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.
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.
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.
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.
Button and menu controls on the palettes, tabs to switch between control palettes, all of it. Just 'cause the Ribbon is blue doesn't make it new.
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.
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.
... 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.
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...""
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"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."
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