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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.

Comment Re:I'm trusting Apple more each day. (Score 2) 36

Unfortunately the very nature of services like Cortana, Alexa, and Google Now *require* you to send them your data in order for them to work. How is Google Now supposed to advise me of my flight tomorrow being delayed if it doesn't know about the flight in the first place.

These services are incredibly useful and powerful and get more useful and powerful all the time, yet, Apple has none of them. This is what analysts are concerned about. People will willingly sacrifice a bit of their data if it makes their lives infinitely simpler - I know I have no problem with it because Google Now is *just that good*.

Comment Late to the party, but iPhones are cheap to repair (Score 1) 364

Out of all the major brands that I repair, iPhones are typicall the cheapest and easiest to repair and spare parts are plentiful ( though not Apple-blessed ), and contrary to people still thinking of the first iPhones, since the 3/3GS they've always used screws for assemblies; yes, there's some 2 sided tape as an addition to halt screen wiggles on the 4/4S but beyond that iPhones are very repairable. HTC, stuff that, throw it out, 2 sided tape, kapton tape, crazy clips. Samsung, used to be good with the S2, 3, 4 and similar era Notes, but as of the S5 it's a disaster and the replacement screens cost a small country. Nokia has some very nice to repair models and replacement screens are sensibly priced by few people seem to have them.

Now, if we talk about iPads/iPods, I absolutely agree, nightmares :(

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