20 More Cities Want To Join the Fight Against Big Telecom's Broadband Monopolies
OK, let's say for sake of argument you bring gigabit to every doorstep. Or heck, even 1% of doorsteps. All of your uplinks are going to be so massively oversubscribed that it's essentially meaningless, except for content that's hosted on local caching servers. This is great for things like Netflix, but even ultra-high quality 4K video with uncompressed multichannel audio isn't going to consume that much bandwidth. 40Gbit connections are standard on the largest backbones, with 100 Gbit coming on-line, but that's some awfully expensive hardware right now.
So my question would be: what added benefit you expect to get with a gigabit local loop when it's still going into the same sort of congestion limits? i don't mean to sound like a curmudgeonly old bastard, but this sounds more like a marketing gimmick. Even governments aren't immune from spreading marketing bullshit; in fact it's sometimes easier when you know you won't be held accountable (advertising fraud vs political promises) and it's all other people's money anyway.
Ebola Does Not Require an "Ebola Czar," Nor Calling Up the National Guard
The Obama Administration (and Bush / McCain / Romney would have been no better) looked around and were thinking ... hmmm... who could we appoint for this? An expert in epidemiology? Somebody with experience in coordinating the logistics of an emergency response? A useless public relations shill? Or an even more useless lawyer crony with connections to that epic success Solyndra?
Yeah, that last one sounds about right. We'll go with that.
Independent Researchers Test Rossi's Alleged Cold Fusion Device For 32 Days
You should have professional magicians look at it. These are people who know how to find the "trick".
You nailed it. I was just reading about James Randi's debunking of the alleged psychic Uri Gellar, who had managed to fool a bunch of scientists back in the 1970s. Randi claimed that scientists are some of the easiest people to fool because, as you said, they operate under a lot of preconceived notions and once you figure out how to work around those it's a piece of cake. As Randi put it, to catch a magician (who are essentially people who fool people for a living) you send a magician.
Why America Won't Match Sweden's Cheap, Fast, Competitive Internet Services
To start with, I have no idea what the answer to this question is with regards to the Swedish system, but I've found that in many cases of solutions like this the "cost" paid by end users is heavily subsidized in other areas (in the US it's so common it can almost be assumed). So if the $40 / month pays for all of the capital costs, maintenance, depreciation, etc. then wonderful. Otherwise it's just accounting slight-of-hand - put a happy number out for the public, and if somebody digs and puts together real costs then they find that the real number is horrific.
On the other hand, in the US most major metropolitan areas (there are exceptions) have sold monopoly or duopoly franchises on internet service, which also distorts prices horribly and in other directions. I live in one of these areas, as do most of the people I know (I get to chose between mostly tolerable but pricey Cox, and utterly abhorrent AT&T - for practical purposes just one choice). In many cases these "utilities" are limited to certain profit levels, so they just adjust their costs up. Competition isn't magic; it just incentivizes aggressive pursuit of the best cost / quality tradeoffs (which are usually subjective and may vary significantly between individuals, eliminating the possibility of a good "one-size-fits-all" solution).
JP Morgan Chase Breach: Shades of a Cyber Cold War?
"People briefed on the matter" generally equals "deliberate leak, to move public opinion or at least test the waters."
Supreme Court Rejects Appeal By Google Over Street View Data Collection
... Google threw an epic bitch fit over the NSA reading data off of their unprotected, unencrypted WAN connections.
Fixing the Humanities Ph.D.
In other news, who cares? When was the last time something important was done as a result of studying the humanities? They're only good for "huge manatees" puns.
Are Glowing, Solar Smart Roads the Future?
I've seen a pile of articles on this, and never once in them has anybody even scratched the topic of cost. Which would kind of be important, one would thing. Turns out, they don't know or aren't saying. From their FAQ:
"We are not yet able to give numbers on cost. We are still in the midst of our Phase II contract with the Federal Highway Administration and we'll be analyzing our prototype costs near the end of our contract which ends in July, 2014. Afterward, we'll be able to do a production-style cost analysis."
There are a hundred billion cool ideas out there, but if they're not cost effective than who cares?
London Black Cabs Threaten Chaos To Stop Uber
Uber has been operating in my city for many years now (we were one of the first to get it) and if there are any dark spots, I sure haven't seen them. You get a clean, polite driver driving a clean, well-maintained car. If for some reason you don't get a clean, polite driver driving a clean, well-maintained car you can give feedback to Uber letting them know this. I would imagine that they axe any problematic drivers fairly quickly, because reports of bad ones are rare and I haven't had any (nor has anyone I know personally). It does cost a bit more than a cab (with a $15 minimum where I live), but it's very quick, friendly, polite, and clean (and in many areas they have a lower-cost UberX option).
The one thing that gets people is that they go to a supply / demand bidding system during ultra-high-demand periods like New Year's Eve. They put warnings all over the place when they do this, but prices can get VERY, VERY high.
F.C.C., In Net Neutrality Turnaround, Plans To Allow Fast Lane
The problem here isn't differentiated services - which can be valuable to a lot of us. The problem is that here in the US we have effective ISP monopolies or duopolies in nearly every region. Whenever your choice is so severely constrained you're going to get screwed at least a hundred different ways. Net neutrality isn't the worst of them - the crappy bandwidth levels are first in my personal book. The battle should be couched in terms of "we'll trade away net neutrality in exchange for getting rid of telecommunications and cable franchises." If I can get 18 different providers competing for my business, then some of them will offer net neutrality, some will offer more bandwidth, etc. Until there is competition we're always in the position of having to beg the government to not cave into the desires of megacorporations, which is always a losing battle in the long run.
