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Comments

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San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

TheSync Re:Explain to me why the city can't just be full? (325 comments)

Go to Hong Kong - a city with a geography much like SF. It has a density about 5 times as much as SF in its built areas (often with apartment buildings 3-4 times as high, and a great subway system as well). Hong Kong is planning on adding 20% more density now as well.

yesterday
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Netflix Gets What It Pays For: Comcast Streaming Speeds Skyrocket

TheSync Re:I Pay (317 comments)

Most of the developed world gets more for less.

The US bandwidth situation is largely due to longer local loops on average. I personally believe this is a historical issue due to CO centralization in the 1970's-1980's. But it may be other issues.

yesterday
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Humans Are Taking Jobs From Robots In Japan

TheSync Machine Language (80 comments)

I'm going to make our programmers code everything in machine language so they can learn to be gods.

Actually, forget machine language, they have to assemble the computer from discrete logic gates!

yesterday
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Netflix Gets What It Pays For: Comcast Streaming Speeds Skyrocket

TheSync Re:I Pay (317 comments)

What you "pay for" is "internet access UP TO X speed".

And the key is that there is oversubscription at the end user cable modem. If everyone was doing time multiplexed operations (like web browsing), each burst of your transmission would likely be near full speed. But when you and all your neighbors are watching Netflix at night at the same time, the network becomes oversubscribed and speeds drop.

yesterday
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Start-Up Founders On Dealing With Depression

TheSync Oh yeah it can be tough (257 comments)

When I ran a start-up, I remember the pressure being crazy. I believe I had gastric reflux pretty bad. Then when it failed (like most start-ups do), it hit pretty hard. The good news is that it was an incredible experience, and I learned a great deal about business and life from it.

about two weeks ago
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Adam Carolla Joins Fight Against Podcast Patent Troll

TheSync Re:Dialup? Windows 95? (126 comments)

"What is claimed is: A media player for acquiring and reproducing media program files which represent episodes as said episodes become available, said media player comprising: a digital memory, a communication port..., a processor..., an output unit for reproducing ... the media files."

Sounds like iTunes. Version 4.9 of iTunes, launched in June 28, 2005 was the first to have podcast support (according to Wikipedia). I don't even slightly believe that iTunes was the first podcast player.

RealNetwork's had the "RealChannel" concept at some point in the late 1990's (post 1996 though).

PointCast offered audio push as of 1997. Didn't last long.

Supposedly Marimba Castanet had pushed audio support in 1997 as well.

All of the "push" systems failed because they were blowing out corporate WAN bandwidth (most companies were connected via 56 kbps, 128 kbps, or 1.5 Mbps Internet connections)

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Fastest, Cheapest Path To a Bachelor's Degree?

TheSync Re:Worked for me (370 comments)

Good EE programs require also vector calculus (div, grad, curl) so you can prove why a coaxial cable works, etc.

about three weeks ago
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Adam Carolla Joins Fight Against Podcast Patent Troll

TheSync Prior Art (126 comments)

1993: Carl Malamud launched Internet Talk Radio the "first computer-radio talk show, each week interviewing a computer expert" distributed "as audio files that computer users fetch one by one." I suspect he was using PCM or delta PCM codec, the files were huge, and probably could only be played back on Sun workstations.

1995: Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner started Audionet. Here are downloadable files from Dec. 1996 and I suspect there were earlier ones.

April 1995: RealAudio released by RealNetworks. This was a watershed in audio codec efficiency, and started the launch of a lot of downloadable audio programs.

1996: Microsoft releases NetShow 1.0, a competing streaming player to RealAudio.

I also believe that William Mutual's itv.net was delivering audio files of programs in 1996.

I had a RealAudio server in 1996 and probably was serving up audio files, but frankly I can't remember. I definitely was doing so by 1997.

about three weeks ago
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AT&T Exec Calls Netflix "Arrogant" For Expecting Net Neutrality

TheSync Reality (466 comments)

1) In telecom [telegraph, telex, telephone] "sender pays" has been the rules on settlements. Just like a sender pays to put a stamp on a letter. Even when a customer of a CLEC 1 initiates a call to another CLEC 2 through an ILEC, CLEC 1 pays ILEC, ILEC pays CLEC 2. This is why there were many of these free teleconference systems, they are run by CLECs trying to get settlements by having more people call them long distance.

