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Comments

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SCO Terminates Darl McBride

StringBlade Re:That's a bit harsh (458 comments)

And here I thought "invincible" meant cannot be Vince...

more than 4 years ago
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Why AT&T Should Dump the iPhone's Unlimited Data Plan

StringBlade Re:What I find astonishing... (501 comments)

While it's tempting to think that one only uses some small percentage X of their monthly (theoretic) capacity, the concept of downgrading to save money would almost certainly be met with disappointment.

Unless you're paying by the MB (which is something of the antithesis of these comments) then you're paying by bandwidth (i.e. speed). Let's say you pay for 20 Mbps download but only use your computer 5 days out of the month for 2 hours each day. It seems like you're not using your connection to its full capacity and you're wasting your money so you decide to downgrade to 5 Mbps. (I'm assuming here we aren't talking about data limits.)

The user experience at 5 Mbps will be significantly different than that of one at 20 Mbps especially for certain activities such as watching streaming HDTV.

The fact that you don't use your connection frequently is immaterial to what you are paying for. You are paying for a fast connection when you use the Internet regardless of how frequently that is. So downgrading to save money only works if you're talking strictly about data usage and not access speed.

Unfortunately, many cable companies and ISPs inseparably merge the twto - data limit and speed - with higher speeds equating to higher limits (if they are imposed). If people could choose their connection speed separate from their data cap, and if standard data caps were reasonable for the time (meaning they increase as the average use increases), and if overage fees were reasonably priced (for example, charging an extra $1 for every 10GB over the cap or charging a pro-rated rate for the time spent in the "next data tier"), then we might have a chance at acceptable data and speed tiers.

Sadly this is probably too complex for Joe the Plumber and certainly more than the ISPs want to deal with so I don't expect to see anything like it any time soon.

more than 4 years ago
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James Murdoch Criticizes BBC For Providing "Free News"

StringBlade Re:Please don't tell me that! (703 comments)

You just grab some popcorn and watch the show cheering each side as they battle themselves (hopefully) into mutual oblivion.

more than 5 years ago
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State of Sound Development On Linux Not So Sorry After All

StringBlade Re:He makes one excellent and crucial point (427 comments)

Linux does a miserable job at audio with multiple sound cards. For many years I've had two sound cards: one on-board and one add-in card. To this day Linux randomly assigns the sound card order upon boot so it's a crap-shoot to get the sound card you want as the default card without manual configuration.

I've tried setting the default in Ubuntu but that never seems to take hold. The only way to get the same sound card as the default (aside from running a script on boot that calls 'asoundconf set-default-card 1' is to edit the alsa-base.conf file in modprobe.d/ and explicitly set the index of the card I want to 0 and the rest to -2.

To me this level of configuration detail is unacceptable. In Windows if I have two sound cards and the wrong one is chosen as default, I simply open the sound options, select the sound card I want as default and I never get bothered by it again. Why can't it be that simple in Linux regardless of whether we're using OSS, ALSA, or PulseAudio?

more than 5 years ago
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State of Sound Development On Linux Not So Sorry After All

StringBlade Re:By saying that he proves his former point (427 comments)

Pulse is great as long as you're not interested in connecting S/PDIF or optical digital audio connections, then it just fails completely. I've never successfully gotten PulseAudio to work with S/PDIF out to my receiver and everything I've read suggests it's not really ready to handle AC3 and DTS passthrough. ALSA on the other hand does it just perfectly and I find myself disabling PulseAudio on all my MythTV frontend machines and just going with ALSA.

What was wrong with ALSA again? Are we trying to solve a problem with PulseAudio that is only perceived and not really a problem? Yes, some applications are old and use OSS. Yes some applications go it alone and write their own audio drivers. By and large however, ALSA is left to handle the audio and instead of throwing a wrapper around all the sound, why not just let evolution and survival of the fittest take place. If that happens I'm sure PulseAudio will fade away and ALSA will remain the strongest and most common contender.

more than 5 years ago
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Bill Ready To Ban ISP Caps In the US

StringBlade Re:wireless data? (439 comments)

Is it still a market decision when there's no competitive alternative and the barrier to entry is so high as to guarantee no competitive alternative will arise?

more than 5 years ago
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Bill Ready To Ban ISP Caps In the US

StringBlade Re:Sounds like an idiotic idea (439 comments)

