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Bringing Bandwidth To Iraq

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the blood-bombs-and-bullets dept.

Security 230

jemevans sends us a link to his nonfiction tale of two California cypherpunks who went to Baghdad to seek their fortune and bring the Internet to Iraq. A much abridged version ran in Wired a while back. From the original: "Ryan Lackey wears body armor to business meetings. He flies armed helicopters to client sites. He has a cash flow problem: he is paid in hundred-dollar bills, sometimes shrink-wrapped bricks of them, and flowing this money into a bank is difficult. He even calls some of his company's transactions 'drug deals' — but what Lackey sells is Internet access. From his trailer on Logistics Staging Area Anaconda, a colossal US Army base fifty miles north of Baghdad, Lackey runs Blue Iraq, surely the most surreal ISP on the planet. He is 26 years old."

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Frist Post! (0, Troll)

Ubuntu is my God (1092203) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847179)

I'd sign up for that ISP!

Re:Frist Post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847205)

I bet you expected to get a +5 funny for that. You wish your comments were as hot as me.

System requirements (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847403)

  • Intel based iRaq with blast proof chassis
  • Emergency generator
  • Firewall with real fire

Internet in Iraq (5, Informative)

vivin (671928) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847951)

I serve in the Arizona Army National Guard. I just got back last November from a one-year stint in Iraq.

We used to get our internet access from an internet trailer that we had. We also had a (barely usable) wireless network set-up from our internet tent. As far as I know, a lot of the internet providers we used were satellite providers. In fact, we got so sick of the really crappy internet, that we shelled out money to buy a satellite dish, a satellite modem, and internet access. Split between the members of one platoon, it was about $60 a month. Our contact was an Iraqi who ran his business from off-base. He had a contact on-base that would help us out if we had any issues. It worked fine most of the time (unless we had severe dust-storms). The contact that the internet guy had on-base was actually an Iraqi electrical engineer. From what I heard, most businesses (and most people on the base) got their internet from satellite internet providers. It was pretty pricey and the only way you could manage it is if you got a huge bunch of people to sign up. In fact, that's what they used at the Internet tent. It was called FUBI Internet (For Us/US By Iraqis Internet).

This is the first time I'm hearing about this guy, or the company. I was stationed on Camp Liberty, which is a huge base in its own right. We were some hours away from Anaconda (I think 12? I don't remember rightly anymore). All the stuff we used there (that I know of, and my scope is just our internet trailer, internet tent, and platoon internet; the division MWR used internet but it was some connection from USAREUR (US Army Europe)) was from gulf (or greek or italian) satellite providers.

Re:Internet in Iraq (1)

SixFactor (1052912) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848397)

Thank you very much for your service.

I am also heartened to know that Iraqis are given some opportunities to be entrepreneurs. I think you may have come home before Gen. Petraeus took over, but from what you've seen/read/heard, what do you think of his approach to handling the insurgency?

Running any infrastructural project... (-1, Offtopic)

KokorHekkus (986906) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847221)

...in an area which is in a de facto civil war will be inherently dangerous to anyone on site.

Re:Running any infrastructural project... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847287)

Gee, thanks for that nugget of wisdom. Got any more? Like, "It gets hot in the dessert"?

Re:Running any infrastructural project... (4, Funny)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847447)

Gee, thanks for that nugget of wisdom. Got any more? Like, "It gets hot in the dessert"?
Not if the dessert is ice cream.

Re:Running any infrastructural project... (1)

DefenderThree (920248) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847747)

What about a dessert in the desert?

Re:Running any infrastructural project... (0, Offtopic)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847473)

Next thing you know, next year Ballmer will call Iraq a front for cyber terrosim and fight it by sending Vista machines into Iraq without UN approval

Re:Running any infrastructural project... (3, Funny)

darkhitman (939662) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848507)

Next thing you know, next year Ballmer will call Iraq a front for cyber terrosim and fight it by sending Vista machines into Iraq without UN approval

Hey, then Iraq would finally have WMD's!

