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Comment Re:This is stupid (Score 1) 161

In my experience, there are two slightly separate message services on RDS: one set of messages cover the large roads (think interstate in the USA), and another set of messages cover smaller roads. The messages concerning the large roads are broadcast all over the country, but the messages covering smaller roads are only broadcast in the appropriate county. This may be wrong, but it is what I have experienced from driving long distances once or twice a year for the past 10-15 years.

Comment Re:This is stupid (Score 1) 161

It does not work with the radio off. If you want the traffic announcements without having to listen to the radio (or any other sound source), there is one trick that can be used: turn the radio on, and choose some sound source (you could eg choose to play a CD, and just let the radio wait for you to press the Play button). Then turn the volume down to zero. Most radios with RDS have one volume setting for the "normal" sound, and another for RDS messages.

Comment Re:This is stupid (Score 4, Informative) 161

It is not as stupid as you might think. Essentially all radios sold for use in cars today come with the RDS system as part of them, although it can be turned off. What this system does is give you some info: the channel you are listening to and so on. It also gives the radio the current time. But most importantly it also allows for interrupting _any_ sound source (radio, CD, DVD, USB....) to force your radio to play the voice message sent through the RDS system (I think it's broadcast on certain FM transmitters, so tuning in to them is no problem).

These messages are usually only about the situation on the roads: places where there have been accidents that impact the flow of traffic on large roads and so on. And once the message is over, your radio reverts to whatever it was doing before the interruption. I find these messages very useful, even if most of them are not about the roads I am on: the one time I was on a road affected, I was able (thanks to being told well before I got to it) to take a detour around the site of an accident, and save myself an hour or two of sitting in a traffic jam.

This RDS system can be turned off if you want to, in which case your radio will not play any of the traffic messages broadcast.

Full disclosure: I live in Sweden. I also happen to love the RDS messaging system, even if I am rarely need the information provided.

Comment Re:Swedish Charges/British Charges (Score 2) 169

I may be picking on small details, but as far as I know JA has not been charged with anything, he is just wanted for questioning. Which is intself a strange thing: the European Arrest Warrant filed by Swedish authorities is only to be used for people already charged with a crime, not for those only suspected.

Full disclosure: I am a Swede, living in Sweden and think the entire case should be dropped by Swedish authorities. They might have been doing the right thing in the beginning, but now they are just trying to save face. Drop it and let the parties involved get on with their lives.

Comment Re:"Free" exercise (Score 1) 304

I commute by bicycle in summer, winters are too cold (down to -35C is not uncommon). I have some 15 km (~9 miles) to work, and that takes me half an hour. But I do get sweaty, so I have to take a change of clathes with me. Not much of a problem, and sometimes I have to choose to cycle slower, to not get sweaty due to where I'm going. Other times I can totally disregard any sweat, and just go for it like crazy, trying to set new speed records.

If I lived in the major city where I work (instead of commuting to it) I would hardly use my car at all, I would cycle every day of the year.

Comment Re:Depends on China (Score 2) 325

I think China's support of NK started out as supporting a political ally: China and NK had vaguely similar political ideas and government. After the Korean War China and NK developed into different countries, and I think China no longer sees NK as a political ally.
However, they probably still see USA as a potential enemy. And if NK were to collapse and get absorbed into South Korea, there could be US troops right on the Chinese border (there are a number of US troops in South Korea right now). If I were a Chinese general, I would not like that possibility. The cheap and easy way to see to it that it doesn't happen is to keep the NK govenrment in power.
As for NK having nukes, I don't see why China would worry: they are not the target. They might very well suffer some consequences of NK nuking SK, but even NK ought to realise that nuking SK would mean open war with a country (USA) that could wipe them off the map. NK might therefore actually have nukes, but using them seems very improbable. At least until they can be successfully delivered to mainland USA...

Comment Internal politics? (Score 5, Interesting) 377

There may very well be good reason for JA to not want being extradited to Sweden, but there may be other reasons than discussed previously here that explain why the Swedish authorities are acting the way they are.

One reason is that the prosecutor in charge of the case may have found herself a useful tool that she can use to further her own ambitions in something completely unrelated: she is known to be a feminist and has stated in at least one interview that it must be possible to punish men even after a court has found them to be innocent. She is also a member of the same political party as one of the (possible) victims. Which just happens to be the same political party to which the defense attorney belongs! My conclusion is that the suspicion of internal politics cannot be put to rest until more evidence appears.


Just to point out a few strange facts in this sordid case:
- JA found out he was wanted for questioning not by being told be the authorities, but by being told be the media. I cannot remember another case where this has happened.
- the prosecutors office called a press conference to announce JA was wanted for questioning. I have never heard of them doing anything similar in any other case.
- the two (possible) victims of rape have the same lawyer. Also this is a first: it does not matter how many victims are involved in a court case, they get their own lawyer and do not share this lawyer with anybody else involved in the same case.


Full disclosure: I live in Sweden and it is my personal opinion that the prosecutor handling this case at the moment is doing so for personal reasons and should be removed from her position.

Comment Re:Hmm (Score 2) 202

One thing I wonder about the "takes full responsibility" bit is this: if it is proven in the future (and I'm sure it will) that some drone strike has killed only innocent people and no 'legitimate target', would the friends and families of the killed people be allowed to kill Obama? If yes, then he is indeed taking full responsibility. If not, then he is not taking full responsibility. Settling the matter with money does not count.

