I've been commuting on a singlespeed road bike (Specialized Langster) here in London virtually every day for the last 9 months.
Ongoing costs so far have been a set of brake pads and some chain lube. The singlespeed drivetrain is almost bulletproof - just wipe and re-lube every so often.
The bike "paid for itself" (i.e. offset what I would have paid on the Tube) in less than 6 months, and I've lost 10kg of blubber at the same time. Now I'm "in profit" in both financial and health terms. I've never felt better, and arrive at work feeling sharp and don't need (as much) coffee.
I understand that bicycling isn't/can't be for everyone, especially not on a singlespeed (my London commute is astonishingly flat - Keira Knightley-esque!) but it's made a huge difference to my life. I wish more people would try it!
I've used GPRS and 3G mobile broadband in both Australia and the UK. The problems they have to solve are very different, which is why you get a very different experience.
Australia is very large, and has low population density. The UK is small, with very high population density. This works against the "shared bandwidth" nature of wireless comms. I've even noticed it over the last year - my 3.5G connection in Central London was noticeably faster in January 2008 than it was in December 08, just because more people got on the mobile broadband bandwagon.
The providers in the UK are just desperately trying to maintain the "it's really really fast!!!111" illusion for as long as they can, by doing image compression, proxying et al, all the while knowing that every new customer is actually slowing the whole thing down for everybody else.
In a studio situation, you absolutely want to record at "quite a bit higher than even an uncompressed CD". Particularly when multiple streams of such audio are mixed in the digital domain, you want the noise floor as low as possible. The final master will be 24-bit/192k and only at the last possible minute will it be rendered down to 16/44.1k for the CD press.
Outside of the US, Apple doesn't sell.
The hundreds of people I've just seen inside the Apple Store on Regent Street in London would beg to differ.
If you look around a typical coffee shop in Central London, you will see just as many Apple machines as PCs, if not more. This is probably a function of necessity (lots of visual/graphic design people), appreciation of the Macbook hardware design, general affluence and a very effective localised "I'm a Mac" ad campaign. I would estimate at least 95% of the laptop PCs you see inside a Starbucks are running Windows.
I don't think you can linearly-extrapolate your German experience - In *my* experience, Germany is very pro-open-source. But I'm not going to make a blanket statement about the rest of Europe
Of course there is, but this is Slashdot...a US based, US centric discussion forum.
That said, I'm pleasantly surprised by the relatively-low "car" percentage (currently 40%) - Go Slashdotters!
To downgrade the human mind is bad theology. - C. K. Chesterton