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Comment: Re:Gonna see a Net Neutrality Fee (Score 1) 631

by cbhacking (#49149921) Attached to: FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules

Sigh. You really don't get economics at *all*, do you? (Dragonslicer, talking to you too.)

The very concept of "get away with raising the price" shows an incredible lack of understanding. The optimal price is a function of supply and demand. If a company charges less than the optimal price, they will make less money off their available supply than would otherwise be the case. If the company charges more than the optimal price ("oh my $DEITY they are getting away with it!") they will price themselves out of the range of some of their potential demand, and wind up with unsold supply. Both of these options reduce revenue, but there's nothing impossible about them; they're just bad for business.

Hopefully this is reasonably understandable. Of course, things get a bit more complicated when you consider the ways in which supply and demand can be manipulated. For example, setting a high price on a luxury can actually increase demand, up to a point, and if you have a monopoly you can restrict supply to keep prices (and profits) high as well. There's also funny, semi-irrational effects like customer/brand loyalty, where some people will voluntarily give one company a monopoly on their business.

What regulation does (at the first order) is add a new cost of doing business. This cost reduces the money a company has available to obtain supply. Thus, the balance of supply and demand shifts; when supply goes does, unless demand goes down commensurately, the optimal price goes up. The company does take less profit, yes, but (assuming demand stays constant), not by the full amount that the regulation costs them; their customers also pay more.

The catch is that demand for that company's product only remains constant when the price goes up if all of their competitors are subjected to the same regulatory cost and commensurately raise their prices as well. If not - for example, if one company is subjected to a charge that all the others are not, and they compete for the same customers - then the company being regulated will lose about that much in profit. They will probably be able to recoup some of that by accepting lower supply but raising prices a little and relying on their loyal customers to keep buying that supply, but they will end up with less money.

Mind you, it should come as no surprise that regulation, when viewed from the perspective of a single established company, is pretty much always bad. View it from other perspectives, though, and it can be quite good. A company that wants to break into a monopolized market may be able to undercut the regulated competition. A potential customer who was previously not served due to being insufficiently profitable (not unprofitable, just not maximally profitable for the company) may now be able to purchase goods or services. Somebody who was completely unrelated to the company but was being harmed by an externality of its business (for example, environmental pollutants) will have their life improved.

Comment: Physics, never mind tech, says you're wrong (Score 1) 631

by cbhacking (#49149453) Attached to: FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules

Bandwidth is absolutely a physical thing. There is a physical hard limit on bits per second of information transmitted through any medium. There is also a significantly tighter (though growing) technological limit on our ability to transmit, route, and receive those bits in the physical transmission media we currently employ.

Saying "transmitting a lot ... data uses nothing" is ridiculous. It uses part of the limited supply of bandwidth. This bandwidth can be expanded by installing more transmission media (cable, fiber, microwave antennas, network switches, etc.) wherever the bottleneck happens to be, but that costs money too, and companies won't do it unless they expect to be able to capitalize on the increased capacity.

Comment: Re:The Devil is in the Implementation. (Score 1) 406

by cbhacking (#49134971) Attached to: NSA Director Wants Legal Right To Snoop On Encrypted Data

He never actually really says, at least in the interview transcript. He claims a technological solution exists that doesn't weaken the security otherwise, but - speaking as a information security engineer - I'm not buying it. He says what he actually *wants* is a "legal framework" to compel decryption of data. This implies that the decryption keys would have to be kept around (goodbye forward secrecy), though it doesn't actually say so. It also implies that he wants something that a subpoena can't already get, which is more than a little concerning.

Comment: Can you back up your position? (Score 1) 406

by cbhacking (#49125705) Attached to: NSA Director Wants Legal Right To Snoop On Encrypted Data

Care to explain how "a legal framework for data access of entities that operate within and under a US legal construct" (aside from, you know, warrants and subpoenas and so forth) is possible for encrypted data *without* weakening the cryptosystem in a manner "antithetical to the security interests of the United States, our people, our military, our intelligence community, and anyone else who requires secure communications in any form"?

You talk a lot, but you aren't actually offering any solutions. You're just cheering for team World Gestapo. If you want anybody to take anything you say seriously, start offering solutions. The fact that crypto beats the NSA is a feature (a vital one), not a bug. If you want to argue otherwise, try coming up with the following:
1) A method / reason we should believe it won't be used to cripple our information security.
2) A reason we should believe other nations won't obtain and use the same access against us.
3) An actual problem that would be solved by going through all this rigmarole, that existing laws and government powers don't provide.
4) A reason to believe this wouldn't be abused and cause greater harm than good.

The standard of evidence I require for #4, but the way, is to make this more important than freeing the innocents held in Guantanamo Bay and punishing the uniformed abominations who tortured them.

There. I've told you what it would take to change my mind. Care to do the same?

Comment: Re:The best trick (Score 2) 257

by cbhacking (#49109661) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Parental Content Control For Free OSs?

