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Comment: Re:But scarcity! (Score 1) 388

by dgatwood (#47492375) Attached to: Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

Well, that's not entirely true. The voice quality of analog phones has steadily improved, so the amount of data did go up a little bit in that hundred years. :-D

But seriously, we hit a wall with copper, and it only took a hundred years to get there. A single pair (or even a bonded double pair) of copper just can't cut it. But a single fiber provides more than enough growth potential. The current record is 100 terabit over a single fiber, or 100,000 times what most fiber providers currently provide. I figure that's good for another hundred years. Even governments can move at that speed. :-) And unlike copper, you don't have distance limitations from electrical resistance and capacitance. Yes, there's dispersion, but that hundred terabit speed was at a distance of 100 miles (without boosters, AFAIK), so we're talking about orders of magnitude less problems than you get with copper, where a mere ten gigabit over four pairs of copper will barely go the length of your house.

Comment: Re:But scarcity! (Score 3, Insightful) 388

by dgatwood (#47483643) Attached to: Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

That long cycle worked fine for the telephone lines that serve your house. They served us well for a long time. The biggest flaw was that instead of managing the infrastructure themselves, they gave it to private companies to manage. Then, when they started abusing the monopoly, the government had to turn around and start requiring them to allow CLECs to use the lines. The phone companies, predictably, hated this, and did the absolute least that they could do to comply with the regulations, often refusing to fix problems with lines while blaming it on the CLEC (and vice versa).

All those problems would have been avoided if the government had simply maintained exclusive control over the lines and leased them out to third parties. That's how next-generation fiber networks in cities should be set up. The entire premise of letting a few companies maintain exclusive control over critical infrastructure is fundamentally flawed and can only lead to more of the same bulls**t we've had for the last two decades.

The only scheme that works is the public utility scheme, where the government owns the wires and private companies provide the service. We know this model works because it has worked with our interstate highway system and private shipping companies for decades. Is it perfect? No. The government historically hasn't charged those shippers enough money in gas taxes to cover infrastructure maintenance costs, resulting in some roads falling into disrepair. But that's mainly a problem caused by lack of a single management body that manages all of the roads in a region. Dozens of city governments working together isn't a great way to get things done except on an "It burns! It burns!" emergency basis. The solution to that problem, of course, is for all the cities in a metropolitan area to get together to form a non-profit corporation, and make that corporation responsible for the management and leasing of lines a la TVA.

Comment: Re:Well, they certainly DID in the past (Score 1) 750

by dgatwood (#47479109) Attached to: Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine

And they added commercial radio equipment to warships to ensure that it would never happen again. One would hope that the Russians did similar things to their anti-aircraft batteries after hearing of that incident. If they didn't, one might reasonably ask what in hell is wrong with Russia. And if they did, one might reasonably ask what in hell is wrong with the people who fired that missile today without taking the time to use the equipment.

Comment: Re:Ah. (Score 1) 750

by dgatwood (#47479059) Attached to: Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine

No, it isn't particularly interesting how it ended up in the middle of a war zone. Not at all. The area in question is not closed to civil aviation, or at least it wasn't prior to this incident. The aircraft was flying about a hundred miles off its usual flight path, which is a completely reasonable deviation when avoiding inclement weather as they were. Presumably, the deviation was approved by the Ukrainian civil aviation authorities.

Comment: Re: Black hole? (Score 1) 275

by dgatwood (#47475253) Attached to: Sony Forgets To Pay For Domain, Hilarity Ensues

If I were their registrar, I'd probably resell the name to someone who would hold it hostage, just to make a point. This is the easiest thing in the world to avoid, just by having some basic policies in place.

Require that all ongoing accounts be set up to send email to role accounts that forward to multiple people (an email list). Have a policy where any employee termination/retirement triggers an automatic check of all role accounts, and if it results in a role account with no recipients (or, ideally, below some higher threshold), the current IT head has to start contacting managers until they can sort out who should be responsible.

Had Sony done this, it wouldn't be a problem.

Comment: Re:user error (Score 1) 706

by dgatwood (#47459691) Attached to: People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

The Gas car, our behavior is to fuel it up once a week.
The Electric car, should be charged nightly. So people will need to change their behaviors to charge the car every night.

