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Comment: Re:Bandwidth Calculations (Score 1) 211

by Geoff-with-a-G (#39235591) Attached to: After Complaints, AT&T Solidifies, Increases Data Limit

Until finally, they are throttling once you hit 100KB of bandwidth and they can advertise the world's fastest wireless network since no one can use it.

Yes, that is absolutely a realistic scenario, and definitely not alarmist exaggeration. Got a target date you expect this prediction to be falsifiable?

Meanwhile, on planet Earth where I live, the 95% figure has actually gotten bigger, and they're throttling people AFTER they hit 5%, not asymptotically approaching 5 GB.

Comment: Re:seriously, how hard is this? (Score 1) 186

by Geoff-with-a-G (#38214590) Attached to: Obama Orders Federal Agencies To Digitize All Records

Google and it's users seem to be doing a pretty good job of utilizing free text to locate documents.

Or, to put it another way, the problem you're expecting each of these government DBAs to routinely solve required a 100 Billion dollar company which makes a point of hiring geniuses in order to tackle.

I don't think "but Google can do it!" is synonymous with "that problem isn't a big deal"

Comment: Re:My beliefs (Score 1) 695

by Geoff-with-a-G (#38021924) Attached to: What is Your position on Climate Change?
This. I might have phrased "more convenient to stick our heads in the sand" a little differently, but This.
I would have voted for this if it was an option, and I wish it was prevalent enough to be acknowledged as one of the major views.
Sadly it doesn't have a catchy label yet like Alarmist or Denialist... Any ideas?

Comment: Re:Streaming customers... (Score 1) 349

by Geoff-with-a-G (#37418736) Attached to: Netflix To Lose 1 Million Subscribers

I'll probably end up canceling entirely and go back to waiting for a service to come along that does streaming right.

This is worth emphasizing. This isn't like when Microsoft does something bad and we all praise Apple or Linux. For most of the people complaining that Netflix isn't giving them what they want, there is no other company out there who is.

Know who the closest competitor is, providing unlimited streaming of HD content to your home with a huge selection? Your friendly neighborhood cable company. I'd wager they're charging you quite a bit more than $8/month, and don't let you play everything on demand without extra charges beyond that.

Comment: Re:More than double? (Score 1) 60

by Geoff-with-a-G (#37327270) Attached to: Full Duplex Wireless Tech Could Double Bandwidth

Ahhh, indeed that's what I was afraid of, you still need CSMA with back-off times since the medium (the air) is still open to other transmitters. So essentially the "full duplex" here is just using one frequency for both directions at once, just the "double traffic" summarized by TFA. Thanks for the clarification.

And for what it's worth, I've always heard good things about Microsoft Research. It's when the researched ideas make their way (or fail to make their way) into finished products with price tags on them that the friction arises...

Comment: More than double? (Score 3, Insightful) 60

by Geoff-with-a-G (#37325508) Attached to: Full Duplex Wireless Tech Could Double Bandwidth

In wired Ethernet topologies, going full duplex yields significantly more than double the throughput, since you no longer have collisions, back-offs, and re-sends. The article doesn't elaborate whether their full-duplex wireless would still be multi-access (think WiFi, with many clients on the same AP and same channels) or if each frequency would be carved out for one client and the base-station (in which case you'd see the same gains you did on wired Ethernet).

M point is that while they cite "allow a doubling of network traffic", the reality is even better than that. Full duplex gets you more than double throughput, as well as improved jitter/latency since you no longer have to randomly re-transmit frames (or randomly wait to transmit, as with WiFi collision avoidance).

Comment: Re:Shortage of engineering jobs, (Score 1) 580

by Geoff-with-a-G (#37292958) Attached to: Mr. President, There Is No (US) Engineer Shortage

If it really costs $13,800 to produce an iPad in a way that doesn't ruin the lives of workers

And by "ruin the lives", you mean improve the lives of those living badly? What do you imagine is the alternative for the poor unfortunate Foxconn worker who Apple employed, if he's not making iPads? Idyllic and prosperous farm life that he was stolen away from by cruel task-masters?