I wouldn't say it's prohibition or puritanism that leads to deviancy, except in the sense that religion leads to heresy; you can't be deviant without having something to deviate *from*. Most fetishes are completely harmless, at least in the sense of damage to society; why stigmatize somebody just for being different? That's almost as bad as the puritanism itself, I'd say. Perhaps you mean "deviancy" in some other, more "evil" way (that is still not redundant with "perversion"), but in that case you should watch your terminology; "deviancy" is frequently used as a derogative you apply to those different from you or from your approved choices.

I'm not even sure the claim that prohibition leads to perversion is valid either. It's easy to define things which are "perverted" even while being otherwise permissive, but I'm not sure I buy the theory that people who would be, say, sexually attracted to children in today's American society are *less* likely to be so attracted in other cultures. Maybe they would, but I'd need to see evidence to believe it.

Nonetheless, you're on the right course. This notion that sex - that the mere *knowledge* of sex - is something kids need protection from is absurd and counterproductive. Forget deviants and perverts, "protecting" kids from sex leads to STDs, to teenage pregnancies, and to other harms that come from furtive and often careless experimentation instead of educated people making informed (possibly still unwise, but at least not ignorant) choices. As for the while nudity taboo, people have bodies. Under your clothes, you're completely naked. We all are. There is neither purpose nor value to keeping children from seeing bodies; all that does is give the kids a goal of seeing that which has been forbidden.

Comment: Re:BALEFIRE! (Score 1) 148

That wasn't balefire. Leaving aside the fact that we've never seen balefire in any form except originating *from* the channeler (or ter'angreal), balefire would have burned the Dragon out of the pattern, never to be reborn.

I could believe he *wanted* to use balefire - depending on how long it had been since the madness took him, it might even have worked to bring back his family - but despite the superficial resemblance (bar of searingly right light burns a hole into the earth where it hits) it just doesn't make sense for it to have been that particular weave.

Comment: Re:So, losing money on every sale (Score 1) 257

by cbhacking (#49063777) Attached to: Tesla Factory Racing To Retool For New Models

I see this moronic attempt at a "joke" every time this topic comes up, but you win today's lottery in terms of getting responses, so...

Tesla makes (significant) profit on every sale. The problem is that they don't make a lot of sales. In order to make a lot of sales, they need to dramatically invest in production. Some of that goes into upgrades and retooling (making it possible to sell cheaper cars, which will get more sales), some of that goes into sheer manufacturing capacity (more factories, including their "gigafactory" for batteries).

That doesn't even count their ongoing investments in research, of course, but without those the company would never have gotten anywhere at all, and for a startup to successfully compete with the big dogs long-term, they have to leverage their first-mover research advantage ruthlessly. That might suck if you're the kind of investor that expects every week to see a higher close price than the last, but if you're *that* stupid, you've got worse problems...

Funny thing about investments in R&D: in the short term, they cost money. Of course, in the long term, they make it possible to earn a *lot* more money than they cost, but they do typically result in a few unprofitable quarters. Tesla could have just gone on selling their current lineup (or hell, their lineup from two years ago; no need to develop the dual-drive models) and been profitable - remember, they earn money on each sale - but they'd never have managed much volume. Eventually their backlog would have grown from "a few months to a year" until it reached "there's no point ordering one, it'll be obsolete by the time it arrives". Relatively shortly thereafter, that lineup of Teslas would have been obsolete on the day each one arrived, and nobody would buy them anymore.

It's not like Tesla can't afford a bad quarter. $100M is a hell of a lot cheaper than "our company is now worthless because we failed to stay relevant in this rapidly growing and advancing industry, squandering our position at the top of it". They can absorb a hit like that, even a number of hits like that.

I'll pass on that business plan.

Well, I guess that explains why you aren't a self-made multi-billionaire, doesn't it?

Comment: Re:Instantaneous launch window (Score 1) 75

For the space station, I'm not 100% certain why they can't delay the launch until when the station is at the same position relative to the launch site originally (approximately every 90 minutes) but it could involve things like risk of space debris in the flight path or needing the airspace clear for the initial ascent and only having it cleared for a brief time on launch day. Or it could be something else. As for why each launch window is so narrow, though, that has to do with the way a rocket launches; the orbit it has to spiral out to (yes, spiral; most of the delta-v a rocket generates on takeoff is lateral, not vertical, to get it to orbital velocity) has to coincide with the ISS being at the end of the spiral when the spaceship is at exactly the right velocity. If you miss your launch window by a few seconds, the ISS will be miles away from the end of that spiral, and you'll need to go faster to catch it, which will put you in a different orbit, so you'll need to slow down, which is hard to do in space... I don't know the exact details of how much the narrowness of the window is actually required and how much is just to give the maximum margin for error on the rocket engines and fuel supply - there's always going to be some margin, because things do go wrong and NASA rightly demands extremely high probabilities of success for ISS missions - but it's not a trivial thing to miss the launch window by 10 seconds.