Re:Running any infrastructural project... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847617)

So why is this modded as flamebait? Is it because Bush denies(http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/4829786.stm [bbc.co.uk] ) that Iraq is in civil war (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/civil%20war [m-w.com] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_war [wikipedia.org] http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=civil%20w ar [reference.com] )?

... and profitable (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847735)

A friend of mine was a plumber in Nigera. He was making approx five times the money he could make in USA or Europe. He had a plan to do this for three years, then quit and retire.

He died there in a car crash after 2.5 years.

Re:... and profitable (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847807)

Did he leave behind a large fortune to his heirs?

Re:... and profitable (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847849)

He died there in a car crash after 2.5 years.

Was it an accident, or was he attacked? Or are you even sure?

Re:... and profitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18848033)

The list of things that Nigeria is notorious for goes like this:

1. 419 scams
2. Poor driving skills
3. Get killed by exploding gas pipelines (not terrorism, but theft)

Sensational (0, Flamebait)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847265)

Sounds like a piece of sensational journalism (yeah, yeah, since when was journalism not sensation, whatever).

Such articles should be read with an eye of scrutiny and an ounce of salt.

Re:Sensational (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847327)

amen

Re:Sensational (1, Insightful)

spitefulcrow (713858) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847417)

If it is sensational journalism, at least it's reported from the other end of the spectrum from the unending series of "Everything in Iraq is fine" articles we get from American mainstream media.

Re:Sensational (5, Insightful)

spencerogden (49254) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847483)

Where are these positives articles about Iraq which you speak of?

Re:Sensational (2, Insightful)

Wordsmith (183749) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848557)

Um, huh?

Don't know if you do, but I live in America, and I've yet to get that impression from our media. It's a whole lot of "Oh dear lord, we're stuck in a quagmire" - and I don't think that comes from an anti-war slant so much as a consistent barrage of bad news there's no way to spin in a positive way. The closest to "everything is fine" that we get is Fox telling us things are bad, but not nearly so bad as everyone else says.

Re:Sensational (3, Interesting)

e4g4 (533831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847533)

Certainly, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the facts are wrong. It's definitely written with an eye to entertain and as such plays up the violence, because, well this is America, we like violence - especially violence of the wild west variety, which was a definitely a parallel the author of the article was trying to draw.

To digress from my point (if I really had one) I thought this quote from the article was very interesting: "But the US solution was to give large US companies business here ... If they'd had electricity working within a month or two of the invasion, there probably wouldn't have been near as much violence." The idea that large US corporations, who made their fortunes working within a more or less reliable national infrastructure, could actually do a decent job building infrastructure where what little that is there already is unreliable - seems to me to be a really bad idea. What's really interesting is the causality implied by Lackey (the author of that quote), i.e. that had the US not tagged massive corporations for outsourcing their rebuilding effort, Iraq would not be in the state that it's in now.

This seems to be to be very insightful. Given the management structure of these large corporations - rapidly deploying anything as complex as telecommunications infrastructure doesn't seem to me to be something they can actually do. The reality in situations like Iraq is that if you want the citizens to be happy, you must give them the basic necessities: food, water, and shelter (and, since the late 19th century, electricity). Given the instability in Iraq, the way to provide these things is not through the massive beauracracy of American corporations, but rather with small, self-sufficient modules - mobile power stations, mobile communications stations. I kind of envision it as the guerilla warfare method of providing basic services. After all - it's been shown time and time again that the guerillas can give the massive beauracracies a run for their money *cough*vietnam*cough*iraq*cough*afghanistan*cough. To sum it up in a sentence: agility and flexibility is the necessary quality in organizations responsible for providing basic services in Iraq, and it's not a quality of *any* big corporation I've ever seen.

Re:Sensational (4, Informative)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848019)

Certainly, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the facts are wrong.

At least some of the facts are wrong.

For instance, the claim of 75 net cafes nationwide prewar is bogus, there were more than that in Iraqi Kurdistan alone. They say the Erbil office failed because there's not enough business. Closer to the truth would be to say it failed because there was already an entrenched network of trusted local operators.