Comment: Re:Common Sense, anyone? (Score 1) 788

by Geoff-with-a-G (#37043694) Attached to: Re: the debt deal reached Sunday night ...
I think we're making very similar points,essentially that the numeric "interest" up at the top is not some abstract trick of accountants to pay each other with the government's help. It's an actual representation of real value being created by and for the individuals in an economy. My angle on this is "Warren Buffet's 5% interest isn't a scam, it's 5% more people having food and houses". You angle seems to be "I imagine a model in which people stop building houses and growing food and the whole thing collapses and Warren Buffet can't keep getting his 5%". I don't exactly disagree, but most of your assertions are question begging.

"If it's not decoupled from zero-sum, then it's not really creation." Well yes, but it is decoupled from zero-sum, that's the whole point.
"If we model the whole thing as a box with inputs and outputs, you need infinite inputs to get infinite outputs". Well yes, but that's thermodynamics. It's essentially axiomatic, but it says more about your model than about the real life system you're modeling.

"Value" isn't finite - or I suppose everything in the universe is finite, but many things are so vast as to be orders of magnitude larger than we need for any practical purposes. If we define a system that values only gold, then yes, we're going to run out. If we change the system to value only oil, then yes, we're going to run out.

But again, the merit of the system here is that it values whatever humanity values, and that changes as humanity changes. If it were an argument, you'd accuse your opponent of moving the goal posts and scoff, but it's not an argument. It's life on Earth, and the goalposts are supposed to move.

If you look back at historic economic analysis like Malthus, there was a genuine concern that we were headed to a crash because of finite land and wood. In order to provide heat and energy we needed forests to provide wood, and in order to grow food we needed to cut down the forests and use the land, ergo we're doomed. But then we discovered oil. And fertilizers. And GM crops. And solar and wind and natural gas...

Again, he wasn't wrong that in an abstract way everything is finite, but his model - necessarily - didn't include things he didn't yet know about. Your model tries to reduce everything to "raw materials" and "labor". But not all "raw materials" are created equally, and many are renewable or recyclable, and new sources and new materials are continually discovered. If you narrow the model to focus on one thing at a time, then you'll find it to be dangerously finite, but society gets to adapt and change what it values. For example a vast amount of resources today are spent on entertainment. Surely you don't intend to tell me that's a scarce resource that our all-growth economy will deplete?

The same goes for labor itself. If you treat Labor as a big undifferentiated blob, it makes it easier to model, but if I created something that suddenly transformed 100 Million "unskilled laborers" into workers with PhD level education and 10 years of experience in some field, that would have actual economic value. Which is why people pay for those things. But in a "resources and labor" model, at best it makes the labor blob bigger.

Comment: Re:Common Sense, anyone? (Score 1) 788

by Geoff-with-a-G (#37021696) Attached to: Re: the debt deal reached Sunday night ...
We're clearly in agreement regarding Laffer and "unchecked" capitalism, but your otherwise informed and well written post baffles me when I see this:

That's the magic. It comes from nowhere. It is "created" in some twisted sense of the word, but in a real sense, it is "inflated" out of the system. Money doesn't come from nowhere, so ultimately, it essentially devalues the actual labor that everyone else does, by a tiny fraction.

This is nonsense. Not an advanced understanding of the flaws of market capitalism, but rather like you skipped the very beginning chapters. It is not a zero sum system. If you have ten guys standing around, and you pay for a bunch of wood and tools and pay them to set off West and build a logging camp, you're not just shuffling money and resources around. When you sell the lumber and have more money than you started with, that profit didn't get "magically created from nowhere", nor did you devalue the economy at large. On the contrary, an economy which initially contained a chunk of lumber and tools now contains a working logging camp. Actual net value has been added.

On a micro-scale, this is intuitive and easy to understand, and the rates of growth (and risk) can be huge. People understand "investing" their time and "capital" into some venture which may succeed and pay off huge. When you start abstracting out "capital" as dollars instead of a pile of tools, and the labor of workers as more dollars and employment numbers, now it starts to look like numbers appearing from nowhere. Yes, inflation is a real thing, so is seigniorage. But the fact that these two things exist does not mean all growth is fiction or inflation.

