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Comment: Re: Solar rarely enough for the whole house (Score 1) 299

by BlueBlade (#49553041) Attached to: Tesla To Announce Battery-Based Energy Storage For Homes

That depends where you're living. Here in Quebec, 90% of homes are heated using electricity, because it's cheap thanks to our huge hydro resources. In the winter, it's usually too cold for heat pumps to work. To give you an idea, here in Montreal, average temp for last february were -19C (-2F). A heat pump can save a bit during fall or spring, but usually the savings aren't worth the purchase & maintenance cost of the pump. It's all resistive heating.

Comment: Re:So lemme get this right: (Score 1) 45

by BlueBlade (#49322891) Attached to: Cisco SPA300/500 IP Phones Vulnerable To Remote Eavesdropping

That's not quite true. The SPA line is the Cisco small business line, typically used with small Call Manager Express or UC500 series boxes.

At the same time though, if a device on your LAN is compromised enough that it can be used to upload XML files to another host, you have a lot more to worry about than a vulnerable phone. In fact the attacker could also install a SIP gateway on the compromised host with a phone's MAC address and it would work, so having the physical phone itself be vulnerable is not much of an extra threat. Whence the low severity.

Comment: Re:What portion of the memory is usable this time? (Score 3, Informative) 110

RAM is very important if you use high resolutions. If you game in 1080p, then yeah this won't tell you much. If you have a 4k monitor though, 3GB isn't enough so you can at least look at the RAM to narrow your selection, then look at benchmarks.

Comment: Re: Have we handed the government control over it? (Score 1) 347

by BlueBlade (#49250107) Attached to: FCC Posts Its 400-Page Net Neutrality Order

I'll just paste another reply I made above about natural monopolies.

Natural monopolies are called natural because that's the way the world works. They exist no matter what the government does about it.

Let me give you an example with roads. Let's say all roads are private; people charge a toll to pay for each road section. You have a road from A to B. The entity owning that road has a natural monopoly, even without any regulation. This is because let's say competition adds a second road from A to B. Now, people use either road and traffic on each road drops by half. Suddenly, neither roads can pay for their maintenance because traffic is too low. Competition doesn't work well with infrastructure because reality gets in the way.

For last mile cabling, you have the exact same issue. If you allow 30 companies to have their own infrastructure and run cables to people's home, only 5% of that infrastructure would be in use at the same time, but all the rest still requires maintenance and investment. The end result would make it impossible for any of those 30 companies to turn up a profit.

With hindsight, we should have gone about cabling differently. The city should have owned that last mile cabling to each home, with them terminating in various city NOCs. Then you give access to all the service companies to these NOCs. Voilà, you now have perfect competition. You would only need neutrality laws only for the cities themselves in that scenario so that no preferential treatment is given to any company. It's a bit too late to do it properly now though.

Comment: Re:Have we handed the government control over it? (Score 1) 347

by BlueBlade (#49250005) Attached to: FCC Posts Its 400-Page Net Neutrality Order

You're wrong. Natural monopolies are called natural because that's the way the world works. They exist no matter what the government does about it.

Let me give you an example with roads. Let's say all roads are private; people charge a toll to pay for each road section. You have a road from A to B. The entity owning that road has a natural monopoly, even without any regulation. This is because let's say competition adds a second road from A to B. Now, people use either road and traffic on each road drops by half. Suddenly, neither roads can pay for their maintenance because traffic is too low. Competition doesn't work well with infrastructure because reality gets in the way.

For last mile cabling, you have the exact same issue. If you allow 30 companies to have their own infrastructure and run cables to people's home, only 5% of that infrastructure would be in use at the same time, but all the rest still requires maintenance and investment. The end result would make it impossible for any of those 30 companies to turn up a profit.

With hindsight, we should have gone about cabling differently. The city should have owned that last mile cabling to each home, with them terminating in various city NOCs. Then you give access to all the service companies to these NOCs. Voilà, you now have perfect competition. You would only need neutrality laws only for the cities themselves in that scenario so that no preferential treatment is given to any company. It's a bit too late to do it properly now though.

