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Comment Convenient??? Say what??? (Score 1) 206

"Ultimately, the convenience of paying with phones..."

What is more convenient about paying with my phone vs paying with my contactless credit card again?

My credit card needs no wireless coverage in the
middle of the giant faraday cage that is the local big box retailer. It also does not need a charged battery. I also don't have to unlock it to use it to pay. All of these things are true for mobile wallets.

The simple truth is mobile payments are LESS convenient than contactless credit cards, and that is not going to change. The only thing that is going to make mobile payments and digital wallets really take off is if it happens in tandem with a new e currency like Bitcoin being natively accepted everywhere.

Comment Re:Ancient single use port (Score 3, Insightful) 761

AFAIK, the controller/management chip in the plug portion will not let full power through until it's confirmed the connection itself, part of the orientation smarts.

Similar to their magsafe as well (Macbook has to validate things before charger is told to deliver full power ).

*** I could be completely wrong *** ;)

Comment Re:Ancient single use port (Score 2, Informative) 761

Courage would be USB spec ditching their obsession with fragile tongue-on-equipment configuration and going with lightning type design. Not keen on everything Apple does but the lightning connector is good engineering against human incompetence. Empirically* micro / USB-C are a lot more prone to user-damage, hell people manage to break USB-A sockets.. how the hell!?

(*Phone & PC repair shop)

Comment Feedback Loop (Score 2) 93

I am getting really sick of the media and others bashiing self-driving technology when they can't see the forest for the trees - no new technology is ever perfect. When commercial air travel first started in the 20s, crashes happened all the time - it was extremely dangerous by modern standards, and even more dangerous than current car travel. Air travel is now by orders of magnitude the safest way to travel on earth - how did that come to be? It came to be because the regulation ensured that accidents were investigated, root cause analysis done, and whatever deficiency was found was addressed.

This is the exact same thing that will happen with self-driving technology, except that it will happen at an EXPONENTIALLY faster pace.

Yes, people will get into accidents with self-driving cars. Yes, people will die. Anyone who does not think this is going to happen is living behind a reality distortion field. However, what happens with self-driving technology is that every single accident gives the opportunity to push software updates out to make EVERY CAR instantly safer. This is simply not the case with human drivers - when a human driver causes an accident, there is no feedback loop that makes all other human drivers safer.

Comment Re:downside (Score 1) 60

The lifetime environmental impact of lithium storage technology is less than that of alternatives. Our usage of lead-acid batteries is more toxic and we have a tremendous number of those being discarded each day, without even accounting for the impacts of fossil fuels involved in power generation and transport.

Comment Does not surprise me (Score 1) 55

I used to be an ardent user of Hangouts for VOIP and video calls home. Depending on quality of the hotel wifi, it was spotty, but usually worked OK. One trip it was on the fritz, so I tried Facebook instead. The voice and video quality was noticeably better. I switched back and forth between thema few times after, and every time, Facebook had far better quality on average. I no longer use Hangouts at all. I am not sure if the difference is in the protocol stack or in the compression algorithm, but at the end of the day, as a user I don't really care - what I care about is seeing my family clearly and having them hear me clearly, and Facebook Messenger is pretty much the best alternative to Skype in this regard. The difference of course is nearly everyone in the world already has Messenger installed, whereas Skype is an extra thing to ask people to load.

Comment Re:So are Whirlpool, Samsung, Kenmore, et al (Score 4, Informative) 639

You don't need 20 years. You only need 3 - 5.

The energy use difference between an old washer and a modern energy star washer is so great that it would pay for the washer after only a few years of use assuming you pay the national average of 10 cents / kwh. Meanwhile, the energy star front loader I bought in 2005 still works fine over decade later, so I have made 2x my investment. But no, feel free to keep using your old inefficient model as long as you want.. I bet you also have a 1970's "beer fridge" in your garage that costs you a couple of dozen cases of beer a year in energy.

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