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Comment: There might be some confusion. (Score 2) 194

by Restil (#46964035) Attached to: Shunting the FCC To the Slow Lane

Please let me know if I'm wrong, as it's certainly possible. What the proposal allows for is that say Netflix, or Youtube, or any other content provider that would utilize a lot of bandwidth, would be allowed to purchase direct physical lines to individual large ISPs for that ISP's customers instead of sending data over the Internet backbone. The end result would be a faster connection for that provider and those end users, for ultimately less cost.

So what we're dealing with here is a content provider that adds extra bandwidth to the Internet (albeit for a specific purpose), and pays for it, for the intended purpose of saving money for all parties involved while improving the end customer experience. Can someone please tell me why this is a problem? Or am I reading it incorrectly?

I do agree that from a technical point of view, the provider is purchasing a higher tier connection from the ISP for an improvement in throughput, but this in no way impacts any other service. I can envision the standard net neutrality argument that would allow an ISP to possibly extort a content provider, although I can't imagine why they would ever want to do so, considering peering agreements favor the consumer of data. Even so, tweaking the rules to disallow the restriction of data would make more sense than forbidding a willing provider to selectively choose to improve the experience for a specific group of customers above and beyond what is currently possible through the Internet for the same cost.

Comment: It depends, but probably not. (Score 1) 329

by Restil (#43628093) Attached to: Is Buying an Extended Warranty Ever a Good Idea?

A warranty is insurance against the replacement cost of a product. Every consumer product has a lifespan, either the time it will take before it fails, or the time it will take until it's no longer of any value to you. You probably won't be using the same computer 10 years from now. Your fridge will probably last 15. Other household appliances, maybe 15-20 years. At some point they're going to break or become obsolete. Researching the products you purchase, either the specific product or the quality control history of the company that produced it should give you an indication of how long the product will last before it needs repairs or replacement, and how much it's going to cost over its lifetime to maintain.

Now, how much does that warranty cost? Chances are good it's going to cost somewhere around 20% of the purchase price of the product. This is only a good deal if the product is EXPECTED to break within the next 5 years. Note that it won't protect against obsolescence, only replacement/repair of the original product. Of course, the next question is, why would you WANT to purchase a product that is expected to fail in less than 5 years? Therefore, if the product doesn't need the warranty, you shouldn't buy the warranty. If it DOES need the warranty, you shouldn't buy the product.

So what happens if that new TV dies 2 years in. You're out the money, right? Well, yes, there is a statistical chance that some consumer products are going to fail before their average expected lifespan. It happens. However, it's a low chance, and if you purchase 20 different products of relatively equal value, 1 of them might die before their time. So purchase 20 gadgets worth $500 each one of which breaks halfway through its lifespan, then out of $10000 worth of purchases, you lose $250. Extended warranties on all of those products would have cost you $2000, and the warranty period is still unlikely to cover the whole expected lifespan of the product. You could just as easily purchase your own "extended warranty" by putting 10% of the value of the product into savings at the time of purchase, and over the lifetime of all of your products you can expect to use maybe half of it.

Warranties start to make sense (maybe) when you're purchasing a single large purchase, with large repair expenses and pseudo warranty savings with other consumer products won't be sufficient to make up for it. Something like a car or purchase of similar magnitude. Again, if you purchase 20 cars at a time (probably only if you're a business), warranties probably no longer make sense as repair costs over ALL of the vehicles is likely to be less than the price of all of the extended warranties.

So, in summary, for something really expensive, yes. For anything reasonably less, no.

-Restil

Comment: Umm.. (Score 1) 258

by Restil (#40899485) Attached to: Did an Unnamed MIT Student Save Apollo 13?

While I'm certain that an MIT student could/would have come up with the slingshot idea, in all fairness, there weren't really many different ways to get the spacecraft back to Earth. Either turn around, which uses a lot of fuel, but possibly get back sooner, or use the moon's gravity to turn around, which uses less, but might take longer. Third option would be to speed up, still use the moon, and achieve the same effect. I'm pretty sure at the point that they were deciding what to do, NASA had pretty much every employee awake and on the job. It's a bit presumptuous to assume that none of them came up with the slingshot idea on their own, considering going into an orbit of the moon was part of the initial plan of the mission in the first place.

What I CAN see happening though, is considering the time crunch the engineers were under to figure out what to do and implement that plan before the astronauts died, is that the student submitted the idea immediately, it got added to the list of ideas, and he was given attribution as a result of being the first one to voice it (even though hundreds of others probably had the same idea). The student wasn't really responsible for saving the mission, he just got first post.

-Restil

Comment: Re:Lame (Score 1) 254

by Restil (#40757099) Attached to: Neuroscience May Cure Videogames Industry's Obsession With Guns

Violence in Ultima 4 was selective. You had to kill all of the evil creatures you engaged with. If you fled from a battle with them, you lost points for valor. However, you had to avoid killing all of the non-evil creatures (rats, snakes, etc) or you would lose points for sacrifice. Violence was mandatory, it was just specific.

-Restil

Comment: Re:So that's really why he gave up his citizenship (Score 2) 445

by Restil (#40092625) Attached to: Facebook, Zuckerberg Sued Over IPO

It depends on the state, but generally whatever you have before the marriage, you can keep afterwards. The issue gets a bit murky though when you're dealing with stocks. First off, any dividends earned after the marriage are community property, and typically any increase in the value of his stock (if he sells it while they're married), can also be considered community property, and possibly even if he DOESN'T ever sell it, she might get some of the shares the value of which would match the increase at the time of the divorce. The issue gets even murkier if there's dividend re-investment going on, since now the stock purchased with dividends IS community property, while the rest isn't.

