* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Streaming brilliant: Netflix signs access agreement with Verizon

Tom 13

Re: BT suddenly announce that the local exchange

If that's true that ought to be sufficient grounds to start anti-trust proceedings or the equivalent thereof. It would be in the US.

Tom 13

Re: Thanks for the link.

And these bits:

This is very different from what Netflix was getting from Cogent because Comcast is providing fully dedicated capacity, unlike sending it through someone like Cogent where those connections are potentially over-subscribed if a transit provider over-sells their capacity, which Cogent has a history of doing.

To date, Cogent has had peering disputes with AOL, Teleglobe, France Telecom, Level 3, TeliaSonera, Sprint-Nextel and Verizon. I find it interesting no one in the press mentioned how Cogent always seems to be the one major transit provider who continues to have disputes with so many other network providers, year after year.

Tom 13

Thanks for the link.

I found this paragraph enlightening:

You will notice that when Netflix was using third party CDN providers Akamai, Level 3 and Limelight for 100% of their video delivery, there were no quality issues. Just look at their speed ratings from 2012. The reason for this is that those CDNs already have their servers connected to ISPs like Comcast and have put in place all the necessary links, both free and paid, to guarantee, via an SLA, that they can deliver Netflix’s video. So for all the people who say that Comcast forced Netflix into paying or is strong arming them, that is not true. Netflix has multiple options in the market for delivering good quality video, but Netflix chose to build their own CDN and change their delivery strategy because they want to have more control over it and save money.

Tom 13

Re: Peering

The baby bells were more government interference. What we need is less.


The monopolies are imposed by politicians who grant them to certain people/companies who fund their campaigns. And then get foolish rubes to vote for them so they can democratize the internet through regulation.

Tom 13

Re: Weaning these organisations off the money fountain

It wouldn't be a problem if they were really the rat-bastages everyone accuses them of being. Right now the problem for the cable companies is exactly the sort of tripe the net-neutrality types spout: there are a lot of channels they carry that nobody gives a damn about. My subscription has 150 channels, of which I regularly watch maybe 12 and touch at most 30 in a month. That's 120 channels to whom the cable company doesn't need to pay royalties on my behalf. But because they've already built the last mile, they've been coerced into supporting those channels because there is no "incremental cost and it's good for diversity." Screw the 120 channels! They could probably halve my cable bill it they provided a more minimal selectable set and increase their profits by 50%.

Star Wars Episode VII: The Ancient Fear of, er, a cheese-tastic title?

Tom 13

Re: My worst fear about the new SW movie

You are off to a very, vary bad start.

Scariest NSA revelation yet: Spooks are RUBBISH at CIPHERS

Tom 13

Re: Errr...

The NSA came in from the cold more than 15 years ago. There was a time within my memory when you drove past the exit for their main campus and there was no sign. Today it is well marked, proudly proclaiming it is the headquarters. A friend of mine who worked at Hopkins use to have people who query about a good place to live that was equidistant from Baltimore and DC but wouldn't say much else about their job or why they were moving here. "Ah, you going to work for No Such Agency. That means you probably want a place in Columbia." So even when it was still technically secret, people knew about it and where it was. Granted it did help that my friend worked at a materials research lab that had classified contracts with the agency.

SCOTUS asked to overturn patent-troll's charter

Tom 13

In the particulars for this case

I would have to say that Limelight is guilty of infringement. By placing the software on the end users's PCs they effectively made the end user pcs part of their distribution network.

You'll note this does protect legitimate uses of single steps of a protected process on a user's pc so long as it wasn't part of the rest of the infringement.

Frankly, if you've taken part in an infringement because you thought you'd found a rules lawyer way around the law, I don't have a lot of sympathy for you.

Tom 13

Re: Patent Trolls....

NEVER, NEVER, EVER chop up a troll into lots of pieces. Each piece is capable of regenerating into a full grown troll. Proper process is to beat it until it stops moving, beat on it for another 10 minutes. Then you leave one party member to continue stabbing the only mostly dead troll while the rest of the party builds a funeral pyre. Place the troll body on top of the pyre. Cover it with oil. Light the oil. Watch very, very carefully to make sure no bits scuttle away from the fire while it is burning. Only THEN can you be sure the troll is truly dead.

Or expose it to full noon sunlight. Whichever works best for you.

Symantec: Antivirus is 'DEAD' – no longer 'a moneymaker'

Tom 13

Re: Speeddisk. Diskdoctor. Awesome batch file extensions.

Technially, those were Norton, not Symantec which acquired Peter's company. After that, everything went to shat.

