3816 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009
Actually, a natural monopoly IS NOT a "de jure" monopoly. On the contrary, it's a "de facto" monopoly created due to its existence being something of a "necessary evil": IOW, we need it, but we don't like what it does to the place. Take utilities such as gas. These utilities are needed for modern society to function, but as a necessity, these utilities require significant amounts of infrastructure that raises lots NIMBY issues. We DON'T WANT more than one set of utility infrastructure crowding our communities, so we naturally choose a winner to avoid this.
Re: But American utilities such as water and electricity are privatised monopolies
They're privatised monopolies because no one WANTS a second set of pipes and so on. It's a NIMBY thing.
"So, Mr President, the insinuation that this is all in the FCC's hands is just not correct. The simplest solution here is to clarify the wording of the Act. Once that is done, the FCC can - and must - apply it as written. I appreciate that this may not be an easy task to accomplish but it really is the only way forward."
Just one problem. Congress will soon be in full Republican control. And the republicans are likely to be pushed by minarchist Tea Partiers who would gladly clarify the Act by simply stirking it. Meaning they'll be going in precisely the opposite direction from what President Obama (and apparently the general public) want. So if amending the Act is not an option, what now?
Re: Net neutrality: the already solved problem
Thing is, most customers in the US are used to flat-rate prices with the word "unlimited" attached. Plus some users are getting cheeky and abusing the QOS tags.
Re: here's a simple solution, but it uses a sledgehammer to crack a nut...
No can do. The Telecommunications Act, passed in 1934, explicitly puts the authority on Congress's table. They do this because the TCA can be amended by later Congresses (and it's been amended at least twice by later Acts). The President's EOs can ONLY be used to enforce terms spelled out in the Act (thus why it's called the Executive branch), and since the Federal Communications Commission is enabled by the Act itself, not by the President, Obama has no direct influence over the FCC. If he tries to overstep, someone in Congress can challenge the constitutionality of the EO in the courts (and EOs HAVE been ruled unconstitutional in the past).
"That would be the FiOS that Verizon has decided to stop expanding four years ago? The one that people can't even get in rural towns such as New York?"
New York? That's an old city. Across the water, the same can be said of London. They share the same problem. They're old cities, meaning they're all built up and full of old infrastructure that's more or less still in use. That means you can't tear anything up for fear of tearing something up you're not supposed to (hint: New York does not allow implosion demolition in case the collapse messes up stuff underneath). So you have to ask yourself: how does New York put in new infrastructure without messing up all the old infrastructure (on which lives can depend) in the process?
"I worry that the banner of 'Net Neutrality' is sufficiently vague and poorly informed that it will be used as the name of convenience for a regime that nobody wants -- universally crappy bandwidth."
But without the ability to prioritize, raw last mile bandwidth becomes a point of competition. If everyone is doling out universally-crappy bandwidth, the first to deliver universally-not-so-crappy bandwidth at decent rates is going to attract attention...and steal customers. You would think the incumbents would take notice at that point, much as how T-Mobile's audacity (pretty much forced being #3 in the mobile market) is making AT&T and Verizon take notice.
Re: Service Life of HD
Thing is, you still forgot to notice that other factors doesn't necessarily include such specifics as drive speed and bus but also other things such as the sheer amount of data that people and firms want to store. This created an externality that put a ceiling on the service life of a drive independent of mechanical reliability.
Re: Service Life of HD
But note your own words: "other factors being equal". The problem in the past has been the increasing amount of data to be stored has historically made existing drives too small by the time five years came up (there's your "other factor"). I still remember the time around 1990 when 200MB was considered pretty big. By around 2000, it was 20GB, then 200GB, and now we're routinely doing multiple terabytes. Thing is, that pace as noted has started to slow. Now capacity is harder to boost up (which I hate since longer-term bulk storage stinks on the consumer end), much as the GHz wall was hit. So now, much as CPUs have moved to multiple cores, drives need to move in another direction: in this case, longevity. Maybe the longevity won't necessarily some from spinning rust but in improvements in SSD tech; just saying that if the customers want longer-lasting drives, someone will deliver it somehow and the give-and-take of price will then ensue.
