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Comment: Re:Simple Solution (Score 1) 58

by MightyMartian (#49193899) Attached to: Apple, Google, Bringing Low-Pay Support Employees In-House

I'm going to to be terribly pedantic here, but GST, like all VATs, does not work like that. It is not an expense (as in it does not effect profit and loss). Like all VATs, GST collected on sales is subtracted from GST spent on purchases, and if the remainder is positive, then you pay that to the government, and if it is negative the government sends you the difference. The point is to make a fairer sales tax, where goods and services are not taxed at multiple points. All these financial operations happen on the balance sheet as changes to assets and liabilities, and have nothing to do with expenses at all.

Comment: Oh Come On, it's a Press Release (Score 4, Insightful) 56

OK, no real technical data and some absurd claims here.

First all-digital transceiver? No. There have been others. Especially if you allow them to have a DAC and an ADC and no other components in the analog domain, but even without that, there are lots of IoT-class radios with direct-to-digital detectors and digital outputs directly to the antenna. You might have one in your car remote (mine is two-way).

And they have to use patented algorithms? Everybody else can get along with well-known technology old enough that any applicable patents are long expired.

It would be nicer if there was some information about what they are actually doing. If they really have patented it, there's no reason to hold back.

Comment: Re:Ah, come one, don't we trust the Feds? (Score 1) 86

by Shakrai (#49192233) Attached to: US Marshals Service Refuses To Release Already-Published Stingray Info

Ah, but how does the traffic get from Netflix's ISP to your ISP?

Hint: The actual internet is more than the oft-imagined cloud on network diagrams. Network operators agree to interconnect with each other, for mutual benefit, and if such an agreement is unbalanced (because one party is handing off more traffic than the amount they're willing or able to deliver) one of the network operators will end up paying the other.

A simplified version, wherein we're both network operators, Case 1, equal traffic flow:

Shakrai: "I have 3 terabit/s of peak hour traffic that you can deliver for me."
suutar: "Perfect. I also have 3 terabit/s of peak hour traffic that I can't deliver but you can. Let's connect our networks."
Shakrai: "Sounds good."

Case 2, unbalanced traffic flow:

Shakrai: "I have 10 terabit/s of peak hour traffic that you can deliver for me."
suutar: "I only have 3 terabit/s to hand off to you. We're going to bill you for the difference, okay?"
Shakrai: "Sure."

That has been the paradigm on the internet for a very long time, because it's recognized that it costs money to get a packet from Point A to Point B. Networks pay for connections to other networks unless they can absorb a roughly equal amount of traffic. You can't dump terabits of traffic into someone's network without offering them something in return.

Netflix wants to blow up this longstanding model because bearing the full cost of delivering their packets eats into their bottom line. It doesn't kill their business model, the fact that they're profitable attests to that, but it sure seems to keep Mr. Hastings up late at night. If you actually drill down into this issue you'll find that they've hijacked the concept of network neutrality. There a ton of arguments to be made in favor of network neutrality but Netflix is not one of them.

Comment: Re:Ah, come one, don't we trust the Feds? (Score 1) 86

by Shakrai (#49191815) Attached to: US Marshals Service Refuses To Release Already-Published Stingray Info

POTS is dying, largely because it's unable to respond to more nimble competitors that do not have to deal with a legacy regulatory environment. It's arguably already a niche product, one that will be completely dead in another decade or two at most.

And, incidentally, the law in question hasn't been amended since 1996. When the 33.6kbit/s modem was bleeding edge for consumer internet access. Do you remember those days? Because I do. 19 years later and I have the equivalent of a T3 in my pocket, which works almost anywhere in CONUS. Such a connection was unthinkable for consumer access in 1996.

You'll pardon my skepticism if I think that advancement would have occurred that rapidly if we had sought to apply outdated regulations drafted for Ma Bell to the internet.

Comment: Re: Ah, come one, don't we trust the Feds? (Score 1) 86

by Shakrai (#49191769) Attached to: US Marshals Service Refuses To Release Already-Published Stingray Info

Why should Comcast give Netflix free co-location services? It's not Comcast's responsibility to enable Netflix's business model. I have no lost love for Comcast, or Time Warner, or Verizon, it's just that I don't see Netflix as a White Knight here. They're throwing their weight around to try and get favorable treatment that is unavailable to would be upstarts. Frankly I think that's offensive to the spirit of what network neutrality is supposed to be about.

