* Posts by Jellied Eel

822 posts • joined 18 Aug 2008

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Meet YouTube-linked games-streaming Stadia, yet another thing Google will axe in two years (unless it kills Twitch)

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: iddqd

Back in the day, like in that case, '93, some games included cheat options. Ok they were mostly single player. Fast forward, and many single player games now include multi-player, and no cheat options because that may impact the sale of loot boxes.

Or other players fun, ie people who use aimbots, wallhacks etc to give themselves an unfair advantage in competitive games, which is not fun for players on the receiving end. And if left unchecked, leads to players deserting the game due to rampant abuse and the game slowly dying.

And then there's modding. Way back, in World of Tanks, it used to be possible to extract the meshes for tanks and create your own skins. Which was fun, and also allowed players to create better looking vehicles. Change was client-only, so other players didn't see the results. Then players realised they could also make tanks with neon skins so they were easier to spot, or highlight weak spots so they were easier to hit. So that got banned. And seeing as customisation is a common way to fleece customers via microtransactions, the only way to get a gold AK is to pay .99c

Or there are games like Space Engineers. The vanilla experience is fun, but a pretty empty sandbox. But there's an active and creative modding community that expands the game. More planets? Check the workshop. More ships, objects, encounters, furniture.. all available from the workshop. It's also multi-player and supports PvP, but has admin (aka 'cheat') options to limit abuse.

Or there are triple-A titles that are strangely empty, with voids that can be filled by future DLC. See EA/Paradox for more info. Unless it's Mass Effect, where poor reviews lead to obvious DLC holes remaining unfilled. TL;DR though is it all depends on the game. Kludging multi-player into a single player experience often results in a bad game, and locking it down stops the community making their own fixes, or expanding game play/longevity.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Your backbone is my backbone

I mean it's not hard to imagine Google happily ripping out your spine, if they thought it'd sell ads.

Reality is it'll be another VPN overlay like Sony and MS's networks. Which makes them a convenient walled garden that keeps out viruses and malware. And indies or competitors. ISPs may be lucky to get invited to install racks and capacity in their datacentres to stop gamers blaming the ISP when they can't open a lootbox.. Or find laaaag.

Which also means the US (sorry Comcast customers) won't get completely 4K'd over by Google. Or they will, but they'll blame Comcast for not investing in their network. I mean Google managed to build out gigabit fibre to the masses..

On the plus side, it'd probably be tax efficient to bung millions at developers to tempt them into this new platform (that may or may not be exorcised at Alphabet's discretion) given the billions Alphabet has in it's various slush funds.

Click here to see the New Zealand livestream mass-murder vid! This is the internet Facebook, YouTube, Twitter built!

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Publishing platforms

Because social media platforms have acted to remove 'political' content, I think they've already lost the publisher argument. Especially as in some cases, it seems to have been done on their own initiative, ie 'deplatforming' controversial accounts.

But that's necessary, especially if those accounts are promoting hate, inciting illegal activities and posting content that is illegal in X jurisdiction. Problem there is with global reach, what's legal in one country may be illegal in another. But the 'social' media companies allegedly use their sophisticated analytics to profile all their users so they can flog ads.. And location is rather key for that. So the same analytics could surely be turned to filtering out illegal content.

Problem there is defining it, given legislation can be a bit vague on the subject, but that's all part of the great debate between industry and politicians. Many years ago, I was at a LINX meeting where the new head of the IWF told us that they were going to start censoring political content. The IWF chap was ex-police and quite forceful in his view. Other members and I pointed out the IWF was funded by the members, and we weren't happy with the idea of scope creep away from it's purpose of stopping child pornography. That debate continues. If it's illegal, there should be effective methods to remove content and allow investigations.

With video and live streaming, I guess it's trickier. But the content providers already use analytics and fingerprinting to identify and remove copyright content, often pretty rapidly. One option may be to agree standards for video/live streaming and apply DRM to it so that sharing becomes impossible, or at least harder. People will still find ways around it, but it may slow the spread of noxious & illegal 'viral' videos.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

NZ is exercising one legal remedy

Acts of a criminal nature should always and without question be banned and blocked before anyone sees them or has a chance to download or share themselves because acts of a criminal nature have been through the due process to define them.

This has been reported on RT-

In a statement on Sunday, police said they apprehended a local man who is not believed to be directly linked to the attacker. The 22-year-old is facing charges under Films Video and Publications Classifications Act, which prohibits distribution or possession of material determined to be "objectionable."

So NZ official censor has rightly deemed the video as 'objectionable', and so can act against distributors.. Which presumably could include Facebook, Google and the usual suspects.. But in NZ, so presumably could act against entities and officers based in NZ. And I guess there's potential to spread the net wider via international treaties against crimes/criminals.

If this is replicated in other national legislation, it could be a way to drop a heavy (or lighter) legal hint that sharing this kind of content isn't legal, moral or acceptable.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: "to put blame on the technology"

No media will print his manifesto today, or even cite from it, but once the thing goes to trial and the manifesto is being drawn into the trial proceedings, the media will have no choice but to mention it.

It is smart in a wicked way and I have no idea how to tackle this because it works for media exposure in both realms, the old and the new media.

The Breivik case was interesting because it was 'political'. It was also interesting that the Norwegian legal system saw it as such, and tried to limit his ability to platform. He was declared sane, tried and charged with 77 counts of murder. His 'manifesto' wasn't really relevant to those charges, and shouldn't be in the New Zealand nutjob's case.. Especially given they provided bodycam evidence of those crimes.

Both seemed to want media exposure for their cause, and the media provided it. That's always been a challenge for the media, ie reporting vs sensationalising.. but new media doesn't have those filters. Allow self-publishing, slap ads around it, profit. Only act when the outcry starts making advertisers nervous, and profit.

One legal solution might be to regulate 'social' media in the same way as traditional news agencies, and then hold them to account for their actions, or inactions. That should be relatively simple, especially as the platforms already act to remove political expression, effectively lifting any 'safe harbour'.

