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Comment Re:I don't like the control it takes away from you (Score 1) 865

Personally, I'm neutral. On one hand, the Prius and Nissan keyfobs that just sit in a pocket are cool with one less thing to flip open. On the other hand, having to stick the physical key in the vehicle with a very low power transmitter handling the passive anti-theft access gives a bump in security.

There's no transmitter in my key. You're thinking of the RFID keys, which are pretty good security: coupled with a decent quality alarm with multiple immobilizers it makes a car pretty much unstealable unless you have a flatbed.

But there's no reason you can't simply put the RFID into the alarm keyfob instead of the key. In fact, most of the pushbutton starters I've seen in recent years work exactly like that -- there's an RFID in your keyfob, and if you don't have the keyfob in your pocket (or within a few feet of the car), the car simply won't start. If the car gets out of range of the keyfob, it'll trip the fuel line immobilizer.

Comment Re:Hybrids, diesel and Prius (Score 1) 93

Modern car diesels are just under 40% efficient. The biggest diesel ship engines can just make 50% efficiency.
The current Prius petrol engine is 38.5% and the next model will be over 40%. Petrol engines are making good progress in efficiency, diesel engines less so.

A ship engine isn't a fixed RPM diesel generator, it's a variable RPM diesel engine.

What I was talking about, you need to be comparing against a diesel-oil power plant, which can exceed 70-80% efficiency. Still not as good as hydroelectric (which can exceed 95%), but aside from tidal and hydro power plants it's by far the most efficient method of generating energy that we have. It's also worth mentioning that a diesel engine can run on basically unmodified cooking oil (look up biodiesel). I sincerely doubt that your Prius would enjoy being fed that stuff.

Comment Re:Efficiency (Score 2) 93

A fixed RPM diesel is *significantly* more efficient than a car engine, on the whole. We're still not approaching the 90% that GP quotes as the efficiency for an electric, but it's enough of an improvement to still waste less energy despite the losses inherent in transmission lines.

The long-distance transmission of energy, incidentally, is where the real loss in the electrical grid comes into play. That's not really an issue when you're talking about hybrid drive vehicles. Still, I've wondered for years why car manufacturers don't design a pure electric car (plug-in), and fit it with a fixed RPM generator for extended range instead of trying to design a hugely convoluted hybrid drive train that can receive power from both. (and no, Top Gear doesn't count).

Comment Re:Modern audiophiles are no different. (Score 1) 469

Can you explain this? I would have thought the signal would remain digital and at its original sampling rate.

It's the encoding that the HDMI decoding device supports. It does support uncompressed stereo PCM audio in the spec, but most devices will use some form of compression in the transmission, in order to reencode it as DTS or Dolby Digital for your receiver. A lot of devices do this by default, without user input, if they're connected to a receiver that can handle more audio channels. While this can usually be disabled/reconfigured, a lot of users won't actually think about that.

Case in point -- I'm watching an MKV on my WDTV Live! as I type this. I ripped the DVD myself, and know for a fact that the audio channel I'm listening to right now is AC3 stereo (though the file does have an English-language 5.1 channel). The stereo's surround sound/5.1 light is active. The device is upmixing the audio to 5.1 surround before it's sending it to the receiver.

Comment Re:Modern audiophiles are no different. (Score 0) 469

With a sufficiently high bitrate, and a detailed enough codec, you may as well not be compressing it.

The problem with the comparison between an MP3 and something encoded with FLAC is that you're still working off a digital source. By its very nature, the digital source is lossy -- it's limited by the original sample and bitrate. You can offset that by using a high enough resolution on the digital source, but ultimately, there's still going to be loss of information, no matter how high a resolution you use for the source.

As for audiophiles, I identify as one. I do prefer FLAC for archiving purposes, because I'm not hurting for space, and because it allows for a much higher bitrate than MP3 (and my stereo plays FLAC natively), but I will also qualify it with what I consider a far more important distinction : you will get *much* more mileage out of a good set of speakers than you will from going with FLAC over MP3. There is absolutely no reason at all to go with FLAC over MP3 if you don't have hardware that can take advantage of it. If you're listening to it mostly on a cell phone with shitty ear buds, then there is absolutely no reason to waste space on a high resolution recording. Similarly, if you don't have a stereo that can play FLAC natively (since even passing the sound over an HDMI link will cause the signal to be degraded), and you're not pairing it with good quality speakers, then it's a total waste of space. And no. That $1000 set of speakers you bought at Best Buy is *not* a good quality set of speakers. That's not even close to high end, when it comes to audio hardware.

Comment Re:I think this is bullshit (Score 1) 1746

If someone said that in Alabama in 1957, would it be justified to deny them employment for the rest of their life even if they changed their mind after the Civil Rights Act passed?

I'm not denying him employment. I'm choosing to do business with a different company that has a better track record on issues that I consider important. There's an enormous difference. In this case, all 4 of the main companies competing against Mozilla's flagship product have better records on LGBT rights than Eich, and so I have chosen to do business with one of them instead.

