* Posts by Charles 9

8178 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Larry Page snuffs out ‘too expensive’ Google Fiber project

Charles 9
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Internet, like telephone and cable, is a utility. And utilities are a natural monopoly. They have several intrinsic things going against the upstart: high upfront costs and those costs go to infrastructure that's usually seen as an eyesore that creates NIMBY issues.

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Charles 9
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Re: "Shock, horror, physical infrastructure is expensive."

"I guess google have quit thinking big and would rather concentrate on short term ROI these days."

They're a public company. The investors FORCE them to think short-term.

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Charles 9
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Re: "Shock, horror, physical infrastructure is expensive."

"However, the quality of modern fibre means it only has to be laid down once, and rarely replaced. Maybe once every couple of decades or so."

But even laying it down ONCE is prohibitively expensive. Put simply, they very act of DIGGING is expensive, full stop, for one of three reasons: 1) the area you're digging is already built up, so you have to get permissions to tear them up, block them, or find convoluted ways around them; 2) you're crossing sensitive ground and therefore need environmental analyses and so on, since spoiling natural resources is increasingly a no-no; or 3) you've got to to A LOT of it.

Laying down ANY cable, regardless of the amount, is the hard part here.

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Charles 9
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Re: selective wireless?

"Ancient analysis, not out of date as you can't repeal Thermodynamics."

You may not be able to repeal, but you can still cheat it and find ways to cram more stuff into the same spectrum until you hit the Shannon Limit.

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Charles 9
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Re: selective wireless?

"It's not actually even cheaper per user than fibre if a per user minimum 10Mbps at peak time and design contention of 20:1"

It is when you're more than a couple miles from a trunk like or have something environmentally sensitive between you and it. The big cost in wired broadband is the wire (both installation and maintenance). At least you don't have to maintain air, and rural transmission permission is likely much easier than with land rights: less chance of interference.

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Charles 9
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Re: Oh well

Unless they charge train rates for what are essentially taxi rides, self-driving cabs will suffer the same taxi stigma.

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Charles 9
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Re: "Public utilities and government agencies are better at handling"

"What is needed is a "stick and carrot" approach. If telcos want the permission to bring broadband to remunerative areas, they have to bring elsewhere too - maybe with some state subsidies."

Many countries including the US are trying that, but the telcos add up the numbers and find themselves in the red (IOW, being forced to wire the sticks makes wiring the city unprofitable) and would rather walk away from the whole thing.

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Charles 9
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Re: deployed to wrong markets

The areas with low competition are that way for a reason: not enough userbase to justify it. Odds are the one provider ONLY agreed to build on condition of exclusivity. It's as noted in the article. Running wire out to the sticks (or even small communities far from a trunk line) costs money and usually involves environmental hoop-jumping (a necessary evil if you want to protect precious natural resources). They're going to demand a return on the investment.

And don't think the government can bail you out of this jam. Federal, state, and municipal budgets are strained as they are, and no one's going to accept a tax hike, not even for broadband. Many will just make do; they did it with 14.4kbps before, they can do it again. Who needs 10Mbit/sec anyway?

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Charles 9
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"Which is why I don't get why building ANY road is not legally mandated to include huge, massive pipes under it while you're there."

It adds to the bill, and public works end up being footed by the taxpayers. Ask them how they feel about tax hikes.

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Charles 9
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"This is an argument to create a national or a series of state-level agencies or public utilities chartered to do nothing but build and run the fiber to the home. Then all the media companies could compete to deliver the goods, while the maintenance of the fiber itself would be completely free of the various forms of stealthy monopolistic behaviors. The utility would simply be responsible for maximising throughput, with source-agnostic quality of service."

But as the article notes, the infrastructure costs (including maintenance) are eye-watering. Ask your local citizens how they feel about their tax burdens and you'll see how receptive they are to the idea.

