Lesson in common sense for all you tools slagging off Glock without knowing what happened: Glock wouldn't have bothered gambling with the possibility that he'd lose his chance of scoring any points at all if he simply intended to let Hamilton through again. Kudos to him for trying! Keep in mind that he was in very difficult conditions. His tyres would not only have not suited the wet track but they would have been cold by that time as well.
On the other hand there is the off chance that he planned to jump Hamilton and Vettel but didn't plan on Hamilton being overtaken by Vettel so he let his good buddy through (are they even known to be friends and why would he have more interest in letting Hamilton win than Massa?). But I'm thinking the former is more likely.
Actually my understanding is that it only does that when the [Search x for:] text appears. And that's not only for Google. It would send that information to wikipedia instead if you were using that.
The only time it ever sends information relating to the URL is if a page is loaded that is deemed malicious - ever seen that big red screen on FF3? That does the same thing. Except the URL can't be figured out from this information - it's just a hashcode.
And frankly I'm not too worried about sending a bit of data to Google. They have never done anything to make me doubt them. I believe they have the right motives and these motives are very well reflected by their actions.
You can whine all you want but the fact of the matter is:
Internet Explorer is a resource hog, damned slow (IE8 beta 2 actually uses more system resources than Windows XP!), and doesn't comply to standards. It doesn't matter that it renders more stuff fine at the moment. The fact that it's not conforming to the standards that are set by an independent third party is holding the web as a whole up. As an engineer you should understand that.
As a fun fact, did you know that IE5.5 actually gets a higher score in the Acid3 test (a standards compatibility test) than IE6? That just goes to show that Microsoft went off on their own mission. They figured that if change the standards to suit them, seeing as most people use IE it will give them an advantage - web developers would develop for IE and they would make the standards. And this is why they rightly get slated by web developers.
Usually these things work by making you phone some ridiculously expensive number - ie. the rate per minute is way higher than what it would normally be and you get charged automatically when you call. Telecoms companies have special services whereby the owner of the line can increase the rate per minute and make money off people that call. If you've never taken part in anything of the sort, this is defintely a scam.
What interest do I have in doing that? I'm not getting paid for anything I do here. I'm not even going to benefit from a large community immediately because I won't be able to afford it for the first year or two. It's just my opinion, plain and simple. You don't like it because you're an LFS fanboy? Tough. Frankly iRacing makes LFS look silly.
I have no doubt that LFS will eventually, more or less, catch up to this great service (if it still has a decent customer base a year from now). That being said, at current progress rates, it's going to take half a decade for that to happen. iRacing has nearly everything you've ever wanted (some features will surely be added as things go on, such as weather) and is here, now. If you want it, you need to pay what they're asking. End of.
Just about... if I reaaaaaaly had to nitpick, it feels like the tyres don't dig into grass when the wheels are locked so you don't brake as quickly as you should (or roll for that matter) and you slide in slow motion towards a wall. And also cars sometimes bounce back up after jumping a meter or two into the air... but if your car jumps that high (it doesn't seem weird getting there) your race is over anyway so that's no biggie.
EDIT: oh, I see you added a sarcastic "I've heard the same about rFactor, LFS, NetKar etc..."
Seeing as the NDA has been lifted I can now post my review of iRacing here. I've spent a good few weeks with it and enjoyed it a lot. Here is what I've experienced.
The physics is fantastic. It feels every bit realistic. The immersion never fades and you never ask yourself "what the hell just happened?!". You can comfortably slide the car if you so wish. You can correct slides without too much difficulty. When you're at the limit and push further, grip is lost progressively rather than suddenly. It feels way way better than anything else I've ever tried in my sim racing experience (which is pretty much anything making a serious crack at realism in the past 4 years).
My oldish rig (3.0GHz P4 64bit, 1GB RAM, 6600GT 128MB Graphics card) it looks better than LFS and I get more FPS. What's more, FPS is much much more stable. In LFS, with 3 cars on screen FPS drops to half of what it is and is barely raceable. With 7 or 8 in iRacing, FPS drops from 80 to 65.
Netcode is something out of this world. I'm racing from South Africa, getting 400ms ping to the US. I don't see a hint of lag or warping. It's incredible - it looks like LFS single player. Hand on heart, I've had smoother races at 400ms in iRacing than at 40 in LFS.
Cars are every bit the driver's cars you want. The little Pontiac understeers most of the time but to get the goodness out of it you need to keep those gentle drifts going all the way through the corner. And it's got very limited setup options (none at all in the "rookie" version) so you can't dial it out. The Skip Barber R/T 2000 is superb and feels a lot like I'd expect a very low downforce single seater on road tyres to feel - drify. The Formula Mazda is a lot like the Formula XR or Formula BMW - slicks, and noticable downforce. Not my thing really, but if it's yours, you'd love it. And the Radical SR8 is genuinely terrifying to drive. What a blast, if you can keep it on the straight and narrow.
Car detail is superb. The setup options are exactly what they'd be in real life. They've taken measured values for suspension geometry. Interiors and minor details, everything is there.
The road tracks (ie. not oval) where I've spent most of my time are all fantastic bar one. Every one has had its surface laser scanned to make sure the bumps are in the right places and the slopes are at the right angles. And boy, does it make a difference. They're all American tracks except for Silverstone. Laguna Seca and Lime Rock Park you probably know from other sims, but Virginia International Raceway and Infeneon Raceway are no less challenging. A real blast to drive - in all the cars. Who knew the yanks could make such tracks - complex corner sequences, blind corners, ridiculous cambers, all the boxes are ticked.
