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* Posts by Terry Cloth

108 posts • joined 7 Feb 2011

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Torvalds rails at Linux developer: 'I'm f*cking tired of your code'

Terry Cloth

Torvalds's attitude

Don't judge him on all you see in the news. I strongly suggest you follow the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML) thread a bit before coming to any conclusions: http://lkml.iu.edu//hypermail/linux/kernel/1404.0/01327.html

In particular, he observes in 01504.html that an earlier suggestion of his wasn't so hot:

Yeah, what Andrew said. My suggestion of per-task or per-cred is obviously moronic in comparison.

Linus "hangs head in shame" Torvalds

This is not the statement of a “f*cking primadonna”

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Driver drama delays deep desert XP upgrade

Terry Cloth

Cafe Press warning

A friend of mine is an artist (to the point that she actually makes a living at it) who used to put stuff on Cafe Press. Until a few years ago, when they changed the T&C to say that they could do anything they wanted with her images. She and a boatload of others moved to Zazzle.com, which has its own quirks but at least what's yours is yours. I'd hate to see your clients discover that their books were suddenly selling on Amazon w/no reference to who the authors/illustrators actually were.

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A storage press release FROM the FUTURE

Terry Cloth

So, the future is like, two days?

NT

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Another climate change myth DEBUNKED by proper climate scientists

Terry Cloth
Joke

Better detection, eh?

Does that mean we wouldn't have noticed Sandy if the high-tech monitoring hadn't told us about it? :-)

(Joke Alert because I suspect a smiley it too subtle for some of the participants in climate-change discussion.)

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Just like Elvis, dead Steve Jobs to appear all over America in 2015

Terry Cloth
FAIL

No backside licking necessary

Not to be too picky, but the U.S. has been printing only pre-sticky stamps for years. You peel 'em off a slick backing. I suppose you could lick it, but make sure it doesn't stick to your tongue.

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California takes a shot at mobile 'killswitch' mandate

Terry Cloth
Facepalm

Too Late!

How soon we forget: I'm sure Mat Honan hasn't.

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Google closes briefcase on Italian job: Execs 'not liable' for privacy breach

Terry Cloth
Flame

Re: Common Sense in Italian Court Shocker

Is it possible that their return to reality might extend to the Italian geologists who were convicted of involuntary manslaughter because a public official misinterpreted their analysis, and said there was no danger of an earthquake?

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Google v Intellectual Ventures patent spat jury: Soz judge, we're stumped on this

Terry Cloth

I suspect you're thinking of the standard of proof

If the defendant's looking to lose her freedom (as in jail time) the jury must unanimously find the prosecution proved its case ``beyond a reasonable doubt''. But if it's only money at stake, the jury is instructed to come in for the side which proved its case by ``the preponderance of the evidence''---i.e. whoever's case is stronger, no matter by how thin a margin. In this case they're obviously required to be unanimous, too.

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FCC says US telcos can start moving to IP-based calling, but in baby steps

Terry Cloth

``antiquated time-division multiplexing''?

My dictionary's first entry for `antiquated' is ``obsolete or obsolescent''.

What's obsolete about a mechanism that guarantees adequate, non-jittery, low-latency, non-dropping bandwidth by reserving said BW before putting the call through? It's really amazing---5x5 voice that's available for whatever period of time you're willing to pay for.

Not sure what moral is to be taken away from this...``The cheap is the enemy of the good''? ``Gee-whiz technology blinds people to its inadequacies''?

Oh, and ``analog'' isn't true except for the local loop---everything else is just as digital as IP. If I put a codec in my handset, can I please keep my switched-circuit service?

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Devs write 'film my shag' sex app for Google Glass

Terry Cloth

Re: The human condition

You do know what the first profitable application for the Daguerreotype was, don't you?

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Licenses blocking third-party emergency warnings

Terry Cloth

``Fair dealing'' in U.S.?

Check Wikipedia's comment on fair dealing in the U.S. It has nothing to do with copyright law.

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China in MASSIVE rare earths industry consolidation

Terry Cloth
Flame

Odd asymmetry

Why not:

To put it bluntly: companies that use [petroleum] would rather put the same capital to use inventing new ways to not have to use [petroleum] than invest in new and better ways to get at [oil] that will only ever have a [limited] number of sources.

eh?