Technical solutions seem a lot harder. We've provided the ability to live stream, and curtailing that would prevent innocent streams. Moderators may be a solution. Most large streamers already have community moderators, but official moderation seems retroactive, ie they're not invoked until there's complaints, and that process may be too slow. There is probably evidential value though, so I'm sure NZ police will be very interested in who joined this nutjob's stream, and when. But that also has political aspects, like ensuring those logs are kept and made available quickly to law enforcement.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Your "nutter on a rampage" is China's "Tiananmen Square"

This genie has long been out of the bottle. So there's the famous image of a protestor standing in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square. What happened next was available on rotten.com, a website I used to use to demonstrate why some restrictions/censorship is a good thing. 99.9% of us don't need to see the results because we can imagine them.

The problem I see now is there's often a knee-jerk rush to possibly exploit this kind of event. This article-

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-47583393

struck me due to some of the comments from political researchers, like this one-

"It may mean creating a special category for right-wing extremism, recognising that it has global reach and global networks."

Why make that special? Surely the best solution is to be able to monitor and act on extremism across the political spectrum. Language seems to have changed, so right-wing becomes 'alt-right', or 'extreme right'.. Which if you're viewing from a far-left perspective may seem logical. But there has been (and arguably is still) far-left extremism, eg anarchists, the Red Brigades, or even the Original IRA.

The BBC article suggests efforts have been focused on Islamic radicalisation, which is probably true. But hopefully some of the methods there can be applied to monitoring extremism across the spectrum, and being able to produce actionable intelligence. This particular nutjob had accomplices and would have left a digital trail. 'De-platforming' might seem like a good idea. Make the nasty go away! Ban 8chan! But that's always been an issue with censorship. Ban it and it'll just descend deeper into the 'dark web', making it hard to monitor. Extremist groups already use encrypted VPNs to try and hide their activity. I think there's also a risk that 'extreme' actions may also make people thing they're already being marginalised drift further towards the extreme sites.

To my mind, the best approach is a combination of clear legislation that defines extremism, which then can be used to enforce standards. Currently the issue is this nutjob violated 'social' media T&Cs, along with any human(e) decency standards.. But did the video break laws? It's news. It bleeds, it leads. Especially if you're the DM, who've never seemed too concerned about ethics or morals.

The hardest and possibly most controversial part is also probably the most effective, ie being able to monitor activity.. But we're generally opposed to the idea of a 'surveillance state' and the government 'spying' on us. But that's also the best way to try and identify, profile and catch nutjobs, hopefully before they act. But that's also a wicked problem. The Machine may be able to spew out a long list of people who've downloaded or shared this nutjob's 'manifesto', but how do you determine which of those people read it, and think 'This guy's right!'. I skimmed Anders Brevik's ramblings, and assume this nutjob's work is more of the same.

Brit rocket wranglers get Reaction they wanted after rattling SABRE

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Re-use the heat

I think it's all very cool. Like building an engine that can go from 0 to Mach 25+ in one compact and reusable package. So a bunch of heating/cooling challenges during operation, and then figuring out how to simulate it's passage through the atmosphere while safely on the ground.

Which I guess is also where DARPA comes in, ie they did something similar to test the old nuclear engine.. which involved building a massive compressed air storage system. From reading the wiki article a few times, it sounds like this may do something similar with an F4 engine acting as a hot air generator. Fun times!

But looks pretty revolutionary, and hope it doesn't get starved of funding. If it ends up essentially powering a space shuttle, but without the mass/volume/cost of that vehicle's fuel tanks and SRBs, then it should reduce the cost to orbit & make it easier/cheaper to ferry stuff to orbit to build larger space stations and jump off to the Moon or Mars. I guess it could also mean space-based fabrication becomes more plausible if Skylon/space plane can also bring stuff down.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Re-use the heat

The wiki page attempts to explain how this beast should work, and it seems packed full of interesting engineering challenges-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SABRE_(rocket_engine)

The cooler consists of a fine pipework heat exchanger and cools the hot in-rushing atmospheric air down to the required −150 °C in 0.01s.

That cools faster than my ex's! So they've done that, and apparently solved icing problems. I hope this gets enough funding to complete development as it looks like it could power some fun non-military space planes.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Hot air?

Driscoll told us: "We had to build a new test facility because we're effectively going to put 1,000°C air into this pre-cooler and to produce 1,000°C air at volume is not easy to do!"

Have they tried Westminster?

Also, is this intended for the proposed new German aircraft carrier? ISTR we used to be good at this sort of thing though, ie the trusty Bloodhound's ramjets.

Holy sh*tsnacks! Danger zone! Edinburgh Uni's Archer 2 super 'puter will cost a cool £79m

Jellied Eel Silver badge

It might just run Crysis

I think the Spring Statement is basically the £200m on a supercomputer in order to perform sophisticated economic models. I guess there's a fair degree of uncertainty around UK Plc's finances, although import duty and VAT on Archer 2 might be slightly more certain. Then again, Labour did forget to include VAT on their Olympics spend. I wonder if Scotland's going to make this the world's first wind-powered supercomputer though?

On the eve of Patch Tuesday, Microsoft confirms Windows 10 can automatically remove borked updates

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Not every failure is a boot failure

Yes, I wish I could figure out what goddamned update screwed my headphone jack. Windows 10 doesn't seem to think there's such a thing as a "headphone" output device any more.

Ah, is that the one where installing headphones into the jack marked 'headphones' prompts Win10 to go bing and ask you what audio device you just installed? With no choice for 'headphones'? If so, you're not alone. And possibly not alone in pondering the fecklessness of yoof who aren't familiar with 3.5mm jacks, and assume everything must be connected via USB.

(which would probably mean a different message saying it's unable to find a device driver for your hardware, so would you like to 3-D print another wall to use as a head restraint?)

Prodigy dancer and vocalist Keith Flint found dead aged 49

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Yawn.

Yelling into a mic at the loudest volume isn't a song. Especially not when half the words are repeated endlessly.

Nor is just playing loud, repetitive bass.

Ah yes, the beats that were made illegal. Unless in say, a superclub like Ministry where the money went to the right kind of people.

