Long-range Electric Car World Speed Record Broken By Australian Students
I've been reading through the comments and there seems to be so much vitriol aimed at electric vehicles. Sure, this isn't a practical car, but electric vehicles in general can be very practical. We have a petrol powered car at the moment but when it eventually dies (which won't be for some time given how reliable it is, go Mazda!) I would seriously consider an all electric simply because we rarely if ever do trips in our car that are longer than the range of the Nissan Leaf for instance. One tank of fuel lasts us about three weeks so we're averaging around 100 miles a week. We have a garage so we can keep an electric topped up (from roof mounted solar panels) and for the once or twice a year where we need the range of a petrol car I have no issue with nipping over to the nearest car rental place and grabbing whatever I fancy for the trip. The cost savings of switching to an electric will be substantial and we would never have to waste five minutes filling the car up every few weeks so that's a plus.
It only makes sense to make the switch when we're shopping for a new car but electrics have become easily practical for an every day car when you live in a city and the cost is dropping down to the affordable range. If we were in the country then I would more likely look to a hybrid but for our needs, lugging around a petrol motor just for the rare times we would have to travel more than 100 miles round trip makes no sense.
If none of the above applies to you and you tow your boat everywhere just in case, and you won't even start your vehicle unless you intend to do an 800 mile round trip, well then, buy a huge 4x4 and be happy with your choice.
Man Booted From Southwest Flight and Threatened With Arrest After Critical Tweet
" I just pledged to avoid that airline in future... and later upgraded it to a blanket ban after the next time I used the airline (4 years later) a similar event happened where my connecting flight was cancelled and trapping me in the same airport."
US airlines are some of the worst I've ever had the displeasure of encountering. I just got back from some work in the US and had to fly United internally as that was what worked for the necessary connections. The flight was late by two hours but fortunately it didn't matter that time but I was still grumpy sitting in SF for five hours. The next flight was Delta which was OK and on time, and then I was on United again and the same thing happened, delayed by two hours due to weather (aka act of God) and I missed my international connecting flight which stranded me in LA for 22 hours until the next connection. United didn't offer a hotel having left me there at close to midnight. I paid for an hotel myself having confirmed my insurance would cover me but the lack of customer service skills was very apparent. The flights were also lousy with no in flight entertainment unless you put your hand in your pocket and the same goes for food or drink.
I won't fly United again. Consider this my 'tweet'.
EU's top court may define obesity as a disability
It is not a disability, it is self harming. I was fat and then I dieted and now I'm not. If I had a real disability could I fix it with a simple lifestyle change?
Physical Media: Down, But Maybe Not Out
"The problem with digital "sales" is that they aren't really a sale. They are effectively an extended rental. That rental can be revoked at any time and your entire collection can be made to go away."
This is exactly my problem. I've always bought discs but sometimes I get a free iTunes voucher so I redeem that. I've recently had a case where a movie from iTunes was showing in reverse colours and they swore blind that it was my fault. I tested it on every device I had an the thing was always the same, a file I downloaded was fine, the one they were now serving via iCloud was inverted. In the end I had to give up because they kept to the story that the issue was with my Mac, PC, iPad and iPhone rather than the file being the problem. If this file had been a purchase I would have been stuck. Fortunately, I rip all my DVDs and Blu rays since they are then fine and I can archive the discs. Discs are still the way to go.
Group Demonstrates 3,000 Km Electric Car Battery
"Sadly the killer for this, and all electric cars, is that assuming an internal combustion car uses 6l/100km of petrol the price of petrol would need to reach $5/litre before it became more expensive than the cost of battery or about a factor 4 higher than it currently is in Canada. Still give it a few more years of declining battery costs and increasing oil prices and we will finally be there!"
My relatively modern and efficient regular internal combustion car can do about 7l/100Km on a run (2.3 Mazda 6 wagon) but typically it gets nearer 10l/100Km for combined driving. Fuel at the moment costs $2.30 a litre for 95 octane super (required by the car because I've tried 91 and it pinks like mad) so the numbers here in NZ are getting pretty close.
Personally, I use a motorcycle which returns 4l/100Km in heavy traffic and doesn't get stuck behind the idiot in front for hours - 1.5 hours to cover 25Km in Auckland is madness but that is what people put up with, my bike does it in 35 mins. No way a car averaging 17Kph is getting anywhere near 10l/100Km, let alone 6. Then again, I don't think the fuel matters so much as the time it takes and to me when it takes longer to drive than to use a push bike then you're using the wrong mode of transport.
