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Cable Companies: We're Afraid Netflix Will Demand Payment From ISPs

MattskEE Re:not likely (194 comments)

I get that the meteoric rise in online video streaming by customers puts pressure on ISPs because if affects the oversubsribe ratio that they can use (which is required to turn a profit) while still providing a good user experience.

But what I don't get is why you can possibly blame Netflix. Your customer requested 100GB from Netflix last month. Netflix supplied it based on your customer's request. If you think 100GB (or however much) data in one month is too much then throttle your customer, but do it fairly based on each customer's usage and don't play favorites with which companies you allow your customers access to. 100GB of Netflix traffic should be treated the same as 100GB of porn, or whatever else your customer is getting up to.

My university's residential internet connection started undergoing major strain several years ago, primarily due to online video. So they implemented traffic throttling. I don't remember the precise details, but it was along the lines of a daily 1GB of unthrottled data between 4PM-1AM after which speed was reduced , and no throttling from 1AM-4PM. This was a completely fair and balanced way of providing a pretty good user experience while limiting traffic during peak hours to avoid congesting the network.

2 days ago
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Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

MattskEE Re:I disagree (390 comments)

How does settlement usually work for unbalanced connections? My thought is that since the Verizon customers request data from Netflix servers, and Level 3 delivers that data to the Verizon network, then if anybody paid settlement it should be Verizon.

But since this is an everybody-wins situation (Netflix pays level 3, Customers pay Verizon, all customers are happy when the pipes run smoothly) then settlement free peering makes sense.

about two weeks ago
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People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

MattskEE Re:user error (709 comments)

I don't believe we can change global climate.

Not with that attitude you can't!

But seriously, we are the most powerful race on the planet, we use over 30 billion barrels of oil per year (over 1.2 trillion gallons). Nobody knows exactly how much oil there is, but as a rough estimate from a layman it seems likely that we could estimate that in less than a thousand years we'll have probably burnt over a million years worth of natural carbon storage, i.e. it is being released over a thousand times faster than it was stored.

To me that it as least suggestive that we as a species could have an effect on atmospheric CO2 concentration and through that global climate and ocean acidity.

about two weeks ago
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$500k "Energy-Harvesting" Kickstarter Scam Unfolding Right Now

MattskEE Re:Thanks for the tip! (448 comments)

Do you understand that EM energy harvesting power will be directly proportional to size? It's not a matter of being a "miniaturization expert" it's a matter of physics and how much radiated WiFi power you can harvest with a given antenna aperture.

about a month ago
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How Vacuum Tubes, New Technology Might Save Moore's Law

MattskEE Re:Why are we saving a law? (183 comments)

Moore's Law has never been a law and nobody treats it as one.

It started off as an observation which happened to basically be correct. Then it became more of a roadmap, with industry using it to set technology targets and allocating R&D resources so that they can continue following Moore's "Law".

about a month ago
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How Vacuum Tubes, New Technology Might Save Moore's Law

MattskEE Re:That would be handy for radio astronomy too (183 comments)

Yeah the graphene comparison is spurious, except that it's a wider audience article and graphene has been getting inexplicably large amounts of press recently.
A fair point, but I still don't excuse them for being part of the graphene press problem instead of the solution.

As for the other comparisons: what's the maximum speed of a MOSFET? You can get silicon BJTs into the hundreds of GHz, but I'm not sure about MOSFETS
Maximum published speed I've seen for a Si N-MOSFET is around 450GHz at 32nm, not sure of the best reference but here is a non-peer-reviewed one I quickly dug up: http://www.intel.co.kr/content... obviously as this is silicon the voltages are extremely low so it can't do much in the way of power but people have made circuits in the 100GHz range

And as for advantages over Group III-V transistors: it works with silicon which is less faffy to work with than GaAs for example.
GaAs is still in play because it's the most mature III-V technology and is capable but application space is being taken over by Si, GaN, and InP so it's not IMHO a great point of comparison. The nice thing about vacuum electronics is that it doesn't require a III-V material which may make for easier integration with CMOS, though there are groups working on III-V CMOS integration. And I don't think there's that much advantage to it being on Silicon, most wafer fab tools can handle a variety of wafer types, the processes are not so different, plus GaN-on-silicon is being produced though it still isn't quite as good as GaN-on-SiC for example.