Personally I think the Prodigy were pretty sophisticated, ie the heavy use of sampling from a very eclectic mix of sources. I think one of the best tributes is the way the Prodigy (and others) changed culture a bit, and the BBC's comment that the Firestarter video was banned for scaring the children. Or waking some up to the blandness that was the rest of the Top 40 in those days.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Well.. for me, it all started in '94 with 'No Good'. Which starts with a fairly normal (and young) Mr Flint beginning his journey of discovery.. And taking a few of us of the jilted & jaded generation along with him.

I saw the Prodigy peform live a few times, and always a full-on experience.. So this is from 2017-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0Olyr9zRto

Not exactly mellowing in their old age :)

Correction: Last month, we called Zuckerberg a moron. We apologize. In fact, he and Facebook are a fscking disgrace

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Wow

Agreed. Facebook's judged on active users. It then tries to convert those users into advertising revenue. It's been losing it's appeal to the youth audience who see Facebook as something their parents use.

So it wants to understand the youth audience, and as it's entire business model has been built around collecting personal information, probably doesn't see anything wrong with doing that survey. Especially given the profit motive.

Meanwhile, in other areas, I suspect any behavioural scientist wanting to do the same survey/study would be expected to submit their proposal to an ethics board for a review.. Which is possibly the same standard by which Facebook and other apps should be judged on. Difference is a scientific study would probably be expected to anonymise data, but business wants to de-anonymise, link and flog ads.

Not sure what remedies there should, or could be. More people are waking up to the gross invasions of privacy, so 'social' media apps need to do something. Governments could perhaps legislate for ethical & privacy standards, and maybe force a court appointed ethics board if they can show laws have been broken.

And there's also the slight problem of FANGS, which make up a rather large percentage of the NASDAQ's 'value', and that value could plummit if users switch off.. With the knock-on effect for things like pension funds.

I also like the first/second order analogy. One huge problem I have with 'social' media is if users want to create a Facebook account, and share personal information, then fine.. As long as there's informed consent. But most of the big 'social' media business also try to hoover up personal information from other users, ie all Facebook's tracking. That is not acceptable, and trying to weasle some form of indirect consent via content sites is not ok. If I don't have a Facebook account, then what I do is none of Facebook's business.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Wow

Indeed. Something has gone seriously wrong with the moral compass directing execs of these companies. So OK, the business model of a 'free' service has some fundamental problems, but the gross invasion of privacy and outright lies regarding activities looks to me like 'social' media companies are in dire need of some serious ethical cleansing.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Wow

So it's really worse than I thought. Especially given Facebook has blatently lied about it's activities, and appears to have been deliberately targeting children/minors, who in most jurisdictions are not capable of giving informed consent. But that's always been an issue with 'social' media and minors, ie having them agree to a contract in exchange for the service.

I say, that sucks! Crooks are harnessing hoovers to clean out parking meters in Chelsea

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Trickle down economy?

Which century are you currently inhabiting?

Ah, well, I admit I have very little first-hand knowledge of that sector of our economy. However, somewhere in the HMG bit bucket is a fascinating report. Can't remember if that was from ONS or NAO, but..

Countries where drugs and hookers are legal objected to revenues from those being included in their economy, and thus tithe to the EU overlords.. Who are probably more familiar given Belgium has legalised brothels (I think). So the UK had to estimate revenues from those activities so their revenue could be included in our tithe. Which presumably lead to an official market review and some civil servants working out an official hourly rate.

And now I'm wondering if nicking cash from meters could result in double counting, ie revenue to councils and revenues from hookers & blow. Luckily I'm not an accountant..

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Just wierd

Cap and trade may be a way to boost the economy in the UK's North. Which could boost the cloth and milner industry, but may lead to a shortage of whippets.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Trickle down economy?

As in that odd sensation as a stream of cold, hard cash runs down your trouser leg from a hole in your pocket.

As for funding criminality, people seem to be missing that users need cash to buy drugs, or time with a hooker. Which then means an economist could calculate relative values, ie cost of parking vs other activities.. and possibly expand on the social cost. So a hooker @ £4/hr may result in additional costs to the NHS.

Meanwhile, Kensington's residents may object to a cashless audit trail. Rather awkward if statements show parking charges from a quick visit to one's mistress, or master. And high class divorces can be soo expensive. For councils though, I guess it'd be a lot cheaper if meters were just replaced with numbered bays, and an app to rent bays (bays! Bays I said!) and allow the meter maids to check licence plates against rentals.

The case of the missing 300 Swiss francs: WIPO fires CIO following probe into allegations of fraud

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Letter regarding WIPO reprisal against Mr. Wei Lei

Thanks for that link.

People commenting would do well to read that, along with the other excellent articles about strange goings on at WIPO. It's a very messy situation that seems to have gone under the radar for a lot of the mainstream media.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Let me get this straight?

Well, he intercepted her mail twice (One of which was proven) to get her card and pin. Did you read the article?

I did. I didn't jump to the same conclusion though. Post is sorted and delivered by WIPO's post room. In one case, incorrectly given Mr Wei got Ms Wei's card. Easy mistake to make given the similarity between the names, and it's easy to assume your post has been delivered correctly.

But the article also points out that in order to use the card, Mr Wei would also have needed the PIN, which was sent seperately, and apparently some days apart. So that would seem to have required that Mr Wei managed to obtain both card and PIN.. Which hasn't been explained.

Neither has the regular occurence that despite being a good way into the 21st Century, and the widespread availability of decent cameras, the CCTV evidence seemed inconclusive. Dear businesses, why have them if they can't be used to clearly identify individuals?

You're on a Huawei to Hell, US Sec State Pompeo warns allies: Buy Beijing's boxes, no more intelligence for you

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: But why are they inspecting the source code?

I don't think it's feasible to guarantee that the binaries running on the network gear are generated from the inspected source code.

Depends on the network/application. If it's a high security network, then it should be feasible. So network must be designed in accordance with national standards for classified networks. NSA in the US and GCHQ in the UK manage those. That may require trusted/vetted components and secure OS, but that gets complicated given the cost of auditing source code. Or just vendor's reluctance to release that code. Then combine the components in accordance with say, UK IS1, pass review/audit and go live.