Valve In-Home Game Streaming Supports Windows, OS X & Linux
With this I can grab a little steambox for my TV in the living room and play all my steam games on that from the comfort of the sofa. No worries about having to only buy Linux compatible games as I already have a Windows PC purely for games anyway. I'll see how well this works tonight when I can stream a PC game to my Mac laptop but if it works well then I'm sold.
This is what Sony should have done with the PS4 - let users stream from their old PS3 to the PS4 rather than rely on the PSNow solution they're pushing but I guess they don't have the flexibility of a PC to do that sadly.
Average American Cable Subscriber Gets 189 Channels and Views 17
"and nothing to watch."
Yeah, we had satellite for a good long time but gradually pared back the channels we received because many we wanted were tied to other channels we didn't and that pushed the price up. Once we got to the basic package we realised that the vast majority of what we watched was on free to air digital HD via our TiVo so we dropped Satellite. We're down to about ten channels now. Still nothing to watch though.
Microsoft: Start Menu Returns, Windows Free For Small Device OEMs, Cortana Beta
Look, I'm not disagreeing that the OS called Windows Phone 8 works well on a phone. The problem is it has no real relationship to the Windows operating system that users relate to. It doesn't use 'windows' and they nailed the phone/tablet UI onto desktop which is kind of the reverse of what they did with previous phone attempts and why I specifically mentioned the Compaq iPaq which really looked like a little Windows desktop with the start button and everything. Rather like the tablets running Windows that MS was pushing in the early 2000's. MS was always going to run afoul of having names that were so descriptive. You can see why they did it initially because when Windows was a GUI shell that ran on top of DOS it made sense to call it as such. But taking such a commodity word also makes them have to keep adding 'Microsoft' in front in order to maintain trademarks. As a trademark using such a common name is dumb. More to the point, tainting the brand as they keep doing by slapping it all over everything they do makes it difficult for users to understand why their Windows apps don't run on Windows Phone or their shiny new Windows tablet. Apple didn't make this senseless mistake and while the underpinnings of OS X and iOS are very similar in the same way that Windows Phone and Windows 8 are they realised that the GUI is what people see. MS tried to force their dominance in the desktop into the phone space by using the Windows name on something that didn't look like Windows, and then to just rub salt in the wound, drag that non-Windows UI across to desktop Windows and piss everybody off. I'm sure they could have paid someone with sufficient skill to come up with an attractive name for the tablet/phone OS they developed. Anything but Windows. Then again, even when they try it stinks up the room (Zune squirting?) but seriously hasn't the Windows brand suffered enough? Or should I say the Microsoft Windows brand since they can't have a trademark on such a common word, especially when it was already in use to describe the GUI windows before MS even developed Windows 1.0.
Microsoft: Start Menu Returns, Windows Free For Small Device OEMs, Cortana Beta
"And Macintoshes don't have waterproof coats. And it doesn't matter - it's the power of the brand that matters."
Apple is at least a brand people aspire to. MS' problem is seeing Windows on something isn't the easy route to market share it may have been in the past. They've diluted the brand, made it a shitty brand especially with what they've done with Windows 8. Brands only have positive power when people feel good about it but Windows as a brand is something people are shying away from. Even the Microsoft brand itself doesn't have the power it once had. You can't stay on top forever.
Microsoft: Start Menu Returns, Windows Free For Small Device OEMs, Cortana Beta
"You do realize you are comparing completely different operating systems with different core and UI and completely different hardware with over a decade between them and different input mechanisms don't you?"
Of course I do - that's why I was pointing out that there are no windows in windows phone 8. Earlier attempts at putting Windows such as CE/Mobile or whatever on a phone such as the Compaq iPaq tried to reproduce the Windows UI with the start menu, task bar and so on. It was awful. I think the tiles on Windows Phone 8 actually work pretty well but there are no windows. It doesn't look like Windows. On the other hand, it does in that they totally broke Windows itself to nail this UI onto their desktop platform which does have Windows. I can see Windows RT being called Windows because it does at least have the traditional desktop although in a limited form, but on a phone it has none of that.
The other point I made was that MS has this stupid habit of calling its applications by names that describe it (Word for uh, word processing, Windows for GUI based on windowing and many many more) but when the tool no longer does that thing such as Windows Phone which doesn't have Windows then the name makes no sense. They should have come up with a different name like they did for Xbox which while technically also the Windows kernel, isn't called Windows. Then again, they stuffed that up too by nailing the tiled UI onto the 360 as well. Crazy times.
