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Comments

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How Apple's CarPlay Could Shore Up the Car Stereo Industry

GrahamCox Re:not at those prices, it won't fly off the shelv (193 comments)

all I want in there is an amp and speakers with a jack for audio input

Yep, me too. I have a 1999 Holden (Isuzu) Rodeo V6. It's a low-tech car, no computers or gizmos at all (excluding the engine's ECU). Like an old nail, it's utterly reliable - it has 350,000km on it and it just works, day in, day out. In the Australian climate it's not even going to rust away.

My one concession to modern in-car electronics was just last weekend upgrading the stock radio (with cassette!) to a new Sony head unit which plays CDs, FM and (key feature) has a front input jack. Along with a 12V cigarette-lighter to USB power adapter, I'm all set. The whole kit and caboodle cost me $AU85.

4 days ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

GrahamCox Re:Tyrant: The computer game (805 comments)

While sorta fun, those games are not simulations. All you revealed was the program(mer)'s built-in biases and assumptions, rather than any insight about what happens in reality. If you could set up a simulation without any biases and with enough variables it might tell you something, but I have a feeling it couldn't be done.

4 days ago
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How Apple's CarPlay Could Shore Up the Car Stereo Industry

GrahamCox Re:People need to grow the fuck up (193 comments)

The irony in your post is that you also need to grow up about Apple, and recognise that for a lot of people, they are exactly what people want. Ranting about them is just as childish as being an uncritical fanboy.

As for security, what's the problem exactly? How's all those Android viruses working out for everyone?

5 days ago
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This 1981 BYTE Magazine Cover Explains Why We're So Bad At Tech Predictions

GrahamCox The Man Who Fell To Earth (275 comments)

In the 1976 film of the book, Thomas Newton invents an instant camera that allows you to see the pictures you've just shot immediately... by opening the back of the camera and pulling out the 36-image film strip. I guess the true future of instant cameras was hard to predict, even though the necessary technology was already in existence.

5 days ago
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How Cochlear Implants Are Being Blamed For Killing Deaf Culture

GrahamCox Re:In a cochlear implant users own words: (509 comments)

My wife has the same cochlear implant as me

How do you work that? You get it Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays alternate weeks, or what?

about two weeks ago
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Born To RUN: Dartmouth Throwing BASIC a 50th B-Day Party

GrahamCox Mixed blessing (146 comments)

BASIC is a horrible, horrible language. I'm conflicted though, since it's where I started, in 1978. I stuck with it for a few years not knowing any better, and even programmed the first Mac using MS BASIC for a short time in '85 before giving it up for good. But learning Pascal (Turbo flavour) was a breath of fresh air - almost as easy to use, and far, far more elegant and properly structured. From there it was a trivial leap to C and OOP, C++, Obj-C and the rest. I suspect many programmers of my generation have a similar story, but while BASIC is quick to learn and get started with, it does nothing to teach you how to be a *good* programmer, and encourages many bad habits. Maybe it got better in its later incarnations, I wouldn't know - once you've got to grips with C there's no reason to look at BASIC again. I guess we don't have to wait too long for C's 50th.

about two weeks ago
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Most Expensive Aviation Search: $53 Million To Find Flight MH370

GrahamCox Re:But Terrizm! (233 comments)

Really? No irony alarms going off here at all? Are you sure GP doesn't just have his credulity threshold set a little lower than yours?
No. Have you read up on that case? I'm not a conspiracy-believing type, but in this one case there does seem to be something odd going on. Some very well-respected people think so, and have tried to make their ideas public, with actual evidence and eye-witness statements. Problem is, they get dismissed (by people like me, usually) as conspiracy nuts, and of course by all the usual suspects who appear to be involved. But the reason that that particular case is so convincing is precisely because the conspiracy cover-up has been so poorly executed, and "everybody knows" that lies are being told left, right and centre. That said, the actual reason for it hasn't been laid bare yet. In other words, there seems to be strong suspicion of a conspiracy, but nobody really knows why.

about two weeks ago
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Most Expensive Aviation Search: $53 Million To Find Flight MH370

GrahamCox Re:But Terrizm! (233 comments)

Here we go. How's that tinfoil hat looking? From here: pretty silly, but don't let me stop you. Honestly, this is how crazy conspiracy theories are born, and you're obviously the sort of credulous idiot who spreads 'em.

If you want to see just how silly this is, have a look at a real conspiracy; say TWA 800. It's obviously a cover-up of some sort, and everyone who's looked at the evidence open-mindedly and in detail can see that. The problem with conspiracies in real life is that they leak like sieves, and it's simply impossible to keep them quiet. At the end of the day however, those involved just deny, deny, deny (not even plausibly) and in the end they know that people will just give up and go back to their lives.

MH370 will almost certainly turn out to be a tragic accident or act of sabotage, and not a conspiracy. There's absolutely no evidence for a conspiracy, though there's plenty for one almighty cock-up by the authorities in its aftermath. If I'm wrong (and that means proof), I'll gladly retract this and eat my hat as well.

about two weeks ago
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Most Expensive Aviation Search: $53 Million To Find Flight MH370

GrahamCox Re:But Terrizm! (233 comments)

Except that the person in question was William of Ockham, a place in Surrey, England. Which is spelled 'Ockham' still. 'Occam' seems like a mediaeval spelling and things have changed a fair bit since then.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_of_ockham

about two weeks ago
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Prototype Volvo Flywheel Tech Uses Car's Wasted Brake Energy

GrahamCox Re:Gyroscopic precession (262 comments)

if you are braking through a turn

There's your problem; good drivers don't do that - they enter the corner at the right speed, and accelerate out of it.