The sound is great. I tend to shift the little Pontiac up more than I need to just so I can hear the noise of a heel-toe. In the Skip Barber you can hear the engine coming from one side and the exhaust from the other. I used to swear by synthisised sounds but done properly, sampled ones are very very good indeed.
And to top it off, iRacing's online system is superb. You get what's called a safety rating - it's affected by your online racing. It takes into account crashes, loss of control and track offs. And it works, it's never wrong. If you have too many crashes, your safety rating drops and you can't race in the more advanced series. It's a real motivation to get better.
Each series also comes with a bunch of different servers. There are servers for practice which don't affect saftey rating (the only online sessions that don't) - it's basically just so you can get the hang of wheel-to-wheel action. Also, time trials. You have to set a certain number of incident free consecutive laps (different for different tracks - it was 4 at Laguna Seca and 8 at Lime Rock Park for instance). The people at the top of the charts at the end of the week get some points for that series. Then the track usually gets changed and the charts cleared. There are also qualifying sessions. You go on a qualifying server and set a time. It counts for the whole week and you're gridded on a race server based on that time. You can improve your time as many times as you want - the advantage of pickup racing and the advantage of an ordered grid, all in one. Race sessions start every 2 hours or so (depending on the series - you can obviously switch between series so that doesn't limit your racing to one race every 2 hours). Races start with a warmup session which is quick and helpful and last at least 25 minutes or so which gives it a more serious feel than just 5 lappers.
There is also a great professional racing feel to it. They have a nice flagging system. If you cut the track, you are cautioned and asked to slow down for a moment. If you don't comply, you are black flagged. At the end of each race, you can see detailed results (sort of like LFS-stats).
So is iRacing worth the money? You bet. Every penny. Just a shame that I'll be on a student budget over the next few years and I won't be able to afford it. I need to research what organs I can sell and go without.
Seasons 4, 5 and 6 were meant to be 16 episodes each. Season 4 ended up being 14 episodes (13, but the last one was a double - it's counted as 14) because of the writer's strike. So 5 and 6 will be 17 episodes each to make up for it. So it was just 2 episodes shorter than it was meant to be.
Boohoo... remember, they negotiated with the ABC as to how much longer the show should go on and they said they had exactly as many episodes left as they felt they needed to seal it up. However, they probably felt that the remaining main storylines are better-split into three seasons rather than two. Good, I say. There were very few filler episodes this season. Everything was done very purposefully.
When you think about it, sim racing has been rather cheap by hobby standards. I don't think they're asking all that much. None of us like paying but it's all a matter of whether you are willing to cough up the extra dough for something that covers everything you ever wanted from sim racing or you prefer to wait while the cheaper products pay catch up, which could take 3 or 4 years.
Personally, I'm suggesting that anyone expecting to buy a professionally made racing simulation and expecting it to be brilliant in every way like iRacing should be is deluded. If they were selling to hundreds of thousands, yes, that would be feasible.
I don't think they're trying to sell to people who would be completely satisfied with LFS in its current state.
EDIT: Just think, tyre physics is a very unexplored teritory. The physics is unwritten, at least it's not something that you can just research online and code up because *no-one* really knows, and the people that do keep their cards close to their chest. iRacing is the first publically available computer simulation to base its physics on genuine tyre tests that they conducted.
Come on, are they really asking for that much? People pay similar money for World of Warcraft and I assure you that was far far cheaper to develop than iRacing. The research costs on iRacing are, I'm sure quite steep. Laser scanning tracks costs quite a lot of money - hence the steep track price. Testing the tyres of each car is also very expensive - hence the car price. They're providing an online series service with servers and everything, putting the whole thing together. That's a monthly cost to them - hence the business model. Like I said it would be nice if you could put your subscription on hold for a few weeks now and then but that's not really a nail in its coffin. You pay in terms of where they spend their money. I don't see what's wrong with that. And in the States and in Europe that really isn't that much money to ask for. You easily spend that much money whenever you go out with your buddies.
Kev, if you're going to tell someone what a bad bad person he is, please quote his whole post. Taking quotes out of context leads to pointless arguments. The fact of the matter is that Tristan has a habit of generalising things with words like "tend" and "most" and generally expects the people who are intelligent enough to not fall under whatever category he's talking about to exclude themselves.
You're wrong there - if you've got the cars, the budget and determination to measure everything it's not *that* difficult to make things perfect. In fact, it's much easier to copy the engineering off an existing car than to try and engineer a car's suspension well in a few days like Scawen did with LFS.
A certain Dave Kaemer once said that racing sims would become easier as they become more realistic - not harder. Because they're more natural and easier to drive. There are many things that are not necessarily hard but unnatural about LFS. I really do struggle getting back into it sometimes after putting it down for a while. I've been hearing very good stories about iRacing from some beta testers though.
LFS will have its trial by fire soon, if not by iRacing, by something else... there's been little progress overall since April 2006 really. People are getting bored and walking away. Either LFS will pucker up and grow a pair or it will degrade into only having snotty teenagers with nicks like H4x0R-k!D that want to drift and cruise all day long on its servers.
As far as iRacing's pricing is concerned, I think if it's as good as I've heard, it will be worth selling a limb for. Racing sims are too cheap anyway. People expect them to be just priced like every other game - well it's not like that. Doing it properly is much more expensive. Also, the steep pricing will keep H4x0R-k!D away so racing on iRacing servers should be of very high standard.
It's not so much the actual price I'm concerned about but rather the business model... but I suppose you do pay in terms of where they've spent their money. The only alteration I would like to see is the ability to "pause" your subscription. Say you get sick or go on holiday and can't use it for a few weeks. If you're on a year's subscription, that's money for nothing. At least make it an option on the 1 year subscription, and say 3 times for a maximum of 1 month at a time.