Microsoft: Start Menu Returns, Windows Free For Small Device OEMs, Cortana Beta
"Windows on a phone works pretty well"
Windows on a phone is crap - did you ever try the Compaq iPaq? That basically had the same UI as desktop Windows and it was shocking. Windows on a phone is a disaster. The thing they call Windows Phone 8 doesn't have windows. The name is non-sense. Branding gone mad. MS has problems all over the shop - calling their software by simplistic idiot names, then using the branding all over a range of incompatible systems. Worse, was the attempt to pull it all together again by using the same UI on different form factors and buggered up their entire market. The tile interface does indeed work well on a phone or tablet. But tiles are not windows, so why the heck call it Windows? Maddening, and by association with the desktop OS that actually does have Windows and which people only bought to run software they liked but then to find that software doesn't run on this Windows but does on that Windows the confusion is legendary.
MS has confused their entire market. They've bullied their partners, abused their customers, crapped on the history of lessons learned from other platforms and produced multiple generations of OS that still feel deeply embedded in old world thinking while desperately trying to retain their controlling position. And thank goodness for that. All the missteps, crap products that alienated customers and the general dislike they garnered they have lost control. They have to play by the wider set of rules now or die. Anyone who ties themselves to being an all MS shop today is nuts, you have to be cross platform and support a wide range of tools and especially mobile. The poor slaves tied to a desk tapping away at Word documents are a dying breed and MS doesn't really know what to do about it. The desktop is not the location for real work and what they've tried to do to redefine real work to fit their vision hasn't worked. Real work moved away from them and we're not coming back.
You Might Rent Features & Options On Cars In the Future
BMW make the MINI range of cars having bought the brand off Rover. Nor are all MINI's 'Coopers' since they have MINI One, Countryman and so on. So it should be BMW MINI followed by the model.
I personally don't equate these new BMW cars with the actual BMC/BL/Rover Mini released in 1959 as the last actual Mini was made in 2000 to be replaced by this much larger car which apes the appearance of the original (like the modern Beatle does, or the Fiat 500.) I'm sure this new car is a great car, but it isn't a Mini and Alec Issigonis wouldn't recognise it as being a true member of the Mini family. I've owned three Minis, and they were all plenty big enough for me (6'2" tall) but I found the BMW car to be much too cramped inside for me to reasonably drive. Then they made that 4x4 one......
Playstation 4 Vs Xbox One: Which Shares Better?
"The important question is; which is a better game play platform and which has the best games?"
Munich Open Source Switch 'Completed Successfully'
"completing the Windows XP --> Windows 7 transition. Big organizations move slowly... "
There it is in a nutshell. Munich was on NT4 when they started this and while XP was out, they decided they didn't want to go that route because they could see that they would just become more and more tied to Microsoft.
Fast forward ten years and they're on their own Linux distro with upgrades in their own time. No being forced to move from a platform that is well understood and works well (XP) to a different platform that has compatibility problems with software developed for earlier versions (7) just because the vendor (MS) doesn't want to support XP any more.
This is a bit of a watershed. Many thought Munich was mad doing this and MS clearly hated it and wanted them to fail but they haven't failed and more to the point they've taken control of their environment in a way that MS only shops would never be able to. I've got to wonder how many sites are going to be going through a world of pain getting off XP while staying in the MS fold when they could move away entirely and save themselves the trouble in future?
SteamOS Will Be Available For Download On December 13
"Are they providing a sensible version of GNOME? I very want to shuck Ubuntu, and this would let me have my Steam games *and* a usable desktop system."
This isn't the Linux you're looking for. This is stripped down and intended to run Steam in Big Picture mode all the time. No desktop at all. The standard Steam client on a Linux system is what you're looking for.
Personally, I shy away from the bleeding edge Linux systems and stick with CentOS.
New Documentary Chronicles Road Tripping Scientists Promoting Reason
"Science hasn't "disproven" the existence of *any* supernatural being, just as it hasn't "proven" the existence either."
It isn't up to science to disprove the existence of god or whatever you want to call it. As Sagan so eloquently put it "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" and religion doesn't like to produce evidence.
On other hand though, when you look at how many gods mankind has believed in over the millennia (approximately 3000) the odds that the one particular god currently favoured is the right one is pretty darn small so as far as disproving it, no you're right, the particular favourite god of the moment (and this will change as it always does) may not be disproven, but it in no way stands out any more than all these other gods ever did and as such the probability that this god is any more real than any of the others is very tiny indeed. I certainly wouldn't go betting my life on being right about which one to pick.
Valve Joins the Linux Foundation
Hmmm, mod points or comment..... Oh well.
"The answer is: No...