PS. Maybe the 100mpg carburetor doesn't exist, but people started demanding more efficient cars because of scary-high petrol prices, and manufacturers eventually started delivering. Now, gas/electric hybrids are becoming more and more commonplace.
Re: These can't be DoSed, right?
"So what happens in a Civil War when both teams theoretically have home field advantage?"
It's just like with sports. Home field differs from skirmish to skirmish, depending on whose ground the battle is taking place. That's why one has to wonder how the Army would storm a town where the people know where and how to hide and ambush. And it's unlikely that the Army would be led by a hometown person since it's likely he or she has family there he/she would want to protect (meaning hometowners are among the most likely to defect).
Re: These can't be DoSed, right?
"The problem is elsewhere - the gun nut lobby fav argument is that the gun is the means of defending against the big bad argument. This is supposedly, somehow, logical despite the government having drones, cruise missiles, stealth aircraft and being able to take you out on short order anywhere around the globe."
It is QUITE logical given the most powerful army in the world couldn't land a decisive blow against the likes of jungle and desert guerillas (see Vietnam and Iraq). Using that as a history, it seems no technology in the world can stand up well against home-field advantage.
Show me a way to do geographic denial through compact pure mechanical means, THEN we'll talk.
Not hindered since radio antennae are mounted externally and then fed to the radio by a wire.
That said, what's to stop someone from gutting out the interfering material or installing some kind of repeater?
Re: New UK lottery
"Using your phone while driving, to photograph someone using their phone while driving, sounds like a brilliant plan with but one tiny flaw... :D"
What? Like doing this from the passenger's seat?
But when natural-born citizens target and bomb national infrastructure (Oklahoma City, 1995), it begs a bigger question, "WHO can you trust?" And if the answer is "No one," what's the point of civilization then?
Re: Developers need what now?
"You should be exiting the building on a crappy ADSL service from a crappy ISP, and looping back in via the big bad internet."
It would be better still to set up a small intranet backed by a modem. Some people are LUCKY to have dialup access (it can happen: middle of nowhere with view of the south sky blocked somehow--no satellite), so they still need to be considered.
Re: Will SSDs warn in advance of failure?
"Oh wait, you meant will it warn you as the admin of the system in advance of a failure? Erm, ah, ... Yeah, they really should do that."
Correct me if I'm wrong, but is the most frequent point of failure in a SSD less the memory chips and more the controller that herds them all (which makes any redundant chips moot)?
Re: But against the backdrop of your British readership...
And Americans liked the idea as well. They adopted a simple design of their own that became the M-3 SMG. Their main justifications were price and mass productions. At 1/10 the price of a Tommy Gun and easily made at stamping plants, it gave the troops a simple but useful arm for urban and forest combat. Later on, IIRC, they took the idea even further with a bare-bones pistol design: the original Liberator. It wasn't pretty or pretty accurate, but they were dead simple to use to the point each one came with pictorial instructions and can be dropped by the bushel to your favorite insurgent group out to topple America's Enemy of the Week.
Re: Even simpler
About the only reliable options left after Verizon and AT&T are T-Mobile and Sprint. T-Mobile's the most reasonable at this time: they use GSM-based phones, provide some nice perks albeit with less coverage area, and are pretty much forced to focus on customers (since they need to steal who they can from the big two).
Having said that, how long do you think before the big two find some way to track you in spite of VPNs?
Re: Even simpler
"Edit: How is this not already a class-action by some opportunistic lawyers? I don't live in the Land Of The Litigious for nothing, ya know!"
Because both Verizon and AT&T have lawyers of their own, and there's not specific law that states, "Thou shalt not track thy customers."
Alice and Mallory are involved in a menage a trois with Gene behind Bob's back. In the process, Gene stole everyone's private keys behind their backs...
Re: He cited a computer programmer who had reported that it took three days to download a program
"To be fair, I'm actually quite impressed with BT's FTTC rollout overall. Of course I'd like universal FTTP, but FTTC's a good stepping stone (it puts a fibre node within a few hundred metres of everywhere with FTTC, giving much better service than ADSL without the cost and long wait of individual fibre pulls). "
I may be wrong, but I think the problem with FTTC is that a FTTP setup is a whole other kettle of fish, meaning when you transition to the latter, you basically have to tear nearly everything down again due to the very different equipment involved.