As for the trains, the ones that survived narrowed their focus to where they could actually make money: freight, which they were in the best position because they offered the best rate per mile for goods where time was not an issue (time-sensitive stuff like that and passenger travel lost out to the airlines where people were willing to pay a premium to save a lot more in time). Where passenger rail works better is in denser, usually smaller countries where shorter distances and more potential customers allow the books to balance. The one oddball in this case is China, but its situation is unique because of its internal infrastructure.

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EU ministers look to tighten up privacy – JUST KIDDING – surveillance laws

Charles 9
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Re: AC lack of knowledge

Yeah, and I was doing carpentry at age 10. Thing was, it wasn't really anything important.

What were you using the concrete for? Were you working in extreme temperatures or in heavy rain? How important was the job? Given we've had more than a few incidents involving improperly-set concrete, perhaps there was more to it than you thought but was overlooked in your youth.

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Charles 9
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Re: I for one argue against Jacob Ginsberg

"No, they just need to step back and let the demonstration continue until and unless it becomes violent."

Unacceptable. They're charged with PREVENTING the violence or the victims blame the police, so they lose either way.

"Meanwhile the cost of policing rises through increases in council taxes, profits through ANPR are soaring and the ACPO have just been criticised by Theresa May for having a share and property portfolio in the tens of millions of pounds, including overseas holiday homes. I'm sure that the reduction in actual police is justified....not."

You should see the LOCAL police budgets. Many of them are tied to local COMMUNITY budgets, and they're stripping to the bone as it is.

"Yeah, we've not militarised them at all. In the US its worse; armoured vehicles, assault weapons, 50cal ammo....Yeah, nothing to worry about at all."

What do you expect after events like the North Hollywood shootout (the two guys packed AK-47s, loads of ammo, and body armor; they weren't crooks but paramilitary) and the rash of assassinations on the job, usually targeting them for no other other than they were there.

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Charles 9
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Re: "And.. , they don't encrypt.. non-existent communications with .. non-existent collaborators."

But doing nothing is not acceptable with the public. And they VOTE.

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Charles 9
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Re: lack of knowledge

"If you applied that as a generic principle you'd find they would not be able to pass ANY legislation. Which may not be such a bad thing :)."

Until private enterprise sees that as carte blanche to covertly use cheap not-necessarily-safe stuff and trick the people into thinking it's top-grade stuff. Regulations (like road safety regulations) are there for a reason.

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Charles 9
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Re: Alternative solution..

Name me one organization that runs COMPLETELY without SOME form of hierarchy or structure. I bet you won't because we call such a thing a MOB.

You can't get rid of them because structure is a necessary evil in society. Without it, you just have anarchy. Problem is, the structure by its very nature concentrates power, and you know what they say about power...

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Charles 9
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Re: I for one argue against Jacob Ginsberg

"They can earn our trust again, but like a habitually naughty child, it's going to take them some effort."

It's too late. The population is already past the "Fool Me Once" phase and will NEVER trust the police again, meaning it's a lost cause to even try. Plus after events like 9/11 and the increased incidents of targeted police assassinations, police everywhere are assuming siege mentality out of necessity. It works both ways. If you want the police to earn your trust again, you have to produce an environment conducive to them extending the olive branch. Trying to make peace while the bullets are flying only results in more bodies.

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Charles 9
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Re: Alternative solution..

No, because we'll just end up with even worse. No one realizes they can get worse until they throw the lot out and find out it's possible. Like the Beast being replaced by the Smiler (in Transmetropolitan).

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Charles 9
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Re: I for one argue against Jacob Ginsberg

But what option do you have when the public REFUSES to trust you (meaning there's no way to earn it again), YET expect you to prevent massacres? Seems to me the problem behind the problem is impossible demands. It's like having twelve people stuck on a barren island with only three coconuts. No matter how you split it, it can't end well.

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Charles 9
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You forget that when something is REALLY addictive, people will warp their worlds to get another fix. when it's THAT bad, you can't force detox them because they'll KILL you to get past you. Or in this case, pull law or rank to overrule you.

