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The Well-Connected Park Bench 139

Posted by timothy
from the welcome-to-the-non-fray dept.
|proc|meminfo writes: "MSN is bringing internet access to park benches in Bury St. Edmunds, England. The bench (for now) will be in Abbey Gardens, and those with laptops will be able to hook up to recieve free MSN internet access through the bench. MSN says it should be ready for operation in August/September."

Interesting to see Microsoft's approach here -- a park bench on the internet is a good idea. The concept of connecting community centers with computers predates the Net and is going on all around, though; you may find these two academic overviews (here's one, and another) intriguing, especially the mentions of the Berkeley-area Community Memory project. And looking beyond parkbenches, various community networking groups like consume.net are working to decentralize Net access, at least for those living where coverage is available.

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The Well-Connected Park Bench

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Bury St. Edmunds is actually quite well known as a gathering place for National Front and other similar "youth organisations".

    (For those of you in the US and elsewhere: the NF is an extreme right wing group that generally seeks to rid Britain of anyone who isn't Anglo-Saxon, by fair means or foul. You would probably just call them Nazis.)

    I find this more than a little frightening in light of some of the posts that have already appeared on this article. I suppose with the park benches we'll be seeing even more racist wankers on Slashdot.
  • It's still technically a monarchy, but the queen uses none of her powers (and it's unlikely that she would last very long if she did start to use them)

    Unfortunately, she's also about the only check and balance on our "democracy" (aka, elective dictatorship)

    Constitutionally there would be a lot of complaining if we got rid of the queen, and it might impact tourist revenues, so in the best traditions of Britain, the issue is fudged as usual and she'll be around for a while (and her successors)
  • So MS UK will right it off under UK tax law.

    We pay taxes here, too.
  • That would be pretty stupid. It's just an ethernet jack and a wire leading (presumably) underground to some distant POP. It can't be terribly expensive to replace.

    -Waldo
  • by waldoj (8229)
    peaceful park overseas
    Internet connection there
    missing the point
  • But then that would be a statue, not a bench...
  • by ergo98 (9391)

    I don't quite understand your reply: ASP allows you to include inc files from outside of the wwwroot structure, but if someone wants to be able to simply copy/paste the directory (without external dependencies), and the inc file contains nothing that's proprietary or "secret", then why not leave it in there? What's the big deal?

  • by ergo98 (9391)

    No it isn't forced on you. Obviously they really don't give a sheeit if people see it, which is why they put it there. Even if they did though they could easily have null-sinked .inc types, but again they really couldn't care less.

  • Interesting to see microsoft providing something free,
    that doesn't require the purchase of windows. Surely this is laden with horrible horrible advertising, and only works with windows.
    How else and why else would ms do such a thing?
  • Aqualung!!
  • by Requiem (12551)
    This internet access will allow hobos everywhere to manufacture their own software products. Perhaps a particularly cunning hobo will produce a package named HoboSoft, which will include a free soup kitchen with each license. This will undoubtedly draw in countless hobos, thereby revolutionizing the homeless hobo software industry.

    Another triumph for Objectivism! Ayn Rand would be proud.
  • Thanks for making a point of MS's common development pattern. This is, indeed, yet another example of poorly implimented, poorly thought-out projects, dating all the way back to the days of DOS. (Or should I say CP/M?)

    -------
    Caimlas

  • Consumers pay for corporate income taxes through higher prices. Employees pay for payroll taxes through lower wages.

    Eliminating corporate taxes would lower cost of doing business and in a competitive market allow room for lower prices.

    Lower prices for consumers = a tax cut for the rich?
  • > That's sounds like a great idea, but what if I decide to connect my iBook up to it, and proceed to hax0r the gibson? Surely, they would have to set up some kind of surveilance so that the park bench doesn't become "uber hax0r HQ".

    > Then, they have the ethical question of cameras in public to deal with,...

    You can bet that one of these cameras is pointing right at that bench. If you haxor from that bench, you're photo will be up on the evening news...

  • Seyton Hall in New Jersey does have this already, although I believe it's just a dialup line for each park bench. Didn't try it yet.

    For colleges, I'd look more for wireless ethernet, but for public parks, Ethernet jacks would suit me just fine.

  • Clearly MS would have a TOS for this service, but where would it be? Assuming it's not bolted down on a plate next to the jack, would it be binding if you could just get online and not have to visit MSNbench.com or whatever?

  • I am a Yank who lived in Bury St. Edmunds off and on for 15 years... and walked through the Abbey Gardens every day on the way to work. I would literally (no slight exageration) give my left testicle (or my right, it doesn't matter) to live there again.

