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New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

sjbe Re:Take two cars (201 comments)

That works really well on a 1400 mile (one way) road trip.

So does renting a truck if you really need space.

yesterday
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Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

sjbe Re:First World Problems (296 comments)

And since there are many places where starving to death is a significant concern people should just stop whining about cancer and diabetes.

Right because that is really similar to whining about the cost of Saturday processing of Netflix DVDs. [/sarcasm]

yesterday
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New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

sjbe Re:Take two cars (201 comments)

Which (gasp) you don't need to do if you have, say......a minivan.

Which (gasp) didn't exist when I was a child and yet somehow we managed without. The first vehicles recognizable as a modern minivan came on the market in 1984 and I was close to driving age by then. Prior to that you either had a full sized econoline van, a VW mini-bus, a station wagon or a second car. Worked out just fine. Plus since we didn't actually need the extra seating of a minivan 99% of the time we didn't have to waste fuel driving around a lot of extra unused vehicle all the time. We owned an econoline van when I was really little for a while (didn't need the space though which is why we got rid of it) and then we owned a series of coupes and sedans. Never was a problem getting all the people wherever we needed to go. I rode from the Great Lakes down to Florida several times in the back of a VW Scirocco.

And it's still odd that you chuckle at people saying they need a van immediately after laying out reasons why some people need a pickup instead of an SUV.

I said most people who buy pickups do not actually need a pickup. An SUV or a minivan or a station wagon would suit their needs fine. A pickup is a work vehicle. If you don't haul messy stuff that would trash an interior then you don't need a pickup. You may want a pickup but you don't need it.

A minivan is a convenience for hauling a family, not a necessity. Nothing wrong with buying a minivan since they are hugely practical but most of the people who claim they "need" a minivan are incorrect. I think minivans make a lot of sense even for many people without kids but station wagons or SUVs can accomplish most of the same things just fine. Both my parents still own minivans despite me and my sister having been out of the house for several decades now. But they are a luxury, not a necessity for most people who have them.

yesterday
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Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

sjbe First World Problems (296 comments)

I wouldn't live in a place with inadequate bandwidth for a simple video stream.

I think that is the very definition of a First World Problem.

yesterday
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Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

sjbe Because... (296 comments)

For something that is after all, only data? Why would anybody want to wait for a day or two for a piece of plastic when they can access the data instantly online?

Because some things aren't available online (legally).
Because you don't have enough bandwidth to get it online.
Because you lack the equipment to stream movies to your TV
Because some DVDs have features not available to streaming versions.
Because you may not have an internet connection at point of viewing
Because Netflix's streaming catalog has more holes than shotgunned swiss cheese.

They may not apply to you but there are reasons why someone might prefer a DVD in some cases.

yesterday
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Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

sjbe Newbies (296 comments)

So slashdot has officially just become a general complaint department then?

You must be new here...

yesterday
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New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

sjbe Re:Minivans are practical but ignored (201 comments)

I'd like to see 30+ mpg in a minivan myself.

Agreed. I see no reason why this should not be possible in a minivan at least on the highway.

I have to disagree concerning the other points. My minivans have all handled extremely well, with much better footing (being lower to the ground) than any truck I've driven.

The trucks I currently own handle better than any minivan I've driven, not that that is a high bar to cross. Both my parents still own minivans (both Chrysler products) and I drive them now and again and they both handle like crap despite being well maintained. We're talking serious bodyroll and scary cornering. I'm not expecting a sports car but there is definite room for improvement. If you are comparing against some of the larger trucks then you have a point - they have terrible handling due to their use of leaf springs and other suspension technology just this side of wagon wheels. A truck does not have to be particularly low to the ground to handle well so long as the suspension is set up properly. I've had a Honda Ridgeline that handles better than any minivan you can point out except *maybe* the Mazda. Furthermore being low to the ground is a real problem for some of the things I use my trucks for like plowing. I would be unable to get out of my (steep) driveway in the winter using a minivan, especially after a hard snow.

Minivan styling? Whatever. It's a box with a compact drivetrain to maximize interior room. You want swoopy style, it'll hurt the very thing you want the minivan for.

