Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Re:It's 2014 (Score 1) 348

by RickRussellTX (#47378183) Attached to: Bug In Fire TV Screensaver Tears Through 250 GB Data Cap

Anyone can start an ISP as long as they are willing to pay for the infrastructure to deliver the last mile connection to their customers.

Not true.

I've always said, the battle for broadband isn't at the national, state, or even regional utility level. It's in the city utility easements.

City and county governments make exclusivity deals with providers. Back when DSL was first rolling out in the late 90s, states mandated that the monopoly easement holders offer their copper wire and telecom junction box space to competitors in return for their cabling monopoly. The phone companies tore the startups to pieces with bogus charges and quality problems, insuring that the phone company service worked OK while the competitors' equipment worked like crap and would never make any money. On the argument that they could provide better service, the phone companies lobbied to get the competition requirements pulled, and they have for the most part.

The cable and phone companies will never, ever allow a competing wired standard into the utility easements. They will fight it at every level, and throw obscene amounts of money around. Only a handful of super-rich companies have managed to bust these agreements. Google Fiber, for example, in very limited areas.

And if you wonder whether they have been successful, check your junction box and see how many data-capable cables are currently entering it. I'm betting it's 1 or 2, and those probably belong to the phone and cable company that have been operating in your locality for at least 30 years.

Comment: Re:Well (Score 1) 510

It's the intent, not the method that determines if something is helpful or harmful.

Good grief, no. It's the result, not the intent, that determines is something is helpful or harmful. Bad regulations are always defended on good intentions, because intentions are not a measure of performance.

regulations prohibit engine destroying additives being added to fuel, encourage electrical systems to have devices that prevent electrocution

Consumers and courts can do that just fine without regulation.

lower prices by fostering a single standard that is available for everyone

It's like we've learned nothing from the Communications Act of 1934. It's been almost a hundred years since we made these mistakes. We can do better.

Comment: Engineering Workstations & Servers 4EVA (Score 1) 360

by RickRussellTX (#41131011) Attached to: Doctorow on the War on General Purpose Computing
The Death of the PC has been predicted many times. I can believe that the modern surge of high-powered phones and tablets will displace laptops, but general purpose computing workstations? Engineers and scientists need lots of computrons in close communication with local high-speed storage and graphics hardware, so consequently there will always be a stream of low-to-mid-range server technology feeding into general purpose computing workstations, and so there will always be something for hobbyists. I suspect that any significant regulatory forcing in this ecology would affect scientific and engineering innovation to such a degree that any nation implementing draconian technology restrictions would soon find itself at the bottom of the heap. Those who allow free technology will define the next generation.

Comment: Re:Could be a problem (Score 1) 595

by RickRussellTX (#34324908) Attached to: One Giant Cargo Ship Pollutes As Much As 50M Cars

When you consider the utter mess we're making of this planet, reduced shipping capacity isn't that bad of a thing to accept.

Actually, it is a bad thing to accept. If products could be created with less work (e.g. energy and consequently pollution) using local capital and labor, then we wouldn't be shipping them in the first place. Displacing the labor from an efficient location to a less efficient location will have costs, and some those costs will be environmental.

Comment: Re:Leader AND innovator? (Score 1) 243

by RickRussellTX (#32263602) Attached to: Microsoft Sues Salesforce.com Over Patents

How is The Ribbon (trademark, whatever) different from the palettes in Adobe creative products that have been there since the early 90s, or the tool palettes any number of programs? The main difference seems to be that the Ribbon can't be moved or resized like those palettes, and its controls cannot be customized or changed.

Honestly, I don't see anything here that is conceptually different from, say, Superpaint circa 1990, or MacDraw Pro, or... sheesh. They all had dockable tool palettes with a combination of buttons, menus, and dialog box poppers. If you want fixed palettes of controls, go to (for example) Adobe Photodeluxe circa 2001.

