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AT&T To "Pause" Gigabit Internet Rollout Until Net Neutrality Is Settled

jtwiegand Re:Regime Uncertainty (306 comments)

That's where we're just going to disagree. I don't see Title II as a starting point. I think we all want net neutrality in essence, but I don't believe Title II is the way to achieve it.

But my core claim here is that the AT&T is behaving rationally due to regime uncertainty. I don't disagree that the ISPs are up to no good, but at the same time they do what they are allowed to get away with by us and the government. But most of all, businesses respond to incentive structures. So I say let's force that.

The kind of legal action I would be in favor of would be breaking up these telco/isp/content-provider cartels. The cable companies in the United States were, initially, the only game in town with the infrastructure pre-existing that could handle moderate broadband access. This met the needs of the general public until about 2006-ish, the speeds were OK, and cable TV wasn't competing with cable internet in essence, because streaming wasn't that big yet.

This is no longer the case, and people are opting more and more to cut the cord and just get internet access for the content needs. So now the cable companies are going to try to get up to mischief because one of their services directly competes with another, or you can access competitor-cartel content with their access and they want you to stay with their sphere of influence.

I believe the solution is to make it so that ISPs can only be ISPs. We're reaching a level of cartel like behavior that provoked the anti-trust backlash of the gilded age; and I think it's time to sharpen up the Sherman Act for a new millennium. While Title II would enforce utility like behavior on the ISPs, it would still allow them to be connected to their parent institutions, and they would still have incentives to get up to mischief. I say remove the incentive to do mischief rather than make it illegal to get up to it. Then we can get truly competitive behavior from people who are fundamentally in the businesses of providing you the best internet.

So when I say that Title II isn't the right way to achieve net neutrality it is because I think incentive structures are a more powerful way of influencing behavior than regulation. Title II provides an incentive to be a utility company; and I don't remember the last time my utility company did anything except raise my rates for the exact same service.

about a week ago
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AT&T To "Pause" Gigabit Internet Rollout Until Net Neutrality Is Settled

jtwiegand Re:Regime Uncertainty (306 comments)

No, no one knows whats going on now legally speaking, that's why we're having this discussion. The Verizon vs FCC decision removed that certainty. They know what the regulatory regime might be, but they don't know what it is going to be. The FCC chair is looking at splitting the baby which doesn't really sound like a clear indicator of what he's going to do from a legal perspective. It appears that the FCC chair wants to allow ISPs to prioritize certain traffic for security and use (e.g. e-mail traffic doesn't need the kind of priority as streaming video) because not all traffic deserves the same level of attention from the ISP, but not do so for business reasons (e.g. Time Warner shouldn't be allowed to hobble Netflix streaming service). But at the same time, he appears to be distancing himself from Obama's plea for Title II.

Writing this into law is more complex than simply saying what the FCC chair said he wanted: "What you want is what everyone wants: an open Internet that doesn’t affect your business."

about a week ago
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AT&T To "Pause" Gigabit Internet Rollout Until Net Neutrality Is Settled

jtwiegand Regime Uncertainty (306 comments)

While it is very easy to poke at AT&T for this decision, it is also a very understandable position to take. AT&T doesn't know what the laws or rules are going to be after the fact. We are probably not going to get true Title II net neutrality, and quite frankly, 80 year old law really shouldn't apply to something that is fundamentally more complex than a telco or OTA network, and applying the same kinds of laws to the internet providers is legally and technically stupid. There are a variety of very good reasons why Title II, or Title II-like laws are a very, very bad idea for the internet.

But basically AT&T's logic is sound. They don't want to roll out a huge upgrade when they have no idea of the legal regime they will be operating under. And there decision is understandable and rational.

about a week ago
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Discovery Claims It Will Show a Man Being "Eaten Alive" By an Anaconda

jtwiegand Hold my beer (164 comments)

Gonna get eaten by this snake.

about two weeks ago
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Amazon Releases (Not Many) Details On Its Workforce Demographics

jtwiegand Re:Diversity bullshit (123 comments)

Interment camps, not concentration camps. Also, interment wasn't done from a desire to oppress the Japanese, but out of fear of the Japanese Empire. So it's not so much that the Americans felt the Japanese inferior, but rather that they feared a full scale invasion of the west coast by the Japanese Empire.

