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Can the US Actually Cultivate Local Competition in Broadband?

laird Re:Make providers publish their prices. (135 comments)

The fundamental problem is that they're over-billing, the problem is that they've got a monopoly on a utility, generally with extremely weak oversight. So, as happens for hundreds of years, they use their control to extract money from everyone else. That's why it's a terrible idea to run utilities as unregulated, for-profit corporations. That's why whenever monopoly utilities are deregulated the prices go up while quality of service goes down. Competition only works if there is real competition.

about two weeks ago
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Can the US Actually Cultivate Local Competition in Broadband?

laird Re:Government is evil! (135 comments)

Competition doesn't magically solve everything - that's why there should be both competition and legally defined minimum standards.

Compare it to food safety. Back before there was an FDA, food companies would often sell unsafe and even deadly food, because it was profitable to do so. And competition didn't stop them. What was effective is laws making it illegal to use unsafe practices in food production, combined with audits and penalties. And competition serves to improve things above that level, so that some food companies do better than the legally mandated minimum for food safety. Of course, it's not perfect, but it's far, far better than the horrors of the pre-FDA food supply. So now people have a right to know what's in the food they eat, and that there's basic minimum level of safety in food production. And those had to be made laws because food manufacturers didn't do either of those things, even with the magic of competition.

Similarly, the Net Neutrality is a law that says that when you buy an internet connection you can get to the whole internet and your ISP won't corrupt your network connection to increase their profits. That seems pretty obviously a good thing, which I suspect is why pretty much every major technology company supports it.

about two weeks ago
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Amazon's Echo: a $200, Multi-Function, Audio-Centric Device

laird Re:It looks a lot like Ivee (129 comments)

Sorry, you're right. Ivee was $149 on Kickstarter, which is less than the $199 Echo. But now it's retailing for $199, same as Echo, My bad.

about two weeks ago
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Amazon's Echo: a $200, Multi-Function, Audio-Centric Device

laird Re:It looks a lot like Ivee (129 comments)

Funny, but not true - they actually shipped the units, and they work well.

about two weeks ago
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Amazon's Echo: a $200, Multi-Function, Audio-Centric Device

laird It looks a lot like Ivee (129 comments)

It looks a lot like Ivee (http://www.helloivee.com) which was Kickstarted a while back. Ivee costs much less, and integrates with home automation gear (Hue, Nest, etc.), which is useful. It doesn't stream internet audio, though. So it'll be interesting to see how they compete.

about three weeks ago
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In this year's US mid-term elections ...

laird Re:no dimocrats (551 comments)

The white house had hundreds of meetings with Republicans, spent a year negotiating with them, and hundreds of Republican amendments were adopted during the committee mark-up process that was passed. They were negotiating with Republicans right up until the actual vote, because the whole time there were Republicans saying that they might vote for the ACA if only they added X or Y to it. Remember the "The Cornhusker Kickback" that Nelson negotiated for?

Yes, since they threw a tantrum and walked out at the last minute, so in theory Democrats could have ripped all of that cost and complexity out, but then that would have been a reset to the whole process, and might have resulted in nothing getting done. And because they needed every single Democratic vote, they could only pass what the worst of the Senate (Lieberman) would vote for. And since he was owned by the insurance companies, he made sure that the ACA was great for the insurance companies.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Single Sign-On To Link Google Apps and Active Directory?

laird Re:LDAP won't work? (168 comments)

If you run AD, you should probably run ADFS. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-u...

It runs on top of AD, and provides standards-based SSO for users. It works nicely with Google Apps.

It's a bit complex to set up, but there are articles like http://www.huggill.com/2012/01... . Basically, ADFS is a SAML Identity Provider and Google Apps is a SAML Service Provider. So when users go to log into Google using your domain, they are redirected to ADFS to log in, which validates them against AD, then redirects them back to Google. Then when they access any other service that you have SSO with, the user doesn't have to re-authenticate.

You can do the same thing with Ping Federate. If nothing else, you can get quotes from both. But if you get educational pricing from MS, ADFS is likely cheaper. ADFS doesn't cost anything (other than paying for the servers and OS) - the expensive part is buying the AD CALs for everyone doing SSO, which you already have.

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

laird Re:Camps mixed up (739 comments)

Exactly. A watered down, overpriced reform is still better than how things were.

If it helps, that's how the UK got the NHS - they were forced by the Doctors to "stuff their mouths with gold" to overcome their objections. And the result is much more effective than the US healthcare system.

