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The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

Mike_K The Government also ruined my washer and dryer (602 comments)

The thing about CFLs is that you should never turn on a hot fluorescent bulb. That is a good way to reduce its life. So as a rule of thumb, if you just turned it off, don't turn it on for 15 minutes. This can be hugely inconvenient (nobody wants to wait 15 minutes to turn a light on!) So fluorescents are a particularly bad choice for bathrooms. I have fluorescents in all our bathrooms and I have to change them every couple of years. Huge pain. I'm in the process of retrofitting the fixtures with LED bulbs (must remove the ballast, install different mounts and and make sure there is some air flow). I have some fluorescents around the house in more appropriate locations and with careful use, I haven't had any of them burn out (4 years or so). I put them in lights that aren't turned off frequently, such as above the kitchen sink, reading lamps and outdoor lights. As others have noted, LEDs will likely fail due to failing capacitors. But you can turn them on and off all day, and they'll turn on instantly, reproducing the incandescent experience.

For appliances, you are probably over-generalizing. I have a 4-year-old HE washer/dryer, and no signs of mold (our washer has a steam cycle which we use occasionally). My parents have a 6-year-old HE washer, and no signs of mold (they hang-dry their laundry so no dryer). My wife's parents have an even older washer/dryer and also no signs of mold. You could have had a bum unit, and service techs represent a selection bias. Or any other explanation. Europeans have been using efficient appliances for a long time, and they don't break there either...

about 4 months ago

How Do You Backup 20TB of Data?

Mike_K Re:Duplicity. (983 comments)

I prefer duplicati:


about 10 months ago

Experian Sold Social Security Numbers To ID Theft Service

Mike_K need DMCA for private info (390 comments)

"with big data comes big responsibility"

Simple: any company that leaks private information of US citizens (or allows it to move off-shore) should be subject of $10,000 fine per person (throw in some jail time for executives and board of directors). Plus, the law should explicitly allow class action suits and forbid contracts that take away that right. And proof of damages should not be required.

This leak supposedly disclosed data for 500,000 people, so that would be $5,000,000,000 (Experian goes bankrupt) and Experian executives will rot in prison. Wanna bet there would be class action attorneys at the ready to represent the plaintiffs?

Suddenly privacy protection would become #1 on everybody's mind...


about a year ago

Study: Limiting Bidding On Spectrum Could Cost Billions

Mike_K Make leases non-permanent (140 comments)

Here is a simple way to make telecoms move on the spectrum they are sitting on: make the lease non-permanent.

If each lease lasted, say, 15 years, and had to be rebid, say, 5 years before the lease expires, the incentive to sit on spectrum would diminish greatly. The prices that companies are willing to pay for spectrum might diminish somewhat, but not utilizing spectrum would start costing real money, and new competition would have a chance to enter the market every now and then.

The problem with the current system is that obtaining a lease to spectrum gives companies a permanent monopoly on the spectrum forever, which decreases the incentive for competition. The spectrum is a sunk cost and delaying utilization of it is merely a loss of revenue, but not a direct cost.


about a year and a half ago

FCC Moving To Launch Dynamic Spectrum Sharing

Mike_K Perpetual licenses (30 comments)

I have wondered why spectrum licenses have been perpetual. It makes a lot more sense to have the lease lapse after 10 or 20 years, and re-auction it. This would provide for the more effective allocation, while allowing big carriers to have return on their infrastructure investment.

Finer grained licensing (what this proposal seems to suggest) is also good, but you can only invest so much in infrastructure without knowing how/when exactly the spectrum will be available. So this will be useful for something like WiFi, but not so well for large installations of cell base stations.


more than 2 years ago

Iran Running Out of Physical Currency, Satellite Broadcasts Dropped in Europe

Mike_K Re:This is immoral (480 comments)

I think your post is inconsistent. If you buy the premise that Iran is trying to build an atomic bomb (you don't question this premise), then you have to accept that Iran may use its atomic bomb. It is possible it will use said atomic bomb for conquest of the land which was conquered by your ancestors and which you are holding right now. This applies to both US and Europe. And yes, Israel.

