* Posts by Charles 9

7440 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Will Comcast's set-box killer murder your data caps? The truth revealed

Charles 9
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Re: Comcast would like to stop cable trimming.

The thing is, Comcast is in a unique position. They have the advantage of vertical integration due to being BOTH a transport AND a source (Comcast owns NBC). It's like a railroad owning a mine or a timber plot. Private property rights now butt up against competition regulation, and everyone has skin in the game one side or the other.

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Charles 9
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Re: why is it not an internet service?

"Want to own that line and charge anything you like with any rules you like? Keep it 100% your content."

And there's the rub. Comcast OWNS NBC. That means there's vertical integration and they can serve up as much NBC and affiliated content as they want without ever going out on the Internet proper. (and as long as it's just going through the cables to the customer's cable modem, that's all first-party stuff, much like driving strictly on private roads means you don't necessarily need to register your car).

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Charles 9
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Re: Wellll

So you watch nothing at all? Not even the news?

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Charles 9
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Re: One word.

"Campaign contributions do a lot of talking."

But courts aren't subject to campaigning, ESPECIALLY at the Federal level. That's why there are several notoriously sue-happy districts.

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Charles 9
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Re: Is it just me

No, it's quite true in a practical sense. That's why the limits were set when the ATSC standard was established. Trying to do 1080p60 on a 19Mbit/sec allowance (and this IS set in stone, as it's based on the physical limitations set by the frequency allotment defined by the FCC) would not produce an acceptable picture (and it needed to be acceptable to get people to jump off analog, especially the old who would resist change because it's change). Plus there's the matter that the tuner at the receiver end probably wouldn't understand it (that's why the resolutions were formalized, so the decoders would know what to expect).

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Charles 9
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Re: One word.

And why haven't the non-compete agreements been challenged in court on cartel grounds?

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Charles 9
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Re: Is it just me

Actually, ATSC IS compressed, and depending on the channel, pretty badly, too.

Remember, ATSC only uses MPEG-2, pretty old technology when we have H.265 now. Because of this and a 19Mbit/sec allotment limit, it's limited to 1080i60/30 or maybe 1080p24 if a film's on. Plus, only the local stations are in reach. Some are lucky to be able to pick up one or two. I can't get any due to range. Plus the channels can be multiplexed, further crimping the available bandwidth.

At least with the box I can connect it to my HD PVR and do pretty much the same thing as you, only with the complete cable lineup, including most of the on-demand stuff.

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Charles 9
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Re: One word.

"It is not that Comcast do this. It's a good thing to do in certain situations. It is that it has a monopoly."

What about Verizon and FiOS and AT&T with uVerse? Don't they compete with Comcast in various areas?

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Irish researchers sweep smartphones clear of super bugs

Charles 9
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Re: A la les chickens

Haven't you heard all the news about silver nanoparticles lately? And one of the uses they've found for it is to penetrate biofilms. I suspect we'll be seeing more of these in the near future, meaning I think we'll be seeing selective pressure on them eventually.

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Charles 9
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Re: A la les chickens

The key word being "usually". The moment a bacterial mutation emerges that conveys silver resistance (perhaps by an altered biofilm structure) without a heavy adaptation cost, selective pressure is going to make it the new king of the bacterial roost. And given the rapid turnover rate of bacteria, we have to work on the assumption that this is a question of "when," not "if".

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Charles 9
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Re: A la les chickens

Rapid evolution tends to encourage frequent mutation. As a reault, bacteria can evolve resistances to all sorts of things once thought impossible. For example, some bacteria cluster together and develop biofilms that allow them to survive exposure to chlorine bleach. I would think physical spikes can be resisted with a similar technique, only physically hardened rather than chemically hardened. Even that recent breakthrough, quorum-sensing disruption (quorum sensing is part of the biofilm technique) can be evolved against (apparently by using different signal molecules between groups of bacteria).

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Charles 9
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A glass is its own kind of substance, primarily a solid but with no crystalline structure (most solids have a structure). As a result, it doesn't behave like your average solid (ceramics are structured solids) and therefore has unique properties that can be exploited depending on its composition.

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Trouble at t'spinning rust mill: Disk drive production is about to head south

Charles 9
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Re: I'm puzzled

"They stream."

How can they do that with such tight data allowances? Furthermore, can they really trust the cloud to always be there?