2) There was a brief period of the Internet where "no one paid" for the Internet because of government support, and the result was a typical tragedy of the commons - horrible congestion (the 56K NSFNet). Eventually the NSFNet had to classify traffic into high-priority terminal sessions and lower priority traffic like FTP.

3) The CIX came along to interconnect large commercial networks. These networks were generally exchanging equal amounts of traffic. Once you bought into CIX, you peered without settlements.

No-Pay peering with others that exchange equal amount of traffic with you in both directions makes technological sense due to symmetric bandwidth capacities of interfaces.

For example, a network service provider's 100 Mbps FDDI connection at the MAE-EAST provides 100 Mbps in both directions. It doesn't make sense to peer with someone who sending you 100 Mbps and only receiving 1 Mbps of your traffic.

Peering and/or settlement agreements between networks have evolved over time to balance the real-world business situation. For example, you might not want to charge as much to a customer that runs a huge, dependable software archive that your other customers benefit from. Similarly, today's cable providers probably should make Netflix pay less, but Netflix should still pay something.

I feel this is something the market should work out.

In the meantime, we need to figure out how to enhance competition in the local ISP market. A Federal law to make local monopoly franchises granted by government illegal would be a good start...

about three weeks ago
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Level 3 Wants To Make Peering a Net Neutrality Issue

TheSync Re:Peering and Bandwidth Symmetry (182 comments)

the rules have always been that if you have roughly the same amount of traffic inbound and outbound, peering has no charge.

I'm curious why this was the rule - is it because most network interfaces are inherently bi-directional? Or was it a feeling that information is valuable, so if your network absorbs valuable information from the outside, it should provide an equivalent amount of valuable information back out?

about three weeks ago
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It Was the Worst Industrial Disaster In US History, and We Learned Nothing

TheSync Does not compare to Texas City Disaster (290 comments)

How is this the worse industrial disaster in US history, compared with the Texas City Disaster that killed 581 people, injured more than 5,000 people, and destroyed 500 homes, 1100 vehicles, and 362 rail cars due to an explosion of 2.9 kilotons TNT equivalent energy?

about a month ago
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Environmentalists Propose $50 Billion Buyout of Coal Industry - To Shut It Down

TheSync A Coasian Solution (712 comments)

This is what economists call a Coasian Solution to a problem of externalities. Coase's Theorem states that if trade in an externality is possible and there are sufficiently low transaction costs, bargaining will lead to an efficient outcome regardless of the initial allocation of property.

about a month ago
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College Board To Rethink the SAT, Partner With Khan Academy

TheSync Re:What is the goal of the SAT? (134 comments)

Oh, and before you say "that's why college is stupid" it's also a good indicator of job success. No matter what your job, you're going to have to do things you don't want to.

You would think we could come up with a test cheaper than a $100K+ college education to determine if people are willing to do things they don't want to - perhaps it would be like that reality show "Fear Factor"...

about a month ago
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College Board To Rethink the SAT, Partner With Khan Academy

TheSync What is the goal of the SAT? (134 comments)

I thought the goal of the SAT was to predict performance in college, not to gauge "important academic skills".

I suspect actual college performance is best predicted by having the students drink, do drugs, and have sex all night - then have a high-stakes test at 6AM in the morning! (You score some for just making it out of bed BTW)

about a month ago
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NASA Forgets How To Talk To ICE/ISEE-3 Spacecraft

TheSync Re:So what are these "transmitters"? (166 comments)

OK so we're talking S-band, 256bps FSK uplink with CP. Is that really "old fashioned"?

about a month and a half ago
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NASA Forgets How To Talk To ICE/ISEE-3 Spacecraft

TheSync So what are these "transmitters"? (166 comments)

What are these "old-fashioned transmitters" that are not available any more? What frequency, bandwidth, and power are required?

about a month and a half ago
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PETA Abandons $1 Million Prize For Artificial Chicken

TheSync Gardein is already there (191 comments)

For chicken, I feel Gardein is pretty much already there with soy protein isolate. No real need to culture animal cells.