Not defending it, but it's still important to understand these things in context.

about three weeks ago
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Colleges Face New 'Gainful Employment' Regulations For Student Loans

jtwiegand Not the Root Cause (331 comments)

While this is interesting to try, the root cause is that college debt is magical debt which can't be discharged through a bankruptcy proceeding. The ease of acquiring practically limitless student debt has created the problem. The easy money drives up costs for tuition, and the cycle repeats itself as students borrow even more money for increasingly useless degrees.

It's inflation, pure and simple.

To those who would say that the purpose of education isn't to get a job; well someone should have informed the Millennials, who were told their entire time in school that an education would get them a job. To those who would say that they worked through college and didn't go into debt, you probably had far, far cheaper tuition than your average student today, and probably went to college more than 2 decades ago.

I worked through college, had the GI bill, and still managed to require student loans to attend a university. 20 years ago I'd have finished my undergraduate degree in the black, but 20 years of easy money has fattened the education market to hilarious proportions, and now a half-decent degree from a good university is basically a mortgage without a house.

The problem is the cost of education; not its usefulness. And all of these problems apply equally to for-profit, and not-for-profit educational institutions.

about three weeks ago
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Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare

jtwiegand Re:how many small businesses has Obama killed? (739 comments)

Romeny's system was a state system. Implementing that is orders of magnitude simpler than a national system. They might be alike in some ways, but the problem of scale is fairly obvious with the national plan. The flaws of Romney's system are significantly amplified on the national level due to these complexities.

What would have really helped national health care is interstate competition between insurance providers, or some other mechanism to drive costs down, to create a truly national market for health insurance. Instead we got single-payer light, which doesn't work and benefits very few. The fundamental problem with health care is the cost; not the access.

Obamacare attempted to solve the health care problem in the worst possible way: forcing everyone to buy a product that almost no one actually wanted. This will naturally raise costs, which is the exact opposite of what will actually help health care in the country. What might have helped would have been allowing interstate competition, or specialized clinics. There's no good reason, for instance, that an MRI needs to cost $2k+ in the United States, or that a single aspirin tablet costs $18. These costs are insane because of hilariously bad capital structures in the medical care industry.

about three weeks ago
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Fuel Efficiency Numbers Overstate MPG More For Cars With Small Engines

jtwiegand Taxes (403 comments)

I know in the US road maintenance is payed for with gasoline taxes from the various entities which collect an excise tax on gasoline. These taxes have taken a hit with the rise of more fuel efficient and electric/hybrid cars. The excise tax on gasoline per gallon no longer taxes the effective goal of the tax, which is to tax the miles driven, not the gas consumed. But for various reasons the excise tax has to be collected on gallons pumped, not miles driven. Since miles driven is what wears the roads down, not gallons of gasoline consumed, electric cars basically drive "for free" on the roads, hybrid cars get a huge discount, and everyone else pays most of the taxes that actually fix the highways. Since no one wants to pay more at the pump or install something that allows you to be taxed on miles driven, the broken system remains.

I know in Europe the fuel taxes are more severe, and also not exclusively related to road maintenance, but I imagine the taxation regime is similar and also broken.

Anyway, point is the overestimation might be related to bureaucrats' desire to collect more taxes from a broken taxation system, rather than actually reform the fuel tax to be more effective and fair.

about a month and a half ago
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Intel Drops Gamasutra Sponsorship Over Controversial Editorials

jtwiegand Re:gtfo (724 comments)

This is a common argument. While it is technically correct, these institutions should promote a culture of free speech, not merely obey the letter of the law. Legally private spaces, such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc. have become, de facto, the space for public discourse. While it would be perfectly legal for these entities to censor speech, it would seem fitting for these spaces to promote cultures of free speech if for the sole reason than they are effectively the space for public discourse.

People are leaving, and they're taking their traffic and ad revenue with them. It is certainly within their power to not promote this culture of free speech, but those that are not are currently reaping the whirlwind.

about a month and a half ago
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Obama Administration Argues For Backdoors In Personal Electronics

jtwiegand Re:Update to Godwin's law? (575 comments)

They want some fantasy backdoor which is only accessible to LEAs but somehow magically invisible to everyone else. They also do not seem to consider the practical difficulties in securing backdoors against attacks. As secure as backdoors can be, they are nearly always less secure than the front door, and thus they are always a security problem.