But that's not the end, ie there's still the ongoing security monitoring, compliance, patch management etc to follow. Do all that, and you should have an officially secure and reasonably secure network. Allow senior politicians to run their own mailsever with classified data on it and you have a security problem.

The 5G stuff is much the same principle, although it's riskier given it's a public network. Same rules apply, ie how could it be abused, and how can the design prevent or mitigate abuse? That could be accidental or malicious, eg network crashes due to buggy update, lapsed security certificate etc etc, ie all the issues we see reported with depressing regularity.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: That seems like a dangerous stance

Since the US heavily relies on the cooperation of other nation's spy agencies,

Ah, well, this is politics. So the Snowden debacle showed that the US was quite happily spying on it's allies.. But that's what intelligence services do. As Sir Humphrey would probably have said, "How are we meant to know they're our allies, unless we spy on them?".

But as Snowden also showed, the US needs to get it's own house in order. There was also an embarassing incident where a Pakistani IT consultant ended up as sysadmin for a lot of Democratic congresscritters. Which probably has the US PTB banging their heads against a wall because senior fedeal employees and contractors still seem to run a DIY approach to IT.

Rest is a best practice thing for any critical infrastructure, ie limit access, log the hell out of it and view any 288f bundles appearing in the back of core switches with a 'Please No Touch!' sticker with suspicion.

Germany tells America to verpissen off over Huawei 5G cyber-Sicherheitsbedenken

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Every Huawei core-router or switch used in a telco core network is one less piece of US kit that the US can (supposedly) use to tap into those networks. So it is a US security nightmare, as they'll lose their ability to tap into - and probably control in a "crash the network in case of war" scenario - these critical telecommunications systems.

A lot of that is political control. So the US could tell Cisco, Juniper etc to implement CALEA. And if they say 'Nope', there's a bunch of assets and execs inside the US that could be punished. And so CALEA came to pass. Along side that, practically every country requires network operators comply with lawful intercept requests. So pretty much every bit of tin has that capability built in already. Or capability used for debugging/diagnostic call traces to be used for lawful intercept.

Vendors like Huawei could say 'Nope', we're making out kit secure. But then large customers would be blocked from buying it because it's not compatible with national legislation. So it's not in vendor's interests to do that. It does make it harder for national governments to lean on vendors that operate mostly outside their jurisdiction though.

5G risks are a bit of a strawman given part of the specs are to ensure that there's capability to support law enforcement requirements. War games are also a strawman, ie if things got so bad that missiles were about to fly, being able to order a pizza via your new 5G phone wouldn't be a high priority. Security of supply is the bigger issue, so US v China trade wars heating up, and China saying 'Nope' to exports of new kit or spare parts.

Accused hacker Lauri Love loses legal bid to reclaim seized IT gear

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Does he not have a point?

I think he has a point, or it's a point TPTB need to address. Most of us have a lot of personal, or even sentimental data stored on our computers. At some point, we could be accused of a crime, and all that gear seized as potential evidence.

That happens a lot, and it could be a malicious accusation. The police have limited resources, not helped by forensics being outsourced. So probably tonnes of potential evidence sitting waiting to be analysed, and possibly getting knocked back in the queue by higher priority investigations. We also have a general principle that we should have timely access to justice, ie charge, or don't. Some of that's defined in law, ie how long we can be detained without charge. I think the same should also apply to our property.

Not sure what the solution should be though. More resources for forensics would be one step, but AFAIK one issue with Love was encyrpted data on his drives, and a refusal to decrypt it. Assuming I had the keys and could decrypt it, I'd do it so I could get my stuff back. If I couldn't, that could be a different problem. Where there's 'stolen' data on the drives, I guess that gets more complicated, ie having to go through all the data and determine what's legal, what isn't, and delete any unauthorised stuff. If the police retain a copy of the entire contents, presumably that could still be used as evidence.

Amazon throws toys out of pram, ditches plans for New York HQ2 after big trouble in Big Apple

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: This happens all the time

It's a shame because you're right...real estate is cheap and the people are very nice. But the most these cities ever get is call centers or mundane paper-processing centers. The executives don't want to live there and they know they can't attract "top talent" fresh out of school.

Yep, it's very short-sighted thinking. Flint and other Rust Belt cities grew to feed employers based there. GM pulled out, city goes into rapid decline. But reversable with some investment. I know people who've been working for Google and other SF employers who're desperate to move away from $4500 rents, especially when they're looking at starting families. Something is wrong when people on 6-figure salaries can't afford to live there.

So needs some marketing, but $4500 rent on a small apartment vs $200k buying you a large house outside Sillycon Valley is a bit of a no-brainer. Talent should be attracted by much cheaper cost of living, and cynically, can also mean reduced payrolls and wage pressures. Then being a key employer/investor, there's a chance to shape the city's future. So invest in the education system and create your own talent pool, which would naturally include some top talent. Then there'd be other employment opportunities, like opening bars and shops to extract cash from the high earners.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: This happens all the time

Why not Flint, Michigan? I've been watching a Netflix doc showing the police trying to police there, and it's a bit mind boggling what's happened to that city. And as a result, it's a place that looks like it's got a lot of cheap real-estate & crying out for investment. Ok, so you might need to bribe staff to move there, but it'd be a lot cheaper for them to live than property prices in NY, or especially SF & Seattle. But for a spot of corporate welfare, it'd make positive PR investing there. Especially with funding for schools & tech colleges to invest in the people.. And that's probably tax efficient as well.

Another aspect that puzzles me is there seems to be little auditing to see if promised benefits ever actually materialise, eg New Jersey and the billions spent on Tesla's Gigafactory, that's apparently mostly empty.

White House and FCC announce big, broken solutions to America's pitiful broadband

Jellied Eel Silver badge

A modest proposal

But one thing is clear: the federal government's conscious myopia about what has caused broadband provision in the US to fall so far behind the rest of the world is only kicking the can down the road.

Ah, roads.. The UK has a fascinating* thing called the 'Design Manual for Roads & Bridges', complete with dedicated sections for digging holes, and then filling them back in. Or 'reinstatement'.