Changing behaviors doesn't quite cover it. If a car has to be charged nightly, that means it doesn't have enough range to do many of the things people do with gasoline-powered cars, which makes it of significantly lower utility. I was ready to pull the trigger on a RAV4 EV the second it hit the market... until they announced the range on the thing. At that point, I realized that it will just barely handle my daily commute when brand new, which means that in a couple of years, when the battery is down to... say 97% of its factory capacity, I would have to spend over ten grand to replace the battery pack. There's no way to change behavior that would somehow work around such a huge loss of functionality. I would gladly pay more money for a car that has sufficient capacity. However, I will not buy a car for any price unless it does. For me, that means a 200-mile range at a bare minimum, and preferably a 300-mile range.

Call me when the electric cars have to be charged once every three or four days. That's the point where they'll finally be practical for real-world use. Until then, they're just too impractical, as much as I wish that weren't so. And no, I won't even consider Toyota's proposed insane hydrogen fuel "solution", which just shifts the carbon problem to wherever they extract the hydrogen from natural gas, not to mention being impossible to refuel using solar power (which is the main point of moving to an EV from my perspective). Calling a hydrogen-powered car "clean" is quite possibly the biggest lie since "clean coal".

Comment: Re:You keep using that word... (Score 1) 706

by dgatwood (#47459497) Attached to: People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

I think so, but normally they don't draw less power, but just produce more light.

But they draw a fixed amount of power (the wattage) that is determined by the resistance of the bulb. Therefore, if they produce more light for a given wattage, you can buy one that draws less wattage and get the same amount of light.

For example, a typical incandescent bulb gets about 15 +/- 2.5 lumens per watt. A typical halogen gets about 20 +/- 4 lumens per watt. So if you're using a 100 watt incandescent bulb, you need about 1500 lumens (15 * 100). If you replace that with a halogen bulb that draws only 75 watts (1500 / 20), you'll get about the same amount of light. Alternatively, you can use a 100 watt halogen if you want more light, and let's face it, who doesn't? :-)

Comment: Re:PWM? (Score 1) 202

by dgatwood (#47459267) Attached to: New Raspberry Pi Model B+

And if you don't mind a little latency, you can always get two more PWM outputs by writing software that drives the headphone output appropriately, then adding a suitable gain stage as needed. Because it is buffered by the audio hardware, unless your Pi is badly overloaded, I'd expect it to make a pretty clean PWM output, but the latency is likely to be significant, depending on the buffer size you choose.

Comment: Re:haven't we learned from the last 25 exploits? (Score 1) 68

by dgatwood (#47420303) Attached to: 'Rosetta Flash' Attack Leverages JSONP Callbacks To Steal Credentials

How does one embed "JavaScript URLs" in CSS?

Very easily, and because so few people know it is possible, it's a rather nasty vector for cross-site scripting attacks.

Also you seem to have no idea about where the web is headed or have heard about responsive design and SPA.

I'm well aware of responsive design. I think it's an abomination, because all it does is make it take two page loads to view your site instead of one, by ensuring that I have to first load your broken mobile site, then click the "full version" link. Every single freaking time I end up on a "responsive" mobile version of a website, I find myself locked out of features that I regularly use, and end up having to switch to the full desktop version of the site.

If you need much more than a couple lines of JavaScript and a custom stylesheet to support mobile devices, it invariably means that your site is badly designed (too complex) to begin with, and as soon as you release the mobile version of your site, you're almost certainly going to make me hate your guts and curse your name.

And SPA is even worse. If your site loads significantly faster as a web app, there's something wrong with your site. 99% of the time, most of the resources should be shared across pages, and only the text of the page should be changing. There's usually not an appreciable difference between the "load the full page" case and the "load the body of the page" case from a performance perspective unless something is very, very wrong. There are exceptions, such as storefronts that use precisely the same page layout for every page, but these are exceptions, not the rule, and even then, the extra savings in initial page load time just result in a customer sitting there wondering why there's no data on the page, and thinking your site is broken. The real problem is that every web engineer thinks their site is the exception to this rule, but most of those engineers are wrong.

More to the point, if I'm accessing your site often enough to care about performance, I'm going to download your native app instead of using your mobile site, because it will always be much, much more functional, with fewer limitations, more features, and better performance. If I'm going to your website, it's either because I don't care about performance or, more commonly, it is because your native app is missing features that are only on the full version of your site. Giving me a mobile version won't help with the second case, and the first case is largely unimportant for everybody but the site designers who are trying desperately to shave off a few bytes from their data bill.