Steak & Fish a bit more challenging to pull off though...

about a month and a half ago
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Your Next Car's Electronics Will Likely Be Connected By Ethernet

TheSync Re:People seem to be misunderstanding (180 comments)

The article mentions Parrot's Ethernet AVB connected systems. The carriage of audio/video media over AVB has been standardized by the AVB Transport Protocol in IEEE 1722, and yes, it is just Ethernet, no IP.

The theory is that your car is a LAN, and does not need to have Layer 3.

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

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Australia's Failed Government-Owned Broadband

TheSync TheSync writes  |  about a month ago

TheSync (5291) writes "Sold as AUS$43 billion gigabit fiber to the home (FTTH) solution, Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) project is now the project is now years behind schedule and $30 billion over budget. The NBN has only 78,000 fiber subscribers, with a price of $93,000 per subscriber. Also most of those subscribers chose 25Mbps/5Mbps service rather than 100Mbps/40 Mbps speeds. It is unclear if NBN will be killed or changed into a fiber-to-the-node (FTTN) system."
Link to Original Source
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California seeks to shut down coding bootcamps

TheSync TheSync writes  |  about 3 months ago

TheSync (5291) writes "VentureBeat reports that the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) sent cease and desist letters to Hackbright Academy, Hack Reactor, App Academy, Zipfian Academy, and others. These bootcamps have not yet been approved by the BPPE and are therefore being classified as unlicensed postsecondary educational institutions that must seek compliance or be forcibly shut down. Unless they comply, these organizations face imminent closure and a hefty $50,000 fine."
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Dark Matter Found in Cold Gas Clouds

TheSync TheSync writes  |  about 3 months ago

TheSync (5291) writes "Astrophysicist Jessica Werk of the University of California, Santa Cruz studied light from 38 quasars using the Hubble Space Telescope. By looking at the spectral fingerprints in this light, she found that galactic halos harbor at least 10 times, and possibly up to 100 times, as much cold gas as researchers had estimated. If her estimate is correct, it would account for the two-thirds of galaxies’ baryonic matter that astronomers have been looking for. This could go a long way to explaining where all the "dark matter" is."
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"Cosmos" remake coming to FOX in 2014

TheSync TheSync writes  |  about a year ago

TheSync (5291) writes "The long-awaited remake of Carl Sagan's amazing "Cosmos" series, "Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey", will be coming to FOX television next year. It will star astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Surprisingly, Seth MacFarlane of "Family Guy" fame is an executive producer. MacFarlane was introduced to Carl Sagan's widow Ann Druyan by deGrasse Tyson, and MacFarlane helped them pitch the show to FOX executives."
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NY AG Subpoena's Craigslist for Post-Sandy Price Gougers

TheSync TheSync writes  |  about a year and a half ago

TheSync (5291) writes "In the wake of Hurrican Sandy, the New York State Attorney General has subpoenaed Craigslist, demanding that the site identify more than 100 sellers whose prices on post-Sandy gas, generators and other supplies were of an “unconscionably excessive price” during an emergency. AG Eric Schneiderman said: “Our office has zero tolerance for price gouging [and] will do everything we can to stop unscrupulous individuals from taking advantage of New Yorkers trying to rebuild their lives.""
Link to Original Source
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Dyle Mobile TV launching on MetroPCS in 2012

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 2 years ago

TheSync (5291) writes "Twice is reporting that Dyle Mobile TV, the consumer-facing brand launched by Mobile Content Venture, announced that they are partnering to enable MetroPCS customers to watch live, local broadcast television on their mobile phones later this year. This service uses the new ATSC A/153 Mobile DTV standard that allows existing television stations to provide mobile digital television service in addition to their existing HD signals."
Link to Original Source
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Venezuela's Chavez calls for Internet Regulation

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 4 years ago

TheSync (5291) writes "The AP reports that Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez is calling for regulation of the Internet and cracking down on false Web stories. In a televised speech, Chavez said: "The Internet can't be something free where anything can be done and said. No, every country has to impose its rules and regulations.""
Link to Original Source
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Massive Rube Goldberg Machine Rules YouTube

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 4 years ago

TheSync (5291) writes "US indie band OK Go has filmed a music video with an awesome 4-minute long Rube Goldberg Machine done in a single shot. The machine is timed to the parts of the song, and actually "does things" to the band members. The video is #1 YouTube's most-watched video of the week, with over 3.5 million views. The video was produced with MIT’s Media Lab and Syyn Labs, and contains the MAKE Magazine car from the 24 Hours of LeMons."
Link to Original Source
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FTC to Regulate Blogs