They're not really going after the producers of traffic, just the consumers of traffic. Many traffic-generating sites do indeed pay for the bandwidth they use...just ask Slashdot how much they have to pay for their bandwidth costs. The costs gets skewed when you start thinking about Google and Yahoo and Amazon. Clearly they generate so much traffic that they must pay an extremely low rate for their bandwidth or they could not possibly be profitable.

more than 5 years ago
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Court Case Against VeriSign, .Com Monopoly Revived

StringBlade Should .com get special treatment? (37 comments)

I'm not a fan of VeriSign by any means, but aren't there several organizations in charge of TLDs? VeriSign does not control the .org TLD, nor (I believe) does it control the .co.uk TLD. So this is very much about treating .com special perhaps because it's the most popular and common. However, if VeriSign (or any granted monopoly) abuses their power, then they need to lose the privilege immediately, not when their term is up.

What is a bit more curious to me is why ICANN is still primarily U.S.-controlled. Why isn't it an international organization with bidding across nations for the privilege of being the .com (or any highly-sought TLD) operator.

ICANN should be international (because the Internet has become international), and TLD monopolies should still be allowed to exist (for logistical reasons), but those monopolies are subject to periodic review and loss if there is evidence of abuse brought before ICANN.

The other option of course is to assume that .com is U.S. only and VeriSign should be subject to U.S. anti-trust laws based on its practices alone -- no ICANN or other international involvement in this.

more than 5 years ago
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Time Warner Transfer Caps May Inspire Fair-Price Legislation

StringBlade Re:What It Is... Is Gouging (382 comments)

In some states, notably New York, TWC and others are required by law to open up their networks to competing vendors at a reasonable price. That is why Rochester, NY even has Earthlink as a provider on Time Warner's network.

Verizon is non that market because Frontier is the incumbent phone company and it would be very difficult to wrest market share from them (though Time Warner's done a pretty good job with Digital Phone). There is no law preventing Verizon from entering the Rochester market; it's simply not feasible for them to do so.

While states and local governments may not have much power, the customer always does. TV and Internet are not (generally) essential to live for a residential customer. Rochester, NY and other proved that today when Time Warner backed off their plans to expand their consumption-based "test" in four new markets. They haven't given up, but the customer backlash -- not the government alone -- was enough to tip the scales.

more than 5 years ago
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Time Warner To Offer Unlimited Bandwidth For $150

StringBlade Re:And that's the problem - they don't understand (479 comments)

Stopthecap.com has a lot of good resources for who to contact but the short list is:

  1. Time Warner - tell them what you think
  2. Mayor Duffy - this concerns his city's economy
  3. Your Congress[wo]man
  4. Gov. Patterson
  5. Senators Schumer and Gillibrand

Not all of these people will be able or willing to do anything, but spreading awareness is how word gets out and pressure is put on Time Warner to stop this nonsense.

more than 5 years ago
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Time Warner Transfer Caps May Inspire Fair-Price Legislation

StringBlade Here's the catch... (382 comments)

Currently (in at least one market) "unlimited" usage is provided for $50 at 15Mbps down / 1Mpbs up. The new plan makes that same scenario impossible (they don't offer 15Mbps down). The closest you come to it is $150 for 10Mbps down / 1Mbps up @ $75/month + $75/month max overage charge.

That's a 300% rate increase in one go. I don't think people would be quite so upset if the increase were reasonable. Judging by their 2008 SEC Annual Report when considering the High-Speed Data costs and revenues, 300% isn't anywhere in the same zip code as "reasonable."

more than 5 years ago
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Time Warner Transfer Caps May Inspire Fair-Price Legislation

StringBlade Re:Up next (382 comments)

Not to rain on your parade, but have you looked at Time Warner's SEC Annual Report for 2007 and 2008? Each year they state their costs to maintain the network decrease by as much as 12%.

In theory the costs a lot to invest and maintain infrastructure. Indeed, that is what TWC is whining about now only their own Annual Report does not bear that complaint out. Additionally, those upgrades are amortized costs that can be taken over a long period of time. The increase in price is not proportionate to simply cover the cost of infrastructure as they claim. And finally industry analysts have suggested that cable companies can actually upgrade their hardware to DOCSIS 3.0 compliant hardware as the cost of business without increasing their customer's costs and still see profits close to what they have now.

more than 5 years ago
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Time Warner Transfer Caps May Inspire Fair-Price Legislation

StringBlade Re:What It Is... Is Gouging (382 comments)

If it's one company with no competition and the prices are disproportionate to most other places, then it's an effective monopoly and they are price gouging (charging an excessive amount to a captive market).

