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Comment: Re:Human Shield? (Score 1) 132

by dgatwood (#49552515) Attached to: Pirate Bay Blockade Censors CloudFlare Customers

1. The court who handed down the injunction is the arbiter for copyright law

Agreed so far.

2. The cache-only service is the means of enforcing the injunction.

Nope. The cache-only service isn't the one being enjoined. The party being enjoined is ISP A (the users' ISP). However, they aren't in a position to actually do anything about the injunction because they aren't ISP B (the Pirate Bay mirror's ISP). Their only way of "handling" it is to block the site in a manner that directly harms the business of CDN C (CloudFlare) and hundreds of other innocent businesses. CloudFlare, in turn, is also not capable of truly enforcing the injunction, because the Pirate Bay website mirror can trivially switch off CloudFlare with a simple DNS change and avoid any block that CloudFlare might put up.

The sole plausibly effective means of enforcement is for the courts to order CloudFlare to disclose the source IP for the website, and to then get an injunction against the correct ISP. And if that ISP turns out to be outside the UK, then it is likely beyond the reach of UK law, and that's a reality that the UK government will simply have to accept.

3. If you go to the other end of the spectrum and follow the lowest level of law the copyright is dead on the internet.

The reality is that there will always be sites on the Internet in countries that have weak laws. Any government that thinks it can somehow put up road blocks that will adequately prevent people from accessing those sites is a government of fools. Just take a look at how many people pay for VPN service to get around geo-blocking of TV shows, or to avoid censorship by oppressive governments.

As John Gilmore put it, "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." That's the way it has always been, and practically speaking, that's the way it always will be.

For this reason, if you want to fight piracy, you cannot hope to do so using technical measures. It never worked before, yet in spite of more than thirty years of trying to do so and failing (think Macrovision, floppy disk copy protection, etc.), corporations keep trying to make it work, and idiotic governments keep trying to find ways to legislatively turn this hopeless cause into something that's magically feasible. You know what they say about insanity?

Mind you, I don't have the right answer; if I did, I'd be rich. But I do know how to spot the wrong answers.

4. The cache only service could segregate the different sources to different IPs so different countries could enforce their own laws by blocking selected content.

First, there are only so many IP addresses. They can't realistically cache each site on its own IP address. The cost would be astronomical. Second, even if they could, how can you do that without also making it easier for oppressive regimes to suppress information? Ethically and morally speaking, a CDN must be content-neutral. There's simply no acceptable alternative.

Comment: Re:I will never understand (Score 1) 66

by guruevi (#49551939) Attached to: Vizio, Destroyer of Patent Trolls

Don't file for a fuzzy patent. Read the patents that Tesla filed or other turn-of-19th century patents. They are clear and concise, easy to understand (to the engineer) and easy (with the resources) to replicate including diagrams. These days, I don't understand any of the patents, what they are for or what they do. Companies are patenting entire computer devices (phones, embedded devices) with nothing more than a diagram of what the UI layout could be.

Comment: Re:Flywheels (Score 1) 254

by guruevi (#49551873) Attached to: Tesla To Announce Battery-Based Energy Storage For Homes

Cost. Flywheels are huge chunks of metal and well-engineered precision metal at that size isn't cheap, they're also a single all-or-nothing unit. Batteries are mainly plastic, acid and some metal. You can replace a few batteries using some very cheap shipping and a single technician. Flywheels typically require engineers from start to finish including repairs and replacements.

Comment: Re:Solar rarely enough for the whole house (Score 1) 254

by dgatwood (#49551131) Attached to: Tesla To Announce Battery-Based Energy Storage For Homes

And 48kWh, which is cited above as "about average", means, no home-servers running 24x7 (about 200Watts*24h=4.8kWh — or 10% more than the estimate — per server), no super-duper Christmas lights [komar.org], and other limitations...

