to a home made PCB. These days I don't bother making the PCBs since there's lots of places doing low quantity PCBs where I can just send the gerbers off to (and get 4 or 6 layer boards, which you need to be obsessed to make at home). I don't even use specialist tools for SMD soldering - normal soldering iron chisel tip, flux, 0.23mm dia solder, solder wick.

Comment Re: Here's an idea... (Score 2) 260

It varies massively by airport. Going through Houston on a B777 or B787 from London, I get through passport control before my luggage reaches the carousel every time, and that's been consistent for years. Each non-US citizen passenger gets through in generally less than 2 minutes, and there's always many gates open, so even if you're at the back the wait isn't typically all that long.

Dallas Fort Worth on the other hand... I will never use DFW again.

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