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Comments

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Single Group Dominates Second Round of Anti Net-Neutrality Comment Submissions

Tom Re:I'd expect Fawkes masks to start making stateme (182 comments)

So you switched from nationalisation of certain industries to taxpayer-funded cronyism?

I don't know all the details, but basically, yes.

The Deutsche Bahn was a state-owned monopolist for long-distance rail transport (both goods and people). During the privatization craze of the 90s or so, the government decided to turn it into Deutsche Bahn AG - a private company, listed at the stock exchange.

After a short transition, the C level started to think and act like C levels do, and - with a little help of big consulting companies - decided that public transport isn't all that interesting and profitable and that they would simply use it as leverage to become a huge, global, logistics company. You can already see where it all went wrong.

In order to raise capital, the government planned to sell its shares. But to make it interesting to buyers, the company first had to become profitable. So all that I've described happened. People in small towns suddenly found out that they were not using the train enough, so train service was discontinued and the station closed. Of course, now they had to use cars more which meant more traffic, roads maintainence costs increased, more roads had to be built - as a singular entity, the government before had included all those factors and decided that train service to this town was the right decision, even if the ticket sales by themselves didn't cover costs - but if you figure in the costs of not having a train service, suddenly it does make sense. As a private company, the Deutsche Bahn AG only considered the side of the equation it owned, and that didn't show a profit.
This happened to hundreds of train lines and stations.

Total damage to the german economy - unknown. Some estimates I've read are in the billions.

yesterday
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Single Group Dominates Second Round of Anti Net-Neutrality Comment Submissions

Tom Re:I'd expect Fawkes masks to start making stateme (182 comments)

The reasons they were privatized and the like was that the other wasn't sustainable

Get a clue before you enter a discussion. Many of the companies that were privatized were doing as good or even better than the private companies that replace them today. That doesn't always mean they are or were profitable - for some things such as public transport or universities or garbage collection maybe the benefit to society should be the important factor and not ROI and shareholder value.

You are repeating the ignorant blabbering of typical right-wing americans who think that anything that's not cut-throat capitalism is automatically communism. The thought that a world inbetween the extremes could exist has never crossed your mind, has it?

The strange truth is that the very america that had McCarthyism was very interested in and actively promoting the social market economy model of western europe, because they realized that if they had attempted to install the no-hold-barred brutality of pure US capitalism, most of post-WW2 europe would have become communist by free choice.

That economic model was the synthesis (to use philosophy terms) between the two equally wrong extremes. It gave us all the advantages of free markets, free choice of jobs, private companies and competition while at the same time protecting those areas where pure capitalism does more harm than good, like health care, public transportation or natural monopolies.

Sadly, the two competing extremes didn't fail at the same time to the same degree, so we've now been janked towards the "winner", and all the advantages are slowly evaporating in favor of higher stock prices and an economy based on bubbles and bullshit.

I'm not in favour of communism at all - had capitalism failed first, the same would have happened in the other direction and we'd be equally bad of. But on almost every metric you choose, western Europe was in a better condition 30 years ago.

yesterday
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Single Group Dominates Second Round of Anti Net-Neutrality Comment Submissions

Tom Re:Conservatives mostly don't like the involvement (182 comments)

Who said anything about redoing the cabling every time you change providers you complete fucking retard?

I did, because that's what your ignorant argument would lead to.

Situation now, in almost all homes: There is one cable going to the nearest street node. This is the famous "last mile".

You want that cable owned by the ISP, which means for every home where the inhabitants are not customers of the current cable owner, either the new ISP needs to buy the cable, or put down a new one, since these are the only two ways in which he can be owner of the last mile.

If they switch ISP again, this repeats.

If a new ISP company wants to enter the market, suddenly the barriers to entry are much, much higher than they are now. Goodbye free market.

And let's talk about multi-story houses with a dozen or a hundred flats, and lots of different ISPs serving different flats...

Instead of admitting your argument was stupid, let's insult people around you who put you straight.

Going through the streets, you have a similar situation.

Not at all. The office building example is at the other end of the last mile. We're talking about the cable connecting the (office or whatever) building to the telco network in the street. Completely different things.

yesterday
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Single Group Dominates Second Round of Anti Net-Neutrality Comment Submissions

Tom Re:Conservatives mostly don't like the involvement (182 comments)

Right, because there is no other possible way to lay cable then the way they've always laid cable.

