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Comment yeah, how dare utilities JustWork(tm) (Score 4, Interesting) 352

CThe last thing I'd want is to get Internet access through the government. If you think service via private companies is bad, just wait until you try getting service via the government!

Power: Check.
Water: Check.
Gas: Check.

I fail to see how broadband would be any different. (And how it could possibly be worse than Comcast.. Three rate hikes this year alone, plus that "data threshold" bullshit which is really another $30/mo rate hike by another name)

By far the shittiest broadband ISPs I've encounteredwere the private ones set up by a HO or apartment complex. Talk about no incentive to improve.

Look, the problem here isn't that the local governments want to set up broadband. It's that ihey are prevented by law from doing so, even when no private organizations are willing.

Comment Re:False choice: Electronic != unreliable (Score 1) 765

But fly-by-wire airliners, military radios, targeting systems, medical implants, even Internet backbone routers all have absurdly high reliability stats and are all based on electronics, sensors and firmware.

Except those devices don't have to deal with the substantial shock/impact/vibration/temperature realities that a firearm would. That sort of an environment is deadly to electronics. Military systems generally have pretty wide operating temperature ranges, but the likes of medical devices and backbone routers have a pretty narrow operating range.

...And that's *before* we consider the implications for the batteries.

Comment Re:Yes, totally (Score 3, Insightful) 338

When you say they pay less, are you including the portions of their tax bill that go toward these systems?

In one case, none of their tax bill went towards their municipal ISP because it was financed independently. In the other two cases, I can't say one way or another because I simply don't know.

But let's be honest here, remove the requirement to extract a profit for shareholders, and all else being equal, the customer bill will be lower for a public ISP.

(And please don't try to argue "government management BAD" in a municipal utility; as a whole they are far better run than their private counterparts!)

Comment Re:Yes, totally (Score 5, Insightful) 338

None of that is necessarily corrupt, it's just short-sighted. Most cities "need" to replace their plumbing infrastructure, repair and replace roads and sidewalks, shore up levies, and at some point they'll need to upgrade internet infrastructure.

And there are pretty easy solutions to that sort of thing too. For eleven years, I lived in a town which had its own municpal water system. While ostensibly under control of the city, it was a legally and financially a separate entity. Its operational finances were handled by use fees, and capital expenditures were primarily financed using municipal bonds, which were repaid using a variety of sources ("profits" from use fees, state/federal grants, etc).

A municipal ISP could easily be set up the same way, Assuming my state hadn't already effectively banned municipal ISPs in the name of "leveling the playing field." Yay for corrpution. Oh, wait, I meant lobbying and campaign contributions.

Comment Re:Yes, totally (Score 5, Insightful) 338

No I mean like the 90 years it'll currently take to repair the sidewalks of Los Angeles. Or the potholes in the roads and highways causing residents to sue city and state to repair car damages. Or the bursting of 100 year old water pipes that haven't been maintained.

Yes ... "far far far" more accountability at the local government level.

I think what you're pointing out is the inability of governance and accountability to work beyond a certain scale. Which, unfortunately, is usually due more to corruption than anything else. One could argue this same corruption (albeit more likely at a county or state level) is why the reason why private last-mile monopolies are particularly awful.

I know folks who live in places where the municipality is their ISP and TV provider. They consistently pay less (and get better service for their money!) than I ever have. I also know folks who are forced into using a specified ISP/TV provider by their HoA or Apartment -- they consistently may more and get far worse service than even the local telco would provide, if that was even an option. (I've had to put up with that too, FWIW).

Moral of my rambling? Monopolies are generally bad, but if you're going to have one, put it in the hands of an organization that is *supposed* to be looking out for the public interest, rather than explicitly seeking to milk the public for everything it can.

Comment Re:Yes, totally (Score 5, Insightful) 338

Privately owned, there is an incentive to fix damage and maintain infrastructure. Publicly owned, the money that would otherwise be used here would be redirected to someone's pet project.

Oh, you mean like the incentives that Verizon have had to fix post-Sandy damage and maintain their DSL infrastructure? Face it, when there's no meaningful competition, there is no incentive to do any more than the legal minimum. There's far, far, far more accountability at the local governmental level.

Comment ..or without a background check? (Score 5, Informative) 310

It's expressly legal for private inviduals to sell to other private individuals (without crossing state lines) without a background check; indeed it's *illegal* for said private individuals to perform such a background check, at least on the federal level.

Now you may have some sort of state/local law that requires checks between inviduals, but sheesh.

Comment Re:Dangerous... (Score 3, Interesting) 399

I know of plenty of teachers with state credentials who cannot find work because there either is not enough room in the schools or schools are pinching their budgets so tight that increasing class room size and decreasing teachers is a way to pay for it..

Meanwhile, as the budgets are being shrunk, the number of mandates that the school system must undertake increases.

A few years back Florida imposed mandatory background checks for everyone who came into contact with kids. There was no additional funding given to the school boards to implement this, so they eliminated teaching positions to pay for it. Oh, and lost more than half of the folks who volunteered their time to help out with school activities (ie after school programs or even stuff like "Hauling kids to weekend band practice") because the hassles outweighed the benefit of sheparding any other kids than their own.

...yeah, teachers are the root of all evil in our school system.

Comment ...Because most teachers max out well before that! (Score 4, Informative) 399

When you factor in the cost of living in CA, $70k doesn't go all that far....

But I digress. Six years ago, starting pay for a *full-time* high school teacher in my former home county of Brevard, FL, was $22k, with another $3k/yr bonus for a "high demand" science/math teacher. Since then, benefits, class sizes, and general conditions have only grown worse. The teachers I know (and I know many) routinely put in 10+ hour days, plus more weekends than not.

Comment How does this hurt Google Apps users? (Score 1) 416

What I haven't seen discussed is the effects of this decision on Google Apps users, in other words, (paying!) business users. With Google shuttering XMPP federation, you instantly lose the ability to communicate outside your organization (unless your customers/partners are also using google). As federated XMPP is much more heavily used in the business world, this drastically alters the value proposition of using Google Apps since you lose the very interoperability that used to be a selling point.

I'd love to see Google answer that particular question. All "enterprise IM" solutions out there are built on (federated!) XMPP. Even Microsoft's.

This isn't a theoretical question -- My last two employers used federated XMPP to communicate, both internally and with external clients/vendors.

Comment Re:Before the rants start... (Score 2) 557

What teacher union allows their members work 10-12 hours 6 days a week?

My parents are teachers (univerity-level ESL). My fiancee's mother and aunt are teachers. (elementary school)

The work doesn't end when the bell rings, and it is a rare day indeed when it doesn't come home. 60-hour weeks are common, but 50-ish is more typical.

Comment Re:I resemble that remark (Score 1) 557

First, Healty food isn't necessarily more expensive, but it takes time to prepare. Given how much one's diet influences one's health and overall well-being, I'm damn well going to eat healthily.

Meanwhile. My post wasn't intended to moan about my lot in life, but to illustrate how absolutely horrid teachers' salaries are discouraging extremely qualified folks from considering teaching as a viable career.

(and you seem to have misunderstood me, I chose to *not* accept barely part-time employment as a substitute teacher -- though the final straw was a couple of run-ins I had with the brain-dead breaucracy that is the true blight of public education..)

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