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Facebook 'Safety Check' Lets Friends Know You're OK After a Major Disaster

Obfuscant Re:yeah, going with not creepy. (126 comments)

Neither RFC 1149 - IP over Avian Carriers nor RFC 2549 - IP over Avian Carriers with QoS protocol are implemented by my local carrier pigeon, you ignorant clod!

ISPs throttling traffic takes on a whole new dimension with these protocols. They can roast the pigeons after throttling them and feed people who are homeless because of the disaster! Throttling network traffic is a Good Thing! And imagine the visual imagery as they demonstrate what "bottleneck" means as they run the roast pigeon through the meat grinder to make pigeon sausage. Youse can only puts so many pigeons through the grinder at the same time ...

2 days ago
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Facebook 'Safety Check' Lets Friends Know You're OK After a Major Disaster

Obfuscant Re:Would have loved this in 2005 in London (126 comments)

That day with the mobile network switched off, it was hard to let people know I was ok, ... but something like this would have been far better.

So you'd use the mobile network to contact Facebook to let everyone else know ... umm, wait. What mobile network? And you'd use the shut-off mobile network to check FB to see if your girlfriend had used the same shut-off mobile network to let FB know she was ok.

Here's an idea. Prior to any disaster, plan. Pick someone in a different area that y'all who live in the same area can text with your info, and then y'all can use SMS to let everyone know you're ok. SMS is most likely to survive a disaster, much more than voice or data.

2 days ago
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Facebook 'Safety Check' Lets Friends Know You're OK After a Major Disaster

Obfuscant Re:yeah, going with not creepy. (126 comments)

and the ability to mark Grandma as okay even if her internet is down is pretty appealing.

The Internet will be one of the first things to go down in a disaster. The fact that Grandma hasn't told Facebook she's ok because she can't get to Facebook will only scare Grandma's relatives. Same for Grandpa, Pa, Ma, Jr., Missie, etc. This will drive an overload of existing resources as panicky people outside the area try even harder to reach in to find out loved ones status', because my goodness if they haven't said they're ok using this app, they are probably not.

In other words, the existence of this "feature" will become like email -- assumed to be 100% reliable and fast, and if someone hasn't clicked the "I'm OK" button the assumption won't be "the internet is down and they can't, be patient", it will be "they're dead and cannot click a simple button. Panic!"

3 days ago
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Michigan About To Ban Tesla Sales

Obfuscant Re:This is getting ugly (291 comments)

No, but the person who sells the Tesla car is a person who happens to work for Tesla.

The person who arranges the transaction doesn't own the car, the person known as "Tesla Corporation" does. It is a transaction between a corporation and a person, not a personal transaction between the salesman and you. When you say a person should be able to sell anything to another person in this context, you are saying that you consider the Tesla Corporation to be a person. (And we are, of course, ignoring the issue that a fleet or other corporate purchase creates, that of the buyer being a corporate "person". Ok, we aren't ignoring it, we just pointed it out.)

I happen to agree, but I just wanted to make it clear that you're basing that statement on a not entirely universal belief about the "personhood" of corporations.

4 days ago
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Michigan About To Ban Tesla Sales

Obfuscant Re:So funny it's sad. (291 comments)

I would rather order the thing online direct from the factory (or Amazon) and just have it delivered. There is so much crap an nonsense you have to deal with at a car dealership, it's not even funny.

Having to ship it back to get warranty repairs would kind of make warranties useless. I much prefer being able to drive it to the dealer and telling him "it isn't working, fix it." Also to deal with recalls. (This is a lesson I learned after many years of buying commodity PCs. I've had to drive 60 miles to take one back that wasn't working, and I much prefer walking into the local shop and dropping the problem in their lap.)

As for "nonsense", you just need to find a good dealer. They exist. I went to a local Chevy dealer looking for my last car and was offered a good deal on a used one. I told the guy I would think about it and he said ok. I called him two days later and said 'no thanks'. The next day the manager called me to twist my arm -- and I told him in no uncertain terms that when I said 'no' I meant no and I was not going to accept his strong-arm tactics and he'd just cost Chevy and his dealership a long-time Chevy owner. So I went somewhere else.

That somewhere else has been an excellent dealer with no nonsense or drama, no attempts to sell me a new model when take my current one in for service, and they gave me a good price on the one I've bought from them so far. I'll certainly go back for the next one.

4 days ago
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Michigan About To Ban Tesla Sales

Obfuscant Re:This is getting ugly (291 comments)

I don't understand how the state can prevent one man from selling his goods to another. Land of the free indeed.

Shall I see this as a statement that the corporation called "Tesla" is equivalent to a person?