South of the Kurdish line, there were (and are) huge numbers of little ISPs. They arrange for satellite service from Jordan, then bring the dishes into Iraq. In the old days, when banking was still a total catastrophe, they paid their bills by sending people with cash strapped to their bodies overland into Jordan, where they'd wire the money to their upstream provider. These days it's a little easier.

Ultimately, I think this article - like so many others about Iraq - is written from the perspective of someone who is hiding in the green zone behind soldiers and armoured cars and doesn't have a great idea of what's really going on.

P.S. Just arrived in Dubai for a little R&R. It's 2:30am and they're blasting the call to prayer at my hotel balcony while I'm trying to sit out here peacefully and post to Slashdot. What the hell?

Re:Sensational (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18848645)

  • P.S. Just arrived in Dubai for a little R&R. It's 2:30am and they're blasting the call to prayer at my hotel balcony while I'm trying to sit out here peacefully and post to Slashdot. What the hell?

Dude, you're in Dubai. That's what they do. No-one there gives a shit what you're doing on Slashdot.

Lack of editing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847565)

Any serious editor would have corrected "...flowing this money..." with a transitive verb to make something like "...moving this money...".

Re:Lack of editing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18848207)

Who let the English Professor on Slashdot?

Re:Sensational (4, Interesting)

skogs (628589) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847701)

While perhaps their technical expertise is slightly exaggerated...All descriptions of life in general and surroundings are right on. Actually with a fairly light hearted point of view - very healthy. Their synopsis at the end is also right on.

--
Just my 2 cents...which is probably worth more than your 2 cents...

I work Communications. Satellite, phone, computer, solaris, microwave, voip, teleconferencing....everything he did. In the same place. Anaconda is ok...if you can ignore the irritating mortars that DO come in every single damn day(usually while you are sleeping or on the can it seemed). Unfortunately, I was military, and my pay was much less than his.

That 703 area code from viginia....yeah, try calling somebody else on base with that damn army phone. If you call from an army phone to an air force phone...it goes thru the satellite hop and fiber to get back to virginia, then runs around the world on the DNS phone network to the air force side. Calling from the army side to the air force side or vise-versa was significantly more laggy than calling back to the states.

Re:Sensational (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18848345)

that's be DSN phone network, not DNS phone network....

Re:Sensational (1)

skogs (628589) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848399)

oops. AC is correct: DSN - Defense Switched Network

tough going between them both all the time.

Does he run the ISP? Or does the ISP run him? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847291)

seriously.. and no Soviet Russia jokes please.

Re:Does he run the ISP? Or does the ISP run him? (1)

nernie (1050594) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847855)

Good start; however, it's much too late to ask for no jokes about the internet tubes.

Bringing Bandwidth To Iraq (5, Funny)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847301)

So do they need a bunch of big trucks so they can start laying down the tubes?

Re:Bringing Bandwidth To Iraq (5, Funny)

chemindefer (707238) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847587)

No new tubes are needed. The incoming signal uses the oil pipelines already in place. By using multiplexing software, they can bring the signal in between outgoing packets of oil. The software has an AJAX front end, so the signal is very clean when it comes out.

Re:Bringing Bandwidth To Iraq (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847859)

> The software has an AJAX front end, so the signal is very clean when it comes out.

Oil 2.0 - remember where you heard it first folks.

Re:Bringing Bandwidth To Iraq (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848615)

I hear Al Gore invented the network and runs at 1tpg, or 1 tree per gigabit.

Iraq (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847323)

An indiscriminate peering policy and the only place on earth where bandwidth is measured in Mega Tons per second.

Mission accomplished?

Need employees (4, Insightful)

phorm (591458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847329)

One of my questions would be. Who out there is still hiring, what are the wages like, and who here on slashdot would be willing to sign up?

We take a lot of our technology for-granted. Bringing modern technology to a war-torn, outdated country could be both a dream and a nightmare.

Re:Need employees (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847435)

who here on slashdot would be willing to sign up?

I would, provided that I can telecommute!