As I see it, the Steam eco-system will be no different than the current consoles (XBox, PS4). The Steam boxes will have the advantage over the consoles of higher-end graphics, game controllers, etc. Windows boxes not only support higher-end gaming but also a wide variety of applications. A gaming rig can, and usually is, also used for gaming, photo editing, finances, and many other applications. Much like tablets, it's all about the apps...
Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to see the expansion of gaming. However, Steam is not the savior of the Linux desktop. In my opinion, It will be just another console..."
At some point the market will decide there are too many choices. This happened back in the 1980s when there were loads of different types of home computer and eventually they got thinned out through the 90's until Windows PCs were basically it. Valve is likely to turn console gaming on its head if they can get a sufficiently console like experience in place (Big Picture is close but enough games don't work with it that I still have to keep a keyboard and mouse close at hand) and enough AAA games come to it. Certainly, the market is saturated with PS4/XBone and then SteamBox and of the three I wish the SteamBox most success because it already has a massive game library compared to the other two, plus you can upgrade your hardware and keep your games. That's a killer improvement.
As for Windows, the main reason people use it is applications. When I talk to people about why they don't use Linux or Mac on the desktop there are largely viable replacements for the apps they use (especially true with the Mac) but games always come up as the main reason. Take that away and Windows is severely weakened in the market. Sure, it will hang on for a long time especially in corporate environments but these days home users have very little need for a PC when a tablet can do their social communications and a games console can do the gaming. I have a Mac and a PC (Win 7) at home and I barely use either because I have to actually go over and sit in front of them. Sure, I use my work Mac in the office all day but in my off time I don't want to sit at a desk. Steam on any computer is OK but it still can't be totally driven without a keyboard and mouse so maybe Valve's new controller can fix that (I hope so) in which case I'll leave my Windows box in Big Picture mode all the time and enjoy my games from the couch in full 1080p or more when I next upgrade and I won't lose my library. With SteamOS taking on more of the games I already own, a wipe to that is in the future for my PC and I'll keep the Mac for the boring stuff like work.
MS is desperately trying to remain relevant but they're bouncing around taking shots at everyone in sight because all these little devices are pulling the eyes away from their platform. Windows 8 has done little to improve things because it looks and works so badly unless you tweak the hell out of it with Classic Shell to get rid of the nightmare modern interface and restore it to something that looks and behaves more like Windows used to.
Sitting here at my Mac I have VMs for many different Linux distros, various versions of Windows too but I run OS X because I can run everything on it either native or via some form of emulation. Games aren't really the Mac's forte but that's OK as I don't want to sit in front of a keyboard to play games and I want a viable replacement for my current Xbox 360 (which I dislike more with every update) and MS just burned the Xbox platform by releasing the One without any backwards compatibility. Similarly, Sony's PS4 has no library and the price of games have gone up another 15-20% over the already outrageous prices so no sale there either as I can't pick up cheap back catalogue stuff to fill out the collection. Pity, I had hoped to play many of the PS3 exclusives and as it stands I'll likely buy a PS3 cheap at some point soonish to do that. I also just bought a WiiU because Nintendo is still innovating and it plays my current Wii games so we already have stuff to play along with the couple of WiiU games we got and you can pop them off the TV onto the controller screen. That's cool. PS4 and Xbox One? No back catalogue, expensive games, sub-PC graphics and all that lovely DRM. Nope, don't think so.
Ask Slashdot: Best Laptops For Fans Of Pre-Retina MacBook Pro?
I went from a 2006 model MacBook Pro which I had done all the upgrades on maxing the RAM and putting a 300GB drive in (big for the time I did it) and it is still running. The thing is, while I appreciated that I could upgrade it, it turns out when time came for a new machine I looked at the specs for the i5 MacBook Air and it left my 2006 MBP for dead. I figured, sure, I may not get the 5 years of working life I did out of the Air but it was less than half the price, way lighter, same screen resolution (1440x900) with a better trackpad, way better battery life and an SSD that made it so fast it was nuts. Here I am, two years in and the thing hasn't put a foot wrong. Battery is holding up nicely at just shy of 90% capacity after nearly 200 recharges whereas my old MBP had chewed through 400 recharges by two years and the battery was stuffed and needed replacing (the benefits of twice the run time I guess.)
Anyway, these days I look at the pros and figure I can't be bothered. I can hang all the stuff I want off this machine and the 4GB of RAM isn't terrible, especially now that Mavericks implements memory compression. Very glad I stumped up for the 256GB SSD and the i5 has proven a very good little workhorse. I have a big PC at home that I use for the heavier compute work and also a Mac mini which is my preferred desktop computer but the MBA is what I use 90% of the time. I wouldn't trade the small and light form factor even for a retina Pro. We have one in the office and it is heavier by far and while the screen is nice it behaves like 1280x800 so appears to have less real-estate.
