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Comment Cars are becoming more automatic anyway (Score 2) 132

Two days ago I was at a launch party for the 2017 Honda Civic. There was a 1st generation Civic from 1978, my own 1991 4th generation Civic, and several subsequent generation Civics, all in the Honda showroom arrayed around the new model.

What worries me is that so much on the new model has gone automatic. It's got a radar set in the front bumper to measure distance to the vehicle in front. It can be set to automatically speed control itself to maintain safe distance from the vehicle in front. It's got blind spot warning devices. It's got an automatic parking brake. It's got a camera that it's claimed is able to read and interpret road signs for itself so that the car knows what the speed limit is, and can be set to automatically keep its speed down to the limit.

It worries me as a driver that so much safety related functionality is being integrated into new cars that drivers of cars are going to be dangerously de-skilled. If, for example, a student driver learned to drive and passed their driving test in a 2017 manual transmission Civic, even though qualified they would have little of the skills needed to drive a 1991 Civic or any other car produced over, say, the subsequent 20 years. Specifically would they for example be able to perform a hill start, which is part of the British driving test and as well as the usual observations before moving off requires the ability to operate a manual hand brake simultaneously with the clutch and gas pedal? I doubt it.

Comment Toshiba? (Score 1) 187

I don't know if they still make netbooks but I bought an NB520 (using it with Linux Mint Mate right now) several years ago and I think it's a superb little computer.

With a 10" screen it fits inside a hotel room safe.

I'm told that Toshiba doesn't put in any of the hardware white/black list crap so when I received a Virgin Superhub I was able to swap the WiFi card for a dual band Intel one that supports the 5GHz WiFi band.

It's easy to get at the innards - just take out two screws from the base and the cover comes off to give easy access to hard drive, memory and WiFi card.

The SD card slot "Just Works".

The only thing I can't seem to get to work is bluetooth, but it's easy to plug into the USB.

Overall, I'm really happy with this computer and strongly suggest that the brand should be considered.

Comment The most stupid web site feature (Score 1) 148

that I can think of, is the so-called "security questions" that will "help you recover if you forget your password"! Questions like, mother's maiden name, town where you were born, your first school, your first car etc. etc.

How bloody stupid can these idiots possibly get? If I wanted to hack somebody's account I'd head straight for the genealogy sites!

I DO NOT loose passcodes, nor can I remember them, because I use an encrypted passcode wallet and every passcode in there is long and completely random. When some idiot has written mandatory security questions into a site that I need to use, every answer is a complete lie which I then have to enter into the free text field of my passcode wallet. So for me these questions are not a security risk just a damn nuisance.

Comment Re:payback (Score 1) 108

A good suggestion I heard lately is that we should hunt these arseholes down, along with any other scammers and parasites trying to trick hard working people out of their money, and terrorists, put them at the bottom of a nice deep salt or phosphate mine, and enrol them on therapeutic drugs trials for the rest of their miserable lives. That way they can pay back some of the misery they have brought on society.

Comment Re:Mint is popular for a reason (Score 1) 254

Agreed, the fantastic new Ubuntu was crap on my desktop computer and totally unusable on this little 10" Toshiba Atom netbook I'm using right now, with Linux Mint 17/Mate. It was worse than the win 7 that said netbook was supplied with.

Mint 17 with Mate was like a breath of fresh air after all the bloatware rubbish that was being dumped on us i.e. both my computers with GUI desktops plus the quite old laptop of a friend are all running responsively, like a computer should.

There's nothing wrong with the Ubuntu Server distribution AFAICT - I was running the last LTS version 24/7 at home for nearly five years and I'm now running the current LTS version again with no issues.

I have a Cinnamon virtual machine installed on the desktop which I update and play around with once in a while, to see if I want to swap to Cinnamon next time I upgrade. At the moment I prefer Mate but Cinnamon has definitely improved since I first tried it out...

Comment It's high time..... (Score 1) 720

....free thinking citizens of the world pulled together to put an end to this nonsense.

Microsoft is nothing more than a money gathering machine, so the best way to attack it would be to cut off the money supply. The only legal way I can think of to attempt this is to spread knowledge of free solutions as widely as possible.

My suggestion would be to approach some media production company, preferably one that depends upon open source because they might do it for free, and persuade them to work with a well known personality, perhaps somebody like Steven Fry (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?... ) who might also do it for free. Produce a short public information type film demonstrating how to use Windows to download a good Linux desktop OS and burn the ISO file to a DVD, then use that DVD to install Linux onto a computer.

It might take a kick-starter campaign to raise funds to put it onto TV.

Could it work?

Comment You can take your autonomous vehicles and...... (Score 2, Interesting) 142

Just this morning, after it's not been driven for about six years for various reasons, I paid a very large garage bill for fixing up my 1991 Honda Civic.

This car has no engine ECU, no ABS, no airbags, no lane assist, no automatic braking, no shit at all. What it DOES have is four wheels, brakes, lights and something to steer it with. It also has twin carburettors and a manual choke.

First job was to fill it with petrol, and as the engine warmed up I started to remember just how good this old car is to drive. The large garage bill was well worth every single penny. It puts a huge grin on my face every single time. There's not many '91 Civics around these days, but if you have the opportunity to buy a decent one, do so and care for it. You will be rewarded.

So, as I started to say at the top, Google and Tesla, you can take your autonomous vehicles and shove them high up where the sun don't shine.

Comment Vehicles WILL be fixed (Score 5, Insightful) 144

Over here in the UK for example, every vehicle has to have an MOT certificate to be used on the road. No certificate, no go. ANPRS cameras check that passing vehicles have certificates and insurance.

Part of the MOT certificate is the emissions test. There will most likely be a requirement that VW diesels have to have their ECU firmware updated before they can pass the emissions test.

That's what I reckon will happen.

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