"'You have no right to see me NAKED!'
It wasn't that long ago that you had no right to protect your privacy. There once was a time when ordinary people pretty much had no expectation of privacy because there were eyes and ears enough to spy on everything in the community. Only with the congregation of cities has personal privacy become more feasible. However, the advent of abundant means of surveillance has now shrunk the possible radius of privacy back down nearly to the proverbial "zero space." And it's not just the government or big business driving it. It's the old bane of the village, the snoopy neighbor, putting the nail in the coffin. And since it's you vs. the world, you're going to end up losing.
It's time to face facts. Sooner or later, unless you're one of the uber-elite, you WILL have no expectation of privacy in future.
Re: Homo sapien or Homo plumbeus?
"So all we need to do is come up with a technology that allows us to screw with gay abandon (or rather, with heterosexual abandon) without having lots of children as a result. That technology was developed in the 1960s, in the form of a pill - perhaps the most important invention in history, and so important it is simply called 'the' pill."
That's assuming (1) women are willing to take the pill, which may not be culturally acceptable and (2) evolution doesn't find a way to subvert the subversion. Some women have become pregnant even with the pill.
"Wherever the pill is available, and women are moderately well educated, to the point of being able to make rational choices rather than be browbeaten by the agents of superstitions exported from the bronze age, fertility rates are below replacement levels. This situation is so widespread that, even with demographic lag, we can expect population to stabilise in the next few decades at around the 10billion mark - well within the carrying capacity of the planet."
I wonder if that's less to do with the pill and more to do with women's lib which makes women voluntarily forgo sex for careers and such. Is there a way to separate the two? Furthermore, where's the evidence that 10 billion humans is still a sustainable population, especially as people seek higher technological levels which increase the per-human total costs of living?
Re: It's time to grow a pair
But the presence of such a camp means you can get funding by CHALLENGING such a camp. And if it's EASIER to do that (which if the claim is mostly specious), then why aren't people claiming funding for research that proves his rival wrong?
Re: It's time to grow a pair
"Btw you may not realise but Atheism is not believing in religion. It is not a belief but absence of. Like science"
I've said it before: a lack of belief is itself a belief: a belief in nothing. It's the stance that matters, much as a barrel is a barrel whether it is full or not. But the point stands. Unless you're willing to believe that most of the scientific world, regardless of boundaries, is in on a vast conspiracy, you'd have to consider ALL the scientists that research the climate and wonder how a very sizable chunk of them are coming to the same general conclusion, because logic dictates only two possible choices: either they're ALL in on it (and with a conspiracy, size goes against you) or they're all coming to the same conclusions independently, which bolster the cases of everyone else.
Re: It's time to grow a pair
" As an example I ask you to walk into any faith building and see what the consensus is and of course they will exclude the daft opinions of those who would be sceptic which is everyone else not of that exclusive version of belief."
I challenge you assumption on this premise: would you get the same consensus from a church, a mosque, a temple, and just about any other place of worship imaginable? I'm just wondering because the breadth of consensus appears to span across national, political, and even economic lines, aligning people who aren't necessarily motivated by money (because they're already state-funded, for example) religion (mainly-secular groups) or politics (the various privately-funded groups).
Lemme put it like this. When have a Catholic, Muslim, Jew, Bhuddist, AND Atheist ever agreed on the same thing at the same time?
Re: Homo sapien or Homo plumbeus?
No, it's simply survival instinct. It's true of just about any animal out there. Every single living creature will fight tooth and nail to stay on the planet as long as possible. Declarations of defeat are extremely rare and usually only come about beyond some Captain Obvious point.
So how do you convince a species hardwired to survive and breed to stop doing either in the name of survival?
Re: get rid of legacy audio ?? ( it's free nowdays)...
"...but unfortunately customers are going to end up paying data rate for PTSN calls (technical term is hosed)."