If there are multiple companies, but all the rates are inflated disproportionately to most other places then it's collusion and price gouging.

The main reason Internet would be more expensive from one location to another would be state taxes and regulations and to some degree the state of the network roll-out in that area. But if the cost of service for two locations in the same state are wildly different, then something is afoot.

more than 5 years ago
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Time Warner To Offer Unlimited Bandwidth For $150

StringBlade Re:Wheres the friking backlash? (479 comments)

A good portion of the backlash can be found at stopthecap.com particularly in the comments of each article.

Additionally the local news in Rochester, NY is bringing it up with some regularly and it's more or less inescapable to hear about if you live around here.

Time Warner has already seen a lot of people canceling many if not all of their services in protest and many more angry calls -- I do not envy their customer support staff. I've written and told them outright that if the caps go in place I will cancel their service at a major downgrade to my access simply so they will not get my money until the caps are removed completely.

more than 5 years ago
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Time Warner To Offer Unlimited Bandwidth For $150

StringBlade Re:I may not be reading this right, but... (479 comments)

No, the $75 is the maximum overage charge you can get per month at any tier. At the lowest tier (the new lowest one - $15.95/mo for 758Kbps and 1GB cap) you can hit that $75 faster because it's $2/GB overage fee.

However, they've structured their tiers so that the less you pay the slower your connection is and the lower your cap as well.

more than 5 years ago
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Time Warner To Offer Unlimited Bandwidth For $150

StringBlade And that's the problem - they don't understand (479 comments)

I'm one of the fortunate few to be in Rochester, NY and fall under the tyranny of Time Warner Cable. I've talked to their customer service reps. I've read their statements. And yesterday I had the opportunity to hear some of their low-level execs try and defend the plan at a town hall meeting with our congressional representative (who's on our side BTW).

They simply don't acknowledge that access (bandwidth) is not at issue here, limiting the use of that bandwidth in terms of some arbitrary amount of data is the issue.

If you look at their 2008 SEC filings (linked by their corporate site timewarnercable.com then you'd see their costs went down about 12% from 2007 and their revenues and new customers both rose about 10% over 2007. Clearly usage is not really an issue.

The issue they're not admitting to (except in their SEC filing) is Internet video like Hulu and Netflix is their primary threat and the way to mediate this threat is to make it more expensive to watch videos on the Internet than to pay Time Warner for cable and Video on Demand services.

more than 5 years ago
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Is MySQL's Community Eating the Company?

StringBlade Re:In a word, 'yes' (223 comments)

Correct. I meant to suggest that by forking the project Sun would be doing a disservice to themselves and to the community, but the community would likely continue on their own version and Sun would have simply wasted their time and money.

I did not mean that the community deserves more than they're getting right now, merely that they are "owed" what they have and to try to deny that would be biting the hand that feeds.

more than 5 years ago
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Is MySQL's Community Eating the Company?

StringBlade Re:In a word, 'yes' (223 comments)

I referred to MySQL as Sun/MySQL because the company by the same name as the project is now owned by Sun. As such, I'm really accusing Sun of failing the community.

It's näive to think that Sun would have purchased MySQL if it weren't for its community base of users and developers and indeed, MySQL would not have been much of anything without said same user and developer base. So to suggest that "the community" is owed nothing for their efforts (developing, testing, debugging, suggesting improvements, etc) is also näive.

MySQL is as popular as it is because of its environment as well as its code base. If you take away either component it will fail, and Sun doesn't seem to get that by taking away the community participation it's killing the project/product it just bought.

more than 5 years ago
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Is MySQL's Community Eating the Company?

StringBlade In a word, 'yes' (223 comments)

Sun/MySQL can and should be blamed if they are failing the community that made MySQL so popular and strong.

Sun has a bad reputation for having very closed open source projects such as OpenOffice. The project is managed much more like a proprietary venture than an open source project and community input is minimized or ignored altogether.

I can't feel sorry for Sun when they drop buku bucks on MySQL and then complain that others are taking their revenue away from them doing what the OSS community does best - improve the software on their own.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Is consumption-based billing infringement?