    Bury St. Edmunds is one of the most enchanted places on earth. You can't imagine how gobsmacked I am to read this article. It is sort of like me discovering Internet access is available at the Pearly Gates (okay, I'm actually an atheist who doesn't believe in the Pearly Gates, but you get my point).

    It's almost enough to make a man believe in miracles!
  • Yikes!
    Response.AddHeader "Set-Cookie", sName & "=" & sValue & "; expires=Mon, 31-Dec-2029 23:59:59 GMT; " & sDomain & "path=/"
    Them is some long-lastin' cookies!
    --
  • That's no longer true, not with THIS! [pla-netx.com]

    Boring, bland blue screen of death begone. Welcome teal, magenta, mahogany screens of death.

  • I think you might be taking me just a little too seriously... I was just trying to come up with something funny really, really fast so I could get first post :)

    But joking aside, I think saying "look, you can get the internet on a park bench" makes more sense than "look, that park bench is on the internet." The latter just sounds... funny.
  • Incidentally, do you think Slashdot helps develop quickfire debating/joking skills?

    Absolutely! You gotta be quick on your feet to even try and compete here :)
  • When I was in England this past June, British telecom had replaced about 5% of their phone booths with free internet stations. It was anice little touchscreen with a very hardcore metal keyboard and trackball.
  • I'm glad someone is making a serious effort to bring Internet access to the homeless. Now they don't have to trudge all the way to the shelter to get online, they can just wake up and logon like the rest of us.
  • Perhaps they will use wireless, although I would guess that many more people have ethernet cards than have 802.11 cards. The article did say that "MSN is still testing the best technologies to achieve this" and didn't specifically mention ethernet.
  • by PaxTech (103481)
    Why are their include files in a web accessible directory in the first place? Is that something forced on you by ASP?

    I always keep my PHP include files above or parallel to my html directory, and name them with a .php extension so the webserver would parse them and not display the code if one got in the wrong place.
    --
    PaxTech
  • yeah...I'd prefer a shiny weatherproof access point, with or without MS advertising.

    oh yeah...and weatherproof power outlets too.

  • I lived in Bury St. Edmunds for five years when my father was stationed at the two air force bases. The abbey gardens are quite large. I would like to know which bench it's on. I carved my name into each one of them :)
  • Clearly this means that, ultimately, Microsoft's Database Software (which, the commercials tell me, is able to adjust itself if I buy Seymore Butts' latest pic right after picking up Bananas in Pajamas for my non-existent kids) will be able to target customers based on both sitre selection and ass-size.

    "We've got a 210-pound male browsing Slashdot [slashdot.org], NewsForge [newsforge.com] and some site in Christmas Island featuring what appears to be an H.R. Giger drawing."

    "Narrowing selections... Ok, hit him with the buttered milk duds, Frank Zappa CDs, and all those surplus DeCSS shirts."

    "Game, set, and match, bitch."

    I've got a cookie I'd like to leave on that server... or bench as the case may be...
  • No, moron, you have to pay tax on everything you recieve. The CORPORATION may not pay taxes, but you still will. This way you just wouldn't get taxed twice. No, you CAN'T get out of it by making them "benefits" instead of direct cash payments, because you still have to pay taxes on all goods you recieve no matter what form they are in. So, your corporation gives you a laptop, and you owe taxes on $3000 in income.

    Corporate taxes are stupid, because one way or another, it just comes out of your salery. You just don't realize it because it's not itemized on your paycheck. Likewise, you probably didn't realize that you're actually paying TWICE as much for social security, because "your employer has to match" your SS taxes. Which is exactly the same as if you had to pay it all yourself.

    The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.

  • When Regan lowered taxes, we actually got MORE tax revenue from the highest income bracket. Look up the Laffer Curve if you want to know why this happened. Of course, we got less revenue from all the lower income brackets, because they were not over the crest of the Laffer Curve, so we ended up deeper in debt, but cutting taxes on the highest bracket was a good move.

    The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.
  • I see nothing on that page related to taxes from the highest income bracket. No, I did not get the data from Rush Limbaugh, I got it from my economics textbook, from a class at Brown University (a notoriously liberal school). Yes, it is true the OVERALL, tax collections went down, while spending went up. However IN THE HIGHEST INCOME BRACKET, tax collections went up.

    The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.
  • What I'm trying to explain is this:

    It should be obvious that, if you tax all income above, say $100,000, at 100%, then no one will get paid more than $100,000. After someone has secured a job which pays $100,000, they will cease to seek promotions, and will hence not work as hard. This will be detrimental to the economy. One would collect more tax money by setting the tax rate below 100% on income above $100,000. In fact, Reagan himself had experience with this, because actors in the great depression would only make one movie a year, because after one movie, they'd hit the point where their tax rate was absurdly high, and it just wouldn't be worth making any more.