For this flight, I can only guess that the situation is similar but for a slightly different reason: they need to launch at a specific time of day, so that the bonus velocity from Earth's rotation flings the rocket in the correct direction. The Earth-Sun L1 is really bloody far away - about 4x Lunar orbit, further than any SpaceX craft has ever gone before, in fact - so I'm sure they're taking advantage of every bit of thrust they can get. That means launching at exactly the optimal time, and it will only come once per day for any given location (and they can't exactly pick up the rocket and move it a quarter of the way around the world to try again six hours later). They still have some margin for error - they wouldn't be using the F9R otherwise; the telescoping legs, grid fins, and reserve fuel needed to attempt a landing reduce capacity slightly - but it can't be a whole lot. It'll take something like 100 days for the satellite to reach its intended orbital point.

Comment: Re:Goresat? Really? (Score 1) 75

If you actually read the WP blurb, you'd know that the satellite's mission was suggested by Gore himself. I can't promise he was the first one to come up with the idea, or that he developed it independently, but he was the one who made the proposal to NASA.

Interestingly, the satellite was built over a decade ago; it was originally supposed to launch in 2003. They basically had to un-mothball and recondition it for this mission.

Comment: Re:Live stream link (Score 1) 75

Sort of a nitpick, but the altitude that any given stage lofts the satellite to is really not the important point. The velocity is much more critical. To stay in Earth's orbit, you need to be going really fast. To *leave* Earth's orbit and enter the Sun's orbit, as this satellite is aiming to do, you need to be going even faster. I'm not actually sure what the flight path for something aiming toward the L1 point looks like, but it's definitely not your typical low Earth orbit or even geostationary orbit trajectory. L1 is four times as far from Earth as the moon is!

Also, this is a great use for the L1 Earth-sun Lagrange point. Normally, for something to orbit the sun with the same orbital period as the Earth, it would need to be in the same orbit as the Earth. L1 is the spot in the Sun's orbit where the Earth's gravity also pulls with such a force that the satellite stays directly between the two bodies. This means it's always on the direct line between the Sun and the Earth, which is ideal for all three of its missions: report coronal mas ejections (eruptions of solar material that can briefly but severely disrupt electronics on or around Earth) that are coming towards us, measure the light and infrared radiation emitted by the sunlit side of the Earth, and take photos of the sunlit side of the Earth.

Comment: Re:Haters gonna Hate... (Score 0) 177

by cbhacking (#49009611) Attached to: The First Ubuntu Phone Is Here, With Underwhelming Hardware

According to TFA, it's not really "Ubuntu" in the sense that you might install on a phone with an unlocked bootloader. It's a heavily customized Android image. I don't doubt there's some Canonical-developed code that it has in common with the desktop Ubuntu bot not with either AOSP or, say, RHEL... but it's probably not the Ubuntu you tried on your Nexus 4.

Comment: Re: good CHEAP phone (Score 1) 177

by cbhacking (#49009603) Attached to: The First Ubuntu Phone Is Here, With Underwhelming Hardware

Yeah, I'm guessing GP has no idea what they're talking about. I've seen CE-based "laptops", but they pre-date the (original?) EEE netbook, and they didn't generally have x86 CPUs. Not that a netbook strictly needs to be x86 (and some Chromebooks aren't), but most of them were. The Windows ones definitely run NT (XP, WIn7, or more recently Win8.x), though.

Comment: Re:Look at the specs (Score 1) 177

by cbhacking (#49009587) Attached to: The First Ubuntu Phone Is Here, With Underwhelming Hardware

I'm not sure what this Ubuntu phone will cost, but it's specs look soundly mid-range to me. I mean, they aren't high-end, much less flagship, but they aren't low-end dross either. Nobody is going to be impressed by them, but an awful lot of people still have phones with worse specs, either because they bought a mid-range phone in the last year or because they bought a low-end phone yesterday.

The phone that the AC grandparent posted is low-end dross (actually, it's possible to get a significantly better phone for that "less than $60" if you're willing to look around a bit; the roughly-two-year-old Lumia 520 had better specs and was available for $50 or less for a while). Compared to it, the Ubuntu phone has a better display, twice the storage and twice the RAM, a much better camera... and now I'm out of things to compare, because TFA doesn't actually give much in the way of specs.

Comment: Re:Hardware? (Score 2) 177

by cbhacking (#49009559) Attached to: The First Ubuntu Phone Is Here, With Underwhelming Hardware

The article neglects to mention both FirefoxOS and Jolla Sailfish. While neither is available on hardware with impressive specs - the first Jolla phone is nigh-identical to this one spec-wise, but at over a year old it has more excuse - I believe Sailfish may offer you the access you desire? It's descended from Maemo, which was pretty literally "Debian Linux compiled for ARM, with a touch-focused window manager and management tools". I haven't personally used Jolla enough to know anything about how much control it gives you, but on Maemo rooting your phone was a built-in (though hidden from casual discovery) feature.

Alternatively, easily-rooted Android devices do exist. In fact, given that this device apparently runs a heavily customized version of Android (yes, I RTFA), it may even come pre-rooted; there's nothing preventing developers from doing that.

"Who alone has reason to *lie himself out* of actuality? He who *suffers* from it." -- Friedrich Nietzsche