Also LEAs tend to focus on criminal behavior which inevitably comes with all consumer-facing security improvements, and ignore the public benefit to be had in mostly private internet communications.

about a month and a half ago
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New Global Plan Would Crack Down On Corporate Tax Avoidance

jtwiegand Compliant with Tax Laws (324 comments)

If by 'corporate tax avoidance' you mean 'full compliance with all tax laws' then yes, corporations do that all day.

This is not a problem with corporations avoiding taxes; technically speaking they are not avoiding anything. This is a problem because tax law is so hilariously complex that there will inevitably be the so-called loopholes, (which are really just inevitable artifacts of any sufficiently complex system), and corporations with a lot of money will hire a tax-evasion-expert (also known as a tax-compliance-expert) to do exactly that. They will follow the letter of the law and use every scrap of genius to minimize their expenses.

Simplify the tax code; this problem will solve itself (this is at least true in the United States). Multinationals have a different problem, but that is simply the nature of all international laws.

about 2 months ago
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FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Says Switching ISPs Is Too Hard

jtwiegand Simply meet expectations (145 comments)

ISPs want to reduce churn, obviously, every business does. Problem is they don't do so in the correct way, they gimmick they're way to avoid customer churn by making it hard to leave, rather than easy to stay. If my ISP wants my undying loyalty they only need to provide what I purchased: unlimited broadband internet at the speed I pay a large monthly fee for, and a minimum of service interruptions would be nice too. Since no ISP I know has ever delivered that to customers, the ones that do get my business.

All I'm doing is waiting for a fiber rollout in my city.

about 3 months ago
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New Usage-Based Insurance Software Can Track Drivers Using Smartphones

jtwiegand Achievements (137 comments)

I'm sure if there were achievements for driving safely in conjunction with the rollout people would adopt it. I can see it now:

"Merger achievement awarded: 500 cars allowed to merge into your lane from an onramp."

about 3 months ago
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How the Outdated TI-84 Plus Still Holds a Monopoly On Classrooms

jtwiegand No calculator should be required for (math) tests (359 comments)

Never in high school was a calculator allowed on any math tests. All problems were written to be solvable without a calculator, and they were plenty challenging. And this way, the students were pretty confident when they were going astray on an answer, since most everything wound up being a whole number, basic fraction, or one of the more common irrationals. I graduated High School is 2001 from a public school as well.

Whats more important is that they taught is math, not how to use a calculator. How to use a calculator changes with the calculator, and isn't a particularly valuable skill to learn compared to the fundamentals of calculus and the other higher math. Yes, I almost never do math anymore by hand, I write a program for it, but learning all those fundamental rules about the quadratic equation, even those weird trig substitution formulas come in handy once in a while when solving a weird problem.

Calculators aren't necessary in high school mathematics, and should not be used.

Now for chemistry and physics I can't see no calculator simply because the numbers are so unwieldy most of the time, but I think there is a way to write a test that does not require a calculator.

about 3 months ago
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NSA Agents Leak Tor Bugs To Developers

jtwiegand Re:Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.... (116 comments)

Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes. "I fear the Greeks, even though they bear gifts." I believe is the line. It could also be rendered as "I fear the Greeks, especially because they bear gifts," as well. Either way.

about 3 months ago
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About Half of Kids' Learning Ability Is In Their DNA

jtwiegand Re:Insightful comment lost! (227 comments)

Write up those kinds of posts in a word processor in the future. That way a broken plugin or accidental reload won't hose your progress.

about 3 months ago
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Leaked Docs Offer Win 8 Tip: FinFisher Spyware Can't Tap Skype's Metro App

jtwiegand Re:Metro Skype is useless (74 comments)

This is probably why it's more difficult to exploit; it's a simpler program.

about 4 months ago
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FDA: We Can't Scale To Regulate Mobile Health Apps

jtwiegand Re:Good news (123 comments)

I mean the oversight which is necessary, not that oversight is always necessary. So its not that all oversight is always necessary, but, there are necessary oversight functions for the various levels of government. For the most part I would prefer to be regulated by state and local agencies, but the Federal government has some legitimate oversight functions. The main point is that the issue with oversight isn't the fact of oversight; its the way in which the rules are made an enforced, and especially how there are simply an unmanageable amount of rules to follow which never seem to expire.

about 4 months ago

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