* Posts by aberglas

181 posts • joined 22 Apr 2014

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AI bots will kill us all! Or at least may seriously inconvenience humans

aberglas

But does it matter?

Obviously, really intelligent machines will never be built because they have not been built yet. Nor are they likely to be built within the next few decades.

But once they are built, the ones that survive will be good at surviving. Natural selection. And being friendly to parasitic humans is not likely to help them survive in a competitive environment. So meat based intelligence will become obsolete.

But does that matter? As individuals, we will all soon grow old and die anyway. What are our descendants? Men or machines? Is this how "we" achieve immortality?

It actually does not matter whether it matters. It is inevitable anyway.

http://www.computersthink.com

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The hidden horse power driving Machine Learning models

aberglas

Machine Learning <> (!= for some) Artificial Neural Networks

There are many types of machine learning. ARNs have the buzz at the moment, and are often used inappropriately. And even if ARNs are used, there is (much) more to them than the naive back propagation algorithm that is so, so slow to learn.

Fix the algorithm before going crazy with hardware.

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Russia, China vow to kill off VPNs, Tor browser

aberglas

China govt Root Certificate

Mandated on all devices. Just like corporates do in the west.

Easy to intercept all HTTPS traffic. And if you do not trust that root then nothing works.

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aberglas

Revolt in China!

Nonsense about there never being a revolt there. Taiping was home grown, as was Boxer and Sun. Heck, Mao's crusade was a revolt. Read your history, China has been nothing but revolts until recent times.

However, Goulash communism requires the standard of living to rise every year so that people will put up with the government. China simply cannot keep growing at the astonishing rate it has for too much longer. There will be stagnation, and people will blame the government.

This could lead to horrendous trouble. At the moment the Chinese government is fairly benign because there are no threats. But if there is a real demand for democracy, will they adopt it (probably in a Russian style) or stand firm and fight.

Either way, it is very important to keep trouble makers on a tight leash. New AI technology for monitoring communications can help a lot with this.

The real thing that the UK could learn from China is the way their bureaucracy controls and tames the internet. It is not too heavy handed, so most Chinese do not complain. Just enough where needed.

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JavaScript spec gets strung out on padding

aberglas

What about static typing!

That is the big one that makes JavaScript horrible to use for non-trivial applications. (With type inference of course.)

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Oz attorney-general a step closer to SCNA*

aberglas

They had a super secret meeting

With super secret people in a super secret room. These people must be important to be in the super secret room. As were the pollies that were invited.

There they heard. Heard of .... TERRORISM. Top secret information. That there might be "chatter", whatever that means.

This was very, very important, in that super secret room. So they all nod in unison.

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Queensland Police want access to locked devices

aberglas

Restricting Complaint is nasty

The nastiest part of this type of law is restricting people's ability to complain about being subjected to them. Much of the ASIO legislation also makes it illegal to tell people if you have been arrested etc.

Like this would stop a real terrorist from telling their mates. It is about protecting the security forces themselves, pure and simple.

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Apple frees a few private APIs, makes them public

aberglas

Microsoft stoped doing this 20 years ago

It was a big deal then. Special APIs that could only be used by MS Office to entrench a monopoly. I think the courts thumped them by vague memory, or were going to.

Yet Apple is now as dominant as MS was and seems to be able to get away with anything.

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I fought Ohm's Law and the law won: Drone crash takes out power to Silicon Valley homes

aberglas

It is Bullshit

Not tiny drone could destroy the grid. At the very worst trip breakers for a few seconds. And Think about the size and strength of the insulators compared to the few hundred grams of drone.

OTOH, I once hit high tension wires with at glider winch launch cable. 1000 times more solid than a plastic drone. It made a huge explosion as the cable vaporized. But did not seem to do any permanent damage, although we thought it best not to inquire...

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Self-driving car devs face 6-month backlog on vital $85,000 LIDAR kit

aberglas

Re: I don't know...

Half right.

Understanding depth by using one eye is a really difficult problem. However, using two eyes to measure depth nearby is relatively easy, and AI labs have been doing it for a long time.

When driving, humans do not use stereo vision, distances are too great. But a computer can have two or more cameras spaced well apart. The hard part is to recognize that an edge seen from the two cameras are actually from the same object. Then a simple bit of trig gives you the distance.

I am surprised this approach is not used. But I suspect that the car manufacturers are more auto engineers hacking AI rather than AI researchers.