My home server runs 24x7. It draws 11W when idling, or about 264 watt-hours per day, and the current versions draw barely half that. Compared with heating and cooling, the server is lost in the noise. Unless you're serving a site that absolutely requires staggering amounts of computing power or desktop-sized hard drives, might I suggest you consider more power-efficient server hardware?

If I were still using such an ancient 200W horror, replacing it with a 6W server would save me almost $650 annually at my current PG&E rate. In other words, the new hardware would be basically free after the first year or so.

Comment: Re:Cloudfare blocks Tor (Score 2) 132

by dgatwood (#49551071) Attached to: Pirate Bay Blockade Censors CloudFlare Customers

Cloudfare blocks Tor exit nodes heavily; you have to fill out a captcha almost every other page refresh. It makes it almost impossible to navigate a website.

CloudFlare blocks any IP address that sends an insane number of page hits in a short period of time, because the vast majority of those IPs are being used by automated bots running on sites like Amazon EC2 to scan websites and post spam links en masse. There's no good way for CloudFlare to tell the difference.

And yeah, that policy is problematic. It caused me to endure a protracted back-and-forth with Amazon over getting my affiliate account activated, because CloudFlare was treating Amazon's web crawler bot's IP range as a potential spammer and showing it a captcha page for every result.

That seems incompatible with your distaste for "kowtowing to the enemies of freedom" and trying to allow customers access to your books even if a government doesn't want them to have access.

There's also a decided benefit to blocking web-posting mass spammers, and although the captchas are annoying, they don't prevent you from using the site entirely; they merely make it a pain in the backside. On balance, although it isn't ideal, it is acceptable, IMO, because A. it is trivial for end users to get around and thus is not a true block, and B. it serves a very useful purpose in the default case while causing a hassle for only a tiny fraction of a percent of the site's users (at most).

(Incidentally, the book thing was purely hypothetical; my books are pretty tame.)

Comment: Re:Human Shield? (Score 1) 132

by dgatwood (#49551015) Attached to: Pirate Bay Blockade Censors CloudFlare Customers

In any case, you're asking the wrong questions. You're looking at it from the perspective of one of those big cloud providers. The truth is, the big players can't protect your site. The big players have too much to lose. If you want your site protected, you can not go to the cloud.

On the other hand, the big players are also the only ones that can protect the site. The small players who have nothing to lose will just get blocked and won't have enough pull to do anything about it. They'll have no choice but to bend to any random government's demands if they want to avoid their entire IP range getting blocked en masse. Only a company that is big enough to serve real companies' content can be even slightly effective at protecting you against bullying by world governments.

So basically, when you combine that fact with your statement, you end up with a world in which there can be no protection from free speech, because the only companies big enough to defend it have too much to lose, and thus cannot afford to do so. In effect, the world's free speech becomes limited to the lowest common denominator—to content that complies with the strictest limits of all of the strictest sets of laws in the world. I know that's what the leadership of those countries would like, but it is simply too high a price.

IMO, what is needed is a U.S. law that says that any U.S. company, being an entity that exists solely at the pleasure of the U.S. government, can be fined for not preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution, including the first amendment, against all threats, foreign and domestic. That would at least provide a counterweight—a punishment for bending too far.

In the absence of that, though, the CDNs need to step up on their own. They need to stand up for free speech, and they need to defend their presumed innocence as a blind cache by requiring that all legal actions be taken against the original site directly, and by taking steps to make it painful for anyone who tries to make an end run around that policy. It is a legally defensible position to hold, and more importantly, it is the only morally and ethically reasonable position to hold. All other positions are a slippery slope that eventually leads to blocking speech that truly deserves defending.

Comment: Re:Human Shield? (Score 1) 132

by dgatwood (#49550949) Attached to: Pirate Bay Blockade Censors CloudFlare Customers

Cloudflare could serve from different IPs if they wanted to but don't. That's what I mean by "human shield". Shield infringing material with non-infringing material. That is much the same as shielding combatants with non-combatants.

Except it isn't. As a rule, nobody dies if a cat pictures website gets blocked. Financial loss and human loss are two very different things to most people.