4 days ago
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Michigan About To Ban Tesla Sales

Obfuscant Re:Cannot stop progress (291 comments)

Silly Rabbit, Teslas are for the masses.

You must be insane. TrueCar shows me that the base price of a Tesla 2014 S is $70,890, and the "performance" version is $94,390. Kelley Blue Book puts the base price at $68,710 - $73,429. A car for the masses? A car for the lower end of the 1% more like it.

4 days ago
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Worcester Mass. City Council Votes To Keep Comcast From Entering the Area

Obfuscant Re:Awesome quote (232 comments)

It's not just the cost. Nobody wants their streets dug up 30 times in order to let those 30 potential competitors lay their wiring.

In my town, streets are dug up on a regular basis for all kinds of things except for cable lines. Those are on the poles, which have space.

Somehow, big cable has convinced the regulators to lay off, citing satellite as competition. But satellite broadband sucks,

The days of cable regulation dealt with the cable television product, not the cable internet. Satellite broadband is irrelevant, it's the satellite television that matters. Yes, Dish and Direct are both competitors for cable, especially since installing a system is so simple nowadays. And, IIRC, Charlie Ergen wanted to buy DirectTV a long time ago and was stopped precisely because it would decrease competition too much.

Opening up the market to 30 competitors is impractical, but governments should grant at least one cable competitor equal access...

Now you're back at the problem that you cannot force a company to compete in a market they don't want to, and there just isn't enough profit to be made to make competition viable. Governments can grant a second franchise, but first they need someone to ask for it.

4 days ago
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Worcester Mass. City Council Votes To Keep Comcast From Entering the Area

Obfuscant Re: Awesome quote (232 comments)

That's not true. The wire still handles the same number of bits.

Ok, if you want to have twenty companies all limited to 1/20 of the potential bandwidth of the wire, you can claim that the wire will handle the same number of bits. Or you'll have the same terrible situation where ISPs make claims of potential maximum bandwidth that you will never be able to achieve because they've oversold the capacity of the wire.

You could have five cable companies all using the same wire today, except for that problem. It would be trivial in this day of programmable digital converters for each company to send their own authorizations down the wire which allows you to tune only to their channels. The problem is that you'd be limited to 1/5 the number of channels that one company could send. Considering the huge amount of duplication of content required, it would be a huge waste of resources.

Slashdot just had a story on how this works wonders in Sweden.

I bet it is just wonderful to know that not only is your bandwidth is being limited by your neighbor's use, but that your neighbor isn't even a customer of the same ISP you are. I can hear the howls now: a "centurylink" customer's high usage is hindering a "comcast" customer's access. A great system.

4 days ago
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Worcester Mass. City Council Votes To Keep Comcast From Entering the Area

Obfuscant Re:A government picking the winners and losers? (232 comments)

Sure about that? If you wanted to opened a store featuring goods carried at your typical Wal-Mart, would you be more or less interested in moving to a jurisdiction that refused to let them in?

I'm sure. Your example is not a government shutting down a business because they define it to be "terrible" at service. A Walmart that isn't allowed into a city because of zoning issues (the usual reason) hasn't invested money in building and stock and hiring people. An operating company that is being shut down for "terrible service" has.

4 days ago
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Worcester Mass. City Council Votes To Keep Comcast From Entering the Area

Obfuscant Re:A government picking the winners and losers? (232 comments)

Actually, it SHOULD define terrible quite explicitly so you can judge if you would ever meet the criteria.

No, the government should NOT define "terrible" for me. I am free to define it myself. As I pointed out, even the best companies have customers who think the service is terrible, just as they have customers who think it is great.

4 days ago
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Worcester Mass. City Council Votes To Keep Comcast From Entering the Area

Obfuscant Re: Awesome quote (232 comments)

That's exactly how I wish my internet worked.

It works with electricity because it doesn't matter which electrons you pull from the wire, you're paying the company that pushes them onto it. Internet doesn't work that way. It matters which bytes you get. Twenty different ISPs means that the wire needs to be able to handle twenty times the data at the same time.

4 days ago
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Who's In Charge During the Ebola Crisis?

Obfuscant Re:No, that's not the problem (279 comments)

I read about new medical research all day. It's my job.

Let's cut this short. That's nice. You read about research. The comment you made that I replied to was concerning the FREEDOM TO DO SUCH RESEARCH. People should be free to study insane things, as you put it. And I AGREED. No question. But that's not good enough for you.

You seem to think that NIH has to fund insane research in order for people to be free to do it. You've completely abused the word "free" by starting at "freedom" and winding up at "at taxpayer expense". Your "freedom" to keep and bear arms does not incur a governmental responsibility to buy you a gun so you can be "free", any more than freedom to do research incurs a government responsibility to pay for it, and you've said nothing that would even begin to argue otherwise.