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Terry Cloth

Somebody else is digging a hole---not sure to what effect

In the last few years, a U.S. outfit called Molycorp has re-opened a mine in California, claiming at the time that RE prices and new processing methods would make it profitable again. I bought a few shares for a pet rock...

I just look in on them occasionally, but they're not burning up the markets. In fact, the stock has lost about 90% of its value in 5 years, whatever that portends.

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FCC net neutrality blueprint TRASHED by US appeals court

Terry Cloth
Black Helicopters

Why aren't they common carriers?

Does anyone know what it takes to declare an industry a common carrier? (The classification covers many facets of commerce, and in fact originated in the (physical) transport industries. For instance, interstate trucking is regulated as a common carrier by the Interstate Commerce Commission.)

Can the FCC simply re-evaluate their status and classify them as common carriers? Does it take legislation?

(Black helicopter, because such regulation is one more step toward One World. :-)

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So, which people you read about in The Register got gongs in the Honours list?

Terry Cloth
Headmaster

Re: It's New Year's again,

Oh, very well. Let that be ``It's the New Year, which...'', just for you.

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Terry Cloth
Pint

The BBC's priorities

Not to be too obvious, but ISTM that Mr East is of greater import to the world at large (just look where ARM processors have got to, and how many lives they're touching), while Mr Smith's achievements are much more widely known and understandable to the public.

Thus, the honors compiler got it right, and the press did their usual job.

(Hint: the beer's not for the BBC.)

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NSA refuses to deny spying on members of Congress

Terry Cloth

Maybe we'll finally get some privacy

``Members of Congress have the same privacy protections as all U.S. persons.''

'Twould be nice if Congress decided that wasn't enough, and wrote some decent privacy laws. With our luck, though, they'll only apply to Congresspersons.

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We don't need no STEENKIN' exploit brokers: Let's FLATTEN all bug bounties

Terry Cloth

Re: Nonsense

Ah, yesss... you remind me of a chap I once had a conversation with, who claimed the (U.S.) FAA should be abolished. You'd instantly see ratings agencies (like Consumer Reports, or Which?) spring up to tell fliers which airlines killed the fewest passengers. He was either serious or had the best deadpan I've ever seen.

Of course, those agencies would only have access to the gross numbers, with no way to force inspection of pilots' logs or installation of safety gear, much less require reasonable maintenance levels. But not to worry, Capitalism is our savior.

There are a number of public goods that are much more efficiently supplied by us all joining together to ensure their delivery (roadways, food inspections anyone?) than by leaving it up to individuals. Think of it as economy of scale.

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BT tweaks WORDING of sex-ed web block after complaints

Terry Cloth

Seriously. The only computer our daughter had access to at home was a desktop in the living room, with the screen placed so anyone walking by could see it. She didn't get her own until she was seventeen, by which time we were pretty happy with her surfing habits. But then, I'm a crusty old fart who doesn't mind child abuse of this nature, as opposed to those who think a laptop in the bedroom is just the thing for a fifth birthday.

And, yes, her Internet access was unfiltered on the same principle that if she played outside with a bunch of friends, she'd be immune to pretty much everything in short order.

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Developer CEO 'liable for copyright infringement' over unlawful tool

Terry Cloth

Is appearing as their own work the only problem?

If so, the just need to change to a Free Software license that requires changing the name, à la Firefox.

_If_, on the other hand, that is insufficient, and simply having someone insert objectionable material into your Free Software program is enough to get you into trouble, proprietary wins. (At least in Germany. How long will it take the RIAA to put that one into law in the U.S.?)

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Lantern lights the way to web freedom for Great Firewall prisoners

Terry Cloth

Not surveillance-free (see article, para. 7)

It only allows people to slip through the firewall. Big Brother can still watch what's going on.

Is it possible that China's citizens are less spied-upon than the US's?

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Quantum crypto pitches for data centre links

Terry Cloth

Another misleading title

(see also ``evolution [in] doubt'': http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/12/05/ancient_human_dna/)

While quantum RNGs are very interesting, and it will be a Good Thing for them to be cheap enough to buy a USB dongle containing one (no more PRNGs?), this is not quantum crypto.

Quantum crypto involves quantum-entangled pairs of particles (``spooky action at a distance'') which require no RNG, and cannot even be intercepted without alerting the endpoints.

