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Tesla Is Starting a Certified Preowned Program

abigsmurf So... A glorified personal contract purchase? (126 comments)

Plenty of car manufacturers will offer deals that you a guaranteed buyback value of a car 'bought' on PCP over here. It's usually a hook to get you to use that money as a deposit on buying another car from that dealer. Pay £3000 to 'buy' the 4 year old car you've been driving or get £3000, put that down as a deposit on a slightly better car and keep on paying what you were for your old car and have a bit of spare change to splash out on a holiday. I know Fiat offered this last time I went into a dealer.

As always with PCPs, sounds a great deal until you hand back the car and there's a 5p per mile over-usage penalty, that mark that looks like a fingerprint is totally a scratch that costs £100 to fix, you'll need to buy 4 new tyres despite the old ones only having 5000 miles on them...

about three weeks ago
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UK Government Tax Disc Renewal Website Buckles Under Pressure

abigsmurf Re:No alternative system is available ? (145 comments)

Because of the news coverage, millions of people go a big reminder to renew their car tax and all decided to renew when they got home from work that day.

Rather than having these people spread out over a week or so, they all decided to renew in what was likely just a 3 hour period so the system probably got many times the traffic it normally does.

about three weeks ago
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Hidden Obstacles For Google's Self-Driving Cars

abigsmurf That's great (289 comments)

Now can they teach cyclists to understand hand turn signals?

about 2 months ago
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The First Person Ever To Die In a Tesla Is a Guy Who Stole One

abigsmurf Re:Hi speed chase, hum? (443 comments)

It's probably pretty standard practice to send officers involved in accidents to hospital unless it's incredibly obvious that there couldn't be anything wrong with them.

Cheaper for them to have half a day's downtime and the price of going to ER than for them to have a non-obvious or seemingly minor injury that becomes serious because it didn't get treated (with all the lawsuits that go with it).

about 3 months ago
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A Bike Taillight that Goes Beyond Mere Taillighting (Video)

abigsmurf There's a reason this hasn't been made yet (86 comments)

Flashing lights undoubtedly draw the attention of people behind them on the road.

The problem is they do their job too well and become mesmerizing, drawing attention away from actually driving. People become so focused on the lights they don't realise that they're driving dangerously close to the bike, they start to slowly edge onto the wrong side of the road or they simply miss hazards up ahead.

Lots of drivers dislike even simple blinking red lights because of this. This 'jumbotron' will actually make things far more dangerous for everyone involved and is even of questionable legality.

about 5 months ago
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Under the Chassis: A Look At Tesla's Battery Shield

abigsmurf Re:Was it really Tesla's problem? (152 comments)

It's perhaps the biggest example of the Tesla Kool-aid that being able to walk away from an engine fire is seen as something incredible and amazing.

In almost all engine fires, the only way you'll fail to walk away is because you were physically unable (trapped or unconcious). I've a low end 2003 Skoda fabia (costs approx , if my engine were to catch fire, I'd get the heat sensor beeping at me, then the engine warning light would beep at me, then, if I hadn't stopped by then, it'd go into crawl home mode. I'd imagine if a lot of people read their car manual they would find their car will do something similar, yet people were going crazy over how amazing it was that Teslas could do this.

about 6 months ago
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Brendan Eich Steps Down As Mozilla CEO

abigsmurf Re:I think this is bullshit (1746 comments)

There is a big difference between expressing your personal opinion and colluding with others and organising a campaign where combined power of all the people involved makes you a powerful entity.

It's a road that leads to such wonderful things like blacklists for union members.

about 7 months ago
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Brendan Eich Steps Down As Mozilla CEO

abigsmurf Re:I think this is bullshit (1746 comments)

The term "jumping before he was pushed" comes to mind. To pretend that he would've kept his job if he hadn't quit is laughable.

about 7 months ago
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Author Says It's Time To Stop Glorifying Hackers

abigsmurf Re:"Victim Blaming" (479 comments)

Victim blaming is unhealthy because it shifts the focus away from companies trying to come up with better methods to secure accounts.

Why say "we're at fault for not securing our database and not hashing passwords in a way where rainbow tables are impractical" when you can say "they shouldn't have used such weak passwords!" and take the blame off of themselves?

Two factor authentication for example is a very effective way of securing 'stupid' users. Heck it's secure enough to enable a lot of banks to store two-way encrypted passwords and make their log in algorithms more robust against keyloggers (it's a myth that passwords have to be hashed for the best security). Two factor Authentication however is difficult and expensive so there's all the more incentive for blaming users who get infected with trojans or suffer when their passwords get compromised.

about 7 months ago
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The New PHP

abigsmurf Re:PHPs badness is its advantage. (254 comments)

Drupal is great in that it's gotten me lots of jobs and also lessens the whole "we need you to learn the structure of our horrible proprietary CMS" situation.

It is depressing just how many horrible hacks you find you need to do for 'basic' things. At the end of large projects I always tend to find I've a huge number of indecipherable preprocess functions in template files and custom modules.