    Now then, it should also be easy to see that the point at which one's marginal tax revenues will become negative is below 100%. A 90% tax rate would probably collect more than a 95% tax rate. This is called the Laffer Curve (after the economist of the same name (Er, Mr. Laffer, not Mr. Curve :) ). Once one has hit the peak of the Laffer Curve, raising the tax rate will decrease, rather than increase, the tax revenues. The theory behind Reagan's policy of cutting taxes while raising spending was that we were on the wrong side of the curve, and cutting taxes would actually move us closer to the peak.

    As it turned out, he was right only about the highest income bracket. By cutting taxes, he increased the amount of tax money collected from the highest bracket (in absolute, inflation adjusted dollar terms), but decreased the amount of money collected from lower income brackets. Hence, overall, tax revenues went down. So you're right, his tax policy overall was wrong. But, he was right to cut taxes on the highest income bracket, unless you view taxes as a way to punish the rich, instead of a way to fund government. What he should have done is cut taxes on the top bracket, kept them the same for the rest, and increased spending only slightly, not cut taxes on everyone and dramatically increased spending.

    The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.

  • We obviously do not speak the same language, so this will be my last reply on the subject. I would highly recommend reading a few economics texts, however. Anything by Milton Friedman would also work quite well.

    Look at the boom economy the US went through from 1946 to 1963 - the US was a Juggernaut.

    Right, because we were still recovering from the Great Depression. The DJIA did not regain its 1929 high until sometime in the 60's (I've got a chart at home, but not with me). Then, through the 70's we had stagflation, the worst possible combination in an economy, where the only options are even higher inflation, or an even worse economy.

    A little bit more tax money, a few more elite, and a drastically lowered charity level

    Isn't more tax money the whole point of taxes? And aren't more elite a good thing? I'm confused about what you're objecting to here.

    the difference between the distribution between the rich and the poor has been widening drastically

    Maybe so, but the poor have, on an inflation adjusted basis, been getting steadily richer. So, I wouldn't worry too much about whether or not the top 1% is getting richer FASTER. Why begrudge another man his success if you are still better off than you were?

    We should look to Europe as a model - where they manage to be, relative to their population, modern economic powerhouses, with a much better distribution of wealth, amongst other factors.

    This is a lie. America is richer (yes, on a per capita basis), has higher employment, and a more economically mobile society (which is to say, those below the poverty line stay below the poverty line for a shorter period of time). If you like Europe so much, then move there and leave those of us who enjoy keeping the fruits of our labors alone.

    The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.

  • Who would bother making phone calls when they have free internet access? Well, me for one. And all those other thousands of people that 'phone other people.
  • "Just imagine--sitting in the grass, in the sun, hacking away at some code that you've pulled from your sourceforge CVS archive through the ethernet port in the tree behind you." It would be much cooler if hidden in the branches were 802.11b omnidirectional antennae. That way you are free to stroll around and be unteathered.. the way you should be inside a park.
  • So let's say I'm a resident of England and I decide to take my laptop running the latest version of RedHat Linux to the park with me. I've heard that I can access the internet at the local park. But wait, it is through MSN... does that mean I get screwed?
  • Yeah, I know. And Americans complain about it like crazy, too. :P

    If we taxed like germany does, for just one year, we'd have both our debt paid off and social security saved for an additional 10 years. And people here just whine... : P

    -= rei =-
  • You know the effect of an immediate repeal of corporate taxes. The money will go straight into profits, at least for this year. After that, its debatable, and depends on market pressure. Profits only benefit CEOs and major shareholders; employees, while they often have stock, it is not their primary source of income. Neither is incentive pay. Then, of course, you have the balancing effect - reduced tax income equates directly to either increased "other" taxes (likely income tax, and given the current administration, not an upper class hike), or decreased government benefits all-around - most likely, given the current administration, healthcare and education. Actually, no, that isn't *quite* true. I doubt those cuts would make through congress - that would require assuming that the "Starve the Beast" tactic works, which it most obviously doesn't (look at the 80s and national debt). In reality, it'd probably just go straight to national debt, to pay off later and to pay interest on until then. Either way, the ones who will hurt are the poor and middle class - you know, the bottom 90% of people which own less of the country than the top 1%?

    -= rei =-
  • Or just write a program that tests every possible name... as a bonus you get to crash the server by sending non-alphanumeric characters and overload their connection.
    ---
  • I can't wait to see pigeons shitting on Microsoft's new bench. Hell, I might travel to Merry Olde England to take a dump on one, myself.