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Have a go with this WW2 German Lorenz cipher machine – in your browser

aberglas

The NSA man did not understand enigma

The NSA had a real enigma at the RSA show this year. NSA man was showing how people could encrypt a short message and then decrypt it. So I asked him, pointedly, how this could possibly work because there was not Encrypt/Decrypt lever. Just double encrypted to produce the plain text. Just got a blank look.

[The way this works is extremely clever for a mechanical machine, but turned out to be its fatal flaw. It is central to the whole story.]

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Oracle crushed in defeat as Java world votes 'No' to modular overhaul

aberglas

Sun was always a little arrogant about Java

Sounds like they need some face to face meetings.

The sun.* packages are used because there are no good alternatives. The alternatives need to be provided well in advance. And with back portable .jars. Some things are just convenient, like base 64. Others like sun.misc.unsafe are essential for some advanced usages.

Java itself was godsend. It made Lisp-style programming popular, introducing garbage collection to the unwashed masses. It spawned .net. If it did not exist we would still have to use archaic rubbish like C++ and PHP.

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Australian Taxation Office named as party preventing IT contractors being paid

aberglas

Re: We OBVIOUSLY are missing big chunks of the story. . .

Australia is not (quite) the USA (yet).

Unburdened by any Bill of Rights, we have never had slavery. Nor do we have the US civil forfeiture laws in which police can arbitrarily steal people's money. Nor the extreme plea bargaining against draconian laws.

It is very rare for the ATO to freeze assets. So there is probably more to this than disclaimed. And it will go to court in a few days, unlike the USA.

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Webroot antivirus goes bananas, starts trashing Windows system files

aberglas

Re: But what if we invented the internet all over again

There would be no peer to peer networking.

There would be no such thing as universal email. There would be lots of walled gardens.

The Telcos would control which sites you could use/visit. Only they would be able to produce servers.

There would be no anonymous sites or browsing.

But fortunately, all those things got out of the bag before the MBAs took control.

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nbn™ to offer 100Mbps fixed wireless service

aberglas

I just want to keep my 3mbs ADSL

Fixed wireless in my area has been delayed indefinitely because apparently some people think that the radiation will kill the koalas. It is in court at the moment, been there for a long time.

They need to cut the copper, politically. So if they cannot do fixed wireless, they threaten Satellite!

I don't need 100mbs. Don't need 25mbs. Don't even need 12mbs. 5mbs would be nice, but 3 will do. But I do need that 3. Which is plenty to do development with. And without huge latency.

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Sure, we could replace FTNN, says nbn™, if you let the unwired wait even longer for broadband

aberglas

Re: "$2,800 to make an FTTC connection"

They should just give the FTTH to everyone that is will to pay, say half the cost, $1,400, up front. That should be easy to do and shut up the Fraudbanders. Then the other 99% of households will be happy with FTTN, plus not having to pay in taxes for services they do not want.

Personally, I would be happy to pay $1,400 for a decent ADSL service. But it will be a long, long time before the NBN gets near my place.

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nbn™ builder prioritises easy premises, because it must work like that

aberglas

Prioritizing those that already have good internet

There is a huge benefit of the NBN for people that have no internet at all.

But so little for people with good ADSL that most would not switch to the NBN if they were not forced to by cutting their copper. (We know that as a fact from trials where they did not threaten to cut the copper.)

So what does the NBN prioritize? Those that do not really want the NBN.

It is the wrong KPI. Number of premises is a worthless metric. How many people with no or bad internet have been connected. That is the KPI that counts.

(And for the "Fraudband" screamers, it would have been as bad or worse under the FTTP plan. And that $42 billion costing was a fairy tale for small children.)

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Dishwasher has directory traversal bug

aberglas

Re: Bewildered. (That's grown-up speak for "wtf")

"If you simply fail to inform your inevitable IoT dishwasher of the password for your household Wi-Fi hotspot, then it's significantly less likely to actually connect."

After 30 days being unable to check for software updates it will refuse to run at all. An essential safety feature to keep you safe.

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aberglas

Re: Bewildered. (That's grown-up speak for "wtf")

To misquote Edmond Hillary, They are connected to the internet because it (the internet) is there.

They can, um, ping your iphone when the dishes are done. Let you check that the kids have run the dishwasher from work. Keep statistics about powder usage. Disable the machine if it is found to be used by terrorists. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination...

The next dishwasher that I buy will certainly be connected to the Internet of Things ... because I won't have any choice.

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Australia: Stop blaming Centrelink debts on its IT systems

aberglas

Multiple points of incompetence

Just because the rules set up by the executives were incompetent, does not mean that the programmers did not also stuff up in other ways.

