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Comment: Re:It won't matter anyway (Score 1) 78

by don.g (#47249987) Attached to: EU, South Korea Collaborate On Superfast 5G Standards

Wow. I'm in a small city (43,000 inhabitants) in New Zealand, and have fibre at home. NZD99/mo, 30Mbps down, 10Mbps up, really unlimited, no "fair use clause." I could pay another NZD30/mo if I wanted 100Mbps down, 50Mbps up, and those prices are likely to come down pretty soon. The government is funding a rollout of the fibre network to most of the country's urban population.

If I wasn't in a fibre area there's a 50% chance (providing I was urban) I could get VDSL. And if not, I'd still be able to get 10Mbps ADSL2 unless I was somewhere semi-rural, at which point the speeds degrade to what you're getting in Seattle.

I've been to the USA. Your cellular networks have terrible reception -- I remember having no reception in a restaurant in downtown San Francisco -- and are far too expensive. Just as your ISPs are capping your previously unlimited fixed-line connections, ours are uncapping theirs.

Comment: Re:Double, triple, quadruple charging (Score 2) 74

The carrier "2 degrees mobile" in New Zealand does this. They call it "shared data".

It's only available on a pay-per-month plan (which you can get without a term contract). So I can have a phone on a plan, and share with other SIMs/devices that are on prepay, which is $0/month if you don't make calls, or send SMSes.

Comment: He patented the microprocessor, too (Score 4, Informative) 258

by don.g (#46384081) Attached to: Inventor Has Waited 43 Years For Patent Approval

As Wikipedia ( says:

    Gilbert Hyatt was awarded a patent claiming an invention pre-dating both TI and Intel, describing a "microcontroller".[9] The patent was later invalidated, but not before substantial royalties were paid out.[10][11]

And from

    "This patent was later invalidated in a patent interference case brought forth by Texas Instruments, on account that the device it described was never implemented and was not implementable with the technology available at the time of the invention. "

I know that 1990 (when that microprocessor patent was granted) is pre-Slashdot, but srsly, what's happening when patent trolls' whinging is front page news here?

Comment: Re:The key here is "Conference Proceedings" (Score 2) 62

by don.g (#46331343) Attached to: Publishers Withdraw More Than 120 Fake Papers

I have no mod points, so take this as a "me too". CS conferences have prestige and a high impact value -- and the papers in the proceedings are full papers, not just abstracts.

In some other fields (a friend of mine tells me this is what biology is like), conference talks may be submitted with just an abstract, and the proceedings may not contain much more than Powerpoint slides. I've never seen a CS conference where that would be considered remotely acceptable practice.

Comment: Re:riiiight (Score 1) 361

by don.g (#46280645) Attached to: Killing Net Neutrality Could Be Good For You

ISDN has two 64kbps B channels, for audio/data, and one 16kbps D channel, for signalling. You can run a data call using either one or two B channels.

Claiming the service is either 144kbps or 78kbps is pure marketing, as the D channel will not be used for the data portion of the call -- you won't be able to push more than 64kbps or 128kbps of PPP through.

Comment: Re:Let them merge then split (Score 3, Informative) 187

by don.g (#46271939) Attached to: Krugman: Say No To Comcast Acquisition of Time Warner

The trick is to have the lines providers wholesale to the retail ISPs/etc, who then provide CPE. If the service doesn't work, the end user's contract is with their retail service provider, who has to sort it out, no matter where the problem is. That's how it works here in New Zealand on our fancy new fibre network that's slowly replacing the old copper phone network. It's mostly how it worked on the old copper network, too.

My ISP (Orcon) provide CPE (a router with voice ports) that plugs into the fibre company's ONT. If the internet or phone doesn't work, it's Orcon's problem. I don't have a contractual relationship with the fibre company so if it's the fibre that's down, it's still Orcon's problem as far as I'm concerned.

Comment: Re:Religion is much worse (Score 1) 345

by don.g (#42022647) Attached to: David Cameron 'Orders New Curbs On Internet Porn'

Ok so what I was trying to say was two things -- religion can cause people to do good things, and that disagreeing with other parts of a group you are in (by choice or not) is a normal part of human existence.

I'm not claiming that being religious is a prerequisite for recognising other people as human beings. But if you're claiming "99% of religious people are insane" it would suggest that maybe you are not thinking of those people as human beings, merely wrong-thinking automatons.

