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Google's Lease of NASA Airfield Criticized By Consumer Group

AcidPenguin9873 Re:Don't Understand the Complaint (138 comments)

How much would it have cost to move the fuel from that airfield to elsewhere? Is that cost more or less than what they recouped by selling it to Google? Can you provide any facts whatsoever?

about two weeks ago
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Google's Lease of NASA Airfield Criticized By Consumer Group

AcidPenguin9873 Re:Don't Understand the Complaint (138 comments)

It's not like the government owns any jets that it could have been used in.

Are you suggesting that the government fly a bunch of planes to that airfield just to refuel with the fuel that's located there?

about two weeks ago
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Google's Lease of NASA Airfield Criticized By Consumer Group

AcidPenguin9873 Re:Don't Understand the Complaint (138 comments)

all the companies that would have sold the jet fuel to Google at a profit did. The government acted in competition with private enterprise to fuel private enterprise aircraft.

You're ignoring the fact that extra jet fuel was simply available at a discount, because NASA had already bought it. What should NASA have done with that extra jet fuel? Sold it to a private jet-fuel company? Let's say that they did that. They would have had to sell it at a discount (maybe the same discount) because the jet fuel was located at an otherwise-unused airfield and would have to be transported elsewhere, which is not free.

Oh, you say, they could have sold it to the same private jet-fuel company that Google has contracted to fuel its planes! That way no one has to transport it - it's already in the perfect location! Knowing this, NASA should definitely ask for more money for the same jet fuel, because NASA has basically already paid the cost to transport and store the jet fuel exactly where the jet-fuel company needs it. Jet fuel company buys that fuel and sells it to Google at market rate (since Google would otherwise just buy different jet fuel from one of jet-fuel company's competitors.) I don't see how the private jet-fuel company would make any more money than normal. They saved on transport/storage cost but had to pay that savings for the fuel (because NASA knew they were saving). That is, unless you expect NASA to give the jet-fuel company the same sweetheart deal on the jet fuel that it gave Google. And if NASA did that, then it would be giving a private company a taxpayer-subsidized advantage, the very thing you were just complaining about.

NASA was not continuing to buy jet fuel at its government-discounted rate for the sole purpose of fueling Google's planes - the fuel already existed, and the question was what to do with it. NASA either gives someone a deal on it and someone gets a taxpayer subsidy, or doesn't give anyone a deal and all private-company costs and profits are identical to what they would be if NASA's fuel wasn't there at all. NASA comes out ahead in the latter scenario, but that's not what you complained about.

about two weeks ago
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Google's Lease of NASA Airfield Criticized By Consumer Group

AcidPenguin9873 Re:what? (138 comments)

Discounting the jet fuel so it could remain on-site and not have to be moved seems reasonable to me. If NASA sold it to someone else, they surely would have had to sell it at a discount anyway because it was located at an otherwise-unused airfield and would have to be transported somewhere else. Transporting jet fuel isn't free.

about two weeks ago
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Seattle Passes Laws To Keep Residents From Wasting Food

AcidPenguin9873 Re:Another terrible article courtesy of samzenpus (385 comments)

For everyone other than people trying to argue semantics on Slashdot, "wasting food" means discarding it uneaten. The fact that uneaten food that is discarded into a compost bin will be turned into fertilizer does not mean it was not wasted.

about 2 months ago
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Seattle Passes Laws To Keep Residents From Wasting Food

AcidPenguin9873 Re:Another terrible article courtesy of samzenpus (385 comments)

Seattle has not made it a fine-worthy offense to discard uneaten eat food, which is what the headline implies. Seattle residents are instead supposed to throw both uneaten food and the remnants of mostly-eaten food - as much of it as they want - into their composting bin, not the "regular" trash. The goal was to get people to compost compostable items (like food) instead of throw them into the trash. Not to prevent discarding uneaten food.