Given that this is an IBM project, it is safe to simply say that the natural incompetence of the IT department was, in this case, overshadowed by the even grosser incompetence of the management.

Mind you, one should always be wary of claiming that management is incompetent. In this case, I presume that many senior managers got promoted precisely because of their ability to say "Yes" at the right times, without being burdened by facts. Competence is the ability to achieve one's goals.

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MAC randomization: A massive failure that leaves iPhones, Android mobes open to tracking

aberglas

Surely the 4G/Simm provides good tracking anyway?

So why all the fuss about wireless. Just a bit harder to listen in to the 4G traffic.

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RAF pilot sacked for sending Airbus Voyager into sudden dive

aberglas

Flying by Joystick

Seems to be the trouble. Flying an airliner like you fly a computer game.

No little camera is going to clog up a big heavy steering wheel. And if it did the effect would be obvious, wheel pointing in wrong direction.

But a tiny bump being enough to pitch it over. It should take a mighty shove to do that.

The tiny stick has destroyed planes in the past. Air France idiot pilot pulled back the stick and held it. Other pilot did not realize -- no tactile feedback. Stalled it in all the way from 30,000'.

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Passport and binary tree code, please: CompSci quizzes at US border just business as usual

aberglas

How do they assess

"Why of course I'll write a binary-tree balance algorithm for you, right here on my laptop, right now in front of you."

You'd be kicked straight out of the country. The official will compare your scawlings with his listing of the "correct" answer and instantly realize that they do not match. Because you should have used IBM 360 assembler.

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Intel's SGX security extensions: Secure until you look at the detail

aberglas

Protection from SGX Viruses

SGX is the perfect place to write malicious code. I suspect Intel are trying to control who can write SGX enclaves to reduce that risk.

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Competition and wholesale costs, not lack of fibre, crimp broadband in Australia

aberglas

Worst speeds, not average, is what counts

How many people have less than 1 megabit. That is the number that counts.

1 meg is enough to watch Netflix. And also use all web apps.

But less than that and you have no internet at all.

It is the minimum that counts. NOT the average.

Very few people have any need for more that 12.5 megabits. If 12.5 megabits was significantly cheaper than 25 megabits, very few would take up the latter option.

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Australian Internet policy remains years behind reality

aberglas

Parliament picture will need updating

To include the security fences, and machine gun totting guards. Makes it more Australian.

Something like this

http://mogaznews.com/en/collection/275921.html

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Don't pay up to decrypt – cure found for CryptXXX ransomware, again

aberglas

Re: It's fun, because they never learn

Sure they back up. To the cloud even. And once they they have all the encrypted files fully backed up the ransom ware demands payment.

The real issue is just how fragile software systems are. One small hole, one silly mistake by one user, and the whole stack crumbles.

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If at first you don't succeed, send another Mars lander – this time a deep driller

aberglas

Two tonnes is very heavy

Curiosity was only 899kg. And remember that each kg on Mars requires hundreds of kilos on the launch pad.

I'm curious that Curiosity did not dig. I does not seem to be all that much more capable than Spirit and Opportunity.

The ESA does not look like it has an arm. Which I would have thought would be very useful for something that digs. Could also be used to steady itself etc.

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Oracle finally targets Java non-payers – six years after plucking Sun

aberglas

Re: Anything that reduces use of Java, no matter how little

And replace it with what? Junk languages like C/C++, JavaScript and PHP?

Lisp died. The only real alternative to Java for a vaugely modern memory manged, JIT compiled system is .Net/Mono, which has its own problems.

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Russian hackers got Trump elected? Yeah, let's take a close look at that, says Obama

aberglas

Computerized voting

That is the huge issue in the US. Completely unauditable, secretive systems. And the computers mysteriously malfunction or do not turn up in some precincts and not others.

Where fraud has been suggested, it is almost always Republicans doing it.

I am surprised the Democrats did not jump on this when they had the chance.

http://blackboxvoting.org/

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No super-kinky web smut please, we're British

aberglas

Australia killed this (for now) Weak effort Brits

Labor Senator Conway tried ram in through. Most pollies are very conservative so it would easily pass the house.

But the public uproar was deafening. It dominated the news for a while. Conway just waited for the uproar to subside. But it did not. And then the censorship plans were quietly dropped.

The current conservative government would love to reintroduce it. But they are on a thin margin and will not dare.

Weak effort Brits.

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50 years on, the Soviet-era Soyuz rocket is still our favorite space truck

aberglas

One way to the moon would have been much easier

The Soviets could have easily won the space race just by sending somebody one way. They had already successfully landed a probe on the moon, just do another with somebody inside.