    You mean, mark the bench? As in bench-marked?
  • SO thats why less than half of your even bothered to vote. I used to live in the UK, the govt is not that open, in fact its pretty damn crook in places. Still better than the US by a few hundred miles tho.
  • The article only says users 'will be able to connect their laptops' and that implies it is cabled. Is this not completely nuts? I give it 6 hours before the socket is jammed with chewing gum.

    Meanwhile, there are such things as metal park benches. Use one as an antenna and let anyone in the whole park connect with 802.11b. No fighting over the jack before it gets gummed, no chewing gum to clean out...

  • The other day on the 'net, I read that there was a world outside. So today, I ventured out of my house for the first time after a 3 year hacking binge. The only thing outside was the 'net. Go figure.
  • MS PopTarts... park bench today, food tomorrow.
  • Maybe the article didn't make this clear, but the bench is not filled with money.

    Well, neither was the fiberglass rhinoceros in front of Scott Molds in Kent, Ohio, but that never, ever, stopped people from stealing it for senior pranks. Kept right on happening even after the huge log chain was attached. I think the company finally gave up and got rid of the thing after it had wound up on the lawns, rooftops, and in a swimming pool of assorted local schools over the course of 20 or so years.

    I miss those days. I miss the rhino, too.

  • Indeed. I give it no more than a week before someone jams chewing gum in one of the sockets :)

    node
  • Like they don't already have enough problems with implementing contemporary network architectures. I can just imagine the $50,000/hr team that would be flown in to diagnose and fix a park bench with a routing problem. Of course their analysis would state that the problem lied in pigeon droppings in the ethernet jack and not the OS.

    I'm brilliant,
  • "doctor", I suggest YOU do some research before you type!

    You do realise that the RIP goes a hell of a lot further than you claim.

    It is a HELL of a lot more than just "requesting IP addresses from ISPs".
    It most certainly DOEs mean they can monitor any and all internet traffic.

    You do realise that the RIP Act gives the police the power to demand you hand over your encryption/decryption keys, and if you don't you go to jail, even if you NO LONGER HAVE the keys (you try proving you do NOt have them then, go on).
    Oh, and you do realise that whilst this is happening, under the RIP Act you are not allowed to tell ANYONE that your keys have been grabbed, nor that you are being asked for the keys - mention it to anyone and you are liable to instant imprisonment.

    Learn something about a subject before typing next time, "doctor".

    Oh, and I speak as a UK citizen who has studied the bill for quite some time - I know what I am talking about here.

    --
  • Just ignore the wire going from the bench to my apartment, its nothing, really!
  • A strong democracy that is privatising the tube against the wishes of Londoners (who voted against it), a relatively open government that publishes almost no information unless it has absolutely no choice, whose home secretary said "Freedom of Information acts are for oppositions", as he neutered a manifesto promise.

    Of course we could go into the huge strength of the government whips over such areas as privatising Air Traffic control, and the same open government that felt that it would be a good idea to kick two of their backbenchers that didn't toe the party line off select committees.

    Also isn't it great to have all of this privacy, with cameras on virtually every road (something you don't see in America), the fact that the police can collect DNA evidence even if you've committed no crime (recent house of lords decision, the police do not have to destroy DNA evidence. So just arrest the whole of the population once. Should be quite easy to do it over a period of a couple of years)

    The RIP bill is basically awful legislation, and I hope that somebody pushes it through court soon so that they can see what the European Court of Human Rights says (which we lose at a lot, with our fantastically open government and strong democracy)

    Once you're done with whatever you're smoking, please pass it round to the rest of us.
  • This is just one step closer to my ultimate dream: the internet park!

    Just imagine--sitting in the grass, in the sun, hacking away at some code that you've pulled from your sourceforge CVS archive through the ethernet port in the tree behind you.

    Ahhh....a geek can dream, can't he?
  • Rumour has it that the British government is looking at getting a national Windows/Office site licence for all UK citizens, to be paid for by a computer license fee (similar to the BBC television license fee). The reasoning is that everybody with a computer needs Windows (which they do for connecting to the government's MS-only websites).
  • Microsoft and the British government are good buddies. The UK government's web sites all run on MS systems, and only work with MS browsers under Windows. The minister in charge of them also issued an edict to eliminate non-MS systems (such as Linux) from government computers, and warned public servants that mentioning the "L-word" could endanger their careers.

    Britain is becoming, at least on paper, an all-MS shop.
  • But this is MS. Isn't that sort of like the serpent showing up in the Garden of Eden?
  • <bear_with_me_here>

    where I lived, someone once stole the Bob's Big Boy from its perch in front of the restaurant. They dragged it down the street and left bits and pieces trailing all the way to its hiding place.

