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* Posts by Dan

10 posts • joined 25 May 2008

Austrian official fuels Skype backdoor rumours

Dan

Who cares?

Nobody knows how secure Skype is. If you want security, use an open source client such as WengoPhone which is proven not to have back doors. Nobody is forcing anyone to use Skype.

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Research: Wind power pricier, emits more CO2 than thought

Dan

really long HVDC

Another solution would be to think further than Germany and France and build 3000 km long HVDC lines all across Europe, from Sevilla to Tromsoe, and from Aberdeen to Kiev. Yes, they would lose 10-20% of the power but that's better than not even using 50% of the power when it's a particularly windy day.

If you network the whole continent, there is always somewhere where the wind is blowing, and wind isn't the only source. Norway has enough pumped storage capacity to supply the whole of Europe for weeks. Spain and Morocco are building thermal solar power plants.

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BT and Siemens slammed over prisoner call rates

Dan

The responses are so predictable...

Not everyone in prison is a monster. In fact, the vast majority of prisoners are ordinary people like you and me who did something stupid and are already being punished appropriately. We are all capable of commiting crimes. Why this need to label prisoners as "sub-human" and torture them?

Anyhow, you are missing the point. The criticism is not only that prisoners are being treated unfairly, the criticism is that BT is making a big profit because it has been granted exclusive rights by the government to tap into a government-controlled resource.

I say, bring the free market into prisons and allow all prisoners serving for minor offenses to own mobile phones.

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Foldable sports plane gives Everyman a chance at crashing

Dan

Nothing new

Why spend $140,000 on a "sports plane" when you can get an ultralight for $10,000?

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US dominates tech R&D

Dan

Yes, in absolute terms...

the US leads the way in research, but that is only because of its sheer size. But what matters more is the *per capita* research output. Why? Because "competitiveness" doesn't just affect a small elite of a nation, it affects every individual citizen too.

Also, the Nordic examples shows that the US could do a lot better.

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Dan

Yeah, and the Rand Corporation is not at all biased

An institution close to the US government claims US leads the way. Surprise, surprise.

Meanwhile, more realible sources show the US lagging far behind Scandinavian countries:

Spending on R+D, % of GDP (OECD Factbook 2006)

USA 2.7%

Finland 3.5%

Sweden 4.0%

Top 200 Universities per 1 million people (The Times 2005)

USA 0.18

Finland 0.38

Sweden 0.55

Scientific Literacy (OECD PISA 2006)

USA 499

Finland 538

Sweden 512

..."leads the way" my ass

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Virgin Media and BPI join forces to attack illegal filesharing

Dan

Thanks BPI

This will finally encourage the mass take-up of anonymous, encrypted p2p networks based on i2p and the like. Not that is it completely impossible to discover identities on those networks, but it is orders of magnitude harder to do so. And you know the saying. You don't need to run faster than the bear.

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RIAA abandons iTuneski suit

Dan
Thumb Up

Allofmp3 et al isn't illegal in Russia

They are not breaking any Russian laws. The fact that MAFIAA demands their criminal prosecution just exposes them as the arrogant bigots they are.

If I buy a song from a mp3sparks, it's just like buying a CD on a trip to Russia. What I'm doing is fully legal (except for the fact that I may not be paying import duty).

Whether it's morally right is a different question, but that's not the point. The point is that allofmp3 was in the right all along and the MAFIAA was in the wrong, and still they refuse to accept this. The MAFIAA have no respect for the rule of law, except when it suits them.

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Social networking site bans oldies over sex offender fears

Dan

Why not just delete all white men?

Since most sex offenders are white men.

And while they're at it, why not delete all Muslims, since most terrorists are Muslims?

And all Russians, since most cybercrime comes from Russia?

And all Gays...

etc.

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SMS costs more than using Hubble Space Telescope

Dan

200,000 times more expensive than it should be.

Three's mobile broadband costs 10 pounds per month for 1 GB. That's 1 penny per MB worth of emails that I send from my mobile phone, plus 1 penny for the recipient. That means SMS is more like 200,000 times more expensive, not 100 times.

And no, I am not comparing apples to oranges. SMS can't do anything that mobile email can't (In fact mobile email does a much better job). As long as the person you're sending it to has a suitably equipped phone, which luckily more and more people do.

Why is SMS so horribly expensive? Why isn't competition driving down those huge profit margins? What the above article fails to mention is that SMS was badly designed from the beginning. SMS uses the GSM signalling band, not the voice band. The signalling band is very narrow, so an artificial scarcity was designed into the SMS standard that couldn't be expanded in future.

The high price of SMS is what you would expect from the law of supply and demand. Ironically, the price of SMS was actually still _increasing_ about 5 years ago, despite the fact that calling charges were falling due to fierce competition. Luckily, when GSM was supplanted by 3G this trend was broken because using the narrow signalling band was no longer necessary. I expect the price of SMS to fall to zero in the next 5 years. If the providers fail to do this it will become defunct and be replaced by email.

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