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Big Cable threatens to sue FCC: You can't stop us ripping off customers

Charles 9
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Re: TV?

Then what are you going to watch? Especially with tight data caps?

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Charles 9
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Re: Dear Big Cable

Nope. Not gonna happen. You take the bundle or you leave it. And you'll find EVERY provider works that way because we've cornered the market on the upstream pipes (and no, you wouldn't be able to afford their rates). Dumb pipes won't get enough revenues and nice guys finish last. Life tough. Live with it or check out.

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Charles 9
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Re: Barking up the wrong tree

That'd go against the Democratic grain. They're usually against superconglomerates that tend to wax conservative. Plus there's still the matter that, no matter what the political landscape, Congress never swings very wildly between elections because each district tends to be subject to a localized SEP field. It's always, "Not MY Congressman!" That means getting a favorable Congress if not an overriding majority is a longshot.

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Charles 9
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Re: Why do we need cable boxes at all??

Indeed, no TV on the American market today, AFAIK, can handle any of the channels as they stand now. First, all the channels are digital (analog channels are being turned off), so the analog tuner is useless. Second, ALL the channels are encrypted (including the local stations due to the fact the satellite companies have to do it because of their transmission limitations). And since DCAS was left dead on the vine years ago, the TV and cable company can't talk to each other. Thus, you have to either get a box (not necessarily a cable box, an Android box will work if there's an app for it), attach a computer to the TV to use the web app, or in some cases use a smart TV app.

This is why what I want to see from the FCC is a push to standardize digital television no matter the source (cable, fiber, satellite, whatever) AND include two-way communication in the standard (needed for video on demand).

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Charles 9
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Re: Barking up the wrong tree

They'd have to get past the threat of a veto, too, and Congressional Republicans lack the votes.

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Ad-blocker blocking websites face legal peril at hands of privacy bods

Charles 9
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Re: Ads are bad, mmkay

True, but given the number of direct attacks and web defacings, I'd say the crooks are willing to put forth the effort if pressed, so I wouldn't call this a way to victory by any stretch.

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Charles 9
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Re: They might learn

The thing about edge cases is that they don't stay edge cases for long. Many times, they transform into norms as people latch onto them. Mark my words, ads will never go away. You'll just run into more ad walls until they're all over the Internet. Then it'll be either submit or abandon the Internet, in which case it's back to the junk mail (with nonexistent return addresses so any attempts to Return to Sender get Returned to Sender) and the international IP phone spam calls that are routed through hostile powers.

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Charles 9
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Re: A blocker to block the anti-blocker

Except it's a lose to people with tight bandwidth caps. There's no physical way to block the transfer of the ad AND fool the server into thinking it was loaded without either it smelling something fishy or using a third party that would have its own constraints.

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Charles 9
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Re: A blocker to block the anti-blocker

"From a third-party website?"

Sure. They just need to talk to each other, which they probably do anyway. Don't YOU get in touch with any agents you employ?

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Charles 9
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Then here are the publisher's final words on the subject:

MY content, MY rules. COPYRIGHT says so. Now Take It Or Leave It.

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Charles 9
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Re: A blocker to block the anti-blocker

You can't do that without wasting bandwidth. Servers can always tell if something is requested or not, meaning you can't ad-block without them knowing you're ad-blocking.

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Charles 9
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Re: They might learn

"It can -always- be found somewhere else."

NOPE. I speak from experience. When it comes to things like obscure device drivers, it's like trying to find a bone needle in a haystack (and no, either no hardware substitutes are available or it'll mean a lot of money). Plus there are plenty of other things that take great pains to make sure there is one and only one source, usually content that quickly stales or enforces copyright.

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Charles 9
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Re: Ads are bad, mmkay

"TPS. Offenders either get the long weight treatment or get grassed up to ICO/Ofcom as appropriate to build the case for those nice fines."

Until you find out the calls came internationally from foreign countries who could care less about EU law. After all, they're sovereign and follow their own laws. Plus the numbers are frequently throwaways meaning blocking them one by one becomes a game of whack-a-mole.

"AKA letter-box litter - let's clearly identify it as what it is: pollution. Gets posted back."