I suppose since compost is later turned into fertilizer, composting is a bit less truly wasteful than throwing uneaten food into the "regular" trash, but I doubt that distinction is meaningful since in either case the food is no longer edible.

about 2 months ago
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Helsinki Aims To Obviate Private Cars

AcidPenguin9873 Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (276 comments)

Many times, the economics of "fun" things that people enjoy only work out if there are enough people in a small geographic area. You can't have a football team without enough people to fill a stadium every week, and you don't get that many people without them living in a large-ish city where that football team plays. Any one person going to a football game certainly knows almost none of the other people going, but they're necessary to make the game happen at all. Same for music. Bands aren't going to play a show out in the sticks where they can't fill a medium-size venue. These cultural things are what draw people to live in a city instead of in the sticks, even if their job could be done from anywhere. Ditto for art galleries, parks, recreational sports leagues. Even though one of those faces could die tomorrow and you wouldn't notice, if most of them died, you certainly would because you wouldn't have enough people to do those things.

about 3 months ago
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Verizon Throttles Data To "Provide Incentive To Limit Usage"

AcidPenguin9873 Re:cretinous because (316 comments)

Three things:

  1. These unlimited contracts came into being at a time when 3G radios had just come out, so the amount of traffic any one device could produce on their network was an order of magnitude less than what they can today with LTE. It would be reasonable for Verizon to say that the plan is unlimited at 2008 bandwidths.
  2. I don't recall these unlimited plans as even having a bandwidth number attached to them. Do you?
  3. Speaking strictly about wireline ISPs, no wireline ISP sells a consumer grade plan as 20Mbps for 24/7 usage. They sell it as 20Mbps peak bandwidth, with "peak" being purposefully vaguely defined. Besides this artificial throttling, there really are network congestion issues that come into play on consumer links at peak hours. They will sell you a business grade plan where it's guaranteed bandwidth for 24/7 usage, for about double the price of the consumer grade plan. Yet most people haven't opted for that type of a plan.

about 4 months ago
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Man Booted From Southwest Flight and Threatened With Arrest After Critical Tweet

AcidPenguin9873 Re:name and location tweeted... (928 comments)

Also, what type of asshole employee would separate a man from his two young children?

The employee suggested no such thing. She said that the man would have to wait until his children were able to board, and then they could board together.

about 4 months ago
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Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

AcidPenguin9873 Re:Yep, how the music industry was killed... (192 comments)

You're right. But most of the rest of them got big-enough advances from record labels though so that they could try making music for a living for a couple years. The money for those advances came from record sales of the few acts that did make it. Now, there's little money coming in from record sales from the acts that made it - only peasly subscription revenue and $0.99 tracks. Less money coming into the labels, less money going out as advances to artists.

about 4 months ago
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Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

AcidPenguin9873 Re:Blog post gone? (390 comments)

Speaking only to the example in the L3 blog post: the utilization on L3's network before hitting the L3/Verizon connection point is about the same as it is in Verizon's network downstream of that connection point. That suggests that each company's network can handle about the same bandwidth. Any additional traffic on Verizon's network coming from L3 would obviously also be on L3's network. Why is L3 willing to take on this additional traffic, but Verizon isn't?

about 4 months ago
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Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo Streaming Service

AcidPenguin9873 Re:Zediva all over again. (484 comments)

If you own the equipment, it's legal.

Replying to myself, this is obviously an incorrect statement. You could rent a VCR or DVR or whatever and an antenna from someone, bring it back to your house, and record stuff there, and that would be legal. It's the combination of the entire service together, with the equipment rental and delivery system over the internet, that makes it "substantially like a cable company" which makes it subject to Breyer's standard. I'm sorry that this doesn't agree with how Slashdotters like to interpret the letter of the law, but that's precisely what the courts are there to do - consider intent, consider grey areas, draw arbitrary lines.

about 5 months ago
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Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo Streaming Service

AcidPenguin9873 Re:Zediva all over again. (484 comments)

How is that not re-transmission?

Oh my god, please stop. No, you haven't won.

That's a private performance.

Absolutely, I agree with you 100%.

the Supreme Court's job isn't to prop up obsolete business models.

How is their business model obsolete? Producing desirable content and charging for it? The thing that's obsolete is providing free OTA transmission of this content, because the content costs more to produce than the networks recoup from advertising alone.

I mean you can already get this exact same content for free by setting up your own antenna. People aren't doing it enough to make a difference.