StringBlade StringBlade writes  |  more than 5 years ago

StringBlade writes "Recently in my area Time Warner Cable is trying to impose data caps on our rather isolated city — that is, there are no other high-speed broadband cable or fiber providers available. The move has caused a lot of anger and it caused me to think about billing for use instead of access. If Time Warner (or Comcast or AT&T) bills me for the data I consume in addition to, or instead of simply billing me for my access connection speed, is that not effectively billing me for the data itself? Since no one owns everything on the Internet nor do cable providers have a license to distribute everything on the Internet, aren't they infringing the copyright of the content owners by collecting money for content that isn't theirs? Doesn't that imply that data caps are quite simply illegal altogether?"
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StringBlade StringBlade writes  |  more than 7 years ago

StringBlade writes "Ulteo's first public Alpha release has occurred and is available for download (ftp and bittorrent). From the Ulteo announcement, "Ulteo was designed to ultimately simplify the use of computers. We think that users of modern computers spend too much time performing administration tasks...users have to perform tasks that should be reserved to computer specialists, while we think that users should just spend time using the applications they need. Ulteo tries to provide answers to these issues." Ulteo is a Ubuntu-based distribution that presently only runs on the 32-bit i386 platform with 64-bit support coming later."

Journals

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That pesky RIAA

StringBlade StringBlade writes  |  more than 11 years ago As of today I will no longer purchase CDs from any publisher represented by the RIAA.

This is very unfortunate because I like a lot of artists who may have unwittingly or through coercion signed a standard deal (i.e. your soul) with an RIAA company. Until the RIAA successfully starts sucking money out of the bands' tour money I'm forced to support them only through tours and direct donation (a check made out to John Bandmember & Co.).

I find this a ridiculous situation and hold nothing but utter disrespect for the sleazoids called the Recording Industry Association of America.

My only hope is the MPAA doesn't follow in the RIAA footsteps so much so that I have to stop buying DVDs as well -- not sure what I'd do then.

If you feel as I do, I'd love to hear some comments with your thoughts.

Cheers!

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Microsoft, Patents, Monopolies, and Linux

StringBlade StringBlade writes  |  about 12 years ago With the upcoming Palladium OS from Microsoft, the RIAA and MPAA breathing down our necks and clawing at our pockets for money that's 'rightfully' theirs, and blockheaded, anti-competitive patents, it just makes me want to crawl into a hole in the ground with Linux and a link to the open source world.

It seems now more than ever with all the emerging technology that big corporations and conglomerations are trying to use the government to secure their existence (and profitablility). It was probably a mistake from the get-go to treat corporations as an entity as a person is treated rather than a non-existant piece of property with no rights. Our laws treat corporations better than it treats our citizens. For example, corporations can be liquidated, but they cannot have claims against them for more than they're worth. Citizens can be sued for 10 times their net worth if the court chooses.

Corporations cannot be jailed for social misbehavior (improper customer/competitor treatment, socially irresponsible business practices that enganger employees, or the environment). The bigger the corporation the weaker the penalty for violating laws are. Microsoft is a great example of this. At first it looked like there still was justice in our system when Microsoft face being split into two corporations (OS and software) with only one allowed to keep the Microsoft name. But due to a lack of judgement on the judge's part and partly due to Microsoft's barrage of FUD-producing lawyers, MS gets to carry on with business as usual. Only, since the case is still pending MS has to do something to get themselves embedded in the public that makes it impossible for them to extricated should an unfavorable ruling come down.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think any monopoly is good (except the board game I suppose). TicketMaster (in the U.S. anyway) almost seems like a monopoly for live concerts and events. Most big-ticket shows are sold through TicketMaster which charges you your first-born child in service fees only to screw up your seats so that you miss part of all of the concert you paid for three times over (because of the service fees). Intel used to be another monopoly until AMD came along and gave them a run for their money. Intel is a good chip maker but they inflate their prices way too much. An equivalent chip by AMD will (on the average) cost you half as much as Intel. There's no reason for this. I believe Intel's chip-making technology is more advanced than AMD, but then again, that's partly due to patent law which prevents AMD from creating a process that is too similar to Intel's, thus what Intel can create with only 3 layers of metal on their chips, AMD uses almost 8 layers.

That's all for now...something to think about. I need to count to 10.

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The (Hopefully) Great Slashdot Slash-out is over!

StringBlade StringBlade writes  |  more than 12 years ago Well, it's all done! And I think we can call it a success. Throughout the week of April 22nd, 2002 the members of the Slashdot community employed their power as users of a free news/discussion board site to do whatever the hell they wanted to do.

The result of this was a noticable decrease in the number of overall postings on each new item displayed by the editors of /. This implies regular posters joining the Slashdot Black-out were actually doing something else, or refraining from commenting. Reports of the Slashdot Weevil Blackout appear to indicate a success in the dramatic reduction in weevil postings during that week as well. And finally, there have been no reports as of yet from the Slashdot Whine-out indicating the success of this effort.