BTW, it's possible to do a manifested web app (giving you all the advantages of heavy-duty caching of shared content) without using JavaScript for all your navigation. You just specify the base path of the content directory as an external URL (I forget the details) in the web app manifest. This approach is much, much more user-friendly than a SPA in my experience.

Comment: Re:Property Tax? (Score 1) 76

But the cost of providing those services isn't the same. First, the probability of a forest fire is roughly proportional to the area of land, because lightning doesn't care.

You are missing a key point. the land does not disappear if one person owns 50 acres or if 50 people own 1 acre each right next to each other. It is still there and still costs the same. Like you said, lightning doesn't care.

No, you are missing a key point. If it costs a million dollars to protect a city block that contains 50 homes, the cost per home is $20,000 per home. If it costs a million dollars to protect a city block that contains only one home, the cost per home is a million bucks. It is only fair that a homeowner in the second block should pay more, because the cost of defending his or her home is 50 times as much as the cost of defending a home in the first block. The more people that bear the burden, the less the burden for each person. This is just common sense.

Also, from a fire management perspective, the land does disappear if nobody builds on it. So that first house in a rural area imposes a much bigger burden on the system than subsequent homes. Unless there are homes that could eventually be at risk, modern fire management policies typically recommend letting forest fires burn themselves out. The reason fires get out of control is that we've spent decades over-managing forest fires, and we really need to stop doing that, or else they're just going to be worse the next time around.

Not really. Expensive homes are more likely to have high dollar security systems, cameras, and serial numbers recorded. Middle class homes would be a more probable target. Slums of course are still there as opportunity remains and according to the data, people with income of 7.500 or less are victims of theft and violent crimes like assault more than people with incomes over 75k.

Serial numbers don't make much difference if the person pawns it before you detect the theft. And security cameras don't help if the burglar knows they exist, because they'll just wear a mask to hide their faces, and park their car a block away or cover their plate.

Even things like utilities cost more for larger pieces of land, because the utility companies have to run their cables past your property to get to the next potential customer, and the longer your property is, the more it costs to do so. They only get one customer per property, so larger properties effectively raise the installation cost for everyone on your block.

They must do it different where you live. In my neck of the woods, the utility company will come a maximum of 25 feet into the property for their demarcation point. Anything after that and it is up to the property owner to run.

I'm talking about the length of the property, not the depth. And even for the depth, that's only true if there isn't a street behind you. Otherwise, at some point, they're going to have to make at least one run the entire depth of the piece of land to connect over to the next street. The cost to wire an area is proportional to the area. There's just no way to get around that. :-)

Only if you start with incorrect assumptions in the first place. But please tell me, how likely is it that someone would have a million dollar home on 50 acres of land with a falling down shack that someone thinks is stuffed full of goodies? The falling down shack is more likely on less expensive property or maintained. You see, rich people don't like looking at the trash we regular people have to put up with. The shack would likely either be repaired, removed, or replaced before it appears falling down.

Come again? As I said, house fires are inversely proportional to the cost of the home, which is precisely what you said while arguing with me....

Comment: Re:haven't we learned from the last 25 exploits? (Score 1) 68

by dgatwood (#47415511) Attached to: 'Rosetta Flash' Attack Leverages JSONP Callbacks To Steal Credentials

Nobody minds CSS much, so long as you don't allow embedding JavaScript URLs in it (which, unfortunately, browsers do).

The problem is not JavaScript, per se, so much as the fact that it is massively overused, breaking links, breaking back buttons, etc. Your documentation viewing experience does not demand a web app. It might benefit from some intelligent links that do special stuff if JS is enabled, but if you cannot make your site work with JS disabled, you're abusing JavaScript.

There are exceptions, mind you—sites where the core functionality is unavoidably tied to JavaScript (e.g. Google Docs). And I can even accept JavaScript for other content on that site that isn't tied to JavaScript, because after all, you can't avoid JS on such a site. The farther you get away from that scenario, the more annoying it is. And even on those sites, I expect the developers to have taken the time to ensure a good user experience—effort that, sadly, most web developers don't put in.

And yes, I've developed some pretty complex sites that use lots of JS code, but I've always made sure that at least the basic stuff doesn't require it, to the maximum extent practical.

Optimization hinders evolution.