The full article doesn't actually make a bunch of wild-ass claims and is pretty good. They're not making lots of OMG YOAR NEXT COMPUTAR SI TEH VALVES!!11 claims.
The description of the technology is well-written. But I can make any technology look good by simply not comparing it against the best of its competitors, and outright mis-reporting the capabilities of the technologies I do compare it to. Just because they're not as bad as,many "2D" device papers out there doesn't mean they should get a pass for being deliberately misleading.

about a month ago
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How Vacuum Tubes, New Technology Might Save Moore's Law

MattskEE Re:That would be handy for radio astronomy too (183 comments)

1 atmosphere of helium needs to be sealed from air, but mechanically is simpler because of the lower pressure difference.

That's not how partial pressures work at all. It only matters about the relative pressure of each individual gas if you don't want it leaking in. If you want to keep out nitrogen and oxygen it makes no difference if the package has 1atm of helium only or a vacuum.

about a month ago
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How Vacuum Tubes, New Technology Might Save Moore's Law

MattskEE Re:That would be handy for radio astronomy too (183 comments)

I just noticed another disingenuous aspect to their claim - they say that because this operates at "atmospheric" pressure it will be more reliable than vacuum tubes of yore.

But these vacuum FETs are filled with 1 atmosphere of helium, so the partial pressure difference with the outside world for all other gases will still be the same as though it was operating with a full vacuum, and this device would require the same long-term hermetic packaging as a vacuum tube. It relies on helium to extend the mean free path of the electrons, though to be fair as dimensions are scaled down further from the current 100nm to say 20nm perhaps neither helium nor vacuum would be required. Still it seems to be a very misleading claim.

about a month ago
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How Vacuum Tubes, New Technology Might Save Moore's Law

MattskEE Re:That would be handy for radio astronomy too (183 comments)

Vacuum micro/nano-electronics are interesting for RF/mm-wave applications as the transport can be ballistic which could theoretically enable ultra-high-frequencies with scaling of the size.

I haven't yet found a paper for the 460GHz claim in the IEEE Spectrum article so I'm not sure exactly which figure of merit they have picked for that claim, but rest assured that their comparisons to other transistor technologies are highly flawed.

InP devices for example already operate up to 1THz power gain cutoff frequencies and have for some years. Simple circuits including amplifiers have been demonstrated in the 600GHz range with both InP HBTs and HEMTs. Even silicon certainly operates in the multi-hundred-GHz range, not the 40GHz which is for some reason cited in the article. Using graphene as a point of comparison is somewhat laughable as graphene has yet to demonstrate any truly practical advantage over group-IV or III-V transistor technologies, and has never been close to beating other leading device technologies on clock speed despite heavy press coverage.

about a month ago
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Are the Glory Days of Analog Engineering Over?

MattskEE Re:The world... (236 comments)

Even though shot noise comes about due to the quantized nature of electrons flowing over a barrier it is not treated at the circuit level as a quantized phenomenon, just as a white noise source like thermal noise.

This is unlike "telegraph" or "popcorn" noise which appears at the circuit level as a definitively quantized noise source.

about a month and a half ago
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How LEDs Are Made

MattskEE Re:Lead is mentioned some 16 times (93 comments)

The lead frames are not typically made with any lead, it is just a case of easily confused homonyms.

In "lead frames", "lead" refers to the metal pins coming out of the packages, which are connected to the LED die. It not typically made with any lead content (Pb, element 82) due to RoHS restrictions. It could be made of tin-plated copper, or various alloys of tin, copper, and silver. Older ones would likely have been Pb-plated copper.

about 2 months ago
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Lucasfilm Announces Break With Star Wars Expanded Universe

MattskEE Re:Good. (157 comments)

Yup, I stopped reading the expanded universe during the New Jedi Order series. It's been many years since I read a NJO series book but it seemed like they were all filled with war and unhappiness. Bad stuff happened in other books too but it didn't seem hopeless and the other books/trilogies/series generally had a happy ending of some sort.

about 3 months ago
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Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance

MattskEE Re:LOL ... (367 comments)

... For most applications a single load test suffices.

Is that the "yank it and see if it breaks test"? Always a good one to run.

about 3 months ago
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Was Eich a Threat To Mozilla's $1B Google "Trust Fund"?

MattskEE Re:The new Hitlers (564 comments)

And how is your fight against heterosexual marriage going?

Since there is no credible movement to end legal marriage for opposite sex couples the only equitable approach the government can take is to extend marriage rights to cover same sex couples.

about 4 months ago
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Million Jars of Peanut Butter Dumped In New Mexico Landfill

MattskEE Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (440 comments)

A bit of salt makes most foods taste better (in the opinion of most people) and adding salt is in no way a scam.

I personally have a strong taste preference for the natural style peanut butters which have just peanuts and salt, but I have been disappointed whenever I have tried an unsalted nut butter.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Automatically Logging Non-Computerized Equipment Use?

