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Ask Slashdot: Is It Worth Being Grandfathered On Verizon's Unlimited Data Plan?

jonsmirl Re:The real questions to ask (209 comments)

Verizon doesn't get why canceling those plans is very harmful to them. All they've done is succeed in getting us to stop using the phone, not in extracting more money out of us.

They've forced us into locating where wifi access points and then switching to use them. Before we were blindly using Verizon and didn't care. Now they've taught us there are options and it is likely that Verizon is not going to be one of them in the future. I'm never going to pay $10/GB in overages - the phone is just set to shut off cell Internet access if the 6GB runs out. Now that we're being careful about using wifi its not clear that we even need much of a data plan.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is It Worth Being Grandfathered On Verizon's Unlimited Data Plan?

jonsmirl Re:The real questions to ask (209 comments)

Wrong - we recently upgraded a phone and ended up in a big fight with Verizon. When we upgraded the phone in the store we made the rep swear on a stack of bibles that the unlimited plan would not be terminated. We even made him bring over his manager.

Next month we get bill with $100 of overages and find we are now on a 2GB plan for same price as old unlimited plan. Of course we screamed. Store was locked out of computer for making changes. So we spent about two weeks harassing them over the phone. Finally when we brought in all three phones we had back to the store and told them to compute the early termination charges did they start talking.

They ended up giving us 6GB for the same price we were paying for unlimited previously and took off the $100 overage. We are still not happy about this and will definitely be shopping vendors when contract expires.

So it is not clear to me if there is a solution to keeping the unlimited plan. We were ready to terminated our entire 10 year relationship with Verizon and still they wouldn't give it back. Now they have just deferred things for two years and we will definitely be shopping then.

about three weeks ago
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Solar System's Water Is Older Than the Sun

jonsmirl Re:Of course it does. (173 comments)

This article explains it more clearly, the author at Discovery is confused.
http://www.businessinsider.com...

For sure the hydrogen and oxygen are much older than the sun, but are the water molecules older than the sun? The formation of the sun may have caused the creation of a lot of new water molecules out of the ancient elements. Or did the water molecules form in interstellar space before the sun's birth?

about a month ago
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Nobody's Neutral In Net Neutrality Debate

jonsmirl Re:No one's neutral (132 comments)

"As much as 70% of Internet-distributed data is now video, 50% of it from Netflix. This new video industry — growing exponentially and transforming the nature of entertainment — is getting a free ride on the cable and telco investment in broadband. Arguably, this is unsustainable free distribution, overtaxing networks and slowing the Internet for everyone."

I just gag on "free ride". 11M Netflix subscribers pay Verizon/Comcast/etc $50 * 12 * 11m = $6.6 billion a year for this "free" ride. Margins on Internet services at Verizon/Comcast are believe to be in the 90% profit range.

I can help the FCC solve this. Require that ISPs provide at least one settlement free peering point for each customer in their network with no peering point providing access to less that 10,000 customers. 10K because after all they are ISPs and they should do something for that $50/mth (i'm sure Verizon would immediately declare this settlement free peering point to be the customer's wifi node without this rule).

about a month ago
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US Patent Office Seeking Consultant That Can Stamp Out Fraud By Patent Examiners

jonsmirl Re: This is not a new or unique problem (124 comments)

If they can't be limited then I'll settle for the PTO admitting that software is math (which it clearly is) and banning all software patents.

In my opinion patents in software and electronics have perverted from promoting the arts and sciences to destroying them. Pretty sure the founding fathers didn't intent for 300,000 patents a year to be issued. It was 50 years before the PTO broke 500/yr.

about a month ago
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US Patent Office Seeking Consultant That Can Stamp Out Fraud By Patent Examiners

jonsmirl Re: This is not a new or unique problem (124 comments)

The bar for patents need to be raised much higher. One way of raising that bar is to simply limit the number being granted. Only grant a patent for something that truly is a significant invention. I don't believe anywhere close to 300,000 significant inventions are made each year.

Imagine if we only granted 50 patents a year in each field allowing patents. 50 patents is a small enough number that humans working in these fields could be expected to know what is patented and to then respect those patents. (50 * 20 yrs = 1,000 patents). In this model the granting of a patent would be an event in the field, get press coverage and everyone would read the patent to learn about the new discovery. Everyone would know about these 50 patents, infringement would be rare and the value of the patents would be high.

Instead we get 500 new patents a day in software and electronics. Nobody reads them and they just function as landmines when someone accidentally reinvents.

