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Comment: Poisoning fish? (Score 1) 247

by ErikTheRed (#49755599) Attached to: California Votes To Ban Microbeads

Are the fish capable of digesting plastic? One would think that it would just pass through. It's hard to know whether or not to take the matter seriously, as (sadly) the average environmentalist has no idea what the definition of toxic is. One would think that if there were some interesting data the article would at least link it.

Comment: I've got something like this; it's not perfect. (Score 1) 287

by ErikTheRed (#49333413) Attached to: Ford's New Car Tech Prevents You From Accidentally Speeding

I've got a system in my current car (BMW M5) that uses a camera to read speed limit signs and puts the current speed limit on my heads-up display. It's a cool system, but it's not perfect. It frequently has problems in school zones where it sees the 25 MPH sign and displays that whether the "school zone" rules are currently in effect or not. I'd agree with most of the posters here that allege that speed limits are set by ass-covering bureaucrats with absolutely zero consideration to actual public safety. Slow zones in residential areas are fine - I don't even have to be told to drive between 20 and 25 MPH is a neighborhood with kids out and about. But the speed limits on major roads and highways are ... I would say "childish," but that would be an insult to children. We're living with generations of people who grew up playing video games, and our car's steering, breaks, suspension, steering, etc. are massively superior to what our parents had (or even what we had a decade ago). When speed limits are set too low people get bored and find other ways to distract themselves, which virtually all more dangerous than going faster.

Comment: Luddism never dies (Score 2) 110

by ErikTheRed (#49309221) Attached to: A Sucker Is Optimized Every Minute

Like any new tech, data mining and psychological optimizations can be used for positive or negative purposes and will drive its own bevy of bullshit management fads. The author, like most progressives and conservatives, would throw the newly born baby out with the bathwater to go back to a easier, simpler day where they understood everything and before these young whippersnappers with their "computers" and "smartwatches" started making things move too fast for the old people to keep up with. I'm at the point in my life where I've seen almost two generations of essayists crank out screeds like this and while I have that nagging fear that one day I will be the old fuddy-duddy... it hasn't happened yet. Still wish those damned kids would get off my lawn, though...

Comment: Metered access, here we come! (Score 0) 550

Has nobody stopped to consider the fact that Net Neutrality (or, more appropriately, Net Neutering) more or less guarantee an eventual transition to metered pricing for customers, that metered pricing will be far more horribly abused by cablecos and telcos than any of this hypothetical preferential treatment could be, and that you'll have absolutely no recourse because the conditions will be fixed in place by regulations?

The "why" should be pretty damned obvious: you have a certain small percentage of users who consume orders of magnitude more bandwidth than others, mostly bittorrent users. ISPs deal with this in some legitimate ways like throttling (deprioritizing bittorrent packets so that they're first to drop when congestion occurs or policing the endpoints to a maximum throughput rate) and some not-so-legitimate ways (injecting connection reset packets to disrupt sessions). If you have to suddenly start treating your teenage neighbor's 8,000 pr0n torrent seeds as "equal traffic" then you either have to expand capacity by orders of magnitude to deal with it, driving up costs for everyone, or you have to introduce metered pricing (or worst case is you can just ignore it and everyone in that neighborhood has crap Internet speed). If you are worried about pricing abuse with so-called "fast lanes," that ain't nothing compared to the abuse you'll get with metered pricing.

Yes, cablecos and telcos are run by shitheads who do want to play stupid fast-lane games with their connections, but a certain amount of outrage can eventually correct that or make it livable. Getting rid of that without consequence would be desirable, but with an almost certain consequence of metered access it seems to me like people are doing an extremely poor job of picking their poisons. And for those who don't think metered access will happen haven't payed much attention to the FCC's history...

This is a practical worry about the ISPs, but it's not the worst one. The FCC is also the group of milquetoast, any-way-the-wind-blows political hacks responsible for freaking out every time there's a nipple slip on public television or somebody says a dirty word where The Children's fragile eyes and ears may be burned with hellfire. Because Satan is in boobies and f-bombs or something like that. And the only people they're semi-accountable to is Congress, who has a 9% approval rating. These are the people you want in charge of our Internet. Seriously? Yes, again, the people running telcos and cablecos are shitheads, but whenever there is hierarchy you will wind up with a shithead in charge. The only way you control these shitheads at all is by having as many as possible choose from. In this case, sorry, I think the supporters of Net Neutering have chosen their shitheads extremely poorly.