Forget the currency for a minute and establish some concrete things of value. Gold? Gallons of milk? Houses? The economy of the United States contains more of these objects than it did last year. Actual value was "created". Not from thin air, but by investing capital and labor into productive enterprises (mining gold, milking cows, building houses, etc). The interest just abstracts this process. The debt holder invested that money somewhere, meaning that they put it to use, at some risk, in order to fuel productive enterprises.

Maybe it's not very intuitive, but when Warren Buffet stashed $200K in a savings account somewhere, the bank that was holding onto it and paying him 1% interest was loaning it out as a mortgage to someone and charging them 6% interest (both to profit the bank for this work and to compensate them for the risk of default). The home buyer in turn gave that $200K to the owner of the home (both compensating them for the land and allowing them to in turn pay the builders who built the house).

tl;dr - It may just look like Warren Buffet gets a free percent or two on his money, but really he's paying carpenters to build houses where people can live.

Comment: Re:Common Sense, anyone? (Score 1) 788

by Geoff-with-a-G (#36953084) Attached to: Re: the debt deal reached Sunday night ...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadweight_loss

It's fairly conventional economics, unless you're taking it so far as to say that cutting marginal rates increases revenues (the "Laffer" effect). Even that is essentially axiomatic, at a certain marginal rate. I'd happily grant that we're nowhere near said rate though.

"Unchecked capitalism" is hardly a good thing, but it certainly doesn't exist in the US. You can have an informed argument about whether we should remove a particular tax or regulation, whether we should add another particular tax or regulation, but we're hardly living in an un-taxed un-regulated anarcho-capitalist free market.

Lastly:

Evidence suggest they save most of it, and earn yet more money off of it by saving it in such a way that they earn the most interest and are taxed the least.

Where is it you imagine this "interest" comes from?

Comment: Re:Subsidies and markets (Score 1) 395

by Geoff-with-a-G (#36473112) Attached to: US Senate Votes For Repeal of Ethanol Subsidies

The "trillions for bankers" weren't subsidies, they were loans. Said loans were already paid back, with interest.

The Ethanol subsidies aren't getting paid back, and they aren't all going to "farmers" (unless you count massive Ag companies like Cargill or ConAgra as "farmers"), and they aren't even an effective use of subsidy to fund alternative fuels. The real advocates for bio-fuels will tell you that sugar cane works better than corn, and switchgrass works better than cane.

Corn ethanol subidies were always a gift to the Ag companies, which were extra important due to the early position of Iowa in the presidential primaries.

Comment: Grid capacity not the same as energy usage (Score 1) 320

by Geoff-with-a-G (#36424596) Attached to: White House To Announce IT-Powered Smart Grid

When the load is lower (like at night) they turn down generation (stop using goal, gas, oil, etc) at various power plants. As the load rises, they turn those plants back up to meet that load. The fact that the grid isn't "at capacity" doesn't mean you're wasting energy, it means you're saving energy, by not burning as much fuel. The grid itself does have limits too, but not running it at those limits is like driving your truck around without loading it down to 100% of it's carrying capacity. That's not exactly waste.

Now that's not to say that there isn't energy wasted in the grid due to other factors like transmission, but a surplus of "grid capacity" is not the same thing as a surplus (or waste) of power.

Comment: Re:well... (Score 1) 561

by Geoff-with-a-G (#36417620) Attached to: Why Doesn't 'Google Kids' Exist?

And when "Google Kids" fails to filter something you consider inappropriate (either because they don't share your views, or just due to the challenges and limitations of determining and filtering content automatically) then lawsuits and bad press ensues. Bad for the Google brand all around.

In general, Google's strategy seems to be focused on providing tons of really great free, best effort services. If Gmail fails to deliver your email one day, it's not like you can sue. If Google Maps gives you wrong directions, [shrug], use Mapquest. But if Google Kids started showing kids porn/violence/subversive material, I think there would be a fair amount of public outrage.

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