If Aereo becomes legal, a whole shitload of people (or, rather, their cable/telco/satellite provider) will do it and that business model (free OTA transmission) will indeed become obsolete very, very quickly.

If cable companies implement Aereo-like technology so they could stop paying rebroadcast fees, then networks would have a problem. So let them go off-air and become cable-only like HBO or something. Good for them if they can make more money doing that. Then the airwaves will be freed up for people with fresh ideas and lower overhead. Or maybe not.. maybe we could reallocate the TV spectrum to enable more unlicensed Wifi. That would be an excellent trade in my opinion. Well worth the loss of quality ABC shows like "The Chew" and "General Hospital..."

This is absolutely the most likely scenario. I'm glad you at least acknowledged it. I feel terrible for you that your TV show preferences aren't matched by 100% of the shows that ABC airs.

Presumably this would work with OTA transmissions, which you legally received with an antenna.

Exactly, provided that you own the antenna and some sort of recording device. I'm glad we agree on this.

That's a big assumption, and it's pretty shitty considering you can legally record shows that you receive over the air and watch them later, and have been able to do that since the Supreme Court ruled that VCRs are legal.

On a VCR that you own.

This Supreme Court decision, and the hypothetical you're proposing, take away consumer rights that have been around for decades,

On equipment that they own.

Are you seeing the common theme? If you own the equipment, it's legal. (And this will only continue to work if the cost of owning the equipment makes it not worth bothering for most people.) If you rent this stuff from someone else, it's tantamount to a cable company and thus that company is required to pay the licensing fee. If you want it changed, go complain to your local politician that everyone deserves ad-supported TV for free. Maybe the laws will change and these companies will become taxpayer-subsidized like the BBC.

prevent innovative businesses

How is Aereo innovative? It provides exactly the same service as cable+DVR, which has been around for over a decade. The only innovative thing is the lack of content cost for Aereo, which is unsustainable.

that consumers want

Of course consumers want it, who wouldn't want something that's much cheaper by virtue of having almost none of the cost structure required to deliver the service because the cost is being borne by other companies?

about 5 months ago
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Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo Streaming Service

AcidPenguin9873 Re:Zediva all over again. (484 comments)

If that's not retransmitting, then what is? It's jumping mediums (wire to air), it's transforming the signal (compressed ATSC stream to discrete RGB values to signals to the LCD or whatever).

You've got to be kidding, right? A TV decodes the transmission but doesn't re-encode it for subsequent retransmission. You would need a camera and a microphone for that. As for the "it's a performance" aspect, the TV itself doesn't consider where it is and who is watching it, i.e. the private home vs. bar example we have been discussing. The party responsible for considering the context in which the performance is happening would be the bar owner or homeowner/renter, not the TV rental company.

And yet, he doesn't give a satisfying justification about why Aereo is a public performance, despite their concerted effort to keep it private by having dedicated antennas per subscriber, and no sharing of stored data, and no multicast transmissions.

It's because while it's not that by the letter of the law, that's what it is in spirit. Aereo is providing cable TV service, just without having to pay for the content. The entire point of Aereo's microantenna setup is to use a technicality to get around the "public performance" wording of the law that made (multicast, retransmit) cable providers have to pay the networks. I think one of the justices asked this at the trial (although he said that even if it was, that may not mean it's illegal). I don't know what Aereo's response was.

Now let's go to the dissent:

That claim fails at the very outset because Aereo does not “perform” at all.

I agree completely.

The Court manages to reach the opposite conclusion only by disregarding widely accepted rules for service-provider liability and adopting in their place an improvised standard (“looks-like-cable-TV”) that will sow confusion for years to come.

I think something like this is necessary. Maybe it's improvised, but we need it. Someone has to pay for content to be produced, and it's no longer (completely) covered by advertisers alone. They let people watch for free via OTA because the percentage of people watching that way is low enough that their costs are still covered.

I totally agree with that and wonder how anybody could think like Breyer did unless they just don't understand that a point-to-point TCP/IP connection, even if it's going over a "public" network like the internet, isn't really public.

I don't think Breyer's opinion is what you think it is. Scalito said it explicitly - Breyer made up a new "looks like cable TV" standard and is judging Aereo by that standard. You don't have to like it, but don't misrepresent it.

