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Comment: Don't forget the Internet (Score 4, Informative) 111

by Lorens (#47580237) Attached to: French Provider Free Could Buy US Branch of T-Mobile

Before launching their mobile telephony offering and forcing the previous oligopoly to slash their prices, Free did the same with ADSL Internet (and ISTR with dialup before that). I pay something like USD 45/month for:

- uncapped broadband with static IP and valid rDNS (living in an area well covered by DSL that is about 17 Mbps down, but if/when their fiber gets here I'll pay the same price for 1 Gbps!)

- plus unlimited telephone to fixed and mobiles in France, to fixed in some 100 other countries and to mobile in some countries, relatively low rates otherwise

- a SIM card with unlimited SMS, 50Gb 3G/4G data/month, 2 hours phone (the unlimited version would set me back some USD 22/month more) and extremely competitive rates for anything not included

- Some 600 television channels (some of which you have to pay extra for, sure), with timeshifting, pay-per-view video on demand, and free replay (usually the last week of popular series, depending on the channel)

- an ADSL box "Freebox", extremely well thought out (hello Rani) with a really excellent user interface (web browser, games, what have you), a 4-port gigabit switch, a Blu-Ray reader, a 250 GB disk that can be used as a NAS and for recording television programs

- lots of techie goodies (IPv6 if I want it, messages left on my answering machine can be forwarded to an e-mail address, I can force certain MACs to an IP so that I have the same IP whether connected by WiFi or Ethernet, and, and, and, isn't there a length limit on comments here?)

I'm looking at moving to the US (like SF or NY, https://www.linkedin.com/pub/l... ), so I read the Comcast horror stories with interest. In comparison, I have called Free tech support once in six years, after a storm killed my Freebox. It was replaced (without charge I believe), and nobody even hinted that I might like to buy anything more. If they manage to buy a US provider, no question, I'll be their client.

Comment: Re:Linux Was Free (Score 1) 99

In the beginning, Linux was free. I remember using it in college and learning about it and getting excited. If these big corporate players want traction against AWS and the like, they should be giving out free hosting to college students so they can tinker with it too.

And so they are. Look at Red Hat's Openshift.

Comment: Re:Roman concrete article ten months ago was bette (Score 1) 384

by Lorens (#46871921) Attached to: How Concrete Contributed To the Downfall of the Roman Empire

False. It's a nice myth of antiquity, of the good old days being better than today but it is totally false.

Today's concrete is far better than what was produced in the past. Of course, I'm not talking about crappy badly done concrete but the good stuff that is used in most good engineering works. Sure, you can point to a government bid sidewalk falling apart but that is meaningless anecdotal evidence in this discussion. That's politics and greed, not materials science and chemistry.

[Citation needed]

Mine is

The most common blend of modern concrete, known as Portland cement, a formulation in use for nearly 200 years, can’t come close to matching that track record, says Marie Jackson, a research engineer at the University of California at Berkeley who was part of the Roman concrete research team. “The maritime environment, in particular, is not good for Portland concrete. In seawater, it has a service life of less than 50 years. After that, it begins to erode,” Jackson says. The researchers now know why ancient Roman concrete is so superior.[...]the findings, which were published earlier this month in the Journal of the American Ceramic Society and American Mineralogist, are considered so important[...]

link

Comment: Roman concrete article ten months ago was better (Score 1) 384

by Lorens (#46860749) Attached to: How Concrete Contributed To the Downfall of the Roman Empire

The concrete used by the Romans was apparently much better that the ones we use today. Since the Roman formula has been rediscovered, does that mean that todays diverse republics will be replaced by the Empire, and if so which Empire? Russian? Hegemon? Sith?

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