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Comment HDMI inputs are the real issue for many (Score 1) 418

This hits close to home, since I have a 7 year old 37" 1080i HDTV I am considering replacing. It works perfectly fine and I love it, but the biggest issue is that it only has 1 HDMI port. It seems every media device has an HDMI port now, whereas it wasn't as common when I purchased the TV. So that leaves me needing a switch, which confounds the other TV users in my house as they have to manually press a button next to the TV to switch from gaming to Roku to cable.

My TV also lacks a tuner, which is proving problematic when considering cord-cutting. I can buy an external tuner (with an HDMI out!), but so far I haven't found an ATSC HD tuner with an HDMI out for less than $100. At that point stretching to $350 for an another TV of the same size with more HDMI ports and an ATSC tuner doesn't seem like an outrageous proposition. The old TV becomes a monitor or a Roku station in the guest room.

That being said, my foresight on the need for HDMI ports was crap back in 2006. Am I alone on that?

Comment How will this work in Historic Preservation areas? (Score 1) 867

I live in a historic neighborhood that is designated as such by the state and recognized on the National Register of Historic Places. Our neighborhood is a walking route with high housing density where all of the mailboxes are on porches or otherwise attached to the front of each house. Starting a year or two ago, the USPS started sending letters to newer residents explaining that their mail service would be discontinued if they did not move their mail box to the sidewalk. Of course, having a mailbox on the sidewalk is a violation of the historic code. A few folks actually complied until the neighborhood organization intervened and the local postmaster recognized that we are a historic neighborhood and will always be a walking route.

I'm foreseeing us having to fight yet another round of "move your mailbox" with the USPS, and if we don't win the results will be ugly. And I mean literally ugly. Without a massive redesign of our sidewalks and roads, there simply isn't a way to move mailboxes from the houses without making the sidewalks unusable and deteriorating the historic look and feel of our nationally recognized historic neighborhood.

I understand this won't be a big deal for most folks and I'm embracing a slippery slope fallacy, but if we're going to eliminate a historic fixture from 400+ houses, why are stopping someone from tearing a 120 year old Victorian to build a stucco McMansion?

Comment Re:Collateralized vs Non-Collateralized Loans (Score 1) 461

True, true. Hyundai did something very similar to this not so long ago to boost shore up confidence in their reliability/resale value and it worked well. It is a shrewd move and I give them props for the plan.

After looking at their website and running the calculations, I concluded the deal is most definitely not for me. Ironically, my fairly short commute is what kills it. Oh well... there's always the pedestrian Leaf and a 5-Series for the weekends, I suppose.

Comment Re:Collateralized vs Non-Collateralized Loans (Score 1) 461

You neglected to mention that "revolutionary" plan pins the depreciation rate on one of the fastest depreciating cars in the world. That puts the depreciation at about 43% in 3 years. We don't have a lot of precedent to go off of on a purely electric luxury car, but given how well most hybrids hold their value I would assume the Model S would fare a lot better in the near term than the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Either Elon Musk is planning on some serious profit-taking in 3 years or he knows something about the quality of his cars we don't. Either way, it is a huge red flag in my mind.

Comment Re:Most beer is too cold already (Score 2) 157

Big 3? More like "Big 1.5"

Miller and Coors (as we think of it in the USA) merged in 2008, making them effectively one brewery in the USA. "Bud" isn't even a brewer, but a brand within AB-InBev, which is about as American as moules-frites. I suppose I'll give you half-credit for that one.

That correction made, I will concur with the remainder of your post.

Comment Re:A map is a map (Score 1) 599

Not only could it exist, but it does and has since at least 2006 on all but the absolute cheapest GPS units. Both my low end Garmin and my cheap crappy Mio allowed me to pan and zoom on the map. They've also had several view options of routes, including fly-overs and speed-sensitive scaling, which displays the entire route as once and zooms in as you drive faster. Maps on GPS's are generally easy to use and certainly aren't "hidden."

Comment Re:gadgets suppress the preparation instinct (Score 5, Insightful) 599

I concur, but I'd also argue that certain gadgets also suppress ones danger instinct, which is highly relevant in the cases presented by the article. The stranded drivers all sensed they were making the wrong move leading up to their incidents, but they failed to act on it because they allowed the gadget pre-empted or overrode their instincts. These weren't necessarily unintelligent people, they simply trusted the technology more than their instincts which lead to a series of poor choices.

As much as I'd love to crack jokes about Darwinism in these cases, I can look back on my life and find several instances where my reliance on a product/gadget/technology got me into trouble. I imagine most people could find similar moments somewhere in their past. The difference is that those mistakes weren't as serious, didn't get publicized and they likely didn't occur in Death Valley.

Comment Re:Pot calling kettle black (Score 1) 596

You are comparing two very different scenarios in regards to data (re)use. Google News certainly compiles the data of others, but it very clearly provides attribution to the source link. For the most part, the same is true with Google Books - Google is obviously not the original source, but is acting as a catalogger or aggregator. Few users would confuse the original source of the data available at News and Books as Google. There is certainly debate over the legality and ethics of both of those sites, don't get me wrong, but attribution is everything when one is making claims of copying/plagiarism.

Microsoft allegedly copied results wholesale without any attribution to the source from which they took them. What they are supposedly doing is on par with a student copying and pasting a few lines from a text book into an essay and passing it off as their own work. It simply isn't the same as what Google is doing with News and Books.

Comment Re:Mileage keeps dropping... (Score 3, Informative) 417

FWIW, the two stated mileages in the summry are effectively the same, but they are stating it in two units of measure. The 313MPG figure is miles per imperial gallon, which is 261MPG by US units. That being said, I have no idea how to get that to 235MPG unless Qatar has invented their own mile or gallon.

Comment Re:A quick google search (Score 2) 845

This reminds me of when automakers moved to Torx screws from Phillips screws. It was a conspiracy, people had to buy tools, the automakers were just trying to keep you from working on your own car, etc. It turns out that Torx is superior to Phillips for bit/socket durability and assembly line efficiency. There was no conspiracy, it was just better for certain applications.

I suspect we will find out that the pentalobular socket has some advantage over a Phillips or even a Torx for smaller applications. Simply looking at the "penta", it seems to maximize surface contact between the bit/socket while maintaing the durability of the socket. The smaller Phillips and Torx screws are rather easy to damage and I suspect the pentalobular screw is measurably more durable for smaller applications. Just like Torx, I suspect the pentalobular will become the defacto standard for small screw head applications if it is proven to be superior to Torx and Phillips.

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