    </bear_with_me_here>

    Honestly, the only reason I could see stealing this would be to say "Hey, I have an Internet connected web-bench in my front yard."

    I couldn't think of a reason why anyone would really want to do this? Don't you already have enough Microsoft owned "web benchs" in your home right now? I have sat in front of many of them all over the country. This one better be padded. At least then it would be comfortable :)
  • yeah but with wireless, you don't have to be at the bench to use it, including that guy across the street in his office. Too many people I bet would get on and slow it down.
  • "Visitors to the city's Abbey Gardens will be able to connect their laptops to the Internet for free through a connection on the bench, although MSN is still
    testing [emphasis mine] the best technologies to achieve this."
    Oh, is Microsoft just now testing DHCP and Ethernet?
  • Just let's hope the bench doesn't collapse under you when you try to sit down on it...
  • > CCTV or no CCTV, it will be destroyed.

    Hey, the CCTV cameras pointing at the bench are not meant to stop vandalism. Or at least not that kind of vandalism. Their real purpose is to take pix of people who are naive enough to think they could haxor under the cover of the bench's "anonymity".

  • are you going to vandalize/destroy today?

    I hope it's inexpensive, because people tend to destroy things when no one is watching. I can just imagine these things not getting much use because the jack smells like vagrant urine.

  • You only pay 31% tax? Here in Australia, the top bracket is 48%. Sometime long in the past the top rate was 101%!


    ---
  • by Lxy (80823)
    Contrary to popular opinion, THE INTERNET IS NOT *IN* THE BENCH!. Stealing an ATM is one thing.. there's value there (presumably the money, although I've been told it's impossible to break into them, maybe that's just the cops spreading FUD so I don't try it). Stealing a park bench with a Cat 5 jack and some ethernet... you'd have to be making some kind of political statement or something. There's no way it'd be worth your time to steal a park bench with a Cat 5 jack.

  • dowloading little girls with bad intent...

    (apologies to Ian Anderson and all of you :-)

  • ...is now all the weirdos and creeps on the internet can keep track of the kids they lure from chat rooms while they sit on park benches waiting for solitary joggers to go by...

    ...hmm...maybe I should have posted anonymously.
  • Ahhh, OK. That's what I get for posting before lunch (low blood-sugar). Gotta admit, I've done the same thing myself ; )

    Incidentally, do you think Slashdot helps develop quickfire debating/joking skills?

  • Well, I think you could say it either way. Something (such as a park bench) on the internet simply means that it's connected to the internet.

    For example; if you connected (via PC, PDA, phone, whatever) to the net and you were asked where the information your device was receiving was coming from, would you be more likely to say "My [device] is on the net." or "The net is on my [device]"?

    Or am I taking your post a little too seriously : )

  • Ahhh... the joys of wireless ethernet. I can plop my laptop on top of a clothes hamper and still keep up on IRC and read my email. It's grand.
  • Its probably a tax writeoff, too. They can classify it as a charitable contribution.

    Though, of course, corporate tax writeoffs will be going away if Bush's administration has its way on the issue (which it probably won't). Why? Because the Bush administration is taking the stance that corporations shouldn't have to pay taxes at all. This amounts to, effectively, another upper class tax cut (is it time for another one already?) Normally these things take a few years (see table).

    Upper-class taxes over time in the US:
    1945: 91%
    1946-1963: 88%
    1964-1981: 70%
    1981-1986: 50%
    1988: 28%
    1991: 31%

    If such a cut does make it, I'd expect to see fewer "charitable" actions by big companies like microsoft. But, I'm sure there is more at stake than just a tax break. Like you said, they could be striving for advertising revenue. I'd also suspect they may be trying to make inroads into local governments - the whole "its free... for now" system - one of their favorite tactics.

    -= rei =-

  • by Rei (128717)
    You obviously listen to Rush Limbaugh, he's the one who publicized that faulty statistic. Here's the truth on the issue [att.net]. There's some other statistics there too - they had one similar to what the US could do if it taxed like Germany there (abolising the US poverty line in addition to paying off the national debt).

    -= rei =-
  • by Rei (128717)
    My apologies. I've seen so many people quoting that "tax income doubled" argument that it gets old after a while. Additionally, your post didn't make sense with the parent, if you'll look at it - what does it matter, the percentage of tax income from a particular group, when the overall money into the government was the critical issue? Yes, the amount of people making over 500,000$ notably increased, which raised the top tax bracket - but even after this increase, they were still only 1/5th of the 1% of the population. The middle class stagnated, and the poor lost ground. Thats why overall tax increases were relatively poor - as was mentioned in the previous link, Reagan's tax gains were tied for 6th and 7th of the previous 10 presidents (statistics compiled before Clinton)

    So, I completely miss the point of your showing that, by helping 1/5th of one percent of the population, giving poor overall tax returns, and hurting the majority of the rest of the population, that this was a good thing.