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Charles 9
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"However if you have opensource applications using encryption between millions of users, you have to convince most of the users to accept a backdoor. Which you never will since many of them won't even realise they're using encryption."

You do that by slipping it under their noses. You don't do it all at once, but take a piecemeal approach to create a gestalt. An innocuous, even useful update that just happens to do something just so, another one later on by a different shill user, and so on until all the pieces are put together but not one really knows what came in where, and BOOM! The world's your wire.

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Charles 9
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"Working smarter will do a better job, but that means that all the intelligence organizations will have to get off their fat backsides to work out what they really need to be doing."

But working smarter only goes so far, lone wolves aren't detectable until after the fact which is too late and the voters expect the government to prevent the unpreventable or they'll vote someone else. And no, you can't educate them to bow to the inevitable because otherwise what's the whole bloody point of civilization?

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Kindle Paperwhites turn Windows 10 PCs into paperweights: Plugging one in 'triggers a BSOD'

Charles 9
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Re: TITSUP = total inablility to support user productivity

"Let's get it right. They didn't download it. It was forced on them - they had no say in the matter. Users had about as much say in this as the guy bending over to pick up the soap on the lifer's wing in San Quentin."

Sure there is. SQUAT.

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Charles 9
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Re: It's amazing

"I'm afraid the only sensible thing for them to do is to badger MS regarding the shoddy quality of the prioduct they have purhcased from Redmond, contact relevant regulatory bodies and ombudsmen, and threaten legal action if MS don;t smarten up their act sharpish."

And if that's not an option (because MS ignores you, knows you can't migrate, and managed to get off light in court because there's frankly no law in the books to punish their specific behavior since they're not technically a monopoly)?

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Charles 9
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Re: Crashes and Telemetry

"I don't get it."

The crash ALSO crashes the telemetry tool. A failure cascade that takes out both the process AND the watchdog that's supposed to be guarding the process.

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Charles 9
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Re: a slow motion trainwreck

"Companies will probably try to keep 7 alive passed its announced execution date. This is an even bigger problem for Slurp than consumers leaving initially. Consumers will be a slow bleeding away to other devices/OSes and Slurp may not spot the trend until too late. Businesses often have 100's if not 1000's of PCs and a few large migrations away from 'bloat will get some attention."

Many of them are also held hostage to their infrastructures, and by that I mean all the existing software they have that likely has no substitutes and can't be found in any other OS, likely because they're custom jobs made by companies who (a) must be paid an exorbitant sum for a new version or (b) simply don't exist anymore. And what about the mountains of Microsoft Office stuff full of custom scripts and formulae and delicate formatting?

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Charles 9
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Re: a slow motion trainwreck

"But at some point, they may still just get fed up with Windows and leave."

And then COME BACK because the software they need doesn't run anywhere else. You might as well be Walking on the Sun...

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Charles 9
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Re: I have a Kindle paperwhite and have NOT had any computer problems

"No, Linux can't take over every task from Windows. But it can take over a great many of them (e.g. Calibre for e-books) - and the ones it does take over tend to work easier and better than on Windows. Not everyone gets this yet. I was at a Linux developer conference this week, and as far as I could tell by peeking over people's shoulders, I was the only one carrying a Linux device."

But where are the games? Many of us won't and likely CAN'T move until progress is made there.

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Charles 9
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Re: It's amazing

And what about all those people where there is no alternative to their software on anywhere but Windows? And no, WINE won't work on them and they don't have enough memory to use a VM.

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Charles 9
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Re: I remember @AC

"The Linux model, which has generic drivers for almost all of the chipsets included with the OS, and a device ID mapping file that points to the correct generic driver for a particular device, means that as long as you can identify what driver should be used, even if it is not in the config. file already, you have a fighting chance of getting it working without having to find another machine and start mucking about with USB memory sticks to copy the driver to re-install."

