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Comment: Not about leaks (Score 5, Informative) 265

Not sure what blocking re-employment has to do with leaks. If anything driving people to other companies is likely to cause MORE leaks.

This is almost certainly about eliminating the risk of contingent workforce being classified as employees. My own employer does the same thing, though it does not bar long-term relationships as long as the company doesn't interview individual workers. That is, if we hire Fred to help out with something, then Fred is gone in two years and must take a break. On the other hand, if we hire Acme janitorial to clean our trash and they send over Fred then he can work for years, but we don't get a veto on who they send/etc.

I have mixed feelings. On one hand it does make things harder on those who end up having to move on. On the other hand, before the policy we used to have a LOT of people who would be dragged along in a contract position with the elusive promise of a hire that would take years to happen. The policy forces managers to act if they don't want to lose somebody.

Comment: Re:What about (Score 2) 228

by Rich0 (#47504873) Attached to: Verizon Boosts FiOS Uploads To Match Downloads

Sounds like there is a simple solution to that for Netflix.

Have their application send outgoing packets to an IP on their ISP which just get fed to the bit bucket by the border router. So, if you download a movie at 2Mbps, the client sends random data at 4Mbps back. That forces your ISP to upload more than it downloads, and thus they have to negotiate peering.

Comment: Re:cause and/or those responsible (Score 3, Informative) 663

by Rich0 (#47497759) Attached to: Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

From documentaries/etc that I've seen there were a few issues:

1. An airline timetable that was used to check published routes was improperly adjusted for timezone, thus missing the planned takeoff.
2. The operator interrogating the aircraft transponder kept the aircraft selected for a long time - which caused it to keep a different aircraft's response after they had separated on the screen. If they had re-interrogated it they'd probably have picked up the civilian transponder code.
3. I believe there had been threats or an actual attack on another ship recently, putting pressure on the captain to not let hostiles get too close.

The only reason that more events like this happen is that the Iranians (or anyone else) haven't actually fired on a US ship. So, US ships accept risky situations that would be likely to get them sunk in an actual conflict. The fact that an aircraft is using a civilian transponder code and is on an airline timetable doesn't in any way ensure that it isn't a hostile aircraft. If somebody actually launched an attack by masquerading as a civilian aircraft it would make air travel a LOT less safe overnight. Either the US would have to stop putting naval ships in constrained waters like the Persian Gulf, or it would have to announce fairly large no-fly zones (extending over national airspace), or it would have to accept losing the occasional ship when somebody decides to sink one (unless Aegis really is that good).

Comment: Re:both? (Score 1) 77

by Rich0 (#47494055) Attached to: Drone Search and Rescue Operation Wins Fight Against FAA

One other thing - appropriate training for flying a drone is not the same as for flying a plane. There is no need to have a class 2 medical to fly a drone, or a regular pilot's license. Being able to demonstrate stick-and-rudder skills is pointless when you're flying something with a keyboard and a mouse. Really the appropriate training would probably be about procedures and maintenance more than anything else, and there is no need for it to be expensive.

Requiring a conventional pilot's license to fly a drone is like the FBI requiring people investigating computer crimes to first prove themselves by apprehending drug dealers on the streets.

Comment: Re:both? (Score 1) 77

by Rich0 (#47494033) Attached to: Drone Search and Rescue Operation Wins Fight Against FAA

So again, like I stated originally, just because you can buy something capable of doing the deed doesn't make you qualified to do so. You can buy a hammer and some wire cutters from the hardware store, do you think that makes you qualified to build a safe house for people as well? Hint: It doesn't.

You're equating flying a $500 drone with a camera with being a professional engineer.

Did you know that if you hit a baseball and it goes the wrong way you could land it on the face of a driver going 70mph in a convertible and kill them? Does that mean that we should require $15k worth of training to operate a baseball bat? Heck, we allow people to buy guns which are outright designed with the primary purpose of killing people, and you don't need any training to legally operate one, or even to legally kill somebody with it in some circumstances.

Why not just have some common-sense rules to keep drones at low altitudes and away from airports, and allow for higher-altitude use with appropriate training and equipment. Heck, the FAA can't even get people to put ADS-B in their planes because they can't figure out how to regulate them in a way that doesn't make them cost a fortune, despite every giveaway cell phone in the country being more sophisticated (even feature phones).

The problem is that the FAA hasn't figured out how to regulate anything other than airliners, so they just try to turn everything into an airliner.

Comment: Re:both? (Score 1) 77

by Rich0 (#47493987) Attached to: Drone Search and Rescue Operation Wins Fight Against FAA

You're confusing compliance with safety.

Many FAA regulations could be argued as making the sky less safe.

Making $1000 worth of avionics cost $50k means that small airplanes don't use them, which means that pilots have less situational awareness. Why don't small planes have CatIII-capable ILS? We're talking about 1980s technology in many cases, and it is only expensive because of regulation. (And yes, I know there is more to Cat III than the hardware.)

There is no reason to restrict the operation of light drones below 1000 feet and away from major airports. They're about as capable of causing damage as baseballs are, and we don't require a private pilots's license to join the little league.

