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Comment Re:What we need... (Score 1) 235

I'm not 100% sure about N.America, but in Europe at least, the vast majority of cyclists you see have driving licenses and even own a car, but are just choosing not to use it. Yes, there is a subset of cyclists who flaunt traffic laws, although, I've yet to see any statistics to say what sort of percentage actually do this. (It is probably far lower than people think)
On a daily basis driving (or cycling) around Toronto I see many cars passing through traffic lights at red, especially in the case of a left turn.

in London, UK, there was a study performed to work out why (as a percentage) female cyclists were involved in more accidents than male cyclists. One of the conclusions was the fact that a male cyclist was more likely to move off before the traffic signal turned green, jumping the red light. Although, I suspect that is not what you are referring too. An unnerving number of cyclists do just blow through a red light without any hesitation, which is not a smart thing to be doing.

I sympathise with your pedestrian anecdote, cyclists if they are riding on the footpath (legally or not) should always be courteous to pedestrians. Although, you should really not take offence at a cyclist ringing their bell at you. When riding my bike I am more than aware of the fact I am almost silent so ringing a bell from a sufficient distance does warn pedestrians you are approaching, it certainly should not be interpreted as an aggressive act on the part of the cyclists. Shouting and being aggressive though, if you don't appear to notice, is totally out of order. (for all the cyclists knows, you may be deaf)
(And yes, whilst my bike technically is legal to ride on the side walk in Toronto, I do not do it)

Comment Re:What we need... (Score 1) 235

Merging into a lane is a co-operative event, it is up to the road user wishing to move over to signal their intention and wait for a suitable space to move into. It matters nothing that the speeds are different, it is your responsibility as a following road user to be alert for other road users merging and adjust your speed accordingly, or move over to an adjacent lane (if one exists). Yes, if there isn't a safe space between you and the person in front and the person merging dives in (with or without signalling intent) then it is likely if an accident occurs they are at fault. This is no different no matter which type of road user is merging into traffic.

What happens a lot of the time is that people see a cyclist, bus, garbage truck, old person in a car signalling a merge and they speed up to close the gap. If there is a resultant collision it would at least partially be the fault of the road user who sped up in response to the signalling, as they have done the opposite to what is reasonable. If you are a Garbage Truck or a Bus, you pull over anyway (most of the time) as they are not intimidated, but others?

When I am riding in Toronto, I signal my intent to move to the left lane, to make a turn and I wait for a suitable gap in the traffic. You learn to judge the speed of the traffic and how far from the Intersection you need to make your lane change to do it safely and avoid annoying other road users unnecessarily. Yes, sometimes a vehicle will need to slow, but never in an abrupt fashion.

If we're going for the separate cycle lane approach, then the only way it can work safely is if cyclists heading straight on (in the cycle lane) have right of way over motorists making a turn. This is the case anyway, both with cyclists in the near side lane and pedestrians on a side walk. (Unless, in the case of the pedestrians, the cross walk is flashing before they step into road).

To solve the left turn is simple too, you show green to cyclists ahead of the regular traffic signal. They can then perform their left turn, whilst the traffic is held at red. This does mean the cyclists would have to wait for the appropriate phase in the cycle at the Intersection to make their left turn.

Cycling around cities in Denmark and Holland show that this infrastructure can be made to work (and retro-fitted to cities). Sadly, giving road space over to cyclists (at least in Toronto and I suspect a lot of other cities in the world) is politically unpalatable, even if it ultimately is the best for everyone.

Comment Re:WTF Is A "Feature Phone"? (Score 1) 243

Feature Phones are devices that were designed around a specific purpose or feature. Examples of the Feature Phone are: The Nokia 6800, its feature being fold out qwerty keyboard and email. The Nokia 5310, with music controls. Nokia 8800, style and quality over function. Realistically the original iPhone was a "Feature Phone" with its feature being touch-screen input.

The idea is that users buy a device based around the feature(s) they are most interested in. In the days before carrying touch-screen computers, it is a reasonable idea to target devices in this way. Compromise the general purpose of the device a little to accentuate other features. With a large touch-screen and more powerful processors such compromises aren't needed to be made as the UI is not limited to the standard 4x3 keypad with a small screen.

Comment Re:Paired with.... (Score 1) 307

An $85 + Tax (at 14%) plan in Ontario will get you pretty much unlimited nation wide calling and 1GB of Data (on an LTE Network) you will also get Voice Mail and Caller Id. That costs near enough $100. Plus, if you want to have a recent phone you will have to pony up at least $100 or more up front. In the UK (where I lived until last year) you were looking at perhaps $55 (including tax at 20%) for a similar contract.