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 4 years ago

TheSync writes "The Washington Post is reporting that the Federal Trade Commission is planning to regulate blogs. They are concerned about bloggers who receive compensation from the companies whose products they blog about. The regulation would clarify that rules against deceptive and unfair business practices apply to bloggers. So if Slashdot gets money or non-cash support from Linux vendors and they put up articles about how bad Microsoft is, watch out!"
Link to Original Source
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"Definitive evidence" for ancient lake on

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 4 years ago

TheSync writes "Eurekalert reports on "definitive evidence" for an ancient water lake on Mars. A UC Boulder research team has discovered evidence of a shoreline on Mars of a 3 billion year-old lake 80 square miles in area and 1,500 feet deep (roughly the equivalent of Lake Champlain). Images came from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Water carved a 30-mile-long canyon that opened up into a valley and forming a large delta during a time when Mars is generally believed to have been cold and dry. The lack of additional, lower shorelines, shows that the lake dried up very quickly."
Link to Original Source
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First Images of Memories Being Made

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 4 years ago

TheSync writes "Eurekalert reports that researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, McGill and UCLA have captured the first image of protein translation that underlies long-term memory formation. A fluorescent protein showed the increased local protein synthesis during memory formation, which requires cooperation between the pre and post-synaptic compartments of the two neurons that meet at the synapse."
Link to Original Source
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Mortgage Securitization Software Author Mea Culpa

TheSync TheSync writes  |  about 5 years ago

TheSync writes "New York Magazine has an article written by Michael Osinski, an author of early software to enable collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs). He even created a language for mortgage-backed bonds called BondTalk. He says "I never would have thought, in my most extreme paranoid fantasies, that my software, and the others like it, would have enabled Wall Street to decimate the investments of everyone in my family. ""
Link to Original Source
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UK and Obmama to Rate Web like MPAA

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 5 years ago

TheSync writes "The NYT reports that "A British cabinet minister says the government is considering a plan to work with President-elect Barack Obama on a new ratings system for Internet Web sites..to protect children from inappropriate material...similar to the one employed by the Motion Picture Association of America". Creepy!"
Link to Original Source
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No Free Broadband 100 Years Ago (Pneumatic Tubes)

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 5 years ago

TheSync writes "Division of Labor blogs on a report written 100 years ago by a commission appointed by the Postmaster General that came to the conclusion "That it is not feasible and desirable at the present time for the Government to purchase, to install, or to operate pneumatic tubes." The original NYT article is here. If only we had gotten the free government Intertubes in 1908!"
Link to Original Source

Journals

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Why does Slashdot hate/ignore Economics?

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 5 years ago

So on today's article Supplies of Rare Earth Elements Exhausted By 2017, we have these comments rated +4 or more:

The problem isn't economics, it's the idiots that try to invoke it in the way we see them doing here. The fact that the price of a commodity increases when it's in short supply doesn't cure the shortage or make it less of a problem; it merely allocates what supplies remain to those who are willing to pay the most. It's a manifestation of the shortage, not an explanation of it.

In a severe food shortage, yes, the price of food shoots up. People who can afford it continue to eat well (albeit at the expense of other things), but others starve. As far as your typical affluent conservative is concerned, the market has efficiently "solved" the problem.

Economics is the new God of the Gaps. You don't know the answer? Silly old physical laws getting in the way? No problem; Economics dictates that someone else will be motivated to come up with a solution. It's impossible? Why, that just makes it more valuable!

If you are a true economist, then fuck off and play with your stock markets and leave actual science to actual scientists.

I don't know why so many people who may otherwise be informed are so hateful of economics. It is a bit like the reaction from creationists.

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WiFi Cardboard Horn Antenna

TheSync TheSync writes  |  more than 10 years ago

I had my summer intern to build a cardboard horn antenna for testing long distance 802.11b connections. Here are three pictures of it: 1 / 2 / 3. It has about 10 dB gain over a PCMCIA card wireless NIC. The antenna is based on this design.

We tested it across the Memorial Bridge in Washington, DC. Not only were we able to get a signal, but from the DC shore near the Lincoln Memorial, we were able to pick up wireless access points in Rosslyn, VA.

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