Think of a patent as a mini-Nobel prize instead of cannon fodder for lawyers.

about a month ago
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US Patent Office Seeking Consultant That Can Stamp Out Fraud By Patent Examiners

jonsmirl Re: This is not a new or unique problem (124 comments)

Shifting it to the courts is a very effective filter. Most of the rejected applications will not get appealed since they aren't worth the burden of the cost of the appeal. But the PTO may make mistakes and this would allow them to remedy those mistakes.

An alternative would be to allow for reapplication with the same priority date but require the inclusion of more evidence of why the patent should be granted. Of course if the PTO still doesn't believe it makes the cut into the 10K a month it will get rejected again.

The trade off for granting a patent is disclosure. Something valuable - a government monopoly - is granted in exchange for this disclosure. So why doesn't anyone read patents to learn from this disclosure? A few may get read but most patents do not contain anything interesting to someone practicing in the field. I would say this demonstrates that the value in many patents is the ability to cause legal problems not the actual technology being disclosed.

about a month ago
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US Patent Office Seeking Consultant That Can Stamp Out Fraud By Patent Examiners

jonsmirl Re:This is not a new or unique problem (124 comments)

Keep a pool of about two months worth of patents that might meet the bar of being granted. Then reject the rest. The value of a patent is inversely correlated to how many patents are being granted. When there are fewer patents on better ideas, those patents will be respected and fulfill the original purpose that inspired the creation of patents.

Software patents are just totally broken. It is far, far too easy for a good software engineer to infringe dozens of patents through independent invention. And no one is going to go read through 100,000 patents and become aware of what has already been patented. So no one knows that they have "infringed" until they get a demand letter in the mail. Then of course they gag on licensing demands over something they have also spent resources on developing.

about a month ago
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US Patent Office Seeking Consultant That Can Stamp Out Fraud By Patent Examiners

jonsmirl Re:This is not a new or unique problem (124 comments)

The problem is that the patent office is a papermill and the number of patents being granted has be growing at around 5% a year compounded for the last 25 years. I'm pretty certain that the number of patentable inventions found each year is not growing at 5%. Instead the definition of what is patentable keeps expanding into areas where it doesn't belong. The growth mainly benefits patent lawyers and patent office employees. We've gone from granting 100,000 patents a year 20 years ago to 300,000 a year now.

Do a little projecting out - if that same growth is maintained in 20 years they'll be granting 900,000 patents a year. And we'll have a pool of 12 million active patents to deal with. To support all that you'll need 25,000 or more examiners. Of course patent infringement lawsuits will be totally out of control - no human can be expected to know the contents of 12M patents and not infringe on them. Heck, I can only read three or four before my head explodes.

The simple fix is to limit the patent office to granting a fixed number of patents each month. And I'd set that limit at 10,000 or less per month. Doing that stabilizes the number of employees at the patent office. And do you really believe there are 10,000 inventions made each month worthy of patent protection? I sure don't believe that there are that many. I'd set the limit even lower - 5,000 or less. Setting the limit lower simply gets rid of the junk and makes the ones that do get granted more valuable.

about a month ago
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Silicon Valley Fights Order To Pay Bigger Settlement In Tech Talent Hiring Case

jonsmirl Re:Punitive Damages? (200 comments)

You have to wonder how much the employees were really hurt by this. It was a 'no poaching' agreement. That meant that recruiters from those companies weren't going to call down the entire Rolodex of the competing firms and try to recruit. But.... there are nothing stopping external recruiters from doing that. And there was nothing stopping individuals from switching on their own.

There's some logic to an agreement like that. Each of these firm's recruiters could waste huge amounts of employee time in their competitors by making thousand of recruiting calls.

about a month and a half ago
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Silicon Valley Fights Order To Pay Bigger Settlement In Tech Talent Hiring Case

jonsmirl Re:Punitive Damages? (200 comments)

It's a class action. The only person that is really winning here is the lawyer that is getting $150,000,000 for bringing the suit.

about a month and a half ago
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Thousands of Europeans Petition For Their 'Right To Be Forgotten'

jonsmirl Re:US (224 comments)

You are aiming at the wrong target. Google blindly indexes what it finds on the web. The right solution was for the EU to require the sites hosting the source articles to include a "do not index" meta tag which Google would then respect. Put this burden where it belongs - on the author of the stories, not the search engine.

about 5 months ago
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Thousands of Europeans Petition For Their 'Right To Be Forgotten'

jonsmirl Re:Every... (224 comments)

There is a difference between forgiven and forgotten. Until we invent time machines undoing history is impossible. You can pass all of the laws you want but you will never be able to erase the event.