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

laird Re:Camps mixed up (739 comments)

As to your theory that Republicans never wanted to implemented it federally, luckily there's documented history. In his book published in early 2010, Romney, after reviewing the success of health care in Massachusetts, wrote, “We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country.” A few years later, in the paperback, the line had been deleted.

"obamacare is failing by every measure except for enrollment (which doesnt mean jack shit in reality)" - more BS. First, Republicans were claiming for a year that the gauge of success of Obamacare was enrollment, and that if fewer than 7m people enrolled the plan would collapse. Once 10m people enrolled, suddenly the claims of the previous year "doesnt mean jack shit in reality"?! Really?

If you want some more metrics, how about 37m more people covered (kids, working poor, etc.), $billions refunded to consumers who had been getting ripped off by insurance companies (whose waste level is now capped at 20%). And healthcare costs are going up at only 2-3% annually, compared to 7-9% annually for decades before this. And insurance companies can no longer bankrupt people by throwing them off the plans that they've been paying for, just because they need the coverage.

So really, if it "fucking sucks" what would you prefer, that could have passed over united Republican opposition? Single Payer, while clearly better in every way, wasn't an option as long as Lieberman's vote was needed to pass health care reform. And if you're proposing going back to how things were - tell me how you're going to cover the $1.5 trillion higher cost? And explain why in return for massively higher costs, we'd get worse coverage, and 37M people losing coverage completely.

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

laird Re:Camps mixed up (739 comments)

Republicans were the ones doing the negotiating. Remember, they held out the promise of votes until the end, which is why the Democrats were negotiating with them, implemented dozens of Republican proposals, etc. Nothing was hidden from Republicans - they were the ones in the middle of the negotiations.

What Pelosi said was that the bill was still being negotiated, and that until negotiations were done we wouldn't know what the result of the negotiations was. Too complex for you?

about three weeks ago
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In this year's US mid-term elections ...

laird Re:no dimocrats (551 comments)

The requirements are already implemented.

Based on Massachusetts, we should expect to see that the coverage will continue to expand, and healthcare costs continue to grow much more slowly than they were before. That's certainly what we're seeing so far.

Given that, going back to the way things were will (based on CBO analysis) not only throw 37m people off of insurance (kids, working poor, etc.) it'll increase healthcare costs dramatically. So how do you plan on paying so much more? And why do you think people would support a strategy of making healthcare worse while spending far more for it?

about three weeks ago
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In this year's US mid-term elections ...

laird Re:no dimocrats (551 comments)

So many mistakes in one short post.

"everyone can see Obamacare is a clusterfuck" - except that it's already saved $billions, improved coverage for everyone, gotten coverage for over 37m more people (kids, the working poor, etc.), and "bent the curve" so healthcare costs are rising at 2-3% annually instead of the 7-9% annual increases we've seen for decades previously.

"They didn't need any Republican votes and they knew it" Obama's team spent a year negotiating with Republicans, with hundreds of meetings. Republicans were involved in the entire process, and the white house adopted dozens of Republican proposals into the final law, all in an attempt to get at least a few Republicans to follow through and deliver what they'd been proposing for decades. Republican votes were certainly desired.

You're right that Republican votes turned out not to be needed. But then, many major advances in the US were passed over uniform Republican opposition. Civil Rights, the New Deal, Medicare, and ACA, indeed, pretty much all of the most effective, popular government programs that people value, all had to overcome united Republican opposition.

about three weeks ago
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In this year's US mid-term elections ...

laird Re:no dimocrats (551 comments)

Wow, nice try rewriting history. The Democrats have been promoting Single Payer for decades, most notably under Clinton, while the Republicans created the exchange-based market approach to heath care reform as their alternative, first under Nixon and then in more detail lead by Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, who very specifically promoted it as a national healthcare strategy (in opposition to "HillaryCare"). And the two sides were blocked, achieving nothing, for decades. Obama changed the rules of the game by adopting the Republican proposals, and that's how he managed to get healthcare reform passed.

