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Comment Re:Public information? (Score 1) 90

a cop can stand there and listen to what you say, even record it if they want. It's a public place.

The difference is that it used to take some effort to track what one person was saying in those public places. With technology making it nearly free, we're all facing every public moment of our entire lives being stored forever in some law enforcement database.

I'm fine with the local police getting copies of business' surveillance tapes, interviewing people, and checking telco logs to piece together my actions, AFTER there has been some credible accusation that I've committed a felony. But doing it all day, every day, in minute detail, storing it forever, etc., is massively crossing a line into police-state territory.

Your argument is akin to peeping toms protesting their innocence because you don't have an expectation of privacy when absolutely anybody could have been standing on a ladder, with a high-powered scope, taking pictures through the crack between the curtains, so it's all your fault, not theirs.

Comment Re:'"We are looking into the matter" (Score 0) 126

I had to read this carefully before I realized that the US state of Georgia was complaining, rather than the country of Georgia.

The word "state" appears EIGHT times in the title and summary. You can read it quite carelessly, and it's still difficult to miss the context.

There's plenty of problems to complain about, here... This is not one of them.

Comment Re:"Feel forced?" (Score 1) 301

No one sat down and said they wantd to make taxis more expensive 'just because'. There are reasons for that extra cost that protect the public

There's certainly some of that, but all too much of it is rent-seeking, lack of modern technology, and hanging onto depreciated business models.

The insane price of NYC taxi medallions for example. Technology allowing drivers to rate passengers, therefore allowing expensive trouble passengers to be left without a lift. Technology allowing passengers to get prices and comparison shop rather than being locked-in to the rates of whichever taxi pulls up, and depending on the route they take. Better utilization by telling drivers where passengers are. Technology that forces passengers to pay without cab drivers needing to tackle cheats. etc.

I have no love for Uber / Lyft abusing their employees, skirting innumerable laws, and throwing money around to try and get themselves exemptions, but it's easy to make the case that the traditional taxi system was incredibly inefficient and rather corrupt, for no good reason.

Comment powered wagons (Score 2) 100

Interestingly, not on TGVs which are among the most common high speed trains in Europe (470 trains). These trains have power cars at both ends.

On the other hand, German ICE (InterCity Express) and Swiss ICN (InterCity Neigezug) both use the "no power cars / each wagon with an electric motor" configuration (though not on 1st class wagons in the swiss case to diminish noise).
- This gives them tremendous power enabling them to climb steeper slopes than normal powercars (which is useful in hilly pre-Alpine regions)
- This gives them very efficient regenerative braking (In switzerland, two train coming down from the Lötschberg tunnel can entirely power one train climbing up to it).

I've also seen it on Czech Pendolinos.
I seem to remember that Austria's ÖSB has also such configuration, but I'm not 100% sure.

But funny that you mention: seems indeed that the French TGV are almost the only high speed trains not doing it.

Comment Re:Note will have a pen holder (Score 2) 104

The headphone jack isn't just a hole though, it has electronics that take up space in the internals which manufacturers want to use now for other things.

Common !
- Other manufacturer are managing to still cram an audio jack into their competing smartphones
- Smartphone are getting *wider* with *larger screen* each generation. In theory they should have *more room* for electronics.
- The "other things" might not be as useful as marketing would like you to think (Apple's taptic engine was the excuse for removing their jack).
- The only reason that manufacturer are lacking space is because they have launched themself in a competition for the thinest device possible. By trying to shave a few mm of thickness, they are losing critical space. This has already cost Apple their bendgate (less thickness = less mechanical resistance) and caused Samsung a few exploding batteries (not enough space for battery expansion).

In other words: I manufacturer weren't competing for the first company to release a phone thin enough so you can cut cheese with it, they would have plenty of space to keep a phone jack, add their useless new features AND have bigger batteries with better life.

I get why people want to hold onto this legacy port, it's a well established piece of tech that has been tired and true and remained unchanged for decades but to say that there's a pen hole so a headphone hole is the same thing isn't really accurate

The total volume of a pen, is still bigger than the volume of small compact jack connector and the tiny DAC feeding it.

No the real excuse is getting a way to sell either extra dongles (audio-out to USB-Otg or Apple Lightning)
or expensive accessories (force you to buy Bluetooth Wireless earphones. Or wired phones with custom plugs).

Comment Not the timer (Score 1) 100

so the traffic light will cater to whats best for the person in the $100k luxury car but the kid in the beater has to be at a disadvantage on teh public right of way?

Nope. The traffic light still waits all the same for every one.
The only difference is that the driver of the luxury car gets the privilege of having the wating counter of the traffic light directly displayed on their dashboard.
(And the car will be able to shut down and restart the engine during the wait on its own if it is economic to do so).

Comment Buy a Zoe instead - affordable electric (Score 1) 100

Go buy a Renault Zoé instead.