You can go cheaper in Canada, the almost cartel-like companies that control the mobile industry in Canada have lower tier "Networks" that offer cheaper contracts (the $85 plan above can be found for $60) but you have to sacrifice not being able to have access to the latest handsets. Finally there are the third tier "Networks" that have next to no coverage, outside of city centres, where you can find a similar plan for about $40, without a device and no LTE.

None of these plans are generous in their allowances. Wind (a seller of the $40 plans) claims to provide "unlimited data" but realistically that is subject to a Fair Use Agreement which means anything over 6GB you are asked to pay more, or have your bandwidth reduced)

Canada is probably one of the most expensive places to own a mobile phone

Comment Re:I thought it'd be laptops without internet (Score 1) 65

I doubt Smartphones will make serious in-roads to the African market soon. Do not forget that most of the phones used in Africa are not new devices and have had several owners. Given most modern smartphones are rather fragile items and sensitive to moisture & dust, I doubt they will have that much longevity. (Think of how indestructible feature phones were a decade ago and mostly are today) Having a non-replaceable battery would rule out a lot of current smart phone devices too.

Also, the top "features" for a phone in Africa are Torch and Radio, neither of which are top on the list of smartphone features.

You are correct, power is a big problem with smartphones. "Power" comes from people who ride a bike (or walk) into a city and purchase a car battery that is charged. Or connect to the village's car battery connected to wind/solar electricity sources. The people peddling around with car batteries is also where top-up credit is purchased from.

Nokia's moniker for this market was "Internet for the Next Billion", trying to raise the level of device in use beyond basic GSM handsets. Nokia were well aware that the relationship with this market was one that was at arm's length. Perhaps a village could pool resources to purchase a phone (Nokia sell kits for longer range external antennas, solar/car battery charging points, etc) but that was about as direct a relationship Nokia had.

Submission + - Password Protected Phone = Privacy in Canada (thestar.com)

codegen writes: "The Ontario Court of Appeal has just ruled that the police can search your cellphone if you are arrested without a warrant if it is not password protected. But the ruling also stated that if it is password protected, then the police need a warrant. Previous to this case there was no decision on if the police could search your phone without a warrant in Canada."

Submission + - Why doesn't Android support Linux filesystems for removable storage? 1

Pale Dot writes: After weeks of struggle I finally figured out a way for the apps on my rooted Android tablet to recognize an SD card I had formatted as Ext4 but with the default journaling option turned off. The problem at first was getting the SD card to mount at all (technically this was the "external" SD card as the tablet also has a built-in "internal" SD card). Apparently, the Android automount facility, the evil-sounding vold daemon, does not support any filesystem besides Microsoft's VFAT. From various online sources, I learned that the CyanogenMod Linux 3.x kernel itself does support mounting Ext4, at least via the terminal "mount -t ext4" command.

A second problem soon cropped up. Apps, such as VLC and the AardDict offline dictionary, that rely on some sort of automagic scanning of the device storage space would not index the media and database files I copied to the SD card. It turns out that the simple solution, or the "hack" as it stands, is to mount the SD card under the directory created for the internal VFAT-formatted SD card, i.e. as "/storage/sdcard0/extsd" rather than the more direct "/storage/sdcard1". This works probably because subdirectories inherit the file permissions of the parent.

As part of my Google (re)search into the problem, I came upon this Google+ post by an Android developer curiously named Dianne Hackborn about the design decision not to support anything besides the Redmond-certified filesystem: "The external storage when on a SD card is FAT. Period. You are just going to cause yourself a mess if you try to do otherwise. The basic semantics of how external storage is used relies on it being fat — no permissions, case insensitive, etc."

So, is Google right about not supporting Ext2/3/4 for removable flash media, even if the base system itself often uses one of these Linux-native filesystems? Supposed issues about the frequent media access needed by a journalised filesystem don't apply to Ext2, which has no journal, or Ext4, which has an "-O ^has_journal" (no journal) formatting option. Perplexing still is that my tablet is advertised as having support for yet another Microsoft-patented invention, the ExFat filesystem. Unfortunately, there's still no way for a non-rooted Android tablet or smartphone to mount an SD card formatted as Ext2 or Ext4.

Comment Re:I know you won't want to hear this (Score 1) 134

One of the key factors that tipped the decision to go with Microsoft is that is was popular with the Network Operators. They, like Nokia, feared the increasing influence Google was having over the mobile phone market. Android was becoming a household name. They were excited by the idea that Nokia would bring out Windows Phone devices. I suspect the deals to supply the North American Operators would have been impossible if Nokia had gone with Android.