And since Breyer goes through pains to say "Oh but don't worry, remote DVR and cloud storage are still fine" he obviously is talking out his ass, since those would operate in *the exact same way* when it comes to public vs private. Otherwise perhaps you can explain how sending a copy of a TV show from your remote DVR hosted on Amazon's cloud is private, whereas a copy of a TV show from Aereo's cloud is public? It doesn't make sense.

How did you acquire the TV show that is hosted on your private storage in Amazon's cloud? The cloud storage piece assumes you acquired that content some other legal way. For remote DVR, I don't think he's going to have to go back on what he said at all. He's using a "this looks like cable TV" standard. If it's just cloud storage for shows you already have, that doesn't look like cable TV. If it's remote DVR for cable TV service and you pay for the remote DVR service, that service will be subject to the same "must pay the networks" standard as Aereo and the cable TV networks. Or you could separately pay for just the remote DVR service and have that be linked to a cable/telco/satellite/Netflix subscription as well if you want to decouple DVR from service provider.

about 5 months ago
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Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo Streaming Service

AcidPenguin9873 Re:Zediva all over again. (484 comments)

So if Aereo changes their model to "You buy the equipment and pay to store it here" (aka a signup fee) then it becomes legal? That seems too easy.

Yes, I think it might be that easy. SlingBox comes to mind, so if you wanted to buy a SlingBox and an antenna and rent space at Aereo's location, that would probably be legal. Practically though, that wouldn't be very profitable for Aereo because the equipment would be too big, and for the end customer it's probably cheaper to just pay the cable/telco company for basic cable and DVR service.

I don't know if you're right, but if that's the logic behind this decision it's even worse than I imagined. By your logic, if you rent a TV, then since the TV takes a signal and retransmits it as visible-spectrum light, the rental company is acting as a retransmission agent and you have to pay extra licensing fees. But of course that's ridiculous.. isn't it?

Simply displaying a picture on a TV isn't a retransmission, so the TV rental company is off the hook.

The other piece of this, which others have pointed out, is that it is being offered to the general public. If you rent a TV and show some content to the general public for a fee, I believe that constitutes a "public performance" or something like that and you would need some sort of license to show it. Bars, for example, subscribe to a different type of cable or satellite service that allows them to do this.

about 5 months ago
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Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo Streaming Service

AcidPenguin9873 Re:Zediva all over again. (484 comments)

What if he sets up HDHomerun and storage system for himself, and then sets up another one for me that he never uses? That's what Aereo was doing. Each customer rented their own receiver and their own storage.

If you own the equipment, you can do this without paying the licensing fee. If you don't own the equipment, you need to pay the licensing fee.

Why on Earth would it be illegal for me to rent an antenna (that only I use) from someone else who gets better reception?

Because that someone is acting as a retransmission agent, and there are licensing fees that apply to such retransmission agents such as cable/telco companies, and now Aereo.

about 5 months ago
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Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo Streaming Service

AcidPenguin9873 Re:Is It Retransmission...? (484 comments)

Is your stepson charging for this service? And more importantly, is he making his for-pay service available to the general public? If the answer to both questions is yes, then yes it's illegal.

about 5 months ago
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Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo Streaming Service

AcidPenguin9873 Re:The leave me NO choice (484 comments)

No, Aereo can still exist and provide the service, they just want Aereo to pay retransmission license fees like any other streaming TV provider. It might cost more, but you said you were eager to pay to watch what you like when you want to, so maybe it will still be worth it to you even with the increased cost.

about 5 months ago
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Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo Streaming Service

AcidPenguin9873 Re:Zediva all over again. (484 comments)

No. If your neighbor charges you to VPN into his network and "rent" his HDHomerun and storage system, then he is breaking the law. If it's all your own equipment, you're not.

about 5 months ago

Submissions

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AT&T Pauses Fiber Rollout, Citing Obama's Net Neutrality Regulations