    This link [att.net] goes into more detail on the percentage breakdowns.

    -= rei =-

  • by Rei (128717)
    This obviously isn't the solution, or you could apply it to any tax level, no matter how low. The obvious solution is more graduated brackets. Look at the boom economy the US went through from 1946 to 1963 - the US was a Juggernaut. What was the top tax bracket? 88%. What was it when Reagan went into office? 70%. He cut it to 50%. How did this help the country? Well, it obviously helped close to a fifth of 1% of the people move up into the newly lowered bracket. And the corresponding change in charitable contribution? -65% in the top 1% (they didn't need writeoffs) (the poorest in the nation actually increased charitable contributions, despite being notably worse off... its really sad). Any other changes? Mm, not really. A little bit more tax money, a few more elite, and a drastically lowered charity level.

    Regardless, across this century, there has been one noticable trend that has followed steadily with the closing of tax brackets - the difference between the distribution between the rich and the poor has been widening drastically. You claim that cutting taxes for the middle class and poor was a mistake. And what tax cut are you referring to? When you include social security and payroll taxes, the tax rate has gone up on everyone except for the top 20% (and the top 1% has notably gone down). In short, the only observable trend we've seen in the US over time is a steadily more topheavy society as we remove the difference in income taxes (like the topheavy society that was fixed when income taxes were first used to try and equal society out, resulting in a boom). We should look to Europe as a model - where they manage to be, relative to their population, modern economic powerhouses, with a much better distribution of wealth, amongst other factors.

    -= rei =-

  • by Rei (128717)
    "Right, because we were still recovering from the Great Depression. The DJIA did not regain its 1929 high until sometime in the 60's (I've got a chart at home, but not with me). Then, through the 70's we had stagflation, the worst possible combination in an economy, where the only options are even higher inflation, or an even worse economy."

    Um... what? By the end of the war, the US was *not* recovering from the depression. Unemployment and poverty levels were not at a low. The DJIA hit nearly 700 during that peroid (the 1929 levels were, what, 140?). So, I have to ask: are you just making this up?

    "Isn't more tax money the whole point of taxes? And aren't more elite a good thing? I'm confused about what you're objecting to here."

    1/5th of 1% is an insignificant measure. The whole point of taxes is not about money, that's too narrow of a view. The whole point of taxes is to increase the american standard of life and safeguard for its future. By taking away 65% of upper class charitable contributions for a nominal increase in living standards is certainly *not* a good thing.

    "Maybe so, but the poor have, on an inflation adjusted basis, been getting steadily richer. So, I wouldn't worry too much about whether or not the
    top 1% is getting richer FASTER. Why begrudge another man his success if you are still better off than you were?"

    At the end of the reagan era, the average poor family had less *non-inflation-adjusted* income than the beginning of Carter's presidency, let alone inflation-adjusted. The middle class was about equal. The big increases in standards of living for the poor and middle class came from the 40s to the 60s. They've been slowing, and in some cases, reverting, in recent years. Hardly desirable, to say the least.

    "This is a lie. America is richer (yes, on a per capita basis), has higher employment, and a more economically mobile society (which is to say, those below the poverty line stay below the poverty line for a shorter period of time). If you like Europe so much, then move there and leave those of us who enjoy keeping the fruits of our labors alone"

    What's a lie? Back your claim up. Here are my numbers. [att.net] Where are yours?

    And, don't be ridiculous. Saying "move elsewhere" is like telling a somalian to solve his hunger by going to the nearest grocery store and stocking up on food. The reason we have our current system is that it can adapt and change - taking into account the best policies that others are using, and coming up with our own new ones. It is every citizen's responsibility in this country to try to make it the best country that it can be.

    And don't get into this "taxation=theivery" argument you're heading towards. You'll only shoot yourself in the foot, m'dear.

    -= rei =-
  • by Rei (128717)
    (correction)
    "... for a nominal increase in living standards"
    to
    "... for a nominal increase in tax revenue"

    -= rei =-
  • Why not install weatherproof PDA on the bench? That way they could promote their product (CE?) and actually provide a tangible public service.

    Why not? Because some deviants would vandalize / destroy / steal it.

    I seriously doubt placing PDAs in parks would promote much anything besides vandalism and/or theft, but that's just my opinion.