I am sure Nokia probably could have made Meego work, especially considering they were pushing their massive feature phone market towards a binary compatible Eco-system with Qt. The sad fact is that it was taking too long. Meego and the Linux feature phone was bogged down with the same bureaucracy that effectively killed Symbian. Also the strategy would have provided probably strong sales in China, Europe (apart from the UK & Germany), India and Africa. It would have struggled like everything before it in the North American market which Nokia coveted so strongly. I am sure the sales of WIndows Phone in the N.American market is being trumpeted as a huge success internally given that they are selling better than any previous offering there.

One myth that probably should die is that this was brought about by Elop. The decisions were almost certainly made by the board of directors and they found the CEO that could deliver on the strategy. Which is why there is a Canadian (and former Microsoft man) at the top now rather than a Finnish or even a European. It is why it couldn't be someone from within Nokia either. (until Elop's appointment the company's ethos was very much that Microsoft was the enemy, ie the attitude that lead to the creation of Symbian in the 1990s.) There is no way in the time from his appointment to the burning plaform memo could he have forced such a change in direction, he just isn't that good a leader.


Submission + - Nokia to Make GPS Navigation Free on Smartphones (nokia.com)

mliu writes: In what is sure to be a blow to the already beleaguered stand alone GPS market, Nokia, the global leader in smartphone market share, has released a fully offline-enabled free GPS navigation and mapping application for its Symbian smartphones. Furthermore, the application also includes Lonely Planet and Michelin guides. Unfortunately, the N900, which is beloved by geeks for its Maemo Linux-based operating system, has not seen any of the navigation love so far. With Google's release of Google Navigation for Android smartphones, and now Nokia doing one better and releasing an offline-enabled navigation application, hopefully this is the start of a trend where this becomes an expected component of any smartphone.
Operating Systems

Submission + - Nokia releases Linux handset (nokia.com)

galaxy writes: "Nokia releases their first Linux mobile handset, the N900. The handset is based on the latest release of Maemo, the Nokia mobile Linux platform, and includes e.g. GSM and 3G access (with HSPA, giving datarates of up to 10Mbps downlink and 2Mbps uplink on suitable networks), WLAN, Bluetooth, camera, assisted GPS and, most importantly, a touchscreen complemented by a hardware QWERTY under a slider. The beast is powered by anARM Cortex-A8 processor at 600 MHz, has PowerVR SGX with OpenGL ES 2.0 support, 32GB internal memory etc."
Operating Systems

Submission + - Nokia leaks phone with full GNU/Linux distribution 2

An anonymous reader writes: It is now clear why Nokia has been so slow with S60 updates: the upcoming N900 just left everything else in the dust. Unlike Google's Linux platform, Nokia is not intentionally breaking compatibility with real distros, choosing instead to bring you the unmatchable power of GNU/Linux on your phone. This is the most awesome device I have ever seen.

OMAP3 CPU/GPU, 3,5" 800x480 touchscreen, keyboard, wifi, hspa, gps
5 MP camera, CZ lens, 32GB storage, SD slot
X11 window server, VT100 terminal emulator, APT package manager
Price without credit: est. 550e/$780 (N.5800: 280e/$390, iPhone 3GS: 530e/$750)

Developers should note that even though the current desktop is still GTK+, Qt will be standard across all Nokia platforms in the near future (less powerful phones will use Qt on the Symbian kernel). Users can download flashing software from Nokia, and patches can be submitted at the Maemo site.

Comment Re:Waiting.. (Score 1) 449

Coming to the Mobile Phone game 15 years late means Apple's IP for mobile phones is exceedingly week. Other players (Motorola, Nokia, Broadcom, Qualcomm, Ericsson, etc) have a lot of IP in that area. I doubt anyone has called Apple on these patents yet. If Apple starts throwing its patents in their faces, Apple may well get more than they bargained for. It probably isn't possible to produce a phone that talks to GSM or UMTS without infringing on all the above player's IP. As with most patent disputes, the end result will be a cross licensing scheme. Meaning Apple's "innovations" will be used and improved upon by other players.


Submission + - Nokia Takes Third Swing at Internet Tablet

DeviceGuru writes: It looks like Nokia is intent on knocking the ball out of the park with its Linux-powered Internet tablets. Today, the company unveiled the N810, its third attempt at hitting a home run with the concept. The new model adds a slide-out hardware keyboard, and also a built-in GPS receiver and FM transmitter (for in-car listening), among a number of other enhancements (such as a faster CPU and more memory). At this point, the device is positioned as an email and browsing tool, a social networking aid, a GPS, a VoIP phone, and a multimedia player (and streamer, thanks to built-in WiFi). But are the fans jumping out of their seats at this latest swing from mobile phone heavy-hitter Nokia?

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