It's better to just not get a divorce. If that isn't an option, it's a much better choice to just not get married in the first place.

-Restil

Comment: Re:I'm sure he agreed to this in the TOS. (Score 1) 273

by Restil (#39608377) Attached to: Some Hotspot Operators Secretly Intercept, Insert Ads In Web Pages

At some point, it's not really worth the trouble. I can see the reasoning behind trying to make an extra buck off the customer, but in the end, they need the customer or nothing else matters, so anything that involves making the customer's stay an uncomfortable one is going to make them a non-customer in the future. Anytime you screw around with a webpage, you're greatly increasing the chances that the page will not display properly. It's hard enough as it is to code a page so that it works identically with all browsers. Inserting an ad might not be too difficult, but cherrypicking out content from them is going to be considerably more complicated.

-Restil

Comment: Re:without the knowledge of the site visitor (Score 1) 273

by Restil (#39608251) Attached to: Some Hotspot Operators Secretly Intercept, Insert Ads In Web Pages

My isp gives me a page saying "Your bill is late" when for some reason the automated charge didn't go through. Click ok on that page and I'm back online again... at least for several days when they put up a more permanent message, but it gives me time to figure out what went wrong with the process. However, that's the only
attempt I've seen at hijacking the internet connection by my ISP. Not that they don't suck in a variety of other ways.....

-Restil

Comment: Re:HTTP Policies (Score 3, Informative) 273

by Restil (#39608217) Attached to: Some Hotspot Operators Secretly Intercept, Insert Ads In Web Pages

While they couldn't insert code into an encrypted session, they COULD perform a man in the middle attack and accomplish the same thing, provided the user decided to override the certificate warning (which I'm guessing most people would). A more secure solution would be to do all the browsing over a ssh tunnel. That too could be intercepted, but it's less likely, and ssh will catch such an attempt provided the tunnel was first initiated over a trusted connection, so at least you'd be able to avoid using the service if you know it's going to be insecure.

What's ironic is the fact that the cheap hotels that are out in the middle of nowhere have great, highspeed, well covered wifi with mostly unrestricted or completely unrestricted hotspots (most of the time, all you have to do is agree to a clickthrough agreement, and you're good to go). But go to a big hotel in the city for a convention or something and they want to charge $15 a day for it. I'd just grown accustomed to tethering my cellphone in those instances since I got higher speeds from that than I did from the hotel wifi.

-Restil

Comment: Re:Nest & Tankless heater (Score 1) 281

by Restil (#39544235) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Shortcuts To a High Tech House

I have a gas water heater, and during the summer months, when the heater is the only appliance using gas, the consumption part of my gas bill is somewhere between $5-10 a month. It would take multiple decades to justify the purchase of a tankless water heater, at least for me. Also, if the heating element of the heater breaks for some reason, like mine did a couple years back, the tank will still hold at least lukewarm water for a day or two before it's used up, giving you time to get it fixed before taking iced showers.

-Restil

Comment: Why are you asking us? (Score 3, Insightful) 170

by Restil (#39255945) Attached to: The Fallout From a Flickr DMCA Takedown

Shouldn't you be asking Flickr? Yes, there SHOULD be a way to restore it, assuming Flickr designed their system to account for that possibility. Of course, if the company policy when responding to DMCA requests is to simply delete the image and all associated references (including comments), then that is their policy and something you may wish to consider when posting something there in the first place. If anything, this should entice hosting companies to amend their user policy to include what happens in situations like this. Add a few more lines to a very long document that nobody ever reads anyway. Ultimately, if you want control over content you think belongs to you, then you need to host it yourself and not rely on other sites to do it for you.

-Restil

Comment: Re:So when did... (Score 1) 433

by Restil (#38813427) Attached to: AT&T Caps Netflix Streaming Costs At $68K/Yr

That's the same excuse I see all the time. And it's a meaningless excuse. Subsidies are paid by the government to compel a company to provide goods and services according to certain guidelines, which the company might not or will not do on its own. For instance, a phone company might determine that there is no financial incentive to provide service in markets that are excessively rural, or providing such services in those areas would require compensation from the customers that is too excessive to be considered reasonable. So the government pays them to be sure they provide service to those remote areas even though it's not cost effective for the company. They might even agree to pay that subsidy indefinitely so the phone company continues to provide service to those remote areas at reasonable prices. So now you come along and claim that their infrastructure was partially funded by the government, and you're right. But that doesn't matter. If the government instead agrees to pay AT&T to build a wireless phone network capable of handling 24/7 netflix streaming for 100% of their customers at the same time, all the time, then yes, I would agree with you. But that's not what the subsidies were for, and therefore AT&T has no obligation to provide endless services for all customers at an unreasonably low charge just because money once changed hands for an unrelated reason.

-Restil

Comment: Re:Taxes (Score 4, Informative) 413

by Restil (#38661022) Attached to: Amazon To Collect Indiana Sales Tax In 2014

Well, I don't know about Indiana, but here where I live my local central appraisal district has appraised my house for about 3 times what I purchased it for (a foreclosure that sat on the market for 9 months before I found it, and despite all the talk about home values plummeting madly during the most recent recession, apparently someone forgot to tell the taxing authority, since my value certainly didn't drop any, and I'm guessing it didn't for anyone else either. So don't let that 1% fool you. There are other ways around THAT particular roadblock.

-Restil

After any salary raise, you will have less money at the end of the month than you did before.

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