If you'd like a fact-checking editor for headlines, you've got my address.

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Industry group blames 'outdated' kit for stock-market tech disasters

Terry Cloth

Introduce some damping

From an engineer's perspective, this looks a lot like an undamped system, in which a multitude of small inputs can amplify resonances, resulting in large swings which can ultimately destroy the device. (Have you checked your car's shock absorbers lately? :-) From what I read above, comparing bids and asks every second sounds perfectly reasonable.

Any attempt at millisecond trades would be pointless. If one person entered a multitude of bids and asks at sub-second intervals, the result would be worked out only on the tick, matching offers in first-come, first-served order. Sales (and price changes) would occur only once a second, preventing the out-of-control swings requiring shutting down a market. Of course, you'd have to introduce some jitter in the timing (say, make the tick a value between 0.8s to 1.2s, varying randomly) to prevent people from trying to game the tick. And each instrument would have its own clock---you don't want to update every issue on the market at the same instant.

As is probably evident, I'm no trader. If there's a better way to add damping, go for it, but the cost of missed opportunity at the millisecond would be more than repaid by avoiding the cost of a market crash. (At least to society at large. I feel no pain at the traders' making a fraction less than the current system offers.)

I can hear the screams now: ``But..., but..., you're introducing, *gasp*, _inefficiency_ into the market!'' No fecal material, Sherlock. Your shock absorbers dissipate some of the engine's power, introducing inefficiency, too. But where's the efficiency in hitting a tree because your wheels were bouncing wildly?

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NSA-proof Euro cloud gang: Cool idea, bro... until it turns into MARKET-EATING beast

Terry Cloth

Re: NSA-proof Euro cloud

Giving me a chance to mention one of my favorite quotations:

``There is no fortress so strong that money cannot take it.''

---attrib. Marcus Tullius Cicero (I can't find a reference to any work containing it, at least on the Internet.)

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FCC: How we'll RIP 'n' REPLACE OLD phone system for new IP tech

Terry Cloth
Windows

Yet again---shiny new tech is a step backward

The bottom line is circuit vs. packet switching. In a circuit, you have exclusive (modulo the NSA)-: access to the full bandwidth so long as you're connected. Result: 5x5 reception on both ends. Packet switching makes your access to bandwith a stochastic function. Result: jitter, dropouts, &c. Telephony was making clear progress from the 1880s to maybe the 1980s, and it's been steadily downhill since.

And don't get me started on cell phones---like radiotelephony in the forties. All I want is a way to hear and be heard clearly.

I'm obviously well into old farthood, hence the icon.

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Cow FLATULENCE, gas emissions MUCH WORSE than thought - boffins

Terry Cloth
Headmaster

Significant digits?

It's been too long since I took advanced statistics, so if someone with more recent knowledge could enlighten me I'd be appreciative.

How is 4.9 ± 2.6 meaningful? Offering a value to the nearest tenth when uncertainty is ~30 times higher is warped. Shouldn't it be 5 ± 3?

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Solar vendors GOUGE non-US customers

Terry Cloth
FAIL

Turn off spell check before generating a PNG

Or at least add Xantrex to your personal dictionary

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SR-71 Blackbird follow-up: A new TERRIFYING Mach 6 spy-drone bomber

Terry Cloth
Coat

TR-3B

More fun, and better-looking in its field, but is the TR-3B really faster? Methinks not.

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Do dishwashers really blunt knives

Terry Cloth

Serrated edges?

With all this knife knowledge coming out of the woodwork, could someone speak to sharpening serrated knives? I have a really nice bread knife that needs some attention. Do I just sharpen it as I would any other knife, figuring I'll hit the high points, and the valleys don't matter? Must I buy a new one?

Inquiring minds want to know.

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Terry Cloth

Re: Ceramic knives?

A friend uses ceramic knives, and curiosity led me to check the edge with a jeweler's loupe. The wear process was chipping, with still-sharp bits between the chips. Looked to me as if it was turning itself into a serrated knive with a sharp, intermittent edge. I suspect it'll stay super sharp until most of the original edge is gone.

Can anyone who actually knows what they're talking about expand on this?

Note to webmaster: We really need an icon of someone talking through a hat.