Re:Need employees (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847505)

> One of my questions would be. Who out there is still hiring, what are the wages like, and who here on slashdot would be willing to sign up?

Is the abuse department hiring? And when we find spammers... how much do we get to abuse them?

Re:Need employees (0, Flamebait)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847543)

Who here on slashdot would be willing to sign up?

I'm sure there are many many right-wing types here who would love to show their support for bringing this vital infrastructure to Iraq. God knows it's safe enough to go over there now - John McCain said that there were several neighborhoods in Baghdad that he could stroll around in without any trouble and the Representative Mike Pence from Indiana said going shopping there was no different than going shopping back home. Especially now that the surge is working!

So come on, right-wing types! Where's your "support the troops" spirit?

Re:Need employees (-1, Troll)

MoralHazard (447833) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847593)

Hey, flamebait--who let you in here? Anybody got some mod points for this dick?

Somebodies feeling a little grumpy... (-1, Flamebait)

msimm (580077) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847683)

You republicans and your cute little naps.

Re:Need employees (0, Troll)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848491)

Why don't you just invade... ahem... "liberate" his house? you know, the right winger solution to everything...

Re:Need employees (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847671)

I don't play party politics. If the money made up for the risks, I'd probably go if offered the chance.

Re:Need employees (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847721)

McCain didn't mention his entourage, did he? I think The Daily Show showed it actually involved 12 well-armed troops and a few humvees. Stewart joked that he doesn't want to go shopping in Indiana anymore.

Re:Need employees (2, Interesting)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848067)

Not even close. According to NBC, he was escorted by "100 American soldiers, with three Blackhawk helicopters, and two Apache gunships overhead." And he still wore body armor.

"support the troops" spirit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847781)

Even though I don't agree with the "right-wing types", its certainly better than the cowardly, defeatist, losing mentality of the left-wing types. Instead of offering a better alternative, the Democrats will embrace any strategy to make Republicans look bad in the hope of gaining power in the Federal Government.

That's why liberals keep losing elections. Because they think like losers, they are losers.

 

Re:Need employees (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847847)

I'm sure there are many many right-wing types here who would love to show their support for bringing this vital infrastructure to Iraq.

I'm not sure what your sarcasm is for... I'd be willing to bet that there are quite a few more right-wingers than left-wingers working on technology infrastructure in Iraq.

Re:Need employees (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847861)

Im actually considering taking myself and my family to iraq; not only to do good works (like bringing the internet where its needed) but because i expect to be able to buy, own and hold land there in the old style feudal sense no longer available in the "modern" world: walk on my land without leave, and DIE.

The little woman says she wants to have the kid first, though. She's uneager to learn to fire heavy weapons while 6 months pregnant.

Re:Need employees (1)

raddan (519638) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848059)

I can't tell if you're psychotic or just joking. Please advise.

Re:Need employees (4, Insightful)

slamb (119285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848127)

So come on, right-wing types! Where's your "support the troops" spirit?

Maybe due to my left-wing political views, I don't understand this question. You seem to be talking about something entirely different than supporting our troops. It seems like there are several different actions you can take, including

  • what you're suggesting - strapping on body armor and do similar things as our troops, with shrinked-wrapped bricks of hundred-dollar bills replacing training, "semper fidelis", and command structure. This is what I call "being a mercenary".
  • joining the military yourself. Not as lucrative as mercenary work, but much more respected, at least historically. (The popularity of euphemisms like "private security" seems to indicate a recent change to that attitude.)
  • participating in our democracy to keep our troops as safe as possible - ensure they're not sent anywhere they don't need to be, and ensure they are well-equipped when they are sent there. This is what I think of when people say "support our troops".

Re:Need employees (1)

slamb (119285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848179)

Knowing slashdot, I feel obligated to point out that yes, I do realize frank_adrian314159 was probably not expecting anyone to take his suggestion. (And was being facetious about the surge going so well.) Nevertheless, this whole idea that this is how you pitch in is a strange one that I have seen proposed seriously, thus my post.