So the sanctions against Iran are a defensive act against potential conquest. Best defense is offense, right?


more than 2 years ago

China's Yangtze River Turns Red

Mike_K Re:sounds familiar (272 comments)

You have clearly never lived under Communism. Diapers were made of fabric (because babies do not wait for disposables to be delivered), but everyone was on a constant search for toilet paper. And not the soft stuff that feels like soft fabric that is sold in the West, we're talking about nasty, sand-paper resembling stuff that you knew was made out of recycled newspapers because you could read a letter here and there.


more than 2 years ago

Netflix CEO Accuses Comcast of Not Practicing Net Neutrality

Mike_K Uneven competition (272 comments)

All these posts about the cost to Comcast (Netflix is outside Comcast's network while Comcast's content is within the network) are missing the point.

If Comcast allowed Netflix to host their servers within Comcast's infrastructure for a reasonable fee, then Netflix would have an option of how to host the content. Pay a little more, and Comcast customers do not have to deal with the cap. But Comcast does not allow that. And that is the real issue.

Netflix would love this, because not only would they have a better product for Comcast customers, they would also save on fees for sending their content to Comcast's network. Comcast would of course hate it because they would have to compete with Netflix on a more even playing field.

This seems like something that FCC should take a look at - either apply caps evenly to all content (even within network/infrastructure) or allow competitors to host their content within your network/infrastructure. This sort of a rule should be one of the basic principles of net neutrality.


more than 2 years ago

Installation of Blue Waters Petaflop Supercomputer Begins

Mike_K Ahem, NVIDIA? (86 comments)

It is very nice that AMD Opterons are mentioned and petaflops are celebrated, but aren't those petaflops mostly delivered by NVIDIA's Kepler Tesa cards?

From the TFA:

Cray XK6 blades with NVIDIA(R) Tesla(TM) GPUs, based on NVIDIA
(NASDAQ: NVDA) next-generation 'Kepler' architecture, which is
expected to more than double the performance of the Fermi GPU on
double-precision arithmetic.

more than 2 years ago

Yahoo's Project To Disrupt Mobile Publishing

Mike_K not cross platform (yet) (120 comments)

Yahoo's Platform Technology Group is working on an alternative: a set of JavaScript and HTML-based tools that would handle core UI and data-management tasks inside mobile apps for any operating system (...) Yahoo is showing off what they can do in the form of Livestand, the news reader app it released for the iPad in November.

Seriously? This is about a cross platform framework that so far has produced a single application that runs on only one platform?

A little premature, don't you think?


more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: One Framework To Rule Them All?

Mike_K may just as well ask... (287 comments)

emacs or vi? Flamewar at 6!

more than 3 years ago

Spontaneous Fission In Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2

Mike_K Re:Not too surprising (266 comments)

Meanwhile, they have to continuously remove about 2MW of heat or things get worse.

I wonder if they could use that extra heat to generate some electricity...

more than 3 years ago

The Software Patent Debate Is Incorrectly Framed

Mike_K Problem is with obviousness (274 comments)

The real problem with all patents is that it is difficult to judge which applications are sufficiently non-obvious, and the current system chooses to err on the side of granting more patents rather than fewer. In my opinion, one test for patents should be to check if the patent depends on a technology that has not been widely available for, say, at least 5 years. If it does depend on such a technology, the invention should not be patentable. This way, everybody would have 5 years to develop the same idea. If nobody does, then it is non-obvious. If everybody does, then it is obvious, and shouldn't be patentable.

So, for example, if someone figured out how to efficiently solve the traveling salesman algorithm on a regular computer, that would be patentable: computers have been around for more than 5 years. But if their solution requires a quantum computer, then the idea is not patentable, because quantum computers are not widely available.

By this logic, inventions of internal combustion engine, steam engine, rocket engines, etc, would be patentable. But being the first to create some gene just because you invented the sequencing technology would not allow you to patent the gene. The sequencing technology may be patentable. Most current software patents would not be allowed under this system.


more than 3 years ago

House Websites Jammed After Obama Debt Speech

Mike_K Re:Rewrite the Constitution or face default! (1042 comments)

I don't know about Medicare, but there is not enough money to pay Social Security.

