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Riyad Kalla
696 followers -
Director of Global Credit Platform at PayPal
Director of Global Credit Platform at PayPal

696 followers
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+TestDriveNow PREVIEWS By AUTO CRITIC STEVE HAMMES Steve... assuming you didn't need to worry about kids/wife capacity for your next car which would you get?

Dodge Viper GTS
BMW X6M
Mercedes GLE63s
Porsche Panamera Turbo
Cadillac CTS-V


Does anyone else find their Nest Thermostat incredibly frustrating?

Owned 2 of them for about a year now and find myself angry at them more times than I would expect.

I think my fundamental frustration comes from their core design which is to optimize for energy use and not for temperature; in theory sounds great, who wouldn't want that... in practice... causes a lot of unintended behavior.

For example... cooling an extra degree in Arizona in the summer (say 74 instead of 75) could be an extra hour of runtime for the AC. An AC is most efficient when it's been running for a while and the Nest knows this so it's cooling behavior is to overshoot the target temperature by a degree or two.

Cooling to 75 and wondering why it feels cold AND the AC is running? Check the Nest... it's likely 73 now and it's run an extra hour and a half but then will recirc the air for the next few hours instead of turning the compressor back on.

Great for energy optimization but so f-ing annoying to live with because now my scheduled temps feel uncomfortable or my wife is wearing a hoodie in the house in summer.

"So bump the target temp up to 76 or 77" you might suggest... well that means at peak cooling, the 75 will feel great... but as it's letting the temp swing up to 78 before kicking on that starts feeling warm and uncomfortable.

I set 75 because I want 75... not 73... not 78. I know what feels "comfortable" given this environment (air flow rates, some rooms run cooler or hotter than others, etc.)

Same goes for sleeping at night... 75 is a perfect temp to sleep in, but with the vast energy-saving swings of the temperature, I've woke up sweating a few times to see the temp is now 78 in the house and the Nest has just kicked the AC on... which will take 2 hours to cool down.

Now I'm awake, annoyed and hot.

We've compensated for this by putting a portable AC in our bedroom which is destroying any energy savings these overly-intelligent things were realizing for us.

"Easy fix, there is probably an energy-saver setting in the menu" right? Not that I've ever found... I've turned every single "intelligent" feature off I can find to hopefully curtail the behavior but had no luck.

Home/Away? Off
Auto-Schedule? Off
EcoTemperatures? Off

The hardware is excellent, I understand the behavior... but living with it annoys me so much more than I expected it would.

This isn't a "don't buy a Nest" post... this is a "If you are particular about your target temps... don't buy a Nest."

If you don't care about ambient temp that much and are more or less comfortable in most ranges, the Nest will likely save you a measurable amount of money and would be a great choice.

Regretting getting my Google Pixel XL (replacing an iPhone 6) via work... the phone is fast, battery life is OK, screen is fine, DayDream is neat... but damn I have run into a handful of bugs that continually annoy me.

Phones are so complex now, I think it's all about not experiencing quirks in the particular way you use your phone and I just happen to be using my phone in a way that exacerbates a few things.

Asked a co-worker that also got the phone and he acknowledged having a similar experience.

* [UPDATE] I almost forgot Bluetooth randomly turns off - turning off Bluetooth scanning to hopefully help it (according to Reddit thread). Where is Bluetooth radio scanning setting? Under Location... because... why not?

* YouTube Red playing in the background over bluetooth while I'm driving somewhere - will randomly sometime stop. All I have to do is unlock the phone and it will immediately start back up. This has happen 3 out of 15 times doing this... it will sometimes happen 3 mins after screen is locked and sometimes 15 mins after the screen is locked. If I had to guess, this is some buggy power-saving mode kicking in and suspending background activity.

* Also had this happen twice while using my headphones... one on YouTube and one on SoundCloud... again, totally random time duration... and never happened any other time.

* Battery life is average - the 2 year old iPhone 6 I replaced (being used in the same fashion) lasted just as long. I liked had unreasonable expectations here, but I thought this was one of the first generations of "next-gen"/2day battery life... no f-ing way.

* Open camera from double-click power button, get a popup "Unable to connect to camera" while I see the preview in the background updating perfectly fine (only happened once)

* Double-tap to show notifications on screen about 15% of the time doesn't work... it's not an issue of moisture or of my hands being covered in peanut butter. It has happened enough times and I've tried to troubleshoot for me to be convinced it isn't me. I can tap all I want on the screen but only the power button will wake it up... then I unlock... then lock again... and now double tap works fine.

* I LIKE quick-charge; it's damn fast.
* I LIKE the fingerprint unlock; it's very accurate and quick.
* I LIKE Android notifications; they are persistent AND consistent.

If I had to do it over again, I would not get this phone. I would have gotten an iPhone 7 or held out longer for the 7s.

+Care.com You need to hear this feedback - please invest more money in your technical platform; I don't mean headcount, I mean quality, empowered people. Using your site is a lot like playing Mindsweeper and the more I use it the more frustrating it gets.

Desktop website has different features and behaves differently than the mobile website... which both behave differently than the native mobile app.

If I interact with the website 10x, at least 3-4x of those times I'll encounter a red error or notation at the top of the screen along the lines of: "Please correct the following errors: There is an error on the page, please correct to continue."