Re:Need employees (1)

Saxophonist (937341) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848335)

Representative Mike Pence from Indiana said going shopping there was no different than going shopping back home.

Have you ever been shopping in Indiana?

Re:Need employees (1)

OnlineAlias (828288) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848943)


I did just a while ago. Shopping isn't a problem, but I wouldn't eat at a buffet without body armor..

Re:Need employees (2, Insightful)

Chris Pimlott (16212) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847575)

Except that you wouldn't so much be bringing Internet to the Iraqis as are would be bringing Internet to the American troops, Haliburton contractors and Blackwater mercenaries. While this will eventually (years later) trickle down to average Iraqis, make no mistake; right now it's by westerners for westerners.

Re:Need employees (4, Funny)

Lord_Slepnir (585350) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847677)

I signed up to serve as a Networking Troubleshooter, but when they handed me an M-16, I realized that they had a different definition of "Troubleshooter" than I was used to.

Re:Need employees (4, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848331)

M-16? That's not the standard issue process killer. Go to the armoury and select the BFG 9000 like you trained [sourceforge.net] on, soldier!

Follow the money... the US military that is! (4, Interesting)

arcite (661011) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847689)

The wages are high. You can get up to or beyond USD$1000/day.

Of course, you need the skills, and the connections.

You also need balls, since Iraq IS a war-zone you are essentially risking your life every minute you are there.

I know of one contractor who was kidnapped in Iraq and subsequently released once his company payed an undisclosed 'ransom', although that was more than a year ago. Lets just say after than incident they beefed up their security just a tad. Kidnapping is a big money maker in Iraq/Afghanistan. Of course, that entails you surviving an attack long enough to be kidnapped in the first place! Most likely death would be as quick as hitting an IED and its GAME OVER.

Then there are others who are smart. They go over there and stay in their armored compounds (as opposed to foolishy driving around in the open) and are protected by security. They do their assignments, stay for a few months, and make a nice chunk of change at the end.

Truthfully, many contractors are getting rich there but the majority of them are not accomplishing much of substance. All of it is dictated by the whims of the Americans. The Iraqis have little real input. Most of it is completely unsustainable. As the linked article states, even these Internet gurus are under no illusion that what the US is doing is only aggravating the civil war.

So essentially it's all blood money. Frankly, if there is a choice between making the 'easy' money or keeping your integrity intact by not 'selling your soul' to the man for a quick buck, I would say it's not worth it in the long run. I mean, you still have to live with yourself years from now. Right?

PS. There are good jobs in Afghanistan and its not nearly as dangerous as Iraq...though that is now changing. A few years ago suicide bombings in Kabul were a rare occurrence, but things seem to be hotting up there more every day - unfortunately.

God bless the American tax payer.

Re:Follow the money... the US military that is! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847813)

God bless the American tax payer.

I was thinking something similar myself.

When I saw the bit in the Slashdot summary about the shrink-wrapped stacks of hundred dollar bills I was thinking that every hundred dollar bill represents a hundred dollars that someone in the USA is going to have to pay in taxes.

Re:Follow the money... the US military that is! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847853)

When I saw the bit in the Slashdot summary about the shrink-wrapped stacks of hundred dollar bills I was thinking that every hundred dollar bill represents a hundred dollars that someone in the USA is going to have to pay in taxes.
Surely you jest or don't realize how the U.S. government works. That hundred dollars comes from selling bonds. The taxpayer will pay substantially more than a hundred to repay the lender.

Re:Need employees (1)

daigu (111684) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848003)

We take a lot of our technology for-granted. Bringing modern technology to a war-torn, outdated country could be both a dream and a nightmare.

Mostly a nightmare...and the universe of people that would be willing to sign-up for the headache is miniscule. When they get done they can move on to Afghanistan, Sudan, East Timor and all the other places where human life is cheaper than any randomly selected piece of "modern technology" - and "human life" includes the lives of the people that work on "modern technology".

Re:Need employees (4, Interesting)

Cervantes (612861) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848183)

One of my questions would be. Who out there is still hiring, what are the wages like, and who here on slashdot would be willing to sign up?