(a) It doesn't get picked up, (b) The Return to Sender gets Returned to Sender because the return address doesn't exist and the company was a shill that's disappeared, (c) You have to pay the postage. Trust me. These ad men know all the tricks better than you do. They can either play the law against you or know how to vanish.

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Charles 9
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Re: They might learn

"Tell them you appreciate their concerns and agree -- so you'll stop reading their content and find it elsewhere on the Web unmolested by popups."

To which they'll respond, "Good luck. Our content is exclusive."

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Charles 9
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Re: Ads are bad, mmkay

"Fine, I'll leave it. That denies you any alternative means of raising revenue.'

Yes there is. Junk calls. Junk mail. Billboards. Tons of ways in the real world. Sure, abandon the Internet. We'll be waiting for you outside. Unless you intend to disconnect completely from society and go out and live somewhere like in Alaska.

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Charles 9
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Re: Ads are bad, mmkay

TV on Demand BLOCKS ad skipping. Trust me. I've tried.

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Charles 9
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Re: Ads are bad, mmkay

You know, if there weren't ad networks, the malcontents would just go on to attack the sites themselves. How many website defacings have we had this year so far, hmm? Let's face it. Haters gonna hate, and ads have been here for a long time, will be here for a long time, and have always gotten more and more obnoxious simply because the average person ignores anything else, and if people abandon a medium and move on to another one, the ad people will already be there waiting for them. Pretty sure the next will come along WON'T be less obtrusive ads (that summarily get ignored) but ad walls that force you into a Take It Or Leave It. Then you either accept the ad like you do on live TV or, to quote the Smash Mouth hit, "You might as well be walking on the Sun."

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Charles 9
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Re: So: FF22 says advertisers aren't worred about adblockers.

If I'm not mistaken, a logarithmic curve flattens over time. The higher the number, the slower the rise, just as ln of e^3 is only one more than ln of e^2. Now, if you were to say the curve is exponential, then you'll turn heads because the means the curve runs away over time.

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Charles 9
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They have to charge like that because you have to take into account the users who won't abide by paywalls. Once they go up, many users go away, so you have to figure the ratio of balkers to buyers in your subscription fee since you have to recover the revenues you once got from ad views by balkers.

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Charles 9
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Re: Hrrrmm.. this feels like a stretch....

You could always do what I used to do in the 90's and code your website for the lowest common multiple. Simply assume everyone that goes to your site is visiting it on a dialup connection (14.4kbps), on a 256-color display at 512x384 (don't laugh--early color Macs and the Color Classic were this resolution) and only 4MB of total memory (forget about graphics memory).

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Charles 9
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Re: Serverside

No, the reason for the "laziness" is because this way the ad people are the ones that rotate the ads rather than the site owner. They can just ping each other to see if an ad got served or not. You don't like it? Like with television, just turn it off. But if the site has exclusive content, you're left with a take-it-or-leave-it scenario.

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Charles 9
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"If they believe that ads are the only way they're going to make money... then perhaps they should start charging a subscription fee."

Ever thought the ad revenues will be greater than ANY subscription fee will ever bring in?

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Charles 9
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Re: @FF22

"Another question on your logic, if the anti-adblock program doesn't infiltrate the clients memory space how can it possibly know what information was displayed on a client browser?"

The server would know on its own end just what parts of the web page got requested (it's basically how the protocol works). If the server is designed to make every page served unique, it can distinguish just which users are blocking ads just by noting which ads are being called up (if the ads are a third party, it and the third party can check with each other without involving the user).

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Charles 9
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Re: @FF22

"Kudos to webmasters who use, or used, static ads, vetted and safe ads, non-intrusive ads. Perhaps the large ad companies will follow suit. Or become irrelevant and die. Either one is a win."

No, the ones using unobtrusive ads will just wither on the vine because no one pays attention to them. The reason ads are more obnoxious is because, as you note, it's the only way to get their attention. It's been that way for decades. Even E. E. Smith noted this, way back in the onset of World War II. People get numb to ads, so the ads have to be more attention-getting. Eventually, there will reach a breaking point. Either customers succumb to the ads or the medium itself is abandoned. Thing is, the advertisers are wise to new media and will be waiting for you wherever you go. Think mobile ads, which are frequently of the take-it-or-don't-use-the-app kind now (and with root detection increasing, escapes are shrinking).

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What the world needs now is... not disk drives

Charles 9
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YOU look again.