The US has a crumbling physical infrastructure, no doubt aided in part by telcos (or their contractors) regularly digging it up. And having read the DMRB, I know that in the UK, the reinstatment bit does always follow official regulations. But the US (and UK) at the Federal level could make it a requirement that all new roads (and major repairs) fit say, 6x4" ducts with pit boxes say, every 10 miles.. or major junctions. Then assign 1 duct to Federal use, another for State and an attractive rate for anyone else to use the other 4. Then do the same for residential/urban roads so there's at least a couple of decent sized ducts. It would be a relatively small incremental cost to road contstruction, but would enable a more future-proofed infrastructure. States should also make it a requirement for residential development.

The absolute last thing to do would be let a telco build and 'own' it. Currently planning regs are pretty short-sighted in not requiring infrastructure, and developers don't see it as a priority.. Despite the best efforts of BT's 'New Build' team to educate them here in the UK.

One click and you're out: UK makes it an offence to view terrorist propaganda even once

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Yup....the STASI has DEFINITELY arrived in the UK......

And George Washington! That blighter took up arms against the Crown! Not to mention tax evasion, and the most heinous, conspiracy to waste tea!

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: And the unintended consequence of this will be...

Oh, looks like you also use predictive text when searching on how to do DIY repairs to the car!

Nah, I'd been watching Cleetus McFarland do it to various poor, defenceless Chevy engines because the 'Integrity Initiative' page went blank. So was the first example of terminology that could be misinterpreted that sprang to mind. Grenading engines that is, although mistyping 'Grenadine' could seemingly get you 15yrs, or diabetes.

Curious if the 'Integrity Iniative's activities could be regarded as illegal or if psyops/political warfare is exempted.. Or they just had an official exemption. Whovever leaked their docs might be in a bit more trouble though.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: And the unintended consequence of this will be...

Terrorist! You're suggesting counter-counter-terrorism tactics to counter the terror inspired by draconian and ill considered legislation.

Which is nothing new. One problem with this kind of legislation is it can also come with other consequences. So you may have used your computer to do potentially terrifying things. Like 'How to grenade an engine'. The investigation process would likely involve all your computers being seized as potential evidence. Then not returned until after Win16 has reached EOL. Or just damaged.

Which is a snag created by technical crimes, and a huge backlog of computers that need examining, or just held onto until trials + appeals have been exhausted.

Go big (with our bandwidth) or go home, Verizon: Texas mulls outlawing 911 throttling after Cali wildfire fiasco

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: What you are missing

There are other potential gotchas dating back to the old days of dial-up networks, and customers complaining about huge modem/ISDN call charges. Come mobile data, much the same happened. Users unaware of how much data their dumb phones were using for data acquisition. So rapidly clocking up more than 25GB of adverts from websites, which could lead to massive overage charges.

Various regulators imposed requirements to notify customers if they were reaching their quotas, so operators implemented SMS messages to let customers know they needed to top up or move to a different contract.

Naturally if those messages are sent to a SIM stuck inside a terminal that doesn't care about SMS, then the contract holder is blissfully unaware. In this case, I think the SIM was inside a command truck router, and the router or application wasn't configured to extract the SMS message and alert the operators. Then you get the scenario where the alert may go to someone who isn't in a position to deal with it, ie authorised to make payments or charge the contract.. Because that's handled by finance/procurement, and their phones don't work due to congestion.

Designing safety-critical solutions needs a LOT of thought and 'what-if?' scenarios. Which includes at Verizon's end. So a first-line call centre person almost certainly wouldn't have the ability to make any non-standard changes. So that would need to be escalated to someone that can.. And do you know where your superusers are? They're an essential part of any emergency plan, ie making sure the people who can make changes on the fly & in response to a disaster event are contactable and available to respond... Which from an engineering/operations POV, often means more than just having a mobile number listed in a DR plan.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Emergencies Everywhere

In an emergency situation, the prioritsation of emergency services over general SLA is what should be enshrined in law.

Here in the UK, it is. So the Airwave system is coming to the end of it's life (ok, contract) and being replaced by the ESN-

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-emergency-services-mobile-communications-programme/emergency-services-network

Customers will benefit from data prioritisation, which means the device will perform consistently when using data, even in times of high network traffic. It will also be possible to specify a higher level of prioritisation if needed for any critical applications.

EE's building it, and it's essentially a 4G service with the ESN users having priority. Arguably a lot easier to do this in the UK on account of us being smaller, and having fewer emergency service users than the US, ie our blue light services + invited guests.

The other angle to this is that the general internet is being seen as a high availability emergency service. Then this law is going to do F'all for that vision.

Indeed, but I've been arguing that point with customers since around 1993. The Internet is fundamentally best efforts. But there's another important angle. SCFD was trying to access data held on some form of Google account. In any safety-of-life scenario, you have to look at the system end-end. So it would be no use if Verizon had prioritised the data, but links to Google were congested and the chosen Cloud provider doesn't offer a prioritsed service. I rather suspect the application they were trying to access was also running in a commodity/basic account.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Has anybody asked ...

But politics..

So the US had 9/11. Problems with emergency communications became apparent. So a lot of people affected in a small area, ie thousands of public and emergency workers responding to a huge incident. When that happens, you get-

People calling for help. So you want to be able to prioritise E911 calls.

People calling family & friends to say they're ok, or being called. Important to stop people worrying.

Emergency & other services trying to deal with the incident, so critical or important calls.

Press flocking to the scene to report.

People taking Instagram pics, or live streaming/blogging the event.

People blissfully unaware of the event trying to order pizza.

So 9/11 was an outlier, and compounded by one of Verizon's main NY switching sites being hit by debris and destroyed. Other infrastructure was damaged on account of it being on rooftops. And later, some packed up due to the amount of dust ingress clogging filters/aircon. And unfortunately a main NY emergency response centre was located inside one of the WTC towers. But a huge surge in traffic, and a lot of damage to infrastructure.

Networks respond in a few ways. Some can be automatic, ie a big spike in traffic and congestion can trigger call gapping, so callers get network busy tones.. Then try re-dialling, adding to congestion. Then any major, or just sensible telco has emergency plans. So when they're invoked, emergency traffic can be prioritised, ie switching mobile RANs to selective availability for emergency/priority traffic. But that means the telco needs to know which mobiles/SIMs to prioritise.