I would. I'm socially liberal, Canadian, a Buddhist, and I try to live as a pacifist... so I might not fit in with the gun-nut rednecks, but despite the danger and the possibility I might have to defend my own life, I'd love to go over and do something constructive, something REAL, not just the 9-5, where's-my-stapler bullshit that we have over here. The money doesn't hurt, but mostly it's the chance to be involved in something that could change millions of peoples lives for the better.

Of course, the high wages help too... it's just a question of finding someone who'll hire our particular skillset.

I got pinged once (not SSI/BI) , turned them down. (4, Interesting)

StandardDeviant (122674) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848317)

A company that shall remain nameless once pinged me about a role providing linux cluster admin and field engineer/developer support for a visualization project designed for military use. I would have been stationed in central Baghdad and paid on the order of two hundred and fifty thousand base pay plus hazard pay, full relocation, etc. etc. etc. amounting to probably on the order of four hundred thousand to half a million a year after all the calculations were done.

I turned them down.

Yes, it sounded like a technically sweet gig. Yes, the pay and benefits were very, very solid. Could I handle a morning and evening commute that includes pitched gun fights and car bombs? Would the security where I sleep be as good as where I would work? Would I adapt well to wearing body armor and carrying at least one if not several weapons to do something as simple as buying toilet paper? Would I want to get beheaded for my troubles? Would I want my next of kin to profit from blood money should I bite it; would I feel comfortable accepting money for supporting something I found morally abhorrent? Would I have gone through those paranoid years of deployment without becoming irrevocably changed in ways that would make it difficult to reintegrate to mainstream society (PTSD is No Fucking Joke)? I asked myself questions like that and got too many negative answers to feel comfortable taking them up on their offer. Maybe other people would have a different situational calculus, I don't look down on them for asking themselves questions and coming up with different answers.

It was a near thing for me. I almost said yes. That money could have put my SO through grad school without loans. It could have bought my ailing mother a house. It could have done a lot of things. I still sometimes wonder if I made the right choice.

Camel jockeys can suck my dick (-1, Troll)

lick mi ballz (1016185) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847341)

niggerz

Re:Camel jockeys can suck my dick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847977)

Oh come on, man, you know that no-one can find your dick.

Prince Harry (1)

biocute (936687) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847363)

So these are the guys who should be credited for downloaded photos of Prince Harry from the internet [nzherald.co.nz]

"We have printed out many photographs of him from the internet and given them to all other groups. They know the Prince is their main objective and I have every confidence he will be targeted and attacked."

My brother wrote Iraq's insurance laws (2, Interesting)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847393)

But the Internet, as a series of tubes used to sell wood, was designed to withstand a nuclear holocaust, and last time I checked the main problems that Iraq has in terms of the internet is not the actual wiring per se, but a distinct lack of power plants and continual power sources.

If we had just shipped Aramco-backed (aka Saudis, the people paying for Americans to be shot) solar cells and UPS systems to Iraq, we would have created more Net usage than with this approach.

Sometimes low tech is the way to go.

My dad gets the Net from a house he built in Vermont on his tree farm, using solar power to charge car batteries and run a laptop with. Cheaper than running power lines through his 42 acre tree farm. And I was serious about my brother writing the insurance law - he's an international lawyer based in NYC. I wasn't serious about the tubes or the selling wood part ... my family does sell wood.

Intriguing (2, Funny)

Chris Pimlott (16212) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847527)

Tell me more about how you can get wood from the Internet.

Re:Intriguing (1)

djlowe (41723) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847623)

>Tell me more about how you can get wood from the Internet.
I can tell you that it is good Norwegian wood, isn't it?

At least, that's what I heard :)

Re:Intriguing (2, Funny)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847647)

No, we use that for parrot perches

Re:Intriguing (2, Funny)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847665)

Interesting, I always thought you used pine for that.

Re:Intriguing (4, Funny)

e4g4 (533831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847737)

No no no, pine is for the fjords.

