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Comment: Re:Government Intervention (Score 1) 445

by Cimexus (#48935825) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: When and How Did Europe Leapfrog the US For Internet Access?

Yes as a comparison, I recently moved from Australia to the US. Similar sized city in both countries (~400k people).

In Australia I had a choice of ~30 ADSL2+ providers at up to 24/2 Mbps (down/up), plus around 4 or 5 VDSL2 providers offering a guaranteed 60/15 Mbps down/up. In each case the physical line the service was provided through was the same line, owned by the main telco, but many different providers could offer service over it.

In the US I have a choice of precisely one DSL provider at 6 Mbps/768 kbps down/up (ick), and precisely one cable provider who offers 60/4 Mbps DOCSIS3. Obviously I choice the cable provider. Thankfully they seem quite decent and I'm getting the advertised speeds. But if I had an issue with them ... I'd be screwed, since there's no other choice.

Cost was approximately the same in both countries. The US ISP has a nominal 300 GB cap but I don't think they enforce it. The many Australian ISPs I could choose from offered various plans with a range of caps: effectively pay more if you need more, pay less if you don't need much. For the same price as the US ISP I could get a 300-500 GB cap in Australia so it's basically comparable.

I was fairly lucky in Australia having the access to VDSL. A lot of people are stuck in areas where ADSL2+ is the top option. But even then at least you usually had dozens of ISPs to choose from. In America there's usually just 1 option per technology (i.e. one DSL, one cable, etc.)

Comment: Re:Government Intervention (Score 2) 445

by Cimexus (#48935739) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: When and How Did Europe Leapfrog the US For Internet Access?

No the way it works is that government builds and maintains the infrastructure - the physical cables and such - but then leases access to this infrastructure out to private companies so that those companies can offer retail services to the consumer on it. In countries/regions that have done this, the government itself isn't in the business of actually being your ISP, and it's not interested in doing so.

Comment: Re:that's the problem. 3/16th" hole = opened (Score 1) 361

by hey! (#48935183) Attached to: Why ATM Bombs May Be Coming Soon To the United States

The issue as I'm sure you know isn't "opened", but rather "opened within a certain length of time." Obviously given unlimited time you can get into anything, and you probably can get into an ATM a lot faster than a decent safe. But once you have the explosion routine down pat, you can probably be away with the ATM money in *seconds*. In terms of practicality and low risk, that's hard to beat.

Comment: Re:Not their fault (Score 1) 394

by hey! (#48918827) Attached to: "Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

Something worth considering. We associate snow with cold, so it's tempting to see more and frequent snowstorms as disproof that the planet is warning. However temperature is only one of the constraints on snow. The other is moisture.

I have lived here in Boston over fifty years, and in the 60s and 70s the December climate was bitterly cold and *bone dry*. In recent decades there has been a marked tendency toward warmer AND wetter Decembers and Januaries, and thus frequent significant snow storms in December (almost unheard of) and January (rare until the 90s).

This storm was particularly intense, and in my town got two feet or more. This has happened on six prior occasions, once in 1888, and five times since 1969.

Comment: Re:Modula-3 FTW! (Score 1) 488

by Zordak (#48907509) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

You do understand that Pascal was first released in 1970, right? Many Pascal programmers in the 1970s asked the same question - why do we need C, with its dangerous string handling and obtuse preprocessor, if it doesn't solve any new problems?

Um, you realize that C came out at almost exactly the same time, don't you? Granted, I wasn't programming anything in the 1970s, but I know enough history to know that the Unix kernel was already being ported to C right around 1970.

Comment: Re:Block Styles [Re:Modula-3 FTW!] (Score 2) 488

by Zordak (#48907215) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

I like the End-X style, such as VB's, because if the nesting gets messed up due to a typo, End-X carries info about which block ender went with which block starter. "End While" goes with "While", obviously, not an IF statement. Brackets lack this ability.

"Lacks" is a strong word; it's just not inherent. Back when I used to write software in C and C++ for money, I would religiously put "}//end if" to make sure I could keep track of which braces went where. If I needed even more context, I would put " }//end if(var1 == var2). It's not that hard. Like many things in C, you have plenty of rope to hang yourself if you really want to, but you can also make it tidy and sensible if you care to. C is not your friend, and is not your enemy.

C is like an M1 rifle. Sturdy, proved in battle many times over, occasionally finnicky, and ready to put a high-powered round precisely where you aim it without apology. Whether you aim at your foot is your business.

Comment: Re:Ppl who don't know C++ slamming C++ (Score 5, Insightful) 200

by hey! (#48894501) Attached to: Bjarne Stroustrup Awarded 2015 Dahl-Nygaard Prize

Well it's been many, many years since I've used it, which was back in the late 80s and early 90s. My impression from this time is that C++ is unquestionably a work of genius, but that I didn't particularly like it. Part of that is that we didn't really know how to use it effectively. In that era most object oriented programmers used concrete inheritance way too much. Part of that is due to aspects of what we thought an OO language should have that turned out to add complexity while being only marginally useful in practice (e.g. multiple concrete inheritance and operator overloading).

But in terms of meeting its design goals C++ is a tour de force of ingenuity -- even if some of those goals are questionable by today's standards. The very fact that we know some of those features aren't necessarily ideal is because they were taken out of the realm of academic noodling and put into a practical and highly successful language that could tackle the problems of the day on the hardware of the day. It's hard to overstate the practical impact of C++ on the advancement of both theory and practice of software development.

Any prize for contributions to OO programming pretty that didn't include Stroustrup in its first recipients would be dubious.

Comment: Re:I have an even better idea (Score 3, Informative) 304

by hey! (#48894185) Attached to: Government Recommends Cars With Smarter Brakes

I have an even better idea: let's find a way to fix human beings so that they're perfectly consistent in their behavior.

While certainly taking demonstrably bad drivers off the road is a no-brainer, even good drivers have lapses. My teenaged son is learning to drive, and whenever someone does something like cut us off I make a point of saying we can't assume the driver did it on purpose, or did it because he was an inconsiderate or bad person. Even conscientious and courteous drivers make mistakes or have lapses of attention.

It's the law of large numbers. If you spend a few hours on the road, you'll encounter thousands of drivers. A few of them will be really horrible drivers who shouldn't be on the road. But a few will be conscientious drivers having a bad day, or even a bad 1500 milliseconds.

From Sharp minds come... pointed heads. -- Bryan Sparrowhawk