ARIN Is Down To the Last /8 of IPv4 Addresses
We're running out of free ones. And like any freely available resource, they've been squandered. Once the free supply is exhausted, they'll simply no longer be free - meaning that actual incentive will exist to conserve them and organizations will have incentive to sell unneeded blocks. Economics 101, people.
For First Three Years, Consumer Hard Drives As Reliable As Enterprise Drives
Yeah, no kidding. Back in my younger and less persuasive days, we were on a project where we were forced by PHBs to use consumer drives in an enterprise system (storing and retreiving syslog data in a VERY busy environment). We were literally blowing them out every three months or so until the Powers That Be finally relented and let us put in proper storage (back then that also meant shelling out for a pricy SCSI HBA). I think that the gap has closed somewhat since then, and there are also some interesting options in drives that are purpose-built for things like DVRs and low-volume RAID. Also, back then (I don't know if it's still the case today) enterprise HDDs were tested individually for quality control, whereas consumer HDDs were just randomly sampled from each batch.
For many enterprise applications, though, the difference in things like seek times and sustained data transfer rate can be substantial in a busy environment.
Ask Slashdot: Easy, Open Source Desktop-Sharing Software?
Weird. We haven't seen this yet, but we're not running the absolute latest build either.
DNI Office Asks Why People Trust Facebook More Than the Government
When Facebook screws up its data mining, I see a stupidly-placed ad on my wall.
When the US government screws up its data mining, you get a million dead Iraqis.
Predicted response from Robert S. Litt and his ilk: "Iraqis don't vote in our elections... they don't donate to our political campaigns.... I don't get it...?"
Most precise measuring tool I've used ...
Let's be honest - measuring money is the most fun, especially if it's yours.
My favorite resolution for the new year:
The Greatest Battle of the Personal Computing Revolution Lies Ahead
Also good for people who value their time (not having to worry so much about fraud and malware, research, etc.) more than their ability to do things with a device that they would never bother doing anyway.
It's perfectly fine for tinkerers on Slashdot to have the opposite preference and express it verbally and in the market with their purchases, but to presume that their preference - which is shared by an extremely small minority of people - is ideal for everyone else is a bit silly. I fully support people who want to tinker - I used to be that way myself. But as I've gotten older my interests have shifted and I simply don't want to spend my very limited time on vetting everything that goes into my mobile device, and the limitations imposed by the "walled garden" don't really affect my interests. It's a simple trade-off.
The Fjord-Cooled Data Center
from environmentalists over warming the fjord water in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...
How To Thwart the High Priests In IT
It's the sort of stupid article you'd expect from an organization that is supposedly all about information technology, but is so backwards that they're endlessly pestering me to take a free subscription to their dead-tree edition. If their web site isn't even worth visiting for free articles, why would they think I want to spend the effort moving their magazine from my mailbox directly to the trash?
Mathematically Pattern-Free Music
...and put on some Rush. :-)
Prince declares the Internet a fad, completely ove
ErikTheRed (162431) writes "The Artist Once Again Known as Prince has declared the Internet to be dead. He has refused to release his new album through any of the legal online music distribution services (iTunes, Amazon, etc), because they won't pay him an advance on royalties. From an article in The Telegraph: "All these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that cant be good for you.” All I can say is, ummmm... good luck with that."
Link to Original Source
Poll: Who *should* direct the Foundation Series?
ErikTheRed (162431) writes "Uwe Boll / Roland Emmerich / George Lucas / Michael Bay / Cowboy Neal
Zombie Alfred Hitchcock"
Link to Original Source
Obama's AG has advocated Internet censorship
ErikTheRed (162431) writes "In an audio clip discovered by NewsBusters, then Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder advocated federal censorship of the Internet. This was in the aftermath of the Columbine High School shootings.
The court has really struck down every government effort to try to regulate it. We tried with regard to pornography. It is gonna be a difficult thing, but it seems to me that if we can come up with reasonable restrictions, reasonable regulations in how people interact on the Internet, that is something that the Supreme Court and the courts ought to favorably look at. — Eric Holder, May 28, 1999 NPR Morning Edition
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. I'd imagine that for most Slashdotters, "Reasonable" == "none at all.""
Scientists closer to gamma-ray annihilation lasers
ErikTheRed (162431) writes "Scientists have finally created Di-positronium, a new form of matter combining an electron and a positron. The discovery, which according to this BBC article reported in the journal Nature, is a key step in the creation of ultrapowerful lasers known as gamma-ray annihilation lasers. These would be useful in starting fusion reactions. Now all we need are some friggin' sharks..."
Link to Original Source
ErikTheRed (162431) writes "The former head of the MPAA, Jack Valenti, has died at the age of 85. While the mainstream media and Hollywood endlessly fellate his flaccid corpse, those of us in the Slashdot community will remember him as a tireless campaigner against fair use, consumer rights, and common sense. As a business leader and lobbyist , he incorrectly predicted the effects of every major technological advancement in media — most famously that the VCR would be like "Jack the Ripper" to the movie industry (although he was unintentionally correct in one aspect — Jack the Ripper targeted whores). I don't know if there's an afterlife, but if there is I hope Jack Valenti likes it hot."
ErikTheRed (162431) writes "According to this Washington Post story (found via this Penny Arcade newspost and mocked in comic), the FTC has issued a staff opinon stating that so-called "word-of-mouth marketers" — people who participate in community forums, etc. — who are being compensated to promote a product or service must disclose this fact. Violaters could face anything from cease-and-desist orders to multi-million dollar fines. Oh yeah, the Washington post is compensating me with a free PSP for pimping their story (just kidding)."
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