Besides, what determines whether something is infringing: the U.S.'s insane copyright laws, China's lax copyright laws, or something in the middle? There is no one worldwide standard for what is and is not protected by copyright. As soon as you allow one country to hold you hostage over copyright, you allow any country to do so, no matter how absurd their laws might be.

User-created content, for example, is protected by copyright in the U.S. What happens when some country takes that one step further and demands that site owners pay users every time the sites show their user-contributed content? It would be insanity, but there's nothing preventing a country from passing such a law, and if you aren't really careful with your licensing terms, it could even happen in the U.S. under U.S. copyright law.

The moment someone sues for an injunction, there would be millions of websites around the globe that would be technically violating copyright laws, and blocking all the sites that do so would also be very directly blocking free speech. Thus, as you can see, by allowing a caching-only service to be the arbiter for copyright law rather than requiring the aggrieved party to take legal action against the original site, you're just a hair's breadth away from throwing all free speech under the bus.

Comment: Re:Human Shield? (Score 1) 132

by dgatwood (#49550891) Attached to: Pirate Bay Blockade Censors CloudFlare Customers

Sorry but "sharing" artistic works that can be purchased elsewhere is not speech.

Even as someone who makes most of his income off of intellectual property, I consider that a ridiculous claim. Speech is the dissemination of information, period, full stop. Therefore disseminating information about where you can download something is speech. The fact that the download is illegal in most of the world doesn't change that, nor does the fact that the download is (arguably) immoral and unethical change that.

The moment you start deciding that one thing is speech and another isn't, regardless of your personal views on the merits of that speech, you begin running headlong towards despotism. This isn't to say that you must tolerate all forms of speech on your own sites, but there's a big difference between that and a government—any government—making that decision for you.

Comment: Re:A first step (Score 1) 254

by mrchaotica (#49550687) Attached to: Tesla To Announce Battery-Based Energy Storage For Homes

We use electric heating--which is expensive, and while our neighborhood will be getting natural gas in the next few months, it makes no economic sense for us to replace our central heating system with gas. (The payoff exceeds the lifespan of the HVAC already installed.)

Resistive heating or a heat pump? If the former, I suspect that replacing your AC with a heat pump would save you a lot of money. I would even go so far to say that if your HVAC is old then it would make sense to upgrade (because you'd have to replace the AC eventually anyway, and the marginal cost is small), and if your HVAC is new then whoever had it replaced last time was an idiot for not upgrading to a heat pump then.

Comment: Re:Nice idea but... (Score 1) 254

by drinkypoo (#49550577) Attached to: Tesla To Announce Battery-Based Energy Storage For Homes

I do understand the solar industry, that's why I fliped two big middle fingers to them and bought and imported all china solar panels and installed a 5Kwh setup for drastically cheaper than any of the overpriced US crap.

Like anyone else, I will buy the panels which provide the most output for my dollar, and which fit in the space available. But if the world would institute some laws which would penalize countries for slave labor and environmental abuse, then it would cease to make sense to buy a lot of that crap. I sit here surrounded by similar crap, but the point remains.

I use grid intertie and drive the meter backwards. No local storage.

That's certainly cost-effective, but it won't help as much in an outage.

Electrical bill is $14.95 a month because you have to pay the "fees" and the scumbag leaders in my states government passed a law that allows the power company to not pay for any surplus I generate above my own use.

Yes, scumbags are always the problem. Obviously it wouldn't make sense for you to add a lot of battery on the basis of selling power back at shifted times.

Comment: Re: There ought to be a law (Score 1) 110

Just because you put words together, it doesn't mean the resulting sentence is true.

And you just made a meaningless statement which advances the conversation in no way whatsoever, since it could equally be applied to anything anyone said ever. If you want to provide some sort of meaningful information, you can do that. Or can you?