And don't ignore that Obama spent TONS of time trying to get Republican votes. His team had hundreds of meetings with Republicans, and adopted dozens of Republican proposals in the final law that was passed, in return for promised Republican votes that they then failed to deliver. So not only was the fundamental approach Republican, but numerous elements were written by and negotiated by Republicans. And their 100% opposition is what gave Lieberman the leverage to extract horrible waste and complexity (i.e. profits for insurance companies) as the cost of his vote. If even a few Republicans had supported the reform supported by Republican voters (expand Medicare to everyone) that would have passed. So yes, I blame Republicans for the waste and complexity that the injected into the ACA. Because who else can take responsibility for what the Republicans insisted on?

about three weeks ago
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In this year's US mid-term elections ...

laird Re:no dimocrats (551 comments)

Historically, while Republicans talk about "small government" they actually grow government faster than Democrats. What they really mean is "cut funding to people we don't like", but after slashing education, social spending, etc., they blow out the budget on wars combined with huge corporate tax give-aways. The only recent president to balance the budget was Clinton, and the only one to actually shrink the government was Obama, who's also cut the debt by 75% after it peaked under Bush.

about three weeks ago
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In this year's US mid-term elections ...

laird Re:no dimocrats (551 comments)

"He pushed forward the worst health care reform imaginable"

He made a terrible mistake, in that he took Republicans at their word, and thought that if he adopted the Republicans' positions, then they'd work with him to get things done. It turns out that they didn't actually support their own positions so much as invent them as excuses to oppose the Democrat's positions, and that they weren't going to work with Obama no matter what he said or did.

The shame is that a few unethical Democrats were in the pocket of the insurance companies (Lieberman, ...) so with united Republican opposition, Obama's only way to get anything done at all was to only fix the most obvious abuses, and to do it in a way that wasted $trillions on insurance companies. Remember, insurance companies supported ACA, which is how anything got passed at all.

Single payer, which is supported by a majority of Americans ("Medicare for everyone" is extremely popular - even a majority of Republican voters support it!), simple, cheap, low-risk to implement and has higher patient satisfaction rates than private insurance, was never even seriously considered by our political class. So, as absurd is ACA is, it's better than what went before - lower costs, more people covered, better benefits for everyone, etc.

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

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

Sure. Only mandatory insurance Nixon's proposal, and Romney's, and numerous other Republicans over the years, because only by making it mandatory does it work for the insurance companies. It only became "un-American" when Obama endorsed their proposal.

about a month ago
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Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare

laird Re:Redistribution (739 comments)

Under ACA, all health insurance covers preventative medicine 100%, before the deductible. So the plan you're describing doesn't exist.

As for healthcare costing as much as leasing a nice car, well, OK. Prices were going up faster before ACA, so at least the costs are better than they would have been. But you're right - healthcare in the US is absurdly over-priced. It'd be good to really fix the underlying problem - making everything for-profit and fee-for-service, with insurance companies in the middle to maximize waste while minimizing health care being provided, is a horrible, horrible mess. But apparently the obvious solution, which the voters support (i.e. expand Medicare to everyone) is inconceivable to Congress for some reason.

about a month ago
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Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare

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

And even with all of that Medicare is vastly more efficient, and has higher patient satisfaction rates, than private healthcare.

about a month ago
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Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare

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

Nice theory. In reality, "While some larger firms who have to provide insurance for employees come 2015 are cutting back employee hours to part-time to avoid paying for their health coverage, others like Walmart have moved tens of thousands of workers from part-time to full-time to embrace the law. Also, many smaller firms will be able to hire more workers due to their ability to provide them with better benefits at cheaper rates." So the total impact is, at worst a fraction of a percent of workers losing coverage.

And for employers that cut hours to avoid providing healthcare benefits, I don't have much sympathy. They're cutting their costs a tiny bit, in order to increase their employee's costs much more, which IMO is pretty obnoxious.

about a month ago
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Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare

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

Actually, since ACA passed, healthcare costs have gone up more slowly than any time decades - 2-3% instead of the 7-9%. And everyone benefits from the reforms limiting insurance company waste, etc.

Want to try again with some facts?

about a month ago

Submissions

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Prosthetists Meet Printers: Mainstreaming Open-Source 3D printed Prosthetics

laird laird writes  |  about 3 months ago

laird (2705) writes "Prosthetists Meet Printers: Mainstreaming Open-Source 3D printed Prosthetics for Underserved Populations

Crowd-sourced collaborative innovation is changing the face of modern medicine. e-NABLE, a global online community of humanitarian volunteers is leading the way by designing, building and disseminating inexpensive 3D printed prosthetics. Come join the e-NABLE organization and thought leaders in medicine, industry and public policy for a ground-breaking, industry-defining event at Johns Hopkins Hospital that will include the delivery of donated prothetic hands to children with upper limb differences.