At least 99% of the time, someone has had the exact same issue you're having. Just a shame you have to sift through 100 post threads with dozens of different patches to try or people who fixed the problem but in Drupal 6 (it's going to be fun when Drupal 8 arrives and 99% of the message board becomes unhelpful)

about 8 months ago
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The New PHP

abigsmurf Re:A fractal of bad design. (254 comments)

(Needle, haystack) , (haystack, needle) is something that irritates. Ensures I'm never sure of my syntax when coding.

There are a couple of annoyances outside of that which are trap lots of people learning to code in the language:

"while (fgets($file))" doesn't return false when it should (eg at the end of the file or if there's an issue with the file handler like most readline functions in other languages do. Given this will often cause the server to become completely unresponsive until the script (hopefully) times out, it seems a massive oversight.

if ($variable = 5) . A simple typo that can take hours to debug and spot and most developers fall victim to it at least once. Is a warning really too much to ask?

about 8 months ago
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Pro-Vaccination Efforts May Be Scaring Wary Parents From Shots

abigsmurf Too much information... (482 comments)

The more effort you put into telling people something is safe and the more visible this effort is, the more people will naturally question just why they're having to make this effort.

When you order a burger from McDonalds you probably wouldn't be too happy if worker who gives it to you said "don't worry, the chances of you having got a burger that has been spat on are tiny so it is very unlikely I spat in it! Enjoy your meal!"

about 8 months ago
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MtGox Files For Bankruptcy Protection

abigsmurf Re:"some weakness" (465 comments)

The weakness was apparently down to the site treating a txid (transaction ID) field as a unique identifier. Turns out not only was it not actually a unique transaction identifier, it could also be spoofed easily without altering the (real) destination for the transaction. Made it trivial to make fake deposits and real withdrawals.

MTGox's fault for not understanding a spec whilst using it to move vast sums around but it probably highlights the importance of good naming practices when creating a spec.

about 8 months ago
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Consumer Reports Says Tesla Model S Is Best Overall Vehicle

abigsmurf Re:Best car overall?? (318 comments)

Lets say you spend $5000 on services and repairs for the $30K car's life, that's $65K for fuel. How many miles is that?

A $30K performance high performance car is probably 30mpg. At $3.50 per gallon, That's 8.5miles per $. $65K would get you around 550K miles of driving.

Of course pretty much any car in existence would fall to bits long before hitting 550K but that's enough to show that you saving money is most definitely not a good reason for buying a Tesla..

about 7 months ago
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Tesla Says Garage Fire Not Charger's Fault; Firemen Less Sure

abigsmurf Re:Musk's Hubris... (253 comments)

So... there was a recall and it was big enough news to be reported on. That is kinda proving his point...

about 10 months ago
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RF Safe-Stop Shuts Down Car Engines With Radio Pulse

abigsmurf Re:Pros vs Cons (549 comments)

Alternatively, the criminals could just steal your car and torch it once they're done.

about a year ago
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RF Safe-Stop Shuts Down Car Engines With Radio Pulse

abigsmurf Re:Pros vs Cons (549 comments)

But if you show criminals that they can escape punishment easily by initiating a high speed chase, you'll simply encourage more people to speed away in a dangerous manner. In addition, if people think they're more likely to get away scott-free, they're more likely to commit criminal acts in the first place.

There is always a balance to be had, you can't simply say that criminals should be universally allowed to get away because you'll almost certainly cause more harm to society and danger to the public through the knock on effects of that.

about a year ago
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EU Plastic Bag Debate Highlights a Wider Global Problem

abigsmurf Plastic bag weight (470 comments)

200 plastic bags is under a kilo of plastic, compared to the food packaging (especially for micromeals) it's negligable. In terms of carbon footprint, it's impact is tiny and barely any better than re-usable bags.
Rather than using it to raise funds, how about mandating supermarkets to use biodegradable/compostable materials instead? Better yet, make supermarkets do "litter patrol" like they do in England with McDonalds.

about a year ago
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Musk Lashes Back Over Tesla Fire Controversy

abigsmurf Re:People are bad (487 comments)

You don't understand the stats either.

Musk is comparing a population of new, low milage , well maintained cars driven short distances by caring owners to the general population of cars including 10 year old 80,000 mile rustbuckets driven by teens who haven't had it serviced in years.

If you are not comparing like for like, you cannot draw any sort of reliable conclusion from your stats

about a year ago
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BT To Test Huawei 1Gbps Broadband Over Copper

abigsmurf Re:oh god who cares (77 comments)

Wait... is this the same nationalized BT that wouldn't let 'upgrade' my phone line from rotary to touch tone dialing without paying a massive fee?

Read some of the horror stories about people who had to deal with BT for company phone systems whilst they had a monopoly. Outdated, awful equipment that you had little choice to go with because there was no one else to choose from.

I find the romantic view that people take of nationalized monopolies amusing. British Rail is another example. Awful punctuality, constant strikes, 30-40 year old trains (still having dangerous 'slam door' trains in the 90's was an embarrassment) and almost as poor signalling equipment.

1 year,4 days

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