I mean, I give credit to MS for realizing that menu bars were an early 90s solution to the problem of organizing software functionality, and a palette arrangement could expose more functionality on new displays with more pixel space. But others had come to that conclusion much earlier, and the fixed palette they call "The Ribbon" does not have new features that you would not find in any number applications that use tool palettes.

Comment: Re:What fidelity (Score 1, Informative) 178

by RickRussellTX (#32225334) Attached to: Microsoft Accuses Google Docs of Data Infidelity

I see students failing papers because the Word on one machine does not read word files created on another machine in a different version.

I have to call FUD on that -- Word 2007 will read file formats from before those students were born. If they are claiming that Word ate their homework, they are lying.

Microsoft has locked out some older file formats, such as PowerPoint before Office 97, because they don't want to maintain security on the conversion code. Organizations with long memories (like the company I work for) have bumped into that issue.

Comment: Of course Microsoft is correct (Score 1) 178

by RickRussellTX (#32225260) Attached to: Microsoft Accuses Google Docs of Data Infidelity

... because you only have to use Google Docs for about 2 minutes to run into commonly-used features from Microsoft Office that just don't exist. I create a chart and I can't format the axes, I can't put in a trend line, I can't copy and paste it into a document. The drawing tools are laughably unsophisticated. Google Docs doesn't offer feature parity with a 1993 copy of Clarisworks, much less Microsoft Office.

I like Google Docs as a handy scratchpad to create documents accessible from anywhere and quickly exportable as PDFs. I have dozens of little things transcribed in it. But production work has to meet standards for fonts, formatting, chart appearance, etc that Google Docs cannot produce. The reality is that Office + Exchange + Sharepoint offers a collaboration environment that is unmatched -- it's an expensive combination, but if you need the features, there is no competitive option. Google's services are light years behind, and OpenOffice is not bad at all (and tantalizingly better than Office in a handful of areas) but the collaboration features are not there.

Games

+ - Mens Rea: Video Games and Our Evil Intentions->

Submitted by Phaethon360
Phaethon360 (1610937) writes "The most righteous and morally upright individual can bear only a modicum of ill intent towards even the sleaziest of video game characters and still find themselves in the murky realm of real vs interactive psychopathy. But is that sense justified? The link between right and wrong is often so gray in the real world that when painted in context of how it applies digitally, it becomes an almost hue-less blur. But do those who are inclined to play a more violent or racy title doing so because of their internal mechanisms or merely because these types of games are the most engaging?

Nick writes: "Mens Rea or “guilty mind” is defined as “the evil intent, criminal purpose, a knowledge of the wrongfulness of conduct. It is a principle that is still held true today in most developed criminal justice systems, and helps us to separate a real crime from an unfortunate accident. However, I am curious as to whether or not we as gamers commit crime with an “evil intent” in the interactive medium, and if this is a compelling motivation in our purchase and play of such games...""

Link to Original Source
Cellphones

+ - Malware Infected Memory Cards of 3,000 Phones->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "The original report came on March 8 after an employee of Panda Security plugged a newly ordered HTC Magic phone from Vodafone into a Windows computer, where it triggered an alert from the antivirus software. Further inspection of the phone found the device's 8GB microSD memory card was infected with a client for the now-defunct Mariposa botnet, the Conficker worm and a password stealer for the Lineage game. At that point it was at thought to be an issue with a specific refurbished phone. On Wednesday another phone surfaced with traces of the Mariposa botnet. And now Vodafone is saying that as many as 3,000 HTC Magic phones, may be affected."
Link to Original Source
United States