- it's done by one of your French companies.
- the newer Zoe platform features a 44kWh battery that should be okay for 200+ km between charges (rated for 125km/h).
(the previous one had a 22kWh battery, rated for 125 km. I still manage to get ~100 km out of the Zoé of the local Car Sharing copmany even when I'm driving like an idiot).
- you can either buy just the car and rent the battery (and the car comes rather cheap between 15'000 and 25'000+ EUR depending on the options), or you can add ~8'000 EUR and buy your own battery.

Hybrids motors are extremely complex and that comes at a a cost.
(you basically got both disadvantages of an ICE engine - complex delicate mechanical device
combined with the disadvantage of an electric drive - big expensive complex battery and ancillary electronics ; also an electric motor which, although cheap, is much bigger than the standard alternator of an ICE.
And on top of that, a slightly more complex transmission - specially on hybrid that can do both serial and parallel hybrids).
Because of this complexity, cost is never going to go down that much.
It's a nice stop-gag technology to diminish smog problems, but electric drive is the long term solution.
(Specially in a country like France that doesn't rely much on fossil energy to produce its electricity).

Electric cars - outside of the expensive battery and its electronics - can be even a bit cheaper :
- the car tends to be much lighter for better efficiency. Depending how it's done it might drive the price slightly up (Tesla and their space alloys) or down (the newer 44kWh Zo is lighter than the older one, without being more expensive).
- an electric motor is dead simple and much cheaper than the mechanical complexity of an ICE (it's just a glorified spool of wire, attached to a fixed ratio gear. That's why Tesla can afford to slap a 2nd one on their 4-wheel drive vehicle (the xx"D" series), and that's why most european high speed train can afford electric motors on each of their wagon.)
(This is opposed to energy storage. On a gaz powered car, energy ist stored in a glorified jug with a cap and a tap. Whereas an electic car require a complex chemistry in the battery and complex electronic to control both the charging of the car, and the power delivery to the motor).

Cost of batteries is going down, as car companies invest in mega-factories - Tesla is building one in Texas, Renault is building one in France - and as the demand for lithium batteries increases in modern technology (laptops, lithium-powered power tools, etc.).
Network of charger is increasing.
Mennekes connector is becoming standard accross Europe.
Tesla is building their own network of superchargers.
In France I've seen chargers in Highway rest areas.
In Switzerland, nearly all parkings in big cities have charging spot.
European countries burn a lot less fossils to produce electricity. (France relies on its nuclear power, Switzerland has endless supply of hydro-electric. Northern Europe is developping green sourse like solar, etc.)

Future is in electric cars.

Comment Re:Banish cars from the city center (Score 1) 237

Allow service vehicles, public transportation, cabs and bicycles, and everyone will be happy.

Okay, sure. Just as soon as I figure out how to get my SUV registered as a "service vehicle"...

Don't even try to tell me it won't happen... There's widespread fraud just in handicapped placards, because parking a few feet away is too much hassle for some people. You think the ultra-wealthy will resign themselves to riding the bus with the peasants? Not a chance, they'll find any means to maintain their status, privilege and convenience.

Comment Re:Hey Slashdot: (Score 2) 131

The paywalled sites are monetizing the news, and that almost always makes for biased reporting.

Just the opposite. Breitbart is not only non-paywalled, but they're one of relatively few sites who still offers full-text RSS feeds. Paywalled sites are trying to pay for their unbiased reporting, rather than taking funds from partisan sources who will be happy with endless financial losses to further their agenda.

Comment Re:The survey between the commercials. (Score 1) 137

it must also be annoying to know that when they for example do show movies, between the commercials, then it has been cut to fit the time slots. So you can never expect to see a full movie on TV.

Longer movies aren't always better. Plenty of cases where the TV version cuts out the tedium and really improves the film over the original version (Pluto Nash comes to mind). Plenty of examples where the added material to the "Director's Cut" slows down and basically ruins a decent movie, rather than improving it (Dumb and Dumber, Chronicles of Riddick, etc, etc.)

Comment What danger ? (Score 5, Interesting) 368

In an emergency, you're supposed to be able to break a car's side windows.

I supposed the "sun-cooked" guy had passed out (alcohol ? heat shock, while he was asleep ?) before realising he should get out of the car.

I'm more surprised that the thief didn't try to break out of the car. But, on the other hand the lock has happened while he was napping inside the car, so he might not have realised what had happened and did not release he should run away as fast as possible before the police arrives.

I would be much more worried about the remote disabling of the car :
- was some form of owner's access required in order to do the disabling ? (i.e.: the owner's second fob is needed in order to validate the instruction to lock and ignore the stolen fob ?)
- or does any sufficiently high executive at BMW have the power to shut down any random car ?

Also : is the remote access limited to very simple instruction (locking doors and revoking fobs - which as mentioned above shouldn't be dangerous except under special circumstances) or can the car be remotely shut down while it is driving ?

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