But 9/11 lead to the US Federal government creating 'FirstNet', and assigning LTE band 14 and 10Mhz of bandwidth to critical traffic. AT&T got the contract to roll that out and manage it. States could opt out of FirstNet but only if they created equivalent services, and had those approved

So basically the Santa Clara FD should have been using FirstNet, or an equivalent service, not a commodity Verizon contract. It got more complicated because there's also stuff like the 'GSA', or Government Services Agreement, which is a goverment specific price book and set of contracts qualified customers can order against, and which can't easily be varied by customer or provider. And I can pretty much guarantee a telesales person can't change contract/service terms on the fly.

And because FirstNet was awarded to AT&T, Verizon can't offer that service, or AFAIK utilise band 14 capacity for it's customers, emergency services or not.

And if this bill passes in Texas, unless there's a modification to exclude FirstNet, those emergency calls couldn't be prioritised either.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Has anybody asked ...

Telcos are the experts (or should be), they ought to know more about how much data a customer is likely to need than the customer.

Not always. This case got a little more complicated seeing as the service was bought via a US government framework contract. Which means the service options are strictly defined in those contracts and you generally can't offer anything bespoke.

Then there's the assumption of skill levels for a sales person working in a high-volume call centre who can only offer customers approved service contracts. Thank you for calling Verizon, we can offer up to 25GB a month for $29.99 a month, or unlimited for only $49.99. It's reasonable to expect a sales script to say what would happen if that 25GB was exceeded.

But that was another issue. Santa Clara fire department had exceeded their allocation before this event, and been throttled per contract. There may have been some confusion as to whether a temporary uncapping had become permanent, but the only solution a typical sales person would have would be to offer a service upgrade. And then there's FirstNet-

https://firstnet.gov/news/more-50000-square-miles-lte-coverage-added-nationwide-support-att-and-firstnet-users

..FirstNet is being built in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority). This helps to ensure that the FirstNet communications platform and service offerings meet the short- and long-term needs of the public safety community...

..Band 14 is high-quality spectrum provided by the FirstNet Authority. Its signal covers larger geographic areas with less infrastructure to better support rural communities, and it can better penetrate buildings and walls in more urban areas as compared to higher-MHz spectrum. When not in use by FirstNet subscribers, AT&T customers can enjoy Band 14’s added coverage and capacity.

Except in Texas, where it'd become illegal to prioritise FirstNet's connections. Or Texas could opt out of FirstNet, but then would have to satisfy the FCC that they knew what they were doing with alternatives. Then again, the FirstNet press release is a little interesting because Band 14 was specifically allocated to FirstNet, ie emergency services only, not general public 4G/LTE.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

The unintended consequence of laws.

So

"A mobile Internet service provider may not impair or degrade lawful mobile Internet service access in an area subject to a declared state of disaster,"

Lawful mobile Internet service access would basically mean any user with a legal service contract. In emergency or disaster scenarios, mobile networks often go into a 'selective availability' mode that prioritises emergency services because in those scenarios, lots of people try to use their mobile phones.

So the Bill, if enacted, would make that illegal, and mean congested/degraded service for all uses, including any emergency services. And all because a fireman didn't read their contract and tried getting a safety-of-life service on the cheap.

If you want a vision of the future, imagine not a boot stamping on a face, but keystroke logging on govt contractors' PCs

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: There will be a market for bespoke Contractor Keyboards and Mice

It must provide automated real-time cost status for each task, along with a professional bio – not private or confidential info – of those doing the work. And it must provide the relevant agency with a feedback mechanism.

No problemo. Those scripts can be added into most automated software testing tools to simulate users and data entry. Most gaming keyboards come with a form of macro recording, and there's plenty of commercial stuff available to automate invoice padding.

US kids apparently talking like Peppa Pig... How about US lawmakers watching Doctor Who?

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Doctor Who

Mr President, I have a solution to the housing crisis! The British have developed technology that allows massive space inside a small, blue box! We could repackage it, but thing of the potential! Thousands of luxury condos, each taking up less than 5 square meters.. The next Trump Tower's going to be huge! I've tasked the NSA, CIA and TLAs to make it their top priority to acquire this building method they refer to as 'TARDIS'.

(and it just struck me that due to the length of time the TARDIS has been kicking around, anyone who tries to patent a pocket dimension is looking at a lot of prior art. Not that that seems to stop patent trolls.)

High-speed broadband fiber in America: You want the good news or bad news first?

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: How can this "micro trenching" possibly work?

...that would mean having Donald Trump in charge of your internet.

Not really. Although being President, he kind of is anyway. But this is a State-level thing, so nominally Asa Hutchinson in charge. But it's also just a change in state legislation saying if Munis want to build infrastructure, they now can. All part of the fun of the US political system, eg California legalised weed, even though it's still illegal at Federal level. Or they mandated that new build houses should all have solar panels.. But not decent broadband. So Californians are mostly stuck with Comcast.

IANAL, but I guess Arkansas could make a similar bit of legislation saying all their houses and buildings should have fibre. That's probably the easy bit compared to figuring out who'll pay/build/manage it.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: How can this "micro trenching" possibly work?

Although switching copper for fibre would present a slight conundrum because at the moment only a few CPs have signed up for BT's FTTP offering. Ofcom would have to decide how to tackle that - do you just shrug and say 'tough titty' to those CPs that have yet to embrace FTTP? If so what about their customers?

What about them? Ofcom regulates service providers, and like most of the UK's regulators, focuses on the 'market', not the consumer. Any arguably deregulation and competition has been anti-consumer because it's resulted in huge amounts of waste building parallel infrastructure chasing the low hanging fruit.. And infrastructure is expensive, hence the market's been consolidating. In the US, Ma Bell got broken up, but its slowly and steadily reassembling itself.

Then there's the regulatory gamesmanship. CPs wanted BT dark fibre and/or duct access. BT sucked it's teeth and came up with it's FTTP and duct/pole access.. Which is a service, and not dark fibre, and has equivalence. Openreach will sell it to any CP, it's just that given the way the services are structured, it best suits BT's business and retail divisions. Funny how that works.