I'll easily get another couple of years out of this machine and then I'll go straight back and buy another with the latest specs. The benefits of the largely solid state design, light weight and the wonderful keyboard and trackpad more than make up for any losses. Oh, and the screen, while not matte, doesn't have a glass cover so is actually very nice with the antiglare finish.
Ask Slashdot: Simple Backups To a Neighbor?
Get a fire safe. Put your backups inside. Probably safer than having them in your neighbour's house as anything that could happen to yours could also engulf theirs. Get two drives so you can have one attached and the other in the safe. That's what we do at work as well as having drives go off site. Can't have too many backups. Of course, it does require some work but you can't really get away without some effort. Heck, if you have a basement you could locate your drives down there. Anything short of a meteor strike should be protected against assuming you're also protecting against water.
5-Year Mission Continues After 45-Year Hiatus
I've followed this and other projects for a while and the quality of the sets, costumes and SFX are right up there. Sadly, the acting is poor at best. I hate to single anyone in particular out but the main three characters really don't work. It isn't just that they are different people, it is just bad acting. I actually haven't had such a problem with the Abrahms reboots despite there being new actors because the standard has been decent so it isn't that. Of course, when you get the odd trek alumni in these then they stand out as being more comfortable in the roles. Now, if we can get CGI up to a standard where we can produce lifelike replications of the original actors then we're really talking about being able to continue the series.
BBC sucking up to Bill Gates and co
Well, I watched the BBC Money Programme about the launch of Vista and a couple of things struck me. They tried to make out that they (the BBC) were being impartial, but in reality it was all rather sickly. The first thing that struck me is that all along they kept talking about competitors in the form of Google and 'other' internet companies but not once did they mention the source of most of their 'innovations', Apple. It was intriguing that the whole programme didn't mention Apple once in fact. Secondly, the whole 'WOW' thing with Vista got really old really quickly. The BBC tried to be cute by talking to potential customers at the end of the programme and asking if they would buy it and they all said that they wouldn't buy it because they didn't see what was wrong with XP. The general feeling was that they would get it with a new PC and not before. Fair enough. But when they told this couple of women that it cost MS $10 billion (that's $10 thousand million to us Brits) they did say "wow" to that. Personally, I am surprised that the number of lines of code only increased by 10 million over XP. Clearly they ripped a lot out and rewrote it, or didn't. Fact is, there isn't much new from the look of things. I have used Vista and found it confusing in many respects but maybe that is just me.
Anyway, wow? Not really. Yuck more like. And no mention of Apple, come on BBC. Something clearly went on behind the scenes to exclude such a prominent competitor. MS is obviously trying to ignore Apple and hope that none of their customers make the obvious comparison, that Vista is an old Toyota MR2 with a body kit trying to look like a Ferrari (don't laugh, there is one of those driving around where I live and it looks OK from a distance but up close..... no.)
Zero Emissions Vehicles
All this talk of fuel efficiency and how difficult it is to be green prompts me to write about my daily use of a zero emissions vehicle. It requires no charging, now fueling, it simply works via man power and is capable of covering an easy 20 miles in an hour when the average speed of traffic in large cities is barely 10 MPH. The bicycle has been around for well over 100 years and I use mine daily to commute to work. I have got sufficiently fit now that I don't even break sweat and it only takes me 20 mins to cover the 5 miles or so even with traffic. I just don't know why so few people consider this as a viable way to travel. It costs virtually nothing to use. No insurance, no road tax, no fuel costs, very little repair costs (I had to buy a new chain recently) and it is amazing just watching people sit in traffic wasting money and getting fat.
Since I started cycling to work my car use has nearly halved, I cover roughly 2000 miles a year now and those are the 2000 miles which would be the most poluting and expensive since they are the town journeys.
Of course, the car drivers don't like cyclists which is odd. Would they prefer me to be in my car too? If all the cyclists used cars too the traffic would be much worse so they really should appreciate us and not try and run us off the road. Oh, and while I'm complaining about car drivers, you know it really isn't that impressive when you gun your engine and burn me off at the traffic lights. I'm on a bike, you're in a car, it really doesn't make you look tough or strong or anything, just wasteful.
Finally, the school run. It is amazing how clear the roads are when the schools are shut. These hulking great 4x4 things clogging the roads up for no good reason. Kids should walk to school, or take a bus. No-one got driven to school when I was a kid so what is different today? Well, I guess it is more dangerous to walk to school what with all the careless mums driving very large SUVs to carry one small child to school and parking wherever the heck they please. There really isn't any need for it.