Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Better get those lobbyists ready, Comcast (Score 1) 98

I suspect this is part of the reasoning behind having **4000 satellites**. This seems like way too many unless you suddenly see possibilities of some ISP subleasing 1 satellite at all times directly above xyz geographic area. The local ISP transmits data up, the satellite currently overhead simply passes the data back down to all of the subscribers in xyz geographic area. WIth the right steerable antennas (electronic) the beam could be very tight on both ends and not interfere with all of the other satellites that may be visible at that moment.

Comment Re:4000 (Score 4, Interesting) 98

Radio waves travel (in a vacuum) around 1 kilometer in about 3 microseconds. With Geosynch satellites that adds up to roughly 45 milliseconds at a minimum for the signal to get from the base station to the satellite and back down to you. However there is only a few base stations that transmit requests up to the satellite and it takes time for the signal to get to the station. If it's the morning on the east coast server and you are hitting an east coast server and transmitting from an east coast server to a satellite overlooking the continent US, the delay should be well under a second. However before you get to that point, you have to add the latency for the server you are accessing to the ground based transmitter and hope that it's not congested.

With spaceX's new proposal you are looking at 2.2 ms as the minimum earth to ground delay + presumably something up to 15-16,000 km (15-16 ms) if your packets had to travel to the exact opposite side of the globe. Add in a 1-2 ms delay for each hop between satellites due to the actual switching and he could be much much much faster for intercontinental packets.

Plus I'm assuming under this scenario that there will be hundreds of terrestrial transmittal points to use versus just a few base stations to make the terrestrial hops even less.

I'd wager that financial market trading traffic alone could pay for a significant portion of this bill at super premium rates, especially overseas traders. Not to mention traffic from ships, planes, rural 1st world locations all paying a premium. They can implement zone pricing pretty easily because they will always be able to able to triangulate a transmission down to the inch. With a network that dense it would greatly surpass the accuracy of the existing GPS constellation.

Comment Re:All of the major car makers are fighting EVs (Score 2) 486

Even if we replaced 80% of every car with electric, there would still be uses for ICE engines. In the case of Diesel the vast majority of shipping uses it at some level, either trucks, trains or ships. It will be a while, maybe even needing a 10x increase in battery efficiency before it's economical to have an electric powered 18 wheeler that many times doesn't stop for 800-1000 Miles for refueling.

However, a diesel engine may not be standard type of engine of the future. Multiple companies are retrofitting fleet vehicles with hybrid systems powered by a turbine engine. All of the major over the road tractor manufacturers are testing new turbine powered hybrids too. Many of these hybrids will never plug into anything but the actual motors turning the wheels will be electric with the turbine just generating that electricity and feeding it to batteries/ultra capacitors.

Comment Re:Larger landing area (Score 2) 342

Think of it as a soda can. When the rocket is pressurized with all of it's fuel it's 100 tons and can withstand very heavy vertical forces. When most of it's fuel is gone it's like an aluminum can - still strong top to bottom but on the side very easy to dent and damage. 90% of the 10 tons of weight left is in the bottom 10% of the rocket so it's not as tipsy as you'd think.

Comment Re:Offsite (Score 1) 446

One of my first helpdesk positions long ago was for a major Insurance company. The company had a mainframe based system that held all of the insurance policies (of course) but it didn't hold all of the sales-ish information that was stored as part of the quoting system they had (this was back in the 90's). So while they could pull up policy information they couldn't bring up info that helps them close the sale like your kids names (you don't really think your insurance agent actually remembers all those details when you see him/her every few years right?)

So I get a call one day to initiate the process of getting new machines built for an agent who had his machines destroyed in a Kansas tornado. As I'm recording all the details I ask him if he had backup tapes off site and he says no, his office was in the front part of his residence (common for small towns). So I then say "you know, those tapes are really durable in their cases. Do you think they could be buried somewhere intact?". The agent pauses for a moment and says "yup, I think you're right. But my foundation is a clean slab so I don't know where in the county they are."

I guess you have to have a sense of humor about storms to be an Insurance agent in the plains.

I've always relayed this story when people bring this up. There are situations that can occur that could cause you not to be able to recover this data.

The only possible solution I can think is if you have a separate storm shelter away from your house where fire (and tornado's) can't reach. But even then you'd potentially have to worry about floods.

Comment Re:Never heard of it (Score 3, Interesting) 101

The sad part is that I went to their main page and scrolled back the last few weeks of stories. It seems to have an Ars Technica feel to it, which is a good thing. I may have even bookmarked it and read it on occasion had I known it existed...

Comment Re:No thanks (Score 1) 147

Guess what? In the US your local cable company or telephone based ISP sells all of that data in aggregate to Google or some other ad serving company (or more likely multiple ones) already. It's another profit center that only ever really gets talked about when it's Google.

Comment Solution: Decouple wired buisness from company (Score 4, Insightful) 255

The reason why you have such great service in other countries is because of two reasons:

The state or state sanctioned telephone company is incentivized to offer better service and is severely penalized if they do not meet those requirements and/or the hardware wiring side is partially decoupled from the services side. In sweden most of these networks are municipal networks that provide fiber to the premises for a low monthly cost because a municipality can easily facilitate a long term non profit oriented recovery time for the expense of wiring everything. Then basically any provider who wants to offer service can using their lines, they just have to pay for their own uplinks and billing system.

We could achieve some of that model here in the states by decoupling the lines from the service, then regulating them like electrical or water utilities so that there is a base amount paid and a certain low but steady profit margin built in. It would also help tremendously if the state and local legislatures had the power or will to actually enforce the agreements set.

I'd love to see how fast Verizon could actually implement fiber in PA if they were told to get the ball moving or we foreclose on the lines that we paid for. 2.1 billion + 20 years of interest should be interesting clawback if they had the political will to enforce it.

Comment Re:Translation: (Score 1) 158

I think hybrid laptops are going to become more ubiquitous in the future, and some of them may even be as large as 17 inches.

But have you ever seen a family use a all in one pc device? Even though most of us find it easier to use a mouse/keyboard,I've sat and watched family members who bought one of those larger 21 inch all in one gateways sit at the desk, use the keyboard or mouse to open up their email, then flip over to a web page and start flicking their way through links by touching instead of using the scroll mouse.

When Intel's UWB wireless monitors hit mainstream I think we'll even see more of this - you might pick up that monitor off it's cradle and sit in the comfy easy chair across the room and use it as a giant 20 inch tablet. Not to mention artists who might lay it flat to draw on it. I think the next unsaid interim step for that will be the kinect for windows. Late last year Kinect they started talking with manufacturers about building kinect into monitors & tv's for Windows 10. We might see those designs by christmas or early next year. I don't want an xbox but I wouldn't mind having a kinect interface with the TV for accessing channels and such ala a tivo or roku interface.

"Lead us in a few words of silent prayer." -- Bill Peterson, former Houston Oiler football coach