In other news, my tea has gotten cold waiting for the All-In-One-Spam-Master-Filter to be developed to protect my innocent mailbox from the ravages of enlarged penile and mammory ads as well as the deluge of teenagers who appear to all want to have sex with me.

Thank you for joining me in this Slash-out. It's been fun. We should do it again sometime.

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The (Hopefully) Great Slashdot Slash-out

StringBlade StringBlade writes  |  more than 12 years ago We're all pretty much aware of The (Hopefully) Great Slashdot Blackout and many are also aware of The (Hopefully) Great Slashdot Whine-out . If you find either one of the above two silly, you're likely to find this even sillier.

Just to set you straight, brief descriptions of each of the above are recapped for you here:

  • The (Hopefully) Great Slashdot Whine-out.

    Whining about trivial things by the ignorant is more dangerous than a gun in the hand of a child.
    [...]
    This whining about being "underappreciated" is offensive. Thus, I propose a small revolt: The (Hopefully) Great Slashdot Whine-out.

    T(H)GSW will be during the week of April 21 through April 27. Easy to remember, because it corresponds with the blackout (completely worthless information: the full moon in April falls on the 27th). During that time, I will be posting completely whine-free posts, and further will be smacking anyone down (through posts, of course) who whines about Slashdot. I will become Malda's idea of the ideal Slashdot reader. I will provide insightful content -- completely whine free.

...and the original "-out" that started it all:

  • [Rob Malda's] easy dismissal of the value of the only providers of interesting and insightful content on Slashdot is offensive. Thus, I propose a small revolt. The (Hopefully) Great Slashdot Blackout.

    T(H)GSB will be during the week of April 21 through April 27. Easy to remember, the full moon in April falls on the 27th. During that time, I will not be posting, nor will I click through to read the comments from the home page. I will become as Malda's idea of the typical Slashdot reader. I will provide no new content (neither comments, nor story submissions--although I'm not much of a story submitter).

    During that week, I'd like to see if Malda sees Slashdot become a better place, or if it becomes the Hallowed Shrine of Troll.

As a compromise to all this silliness I propose The (Hopefully) Great Slashdot Slash-out wherein each visitor chooses to simply read the articles without clicking through or scan through all the postings and beat whiners over the head with a post berating the whiny post.

I have no strong feelings either way as far as either of these other 'revolts' are concerned. I do think T(H)GSB is an interesting experiment to find out how many fewer posts are made during that week by people who might otherwise post comments. I also find T(H)GSW interesting insofar as promoting whine-free posting for a week. But in both cases, the 'revolts' or whatever you want to call them are quite silly and I think they would best be rolled into a single silly event instead of splitting our beloved Slashdot into camps of "black-outers" and "whine-outers". At least T(H)GSS has an acronym that can be vocalized to sound a little like "thugs".

...finally the usual disclaimer and how to join info:

  • To spread the word, I'm changing my sig to link to this journal entry. If you would like to help, you can link to this journal from your own sig, or you can simply resolve to enter into a voluntary one-week Slash-out. Pass the word. This will only work if an ungodly number of comment posters participate.

    To summarize, if you wish to participate, during the week of April 21 through April 27 do one set of the following exclusively:

    • Do not click through from the home page to the comment page
      Do not post any comments to stories
      Do not submit new stories
    • OR

    • Do click through as many stories as possible to check for whining
      Post as many comments as possible without whining (e.g., "They don't appreciate me", "Malda can't spell", "This story is redundant", etc)
      Drop the hammer on anyone caught whining with a big fat "No whining this week!" post.

    Here are some useful HTML links to other T(H)G?? journal entries:

    • T(H)GSS
      Join <a href= "http://slashdot.org/~StringBlade/journal/6536" >The (Hopefully) Great Slashdot Slash-Out</a> (April 21-27, 2002)
    • T(H)GSB
      <a href="http://slashdot.org/~rho/journal/5872" >The (Hopefully) Great Slashdot Black-out</a> Apr 21-27
    • T(H)GSW
      Join <a href= "http://slashdot.org/~Reality+Master+101/journal/6131">The (Hopefully) Great Slashdot Whine-Out</a> Apr 21-27
    • T(H)GSWB
      Join <a href= "http://slashdot.org/~cjpez/journal/6146">The (Hopefully) Great Slashdot Weevil Blackout</a > Apr 21-27

Let's make it a great Slash-out shall we?

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