Comment: Re:Religion is much worse (Score 1) 345

by don.g (#42016499) Attached to: David Cameron 'Orders New Curbs On Internet Porn'

That's your opinion, that 99% of religious people are crazy. You're welcome to believe that. Demonise them all you want. Sure, we can be a mixed bag. But religious people I know feed the hungry, house the homeless, and give a caring ear to people locked away in prison who need someone stable and normal to talk to. And part of that is because of their religion. Not because they feel obligated to do these things to earn God Points, to be redeemed for quality of housing in the afterlife. But because they believe that it's the right thing to do -- that they are merely passing on the love they recieve from their creator to those around them who really need it. They may be crazy but the craziness doesn't sound like its results are something I'd want to discourage.

You appear to be widening "no true scotsman" from "no true christian" to "no true religious person"... which is casting the net so wide it's getting close to suggesting that you are a member of the right thinking set, and everyone else is a member of the wrong thinking set. And those other people (why does it always have to be other people) are wrong and evil and can be tarred with one big bad brush. They *all* hate teh gays, they all want to blow us up, they all vote for the wrong person, they all ...

This is quite similar thinking to that used to demonise teh gays, people with the wrong colour skin, foreigners and immigrants, poor people, rich people, people who vote for the other guy (at least seemingly in the US). They're all still people, and keeping up the lie that they're different and bad really only works if you carefully avoid getting to know them (or make special dispensation for the ones you do). If everyone who disagrees with you has to be fought, you're going to end up with a very boring circle of friends, and the world will be that much poorer.

Comment: Re:Religion is much worse (Score 1) 345

by don.g (#42014175) Attached to: David Cameron 'Orders New Curbs On Internet Porn'

No True Scotsman is a crappy fallacy people knowing nothing of church history (hint: there's a *lot* of dissent in it) love to throw at Christians complaining that "too many of us have lost the plot" and please don't judge us all by that lot.

It's pretty common to be part of a group and not want to be thought of as being like members of that group whose actions/beliefs/etc you disapprove of. Think of it like being a US citizen who doesn't approve of your government's actions, or indeed those of your fellow countrymen, and is at pains to tell people from outside your country that "we're not all like that".

So accept that any group will have dissent, and when it is mentioned shouting "NO TRUE SCOTSMAN LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU" may be a little childish.

Comment: Re:Headers (Score 1) 562

by don.g (#41982957) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: AT&T's Data Usage Definition Proprietary?

Bandwidth and transfer are not the same thing.

As an ISP you need to provision your links to cope with peak time load. Limiting data transfer reduces customer's link utilisation, so they are less likely to use all their link's bandwidth at the same time.

Peak bandwidth costs because you have to buy transit to that level (minus peering, but unless you're big, peering won't get you that much). Your routers have to be big enough to cope with that traffic level. The links inside your network, getting traffic between your customers' premises and your transit providers/peering points need to cope with that level of traffic. And if those customer connections go through someone else's infrastructure (e.g. a telco's DSLAMs and associated backhaul) you'll be paying for that too, and not at rates you can control by buying better gear to go at the ends of a fibre link.

In New Zealand we've always had data caps, mostly because bits of glass under the ocean cost a fair bit. We used to have them on dial-up connections. Several times ISPs have tried to offer uncapped broadband connections, and they've until the last year or so always ended in disaster.

How have they solved the problem? Mostly clever traffic management -- forcing you to use less of the 15 megabits of DSL last mile link, by slowing down non-interactive traffic during peak load. Ever decreasing bandwidth costs, and a different cost structure for access via the incumbent telco's DSL network, will also have played a part.

Any uncapped connection is going to be sold as rated at a low speed, traffic managed to be slow at peak load, or really expensive. You can buy dedicated, or at least low-contention bandwidth... that's what ISPs and large businesses do. Just don't ask for 15 megabits of low contention internet for the price you pay for a consumer DSL connection: people will laugh at you. 3 years ago I was getting quoted prices of around $1000NZD/mo ($850USD, ish) for a 4Mbps office internet connection. It'll be less now, and obviously as your connection size goes up, the price per megabit goes down. So if you want a connection that can run at its maximum rate, all the time, you can buy one. You just probably can't afford one.

The economics will be different in the US -- wholesale bandwidth will be cheaper. But last miles cost money, routers cost money, backhaul costs money.

And 3G/cellular networks are an even better illustration of this -- there, the last mile is an RF interface shared with a bunch of subscribers. Selling you a 5GB capped connection means you won't torrent incessantly -- at 21Mbps you may be using all (or maybe, just half) of the available bandwidth in your location. Which will make the network slow for everyone else, who will complain that they're paying for 21Mbps and getting 1Mbps or less.

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes. -- Dr. Warren Jackson, Director, UTCS