Comment: Re:Pooled car fleets (Score 1) 435

by Rich0 (#47469739) Attached to: FBI Concerned About Criminals Using Driverless Cars

Yup. You could also have a reputation system. Set the expectation that cars are kept clean and in good repair, and have cameras inside. If your car shows up and it isn't right, then you hit a button to get a new car, the old car sends itself for servicing, and somebody checks the recordings to find out who gets to pay the bills and fines.

Comment: Re:Gots to find more ways to avoid taxes (Score 1) 526

by Rich0 (#47469025) Attached to: Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

I doubt it. I think you're expected to carry travel insurance. I know as a Canadian I don't get covered out of the country by provincial health care.

I was thinking more of a Canadian travelling to the UK being covered by the UK NHS, and a UK citizen travelling to Canada being covered by Health Canada.

As I said, I have no idea if this is the case, but it would make sense for me for countries with similar levels of coverage to arrange for reciprocal benefits like this as it just makes things easier on everybody without really incurring any net costs.

Comment: Re:Well, uh, yes actually (Score 1) 435

by Rich0 (#47468673) Attached to: FBI Concerned About Criminals Using Driverless Cars

That's just the march of technology.

Take an autopilot for a drone, strap it to a rocket, and write some software with an ADS-B decoder and $20 SDR and now you have an anti-aircraft missile capable of targeting airliners by name. Or you have rocket artillery with fairly high precision. Before you know it Pumpkin Chunkin will involve an accuracy class with the goal to be able to hit a tin can with a trebuchet and guided pumpkin from 200 yards.

Fast forward a while longer and people will be able to make fission weapons in their basements.

Sooner or later we need to come up with ways of handling conflict in society that don't require keeping weapons out of the hands of the public, because that is becoming harder and harder to do.

Comment: Re:don't drive with nobody in it? (Score 4, Interesting) 435

by Rich0 (#47468599) Attached to: FBI Concerned About Criminals Using Driverless Cars

Plus, it really eliminates the need to own so many cars. The car can do multiple duty, and borrowing a car is much more practical when it can pick you up at your door (whether it is shared between neighbors or is actually a taxi).

Parking becomes much easier to optimize when cars can drop and pick people up anywhere, and park themselves. There is no need for parking locations to be within a short walk of every destination.

You can also split up cargo vs personnel transport. Passenger vehicles could be smaller and optimized for passengers, with cargo vehicles being big boxes on wheels. You could take a bus to the grocery store and send your 12 bags home in a cargo vehicle while you take a bus back, or a 1-person car, etc. People don't need to own a vehicle large enough to make that trip they make once a month - they can rent for that.

Endless possibilities for transportation when you don't need people in the loop.

Comment: Re:Very typical of them (Score 1) 401

by Rich0 (#47467683) Attached to: Comcast Customer Service Rep Just Won't Take No For an Answer

some areas of business are just natural monopolies

"Natural monopolies" — a pro-government excuse like "market failure". If Tokyo has competing subway lines, why can't New York City have any?

Well, why don't you go build one? Just spend a few billion of your own money - I'm sure you'll make a profit in no time, despite not being able to charge your full costs due to the presence of an established company that has paid for these sunk costs.

Regulation is required anytime you have a monopoly, no matter how it got there.

The primary focus of the "regulation" is to try to ensure the presence of healthy competition — which is by far the best regulator there can be. No government-created monopolies (like AT&T's) and no duopolies either, please (as there were with cell-phone service in the 90ies).

Thus, it does matter, "how it got there" — if it was government-orchestrated in the first place (as AT&T was), for example, it may need to be forcibly split-up. If it grew up on its own (like Microsoft), it just needs to be watched so that it does not use its monopoly position to against competition.

I agree that one of the best ways to use regulation is to create competition, thus minimizing the scope of regulation.

However, I don't think the origin of the monopoly matters at all. Obviously if a monopoly resulted from poor regulation that should be fixed, simply because it is poor regulation. However, all monopolies will tend to use their position to block competition and extract maximum economic rent. That is just the nature of business. It is only the fear of regulation that might cause companies to avoid it at all. If they didn't do these things in the US the directors could probably be sued for it.

Comment: Re:Gots to find more ways to avoid taxes (Score 1) 526

by Rich0 (#47467631) Attached to: Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

In a country like Canada you can't just move there for six months to have your cancer fixed.

Sure you can. You just have to call yourself a refugee.

Moving to Canada as a refugee is a far more involved process than moving to a different state in the US.

I can just pay for a hotel room in another US state, move there, and claim residence as long as I live out of that hotel. Nobody has to approve my residency, there are no border crossings, etc.

A tourist visiting Canada and staying in a hotel is generally not eligible for their nationalized health system. They expect payment/etc just like most other countries would. I don't know the details, but I wouldn't be surprised if they offer free healthcare to citizens of comparable countries that reciprocate for emergency conditions/etc, which would be fairly logical.

Comment: Re: Gots to find more ways to avoid taxes (Score 1) 526

by Rich0 (#47467575) Attached to: Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

We can't even get an NHS passed by simple majority. You'll never see another constitutional amendment within your lifetime, unless it is for something like the Patriot Act.

You'd have as much success trying to turn the US into a parliamentary system with proportional representation.

Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.

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