If you actually could re-invent the cable-putting industry, you'd not be posting in /., you'd be busy making your first billion. (you'd already have your first million)

Any place that had frequent changes to the cabling would either have an accessible conduit system or run the cables on poles.

You'd have to install the conduits first, which means digging up all the streets. A hunch tells me that is even less likely to happen in the near future.

Poles are not really practical in the places that the majority of the population in the west lives in. These places are called "cities". Cities are where the money is in telecommunications, so if your solution can't work in cities, it's dead in the water.

Disclaimer: I've actually worked in the telecommunications industry for 10 years.

yesterday
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Single Group Dominates Second Round of Anti Net-Neutrality Comment Submissions

Tom Re:I'd expect Fawkes masks to start making stateme (182 comments)

Second all of that from Germany.

Energy companies - privatized. Prices have gone up, service is still good mostly because of government regulations, the market is now largely dominated by less than 5 big energy companies. Only recently thanks to renewable energy have smaller, local players re-emerged.

Public transport - long distance privatized. Service down, delays up, lots of smaller stations have been closed and lines discontinued, government subsidizes the whole thing still.

Telecommunications - privatized. Looked like a success for many years, but now that the old monopolist has stopped being a dominant player (it wasn't broken down like AT&T), service is going down the drain and prices are secretly climbing (base fees are low, nobody dares being the first to raise them, but they're all adding all kinds of additional charges, reducing service for the base fee so you have to buy a higher contract for the same, etc.)

Pensions - being dismantled as we look. We had a great state pension system. It survived both world wars and managed to pay out pensions even when the rest of Germany was flat broke. Heck, even in the few years after WW2 when Germany didn't exist at all and it was just an occupied zone. Now the state pension system is being systematically dismantled by politics while private pension funds and insurances work hard to convince you that you absolutely need them or you'll be poor when you are old.

The examples go on and on and on. In the end, it is quite clear that what my old philosophy teacher in school said was right: capitalism, communism, fascism, extremism, islamism, doesn't matter, be aware of everything that ends with -ism.

The free market is a cute idea and it works great for trade. But don't make it a religion. Many human endeavours are not trade and not suitable to be treated like that. I hope we all agree that things like art and love fall into that category, so we should be open to at least discussing if health, transportation and communications might fall into it as well.

The same is true for communism. The idea that every is equal is great for politics, and a lot of what's wrong in the west today is caused by our hidden abolishing of the "one vote per citizen" rule by allowing campaign financing to dominate the results instead of votes. But again there are lots of areas where treating everyone the same is not the right approach. Education, science, sports and business are all places where it's good if people start out with equal chances, but as their talents and abilities emerge, they need to be treated differently. And planned economy has been pretty much proved to be a disaster, too.

In every other -ism you will always find at least one small grain of truth. Maybe even ISIS has a right idea in its idiology somewhere. The problem is always if you think you can explain the whole world by one truth, one interpretation, one approach.
But religion doesn't built space ships, and science doesn't write operas, and capitalism doesn't create families.

2 days ago
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Single Group Dominates Second Round of Anti Net-Neutrality Comment Submissions

Tom Re:Conservatives mostly don't like the involvement (182 comments)

Mostly because it is almost impossible to lay the last mile of cable from a regulation stand point.

Mostly because it makes a fucking lot of sense to not dig up the street every time someone switches to a new ISP.

2 days ago
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Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

Tom Re:Check your math. (872 comments)

I agree that there's the difference of book or not, but frankly speaking, most christians known only the summary version of their holy book and never actually read it, so the difference is, again mostly semantical.

That christians today don't want to kill unbelievers and heretics anymore has little to do with christianity itself and a lot with the enlightenment and the secularisation of society and politics.

3 days ago
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Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

Tom Re:Wolves among sheep (872 comments)

I've heard that so often, it's time to burn the strawman.

In "such situations" (red flag right there - vague specification), only the pre-planned, very bad guys with proper resources and connections are armed like the military.

Most bad guys are lacking either the resources or the connections or the patience to jump through all the hoops that you need to jump through to acquire, say, an assault rifle illegally. In my country, which has strict gun controls, very few crimes involve weapons of any kind, and in those that do the weapon is almost always either a knife or a pistol. That means regular police can engage the criminal.

3 days ago
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Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

Tom Re:Check your math. (872 comments)

That's probably because Christianity does not require believers to spread the faith

Semantically correct, but the step is so thin it's not a surprise so many christians throughout history thought otherwise.