    At least you didn't say something to the effect of "Can you imagine a Beowulf cluster of those?!" (No, I cannot -- I was born Beowulf-imagination-impaired.)

  • Blue would be appropriate.
  • The UK government's web sites all run on MS systems, and only work with MS browsers under Windows

    Actually I think you will find the situation is being rectified.

    One of my colleagues was a key implementor of the Secure Government project in the UK, and the whole lot is based on Linux.

    Don't think that the UK civil service blindly follows government ministers, and if anyone of you have ever laughed at the TV show "Yes, Minister" you will understand what I mean.

    For other examples of where the UK government is not a blind MS-led sheep, check below:
    The full facts from the best source on the web [theregister.co.uk]
    What IT people are doing about it [theregister.co.uk]
    Embracing Open Standards [theregister.co.uk]

    This area is subject to much FUD. Please don't encourage it.

  • This piece of legislation gave the British government the wholesale right to monitor all electronic communications in Britain and the EU.

    Someone please tell me to not feed the trolls.

    It does NOT mean they can "monitor" Internet connections in the UK, and the certainly can NOT monitor Internet connections outside their soverign ownership in the EU.

    It DOES mean the Police can request information about IP addresses from ISPs so the b*stards peddling Kiddie Porn and terrorist material can be hunted and caught.

    Why don't you do some research before you type? Us British are not so concerned about government control, because we have a relatively open government and a strong democracy. Arguably we have a much more open & private society than the USA, and thus your opinion pretty much sUx

  • I think they should worry more about vandalism.

    Well spoken. It's a fact of life in the UK that if something isn't welded down to the ground it will be stolen.

    It's the way it has always been, and it is getting worse. People vandalise just for the sheer thuggery of it, and unless the connectors in this thing are as bullet-proof as a BT phone box, they won't last a week.

    CCTV or no CCTV, it will be destroyed.

    Compare and contrast: I'm in Tokyo working this week, and in the big popular Car showrooms, the cars all have their Gearnobs, Indicators, and Cig Lighters in place, because the people here have more basic respect for other people's property.

    If only we could learn some of this in the UK :-(

  • That's sounds like a great idea, but what if I decide to connect my iBook up to it, and proceed to hax0r the gibson? Surely, they would have to set up some kind of surveilance so that the park bench doesn't become "uber hax0r HQ".

    No, they will do what most ISPs now do. They will have a connection to the Internet bound through a tightly-configured Internet Proxy and/or Firewall product.

    This will allow you access to a restricted range of web content, and probably ensure you cannot visit Sex sites and the like.

    This is probably a good idea from a decency persepective, as I for one wouldn't like to see one of my Nephews catch a glimpse of some sweaty perv's browsing habits when out in the park for a stroll!

    And CCTV is a way of life here, our governments long ago abandoned the ethical viewpoint and even gave grants to councils to install them, to try and curb the rampant violence and crime on UK streets. I am sure I have read we have the most CCTV'd country on the planet now.

    This is one of the most dangerous places in the developed world if you do not maintain a streetwise attitude.

  • Just imagine--sitting in the grass, in the sun, hacking away at some code that you've pulled from your sourceforge CVS archive through the ethernet port in the tree behind you.

    What you don't realize is that that tree is actually of a variety carefully bred for years to produce Ethernet ports of just the right size. I've only glanced over the reports, but it was apparently quite an undertaking.

    --
    BACKNEXTFINISHCANCEL

  • We all know those hobos are a wiley bunch. They will start making web ads and beg for money at every site that hosts an x10 popup! Some things just should not be online; Toasters, lavalamps (well maybe, i wouldent mind watching my lavalamp remotely), Garbage pails and finaly hobos. They will demand opensource Dinner!
  • Hey! Wanna see some of MSNBC's ASP code? Just overload the site so it produces errors and prints out the .inc filename. :)

    http://www.msnbc.com/m/inc/std.inc [msnbc.com]

    ----------
  • Sitting on a park bench, eying .jpg's with bad intent
    snot running down his nose, greasy fingers keying adult check login coodes,
    AQUALUNG!!

    pressure/grep


    --------------------------------
  • by Wakko Warner (324) on Tuesday July 17, 2001 @10:41PM (#78329) Homepage Journal
    ...I will know which park bench to perform my holdups at.

    - A.P.

    --

  • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Tuesday July 17, 2001 @09:59PM (#78330) Homepage
    You're forgetting that they'd probably destroy a connection port, too. those sensitive little wires that help your rj45 jack get data to your computer need those to function properly. they're also surprisingly easily damaged. I can't wait to see their workaround for this.