Comment: Re:Have we handed the government control over it? (Score 1) 347

by BlueBlade (#49245943) Attached to: FCC Posts Its 400-Page Net Neutrality Order

I'm not sure I understand your point.

When you peer, you add a new link that wasn't there before. Even if there was a financial component to the peer agreement, as long as you're not deliberately routing traffic of other customers through a congested link, I don't see how you're breaking the law. If link1 is congested and you add link2 to offload part of link1's traffic, you're not changing the traffic priority. Now, if link1 and link2 are both to backbone providers and you're sending "paying" traffic through an uncongested link2, while routing everything else through link1, then yeah, you're breaking the law. That second case would be unlike any peering routing I've ever seen though.

Comment: Re:Have we handed the government control over it? (Score 1) 347

by BlueBlade (#49245831) Attached to: FCC Posts Its 400-Page Net Neutrality Order

Hum, peering is a term used when an ISP connects to another ISP. That ISP can be a backbone provider or not, it's still peering. I'm Canadian, so I can't give examples for the US, but here a typical ISP might be peered with Peer1 (backbone), Cogent (backbone) and Torix (Toronto Internet Exchange). The big content providers (Google, Akamai, etc.) typically have a direct path on Torix. They're all called peering though, never heard another term for it.

Back to the discussion at hand. Peer links are created to avoid congestion and keep latency low. This is part of normal network management, which the law specifically allows for. Traffic will always be routed through multiple potential links, with routing protocols deciding which link to use based on capacity, congestion, shortest path, etc.

If you look at the law, they actually make a difference between peering (they call it interconnections) and paid prioritization.

Comment: Re:Have we handed the government control over it? (Score 1) 347

by BlueBlade (#49245323) Attached to: FCC Posts Its 400-Page Net Neutrality Order

Peering has nothing to do with prioritization. When you peer, you create a path to a destination, that's it. If your ISP doesn't have a peer link to, say, Slashdot's ISP, then Slashdot won't load for you, period. The law is about preferential treatment of data, which doesn't have anything to do with peering.

Comment: Re:Have we handed the government control over it? (Score 5, Informative) 347

by BlueBlade (#49245271) Attached to: FCC Posts Its 400-Page Net Neutrality Order

You're wrong. Have you read the document? It boils down to only 3 things, which are exactly about net neutrality :

- No throttling of lawful data, no matter the source or destination.
- No blocking lawful data, no matter the source or destination.
- No paid prioritization, no matter the source or destination.

That's all there's in this law. Nothing else. How exactly is this a bad law?

Comment: Re:Have we handed the government control over it? (Score 5, Informative) 347

by BlueBlade (#49245231) Attached to: FCC Posts Its 400-Page Net Neutrality Order

I'm going to reply to my own comment for the sake of not being disingenuous by omission.

The whole Verizon / Cogent peering issue was a little more complicated that. Initially, peering agreements were made between ISPs and they were fairly simple to manage. If one side was generating an unbalanced amount of traffic, they had to pay the other side.

The problem is that only worked when ISPs had the same profile : some servers, some end-users. Cogent doesn't provide service to end users, only to big businesses. As a consequence, almost all of their traffic is push, with very little flowing the other way. ISPs like Verizon took that as an excuse to claim that the peering was unbalanced, even if all the requests for that bandwidth was coming from their own users. The truth is that Verizon is already charging their users for that bandwidth, so requiring the other side to pay for access to their network is basically extortion.

The only reason they were able to do that at all is because of the natural monopoly that they have regarding the "last mile" cabling into people's home. Regulation is the only way to keep competition healthy when you have these natural monopolies in place. Verizon wanted to have their cake and eat it too. This is why this law was badly needed.