The reason it's bad to do this is that a tyre has only so much grip, and this grip is divided between braking and cornering forces, therefore, if you're braking, you have less cornering grip and vice versa.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Consider Elegant Code?

GrahamCox It's always elegant at first (373 comments)

New code is always elegant at first. But invariably it doesn't work properly, and by the time you have got it to work, it's no longer elegant.

about three weeks ago
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Is the Tesla Model S Pedal Placement A Safety Hazard?

GrahamCox Re:Toyota's fine was not just about pedals (394 comments)

I don't know that other manufacturers are any better. That's why mandatory standards and independent audits (even open sourcing) is needed - these things are only going to become more prevalent. If that puts the cost up a little, then so be it - safety shouldn't be compromised by shaving a few pennies off a component.

However, there are voluntary standards and guidelines and some manufacturers have come forward and said they comply, though we only have their word for it.

To me it doesn't make business sense to not be as absolutely correct as it's possible to be - it has cost Toyota dear both in punitive damages and in terms of their reputation. The secrecy in this case also didn't help them - it seems as if it was more about the embarrassment at the poor quality of the code than keeping proprietary secrets private - after all, how many 'secrets' can a throttle controller really have? It's a mundane component.

In the Toyota UA case it was manufactured by Denso anyway, so Toyota could have easily distanced themselves from it if they'd been a bit more savvy.

about a month ago
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Is the Tesla Model S Pedal Placement A Safety Hazard?

GrahamCox Re:Toyota's fine was not just about pedals (394 comments)

Yes, it's odd how this story is not bigger, especially on sites like Slashdot - you would have thought this sort of thing would be bread-and-butter to the average slashdotter.

The state of Toyota's software exposed by Barr and Koopman is absolutely shocking - I won't be even considering a Toyota until I know for a fact that Toyota have put in place proper standards and are adopting best practices with regard to the design of these components. Presumably they will, at some point, and otherwise I have nothing against the Camry or (most) other models - in fact as a former owner of a Camry it was a perfectly fine car, if a bit dull.

I've noticed another odd phenomenon about this case though - if you try and point it out to a Toyota owner, you'll meet a lot of resistance, even hostility. They don't want to know. I have no axe to grind regarding Toyotas, but if I owned one or was thinking of owning one I'd want to know if it was fundamentally correctly designed. But try and get an owner to take the issue seriously and you'll have an uphill struggle. I was a bit surprised by that, though it was also noticeably Prius owners who were the most vocal and resistant. I'm not a fan of the Prius personally - one model I would never consider buying, it's mechanically overcomplicated and is a technological dead-end as far as hybrid design is concerned - and the UA case involves the Camry specifically, not the Prius. But is there any reason to suppose that the design of the embedded systems on the Prius follows fundamentally better standards than the Camry?

The overwhelming feeling I was left with after an online run-in with a couple of Prius owners on this issue was that I'd met a couple of dyed-in-the-wool fanboys. No criticism could be ventured. It was an eye-opening experience! I'd heard about 'fanboys' of Apple products and that sort of thing, but I'd never encountered one until then. Essentially their argument seemed to be that it had never been a problem for them, therefore the problem didn't exist. I guess logic and reason are not the strong points of Prius owners as a group, otherwise they'd all be driving Golf diesels.

about a month ago
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Symantec Fires CEO Steve Bennett

GrahamCox Pointless Company (111 comments)

They've been pointless since they acquired THNK technologies and ruined their products. When was that, 1992?

about 1 month ago
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Measles Outbreak In NYC

GrahamCox Re:Dumb logic (747 comments)

Well, except that it's a non-sequitur. Autism has no connection with Measles, or the Measles jab.

about a month ago
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Apple Refuses To Unlock Bequeathed iPad

GrahamCox Re:Why? (465 comments)

Actually, the box says "Your Apple iPad" inferring that Apple still own it and you're just using it.

Disingenuous bullshit. Ford don't own your car, yet it says 'Ford' right there on the front grille!

about a month and a half ago
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Android Beats iOS As the Top Tablet OS

GrahamCox Re:And yet apple sells more tablets than anybody (487 comments)

You're retrofitting the phrase to a possible meaning, when in fact there never was such a phrase, just a mishearing of a different one. And anyway its "for all intensive purposes". What does that even mean? It might mean something, but it sounds awkward and, due to its common misuse, makes the speaker sound ignorant. Anyone with a desire to not make themselves sound like a fool will give this one a very wide berth.

about a month and a half ago
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Walmart Unveils Turbine-Powered WAVE Concept Truck

GrahamCox Re:The center? (242 comments)

It took me almost a week to be able to signal routinely without first turning the wipers on though.

That doesn't have anything to do with which side of the road you drive on, but rather which pattern the manufacturer happened to choose. I drive mostly on the left (UK and Australia), occasionally in Europe and USA, but in all cases the rental cars seem different regarding wipers/signals on left or right every time. I do wish they'd all standardise.

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

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Einstein thought religion "childish superstiti

GrahamCox GrahamCox writes  |  more than 5 years ago

GrahamCox (741991) writes "The Guardian is running a story about a private letter of Albert Einstein's which is about to come up for auction:
"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." So said Albert Einstein, and his famous aphorism has been the source of endless debate between believers and non-believers wanting to claim the greatest scientist of the 20th century as their own. A little known letter written by him, however, may help to settle the argument — or at least provoke further controversy about his views. Due to be auctioned this week in London after being in a private collection for more than 50 years, the document leaves no doubt that the theoretical physicist was no supporter of religious beliefs, which he regarded as "childish superstitions"."

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