It would have made two points. First that they got there first. And second, that soviet life is cheap. In the ICBM games you have to be prepared to lose a few million lives, which would not have bothered the Soviets that much but would have terrified the Americans.

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Emulating x86: Microsoft builds granny flat into Windows 10

aberglas

Re: Baby... Bathwater?

Almost all of the operating system could and should be written in .Net. C/++ is archaic rubbish. .Net is one of Microsoft's strongest assets but they never used it themselves.

Lisp machines did this decades ago. Worked beautifully.

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Australian government lends nbn™ AU$19.5bn to finish the job

aberglas

Number of connections is the wrong KPI

To quickly maximize the number of connected users on the NBN you focus on those that are easy to connect. E.g. near an exchange, have HFC etc.

But most of those users already have decent internet and do not particularly want the NBN, certainly not at $4,000/household tax subsidy.

Meanwhile, people on the outskirts, who are desperate for any broadband (1mbs would do) get nothing.

And the "fraudband" lobby do nothing to help this.

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Swedish prosecutor finally treks to London to question Julian Assange

aberglas

The Swedes can save face

Now that the lesser charges have expired, they can drop this one while still saying that the lesser two were valid. That is all that is going on.

The term "rape" is being abused. It normally implies violence or a threat of violence. There has never been any allegation of this. Assange may be an arsehole, but he is not violent. Some would say that a woman changing her mind after the event is "rape" because the man should have been more caring...

I suspect that this was never a ploy to get Assange to the US, just an incompetent Swedish prosecutor. But I would not bet my life in a small US cell over it. And remember, a US jail is hell compared to a Swedish one.

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nbn™ aces the easiest construction target it will have for two years

aberglas

Use for 100 mbs?

What exactly are people supposed to do with it? Run 100 TVs concurrently? Or 20 ultra high definition TVs? The only reason people buy 25mbs is that it is almost exactly the same price as 12.5mbs, and the latter is not available on BigPond.

Meanwhile, I get by on a 1.2mbs long ADSL line. It is plenty for web, and even development (GIT etc). It can run the TV OK as long as I throttle Windows Update. But the line is slowly degrading. And it will not be improved due to the NBN.

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nbn™ says nobody needs gigabit internet, trumpets XG-Fast at 8Gbps anyway

aberglas

Re: State of the copper?

It is only the last few metres, house to curb. Some of that copper is troublesome. But most works just fine.

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aberglas

Re: Gigabit not needed, what a load of crap!

Sure, some businesses would love it.

But most homes, and SOHOs just don't need a dozen ultra high definition TVs to all run concurently.

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aberglas

Re: Wheres baldrick

How much do you think it costs on average to dig up someone's lawn and put new cabling to an existing house without making a mess? Two men for a day? That is way over $1000.

And for what benefit? If the copper works fine. And will likely continue to work for many decades to come.

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aberglas

Why Nobody buys 100mbs

Because it is not useful.

Not many people have a dozen ultra high definition TVs at home that then need to run concurrently.

25mbs is not very useful either. But it is priced only barely above the 12.5mbs, and 12.5mbs is not even available by Bigpond. If there was an option for 5mbs at half the price of 25mbs I reckon it would be taken up by half of all consumers.

That was always the hole in the concept. There are no applications, real or imagined, that need high bandwidth in homes. You do not need a 25mbs to file a tax return or access health records etc.

Meanwhile, people without any internet at all wait and wait in vain.

The NBN does have a plan to ensure that people use their services though. Cut the copper, and give people no choice.

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Without new anti-robot laws, humanity is doomed, MPs told

aberglas

Re: The UK autonomous weapons

The first autonomous weapons were torpedoes developed 100 years ago. And mines. They have been becoming smarter ever since.

The smarter they become, the less human interaction they need. The less people are required to control them. The more precise they can target.

Modern "torpedoes" could use existing facial recognition technology to pick individuals out in a crowd.

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Assange meeting delayed

aberglas

Put up or shut up

Is what the Swedes would have to do if the meeting ever did take place after all these years. They cannot drop the charge after all this time or they would look ridiculous. They cannot press the charge because they would look ridiculous, especially as the women involved are unlikely to press them.

Maybe it is just an innocent timing conflict. Assange's lawyers busy with a different hot case. But I suspect that the meeting will never, ever take place.

There have been several other attempts to meet. The Swedes have used every device to avoid a meeting, like only applying the day before. This time it looks like Assange's lawyers fault, but I am very suspicious.