If you know (not suspect or think, but know by divine message from the creator himself) that everyone who doesn't join your faith is doomed to eternal suffering in this world and the next, and their children and their children as well, you either feel a strong impulse to teach them the "truth", or you're not really serious about it.

3 days ago
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Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

Tom Re:Check your math. (872 comments)

This.

Or maybe someone should just fork islam and create a non-violent branch that kicks out all the "kill them for..." parts. OTOH, that is also long overdue for christianity.

3 days ago
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Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

Tom Re:Muslims? (872 comments)

Extremism is bad and causes people to do irrational things. Your brand of extremism is as bad as any other.

Like it or not, there are different types of extremism.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_6ccC...

That's half a joke, and half true. In some circles, you are considered an extremist if you are rude to others while addressing whatever the issue is. In other circles, you're not an extremist if you kill people over the issue, only if, say, they were children.

3 days ago
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Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

Tom Re:Fake (872 comments)

They may or may not be cowards, but unless they are stupid, they would simply choose a different target - a day care center or a school, for example.

If you think guns make you more safe, you're an idiot. The numbers are in and the differences between comparable countries are tiny. The main factors in safety have nothing to do with gun ownership.

3 days ago
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Peru Indignant After Greenpeace Damages Ancient Nazca Site

Tom Re:Once Upon a Time.... (464 comments)

It is apparently normal that organisations for social change attract extremists, and many of these organisations fail to guard against the takeover by people who are just more fanatical, and thus dedicated. I've witnessed the same with the german Pirate Party, which used to be about digital rights, and nobody cared. Then it got a few percents at some elections and appeared on the radar. These days, it is about feminism, drug policy, political refugees, city planning and whatever other pet topic some troll pushed through.

Greenpeace always had this activism thing and at the time when the public largely didn't care about the environment, that was probably the right thing to do, to get attention. But as with all things, you have to continuously make it bigger to get headlines again, especially if you have reached your goal and people do pay attention already. And if you go more and more extreme, sooner or later something will break. People die (already happened), or things like this.

4 days ago
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How Relevant is C in 2014?

Tom Re:macro assembler (641 comments)

The errors that can be caught at compile time are almost always uninteresting typos

What an opportunity to give the unnecessary ad hominem back. The key-word was "experiment". The point is not that this is how software development be, but that teaching people to think first, then design correctly, then implement is the proper approach instead of the "tinkerer" one where you write down what comes to mind and then tinker with it until the compiler is happy.

That, exactly, is how all these errors that the compiler doesn't catch happen.

The experiment is not about avoiding compiler errors. If you thought it was, you didn't understand it one bit.

about a week ago
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BitTorrent Launches Project Maelstrom, the First Torrent-Based Browser

Tom dynamic sites ? (67 comments)

How does it handle dynamic sites? If the answer is "not at all" as with previous projects of this kind, it's dead on arrival.

Most of the web is dynamic today, and almost all of the interesting sites are. How many of us would be reading /. if it didn't have comments and moderation?

about a week ago
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Peter Sunde: the Pirate Bay Should Stay Down

Tom ads ? (251 comments)

It never changed except for one thing â" the ads. More and more ads were filling the site, and somehow when it felt unimaginable to make these ads more distasteful, they somehow ended up even worse.

There were ads on TPB? Fuck, now I can't even turn off ABE to check it out.

about a week ago
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Peter Sunde: the Pirate Bay Should Stay Down

Tom Re:Make it convenient for me and I will pay (251 comments)

This. I can't remember the last time I downloaded music from a torrent site. It's more convenient these days to buy it on iTunes, and prices are fair.

When the same can be said for movies, and the MPAA stops this staggered release bullshit, I'll start buying movies again the same way I bought a lot of DVDs back when that was the most convenient way to get movies.

about a week ago
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James Watson's Nobel Prize Medal Will Be Returned To Him

Tom Re:Watson is a scientist (234 comments)

Religious views, put forward as religious views, are summarily shot down,

Which world is that you live in? Religion still carries much more credit than its performance record justifies. The pope is invited to parliaments and international diplomacy as if he was somehow especially smart or important. Even the Dalai Lama is given special respect for purely religious reasons. Churches enjoy special priviledges in many countries, with tax exemption being just the tip of the iceberg.

The simple fact is that the human brain and psychology has evolved little from tribal society and we believe or disbelieve a lot of things not due to facts or evidence, but due to group pressure, conformity, tales, authority as well as shortcuts in thinking, heuristical approaches and so on. Religion is just one example of that, superstition also still exists even though religion has already tried to root it out for a thousand years.

about a week ago
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How Relevant is C in 2014?