+ - Patent Trolls and Trial Lawyers->

Submitted by Jayson
Jayson writes: Steve Malanga takes down patent trolls and trial lawyers. Automated Transactions to the EFF to Judge Posner to sewing machines in a (very) long form article.

In fact, the opposition ran deeper than the trial bar, threatening future patent reform. Flaws in our patent system, which the distinguished appellate judge and law professor Richard Posner dubs “dysfunctional,” have transformed the technology market, making ceaseless litigation lucrative not only for Automated and patent trolls like it, but for others, too.

Link to Original Source

+ - Sony Hires SCO's Anti-Linux Lawyer in Attempt to Bully the Press

Submitted by ErikTheRed
ErikTheRed writes: In what can only be taken as a serious attempt to provoke maximum outrage in the hacking community, Sony has retained the services of David Boies — the lead attorney in SCO's failed attempts at destroying Linux through its legal actions against Novell and IBM — to engage in some rather pathetic and legally questionable (per UCLA law professor and Washington Post blogger Eugene Volokh) attempts to get the media to stop talking about what is probably the largest corporate hack in history. What could possibly go wrong?

+ - Was 2014 the beginning of the end for Samsung?->

Submitted by colinneagle
colinneagle writes: Despite success with its Note line of smartphones, Samsung has given up ground in the smartphone market to Apple on the high end and to low-cost Android competitors like Xiaomi and Huawei on the low end. And Samsung’s flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5, has been a disaster. The S5 sold an estimated 12 million units in its first three months, some 4 million fewer than the Galaxy S4 did in 2013. In China, Galaxy S5 sales have dropped a reported 50% compared to the S4 over six months. Sales came in so far under predictions that the Korean company was forced to dismiss several of its top mobile executives.

Samsung’s smartphone selling prices and margins continue to fall, while IDC reports the company’s smartphone market share fell all the way from 32.2% in Q3 2013 to 23.7% in Q3 2014. The company still leads the smartphone market in overall share, but among the top five companies in that category, it was the only one to post a negative year-over-year change, according to IDC. Is it too late for Samsung to turn itself around and retain dominance of the smartphone market?

Link to Original Source

+ - A New Descent Freespace? Its only been over a decade!->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Descent Freespace was a classic space shooter PC game similar to Tie Fighter. Gamers have begged for a sequel for over a decade and maybe just maybe a first step in the right direction is occuring. Freespace Development Corporation (FDC) in association with Interplay Entertainment has announced a Kickstarter table top game called Freespace Tactics. Here is what FDC had to say about a new Freespace game:

"Part of why we are doing with this project is to gauge interest in the FreeSpace universe. If this is successful, it will certainly help us get a couple steps closer to a new PC game."

Exciting stuff for sure for the Freespace community.

Heres the link to the kickstarter page. So far funding is at 17% and its only been a few days.

Link to Original Source

Comment: Oh boy, even more oversubscription. (Score 3, Insightful) 97

OK, let's say for sake of argument you bring gigabit to every doorstep. Or heck, even 1% of doorsteps. All of your uplinks are going to be so massively oversubscribed that it's essentially meaningless, except for content that's hosted on local caching servers. This is great for things like Netflix, but even ultra-high quality 4K video with uncompressed multichannel audio isn't going to consume that much bandwidth. 40Gbit connections are standard on the largest backbones, with 100 Gbit coming on-line, but that's some awfully expensive hardware right now.

So my question would be: what added benefit you expect to get with a gigabit local loop when it's still going into the same sort of congestion limits? i don't mean to sound like a curmudgeonly old bastard, but this sounds more like a marketing gimmick. Even governments aren't immune from spreading marketing bullshit; in fact it's sometimes easier when you know you won't be held accountable (advertising fraud vs political promises) and it's all other people's money anyway.

Comment: Oh come on... (Score 2, Informative) 384

The Obama Administration (and Bush / McCain / Romney would have been no better) looked around and were thinking ... hmmm... who could we appoint for this? An expert in epidemiology? Somebody with experience in coordinating the logistics of an emergency response? A useless public relations shill? Or an even more useless lawyer crony with connections to that epic success Solyndra?

Yeah, that last one sounds about right. We'll go with that.

Tomorrow's computers some time next month. -- DEC