Politically, it makes some sense to favour the incumbent given they've generally inherited the infrastructure and are generally 'too big to fail'. BT is critical national infrastructure, smaller fibre providers aren't. But politically, it also gets complicated. State says 'fibre for all!'. Nice, so figure on $100/m or more to dig fibre. How is that funded? My FTTP install had 4 Openreach vans working a Saturday to blow fibre into my home, then an inside plant guy doing the termination. With a Huawei OTN. So the US bans Huawei.. who would they buy their OTNs from that aren't made in China?

But figure on say, $2,500 per termination. If that's wholesaled at say, $9/month, it's a long payback. Especially if you have to pay wayleave charges, power, taxes (USO, or UK rates) and a competitor can take on the retail customer after their 12month contract is up. And if you're a cable provider, you're looking at ever increasing content costs for movies/sports/TV channels, and you're losing those revenues to OTT IP streaming services like Amazon, Netflix, YT, HBO etc etc who'll take the subscription fees and won't pay for carriage.

So basically it's a bit of a slow motion train wreck.. And realising connectivity is a natural monopoly like water supply is one possible solution, albeit expensive. The technology side is really the easy bit, ie G.984 and call it good :)

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: How can this "micro trenching" possibly work?

That sort of happens in the US with versions of LLU at the CLEC/ILEC level.. With the usual results, ie when NY flooded a few years back, lots of Verizon copper got damaged, so got replaced with fibre, which doesn't fall under competitive access regulations. Funny how that works. And NY's roads are much like London, ie full of potholes.. I mean trenches where competitors have spent millions to build duplicate infrastructure in the hope of winning business traffic. Then of course businesses take advantage of competition to drive down their costs. Then there's all the regulatory paperwork which goes with it, ie FCC reporting, wayleave management, OAM costs, USO charges etc etc.

Much of that could be simplified under a State/Muni natural monopoly structure and like you say, pretty much happens at consumer level in the UK via our LLU and Openreach's 'structural seperation' from the service layer.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: How can this "micro trenching" possibly work?

It's probably just as well the road network is "socialist" and you don't have to subscribe to multiple services to drive around the country on the various private road networks.

But you kind of do.. Which is the paperwork challenge. Kansas State legislature says go for it, but roads within that State might be owned/managed at the Federal, State, city, town or private with different funding and management. And if you get the paperwork wrong, someone from the Army Corps of Engineers may turn up and tell you to back away from the backhoe, slowly. Then there's incorporated vs unincorporated land and other oddities to non-Americans like me.

But it's possibly the right time to have a go. A lot of infrastructure in the US is in dog order, and there may be funding to fix it and install ducts at the same time. Doing that as a joined-up, State level infrastructure project would likely be a challenge still. With a wholesale offer, I suspect smart network operators would love the idea because installing and maintaining infrastructure's an expensive ballache.

As for 'socialism', well, that's the essence of government.. Although perhaps not to the extent of the 'Green new deal'..

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: How can this "micro trenching" possibly work?

Like Kieran points out, it often doesn't. As Google found out. The sales presentations are good. So basically a disc cutter that you can tow along a road. That chops a neat little slot, then plonks a microduct down the bottom and fill the slot with approved reinstatement mix. Zip along the hard shoulder/High occupancy lane and you can run kilometres (ok, miles) a day for a lot less than doing it properly.

Then reality bites. Or the disc cutter bites into signalling/sensing cables that run across roads to measure traffic flows. Or you get freeze/thaw soil creep and expansion that brings cable loops back to the surface where they're easily snagged. Or you find out that a lorry with a puncture has wheel rims that seek your slot. As a few European network operators who've tried this discovered. It still gets used where you absolutely have to, ie going across bridges were there's no ducts and no option to dig deep.

As for roadworks, in theory the cable owner gets contacted by the construction contractor to come and rig a bypass cable around where they're working. In practice, they may get contacted once the contractor's found a length of fibre hanging from their backhoe.

But fibre provision is a civil engineering job, and it makes a lot of sense for Munis to run it as a natural monopoly. They know where the infrastructure is (ie roads, existing Muni utilities) and are theoretically better placed to manage and maintain rather than having multiple telcos digging up their roads every week. Not sure how far it'll get as a state-level thing, but it's a good start, and probably a good use of USO funds. I think it may also be possible to get the cable & telcos on board if fibre provision is wholesaled to them as a neutral service. After all, as Google discovered, building networks is a major PITA. Providing services over the top, much more lucrative.

Holy planetesimal formation, Batman! Ultima Thule's no snowman – it's a friggin' pancake

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Independence day? More like Shrove Tuesday

Both must be approaching. What NASA isn't telling us is that they've analysed it's trajectory, and decoded a message revealed in close-up images. It's heading for Canada, and the message reads 'All your maple syrup are belong to us!'

(A smalled message reads 'and bacon')

It's OK, everyone – Congress's smart-cookie Republicans have the answer to America's net neutrality quandary

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: I've always wondered...

The technicalities are the crux of the debate. It's how you prioritise traffic, especially in congestion. And they've been part of the IP protocol suite since inception.

However, due to millions spent on lobbying, those features can't be used, except on private IP networks. So users are left with a best efforts solution, and content companies spend millions arguing that this is best for consumers.

The issue is technical vs commercial. The ..ISP provides a decent sized pipe to the end user in most cases. Commercial challenge is the ISP can only manage traffic within it's own network. So if there's congestion via peering or transit connections, you end up with packet loss. QoS could allow VoIP or video traffic to be prioritised.. But there's no commercial incentive to do so. Especially when it may mean content providers, ie video services paying more for their connectivity.. Hence why they lobby so hard against QoS, even though it would benefit the end user.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: I've always wondered...

The only one it consistently helps is the ISP, which is going to make a bunch of money off the consumers or providers who have to pay for the capabilities they already have.

But they don't. In a neutral 'Net, it's all best efforts and every packet for itself.. And as long as there's no congestion, that generally works. If there is congestion and packet loss, everyone blames the ISP. Even though they may not be at fault. But figuring out where the problem is can be something of a black art, and then may turn out to be a peering dispute covered by NDAs. It's hard enough to get users, politicians and regulators to understand why connections are 'up to xxMbps', let alone why their live stream of Superbowl cheerleaders kept pausing.

