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Comment: Re:Bad suggestion (Score 1) 1264

by Mycroft-X (#46768697) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

To a European, used to being able to walk down the street without being threatened by guns

Most places in America are exactly like this as well, and while there are a few that aren't, it isn't because of guns, it's because of the people who view you as a target and mean you harm. You wouldn't want to wander around their European equivalents either.

Comment: Re:It's crap (Score 1) 1264

by Mycroft-X (#46768567) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

The US Military has spent ten years wearing out its combat troops trying to pacify a country the size of Texas, opposed by goat herders and drug smugglers. You think that a military that is fractured by domestic conflict would be able to control an area 14x as large if there was a widely distributed insurgency sparked by some egregious violation of the constitution? Dream on.

Comment: Re:Militia, then vs now (Score 1) 1264

by Mycroft-X (#46768265) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

When the constitution was ratified, the militia was the only defense that the United States had, and all able bodied men were expected to be ready to serve.

Only because they had just kicked out the standing army that had been there 15 years prior to that.

The intent of the second amendment is to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity by ensuring that the descendants of the people who did so retain the ability to do so again.

The fact that we have a standing army again today does nothing to take away from that intent.

Comment: Re:A win? (Score 1) 319

by Mycroft-X (#46761361) Attached to: Netflix Gets What It Pays For: Comcast Streaming Speeds Skyrocket

Except your analogy is wrong. And it's why most people don't understand Net Neutrality. Netflix's packets don't weigh any more than Crackle's or Hulu's.

Just as a truck's molecules don't weigh any more than those which comprise a motorcycle, but in aggregate streaming video is a much greater contributor to network congestion than browsing a web site or accessing gopher. If you are saying that streaming video should be treated the same much the same way as all trucks pay the same toll, then I do agree with that.

There is no congestion at the moment Comcast is just exercising their right of non neutrality.

Well, unlike most internet service providers like AT&T, Verizon, or TWC they actually don't have that right -- they gave it up as part of the NBC Universal purchase and acquiring TWC will expand their required net neutrality over those customers as well.

Comcast approaches Netflix and tells them "You wouldn't want something bad to happen to your packets now would you? We can protect your packets from harm on our network if you just pay the protection fee." Netflix resists but finally caves and pays the fee. All of the sudden your video flies faster than you've ever seen it before but Comcast hasn't upgraded anything on their network.

Nice story. How about this:

Netflix pays InterCo, a backbone provider, for access to the internet, including Comcast's network. InterCo doesn't give a crap about Netflix's traffic or their customer experience -- InterCo doesn't serve end users -- and sees Netflix, which consumes 70% of internet traffic, as a network killer that negatively impacts their ability to sell mostly empty fat pipes to the rest of their customers. Comcast and InterCo have a peering arrangement where neither charges the other for access to their networks -- InterCo gets access to Comcast customers, Comcast gets access to the rest of the internet.

So Netflix says, "Why are we paying all this money to a company that doesn't even really want our traffic?" and so they go talk to Comcast directly about connecting directly to the Comcast network. They work out a deal, and now they don't need to pay as much to InterCo because it's only running traffic for non-Comcast customers, and they are able to give Comcast customers a much better, more controlled experience.

Who is losing out on this deal? InterCo gets to better manage their traffic. Netflix gets to better serve their customers, and Comcast gets to trumpet that Netflix is better on their service than it is on Verizon, AT&T, or other competitors.

Comment: Re:Consumers pay (Score 1) 319

by Mycroft-X (#46757819) Attached to: Netflix Gets What It Pays For: Comcast Streaming Speeds Skyrocket

From an engineer's point of view it's all baffling (Netflix and their customers are both paying for a certain amount of bandwidth)

You're paying your cable ISP for a certain amount of bandwidth from your home or business to their CMTS. Netflix is paying for a certain size pipe from their facility to their provider's data center. Everything beyond that (and, to a more controllable extent, before) is subject to capacity limitations that may or may not be within the control of your ISP.

If you think that buying 50Mb cable modem service guarantees you a 50Mb connection to every portion of the internet, or even a 50Mb connection between any two points that have a >50Mb connection to their own ISPs, then you must be a different kind of engineer than most on this site.

Netflix made a deal with Comcast that makes sure that ALL of the traffic between Netflix and Comcast customers is within the control of either Netflix or Comcast, which allows minimum standards to be set and adhered to.

Comment: Re:A win? (Score 1) 319

by Mycroft-X (#46757665) Attached to: Netflix Gets What It Pays For: Comcast Streaming Speeds Skyrocket

Yeah, that would be like all these other instances where differing rates depending on usage of a utility are acceptable:

1. Charge people with electric heat a lower electricity rate
2. Charge people buying food and clothing less or no sales tax
3. Charge large trucks higher tolls and registration fees than lighter vehicles
4. Charge more for diesel fuel if it's used to run a truck than if it's used to run a tractor

and probably a dozen more. With multi-gigabyte Netflix streams being the big trucks of the internet world, why doesn't it make sense to charge differently for their impact on network congestion, bandwidth utilization, etc. Netflix has basically paid Comcast to build a special lane on their highway that gives Netflix traffic priority.

Comment: Re:Differentiate between channel and service. (Score 1) 513

by Mycroft-X (#46321147) Attached to: Why Is US Broadband So Slow?