Re:Intriguing (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847769)

I use WebPine [washington.edu] instead. PINE is more useful for when connections are intermittent, however.

Too easy (1)

anti-human 1 (911677) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848415)

That depends on what toots your horn, doesn't it?

My post reenforced techno-faith. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847535)

"Sometimes low tech is the way to go."

Maybe a WiFi mesh-net using consumer routers? Hey! If it's good enough for slashdotters to brag [slashdot.org] that it'll bring down big companies, then it's good enough for Iraq.

Re:My brother wrote Iraq's insurance laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847905)

Were you high when you wrote that?

that is HARDCORE (1)

Bootle (816136) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847485)

Beating your kidnapper to death with his own AK-47. Glad I'm not in Iraq.

Not the only one (5, Interesting)

Kizzle (555439) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847501)

This guy did an excellent presentation at Notacon [notacon.org] about running a non profit isp in iraq. Available in mp3 or video format.

mp3 [slashdot.org] avi [slashdot.org] David Coughanour - HajjiNets: Running an ISP in a War Zone

Re:Not the only one (2, Interesting)

Kizzle (555439) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848007)

Fixed Links

mp3 [notacon.org] avi [notacon.org] David CoughanourHajjiNets: Running an ISP in a War Zone

Links (1)

alphafoo (319930) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848051)

Links didn't work for me. Here [hajjinet.com] is a video that might be the same one. And more vids and PDFs [hajjinet.com] from his site.

Great (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847525)

maybe when he is done in I raq he can bring broadband to the US.

He sounds like he working in Oakland, CA.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847581)

I would wear body armor if I can in some parts of Oakland, CA or Richmond, CA. The only thing missing between Iraq an Oakland or Richmond, CA is flying helicopter to place to place. Setting up an ISP in a dangerous area is nothing new if you happen to live in a dangerous area. I know several ISP tech that have been assaulted and shot at in these cities so the only thing missing is the IEDs.
 

Re:He sounds like he working in Oakland, CA.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847605)

The only thing missing between Iraq an Oakland or Richmond, CA is flying helicopter to place to place.
Does this look like California to you? [prisonplanet.com]

Asshole!

Random Thoughts (2, Interesting)

tidewaterblues (784797) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847629)

This is really a rather moving article, in the sense that it makes me wonder what I have doing with my life and the things that I am being complacent about. It also makes me wonder how robust--in the macro-evolutionary sense--that our technological projects and infrastructures really are. The power and communications networks have always struck me very fragile and resistant to both change and attack (you would think that we would have learned from WWII Europe). Communications networks we can probably shore up by moving into stronger forms of wireless communication, although this opens the question of wide-spread jamming. However robust power networks present no obviously good solution until localized power (such as solar and wind) becomes cost competitive with centralized power.

Re:Random Thoughts (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847815)

I think power storage is an interesting technology. We're so used to the power grid being always on, but that kind of reliability comes at a cost. If we all had large flywheels in our basement or water gravity towers, we could store energy to cover the temporary glitches in the grid. I heard about something the other week that I'd never really thought about before, apparently some hybrid vehicles can be used to power your home during an outage.

In regards to communications, if you drive around your neighbourhood with NetStumbler running on your laptop, you'll see there are a LOT of wireless access points these days. I remember only a few years ago talking with people who were building a wireless mesh and the idea of getting people to run a node was considered too technologically confronting.

So there is hope.

Bringing the internets to Iraq (1)

TheChromaticOrb (931032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847797)

Once they clean the oil pipelines and get them connected, Iraq will have the largest, clog free, bandwith on the Internets.

Location, location, location (2, Interesting)

themushroom (197365) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847829)

My best friend was a cybercafe manager at LSA Anaconda during his stay. Way I hear it, they could use the pipe. The nickname his associates had for the drop they had to their quarters was "Ghetto Telecom"... the photos of how they got stuff rigged are hilarious from an IT perspective.

Winning hearts and minds of the Iraqi people through the universal medium, Asian porn.