Hackers ZERO IN on ZOMBIE XP boxes: Get patching, Internet Explorer 8 users

Tom 13

Re: Microsoft already patched this hole in XP too.

Which is why MS should really wave the white flag and surrender to XP users. Charge them $120 for another three years of patch support and be done with it. Maybe by then enough kit will have failed and been replaced that they can kill it. But probably not before then.

Let's face it the only reason most people buy the newer OSes is either that's what came on the brand name kit at the big box store or the equipment manufacturer is no longer writing XP drivers for their kit. Otherwise most folks would just trundle along using XP because it is fit for their purpose.

Sony on the ropes after revising losses UP to $1.3 BEEELLION

Tom 13

Re: The Purge

You can't really purge the upper layers in a company this big. Part of the problem is that the guy at the top only has the illusion of control, not actual control. When a company this size goes bad there's only one possible way to revitalize it, and even then it's very iffy: split the corporation into a number of smaller parts aligned with the divisions in the current company. Then let the split companies resize and revitalize their markets. Even at that, each split company has at best a 50:50 shot at survival.

Tom 13

Re: may not be losing BD money on the royalties from disc sales

Read the article again.

They specifically wrote down the income from disc manufacturing, not the whole hardware division.

Tom 13

Re: Pride goeth before a fall

There were a lot of wounds on Betamax. I always thought their refusal to DRM it was a bigger culprit. It meant most of the stuff from Hollywood was only on VHS. Ironically I think that mistake is what lead to their later bigger mistakes with DRM. Since it was such a big part of their Betamax failure they did a full reverse.

But I'll concur that telling the #1 equipment manufacturer to take a hike was a huge mistake.

The Blu-ray issue is also fairly obvious: for the average punter there's not a huge difference between Blu-ray quality and DVD quality when they buy commercial films. So it doesn't demand the premium they ask. And that's before streaming starts to cut into your sales. Yes, the aficionados will pay the price, but that's a niche market. You can make money in niche, but not if you assume broad market quantities instead of niche.

You'll hate Google's experimental Chrome UI, but so will phishers

Tom 13

Re: Never click links for banks etc in emails

I don't even hover over the links. If they want me to do something, I either type it in myself or I use my locally stored bookmarks.

Tom 13

Re: people trying to get to a web site to type the address into the Google search box

Only started happening after Google introduced the feature in their search tool. Before that even the most clueless user LEARNED the difference.

Where's the icon GET OFF MY LAWN icon for us old farts?

10 PRINT "Happy 50th Birthday, BASIC" : GOTO 10

Tom 13

I learned BASIC on the venerable TRS-80 Model III

Statistic teacher in high school let me use it to write some simulators for some problems we couldn't solve theoretically. The following year they offered a class programming in BASIC. I eagerly signed up for it not realizing I'd already learned more than 90% of what they'd be teaching and most of what I hadn't learned was sort of pointless at least as presented (DATA statements for the program without actual reading of data from an external source). I do however recall one very simple and highly instructive assignment: Simple cash register program where you'd input some prices, cash tendered and calculate change. Every one of us went straight to FLOAT for our numeric input and none of us checked for errors. And then the teacher put in 4.95 for the price of the item and 5.00 for the money tendered.....

I'm not quite as old as BASIC, but that was a lesson I've carried with me ever since that day in class.

Firefox, is that you? Version 29 looks rather like a certain shiny rival

Tom 13

Haven't seen the new update yet.

Not sure I want to.

FFS, if I wanted something that looks and acts like Chrome I'd be USING Chrome. What is so difficult about that to understand?

Tom 13

Re: was a workaround last time I used chrome

What was it I said about MS and their Win 8 fail?


Oh yeah,

I expect routine features to work properly out of the box and not require a workaround or add-on.

Target finally implements chip and PIN card protections

Tom 13

@ Mike 9

Because of the other weaknesses in the system, the anti-fraud is more dependent on behavioral checks. One of them is that if you make a small purchase and shortly thereafter make a large purchase, you get flagged for possible fraud.

Discovered this the hard way at a repair shop. I had an old junker I could use while the main car was in the shop. One day I stopped in to check on the repairs. As I was turning in I noticed the gas gauge was low so I stopped to fuel up first and paid by card at the pump, then parked the car. Other car was finished, so I attempted to pay with the same card. BAM! Spent 10 minutes on the phone before they'd clear the card and accept the charge.

Amazon veep: We tweak our cloud code every 16 seconds – and you?