Styling matters. A box can still be an attractive box. You may not care but most people do. Some pickups and SUVs manage to be at least modestly decent looking whereas I think pretty much every minivan looks like crap. They are either shaped like a doorstop or an ugly station wagon stretched vertically.

yesterday
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California In the Running For Tesla Gigafactory

sjbe Unions are not a big problem in Michigan anymore (170 comments)

Yes. There's also the matter of the labor unions and the screwed up politics of both Detroit and the state.

Neither of which are the problem you think they are. Michigan is now a Right To Work state. Whatever your feelings regarding that politically, it is clear evidence that unions are not the power they once were in Michigan. Both legislative houses and the governor are Republican at the moment and (like him or hate him) governor Rick Snyder (former CEO of Gateway Computer BTW) has been pretty business friendly. Frankly I don't run into anyone on a regular basis that is a member of any union.

Furthermore the economic problems in Michigan have cut a lot of the political BS away. Michigan is very actively courting business including a lot of battery business. A lot of business taxes have been eliminated in the last few years. Detroit City is under the control of an emergency manager. The politics there don't really interfere with anyone who is actually bringing money and business to the city. The politics in Michigan are no more screwed up than in any number of other states I could mention, including California. Virtually all the problems in Michigan are simply long term economic trends relating to the state's dependence on the auto industry.

I think it'd be far cheaper to move whatever fragment of that workforce which is still "capable" out of Michigan to California or Texas than it would be to build anything there.

You would be very wrong to believe that. What you are saying is as absurd as saying it would be cheaper to move the workforce for IT out of Silicon Valley. You clearly have no idea what life is actually like in Michigan.

yesterday
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New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

sjbe Not the same use cases (201 comments)

An SUV plus a utility trailer does fill the role of a pickup truck.

It's not the same thing. By your logic a sedan + a utility trailer = a pickup or an electric vehicle + a towed generator = a hybrid. It's a fine solution but its not a perfect substitute. There are plenty of times when a trailer is WAY more trouble than it is worth. I can (and have) stopped by the landscaping yard on my way home when my wife called needing some dirt or stone for the garden. Just had them dump it in the bed of my pickup with a front end loader. No trailer or extra planning necessary since I don't haul my trailer everywhere I go. I also cannot tow a trailer large enough to justify a fifth wheel with any SUV. I also occasionally take my pickup places with stuff in the bed where I wouldn't dream of towing a trailer. Nothing wrong with buying an SUV + a trailer but if you do that then you are confirming what I said which is that you don't actually need a pickup if an SUV can do the jobs you need done. Most people who buy pickups don't actually need one.

The cost of a minivan plus a pickup plus the fuel to commute in the pickup is greater than the cost of an SUV plus a small sedan plus the fuel to commute in the sedan.

The comparison is for 3 cars versus 2 cars per the original post. There is NO way that you will recoup the cost of a third vehicle in fuel. Even if it is a $2000 beater you'll spend more on maintenance than you will recoup in fuel for a third vehicle. Plus they have pickups now that get good fuel economy. There is the Ram 1500 Ecodiesel and next year there will be some 4 cylinder diesel options in light pickups. It's not hard to find a gas powered pickup that gets 20-25mpg combined these days. Even with a Prius you aren't going to recoup *that* much money in gas.

yesterday
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New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

sjbe Take two cars (201 comments)

Do you do said laughter right after highlighting the different capabilities of trucks and SUV's, as you just did above? You weren't hauling 7 people plus gear in that sports coupe, at least not safely.

Of course we didn't put 7 people in a coupe. (5 sometimes though) If we needed to haul more stuff we *gasp* took a second vehicle.

yesterday
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New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

sjbe SUV vs pickup (201 comments)

If I'd had a minivan, I'd also have needed to buy a pickup truck. An SUV fills both roles.

An SUV does NOT fill the role of a pickup truck unless you don't actually need a pickup truck. You need a pickup when you are toting things that you do not want to carry in the interior of a vehicle like loose dirt, stone, certain bulky supplies, trash, etc. Messy stuff. Very bulky stuff. If you can put what you are likely to carry in an SUV then you don' t actually need a pickup. My wife has an SUV which we use for plowing and I have a pickup which we use for transporting bulky stuff. Significant overlap but the use cases are not identical.

An SUV can fill the role of a station wagon or minivan depending on the specific use case and number of people you need to transport. If you get up towards 7 with lots of gear then you need either a minivan or a full sized van. If you are just transporting up to 4/5 people with some gear then an SUV or station wagon can serve adequately.