And yes, their have been dozens of similar meetings by Swedes with suspects overseas during the time the Assange fiasco has been running.

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NBN is essential, says Essential poll, but not Turnbull's NBN

aberglas

Re: Why, why, why?

We are looking for one, just one, real or imagined application that people will realistically want that requires more than 5 megabits.

2 megabits is plenty for Netflix on a normal TV (I know, that is all I have) provided no teenagers in the house. Nothing else takes bandwidth like television.

And while video compression has improved over the years, it still has a long, long way to go, with fractal based algorithms promising massive reductions in required bandwidth. And engineers have been able to push more and more over old copper as well.

So that is why. There is not point. It is like digging everybody's front yard to give them a 100mm water pipe. Sure, that would enable them to have 50 showers at the same time, but that is not actually useful to most people.

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aberglas

Meaningless question Asked

Correct question:

"You currently get 5 megabits which allows two concurrent Netflix sessions. Would you be prepared to pay and extra $20 per month to get 25 megabits which would enable 10 concurrent Netflix sessions."

90% of people will say NO. The others are either so rich they do not care of have a house full of teenagers.

Do you want more? Yes, of course. Would you pay for more? Hmm. Let me think about that carefully.

(We are currently on 2 megabits which allows one Netflix plus a little browsing. Provided I use our Gargoyle router (recommended!) to restrain Windows Update. I'd pay $10/month more for 5 megabits as I have teenage daughters. I have no use for 25 megabits.)

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Chinese CA hands guy base certificates for GitHub, Florida uni

aberglas

Secure remote password is the answer

The only good thing about PKI is that it allows Verisign et al make money selling certs. And the NSA to subvert them.

The biggest hole is that it relies on end users validating URLs, which does not happens.

Secure remote password is the answer.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Remote_Password_protocol

Or even the simple Nonce/Digest approach built into every browser since Navigator would help.

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If you haven't changed your Dropbox password for 4 years, do so now

aberglas

Nobody tells people how to manage passwords

Lots of stupid advice about adding %X99 to them to make them hard to remember. But never the basic thing.

Use (a few) strong passwords on sites you care about.

Use a weak password everywhere else.

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Oracle reveals Java Applet API deprecation plan

aberglas

We need browser based PHP with Pointer Arithmetic

PHP's elegance is no doubt the reason that it is the number one language for writing web applications today. (Way more sites than Ruby, Java, .Net.)

The only real problem with PHP is that it does not allow pointer arithmetic. Having to do p[q++] is just obviously so inefficient compared to p++.

That is a language that would change the world.

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NBN delivers boring, solid result for 2015/2016

aberglas

Bandwidth is based on the Pricing

E.g. Internode basic plan is $50 for 12/1, $55 for 25/5.

So for most people, might as well pay an extra $5 even if they have no use for the extra bandwidth. (I would be one of those if the NBN is ever delivered to my area before the money runs out.)

It would be interesting to see what people chose if the pricing was something like $30 for 5/0.5 (ADSL speeds) $50 for 12/1, and $70 for 25/5. I reckon 5/0.5 would be over 50% except in richer suburbs.

And I do not have to reckon. When the first trial of NBN was done in Hobart, very few people took it up at all. It was a well serviced inner-city area, and people's ADSL did the job for less. That is why the NBN had to force people to cut the copper. Otherwise very few would bother with the NBN at all.

(The advent of Netflix might change that a bit, but not much. 2mbs is plenty for Netflix.)

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Australia's Telstra and Optus outed as two of the world's six most expensive ISPs

aberglas

How does it actuallly work?

An explanation of how packets more and who pays would be interesting.

Is this saying that Telstra charges CDNs to deliver data to Telstra's customers? That would be very dubious, as Telstra is also charging its customers.

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Julian AssangeTM to meet investigators in London

aberglas

There never was a credible charge to answer

That is why they Marianne Ny never hopped on the plane. If she did she would have to put up or shut up. Politically, she cannot drop the charges after all this time. But if she presses them in detail they will look ridiculous.

Assange was initially questioned in Sweden and allowed to go. The use of the word "rape" is very misleading, sexual misconduct might be better. But even that is hard to sustain when the victim gave a lobster dinner for Assange afterwards.

Whether the US really would extradite Assange is probably doubtful. But would you want to bet your *life* on that?

This thread is full of sell-righteous rubbish based on total ignorance.

And yes, the Swedes have inteviewed dozens of other suspects overseas during the last few years. If they had real charges, they could have done this long, long ago.

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