Comment: Re:Have we handed the government control over it? (Score 5, Informative) 347

by BlueBlade (#49244605) Attached to: FCC Posts Its 400-Page Net Neutrality Order

The actual issue is that Verizon was peering with the Neflix ISP (Cogent) with a 2Gbps link for ALL of their customers. The NOC where that link was located had plenty of capacity on the cogent side, but Verizon was refusing to upgrade it. Netflix even offered to buy them the router (we're talking only like $25K here) so that they could upgrade to a 10Gbps link, but Verizon flatly refused unless they were paid money. There was no internal congestion at all on Verizon's network that justified this. I'd say the issue was pretty clearly on Verizon's side there.

Comment: Re:Have we handed the government control over it? (Score 5, Interesting) 347

by BlueBlade (#49244291) Attached to: FCC Posts Its 400-Page Net Neutrality Order

Having the government enforce neutrality is actually a very good thing. You read slashdot, so you must be at least a little bit technically inclined, so let me explain what prompted this. Net neutrality has been the default state of the internet since its beginning. How it works :

  - Someone runs a service on a computer and needs it accessible to the internet. This range from big (search engine, email) to tiny and personal (minecraft server, voice chat like teamspeak). They pay an ISP to connect their servers to the internet.
  - End users want access to the internet. They pay an ISP to connect their home to the internet.

ISPs would charge each according to their needs (link speed, usage, etc) Obviously, there's more than one ISP, so they connect to each others through high-capacity links. This is called peering.

At first, anybody could be an ISP because it used a phone line. You'd dial a number, connect to your ISP and then gain access to the internet. Competition during those days was fierce and customers were fought over. Then, higher speed were needed. Sending data through an encoded voice channel was not sufficient anymore, so cable and telephone companies started using the copper lines directly. This practically killed competition because, unlike with phone lines, ISPs didn't have to give access to their infrastructure to competitors. Obviously, you can't allow 30 different companies to dig under the streets and wire different cables to every house, so what you do is you allow only one or two, but you regulate it. This is called a natural monopoly.

Now, these companies are huge and they essentially have a captive customer base. Some customers may have a choice between two providers (mostly phone or cable), but that means that two companies will control any local market. What this means is that they can both raise prices, and as long as they charge mostly equivalent prices, they make much more profit than if they competed to bring price down. This is called an oligarchy.

These companies finally realized that they had even more power than they first thought. They said "Hey, we've got 30% of the whole country as customers on our own network, why not exploit this as a money source by cutting off access to them unless we get paid?". So now, service companies like Google, in addition to paying for their own internet access, have to pay the individual ISPs for access to their customers. These customers don't have any choice in the matter, because of our natural monopoly. Genius! That's what Comcast and Verizon tried to do companies like Netflix and Google (youtube).

This isn't how the internet is supposed to work and it's obvious that the telcos aren't adding any value by doing this. They are only abusing their monopolies as middle-men to extort money for services already paid for. This what what prompted this whole legislation.

It baffles me how little people seem to be aware of the issue. Every single person who knows how the internet works thinks this law was needed and the only dissenting views are simply preying on ignorance.

Comment: Re:It's interesting, but... (Score 1) 116

by BlueBlade (#49184069) Attached to: NVIDIA Announces SHIELD Game Console

I have a SHIELD tablet I bought at release, and I use both the PC to tablet Gamestream and the online GRID streaming (nVidia sure like their caps).

Both work surprisingly well. I'll sometimes play XCOM on my tablet at work during lunch break and at first co-workers were asking how I got that to run on Android. My upload at home is only 10Mbps, but it's apparently more than enough for decent quality at 720p so I can play any Steam game at work.

For GRID, I've tested a few games, but the only game I played through the end was Darksiders 2. I was surprised that you can't really feel the lag, even for action titles. My main gripe with the service is the game selection. I'm a strategy / rpg junkie, but the only quality game that I really wanted to play on GRID is Witcher 2. However, I've already completed it 3 times on PC so it's not like I wanted to play it again. I've tested it though, and it works well.

All in all, I think the technology and infrastructure is getting ready for game streaming. I suspect that nVidia has a potential hit on their hands.

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