I kind of laugh when I hear people say they "need" a minivan. Amazing how those of us who predate minivans somehow managed to survive. They're a great tool but hardly a necessity. The car my family had when I was growing up was a sports coupe. We took all the family trips and got all our gear in it too.

Neither quite as well as the ideal vehicle, but well enough that it makes more sense than two vehicles... actually three since we also needed a commuter vehicle.

Why would you "need" a commuter vehicle? The cost of any commuter vehicle is going to hugely outstrip any fuel savings you might possible generate.

2 days ago
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California In the Running For Tesla Gigafactory

sjbe Clueless about Detroit (170 comments)

The trouble in setting up there would be, what are you going to use for a workforce?

You think there is a lack of a willing and capable workforce in Detroit Metro? You could not be more wrong. There are reasonable reasons to pick places other than Metro Detroit to build a factory but the blight in Detroit City and perceived lack of a workforce is not among them. Honestly I can't think of many better places to build a factory if you really look at the evidence. The opportunity is definitely there. You might find cheaper labor elsewhere but you aren't going to find a more capable labor force anywhere for manufacturing.

Likely as not, not locals

You bet. There is more manufacturing and engineering talent in Detroit metro than all but a handful of places in the US. Did you forget that GM has their headquarters in downtown Detroit? Where do you think they get their people from? Do you think it is by accident that almost every single car supplier of consequence has engineering operations somewhere near Detroit? Michigan ranks 4th in the nation in high tech jobs. Metro Detroit is the second largest source of tech jobs of any metro area in the US. If you want manufacturing talent you could do a lot worse than Michigan.

So yeah, the locals will do just fine.

how are you going to convince folks to me to Detroit, not much incentive to move to a barren, economically sparse, drug infested/violence infested area.

If you think that properly describes all of Detroit then you aren't wanted there and you clearly know little about the area. Downtown Detroit near the Renaissance Center has actually seen a pretty nice revival. Not to say the city overall doesn't have a long way to go (it very much does) but there are big parts of it that are nothing like the hell hole you are describing. Guys like Dan Gilbert are buying up all kinds of property and businesses are setting up shop left and right. It's a hell of an economic opportunity if your investment horizon is sufficiently long term. There are three major stadiums, a convention center, a university, three casinos, GM, outstanding restaurants, Whole Foods, and lots more all downtown. You really think Whole Foods is going to set up shop in the middle of a blighted, drug infested area? I just had a relative open up an upscale coffee shop in Downtown Detroit and another relative of mine has a fast casual restaurant at the Renaissance Center.

Furthermore it doesn't have to be in Detroit City. The Detroit Metro area is genuinely nice. I live in Oakland County which is immediately to the north of Detroit City and is one of the ten wealthiest counties in the entire US, has a AAA credit rating and is a genuinely nice place to live. Washtenaw and McComb counties are equally nice places. The University of Michigan as well as several other excellent local universities provides an outstanding local talent pool.

2 days ago
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The Almost Forgotten Story of the Amiga 2000

sjbe Learning and education can go together (181 comments)

Umm, entertainment? Like going to a party and chatting with friends, I learn something everywhere, but mostly here, I just discuss, sometimes argue. But seriously, most of it is just entertainment.

Learning and entertainment are not exclusive to each other. Not everything has to be a firehose of education. I come to slashdot for entertainment as well but if I never learned anything the entertainment value would vanish rapidly.

There is a whole world out there of people playing with obsolete technology. It's not always nostalgia either.

Exactly my point. There are lessons to be learned from obsolete tech and sometimes it turns out to be not as obsolete as we think. You can even have fun while you do it. But I don't really understand pointless nostalgia. Learn from the past but live in the present.

2 days ago
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New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

sjbe Ugly vehicles (201 comments)

and is based off the (discontinued in the states) Previa styling:

Thank $diety. The Previa was one of the ugliest vehicles this side of a Pontiak Aztek. I've never seen a minivan I thought was remotely pleasant to look at but the Previa was ugly above and beyond the call of duty. I'm kind of astonished nobody has seemingly even tried to make a minivan that is better looking.