I'm no fan of paid prioritisation, but I do think some prioritisation should be permitted rather than legislating for a best-efforts Internet.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: I've always wondered...

Paid prioritization is a non sense. I can understand prioritization of traffic based on type of service, i.e. emergency/security services having highest priority, probably some priority for VoIP traffic and after that some live streaming.

Ah, well, what is an 'emergency' or 'security' service?

So it all began with RFC791, a very important RFC. So the 2nd byte of an IP packet would be for Type of Service, or ToS. That was in 1981. Being the Internet, that simple definition got embuggered by subsequent RFCs, and morphed into 'Diffserv'. After a few iterations, that kinda stabilised in RFC3168, which added 'Explicit Congestion Notification' bits. And lo, it came to pass that IPv4 faded into obscurity, and this all got rolled into IPv6 and it's 8-bit 'Traffic Class'. With another 2 bits tacked on for ECN.

So that's the technical background, and the battlefield for 'Net Neutrality. Nearly 40 years later, and after probably hundreds of millions in lobbying, those handy features remain forbidden on the public Internet. All packets shall be equal, and all packets shall be best efforts!

Ok, so this stuff is used on private IP networks, where 32 classes of DSCP might be considered a sales feature, but they're gonna get mapped onto 3 bits of an MPLS lable in all probability. Or into a layer-2 equivalent, which will probably end up over a form of MPLS anyway.

So I was involved in developing wholesale broadband for a small country. That has 128Kbps prioritised, with the intention that it gets used for VoIP. It's 'Neutral', because every customer gets the same config, and every wholesale customer is free to use it or abuse it.. But all done with the regulator's blessing, because being able to make a call was considered A Good Thing! Under a strict interpretation of the US policy, it could be forbidden. So good luck making an emergency call. So this was a pro-consumer implementation, even though it broke 'Net Neutrality..

So then comes the consumer. It would generally be A Good Thing if you can make an emergency call, or just a plain'ol VoIP call.. So prioritise say, 128Kbps for that. Then it might be nice to have reliable video streaming, so prioritise say, 8Mbps for video.

If you're an ISP, that could be A Good Thing. Customers happy because services work, and your pron isn't interrupted by someone downloading a big file. It's a better thing if it's kept away from marketing, and a standard traffic profile is applied to all users. Mainly because having multiple profiles is generally a right PITA and a good way to kill routers..

So suppose your an ISP that also offers a video service, like say, BT in the UK. They'll bill mugs.. I mean users for their IPTV service. Slapping that into the 8Mbps allocated for video could mean fewer support calls regarding pixellated balls. And if other video services want to use that capacity, mark the packets and the network will prioritise them.

But that's where the polarised nature of the 'Net Neutrality debate comes in. User side, it's simple, everyone gets 8Mbps prioritised. If however you're a content provider who's business is predominantly video streaming, like say, Netflix.. Then pretty much all your traffic would be priority. So Nx100Gbps of VIP traffic, which customers are paying $10 a month to Netflix for. ISP's don't get any of that money, but have to carry the traffic, so the assumption is if prioritisation is permitted, then content providers will be charged a premium for that prioritised traffic.

Currently content providers are strongly opposed to that possibility, hence why they've spent millions lobbying to keep the 'Net as a best efforts network.

Treaty of Roam: No-deal Brexit mobile bill shock

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: So predictable !

Perhaps you could enlighten the commentariat by telling us which of those four names you offered was either Prime Minister (Churchill) of the United Kingdom, or King of England (Henry VIII), as were the two names mentioned in the post(s) that you were so cravenly responding to.

Well, if you like history, there's been a lot of that around Europe.. Hence a long and noble tradition of invading France. Monarchies are so much more reliable. One butt to kick, or occasionally treat to a red hot poker.

some cringing, snivelling, pants pissing, anonymous coward will make a fuckwitted reference to either Napoleon or Hitler, comparing them to the European Union.

Not me guv. I'll raise you a Verhofstadt. A chap who's lead an.. interesting career in one of the smaller bits of Europe. Most famous achievement was probably an inability to form a government, and after Belgians realised they could manage pretty well without one, finally gave Verhofstadt the boot. So he found his way into the natural home of slightly used politicians, the EU. But given his performance in dividing Belgian politics, his comments about UK hell were a little hipocritical.

But I'll also throw in an Italian Communist, Altiero Spinelli. One of the founding fathers of the EU, and Verhofstadt's a big fan.. Which is the other little division in the EU. The Spinelli Group and Verhofstadt are staunch federalists, that old 'ever closer political union' which during Project Fear wasn't meant to mean a Federal EU. So dear'ol Guy was probably never keen on keeping the UK in the Union given we, and other conservative states opposed the idea of a Federal Superstate.

But such is politics.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: Rory Cellan-Jones - naive or what ?

Well, RCJ does work for the Bbc, who aren't well known for their fact checking. See for example-

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47133564

Prices are rising because Ofgem is allowing suppliers to charge more to cover the higher wholesale costs they face owing to the higher global price of oil. Wholesale costs account for more than a third of a typical energy bill.

Which ignores certain realities. Like the UK doesn't use oil for electricity generation, and oil prices fell below $100 and have remained there. The reason why electricity prices rise is thanks to the EU (and UK)'s love of 'renewables'. But the Bbc loves 'renewables', and dislikes the reality.

I'm also curious if the Bbc's so against Brexit because it doesn't want it's EU operations regulated as a foreign broadcaster, like RT and Al Jazera.

Jellied Eel Silver badge

Re: My money's on Vodafone being the first to start charging

Not at all surreal, just BAU for Vodafone and other pan-European mobile operators. If you're a Vodafone UK subscriber, Vodafone would happily charge you to roam across to Vodafone France, or Germany. It caused much fun trying to develop a pan-European mobile data solution when the mobile operators all treated any SIM moving outside of the country it was ordered in as roaming.. Which was and still is a nice earner for the big mobile operators.

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