Tom Re:macro assembler (641 comments)

Finding and squashing this kind of bugs in a huge project is a bitch.

Which is why you should learn to write code that compiles and works correctly on the first try. We know how to do it, computer science wasn't invented yesterday. But thanks to dot-com and startup craze and the desire to churn out pseudo-programmers fast, fast, fast, programming isn't taught correctly.

If you want army style, I suggest this experiment: Teach students to code in a simple text editor and a special compiler that gives them one chance at compiling the program. If the compile fails, it deletes the code and they can start from scratch.

The more monkey-proof, the better.

Only if you hire monkeys to do your programming for you.

This is a very famous article about how to do programming right. Note their error count. Compare it to pretty much everything else on the market.

But programming this way isn't sexy, or macho or whatever else you want to call it. It's real work.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Any Certifications Worth Going For?

Tom Re:Just Lie (317 comments)

may look like the easy road to profit, but it's not a long term strategy.

It depends on the environment. If other people are good and willing to defend their values, the bad guys will be in trouble. But if they manage to convince the majority to be either lethargic or even respect them, then the good people are the dumb losers.

And we are in that situation. Wake up, man! We admire rich people simply because they are rich, not for the ways they became so. We increasingly believe the war-talk of neo-con propaganda that unemployed people just need to be forced more strongly to want to work, and that benefits need to be cut because the poor are parasites. There was no blood in the streets when our governments bailed out the finance sector with so much money that it's hard to visualize while at the same time cutting budgets in education, health care and practically everything else.

You forget that the unethical (actually, "differently ethical" is correct here, because they believe themselves to be ethical, I'm sure) people also have long-term strategies. And they're winning.

There are a number of car dealers I will NEVER go back to

Are they still in business? If so, your rant is meaningless.

about a week ago

Submissions

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Supreme Court strengthens First Sale Doctrine

Tom Tom writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Tom writes "The Supreme Court has sided with Supap Kirtsaeng regarding the resale of textbooks. Publisher Wiley had tried to keep a $600,000 judgement from the lower courts because the student had sold textbooks in the US that he had imported from his home country Thailand, where they are sold much cheaper. The Supreme Court ruled that while it realizes that US companies often try to get different prices in different markets, the copyright law does not provide a right to such business models."
Link to Original Source
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Hotfile countersues Warner

Tom Tom writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Tom (822) writes "Hotfile went out of its way to bow to the movie industry and gave the likes of Warner a special account that they could use to delete content — any content. Apparently, that's just what they did as Hotfiles countersuit claims after Warner sued them anyways. They claim Warner deleted Public Domain content, Free Software and many other items that could not possibly be confused with copyrighted movies if one took even a single look.
The funny part? They are suing Warner under the DMCA, the very law the music industry bought/bribed for themselves."

Link to Original Source
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MS loses European anti-trust case

Tom Tom writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Tom writes "The court has spoken in Microsoft's case against the EU anti-trust commission, and the result is even more damaging to the monopoly company than analysts expected.
The court upholds all major decisions of the commission, including the record half a billion Euro fines. Most importantly, it smacks down MS entire defense line of "we can't make interoperability possible because we need to protect our copyrights and patents"."

Link to Original Source

Journals

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The Trolls

Tom Tom writes  |  about 8 months ago

Wow, it's been 15 years but I've finally got my own personal troll! :-)

I must apologize to everyone I've ever called a troll now that I've seen a real one. Yeah, there are trollish comments, but this... it's a different league. If you ever wondered who these brain-damaged morons were who set up geocities homepages with blinking purple text on blue background with red dots in Comic Sans - that kind of different league.

Now it does make me wonder about trolls in general. Has there been a study on this? I really wonder if psychologists have tackled this because quite honestly, you cannot be mentally stable and post in this and this content at the same time. So I do wonder if trolls on the Internet (the real trolls, not the people occasionally posting something stupid) do have a mental problem. It definitely looks like it. Probably insecurity issues, definitely an exaggerated need for attention, might be related to borderline syndrome or schizoprenia.

And, of course, the Internet provides:

As someone who has had to deal with family members suffering from mental illness, let me tell you that it's not funny. So despite the fact that they are, in fact, obnoxious, aggravating assholes, these sad little fucks also need help and their miserable little existence is not something you'd want to trade for yours, no matter how much you think your life sucks. Trust me, with a mental illness on top, it'll suck more.