Unless the support's SIMPLY NOT THERE...like there is for SO MANY USB WiFi devices out there...

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Charles 9
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Re: I remember @AC

Until you find ALL the manufacturers do that. Captive market...

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Charles 9
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Re: Printer drivers. why

"As far as I'm aware, such standards already exist (defined by the USB consortium) and are implemented in Windows. Despite this, printer and scanner manufacturers apparently believe that having their own driver stack is a good thing."

Because they want to be the new standard-BEARER. Remember, the ultimate goal of any business is a captive market: one where the customers pretty much can't do ANYTHING without you, INCLUDING doing nothing at all.

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Charles 9
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Re: is there a comprehensive list of cockups?

"Smart businesses do. It is well known that finding new customers is harder than keeping existing ones. It is also well known that a sufficiently bad experience will mean that customers black-list you and for a number of years afterwards will buy from anyone-but-you. Bluntly, there's no point in producing new products if the support experience of the older ones is bad."

No, STUPID Smart business do that. SMART Smart businesses cultivate a Captive Market so that you don't have to find new customers; they inevitably come to you. And you don't have to worry about them walking away; they walk BACK for lack of alternatives. It's like the Smash Mouth song, "...but if the offer's shunned, you might as well be Walking on the Sun."

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Google 'Solitaire' ... Just do it

Charles 9
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Re: TTT.

Nope, it can win or draw going second, too. There are only three basic opening moves available: corner, side, center. Optimal responses can be made for all three. For example, between corner and center, if your opponent starts with one, you take the other to start a pretty basic move set to assure a draw.

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Charles 9
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Re: TTT.

I hear they solved Draughts some time back as well and, like TTT, found that perfect play can force a draw.

I liked that Google threw up a quick timer or currency exchange on request.

PS. If you REALLY want to have some fun, try Googling a Zerg Rush.

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Systemd adds filesystem mount tool

Charles 9
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Re: I've forgotten...

"SysV scripts can be a little intimidating at first; you'll notice that the systemd-proponents seem to like to make a fuss about how many lines they are. But that length is a strength, IMO, not a weakness; you have the operation of the script laid out explicitly for your examination, rather than hidden within an executable. SysV scripts are very debuggable, and trivially modified if you want *your* box to do something different to what the package maintainer wanted."

That's also its weakness because it makes them delicate, allowing them to fail in obscure ways that results in a cascade where the reported point of failure isn't really the point where it started to go wrong.

Plus SysV doesn't use dependency triggering but delays. Not good if you need a quick turnaround like for a container.

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Charles 9
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Re: And thus..

"Says you. Those of us who have done this for a living for many years don't see things breaking unless someone has been dibbling with them - as is the case for NetworkManager, PulseAudio, and systemd. I'll find the common cause there one day..."

That's because you're not working in the consumer sphere, where configurations aren't so hard and fast. At least with servers the setup's predictable and easy to tune. Not so easy when your monitor may be hooked up to a USB adapter and manufacturers aren't so forthcoming. Why do you think Valve has such a hard time getting game developers to code for Linux despite having such a strong distribution system in Steam?

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Charles 9
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At least if it's systemd you know where to look: systemd.

Whereras with a gestalt exploit, the actual point of attack may be so obscure no one knows where to look because the exploit takes advantage of systems that are greater than the sum of their parts. EVERY SINGLE COMPONENT works exactly to spec, yet when you put them together, then things go wrong. And since the component makers don't talk to or understand each other...

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Charles 9
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Re: And thus..

"systemd does not add new functionality in this area - it just does the same old stuff in a different way. This is why some of us are pushing back - what was there wasn't fundamentally broken."

If that were true, why are there constant complaints about things breaking? What I see is a bunch of bodges on top of bodges, and the thing about bodges is that they don't usually hold that well.

If I had to put it in a nutshell, I say the whole UNIX model is broken because it relies on a level of trust you can't guarantee anymore. You simply can't rely on everything in the chain to "do it well"; odds are at least one thing will "do it wrong" instead, which is why things keep breaking.