And this is any different from a SkypeOut or SIP call HOW? In any event, many customers get data allotments in their plans, so this isn't as big a deal as it's being made out to be. Furthermore, this helps hasten the retirement of 2G and eventually 3G circuit-switched networks which frees up their spectrum to use with the more-efficient LTE.
Re: Same here
Unless, of course, you just vanished and the identity you used was faked/stolen. Who would know where to track you down...?
PS. It may help in future to employ the "Joke Alert" icon or some kind of Sarcasm Mode indicator. Text just doesn't lend itself well to sarcasm clues.
Re: Same here
Be prepared to pay likely $700+ in Early Termination Fees if you try that move. Even if you try to weasel out with an early-out clause, all of them stipulate you turn in the phone as a condition of using that early-out clause. Even T-Mobile isn't stupid. If you cancel one of their un-plans, they bill you for the balance of the phone you were paying in installments.
Re: New AdBlock rule?
That would be tough to do considering Disney ALSO owns ABC and ESPN not to mention the Touchstone Pictures label for their non-kiddy content. It's like trying to boycott Walmart. You can try, but odds are you'll be paying more money, wasting gas, or (if no alternative is available) just plain starving.
Re: Disney patents internet search censorship
Perhaps Disney is trying to make it mandatory THEN enforce it on everyone else, compelling them to pay exorbitant license fees.
Ever thought that, technologically speaking, the average Windows user IS on par with a child? How else do you make an OS for the technologically-illiterate?
Re: I thought that storage capacity was accelerating away from content generation
Storage capacity is growing too quickly. Now there's the issue of silent bit rot, whose odds increase with the amount of stuff stored. Now you need to start factoring in error correction.
2.5"HDDs would make the device too big. All HDD-based iPods used the 1.7" HDDs which had a more limited lineup. And if what I hear is correct, the new ones Toshiba was pushing were too THICK (7mm doesn't sound like much until you realize the ones in the iPods were only 5mm). From what I've heard, Toshiba no longer makes 5mm 1.7" drives.
"Strange...but my 45 year old Omega SpeedMaster doesn't "drift significantly" at all...never has...and has kept perfect time since new. Never had to sync it. It just works! :-)"
I said, "all but the most expensive and elaborate timepieces..." A $3700 Omega Speedmaster chronograph qualifies as "expensive and elaborate".
Re: Bad old days.
I also recall that all but the most expensive and elaborate timepieces tended to drift significantly as the day passed. If anyone's ever seen "The Secret Life of Machines" Tim Hunkin did an episode on the quartz watch and covered timepiece history in some detail. Knock the cheap quartz watch all you want, but it's hard to beat it for consistency.
"I've no use for one, but I can't see the problem of having a 2nd device to charge every night. With wireless charging, just leave phone and watch on charging pad."
Perhaps, but last I heard, the iWatch doesn't support Qi or the like. That said, there also needs to be consideration for people, say, on the go who may not have ready access to a charger at night or who go the zombie route and don't sleep one night to make some hectic deadline. It would be nice to have a timepiece capable of holding its own for a longer period, say at least two days unassisted. I'm curious about the concept myself, but at this point none of these have hit the the price/perk sweet spot, and I'm willing to wait. I'm probably more inclined to pick an e-ink-based device that can throw up a passive display. Or maybe something like the Qualcomm Toq, only with a more-refined interface.
Re: re: standardise the HTML and CSS allowed in an email
Except attachments are a bug-a-boo now, thanks to malware e-mails, some of which HAVE been able to disguise themselves as innocuous files. No, I want them up-front in a sanitized environment (which attachments can't provide), thank you.
Re: QR codes? Really??
If the QR code is related to the payment system, it would likely be a token rather than an address, meaning trying to hijack the barcode would be worthless (the system would detect an invalid token and block the transaction). Anyway, if you've hacked the POS terminal, you can probably hijack the transaction itself instead. Anyway, my barcode scanner is rigged to display the results first and letting me decide how to proceed.
Re: QR codes...established technology...most people know how to handle.