Nobody in the industry or in academic medical research believes that private investment could fund the kind of research the NIH does.

That's insane. I'm in academia (not medical, but medical has no special status when it comes to having their hand out for grant money) and I fully expect condom companies to spend their own money developing new kinds of condoms. That's private industry funding precisely the kind of "research" that NIH has become involved with. You even pointed out that Bill Gates is dumping $100M into such projects, and that's "private investment" writ large.

And when it comes to why fat girls can't get dates, or whether drunk men accost women, I don't care if NIH is the only place that could or would fund such ridiculous research, they shouldn't be doing it. If YOU want to know why a fat girl can't get a date, you pay for it. If you care which hand chimpanzees use to fling their poo (right-handed, BTW) that's nice, but it's hardly worth spending taxpayer money on. It's a waste of NIH money when they're complaining they don't have enough to fund important research. That makes them hypocrites as well as money-wasters.

I note that the only research you chose to defend was the ass condoms, which is a pretty clear admission that you cannot defend the other examples. Yet, you insult me when I point out the wastes and won't accept them as valid, valuable, fundable research projects. Hmmm. It appears you think NIH can do no wrong when it hands out money, and that NIH has to hand it out or people aren't free anymore. You cherry pick one example of money wasting research and try to defend it as part of the overall "AIDS research" (when it is not research into curing AIDS but into commercial development of a commercial product that a commercial company could do just as well), but the others you cannot defend at all.

I also meet people who believe that the government can't do anything,

I think they call this a "straw man" argument. Since you can't show where I've said anything close to that, your attempt at insulting me with the statement fails even the briefest sniff test.

So I realize that you believe the government is wasting money on NIH research, no facts will convince you otherwise,

You've provided exactly zero new information, so why should I have changed my mind? I agreed with your statement that people should be free to do insane research, but you've not said anything that would show that the government has to fund insane research. "It's AIDS!" Well, that's nice, but most of the examples weren't. "They had a reason." Sorry, I know how grants are written and everyone comes up with a "reason" their research is important and critical and vital and crucial and novel and new and should be funded. That's the grant writing process. Some universities run workshops on how to do that; what key words to use in your proposals to improve the chance of them being approved. You can expect EVERY grant request to contain a plethora of reasons why it should be funded, but not every grant request will actually contain research that should be funded. The people who write the proposals think so, but they have an inherent bias -- or didn't you know that?

I thought you had maybe a glimmer of willingness to consider ideas outside your preconceived beliefs. But now I see you don't.

Yeah, and now you have to resort to the "if I can't convince you I'm right, you must be stupid" style of argument. That's an admission of your own failure, not mine. Since you've stooped to insult in place of argument, I will write here what I was so sorely tempted to write above: "if you want to find out why fat girls can't get a date, you pay for it. She's YOUR sister, after all." There, that felt really good, but it wasn't really productive. Since you've left the arena on productive discussion by taking the insult path, I think it's fair to give back what you're giving me.

4 days ago
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Worcester Mass. City Council Votes To Keep Comcast From Entering the Area

Obfuscant Re:A government picking the winners and losers? (232 comments)

The market would open up for less terrible companies to move in?

If I operated a company and was looking at moving into an area, and found out that the local government had the power to shut down companies based on some arbitrary definition of "terrible", I'd think more than twice about going there. Why should I invest in opening a new store if someone can get a bug up their ass and get the local city council to shut me down because I'm "terrible"? Even the best companies have customers who think they are terrible.

The government should not be in the business of defining "terrible" (in the context of this discussion), they should allow customers to decide. I much prefer the situation I'm in where I decided a long time ago that Dish Network was terrible and I dropped them, rather than have my city council decide to keep me from being able to choose their service should I want it.

4 days ago
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Worcester Mass. City Council Votes To Keep Comcast From Entering the Area

Obfuscant Re:It's not competition. (232 comments)

The (as in one) license implies that that there is a monopoly. Dejeure or defacto is irrelevant.

No, dejure or defacto is quite relevant when talking about whether a government is granting a monopoly or not. Defacto monopolies exist when only one company decides to compete. Dejure means only one company is ALLOWED to compete. If the franchise in that city is exclusive, then there is a dejure monopoly granted by the government. If the franchise is non-exclusive it is defacto.

Not that it matters. The point I was making to the OP in this thread was that there is a monopoly.

Not just that it was a monopoly but a dejure monopoly. As in:

Monopoly player 1 (Comcast) is attempting to purchase the monopoly franchise from monopoly player 2

If the franchise is not exclusive, then it is not a "monopoly franchise".

4 days ago
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Worcester Mass. City Council Votes To Keep Comcast From Entering the Area

Obfuscant Re:No, they didn't (232 comments)

The city most certainly can define who has access to city owned utility poles. Siply a fact...