Social Security does not hold cash, it holds bonds. And today, due to the reduced tax receipts, it is collecting less in taxes than they are obligated to pay. So, in order to pay all the beneficiaries, some bonds have to be sold. The problem is that these are special bonds, which can only be sold back to the Treasury. But the Treasury is out of cash to pay for them.



more than 3 years ago

A Deep-Dive Look At Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1

Mike_K Re:Well (264 comments)

The reason they cannot be much cheaper is *because* they get the OS for free.

None of the other vendors can match Apple on purchasing power alone, so they will have a hard time competing on cost for comparable hardware. And since Apple owns the software and the store that comes with it, they can sell the hardware below cost, and make it all back in the App Store, iTunes, etc.

more than 3 years ago

Apple Nixes iPad Giveaways

Mike_K Re:They did what now? (388 comments)

Actually, the current precedent says you can prevent distribution of anything with a copyright, like an Apple logo. It is not nationwide (yet) but the SCOTUS got deadlocked on it the last time. Hopefully the next time a case like this comes up, it will be decided in favor of the first sale doctrine.

Omega S.A. v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 541 F.3d 982 (9th Cir. 2008), was a case decided by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that held that in copyright law, the first-sale doctrine does not act as a defense to claims of infringing distribution and importation for unauthorized sale of authentic, imported watches that bore a design registered in the Copyright Office.[1]



more than 3 years ago

Paul Allen's Lawsuit Patents To Be Reexamined

Mike_K Definition of non-patentable (57 comments)

Isn't one rule of "novelty" for a patent that just about any expert in the field wouldn't be able to come up with the same solution to the problem? Because IIRC, his company basically gets experts to sit together with lawyers and speculate about the future. And that would pretty much mean to me that any expert in the field can come up with the same solution to the problems these patents describe. Which would make these solutions, well, non-patentable and the patents invalid.


more than 3 years ago

My Crowdsourced Follow-Up About Crowdsourcing

Mike_K Start with better filtering of complaints (59 comments)

While setting up juries, etc, may be useful, it would be quite easy to use a Google-ish algorithm to discount abusive mob complaints in the first place. If you find that certain people have a high rate of complaining, their complaints probably should have a low weight. And you could use the age and activity level of the account to ignore some accounts (new accounts, and rarely used accounts do not represent Facebook users well). So if someone arranges a mob to get groups dealing with an issue removed, the mob will quickly become toothless because they've complained too much too quickly. On the other hand, creating new accounts would create another toothless mob.

Now your juries have a lot less to do, which deals with the problems of jury fatigue.

more than 3 years ago

Amazon Pulling Out of Texas Over $269 Million Tax Bill

Mike_K Congress: fix the tax system already! (811 comments)

I'm sure I'll be a minority here, but I strongly believe that Congress should change the system. It should always be the responsibility of the retailer to collect and pay the tax to the State, even if the sale is across state borders (which is why Congress needs to get involved - cross-state-lines commerce).

The situation as is, is a ridiculous race to the bottom: Amazon operates in my state, so I'll buy from Newegg. Newegg operates in my state, so I'll buy from Best Buy. I'm supposed to pay taxes for online purchases, but who remembers in April what they bought online in January of previous year?!

Such a change would decrease transportation costs for online purchases (warehouses in any and all states that have a big enough market), increase local jobs (more people would go to their B&M stores and buy things so you need sales staff, plus warehouse jobs), bring more money to the states (which are bleeding almost uniformly) and make the market in a state more uniform (no penalty for having an office, warehouse, or B&M store in one state or another).

The retailers might complain about having to collect taxes, etc, but if it is too difficult for them to collect tax for a particular state, they are free to not ship to that state.

It is time to straighted out the whole sales tax situation. And yes, I am an eastern, over-educated, arugula-eating elitist.


more than 3 years ago



Setting up a small ISP?

Mike_K Mike_K writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Mike_K (138858) writes "I live in a small condo building, and at our recent meeting we discussed the idea of sharing internet between the codos. The only problem is that we would rather not expose those actually providing the service to harassment from RIAA, MPAA, etc. The best idea I can come up with to solve this is to create a small ISP for our building and give everybody a static IP. I know enough about networking to be able to set this up, but I don't know anything about actually setting up an ISP. Can anybody help me with where to start looking? Would this ever be economical? Is there a better way to go? We are located in a big city with Comcast and Verizon being choices for consumer internet, and close to some big schools with lots of bandwidth, if you think that would help."


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