QR Codes are still active in America, probably thanks to a greater Asian exposure (you want to see QRs everywhere, go to Asia). There's also the Data Matrix barcode. It was here and there for a while but is now settling into a more-technical role in industrial applications.
I'll give you the nod about Chip-and-PIN. Thanks to an upcoming mandate from credit card companies regarding liability, Chip-and-PIN will be pushed into America over the next year. And as long as MCX is against any system other than its own current beast, NFC for payment will remain small potatoes (if MCX wises up and makes their system slimmer and less intrusive, then something might come of it, but not as it is now).
Re: If Apple Pay fails..
"NFC in phones is dead. It's never really been alive but the squabbling over HCE and SWP kept it from ever having any traction and I predict that this Barcelona will be the year where we see new high end phones from manufacturers who in the the past have supported NFC, without the tech."
It's rare for a piece of tech to be put in a phone and then taken out again without a successor. As tech ages, it becomes cheaper to implement, especially now that a Secure Element is not a requirement anymore thanks to Host-based Card Emulation. Eventually, it becomes a matter of "Why not?" meaning unless its mere existence constitutes a serious liability, they'll throw it in just to avoid being left behind when someone finds a better use for the tech.
Re: This is really about liability
I think what you describe is more the reason they're rolling Chip-and-PIN in the US NOW, because without them the retailer can be left with the blame. Contactless payments are being fought according to the matters the article noted: mostly about control. Basically, if the retailers can't get more control over transaction metadata, then they're not interested in any kind of improvement. Contactless gives no concrete security improvements and the processors can't justify a forced switch to accept contactless (if they tried, the retailers could claim false advertising and take them to court). And given that Walmart and Kroger are the #1 and #2 retailers in the US, you're talking some serious muscle.
Re: The US is still in the stone age
And content to STAY that way, too. I hear many people don't like C&P because they'll lose the zero-liability protection with the signature cards (in the US, almost every credit card has zero liability if the theft is detected quickly). After all, if someone steals your card and knows the PIN, how can you say you didn't give the PIN to them? That makes you legally liable. And contactless has the stories of those skimmers, especially the story of the skimmer in Vegas who used a directional antenna to skim NFC details a block away. More people keep checks because it leaves a paper trail and out of order checks trip red flags.
Chip & PIN? Many would say, "You can KEEP it!"
At this point, the status quo favors the retailers, so they can stonewall. If NFC doesn't give them any advantage vs. now, they simply won't use it. I know plenty of retailers that tried NFC at first...then dropped it, which indicates they're willing to hold everything back because it doesn't affect them. In fact, I'm seeing new C&P terminals being installed that don't have NFC capability, leading me to believe they're willing to let NFC cards die on the vine. Walmart refuses, so does Target. Sears doesn't support which means neither does K-Mart. Lowe's is out. Best Buy's support is limited, and Kroger is one of those that dropped support. Probably the biggest retailer that still supports it is The Home Depot, and it's recently had a security breach. Looks to me like support's not there in the stores that matter. The size of the anti camp also makes boycotting difficult since at this point boycotting will likely mean paying more money when many people can't spare the change.
"Water flows downhill. You can rant at people not to do the wrong things until you're blue in the face, but you will only achieve reliable results when it is easier to it right than to do it wrong. At some level, this might be considered a bug in the design of the API."
But the problem is that the secure way is ALWAYS a HARD way. Like locking the door. Sure, you can make a door that auto-locks, but there are side effects (locking yourself out, for starters). Turnkey security is an elusive, if not outright impossible goal. Sometimes, you just can't fix stupid. And if stupid's your superior...
The problem becomes much harder when you ALSO have a deadline, meaning you can't just do it right but also have to do it right QUICKLY. Doing things rightfast is daunting.
Re: Note to El Reg
In which case, they'd rather have no NFC payments AT ALL. Walmart's steadfastly refused to add it, and many places have DROPPED support even before Apple Pay was added.
Re: Softly, softly..............
They may be able to boil the operators but what about the EU? Boil a rock all you want, it's still a rock.
Re: Softly, softly..............
They'd have to get EU law changed first. That mandates a hardware sim switchable by the user so a phone can't be permanently carrier-locked.
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