If a town lies down dark fiber and then lets the end customer choose operator using that fiber, then it wouldn't be a big problem.

Except 95% of the bill would be what the operator has to pay the town to use the lines, so with 5% going to your fancy ISP email service, customer service (which is actually just "I don't know why it's slow, ask the town.") and billing is there really much "choice" to be had in this scenario?

Comment: Some facts on US Broadband/Cable buildouts (Score 1) 513

by Mycroft-X (#46321049) Attached to: Why Is US Broadband So Slow?

US Broadband is slow because that's the state of the infrastructure -- the infrastructure is very expensive to build out, and most of the country can't support a broadband build out.

It may surprise some, but the majority of the United States is not serviced by a cable television or internet system:

Why is an area not serviced? Because it's not cost effective to build there -- there aren't enough subscribers willing to pay enough money to make the build out financially reasonable for a private company.

So how about municipal broadband? Take the private company out of the picture and make internet a government service and it must get really cheap, right? Well, Bristol, Virginia is considered the most successful implementation of Municipal Broadband right now. This village of 17,000 people offers fiber optic connections to its residents for....roughly the same price as TWC or Comcast (for comparable speeds) and far far more expensive for 1GBps service ($320/mo) than Google offers.

This after using $26 million in grant money (so that's $1,541 per resident) to get the infrastructure in -- so it doesn't even have loans or bonds to service with its fees. This is the huge improvement offered by municipal broadband?

The facts are this:

1. Huge portions of the country cannot be cost effectively serviced by high speed internet access.
2. Any mandate to bring high speed internet access to those areas is going to be paid for by higher costs or higher taxes on those who do live in connected areas
3. Most large population centers do not have enough potential 1Gbps residential customers to make it cost effective to upgrade the equipment in those locations to support 1Gbps connection speeds -- businesses can already get those speeds and more but it is not inexpensive.
4. New entrants with deep pockets don't have to deal with replacing equipment that is still being used to pay for the debt taken out to install it in the first place, but they will. Verizon isn't expanding their FiOS network anymore, and everyone is trying to get an idea of whether Google is able to pull off the economics of their Fiber projects.
5. More options for internet service in a community mean lower market shares for the participants, which means lower revenue from the market, which means lower return on the installed assets required to offer service, which means either raising rates or exiting the market.

Here's an example: Lets say there are 100 people per day who want to fly from Harrisburg, PA to Scranton, PA. The smallest plane that a commercial airline can use to make this flight has seats 40 people and costs $10,000 plus $50 for each passenger to fly between the two cities.

Which is more efficient:

a. Ten airlines each offer one flight a day between these cities. On average, there are 10 passengers for each flight, so the flight costs $10,500 for each of the ten airlines. They spend a combined total of $105,000 per day and have combined capacity to serve 400 people, 4x as much as average demand. The airlines need to make a 5% profit margin on their flights, so with a cost per passenger of $1,050 ticket prices average $1,102.

b. Three airlines each offer one flight a day between these cities. On average, there are 33 passengers for each flight, so the flight costs $11,650 to operate for each of the three. They spend a combined total of $34,950 and have combined capacity to serve 120 people, 20% more than normal demand to allow for surges during holidays and such. With the same 5% profit margin on a cost per passenger of $353 ticket prices are $370.

Which of these offers the customer more choices? Which of these scenarios would you rather be in if you had to fly between these or similar cities? Which one of these is an overall more efficient use of resources, less environmentally taxing, etc?

Broadband buildouts are much the same way -- like an airline there are a lot of sunk costs regardless of subscription rates. Like an airline pricing needs to be set in order to achieve certain economic outcomes. Like an airline, if pricing and demand do not intersect for a given situation, there is no economic viability to that service.

Comment: Competitive? (Score 2, Interesting) 259

by Mycroft-X (#36426864) Attached to: Wisconsin Public Internet Struggles Against Telecom, Legislature

Taking tax dollars from 49 states and using it to undercut local providers isn't competition. It appears that this legislation is simply preventing WiscNet from receiving public funds from UW-Madison, which it is doing in order to do an end-run around the existing state-supported network, Badgernet.

If WiscNet, a non-profit organization, can't provide service at lower prices than a for-profit corporation like AT&T without forced revenue from tax subsidies, then I'd say that AT&T is competitive.

All they are doing is crying "Thanks to the tax money we take from you we can give away more service than we could otherwise pay for. If you take that away, then we'll need to charge market rates for the service we are providing!"

Comment: Re:Link to Wikipedia (Score 0) 767

by Mycroft-X (#36351624) Attached to: Palin Fans Deface Paul Revere Wikipedia Page

Uh, except that edit appears to be deliberately adding in a contemporary quote (attributed to Palin in the text of the update) in what is likely an attempt to sensationalize the issue. That quote, if anything, should be on the Palin page as it adds nothing to the historical account of the event. Huffington Post, Little Green Fooseball or whatever other sites are getting page views from this are just as likely to have made the edit to create the story as anything else.

Fact is that Palin was correct -- the Powder Alarms (of which Lexington and Concord were one) were about removing powder and arms from the surrounding countryside, so that disarmed towns could not rebel. Paul Revere had two missions, the most important to warn Hancock and Adams, but only in that their capture was one of the objectives of the of the powder alarm.

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