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French, German ministers demand new encryption backdoor law

Charles 9
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Re: Lets ban encryption - I agree.

Too late for that. Recall the guy that blew up a bomb INSIDE his body.

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Charles 9
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But how do you HIDE the cryptotext without tells? If all encryption was banned and all network traffic sniffed and whitewashed to squelch stego, that's going to put a crimp on covert electronic communications. Especially at the critical "First Contact" phase where Alice and Bob don't know each other yet and may not be able to find a properly-secure Trent to vouch for them.

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Breaker, breaker: LTE is coming to America's CB radio frequencies

Charles 9
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"Exactly. My point is that the very fact that the aviation industry and regulators are having to push back at all is just plain ridiculous."

No, I'm saying that no one would try. The pushback would be both automatic and severe because no one wants to ground one of the big transportation industries. And the regulatory body in question is both national AND under constant scrutiny already, so all they have to do is say, "You told us to keep airplanes from crashing, so we're doing that." There was ALREADY an argument over cell phone use in airplanes just recently, with the FAA being stubborn in the name of safety until given a preponderance of evidence showing they don't interfere. And even then, they STILL won't allow electronics during the takeoff or landing phases.

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Charles 9
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"Currently throughout the world there is a jolly nice bit of spectrum from 960MHz to 1215MHz allocated to radio navigation aids for aviation. I wonder how long it is before governments come under unbearable pressure from wealthy powerful telcos to give that up ("blah blah everything is GPS these days blah blah")."

Nope. At least HERE there's a pushback from the aviation industry and aviation regulators. They're under historic precedent to avoid rocking the plane, so to speak, and there is a need for redundancy, which is why historic navigation aids are still in operation. Since attempting to usurp air-use frequencies poses a safety risk (and the next crash that occurs after such an act will immediately point fingers), those frequencies would have to take something overwhelmingly more useful (or is a direct replacement for the tech it's replacing), then those frequencies are as safe as military bands, which can't be touched out of sovereign security concerns (thus why the Americas don't use Band III).

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Microsoft's HoloLens secret sauce: A 28nm customized 24-core DSP engine built by TSMC

Charles 9
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Re: There is an airgap

So it'll have no choice but to vent to the air because the bridge points between the inner and outer rings will be too thin and not conductive enough thermally to be effective, to say nothing of the inner ring itself (again, probably a poor thermal conductor).

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Boffins design security chip to spot hidden hardware trojans in processors

Charles 9
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Re: Embedding troyans...

Only problem is that KISS is running smack into necessary complexity. It's hard to keep a multi-GHz CPU fed; an electron can't even travel a foot in 1 nanosecond.

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Charles 9
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Re: But..

"You get three of these built by different foundries and then tell them to check each other."

But what if a state has the capacity to subvert ALL the foundries?

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'Neural network' spotted deep inside Samsung's Galaxy S7 silicon brain

Charles 9
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Re: Hot Chips?

I think I've had the Profanisaurus widget on my Android phones about 6 years running. It was the first app I ever paid for, and I still get a kick out of it.

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Charles 9
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Re: Why not just write better code?

Phones are expected to do FULL FAT office suites, 3D gaming with lots of graphics and math, and other high performance jobs while simultaneously keeping up with both mobile and WiFi networks all while on a battery. And the customer is always right or they'll go to LG. So what do you do?

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Kaspersky launches its own OS on Russian routers

Charles 9
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Re: And another thing......

Oh? Aren't they already on the Internet?

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I got the power – over your IoT power-point

Charles 9
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Re: Based on Fedora 7

Right. You also pocket the savings: enough to have an escape plan should you be found out.

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Charles 9
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Re: The problem

I don't have one, but I'm just warning that percussive destruction isn't a universal solution. For example, one would be wise to avoid doing this with a compressed gas container of any sort. You never know just how unknown compounds can react if forced together like that.

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