    -------
    Caimlas

  • by Speare (84249) on Tuesday July 17, 2001 @07:34PM (#78331) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft VBScript runtime error '800a01a8'

    Maybe the processor wasn't "seated" properly. Causes all sorts of unpredictable errors.

  • by doctor_oktagon (157579) on Tuesday July 17, 2001 @08:18PM (#78332)
    Its probably a tax writeoff, too. They can classify it as a charitable contribution

    If you had bothered reading the article you would see this is being installed in the UK.

    This means costs are met by Microsoft UK, and not the US-based operation.

    Open your eyes next time, or click on the link. Then comment.

  • by doctor_oktagon (157579) on Tuesday July 17, 2001 @08:21PM (#78333)
    The last people that should be given media-access-control over a public access internet point are Microsoft.

    If you'd open your mind to the fact other countries & environments exist outside of the USA, you might learn that here in the UK we have something called

    day-tah proh-te-ct-shon

    This stops evil companies like Microsoft flogging your personal details, and is one of the main differentiators between the EU and the USA.

  • by doctor_oktagon (157579) on Tuesday July 17, 2001 @08:42PM (#78334)
    When I was in England this past June, British telecom had replaced about 5% of their phone booths with free internet stations. It was anice little touchscreen with a very hardcore metal keyboard and trackball.

    BT has now installed these all over Victoria in London, and if anyone is passing through Victoria station they should have a look.

    It's an excellent design, and it also allows you to send free SMS messages to mobile phones.

    I had a quick play, and everything is filtered through WebSense proxy software, but the list of blocked sites was not too restrictive.

    I think these are an excellent example of how to encurage non-technical people onto the Internet, and let them play .

  • by Alien54 (180860) on Tuesday July 17, 2001 @07:32PM (#78335) Journal
    Given the fact that we read about people even trying to steal full sized ATM machines [nashville.org] out of banks, grocery stores, etc. pulling them away with pickup trucks, etc. - what is to stop someone from just trying to drag the bench away?

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

  • by ConsumedByTV (243497) on Tuesday July 17, 2001 @07:02PM (#78336) Homepage
    When visting the page for the story:

    Microsoft VBScript runtime error '800a01a8'

    Object required: 'Std__olutSection'

    /m/inc/std.inc, line 150



    The irony eh?


    The Lottery:
  • by s20451 (410424) on Tuesday July 17, 2001 @06:56PM (#78337) Journal
    How awful! This further promotes the evil monopoly of Microsoft. Someone should develop an Open Source park bench. And so on.
  • by saihung (19097) on Tuesday July 17, 2001 @08:29PM (#78338)
    Glad to see that MS is trying to retain the loyalties of the great mass of newly-unemployed IT workers who no doubt will soon be living on these in addition to accessing the net from them. It'll be like having my DSL back!
  • by Zach (79700) on Tuesday July 17, 2001 @06:51PM (#78339)
    Interesting to see Microsoft's approach here -- a park bench on the internet is a good idea.

    Isn't it vice versa - the internet on a park bench? I believe so :)
  • by empesey (207806) on Tuesday July 17, 2001 @07:07PM (#78340) Homepage
    Do we really need to have this much connectivity? Soon we're going to have 12 step programs for internet junkies and people getting mugged for their bandwidth.

    Hi, my name is smith@parkbench.com and I'm an internet junkie. I've been broadband free for 3 weeks.

    Hello smith@parkbench.com.



    --
    Entropy ain't just a good idea. It's the law.
  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Tuesday July 17, 2001 @06:52PM (#78341)
    Sounds like a great application for IP over avian carriers to me!
  • by nakaduct (43954) on Tuesday July 17, 2001 @09:22PM (#78342)
    [but people steal ATM machines!]
    Maybe the article didn't make this clear, but the bench is not filled with money.

    You can buy a wireless phone for, umm... nothing. Stealing one from the middle of a half-ton of concrete sounds like a lot of effort to me.
  • by neema (170845) on Tuesday July 17, 2001 @07:56PM (#78343) Homepage
    But how come no one makes the seat that everyone loves internet accessible? I'd be on the toilet and on the internet a whole lot more then on a bench.
  • by FatOldGoth (207461) on Wednesday July 18, 2001 @12:21AM (#78344) Homepage

    Someone should develop an Open Source park bench.

    Yeah! Then we could compare the performance of the two through a series of benchmarks.

    Sorry. Couldn't resist. I'll go quietly.


    --
  • by npongratz (319266) on Tuesday July 17, 2001 @07:01PM (#78345)
    ... Microsoft can finally (literally) kiss my ass.

"No problem is so formidable that you can't walk away from it." -- C. Schulz

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