Trying to get Google to stop indexing is just going to result in a giant game of whack a mole like we have with DMCA take down notices. No matter how many million take downs they file the mole can never be erased.

about 5 months ago
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Thousands of Europeans Petition For Their 'Right To Be Forgotten'

jonsmirl Re: Insanity (224 comments)

Heck, I can even see source sites generating automated ways to combat this. Continuously keep poking Google to reindex your site. When you see the Google crawler insert meaningless random tidbits into the URLs. Now the other side of the robot war will keep issuing takedowns on these randomized URLs but since there is a cycle time of a week or so you will always have a set of working URLs in the Google index.

about 5 months ago
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Thousands of Europeans Petition For Their 'Right To Be Forgotten'

jonsmirl Re: Insanity (224 comments)

The ruling is insane. If the EU really wants to implement this insanity the best way would be for the sites hosting the article to include a 'do not index' meta tag which Google would then respect. Doing it that way places the burden where it belongs - on the author of the stories, not on the search engine.

Going after the URLs directly at Google is a total exercise in a whack a mole since the links are always changing. You're just going to end up with another pile of automated systems generating millions of takedown requests. When the source sites disappear they will change their URLs and then the cycle will endlessly repeat.

about 5 months ago
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Tiniest Linux COM Yet?

jonsmirl Re:all of it? (76 comments)

The AsiaRF one includes the small PCB antenna in the photo. The PCB antenna has twice the range of those tiny chip antennas. Since there is a jack there you can use larger antenna if you want. Another advantage to the PCB antenna is that you can move it around and aim the signal where you need it.

In Vocore's blog he says that his external antennas did not perform as well as the chip one. I suspect that is because he doesn't own the expensive test equipment needed to adjust his RF path to match the external one he picked. In general, bigger is better with antennas. He's also wrong about needing two antennas for 802.11N support on the RT5350.

I don't believe the RT5350 has a security unit on it so it shouldn't be possible to lock the boot loader.

about 5 months ago
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Tiniest Linux COM Yet?

jonsmirl Re:all of it? (76 comments)

The $20 Vocore is for the module only. If you want the Ethernet, USB and power connectors you need to order the $40 Vocore+Dock choice. instead I'd recommend getting the $38 choice form the AsiaRF campaign. https://www.indiegogo.com/proj...
AsiaRF is going to ship three months earlier and support for it is already checked into OpenWRT.

These unit aren't really the same thing as a RaspPi. RaspPi is oriented towards having a GUI and screen. These units are oriented towards networking and embedded control. The unit are also tiny - about one cubic inch. Many times smaller than a RaspPi.

about 5 months ago
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Tiniest Linux COM Yet?

jonsmirl Re:Internet of Things isn't (76 comments)

There is another similar project simultaneously up on Indiegogo from AsiaRF
https://www.indiegogo.com/proj...
It was put up about a week later so its funding is not as far along. There are still a few Early Birds left.

It based on the same chip and around the same price. The main difference is that the AsiaRF module has already gone through CE/FCC testing and it is already in production. So there is very little risk of the project not shipping. Support for the AsiaRF unit is already checked into OpenWRT.

I find it interesting that they are offering to design and build 10 custom boards with wifi/Ethernet to your spec for $5000. Similar design work in the US/EU would be $30,000 or more.

about 5 months ago
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Author Charles Stross: Is Amazon a Malignant Monopoly, Or Just Plain Evil?

jonsmirl Re:Pretty stupid reasoning (405 comments)

Now you're just down to a cost benefit analysis. Is the value add from the publisher worth the money they will be taking? This answer will vary with the perceptions of the author and the cost of the publisher. The trend line on this answer is pointing in the direction of the publisher not being worth the price being asked.

about 5 months ago
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Author Charles Stross: Is Amazon a Malignant Monopoly, Or Just Plain Evil?

jonsmirl Re:Pretty stupid reasoning (405 comments)

Maybe you are looking at this wrong -- start a side-line business being an editor for these people. Are there places that will proofread a book by email for $250? Maybe $1000 to do major editing on it?

about 5 months ago

Submissions

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War of the one cubic inch Linux computers

jonsmirl jonsmirl writes  |  about 5 months ago

jonsmirl (114798) writes "The battle for smallest Linux COM may not be won yet. Recently Vocore was announced, but it is attracting competition. AsiaRF is offering a one cubic inch Linux computer with wifi and Ethernet on Indiegogo. What sets this project out is it's low risk. The module already has FCC. It is already supported in OpenWRT. And it ships next month, no need to wait."

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