2 days ago
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New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

sjbe Forgetting about full sized vans? (201 comments)

My reality is that they only sell $45,000 suvs or much cheaper minivans that can fit my whole family

You can buy a Ford E-Series van or Ford Transit van that will seat more than any minivan, tow more and is available for as little as $30,000. Only real downside is that the MPG kind of sucks.

2 days ago
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The Almost Forgotten Story of the Amiga 2000

sjbe Learning is never a waste of time (181 comments)

There is something just awesome in any slashdotter telling another they are wasting their time.

If you learn things that is (almost) never a waste of time. I learn things here despite the signal to noise ratio at times. I see perspectives and debate about topics I do not find elsewhere. If you think slashdot is nothing but useless noise I would have to ask why you bother coming here unless you are trolling.

Personally I don't grok the appeal of playing around with loooong obsolete computer gear out of nostalgia but to each their own.

2 days ago
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New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

sjbe Minivans are practical but ignored (201 comments)

While there were 14 manufacturers of minivans 15-20 years ago, there are only five today

7 actually (Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, Kia, Nissan, Mazda, VW) though I think VW might contract the actual manufacturing to Chrysler.

My 2011 Town and Country actually got 27.5 mpg on one tank of gas on a recent 2800 mile trip. My brother's SUV struggles to achieve 18.

A Jeep Grand Cherokee with the diesel option will get around 30mpg on the highway and seat up to 7. The current Dodge Grand Caravan gets 17 city, 25 highway which is roughly the same as a full sized pickup truck with a boosted V6 engine. There really is no excuse for minivans to not be able to get mpg over 30mpg appropriately configured.

I sure hope the minivan doesn't disappear. Truly, it is without equal for families up to about 7 people.

It won't. It might not be sexy but as you point out there is nothing else out there with the capabilities of one. Sometimes practicality just rules the day.

I think the main problem with minivans is that the car companies have focused too much attention on SUVs and not progressed the category as much as they could have. Minivan gas mileage is better than big SUVs but what isn't? And it's not as good as it could be. I can get a big pickup with a 400HP engine that isn't much worse on gas mileage than your typical minivan. No way that should be possible. I have to believe there probably is a market for a hybrid powertrain minivan. Minivan handling is pathetic even by truck standards for the most part (except for Mazda's offering). They generally lack options like 4WD. They are used for hauling kids and stuff and yet they have cloth interiors that cannot be easily cleaned. I have a Nissan Xterra and I can literally hose out the interior of that car which I occasionally need to after toting my dogs or mountain bike around. I haven't been in a minivan used by kids that couldn't use a good hosing down. Minivan styling is horrendous. Nobody buys one because they think it looks nice.

2 days ago
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New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

sjbe Why minivans have a bad reputation (201 comments)

Honestly though, I think the minivan could enjoy a resurgence in popularity if it was approached from a slightly different angle.

Perhaps. Minivans are undeniably practical for many uses but they are hard to make sexy. Of course it doesn't help that they have ugly styling, bad fuel economy and handle like a river barge for the most part.

Make it *really* easy for all of the seats to fold flat (like "push a button and they all retract into the floor" easy), and market it to the homeowners who currently shop for light trucks!

The problem is how to do that economically. There are all sorts of cool things you can do if money is no object. I think you'd have more luck with them if you started with solving the styling and fuel economy problems, then work your way to fixing the handling and then get into nifty features like what you describe. A minivan would seem to be the ideal place for a hybrid powertrain and I'm surprised there are basically no 4WD/AWD options out there.

I know I've owned a couple of pickups because they were so darn functional and useful for things like hauling away yard waste or picking up a furniture or appliance purchase, or just helping a buddy move. But their big downside is the lack of any protection from the weather for the cargo, while driving

That is the reason I have a folding tonneau cover on mine. Solves that problem for the majority of cases and even improves gas mileage slightly.

2 days ago
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New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

sjbe Minivan death greatly exagerated (201 comments)

It seems that in the US at least, the minivan is quite nearly dead.

Not even remotely. 532,357 minivans were sold in the US in 2013.

How many companies other than Chrysler are still making them for the US market at all?

Toyota, Honda, Kia, Mazda, Toyota, Nissan and VW all make and sell minivans. Chrysler, Toyota and Honda own about 90% of the market together between their 4 offerings.