Off-Site Backups, Anyone? (1)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847867)

I hope this guy doesn't end up on an Al Jazeera video getting his head sawed off with a dull sword. No amount of money is worth that.

Doesn't the network work? (1)

lelitsch (31136) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847903)

This might be a naive question, but how do all these problems and reports that the "insurgents" rely on cellular networks and the internet to coordinate their attacks go together? If some terrorist's Nokia works in Baghdad, why wouldn't a contractor's?
There are obvious differences between military and civilian applications, for example, you don't want your coms go down when you hit an ambush, but Iraq seems to have some semblance of a basically/occasionally working cell phone system.

old, old "news" (-1, Troll)

br00tus (528477) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847927)

The first paragraph of this article says "Ryan Lackey...is 26 years old." Which is the age he was in this 2005 Wired [wired.com] article. So this article is not news, it is two years old.

The article says he was just married - this guy is a war profiteer vulture, I hope the next article I read about him is how his car ran over an IED, possibly winning him the 2007 Darwin Award, a big component of which of course is that he can not breed and will be weeded out of the gene pool.

Re:old, old "news" (1)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848333)

I hope the next article I read about him is how his car ran over an IED

Boy, you're a bitter, jealous bitch, aren't you?

WANTED: People who like Dollars more than sense (2, Insightful)

grapeape (137008) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848057)

I'm all for entepreneuership and making a buck, but there are a couple things that bother me about this. First the likely clients will be the ones who were wealthy before Sadam was ousted, so more than often than not they will be supporting the same ones who helped keep down the people we are supposed to be trying to help. Second, on the likely chance that one of them is taken hostage or killed you can bet the news will be splattered with sob stories about them as if they were heroes helping the common man while dozens of real heroes die with no mention beyond a tally of bodies. There should be a list that separates the civilian humanitarians from the opportunists just so the media will know which ones to ignore.

Re:WANTED: People who like Dollars more than sense (1)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848817)

"I'm all for entepreneuership and making a buck, but there are a couple things that bother me about this. First the likely clients will be the ones who were wealthy before Sadam was ousted, so more than often than not they will be supporting the same ones who helped keep down the people we are supposed to be trying to help"

The rich in irak were keeping down the american oil companies?

Blue? Iraq? (1)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848061)

Would this mean "blue" as in "blue" Texas or Oklahoma? We do know that only certified Republican rightwingers were allowed to do business in Iraq (oh, go Google it yourselves), usually recruited from Young Republicans in campaigns, so is the name a kissy-kiss for Bush's people?

Re:Blue? Iraq? (1)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848155)

All right, wasted sarcasm, I'm not firing on all cylinders. Still can't believe that the Bushies somehow got labeled the Reds. My brain can't parse the label. Reagan would have had a stroke if you had called the Republicans Reds.

Go in peace, young businessman in armor. Run like hell, you fool.

Re:Blue? Iraq? (1)

imemyself (757318) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848213)

Actually, Texas and Oklahoma would be red states, not blue. Blue state would be something like California or New York, where people predominately vote Democrat.

I was there... (1)

imamac (1083405) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848099)

Internet access in your "trailer room" was about 3 grand a month. Absolutely insane. Some went in on it together in groups and shared via wifi, but it was still super expensive. I don't know how any enlisted member could possibly afford it. Priorities, I guess.

Ryan Lackey also started Sealand (4, Informative)

miller60 (554835) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848269)

It isn't mentioned until well down in the article, but many Slashdot readers may remember Ryan Lackey as part of the team that founded Sealand/HavenCo, the offshore data haven that was featured on the cover of Wired [wired.com] in 2000. Sealand's launch [slashdot.org] and struggles [slashdot.org] were discussed here on /. The guy clearly has an appetite for adventure.

Re:Ryan Lackey also started Sealand (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18848375)

The article incorrectly states that Sealand is an oil rig. It was actually a WWII anti-aircraft platform.

Bringing "cheap" oil to the USA? (1)

agent (7471) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848585)

Sorry, "Gas" is going up, not down. I hope they enjoy all of the SPAM.
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