Tom 13

Re: The Amazon cloud tweaks its software every 16 seconds

I believe you. I'm late to the party but that was my very first thought on reading the headline. And the article did nothing to mitigate that thought. If you're upgrading that fast, your product isn't mature. Do big data players REALLY want to trust their data to systems that aren't mature?

EU antitrust bods: Motorola, Samsung too dominant to take on poor little Apple

Tom 13

@ Radbruch1929

I like that idea for the settlement engagement. With no money at risk right now it's too easy for the combatants to just keep the issue in court without resolution.

I see some problems and risks with it. You only have alleged infringement until the case actually goes to court and you're presumed innocent before that. And I could see really big players using the deposit pool as a way to deny small players the money they need to stay to stay operational. But maybe some people who are smarter than me can figure out a way to mitigate those issues. And it's certainly an improvement over what we've got. So I'd be willing to risk those problems while solutions are sought.

And maybe I see a way through to the problem of the rounded corners patents too. Riffing off my earlier post about the purpose of IP protection, re-write the law so that ALL patents must be available for license at fair and reasonable rates, not just the ones covered by standards organizations.

Tom 13

Re: all software patents to be illegal

I'd be more inclined to issue a software patent than a copyright. But whatever you call it, the point is it is supposed to be to protect real IP for a limited time and then release it into the public domain.

Now you can argue that at least some of the stuff coming through is original on the first bit even if there's a lot of dross as well. But whether patent or copyright, it seems pretty damn obvious to me that nothing* is making it into the public domain in a useful manner. So it seems to me the solution is to look at the original purpose of copyrights and patents, pick one term or the other but not both, and re-write the laws so the purpose is once again being fulfilled. In the world of software, that means whichever term is chosen, the life of the protection must be much shorter. Maybe 4 years with an option to extend for 3 or 4 more, or maybe 7 with an extension. After that, it's all public. And we fold all existing software into the new regime with a start date of when the new law is enacted unless the old protection would have expired sooner (and I doubt any of it would).

*Even Linux isn't public domain as Stallman et al are wont to point out.

Tom 13

@ Radbruch1929

Nope. If the rates were established as I've describe, there wouldn't be any question about what rate Apple should be paying for the FRAND patents.

If the LLC were setup, Apple and Sammy wouldn't be the ones at each other's throats. Apple might still be going after Sammy because of that gawd-awful patent they slipped past the USPTO, but it would be the LLC going after Apple for their infringement, and with the rates already established, that would be a lawyer sending Apple an official letter after which Apple writes them the check. Because anything after that would be willful infringement and get a whole lot more expensive.

My second real job was the DTP guy for a corporation that hoped to make money by holding patents they licensed to manufacturers to build smart houses. I've seen the sausage making that is patents, trade secrets, and standards. And in all honesty, even 20 years ago some of the crap that went on would make you want to puke.* The corporation failed, and looking back on it, I'm pretty sure it was designed to fail but look good trying. All the patents wound up in a holding company that was owned by the manufacturers instead of the initial company that did all the work.

*For instance one part of the design integrated 22/24AWG wire with 12/14 AWG in a single duplex power and communication outlet. In order to prevent the thin wires from bending when the plug was inserted, the plug had a ridge that inserted into a slot to ensure only the planned stresses were on the wires. They applied for a patent on the design. The design was turned down as obvious. So they turned around and applied for a design/logo patent because the ridge was in the shape of a house, and the plugs were for smart houses. That patent they got. Now whether or not the original patent was obvious, it was surely the more worthy of the patent applications.

Tom 13

Re: I always thought that FRAND .....

It strikes me that the weakness in FRAND at the moment is that when the Patent Pool is established, the rates at which the various companies who contributed patents will be paid should also be established, including discounts given to the other companies who contributed to the patent pool. Do that and all the rest of the mess goes away. Now maybe that means every time you set a new standard you have to organize an LLC to hold the patents, collect the money, distribute the money, and enforce the patents but if that's what needs to be done from a legal perspective, do it.

ITU says IT industry must become 'resilient' in face of climate change

Tom 13

It says "Climate Change" in the title,

therefore it is safe to ignore as the baying of lunatics out to steal our money.

HP's Whitman rues 'biggest failure' at eBay Japan

Tom 13

Re: a large part of HP ... was spun off as Agilent in the late 90s.


That was the bit of tech news I somehow missed/failed to include in my analysis. It all makes a good bit more sense now. You're quite right that most of the bits of what I liked about HP went with Agilent. While the company I was working for was working with folks from their computer tech division, the focus was actually on how it was going to interact with one of the laboratory measurement devices (integrator for chromatography).

FCC boss Wheeler talks tough on net neutrality with Title II threat

Tom 13

Two problems with this article.