Obviously, we can't offer therapy to people who usually comment anonymously and will often go to great lengths to avoid being tracked down. What we can do, however, is get a better understanding for how they act this way (they can't help it, mental illness is stronger than your conscious mind) and that the best thing we can do for them is to not continue the feedback loop. "Don't feed the trolls" - old wisdom there.

The last link in that list contains a few more ideas.

Now that I'm at the end, I kind of regret the smiley face at the top. But I'm leaving it in because this journal entry is a bit of a journey, even if it is short. Thanks to some Internet resources, a bit of research and connecting the dots, I've come a short way, changing my mind a little on this particular sub-sub-sub-part of life.

-----

A short additional statement on how to treat trolling. From what I've gathered from the resources above, a few comments (both here and in the various spammed threads) and my own life experience:

First, don't feed the trolls. Most of them seek attention, so if you stop giving it to them, they become frustrated and go away. Notice that they seek attention, not validation. A rebuke or an angry rant or even a shootout of personal insults satisfies them as much as anything else. Much like the old PR saying "there is no negative publicity", it is all about the attention itself, not about its content.

Second, stand your ground. Do not leave the site or stop commenting just because you're being trolled. It takes a bit to do that, yes. Trolls consider it a "victory" if they shut you up, either by simple flooding or by frustrating you enough to disappear. In their twisted minds, it gives them validation and somehow proves that they were right.

Third, if you see someone else being trolled, give them support. Doesn't take much - a single sentence is more than enough. Someone under attack by a real troll is being flooded. The troll will commonly post under multiple aliases or otherwise attempt to appear as more than one person. Psychological experiments such as Solomon Asch's show how we humans as social animals experience conformance pressure. So give that other person support by showing him that the flood he's getting is no the only opinion around. It doesn't matter if he consciously knows it's just one troll, the pressure is subconscious.

-----

I'd like to have comments disabled on this journal entry, for obvious reasons, but you can't publish a journal entry with comments disabled, so... 1000:1 bet that he's stalking the journal as well and will add his drivel below?

Also, if the formatting looks atrocious, turn off beta and revert to classic. Seriously.

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The "new" and "de-improved" Slashdot

Tom Tom writes  |  more than 5 years ago

If you've known /. for a while, you've certainly noticed all the recent changes. The front page articles auto-load-extend (presumably through AJAX code), the link to get to your own page has moved twice, and now there are two (that both look alike - your username - but work differently), and checking if anyone has replied to your comments has been a two-click journey instead of the old one-click for a while now.

Then there's the annoying inline popup (so it's not caught by popup blockers) that tells you that "Firehose is paused due to inactivity". Whatever that means, it doesn't seem nearly important enough to interrupt my reading.

Quite frankly, from a user interface design standpoint, the "new" slashdot sucks. Badly. Maybe I'll try disabling all javascript for slashdot.org and check if that improves the experience.

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Giving up on Wikipedia

Tom Tom writes  |  more than 6 years ago

I'm giving up on Wikipedia today. Which means no more editing, and a lot less using it.

The reason is one word: Deletionism.

The details are three points:

a) It goes so against the spirit of Wiki, because a deletion is a non-reversable, non-reviewable change. The history gets lost, all work of everyone gets lost, and nobody can see and check it later. Every other change in a Wiki is documented, and you can see exactly what was changed, by whom, and when. Not so with a deletion. If you are lucky, you can find out that there used to be a page named this, but nothing about its contents.

b) It is destructive. You put hours of work into something, and it just gets deleted. Not updated, changed or even vandalised, but deleted. Poof, gone, as if it never existed. Have you ever lost your documents folder with no backup? Then you know the empty feeling. Don't do that to people, especially not those who might be new (and could have become worthy contributors, if they hadn't be hit in the face for their first attempt).

c) Notability-Nazis. Some time ago, the main reasons for deletion where actually valid. Nowadays, the main reason for deletion is notability, or in simpler words "I've never heard about this". My position on notability is very simple: Add a "non-noteable" category, namespace or at least archive and move stuff there, but it should not even be on the list of reasons for deletion. To me, an encyclopedia is where I look up the stuff that I've never heard about, so it'd better be there.

So for all these reasons, and a few minor ones, I've really switched sides over the past few weeks. I think I even begin to understand why large parts of the science community view Wikipedia with scepticism, and that much of the media's portrayl of their reasons is grossly simplified.

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