AcidPenguin9873 AcidPenguin9873 writes  |  about two weeks ago

AcidPenguin9873 (911493) writes "Following Monday's request by President Obama to the FCC to impose tough net-neutrality regulations on ISPs, AT&T has announced that they are pausing the fiber-optic network upgrades that they had previously announced for 100 U.S. cities. AT&T cited regulatory uncertainty as the primary cause for the pause: " 'We can't go out and invest that kind of money deploying fiber to 100 cities not knowing under what rules those investments will be governed,' [the company's chief executive Randall Stephenson] said.""
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AT&T Pauses Fiber Rollout, Citing Obama's Net Neutrality Regulations

AcidPenguin9873 AcidPenguin9873 writes  |  about two weeks ago

AcidPenguin9873 (911493) writes "Following Monday's request by President Obama to the FCC by President Obama to impose tough net-neutrality regulations on ISPs, AT&T has announced that they are pausing the fiber-optic network upgrades that they had previously announced for 100 U.S. cities. AT&T cited regulatory uncertainty as the primary cause for the pause: " 'We can't go out and invest that kind of money deploying fiber to 100 cities not knowing under what rules those investments will be governed,' [the company's chief executive, Randall Stephenson] said.""
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SpaceX Chooses Texas Site For Private Spaceport

AcidPenguin9873 AcidPenguin9873 writes  |  about 4 months ago

AcidPenguin9873 (911493) writes "Today, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced that SpaceX has chosen a site at Boca Chica Beach, Texas, as the location where SpaceX will build its rocket launch facility. The Boca Chica site, at the southern tip of Texas near Brownsville and South Padre Island, had been competing with sites in Florida, Georgia, and Puerto Rico, but had been named the frontrunner to land the site by Musk when he testified to the Texas state legislature in 2013. The spaceport will be the first privately-owned vertical rocket launch facility in the world, and will target commercial customers. State and local governments have pledged to provide a total of about $20 million in incentives to attract SpaceX to the site."
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Google Fiber in Austin Hits a Snag: Incumbent AT&T

AcidPenguin9873 AcidPenguin9873 writes  |  about a year ago

AcidPenguin9873 (911493) writes "Earlier this year, Google announced that it would build its next fiber network in Austin, TX. Construction is slated to start in 2014, but there's a hitch: AT&T owns 20% of the utility poles in Austin. The City of Austin is considering a rules change that would allow Google to pay AT&T to use its utility poles, but AT&T isn't happy about it. The debate appears to hinge on a technicality that specifies what types of companies can attach to the utility poles that AT&T owns. From the news story: "Google 'would be happy to pay for access (to utility poles) at reasonable rates, just as we did in our initial buildout in Kansas City,' she said, referring to Google Fiber’s pilot project in Kansas City...Tracy King, AT&T’s vice president for public affairs, said in a written statement that Google 'appears to be demanding concessions never provided any other entity before.' 'Google has the right to attach to our poles, under federal law, as long as it qualifies as a telecom or cable provider, as they themselves acknowledge. We will work with Google when they become qualified, as we do with all such qualified providers,' she said.""
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Senator Ted Stevens Indicted For Corruption

AcidPenguin9873 AcidPenguin9873 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

AcidPenguin9873 (911493) writes "Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), most famous to Slashdotters for his 2006 metaphor comparing the internet to a "series of tubes", has been brought up on corruption charges. From today's NY Times article: "Mr. Stevens, 84, was indicted on seven counts of falsely reporting income. The charges are related to renovations on his home and to gifts he has received." Today's indictment raises the broader issue of lobbyists, gifts, and campaign contributions to politicians. Will the charges have any effect on the upcoming November election?"
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Eavesdropping Helpful Against Terrorist Plot

AcidPenguin9873 AcidPenguin9873 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

AcidPenguin9873 (911493) writes "The New York Times reports that the U.S. government's ability to eavesdrop on personal communications helped break up a terrorist plot in Germany. The intercepted phone calls and emails revealed a connection between the plotters and a breakaway cell of the terrorist group Islamic Jihad Union. What does this mean for the future of privacy in personal communications? From the article:

[McConnell's] remarks also represent part of intensifying effort by Bush administration officials to make permanent a law that is scheduled to expire in about five months. Without the law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Mr. McConnell said the nation would lose "50 percent of our ability to track, understand and know about these terrorists, what they're doing to train, what they're doing to recruit and what they're doing to try to get into this country."
"

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