What is the best radar detector for under $250?

I agree with both Ryan and Tim about the radar detectors.  However, depending on where you are, one should also consider a laser shifter such as the Escort ZR3 (or newer model ZR4) or Blinder Xtreme.

While the best consumer radar detectors can sniff out X and KA-band signals from a long way off before the signal can bounce back to the officer, rarely do they protect against LIDAR (LIght Detection And Ranging) guns that are becoming more popular these days.  Normal radar guns send out a pretty wide beam of waves, and use the Doppler Effect to determine the fastest vehicle within that beam. LIDAR guns are far more accurate (at 1000 feet, the cone is estimated at around 3 feet).

Laser shifters actually actively jam by reacting to a police laser beam by sending out its own beam, shifting the spectrum of the returning light, rendering it unrecognizable to the laser gun’s optical sensors.

Note on legality: The Federal Communications Commission prohibits civilian use of police frequencies; thus active radar jammers that send signals are definitely not okay (however, they can't really restrict people from simply detecting light on a certain part of spectrum, so detectors are okay).  On the contrary, the Food and Drug Administration regulates laser devices, not the FCC, from a personal safety rather than a road safety perspective. Nebraska, Minnesota, Utah, California, Oklahoma, Virginia, Colorado, Illinois and Washington DC are the only states/district that bans the use of radar detectors AND laser jammers for “interfering with police business.”


How do the various major brands of jeans differ?

The simple difference is the quality across all aspects of the manufacturing process. The one-of-a-kind designs that some high-end jeans offer add an even higher premium to the prices. Think of rare paintings and how those sell on the market.

Exclusivity drives the value of brands and their products.

A great explanation that I came across one day:

If you weren’t a denim enthusiast before, you may be thinking about it now.

Source: Why your $200 jeans are worth the money

How does SquadEdit compare to EtherPad?

They are fairly similar.  Some differences:

  • In EtherPad, multiple people can be typing at the same time; in SquadEdit, only one person can be editing the text at once.
  • SquadEdit is more focused on code; EtherPad is a more general purpose text editor.
  • Probably because of this, SquadEdit only does plaintext; EtherPad allows bolding, italics, underline, and lists.
  • EtherPad uses colors to show which people have written which text; SquadEdit doesn't seem to have any concept of blame.
  • SquadEdit has syntax highlighting for a bunch of different programming languages; EtherPad doesn't appear to have any options for this (though I seem to remember them having JS highlighting at one point.)
  • SquadEdit just launched; EtherPad is shutting down now that the company has been acquired by Google.

Mobile Phones in 2011: What's better: an iPhone or a BlackBerry? Why?

The iPhone is no doubt extremely well-designed but there are a number of use-cases which cause many business people to stay with BlackBerry:

  • Tactile typing, specifically being able to respond to e-mails while walking down the street, and not having to keep your eyes on the screen
  • Instant messaging.  The iPhone still lags behind in being able to provide real-time IM services on the phone.   This is particularly due to the fact that only a single application may be run at once on the iPhone, while Blackberry allows true background processes
  • Encryption.  Blackberry data is communicated over the air using Triple DES encryption, and the device can maintain onboard data in a (fairly) secure manner.  Apple recently rolled out encryption to onboard data with the 3G S, but it is widely considered inferior to what Blackberry offers

What is healthier: Chipotle or Qdoba?

What are you ordering? Getting your calories from chips vs. a "bowl" will make a huge difference in the health benefits. What you get in this case matters more than which restaurant you get it in.

Both restaurants offer a line-by-line calorie counter, but Chipotle's site gives everything, (Chipotle) and Qdoba's site lists only calories and fat. (Qdoba)  Based only on the standard chicken burrito without sour cream, Qdoba's site tells me that I would be getting less calories and less fat, but I have no idea what gives me the extra fat on Chipotle's site. So it's difficult to make a one-to-one comparison.

Another comparison is chips and guacamole, which again has Chipotle coming in with 800 calories and 46 grams of fat, while Qdoba lists the same offering at 730 calories and 40 grams of fat. Based on these numbers, Qdoba is coming out on top. But they aren't listing their serving sizes, so perhaps Qdoba is simply giving you slightly less food than Chipotle.

I would recommend doing the estimate and going the extra mile to contact Qdoba and ask about serving sizes of your favorite foods to make an apples-to-apples comparison.

How is Quora different from O'Reilly Answers?

O'Reilly Answers is heavily tilted towards technology and computers in particular. There are non-technological threads, but the most popular topics are computer-related. Which is what you'd expect from a site run by a tech-book company.

Quora is a Q&A site that features a greater range of general-interest threads.

How is Quora different from Fluther?

Fluther: The design makes my eyes bleed, in a bad way.  I signed up, and am trying to get a feel for what their seed population of users is like; seems more geeky-engineer personal life decisions, vs. Quora's VC/startup and restaurant focus.

Also, the answers turn into conversations, and are even less helpful than the most insider-joke answers on Quora as a result.  At least here most of the unhelpful stuff goes into comments.  Basically lack of hierarchy leads to badness.

The "realtime preview of what you are typing" is quite possibly the most gratuitous and ugly UI AJAX thing I have ever seen in my life.

What are the major reasons to use Firefox instead of Chrome?

I've tried to switch from Firefox to Chrome, but I can't, mainly because of:

  1. Print preview (http://www.google.com/support/fo…)
  2. Ubiquity (http://mozillalabs.com/ubiquity)
  3. FoxyTunes (http://www.foxytunes.com)
  4. All-in-One Gestures (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US…)
  5. Opening a download without saving (http://www.google.com/support/fo…)
  6. Live Bookmarks (http://support.mozilla.com/en-US…)

(Of course, there are gesture plugins for Chrome, but I haven't found any that I like as much as All-in-One Gestures. I also like Forecastfox more than any Chrome equivalent I've found.)

What are the main differences between Spotify and Lala?

Product differences:

Spotify is a desktop application and Lala runs in a web browser.  This lets Spotify run more smoothly sometimes.

Spotify is mostly ad supported whereas Lala is focused around web songs (selling songs at 10 cents per song.)  It's easier to just listen to a bunch of stuff on Spotify.

Lala has more social features than Spotify (feeds of listening activity, a concept of followers.)  I haven't used Spotify in a while, so I can't remember what, if any, social features it has.

Non-product differences:

Spotify is only available in Europe.  Lala is only available in the US (or at least, this was true the last time I checked.)

Apple just bought Lala.  Spotify is a startup still.