I do see some fundamental problems. One of them (conflict of interest, most ISPs are also in the video business) is discussed in the mainstream. The rest are far too nuanced for most people to understand. To pick one, as the internet has evolved there has been a blurring of the traditional line between end user internet service providers and providers of bulk IP transit services. ISPs like Comcast now run national data networks rival the Tier 1 providers in many respects. I don't think anybody anticipated this development, or the interface between large national ISPs and CDNs.

My fear here is twofold:

1. The FCC is attacking the wrong problems.
2. We're opening pandora's box and regulating something that has flourished without regulation.

I think it would be more beneficial for Uncle Sam to encourage competition in the ISP space than to regulate what ISPs can do. Do you think any of the killer apps we take for granted would have emerged in a highly regulated Ma Bell environment? Because those are some of the regulations that they're seeking to apply.

Comment: Re: Ah, come one, don't we trust the Feds? (Score 1) 86

by Shakrai (#49191171) Attached to: US Marshals Service Refuses To Release Already-Published Stingray Info

There isn't an ISP in the world that promises you any specific amount of bandwidth beyond their network, even for business class connections with SLAs and a 1:1 contention ratio. Any ISP that made such a promise would be lying to you, because they can't control the actions of those networks that they interconnect with. You might do well to learn what the internet actually is; it's a collection of networks that are interconnected. Each network is operated by different people, who can only control their own actions, not those of the partner networks they're interconnected with.

If Netflix wants to reach Comcast's customers they have two choices:

1. Buy transit from someone that has sufficient peering capacity with Comcast to hand off Netflix's anticipated peak hour traffic load.
2. Buy connectivity directly from Comcast.

They've selected Option #2, presumably because it was cheaper than Option #1. What Netflix actually desires is Option #3:

3. Comcast installs Netflix's caching boxes ("Open Connect") free of charge, without remuneration for rack space, physical security, or even electricity, never mind the bandwidth that they consume within the Comcast network and at Comcast's peering points with other providers.

There are a ton of arguments for network neturality that I can get behind, but "My Netflix is slow!" is not one of them. This is one billionaire (Hastings) arguing with other billionaires (Verizon, Comcast, et. al) about who should pay for the other man's business model.

Comment: Re:Ah, come one, don't we trust the Feds? (Score 1) 86

by Shakrai (#49191063) Attached to: US Marshals Service Refuses To Release Already-Published Stingray Info

It's nothing at all like that. I merely question the wisdom of applying a law that was originally written before WW2 to the internet. If you believe there's a problem it would be far better to lobby your Congressman to address it through the Congressional power to regulate interstate commerce. The proponents of this action will argue that Congress is generally useless (at least we agree on something) but I've never been a big fan of "the ends justify the means" as an argument.

Comment: Re:Ah, come one, don't we trust the Feds? (Score 1, Troll) 86

by Shakrai (#49190997) Attached to: US Marshals Service Refuses To Release Already-Published Stingray Info

Some of us have worked on the ISP side of the house (disclosure: I worked for a small one that was crushed by Time Warner a long time ago) and view the Netflix debacle in a different light. Netflix has a history of trying to pass their costs onto third parties, by abusing settlement free peering, pushing their "Open Connect" devices on ISPs without offering to pay the usual co-location expenses, or trying to cheap out on envelopes that wound up jamming in sorting machines and causing USPS all manner of difficulties. That one turned into a major spat as I recall, with USPS having to threaten to revoke their bulk mailing/pre-sort price discounts before Netflix was willing to back down.

The long standing model for internet traffic has been sender pays. If you're dumping more traffic into my network than you take off my hands you pay me to get it closer to its destination. If you're taking more off my hands than I'm taking from you then I pay you. In the final example, we exchange roughly equal amounts of traffic and agree to do so without remuneration.

Is that model still valid today? It's hard to say. It did build the internet as we know it today, for better or worse. It would be easier for me to be sympathetic if this wasn't a pissing contest between Netflix and ISPs. The arrogance of Netflix is truly astounding, from my perspective as someone who worked in the ISP business, and I see it as billionaires arguing with other billionaires about who should foot the bill for their respective business models.

Comment: Re:How does stingray connect to the wider network? (Score 1) 86

by Shakrai (#49190863) Attached to: US Marshals Service Refuses To Release Already-Published Stingray Info

Which may have value in intelligence operations aboard but is completely pointless domestically, where the law requires that telecommunications providers provide for lawful interception, interception that can happen while you sit in the police station rather than chasing your target all over town trying to maintain a MITM attack against his cell phone.

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