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Pirate Bay captain pleads with Swedes: Don't make me walk Danish plank

Terry Cloth
FAIL

Linguistic (in)abilities

Back in undergrad days, a friend of Swedish ancestry took a course titled Reading Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian*, the idea being that the written (not spoken) languages were close enough as to make it possible (in one semester). Seems he's grasping at straws to claim he doesn't understand the warrant.

Can anyone with real knowledge confirm or deny that this is the case?

---

* Extra credit: Why isn't Finnish on this list?

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Anatomy of a killer bug: How just 5 characters can murder iPhone, Mac apps

Terry Cloth

Schneier got there over a decade ago

This little exploint rang a bell, so I searched Bruce Schneier's website. And, sure enough, on July 15, 2000, he observed ``Unicode is just too complex to ever be secure. '' See https://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram-0007.html#9. Doesn't exactly warm the cockles of the paranoid's heart.

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Open source Android fork Cyanogen becomes $7m company

Terry Cloth

And in a similar vein: Fairphone.com

I've been watching with interest the development of Fairphone (http://www.fairphone.com/). They're actually manufacturing the hardware to put Android onto. They advertise that they're using fairly-sourced (reasonable wages for peons, no profits going to underwrite wars, ...) materials, the phone will be rootable, have two SIMs, and so forth. Only €325---cheap!

Disclaimer: I have no business or other interest in this device, other than that I lust for one, but don't live in the EU, which is their initial distribution area.

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Telstra to DNS-block botnet C&Cs with unknown blacklist

Terry Cloth

... a firm based in the United States.

Which means, of course, that Oz is inviting the NSA into their networks.

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Terry Cloth

You do realize we're all in trouble now, no?

I expect at least a quarter of your readers immediately tried to surf to qwe54fggty.dyndns.biz, creating an extremely suspicious spike in activity.

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India's centralised snooping system facing big delays

Terry Cloth
Unhappy

Subhead: Central Monitoring System lacks algorithms, database and data

I suspect the NSA will be able to help out with that last.

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Fairphone goes on sale to all

Terry Cloth

Fairphone goes on sale to all---for sufficiently restrictive values of ``all''

They're only taking order from Europe. Here in the U.S., I'm SOL.

If it's simply a matter of shipping, I'll gladly pay the extra. (Would the VAT refund cover that?) On the other hand, if it's about meeting additional regulations, it may be a while.

In either case, I'd _really_ hate for them to miss the 5k goal because we outlanders can't buy one.

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Terry Cloth

Two calls at once?

I presume just as you do with a multi-line desk phone: put one of them on hold. What would be really neat would be connecting the two so you get a 3-way conference call.

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AWS cloud gains critical federal security certification

Terry Cloth

Not quite that bad

But how much less I haven't dug into. The description at the FedRAMP site[1] says there's actually a third-party assessment of the service. Unfortunately, it's not a Federal third party, so watch out for winks and nudges.

They also claim there's an ongoing reassessment process, but unless failing to have a retest carries the same consequences as failing one, the budget for continuing oversight will be right up there with the budget for highway maintenance.

[1] http://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/102999

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Your Flying Car? Delayed again, but you WILL get it, says Terrafugia

Terry Cloth

Robotic flying cars considered unlikely

``Highly reliable robotic takeoff, landing, cruise flight and traffic control certainly isn't a dream - the problems are actually easier than robotic ground cars, and they have pretty much been solved already.''

Sure, for objects separated by miles horizontally and thousands of feet vertically.

But that's not the situation for a genuine flying car. Take the road populace of New York City, elevate it all to a variety of altitudes, and watch your autopilots have nervous breakdowns. A population of flying cars in numbers comparable to what we have on the ground is such a difference in degree as to become a difference in kind. Ask any programmer scaling up a program from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of instances.

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Analysts brawl over 'death' of markup language

Terry Cloth
Coat

You asked....

No. No. n/a. No.

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Excess all areas

Terry Cloth

Someone speaks with forkéd tongue

Examining the eminent Mr Dabbs's 2010 interview with Features Exec[1], we find the exchange:

Q: Do you find press conferences, trips, parties and other events useful or an interruption?

A: They are always useful.

Ahem.

@Mrs B J Smegma: In the same location, we find him noting he was the first non-U.S. journo to test the original iMac, so 'twas not always thus.