Personally I could settle for having Obama (or the president of the day) put on trial for premeditated murder if/when it is proven that a drone strike only killed innocent people, but it's a more interesting discussion taken to the limit.

Comment Seasonal variance (Score 1) 635

In winter I drive more now than I did ten years ago, simply because I live further away from my jobs. But in summer I hardly drive at all, preferring to take my bicycle. Even if I know I can find cheap (or free) parking instantly, I prefer cycling 15-20 kms to taking the car. And as I get better and better bicycles, the distance I an willing to cycle instead of driving increases.

Comment Re:Microsoft is fine (Score 1) 497

Microsoft is fine. I agree with you, but with an important addition: for the moment. Microsoft is fine, for the moment. There are two things that, given enough time, will be a serious headache for Microsoft.

One of them is the abundance of smartphones and dead-cheap computers running any non-Microsoft OS: people will start to see that other manufacturers can make decent OSes. And if you want to make a dead-cheap computer you can't afford to pay Microsoft any money, so you use eg Linux.

The other thing Microsoft must think about is the fastest computers. The kind of computer that appears on Linux, Unix and various versions of BSD have a crushingly large market share here, whereas Windows is hardly noticeable. (I can't seem to get any numbers from the site right now, so I am quoting from my memory of the last time I checked).

Since a large portion of supercomputers run something other than Windows, I think things will trickle down from them: you might buy a second-hand supercomputer for your company, and find that it comes with BSD. Or you notice that the computer lab you use to crunch numbers for you will give you a better experience if you use Linux to connect to it. Or some other event makes you realize there are other OSes than Windows. Whatever the reason, some people will sooner or later realize that it is cheaper for them to convert their entire organisation to something other than Windows than to convert their newly-bought servers/supercomputer.

With these two things I think Microsoft will be feeling pressure from the cheapest computers and from the number-crunching monsters. Given enough time they will have to do something to counter these threats, or they will find themselves reduced to one competitor among many. And the transition could potentially be very quick: Altavista disappeared in a matter of years because Google offered something better. Microsoft could end up the same way, though I don't think it could ever be that fast.

Comment Re:Things have changed? (Score 1) 978

I agree exactly with you: I will tolerate non-moving ads if the delivery of the ads is such that I will not be tracked.

But quite honestly, I don't really see why the advertising community (and those that get money from it) is making a fuss. I can take myself as an example: when I watch the TV and the ads come on, I either change the channel or go and do something other than watch the TV. Thus all the advertising broadcast by the TV-channel I was watching is, in essence, blocked by me. The mechanism is different to that I use on my computer, but the end result is still that I don't see the advertising. What is so different?

Comment Re:I = International (Score 3, Informative) 127

More or less the same applies here in Sweden: I applied for a few ISBNs, and was given two with no fuss. The total cost to me was I had to write two emails, and read some instructions. No money was involved in the transaction. I don't see why this should change should I need more ISBNs in the future.

Comment Re:50/50 (Score 2) 566

I can't speak about Canada, but in Sweden (where I live) things vary a little.

Most cities and towns have provisions to keep cyclists and cars separate, and many (maybe even most) make a genuine attempt at making it possible to commute by bicycle. Unfortunately, this does not mean all.

In the town I live, there are some long stretches of bike path that go downhill. Excellent, even a bad cyclist can pick up some speed. And at the bottom of the hill you find yourself staring at a 90-degree turn either left or right! The only reason for many of these turns is that some architect decided to put a 90-degree turn there...

In other places, the bike path just peters out into nothing, and you find yourself among the cars and lorries not really knowing how you got there.

In one specific place things have been organised so nicely that for a car driver leaving the car park, the most natural thing to do is to stop with half the car blocking the bike path next to the car park...

In a number of places the bike paths are so uneven I cannot keep any semblance of high speed. Maybe it's by design (I don't think so), but anything over 15 km/h feels like it's going to convert my bike into a pile of metal parts.

My favourite complaint has been fixed though. It used to be that when cycling from out of town via one specific route you were legally obliged to do a suicidal lane change in a heavily trafficked roundabout in order to get to the bike path (where the law requires you to be, as a cyclist).

If these complaints where fixed I would find commuting by bike a great idea. The one thing that would still need fixing is slightly harder: the attitude some car drivers have towards bikes: since it's a bike, I in my car have the right of way...

Comment Re:First, kill all the laywers (Score 1) 181

And in Sweden in particular, you yourself can go bankrupt by suing someone: in a civil case (copyright infringement is a civil matter, as opposed to criminal) the loser pays _all_ attorneys/lawyers involved. On top of that, if you have had to get any expert witnesses the loser will have to pay them as well. Granted, while the case is under progress in court, both parties pay their own costs, but the loser is forced to pay the winner when the matter is settled.

Comment Details please! (Score 1) 407

There has been some discussion about having a similar system in Sweden. However, the finer details made it clear that while it would be legal to download via BT, it would still be illegal to upload, so you could still be dragged to court for doing something you are paying to be allowed to do. I didn't see any mention of whether or not the Canadian version would allow people to upload as well. Does anybody know?

And let's face it: if you are only allowed to download there is no point is paying the fee since you can be busted for having uploaded the files via BitTorrent.

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