+ - High Tech Research Moving from US to China

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that American companies like Applied Materials are moving their research facilities and engineers to China as the country develops a high-tech economy that increasingly competes directly with the United States. Applied Materials set up its latest solar research labs in China after estimating that China would be producing two-thirds of the world’s solar panels by the end of this year and their chief technology officer, Mark R. Pinto, is the first CTO of a major American tech company to move to China. “We’re obviously not giving up on the US,” says Pinto. “China needs more electricity. It’s as simple as that.” Western companies are also attracted to China’s huge reservoirs of cheap, highly skilled engineers and the subsidies offered by many Chinese cities and regions, particularly for green energy companies. Applied Materials decided to build their new $250 million research facility in Xi’an after the city government sold them a 75-year land lease at a deep discount and is reimbursing the company for roughly a quarter of the lab complex’s operating costs for five years. Pinto says that researchers from the United States and Europe have to be ready to move to China if they want to do cutting-edge work on solar manufacturing because the new Applied Materials complex here is the only research center that can fit an entire solar panel assembly line. “This opening represents a critical breakthrough for the photovoltaic industry and China and a tremendous benefit to our customers,” says Applied Materials CEO Mike Splinter. “Establishing this center in China is an integral part of Applied’s global strategy and an important step toward the industrialization of the global solar industry.”"
Earth

+ - U.S. sits on rare supply of tech-crucial minerals->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "China supplies most of the rare earth minerals found in technologies such as hybrid cars, wind turbines, computer hard drives and cell phones, but the U.S. has its own largely untapped reserves that could safeguard future tech innovation. Those reserves include deposits of both "light" and "heavy" rare earths — families of minerals that help make everything from TV displays to magnets in hybrid electric motors.

"There is already a shortage, because there are companies that already can't get enough material," said Jim Hedrick, a former USGS rare earth specialist who recently retired. "No one's trying to expand their use of rare earths because they know there's not more available."

"No one [in the U.S.] wants to be first to jump into the market because of the cost of building a separation plant," Hedrick explained. The former USGS specialist said that such a plant requires thousands of stainless steel tanks holding different chemical solutions to separate out all the individual rare earths.

The upfront costs seem daunting. Hedrick estimated that opening just one mine and building a new separation plant might cost anywhere from $500 million to $1 billion and would require a minimum of eight years. But Cowle, the CEO of U.S. Rare Earths, seems hopeful that momentum has already begun building for the U.S. government to encourage development of its own rare earth deposits.

"From what I see, security of supply is going to be more important than the prices," Cowle said."

Link to Original Source
Iphone

+ - Microsoft, employees embarassed about iPhone use-> 2

Submitted by portscan
portscan (140282) writes "There is an entertaining and telling article in the Wall Street Journal about iPhone use by Microsoft employees. Apparently, despite it being frowned upon by senior management, iPhone use is rampant among the Redmond rank an file. The head of Microsoft's mobile division tried to explain it away as employees wanting "to better understand the competition," although few believe this. Nowhere does the article mention attempts by the company to understand why the iPhone is more attractive to much of Microsoft's tech-savvy workforce than the company's own products."
Link to Original Source
Security

+ - Cameras Unravel a Homicide, Frame by Frame 3

Submitted by
Pickens
Pickens writes "For years, the United Arab Emirates has been using its oil wealth to build up a defense and security infrastructure with over 10,000 surveillance cameras that allows law enforcement to track anyone, from the moment they get off an airplane, to the immigration counter where their passport is scanned, through the baggage claims area to the taxi stand where cameras record who gets into what cars, which log their locations through the city's automated highway toll system, all the way to their hotels, which also have cameras. Now the Los Angeles Times reports that a team of 20 investigators pored over 648 hours of surveillance videos using facial recognition software to sketch out a picture of 27 suspects involved in the murder of a 50-year-old Hamas commander wanted by Israel in the kidnapping and killing of two Israeli soldiers. In the end, a mixture of high-tech razzle-dazzle and old-fashioned investigative work cracked the case. "Dubai police are very good at piecing together crimes," says Theodore Karasik, a security analyst at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Affairs. "I've seen it before when you had robberies or murders occur and you'll forget about the story and then six months later the guys are arrested via Interpol brought back here and then they disappear into the system." The case has generated what most analysts consider unwelcome fallout for Israel, which many suspect of being behind the attack but if Mossad agents were involved, the operation blew the identities of 27 agents. "They'll never be able to go outside of Israel again, even with disguises," says Karasik. "Biometrics means all of the contours of your face are on file.""

If you had better tools, you could more effectively demonstrate your total incompetence.

Working...