Also, if Eich has changed his mind on gay marriage, he hasn't publicised it. Actually he's done quite the opposite, by publicly refusing to apologize for it. That refusal is, to me, tantamount to saying that he still believes that gay couples shouldn't have equal rights, which is a matter that affects me personally. If he chooses to ignore the writing on the wall and continue his opposition to equal rights, that is his choice to make. And if that choice makes him unemployable, he has nobody to blame but himself. Freedom of speech means he's free to be an asshole, it doesn't mean I have to do business with him despite his douchebaggery.

If it's not as important to you, that's your choice. But don't claim I'm discriminating against him, or being bigoted. I'm not. I'm just voting with my clock cycles and bits (since no money actually changes hands when I download/install another browser).

Comment Re:Customers may benefit... maybe (Score 1) 455

And what Walmart is saying is that the extra costs from Visa were maintained through market collusion between competitors (which is illegal in the US). They were forced to artificially inflate their prices to their customers which resulted in reduced sales and direct damage to Walmart.

For one, I don't think that Walmart's margins are so thin that they can't afford to absorb a transaction fee for using Visa... I'll admit that Visa is much more expensive than direct debit (at least in this country... Visa is about 20x higher transaction fee than Interac), but it's still only about 1% transaction fee. If Walmart's margins are *that* thin on their product, they better pray that this thing in Crimea doesn't turn to a war because they'll go bankrupt with the increase in fuel costs it'll cause.

And for two, if they don't like paying the transaction fee, then don't. Costco seems to be doing quite well for themselves, and the only credit card they take is Amex, and that's only because Costco issues its own credit card which is backed by Amex. Walmart chooses to accept Visa and Mastercard. If they don't like the terms, then don't accept it.

Comment Re:Walmart employees, rejoice! (Score 5, Insightful) 455

Walmart? The retail chain that pays its employees such a low wage that they can't even afford to shop at Walmart, and deliberately cuts back on their employees' hours to avoid having to pay benefits? *this* is the company you hold up as the model of how to run a business?

If Walmart is a paragon, what the hell does that make Costco?

Comment Re:Parasitic Rentiers (Score 2) 258

Patents, in theory, are actually a reasonably good idea.... the problem is, you need to find an adequate balance between rewarding innovation, and allowing others to benefit from them as well. That latter bit is the reason they expire. The former bit is because it can be very expensive to come up with and implement a new idea. Development costs, and all.

In practice it doesn't always work that way, but I wouldn't throw out the baby with the bathwater. We should figure out how to prevent abuse, not get rid of the system entirely.

Similarly, btw, copyrights do actually serve a purpose. As wonderful a world as it would be that artists and content creators could be free to create without worrying about where their next meal comes from, they do still need to eat. Copyright exists so that people can be rewarded for creating works. It's ridiculous that it lasts long enough that your grandchildren can still profit from it, but I wouldn't toss it completely out the window, either.

Comment Re:Tim, you don't own the company (Score 5, Insightful) 348

Of course they voted it down, their energy policy is good marketing for their target audience. The bottom line is still the reason for the policy.

Sustainability is still a good thing to be going for... regardless of whether they're doing it for marketing reasons, or because they believe that 50 years from now there won't be any more coal fired power plants, doesn't really matter. Investing in renewable energy sources now is the smart thing to do regardless of whether you take an optimistic or pessimistic view of why they're doing it.

Comment Re:If Comcast were Exxon (Score 1) 520

Bullshit. I had helped build a community run Wireless internet system back 10 years ago, we had 10mbps to each home which is more than enough to broadcast a single HD stream and a couple of SD streams at the same time.

Really? Because 1080p h.264 *can* be that low if you compress the hell out of it, but we've found at the company I work for that anything less than about 4.5-5mbit for the video (and another 1mbit for the audio) is basically unwatchable on a big screen TV, due to compression artifacts. We actually encode HD at a higher bit rate than that for our own IPTV offering, and SD comes in about 4.5mbit with the audio included.

And that's using h.264, which didn't exist 10 years ago. You were able to get an HD stream + a couple of SD streams on a 10mbit connection? Must've looked like shit....

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 578

Good point. When I switched to a powered antenna here in Ottawa, Canada, I was able to pick up several channels I couldn't get without it. Even with my relatively inexpensive indoor antenna (a Terk HDTVa, which Google says can be had for about $60 in the US), I get 14 channels, including two from the Watertown, NY broadcast station (PBS and Fox), from a 16th floor apartment with a southwest view. If I turn the in-line amplifier off, I only get 6 channels, all of them local. Oddly, one of those 6 channels, I don't get when the amplifier is on, so I actually have to turn the amplifier off when I want to watch that channel... o.O

If I had a different fronting, or if there was a building south of mine that I could bounce the signal off, I could actually get the signals from another transmitter north of the city, and would actually be getting about 22 channels (though 5 of them would be in French).

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 578

So, I can get Direct TV or Dish with TW broadband, or I can get TW cable and broadband. That's it. I have decided to go Roku and TW broadband only. That is what I get, and that is what I watch. Olympics not available? Then I don't give a shit. But for those few who do, no choice but to do what the majority of Game of Thrones watchers do.

You realize, you could ask your neighbour to use a splitter on his antenna and feed you from the same antenna? That's what people used to do in the days before cable. In fact, that was the original cable... CATV = Community Antenna TV.

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