Repeating my action... always fixes it (which suggests transient failures server side).

It is a functional website, but the technical dischord is palpable; invest in your tech folks and enable them to fix this.

I really appreciate what your company does, it has helped our family quite a bit and I want to see you succeed.

Thanks for listening!

Finally had a chance to replay Mass Effect 3... it has never been clearer to me that the Leviathan DLC is a required piece of the original game and exactly the reason the ending (non-extended) of ME3 was so hated at launch... there is critical story in this DLC that explains the ending.

I hope Bioware earned the right to push back on EA when it is quarterly-earnings time and they want a game in-market.

Really hope Andromeda is more than the trailers currently make it look like.

New Paradigm for Online Forums

I like to read a lot of different car forums and frequently want to participate, but the antiquated model of "signup! check email! confirm! welcome, but you can't post yet cause your karma is low!" is so anti-participation all in the name of controlling spam... the side effect of which is you only get a fraction of the participation you would want.

I want to recommend a new paradigm for most forum software:

* Anonymous user writes post and adds email address.
* Click "Post"
* Site stores post in "Draft" mode, emails user a "confirmation code".
* User copy-pastes the "confirmation code" from email on to site and post moves to "Publish" state (visible to everyone) AND user account is now confirmed and they are emailed a temporary password/passcode/whatever you prefer and browser is cookied with a long-lived cookie.
* If all goes well, user may never even need to know their "password" to this site AND they get to participate!

-- What about SPAM? --

I would really like to see a Google/Facebook/Someone-provided widget that tracks typing into the post box in real-time and looks for both templates for spam messages (e.g. "I made $200 by doing this weird trick!") but also looks at typing behaviors... the keyboard equivalent of the new Google "I am not a Robot" captcha effectively.

These two things seem like they would drastically open up participation in online forums and get us past this 1990s concept of "signup" that is so mind-numbing...

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A must-watch for anyone that is shopping for a mini-van and potentially a plugin hybrid version.

A few hot-topic questions Alex answered that folks waiting for this van have been curious about:

* The 2nd row seats are 'captain chairs' on par with the front two seats, they are NOT the standard stow-and-go 2nd row seats stuck in the upright position (because you lose the stow-and-go function in the hybrid - the batteries are stored in the wells where the seats used to fold into)

* The powertrain is not a newfangled FCA invention, it's a very similar design to what GM/Ford/Toyota have been using. I was worried about the reliability around the 'FCA eCVT' but the powertrain looks to be standard fair for a plugin hybrid - this is good news.

* Total range looks to be around 620miles on a flat/straight-through drive... if you add mountains and cities into that (opportunities to regen) another review I watched showed much higher electric range. The two gentlemen drove 26 miles on EV and had 18 miles remaining when they got there.

* "L" mode has been modified to be a more aggressive regen mode - very nice.

* FCA took the approach of "The car will automatically do what is best", you can't toggle the car in/out of EV only mode or mess with it, it just optimizes for how you are driving - again, for a minivan, good call.

+Alex on Autos Any chance you might be getting a Z71 Chevy Colorado (Diesel or non-Diesel) in for review for those of us that have convinced ourselves we 'need' a truck, but really don't? :)

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One of the more-detailed articles I've seen discussing the EV subsystem inside the new 2017 Plug-in Pacifica (that we are waiting for)

http://articles.sae.org/14871/

#Chrysler #Pacifica #Plug-in #Hybrid #Minivan

Just received a 'failed auth' email from AMEX even though I am no longer a customer (Costco card) - this is hugely helpful and an edge case that I would almost never expect a company to prioritize work for in a backlog.

I can see the product meeting now for any rational company:
"Should we send a notification email to the address on-file when we get an auth after the account has been closed to help the customer track down stray charges that need to be transferred over?"

"Who cares, they aren't our customer anymore!"

I've personally sat IN those kinds of meetings more than I would like... where PD explains it's maybe a sprint or two more of work and the business response is to "shelf that feature for now" - maybe it's the terms of the Costco shutdown that forced them to do it, but regardless was impressed getting that. Made my life easier.

I would also say calling AMEX Customer Support and getting a human relatively quickly as well as using their website for most anything was a superior experience to my other cards the few times I did it.

Nicely done +AmericanExpress

UPDATE #1: A quick example of what I mean... I'm on +Citi website right now trying to update notification preferences for the new Costco card and immediately ran into two problems:

1. The activation page for the Costco card does nothing; typing in the card info to activate it just appends "Loading account details" to the end of the HTML body in a broken rendering and does absolutely nothing; had to use the mobile app and call to get it activated.
2. Trying to set notification preferences is broken on the servicing website; editing Email1/2/Mobile1/2 and clicking 'Save Changes' does nothing... there is no way to save them which causes the Alert setup page to be broken (nothing can be enabled).

Goddamn broken software is frustrating...

UPDATE #2: Dear lord... so the Citi website works with Edge (Win10) but not the latest stable Chrome, now my changes are saving.

Also can't enter a number in XXX-XXX-XXXX format, that's a form validation error...

I'm really surprised how angry this makes me - maybe I've gotten spoiled with the expectation that software shouldn't be confusing or readily break. This just feels really 90s to me when we were still figuring out the web.
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