Comment: Re:Nice idea but... (Score 3, Insightful) 254

by drinkypoo (#49550497) Attached to: Tesla To Announce Battery-Based Energy Storage For Homes

What happens if you buy this battery and a year or two down the road someone comes out with a battery that is twice as efficient as the one you have?

Then the whole world changes, whole corporations go out of business overnight while others swell, and there is widespread financial chaos.

This is the exact question I asked Solar City when I was considering solar panels for my house.

That's because you don't understand the solar industry even a little bit. When new, more efficient panels come out, not only is their price per watt higher but the price per watt on the old panels comes down. The primary benefit is not reduction of cost, at least not at first, but in reduction of panel area needed. That reduces the size of an installation which can reduce its cost — but in the case of a residential solar system, that is rarely the case. Since they're usually fixed and roof-mounted, the amount of materials used to mount them is fairly small and there are no property cost considerations whatsoever. The homeowner doesn't care if they have three or six panels on their roof, because they're on their roof and they're not taking up any space they were using before.

The truth is that improvements in batteries and solar panels do not come in 100% increments. They come in small increments delivered over long periods of time, just like the savings on energy costs delivered by a solar installation. Not installing solar now because you're worried that solar is going to get better is just depriving yourself of the benefits that you enjoy by doing it sooner. Meanwhile, your system can be upgraded piecemeal, so you can replace your batteries in 15 years and your panels in 30, maybe add some more batteries then. You can mix and match different kinds of panels to a certain extent; sure, you need different charge controllers for old and new style panels, but you can have both kinds of charge controllers right next to one another, connected to the same battery bank. So really, there is no basis whatsoever for your concern that a 100% efficiency improvement will come along tomorrow and eliminate the value of your investment. And frankly, if such a leap in efficiency were realized in a commercial product, then some government would probably buy up 100% of it and you wouldn't be able to get any anyway. Kind of like what happened with nanosolar, which was then driven out of existence by the chinese dumping panels on our market so none of us got to buy any of it. That stuff had the potential to be disruptive, but now we have to wait for someone to conceive of the idea again with some new and even cheaper technology because we're okay with goods produced with slave labor so long as it doesn't happen within our borders.

Comment: Re:big news! (Score 1) 254

by drinkypoo (#49550479) Attached to: Tesla To Announce Battery-Based Energy Storage For Homes

Distributed storage capacity solves nothing if the grid operators cannot manage it.

I bet you don't downshift your car because you think it's going to hurt your engine, too.

It's only a solution if the batteries help balance the grid.

Yes, that was what the GP was talking about. Good news! You get at least a "D" on your reading comprehension test!

This is bad for homeowners with PV, because they want to run their meters backwards and get paid, and grid balancing would reduce their ability to do that.

You have no idea what you're on about. Increasing homeowner battery capacity is how we're going to implement grid balancing, and when the homeowner's battery bank balances the grid, their meter is going to run backwards and they're going to get paid. But unlike a grid-tied system without batteries, they'll be able to release the power when they want to, and as such, they will get paid as much as possible while simultaneously also providing the maximum grid balancing value — by providing power when it is most needed. It is not a coincidence that power costs the most when there is the least power available.

What is needed is net metering. The infrastructure cost and connection fee should be completely divorced from the cost of power, and the users of the power should effectively pay the providers with just a small cut taken off the top for whoever is managing the tracking and billing — which need not be the same as the infrastructure provider. Indeed, recent events regarding PG&E's inability to maintain neighborhood power distribution infrastructure provide some evidence that tying the two together is disastrous.

Comment: Re:Idiots (Score 1) 616

by drinkypoo (#49550455) Attached to: Cheap Gas Fuels Switch From Electric Cars To SUVs

Fracking is actually a GOOD thing overall...

Who told you that?

We've been doing it for decades in various areas without much of an issue


It increases production with very low cost and low risk.

To the corporation. for the rest of us, it equals increased seismicity and water contamination. As well, the "fracking fluids" are just refinery wastes. they have no business injecting that into the ground anywhere.

The clash of ideas is the sound of freedom.