MattskEE Re:RFID? (130 comments)

At my uni some labs rely on a RFID badge system for charging for the access, others rely on a logsheet. Access is basically always restricted to authorized users by RFID badge.

The logsheet works well if a lab has proper oversight, most labs I've seen that run like this have a fully booked reservation calendar anyway so they know pretty well who is using it at any time. People who don't show up for reserved time or don't log time properly get in trouble and may have access restricted or revoked if the problem continues.

No matter the system you basically need to have "boots on the ground", i.e. somebody in charge of the equipment who is in the lab pretty regularly and makes sure that people show up for their reservations, makes sure they stay logged in with their swipe card or fill out the logbook properly, and makes sure they use the equipment properly and safely.

This is mainly a people problem, not a technical problem.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Automatically Logging Non-Computerized Equipment Use?

MattskEE Re:Penny wise and pound foolish? (130 comments)

I don't think you fully understand how this type of setup works in a University - this type of billing setup is common in the labs and departmental machine shops at my uni. It's important to keep in mind that even within a department there are a number of fairly independent faculty members and their research groups who win grants to do their work and buy equipment with this grant money for their labs, and then there may be multiple departments within a single building. Overhead charged to research grants helps pay for the building maintenance and department staff but usually doesn't generally pay for any upkeep of equipment, supplies, or staffing of any of the research labs.

If a professor lets other people use his equipment without paying for it then lots of people will want to use it (because it's free) and it can become a money sink where the professor who owns the equipment is paying for all supplies and upkeep but he can't enforce oversight of the equipment because there's no cost recovery to pay for a tech or grad student to maintain the tool, train new users, and watch over usage. Since there's no oversight parts will get misplaced, people will mistreat it and damage the tool. I've seen it happen. So they need to charge other users something, to fairly allocate cost it might as well be hourly.

If there is a group of professors who all benefit from each others' labs then they can share access equally, and each professor is responsible for the cost of maintaining and staffing their lab, much like a network peering arrangement. But if it's a very one-sided sharing then charging for access makes a lot of sense, otherwise one professor ends up subsidizing the others.

about 5 months ago
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Apple Urges Arizona Governor To Veto Anti-Gay Legislation

MattskEE Re:First blacks, (917 comments)

This is a good point, thanks.

about 5 months ago
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Apple Urges Arizona Governor To Veto Anti-Gay Legislation

MattskEE Re:First blacks, (917 comments)

By redefining marriage, in turn the effect is telling religions that they must redefine themselves. Are you really going to claim that all religions, many with histories extending back for millennia, must all redefine themselves? All the Jewish variants, the Christian and assorted protestant faiths, the Muslim believers, the native American nations with their beliefs, they must all redefine their religions for the convenience of the US government?

I don't care whether or not churches redefine themselves. I make no demand on them whatsoever. They can do whatever they please within the bounds of the law because it does not affect me. I even respect their right to grant the marriage sacrament only to straight couples, though I would personally prefer that such discrimination not be legal for an organization which is able to claim significant tax privileges.

My point in my first post was that if a religious organization wants a sacrament of union that doesn't share a name with a civil status that can be conferred on homosexual couples then the churches can rename their sacrament. That's all.

Maybe I got a little carried away by telling religious groups to suck it up but it makes so unhappy to hear about people who oppose gay marriage and homosexuality in general, or think that homosexuality is a choice, or a sign of moral decay, or a result of sexual trauma. Many of the staunchest critics of homosexuality push their views in the context of an organized religion, which tends to make me think poorly of organized religions in general since I can find no logical reason to be opposed to homosexuality.

I decided to spend 5 minutes looking into the precedence issue and found a random online source about the history of marriage which seems to suggest that civil marriage predates religious marriage in Rome anyway. This may persuade some (if civil marriage does truly predate religious marriage), but religious and civil origins or marriage are both millennia past and don't matter much in my opinion.

about 5 months ago
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Apple Urges Arizona Governor To Veto Anti-Gay Legislation

MattskEE Re:First blacks, (917 comments)

The word marriage is heavily entrenched in law and contract as a civil status. Religion may have used the term first (I don't actually know, nor do I care) but it's a legal word now and religious institutions should suck it up. It would probably even be expensive for the government to change the name of marriage to civil union.

If religious institutions don't like sharing a word for marriage because gays are finally allowed to get married in a subset of states then religions should invent a new term which refers solely to their religions sacrament (maybe "religious union"? "no-gays-allowed union"?) because they are the ones who have a problem, not us.

Religious people who oppose homosexuality are fleeing in vain from the march of history, because the march towards equal rights will not stop despite the loud but few voices against homosexuality. If religions can get on board we'll get equal rites too.

about 5 months ago

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