We will unveil the new e-NABLE 2.0 hand, developed by Ivan Owen, Peter Binkley and Frankie Flood – the world’s first crowd-sourced, crowd-developed prosthetic that incorporates the collective intelligence, learning and experiences of e-NABLE’s online global community, parents and children who are using the devices themselves.

Anyone is welcome to attend.

Come learn about the future of 3D printing technology and the medical field, why the prosthetics industry should welcome this technology and get more information on policy issues and the upcoming FDA regulatory workshops in October.

You will have the opportunity to learn how to create a device, meet vendors and get information on various 3D printers and will get to witness children receiving their first 3D printed hand devices created just for them by our e-NABLE volunteers.

We are making history and changing lives. We invite you to join us!"

Link to Original Source
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$1B of public domain research released to public!

laird laird writes  |  more than 5 years ago

laird writes "Wikileaks has released nearly a billion dollars worth of quasi-secret reports commissioned by the United States Congress. The 6,780 reports, current as of this month, comprise over 127,000 pages of material on some of the most contentious issues in the nation, from the U.S. relationship with Israel to abortion legislation. Nearly 2,300 of the reports were updated in the last 12 months, while the oldest report goes back to 1990. The release represents the total output of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) electronically available to Congressional offices. The CRS is Congress's analytical agency and has a budget in excess of $100M per year.

Although all CRS reports are legally in the public domain, they are quasi-secret because the CRS, as a matter of policy, makes the reports available only to members of Congress, Congressional committees and select sister agencies such as the GAO. Members of Congress are free to selectively release CRS reports to the public but are only motivated to do so when they feel the results would assist them politically. Universally embarrassing reports are kept quiet."

Link to Original Source
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Are Content Delivery Clouds the next step of CDNs?

laird laird writes  |  more than 6 years ago

laird writes "Is the Content Delivery Cloud model the next step after CDN's? "A Content Delivery Cloud is a system of computers networked together across the internet that are orchestrated transparently to deliver content to end users, most often for the purposes of improving performance, scalabaility and cost efficiency. Extending the model of a traditional Content Delivery Network, a Content Delivery Cloud may utilize the resources of multiple CDN networks as well as end-user computers ("the cloud") to assist in the delivery of content." With coverage, research and commercial services emerging, is the Content Delivery Cloud coming sooner rather than later?"
Link to Original Source
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http://www.wired.com/software/webservices/news/200

laird laird writes  |  more than 7 years ago

laird writes "Faced with a surge in network usage, internet service providers are grumbling about rising traffic levels. ISPs say the looming growth of true peer-to-peer applications threatens to overwhelm them. Some ISPs have even started sniffing out P2P traffic on their networks and curbing it, either slowing file sharing to a trickle or bringing it to a halt.

Responding to this adversarial relationship, some P2P companies are adopting a posture of engagement with ISPs, and have formed a new industry working group to help broker relationships that, they say, will enable ISPs to better manage and distribute traffic loads on their networks.

The P4P Working Group consists of content-distribution-technology providers like BitTorrent, Pando Networks, LimeWire and VeriSign's Kontiki, as well as broadband companies like Verizon and AT&T, and hardware makers like Cisco Systems. There are close to a dozen members so far. The P4P operates under the guidance of the Distributed Computing Industry Association, a group that wants to foster legal peer-to-peer content distribution.

P4P's plan: Get ISPs and P2P-technology providers working together, to ensure that P2P traffic continues to flow and that users of P2P technologies don't overload ISPs' networks with too much sharing."

Link to Original Source
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laird laird writes  |  about 8 years ago

laird writes "The principle of voting in the United States is that votes are cast in secret but tallied in public.

This principle is incompatible with the current practice of using voting systems whose inner workings are trade secrets owned by the voting-machine vendors. Those same vendors pay for their systems to be tested, and the results of those tests are also trade secrets — you guessed it — owned by the vendors.

Full article at http://www.paloaltoonline.com/weekly/story.php?sto ry_id=3234 ."
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laird laird writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Laird Popkin writes "Pando Networks, known for integrating BitTorrent into email with a slick little, consumer-friendly client (and tons of very fast Linux servers), has extended its software to support web and RSS publishing of large files. TechCrunch has a nice writeup. There's more technical information about Pando at Pando's tech site."

Journals

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Just found journal

laird laird writes  |  more than 11 years ago

I just found the journal system here on Slashdot. Is it clever or over-reaching? Given that people build reputations on Slashdot, it kinda makes sense. Though if you host your life on Slashdot, well, I guess that says something too...

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