"Notwithstanding this, all regulatory options remain on the table. If the proposal before us now turns out to be insufficient or if we observe anyone taking advantage of the rule, I won’t hesitate to use Title II."

Except the FCC doesn't have that power, which is what the Verizon case was all about. That power is reserved to Congress. Which has refused to implement the so called net neutrality plan.

The proposal was widely panned as a concession by the FCC that would gut net neutrality in the wake of a decision against the commission in its case with Verizon.

The FCC didn't gut net neutrality, it was never legally enforceable in the first place. Congress didn't pass it. The court rightly struck down the FCC's unconstitutional overreach.

We have separation of powers over here and a process by which laws are made, changed and implemented. If you want a new law you have to follow it.

Web cams pointed into hot young star's 'Ring of Fire' down under

Tom 13

Re: Make of that what you will.

So, just like a vegemite sandwich eh?

Trolls and victims watch Supremes for definition of meaningless patents

Tom 13

Re: how to achieve that needs better minds than mine.

And that's the problem. Without proof I'll grant you being above the median on that front. so your ideas are better than at least 50% of the other ideas out there. By testing they tell me I'm in the top 2%. I'm not smart enough to figure it out either. Which pretty much guarantees nobody in Congress is either.

Oh GREAT: Your factory can Heartbleed out

Tom 13

Re: POS systems were Internet facing as well.

That's easy. The vendor allow it and make it easier to setup than the other options. Cheaper too. For one event I assisted with it was the best option for us to use. Test the systems offsite to confirm they were working. Move the equipment onsite, run the event and three days later take the equipment away again. Not so easy to do with modems and phone lines. And quite frankly these days, I expect it is mostly only us old farts who know what a modem is.

Why it was on the same VLAN as everything else in the store is a whole other issue.

Comcast to dump 3.9 MEEELLION subscribers to quell Time Warner merger antitrust fears

Tom 13

Re: How does this work?

Yes, although not by national law. It's a combination of sweet deals with local politicians or hideously expensive build costs. But in certain areas with sufficiently high population densities you get competition. I happen to live in a high density region. My two primary competitors are Verizon and Comcast. There's also an outfit called RCN and a bit outside my region another local cable outfit. Plus options with Dish and some satellite providers. But for most people it comes down to (Verizon OR Comcast OR Time Warner) OR satellite OR cell.

Truthfully, I'm a bit less concerned about the +30% region market share than I am about the vertical integration of the movie and distribution business. So long as Comcast are strictly in distribution, there's less impetus to rig the distribution game. Add in the movies themselves and now you've got a real conflict of interest.

Oracle accused of breaking US competition law over Solaris support

Tom 13

Re: better off selling that part of the business back off again.

Yes they would. But nobody wants it. R&D is too costly for the return. That's why Oracle wound up with it in the first place. What they wanted was Java and some other Sun software and they had to take the hardware business as part of the deal.

Maybe, maybe they could pitch it to Lenovo. But at that, I'm not sure they could sell it for $1.

Note that I'm not saying we wouldn't be better off if SPARC could make a run of it. But that ship has already sunk.

Tom 13

Re: Solaris is the hottest OS right now.

Maybe in the potato sense, or more likely live grenade.

Tom 13


*Sniff* *Sniff*

What's that I smell? Yeah thought so.

I know people who are migrating from Solaris. All of them are going to Linux or BSD, not a one to Windows.

Victory for Microsoft as Supremes decline to hear Novell's WordPerfect whine

Tom 13

Re: WordPerfect

6.1 for Windows was a smidge better after you updated your macros. I don't do document production work anymore so I haven't kept up with the current version, but I expect Corel didn't change much after they bought it. They certainly would have kept Reveal Codes, which was one of the key reasons I used the product. The other was that I got to choose where to place the formatting codes, which could be critically important for our Ventura Publishing package. That "[italics][blank space][/end superscript]." wasn't a typo, it was a necessary spacer to keep my document formatted correctly.

Tom 13

Re: I'm still trying

I concur with everything except the marketing blunders comment. They all did the best they could with marketing. But you can't compete against somebody who can afford to release every copy of their competing software at a loss to drive you out of business.

Tom 13

Re: it's to try and tidy up horrific formatting errors

Yep. More than 20 years later and Word still can't format a document as well as WP (5.0) could in DOS.

Tom 13

Re: Confict of Interest?