2 days ago
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New York Judge OKs Warrant To Search Entire Gmail Account

sjbe Limitations on law enforcement (150 comments)

Have you ever tried to find something in your email account that you know is there but couldn't locate it using any search terms that came to mind, only to find it later along with something completely unrelated? How hard do you think it would be to describe to a Google employee the type of information you want them to search for in (likely) thousands of emails and get a perfect success rate (assuming, perhaps incorrectly, that that's the only satisfactory outcome)?

Law enforcement is not entitled to a perfect success rate. If they have evidence that justifies searching an entire account then fine but I defy you to come up with more than a handful of cases where such a blanket search is not a violation of the Fourth Amendment. We put limits on law enforcement because law enforcement has a LONG history of abusing power. The majority of the Bill of Rights is devoted to limiting the power of law enforcement. We put these limits in place knowing full well that the result will be that some guilty people go free because the alternative is to convict innocent people. The job of law enforcement is not supposed to be easy or convenient.

I don't get the fuss, it's not like you have some right to hide suspected (they got a warrant) illegal activities just because they're recorded in an email archive stored somewhere other than your computer's hard drive.

Strawman argument. The question is whether the warrant and the activities permitted are appropriately narrow to the circumstances. If they are then all is well. If the warrant allows a fishing expedition then it is an abuse of the judicial process. If the search criteria that can be justified is too narrow to result in information useful for a conviction then that is just too bad. If they don't have enough evidence to convince a (properly behaving) judge that a wider search is necessary then that is how the system is supposed to behave.

The only problem I have with it could be described as a slippery slope fallacy; that is, maybe the rules will become more relaxed over time as more judges build on this case.

It's not a slippery slope problem. The problem is that there is relatively little guidance on what the rules and parameters regarding these sorts of searches should be because the technology of online accounts has advanced somewhat ahead of the law. Could be that the warrant issued was perfectly appropriate to the circumstances. However the justification was given that "investigators might miss something" which is alarmingly insufficient. Yes, they might miss something and unless they have evidence to justify a very broad search then they should have to use less invasive means even if that means they might miss something. Better that 100 guilty men go free than a single innocent man be wrongly convicted. Searching someone's entire Google account is a very invasive search and there had better be a very good reason to allow it.

2 days ago

Submissions

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Creationists Editing Darwin's Origin of Species

sjbe sjbe writes  |  more than 3 years ago

sjbe (173966) writes "Proponents of intelligent design have been distributing an edited version of Darwin's "Origin of Species". The edited version reportedly contains a 50 page introduction written by Ray Comfort favoring creationism. The full original text of the book is included with the new version. Over 1000 copies were allegedly handed out near Washington University in Saint Louis without any notice to or approval from the university. The author reportedly draw connections between Hitler and Darwin so Godwin's Law may need to be invoked."
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XM Sirius Merger approved by DOJ

sjbe sjbe writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sjbe (173966) writes "A year after announcing the merger the Justice Department has given the thumbs up to the proposed merger between satellite radio companies XM and Sirius. The FCC still has to give their approval but historically the two organizations rarely contradict each other on proposed mergers. It will be interested to watch if the merger can stop all the red ink from these two money losing companies."
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Ziff Davis Files For Bankruptcy

sjbe sjbe writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sjbe (173966) writes "Ziff Davis Media Inc., publisher of PC Magazine has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The filing is reportedly to reorganize the company's capital structure, particularly with regard to subordinated debt. Papers were filed in the US Bankruptcy court in Manhattan. The company's parent Ziff Davis Holdings Inc. also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Full details are available from Bloomberg."
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Lax TSA Website Exposes Traveller's Information

sjbe sjbe writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sjbe (173966) writes "According to a January 2008 report from the US House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, from October 2006 through February 2007 traveller's who utilized the TSA website to attempt to remove their name from the No-Fly list risked having sensitive data, including social security numbers, exposed due to poor security practices. The contractor responsible, Desyne Web Services was awarded a no-bid contract to design the website. The TSA's technical lead on the project reportedly had a conflict of interest having been a former employee of Desyne. The security vulnerabilities were pointed out by Chris Soghoian, a Ph.D. student at the University of Indiana's School of Informatics. The TSA has since taken action to remedy the vulnerabilities but no action was taken to sanction the responsible parties for the vulnerabilities."
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