Yes, and they've already defined that a cable company called "Charter" can have access. Comcast is buying that franchise, not trying for a new one.

4 days ago
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Worcester Mass. City Council Votes To Keep Comcast From Entering the Area

Obfuscant Re:Awesome quote (232 comments)

You think that illegally divvying up territory in an anti-competitive and monopolistic fashion is "simple business economics"?

It is not illegal for one company to decide it will not compete with another in a certain region when the decision is a simple one based on simple economics. The name "Walmart" has come up in other places in this discussion. Walmart chooses locations to build stores based on expected return on investment. It is not illegal for them to decide not to build in an area that already has a large number of other low-price stores, it is a simple business decision based on economics.

Second, each company's decision not to compete with the other has no binding on any other company that wishes try to compete. Therefore, it is not anti-competitive. You cannot force a company to compete in a market it does not want to, so you cannot prohibit one from making the decision not to. So, you cannot force Walmart to build in your town to compete with existing markets, and it is not illegal for the other markets to exist.

What WOULD be illegal and anti-competitive would be if Comcast (or TW) decided to drop rates to below cost to drive competitors out of a market they wanted to compete in.

Holy sheet. How much do they pay you, you bootlicking shill?

I'm sorry that your hatred for Comcast blinds you to simple business economics and drives you to insult those who try to educate you.

4 days ago
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Worcester Mass. City Council Votes To Keep Comcast From Entering the Area

Obfuscant Re:In short... (232 comments)

Yep, that's the current system. Of course, since 1% of the people have 90% of the money, most likely your vote doesn't count for much.

So you're saying that the evil rich 1% of the residents of the city who would "vote" for Comcast and keep the service they have would be enough to keep Comcast in the area? They'd have to buy an AWFUL lot of cable services to do that. While Comcast's prices for service are high, I don't think a 1% saturation would keep them in the black.

4 days ago
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Worcester Mass. City Council Votes To Keep Comcast From Entering the Area

Obfuscant Re:Walmart is used to this (232 comments)

There are differences, of course, but they balance out, I think. First, Comcast needs infrastructure across the whole city in order to deliver it's services, and I think that gives the city even more right to decide wether or not to let them do it. They'd be using city owed property and be given rights of way in order to do their business,

A very nice argument, but completely off the mark. Comcast isn't asking to build anything, they're buying the license (franchise) from Charter who has already done all of that. It will be very hard to justify not allowing the transfer based on anything you've said.

So... on the outside, it seems like Walmart would have a better case for suing.

I live in a town that tried to keep Walmart out. As long as the land use laws are being applied evenly and fairly, Walmart had no grounds to sue anyone. What they wound up doing is following the land use laws and building one of their "local markets" -- small versions of the megastores.

At the same time, the destruction in the wake of the Walmart tornados are terrible...

We have yet to see the "tornado". So far, two groceries have closed. One was marginal and in direct competition with a non-Walmart large store that always had better prices anyway. The other was a chain that closed several stores because the whole chain went bankrupt. That included a store ten miles away from the closest evil Walmart that was the main grocery in that town.

4 days ago
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Worcester Mass. City Council Votes To Keep Comcast From Entering the Area

Obfuscant Re:A government picking the winners and losers? (232 comments)

As opposed to when the government gives them a local monopoly?

Unless you know the content of the Wooster/Charter franchise agreement, you don't know the government has given them a local monopoly.

4 days ago

Submissions

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Comcast encrypting basic digital cable

Obfuscant Obfuscant writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Obfuscant (592200) writes "Comcast of Oregon, the friendly cable company that once allowed people with ClearQAM-equipped TVs to eavesdrop on other people's On-Demand programs, has decided to encrypt even the Digital Starter channels it was carrying in the clear. These are the channels that anyone paying for digital service gets. The reason: to prevent signal theft.

They're claiming that they cannot simply trap out the digital channels from those getting the analog Basic service, even though the digital goodies start way up at channel 64 and the analog tops out at 30. "Traps don't work", according to customer service. (Someone please explain why RF traps care what modulation is on the frequencies they filter out, or how a trap that makes analog signals undetectable will provide a viewable digital signal when even an unfiltered digital signal drops out on a regular basis.) This is the same cable company that used to be able to trap out channels 31 and above if you didn't have Expanded Basic.

They point the finger at the program providers — like ESPN and SyFy. "It's a contractual requirement" for people who are paying for the programs to be prevented from using their own DVRs to record them for later use. "Of course we'll rent you a Comcast DVR..."

Perhaps it's time to dust of those old copies of the Cable Consumer Protection Act of 1992, which deals specifically with this issue."

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