------------------------

[1]http://www.featuresexec.com/bulletin/interview_article.php?id=11689

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Debian 7 debuts

Terry Cloth
Holmes

Send it to Coventry

That is, partition your disk and set up experimental all by its lonesome. I run stable and unstable that way, and I'm about to install wheezy in a third partition.

Of course, this takes a reboot to change. Extra points if you install them on virtual machines. :-)

[For this one, Mr. Holmes is saying ``Elementary, my dear Watson''.]

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Feds want to fine companies that refuse wiretap requests

Terry Cloth
Pint

Would that it were so.

I don't know what law the grandparent poster (AC) is referring to, but you only have to look at ACTA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ACTA) to see an example of the U.S. using its economic weight to force other countries to do the bidding of American corporations. For rampant privacy invasion, check the PNR (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passenger_Name_Record) history, in which the U.S. pressured the EU into sending passenger info to the TSA before the flight leaves. They ``promised'' it would be used only for anti-terrorist purposes, but they've reneged on that, and roughly the entire federal government now has access to the data.

So long as the U.S. packs sufficient clout to present a credible economic threat to its subject nations, we're all screwed. The way things are going, though, maybe the U.S. economy will weaken so much that no one cares anymore.

[Beer because that's what I'm drinking now. Maybe it'll help me feel better about all this.]

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Scan your branes LIVE IN REAL-TIME, thanks to GPU-surfin' boffins

Terry Cloth
WTF?

Why are they so damn' noisy?

It's all electronics and radio waves, but neither my computer nor my radio make that sort of a racket. Are the magnetic fields so strong that we're hearing the structure being warped out of shape? If so, I hope they have the framework inspected at least as often as an airliners. If not, what's going on?

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It's a BYO-slingshot party in the Silicon Valley of Elah

Terry Cloth
Boffin

Name that weapon

Don't look now, but David used a sling---in the picture you see him on the backswing, about to loose his secret weapon. A slingshot is a forked stick and elastic. I doubt even the Wrist Rocket* models are more powerful than a skillfully-wielded sling. (Of course, that's the down side: a sling takes a lot of practice to get good at.) Think of a slingshot as a very small bow, and a sling as an atlatl for rocks.

* http://www.archeryexchange.com/shopexd.asp?id=74

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EU mulls almost-anonymisation of folks' data to cut biz some slack

Terry Cloth
Big Brother

Pseudonymous Bosh

It's frighteningly easy to extract identities from supposedly-anonymous data sets. Some Univ. of Texas researchers showed it's fairly easy to take Netflix's anonymized preferences list, cross-index it with the IMDB, and identify a number of the subscribers (http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/12/anonymity_and_t_2.html). Given a 5-digit ZIP code, gender, and date of birth, you can identify over 85% of Americans (ibid). If you know where an American works and lives _to the census block_, you can establish identity almost 100% of the time (http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2009/05/on_the_anonymit.html).

Be _very_ suspicious of claims of anonymization. Schneier notes ``[A]nonymity systems shouldn't be fielded before being subjected to adversarial attacks.''

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Firm moves to trademark 'Python' name out from under the language

Terry Cloth
Go

The ultimate evidence of prior usage

Guido should just drop a note to Tim O'Reilly, asking for an O'Reilly catalog from about 1995. Wouldn't having a book published about it strongly suggest Python's for real and antedates Veber?

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US company aims patent-gun at Australia’s e-health system

Terry Cloth
Thumb Up

USPTO bulldozed

LOL! That one's gone into my commonplace file.

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Watchdog casts an eye over ‘throttling’

Terry Cloth

Pay per byte

As mentioned above, bandwidth is (or should be) like water or electricity: I don't buy 100 kWh/mo for a fixed price, and have my fridge stop running on the 27th because I had my Xmas display up for the last couple of weeks.

I'm now using a web host that goes against the flow: I pay a certain amount per Mbyte of date transfer, and a certain amount per GB-month of storage, and guess what? It costs less than I can get anywhere else. It would be interesting if some gutsy telco would offer a similar deal for BW---I bet they'd clean up, especially once they started building out based on where they feel the pinch. They could even offer pay-per-byte and fixed chunk at the same time, and let the customers try it both ways.

Unfortunately, there's nothing resembling real competition in any telco/cable/bandwidth provider market I'm aware of, so I'm not holding my breath.

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