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Comment Re:Universal healthcare would fix this (Score 4, Insightful) 283

I have to admit, just when I thought facts about US healthcare couldn't surprise me anymore, I learn that astronauts - one of the toughest and highest profile government jobs you could have - don't have guaranteed healthcare later in life? That seems insane, especially given there's really not that many astronauts out there to begin with.

I'm from a country with public universal health care, with a private option (i.e. you can pay for private health insurance on top of the public system if you think it's worth it - it covers extras like dental, cosmetic surgery, etc.) But private insurance isn't tied to employment. You just buy it from a company like you would car insurance or home insurance. Having said that, the public system is good quality (you'll probably be treated by the same doctors either way), so there's no need to worry if you can't afford it. It's not a perfect system but it's gotta be better than what's happening in the US.

Comment Re:Don't bother - the money is poor and weather sh (Score 1) 195

That's one of those cultural things and is true in most countries. I grew up in such a country and find buildings in North America and some European countries ridiculously stuffy and overheated in winter. It just depends on what you grew up with I guess.

I live in the US now but keep my indoor temperature at 18/19 C at most (65-66 ish F), and yeah, wear a jumper. I sometimes crank it to 20 C / 68 F if I have guests coming around hehe.

Comment Re:Per Capita Numbers? (Score 1) 164

Yep - this makes complete sense. The two TVs we do have are used purely as displays for Chromecast and games. We don't actually watch 'TV' on them. I also have various computer monitors, some of which are big enough that you could comfortably use them as 'TVs'.

Increasingly I think distinguishing TVs from monitors by whether or not they have a tuner will become meaningless, as more and more people are just using them to watch content from one HDMI/DisplayPort source or another, which may be a timeshifted 'TV' show, or a movie, or a game, or YouTube, or...

Comment Re:Don't bother - the money is poor and weather sh (Score 1) 195

I feel like if they are desperate enough to fly you out to NZ for a job interview and show you around for a week, that it would defeat the purpose to get to the salary negotiation part of it and skimp on the dollars there. Cost of living in NZ is quite reasonable. So yeah, if you're constantly thinking of your pay in terms of "what would this buy me if I converted it back to my home currency and spent it at home", then it may seem like a bad deal. But you wouldn't do this purely to bring money home - you'd be spending it locally and enjoying the lifestyle.

I agree with you on the weather - I actually quite like COLD weather, but the constant wind in Wellington is irritating and makes even mild days feel colder than they are on paper. Having said that, NZ has plenty of beautiful countryside and scenery, and Wellington itself is quite a fun town. Three hour flight from warm beaches and bigger cities in Australia too (Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane).

Comment Re:Do they need Infrastructure People? (Score 4, Interesting) 195

I'm Australian but have worked and lived in Wellington a bit, and in the USA. New Zealand internet on the whole is pretty good. Within Wellington you should be able to get a fibre connection at 100 Mbps no problems, at a cost similar to in the US.

Ping times to sites in Europe and America are obviously high, but not much you can do about that (pesky speed of light!) Most big sites have CDNs in NZ or Australia though, so it's not really a problem unless you enjoy playing online games that don't have local servers...

Comment Re: $300 or $400 for map update (Score 1) 310

I love my Garmin LMT too, but holy hell are the maps expensive if you want a map not from the region you bought it in. I'm regularly in three different countries so no matter where I bought it, I'd be screwed. Fricken almost 200 bucks for a map of Australia + NZ? That's barely less than the unit itself was!

Comment Re:Enforcement (Score 1) 67

No, they're going to rely on the fact that the majority of people will abide by the guideline, even though a few won't. It's risk reduction, nothing more. You already have people who don't turn their phone to flight mode in contravention of the rules, but they don't go around checking everyone's phone for that either.

Comment Re:Surprise (Score 1) 67

In many aspects of life, Australia is a mid-point between the US and Europe ... it's kinda a hybrid of them. Speed of life and attitude towards customer service is one of them, language is another (an accent closer to the UK than the US, but uses plenty of US words rather than the UK equivalents, e.g. truck vs lorry, eggplant vs. aubergine, etc.)

It also varies drastically by where you are in the country. Some states are known to have a slower pace of life than others (true in both Australia and the US).

Comment Re:Courage, it didn't come, doesn't matter (Score 1) 551

I kind of agree with you, but I think a lot of people don't really care about huge innovations in the smartphone space anymore. The smartphone market is mature, stable and relatively saturated now. Every man and his dog owns one. In the first few years of iOS and Android devices, obviously huge innovations and gains were being made every year. But the phones on the market are all damn good. I struggle to think of anything that would be a massive life-changing improvement these days. So I'm fine with just seeing incremental improvements each year. It's a bit like cars - this year's Toyota is not radically different to last year's, but no-one really expects otherwise.

I think if someone is going to have to come up with an entirely new product category before we see huge innovations again. Apple tried with the Watch, and it's been modestly successful, but let's face it, a lot of people just don't wear watches.

Comment No, not really (Score 1) 385

I haven't really used optical media at all in at least five years, now that I think about it. For general 'moving data about' purposes, cloud services (Google Drive/Dropbox etc.) or USB sticks work well. For backups, external hard drives (or internal hard drives placed into a NAS) are cheap and large enough now to be the best option, even though they too might fail (so don't have only one backup!)

I think the only time I ever use an optical drive now is when reformatting a machine or setting a new one up - on occasion I might want to DBAN the drive or use some other kind of recovery utility on a bootable CD/DVD that I burnt years ago and can't be bothered making a bootable USB for.

Comment Re:Famous words... (Score 4, Insightful) 264

IMO best combination is PC plus whatever Nintendo console is out at the time. Obviously Nintendo games are never going to come out on another platform, so you need that console for your Marios and your Zeldas etc. But most (maybe 75-80%) of games that come out for one or both of the other two consoles tend to come out on PC as well. So I think if you are restricting yourself to two devices total, PC+Nintendo casts the widest net in terms of 'having the most games available to me'.

Comment Re:Famous words... (Score 1) 264

This is kind of a middle ground between traditional consoles and PCs. The advantage for developing for console is that you have a known, fixed hardware and software environment to target, rather than the thousands of combinations of OS/firmware/hardware/drivers on the PC platform. The advantage of consoles for consumers have traditionally been that they are (1) easier to setup and use (especially if you aren't particularly 'good with computers') and guaranteed to run the games that you buy; and (2) can be played on your big TV with nice comfy couch.

Advantage (2) is being eroded recently since TVs can all accept PC input these days (via HDMI) and the availability of cheap devices like Steamlink that allow you to run the game on powerful PC hardware elsewhere in the home and stream gameplay to the living room TV with minimal lag. Pre-built Steam boxes are also a threat. So an approach like this allows Microsoft to compete in the "I want an easy to use device that allows me to play while sitting on my couch" console market while also having a range of products that vary in price and performance, so you can still get PC-like cutting edge performance if you want. And it's still easier for devs too - sure they might now have to target and test three or four different 'Xbox' variants, but each one of those is a known quantity and it's a far cry from the multitude of possible PC configurations.

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