"The pricing for PM863s is slightly under linear (double capacity slightly less than double price) and a 4TB PM863 is about 3 times the price of an _enterprise certified_ Hitachi 7k 4Tb drive (which are about 400 quid for my Nexsan Satabeasts, not 100 and some change)"

So 1200 each. In case you haven't noticed, that's a pretty hefty chunk of change for 4TB, and your mileage may vary in regards to longevity. We've already heard plenty of stories of sudden catastrophic controller failure.

Plus you didn't note my last sentence:

"and there's no analogue to them at the consumer end."

I just recently bought a pair of 5TB USB externals for $350 (two to provide a mirror) and a 4TB SATA internal for $150. Please show me a 4TB SSD for less then $750.

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Charles 9
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The prices are ONLY falling fast in the small capacities. The larger ones (especially at the multi-TB levels you mention) carry a price premium ratio of around 5:1 or more, and there's no analogue to them at the consumer end.

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Charles 9
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Re: Nah!...

By what do you mean by "fixed"? And what codecs? H.264 is a well-documented and mature codec with plenty of reliable implementations out there. H.265 is on its way as well but is still a bit young for most specs.

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Charles 9
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And at the same time you have people who swap in SSDs only to come back a short time later due to catastrophic controller failures, so at best the situation is rather inconsistent.

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Charles 9
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Re: Look for Rising Prices

Thatt'll depend. If the inventory shrink only occurs at lower capacities, which makes sense, then while prices may go up, so will capacity (that's the one place rust still dominates--bulk storage fields where capacity trumps performance). Meanwhile, demand for nonmechanical storage is rising and pressuring price drops. Have you seen how cheap flash sticks are these days (yes, I know, relatively bad example here, but it shows the trend).

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The web is DOOM'd: Average page now as big as id's DOS classic

Charles 9
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Re: Since we're comparing websites with antique game code size...

But then again, DOOM wasn't really a 3D engine, just a 2D engine that happened to tack on Z coordinates to everything. For example, I don't think it was until Rise of the Triad that things could actually exist OVER other things. And then there were the graphics limitations. How big was a DOOM texture again? 64x64? And the enemies were sprites, not models (no real improvement on that until Quake IIRC). So while DOOM and other games using the engine like Heretic and Hexen were great for their time, we also gotta realize that technology marches on.

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Charles 9
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Re: : Amazon

"Yet it wouldn't be that hard to make the normal site into an Accessible one, they would just have to start LABELING their screen elements & lose the auto-trigger-on-first-reached-entry drop down menus"

That's EXACTLY why they DON'T label them, so no one can act as a go-between and create a slim interrface. It's either use Amazon or Walk on the Sun.

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Charles 9
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Re: Lazy Devs

"It usually stops when I propose to put the Marketing drone on point for emergencies,"

What would've happened, though, if one on the marketing team suddenly went, "I'll do it! Sign me up! Now can we get our stuff on your site NOW?!"

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Charles 9
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Re: from three 'double u's to one single 'm'

Technically, W should be double V (and in some languages like Spanish they DO say that--as in "doble ve") As for why not double n, probably because M comes BEFORE N in the alphabet AND a capital M looks nothing like two capital N's side by side unlike with W which DOES look like 2 V's.

PS. Why DOES English say double U instead of double V? Is it because of cursive script where it IS a double U?

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Line by line, how the US anti-encryption bill will kill our privacy, security

Charles 9
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Re: OK, I'm inclined to think it's just stupid, not evil

Petrol, not diesel. Diesel actually doesn't set light with a torch. It combusts under different conditions (mostly pressure-related) which is why you don't need a spark to ignite it.

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Charles 9
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They'll just innovate hidden letter-impression readers in the rollers and breed falcons and hawks, and breed Nineteen Eighty-Four levels of paranoia in your neighbor.

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Comcast stabs set-top boxes in the back, pipes directly into smart TVs

Charles 9
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What about the move to switch off the analog channels, which came several months BEFORE the FCC brouhaha?

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Ubuntu 16.04 LTS arrives today complete with forbidden ZFS

Charles 9
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Re: Please drop your license. You have 20 lawsuits to comply.

But what about the non-free graphics drivers from AMD and nVidia? They're supplied as blobs, so why is this any different?

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