Mostly good but you ended badly. WordPerfect DID try that tactic, but they couldn't compete with MS's revenue stream from the OS. When WP was at it's peak both Office and it retailed for around $500 US. Then MS started the monopoly war by offering a $100 competitive upgrade if you turned in your WP disk 1. WP followed by offering a $100 upgrade if you had a valid license for Office (photocopy of the license was sufficient IIRC). At which point WP was bleeding money all over the place while MS continued to generate healthy revenue because of the OS.

It was a textbook case of illegally extending their OS monopoly into a competing market. But somehow or another, nobody is ever able to prove it in court.

Really? Sigh. Really? Apple's lawsuit against Google is REVIVED

Tom 13

Re: Oh good only a few more years and it will have expired then.

But the Zombie lawsuits will continue because the "damage" has already occurred.

Tom 13

Re: Somebody just needs to take the USPTO out back

I think I'd start with the Appeals court and then proceed to the USTPO. But in fairness to the USTPO (I know, difficult to do when they're fouling things up so badly), they're following the updated laws. So the real fault here is with Congress. As usual.

Elon Musk wants SpaceX to launch spy sats – and will sue US gov to do so

Tom 13

Re: will have cost them money since the sats cost over $1 billion.

Cost them the same if one of the other guys drops the rocket. And they didn't exclude them on that basis, which was the poster's point.

DoD especially is required to look for competitive bids from multiple vendors. Ideally 3, but at least two. The current contract barely makes it by allowing lawyers to torture the word until they mean the opposite of what they actually mean. One joint venture (therefore only one entity bidding) with two suppliers to the single entity. Musk should have been the second entity bidding. Salt in the wound is that the contract effectively looks him out of the market for the next 3 years. Exactly the time during which he'll be coming on line for commercial production and reliability.

Tom 13

@ James Hughes

It's a crooked game, but that's the way it's played. But it isn't necessarily greasing the palms. My roomie work with the military. Just about everything built except bullets has at least one part from every state in it. That gives you Senate passage and a decent start in the House at budget time. The ideal equipment has at least 436 parts so you can get everyone on board.

Will Apple's $130bn cash infusion keep investors onboard?

Tom 13

Re: Conflicting information

If you keep thinking about the box, you'll never be able to think outside the box.

Tom 13

Re: Parasites

Yes, the parasites are keeping that money from being useful. But in this one case, Apple aren't the parasites that need to be dealt with. Sadly, we haven't been doing even a half-assed job of dealing with them for the last 20 years or so.

Privateers race to capture forgotten NASA space probe using crowdsourced cash

Tom 13

Re: Complicated maths from a smart guy

Your basic addition needs some work. Either that or you didn't account for the date for the picture.

Microsoft: The MORE Surfaces it sells, the MORE money it loses

Tom 13

Re: That's because Microsoft isn't selling slabs.

Vociferous nailed it.

Right now there are two models for making money in the tablet market:

1) Walled garden combined with overpriced software.

2) Spying on everybody for your actual revenue generator which is selling ad words.

Apple have the first one pretty much sewn up. There are a limited number of rubes willing to part with that kind of dosh just to look cool. They own all of them.

Google are the second. So far nobody's been able to figure out a way to overcome their huge barrier to entry for the market.

MS was trying a third option: toll master on just a walled garden without the overpriced hardware. It's what the whole Metro thing was really all about. The desktop thingie was just supposed to be a legacy mode while they moved you to the new ecosystem. If you assume that as your driving directive, all the other mistakes they've made make sense. Not cents or dollars, which in business is nonsense.

Tom 13

Re: gateway to an ecosystem that Microsoft is attempting to create.

Umm, I think that's the crux of the problem.

MS doesn't think they can continue their numbers with their old software model. So they bet the farm on the new ecosystem. And the new ecosystem is hemorrhaging money in a way that can't be corrected, even at scale.

Tom 13

@ Flatpackhamster Re: Surface rocks

I concur about the failure to accurately assess the market, their place in it, and the appropriate strategy. As Don noted, once you've made the initial decision, you have to wait out the consequences. If they cut prices now they look indecisive and confused.

All that being said, even if they had accurately assessed those options, I'm not sure it would have worked. MS were too focused on the unified code block and shifting to software rental as a business model to do what they really needed to do: separate the two and compete them independently. In the process they honked off far too many people. If they put a real menu tree option back in Windows 8 and made the operational mode an explicit selection made during initial configuration I'm not sure they could undo the damage their intransigence has already done.

FTC: State laws blocking Tesla's direct sales are 'protectionist'

Tom 13

Re: How many frachisees does Tesla have??

How many franchises it has is irrelevant. You operate your business under current law. Current law requires franchises. Therefore Tesla has to invest in franchises. Or lobby Congress to change the law in a measured and rational fashion.

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