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Comment: Re:8X cost increase up front (Score 2) 516

by gclef (#48466695) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

I've often wondered about the possibility of not re-burying the trench: make the trench shallower, cover it with a walkable grate, and just leave it that way. Sure, the grate will get covered by leaves, and the trench will fill with water (have to have a way to drain that), but those seem like minor problems. The cable would be shielded from the vast majority of problems (falling branches, cars hitting poles, squirrels). And since it's just a grate covering, it's just as easy to find problems & service as if they were on a pole. I'm sure I'm missing some reason why this isn't feasible, though...

Comment: Re:Quite the opposite. Acer, Samsung, HP - all unl (Score 1) 183

This is true with one big caveat: the kernel still comes from the cromeOS partition, not the linux partition. I learned this the hard way with my chromebook....I could never get it to a 2.6 Kernel (never mind 3.x) because the system had actually booted the kernel from the chromeOS partition, but the rest of linux from my ubuntu partition.

Comment: Re:I call BS on this one.... (Score 1) 575

by gclef (#48041025) Attached to: Obama Administration Argues For Backdoors In Personal Electronics

I'm beginning to think that the lack of difference between the party policies isn't that they're the same party...I think the institutional attitudes of various agencies doesn't change with government rotation because most of the employees of the agencies don't change. That can be as good (if the party you disagree with is in power, it's hard for them to gut an agency they don't like), and it can be bad (an out of control agency can almost do whatever the hell they like, since they know they can outwait any mangement they disagree with).

I'm not sure how to solve this one, though...if you clean out the entire upper echelon of an agency at administration rollover, then you risk seriously politicising even the most bland agencies. On the other hand, some of these agencies clearly need an attitude adjustment, and I really do think the attitude problem is endemic to the entire culture of the agency, not just their leadership.

Maybe a max term for any federal employee that they can't work for any one agency for more than 10 years?

Comment: Re:Yeah, too bad there's no real reason to do so.. (Score 1) 292

by gclef (#46543639) Attached to: Back To the Moon — In Four Years

Agree. The moon's dust problem alone makes it problematic. I'd argue for L4 or L5 before the moon. There's still some dust at L4 & L5, but the sheer amount of it is much lower, and the gravity well to get there (and leave again) is much lower. It's not as inpsiring to say "we're on L4!", but it's also a first-person-gets-it kinda can have multiple moon bases, but really only one at L4 or L5.

Comment: Re:It's not legal issues, it's production issues (Score 1) 77

by gclef (#46492547) Attached to: Why Are There More Old Songs On iTunes Than Old eBooks?

The difference, which the summary alludes to, but doesn't call out, is that it's very typical for book contracts to contain a clause that reverts all copyrights back to the author after the book falls out of print for some period of time. Music contracts very rarely have that. Music contracts may or may not have covered the right to distribute the works digitally, but the music publishers still have *some* rights to old works, where the book publishers will have none.

Comment: Re:If Comcast were Exxon (Score 1) 520

by gclef (#46321945) Attached to: Netflix Blinks, Will Pay Comcast For Network Access

It's not quite that simple. The GP post is correct that Cogent has a horrible reputation in the industry. Here's a synopsis of the most common Cogent dispute:

1) User in New York on ISP A requests data from Server in San Francisco on Cogent.
2) ISP A and Cogent interconnect in San Francisco and New York.
3) ISP A wants Cogent to carry the traffic to New York and drop it onto the ISP's network as close a possible to the customer (cold-potato routing), Cogent wants it off their network as soon as possible so they drop it onto the ISP A San Francisco interconnect (hot potato routing).

The question boils down to: which one of them is going to have to build a bigger national backbone to handle the extra traffic from the user in New York? Neither one wants to, and wants to force the other one to do it.

As to why ISPs are not blacklisting Cogent: they are. That's what all these bandwidth problems with Netflix are about: ISPs are playing chicken with Cogent, trying to force Cogent's customers to bully them into upgrading their network. ISPs aren't limiting Netflix: they're refusing to upgrade interconnects with Cogent until Cogent starts using cold-potato routing.

In this case, one of Cogent's customers blinked before Cogent did, and side-stepped the problem.

Comment: Re:Please ruin it like you did Star Trek (Score 0) 376

by gclef (#44985065) Attached to: An Animated, Open Letter To J.J. Abrams About <em>Star Wars</em>

Star Trek was "serious scifi"? Since when?

The original series had hot babes in filmy, barely-there outfits and paper-thin allegories about the cold war, but very little science. The next generation had morality plays, and tried (and failed) to do science by changing of the polarization of the deflector dish (or whatever "insert sciency bit here" they did that week). The others I didn't bother to watch (though I hear there's an episode where a character is "evolved" into a lizard and then back again.....really?).

Star Trek has always been terrible at the "serious" sci-fi. It's just terrible at serious scifi in a very different way than Star Wars is.

Comment: Re:The author is either a shill or a pawn of Googl (Score 5, Insightful) 332

by gclef (#44836561) Attached to: Verizon's Plan To Turn the Web Into Pay-Per-View

If you run an ISP and still don't understand that you're not the interesting part of the internet, then you have never understood your place on the 'net. ISPs exist for one reason, and one reason only: to allow people to access content. Period. The "Economic Balance" isn't "tipping towards content companies"...the content companies *are* *the* *things* *your* *customers* *want*. The only thing they want from you is to get to those companies (or each other). You are a conduit, a tube, even. Nothing more.

The regulations prohibit ISPs from charging more when content providers waste bandwidth

If your users want the traffic, then the content providers aren't "wasting" it...your customers (who are already paying you for those bits, I should point out) are using what they've paid for. Saying that content providers are wasting bandwidth is basically complaining that your users are actually *using* what you sold them...which is really not a winning argument.

Comment: Re:Privacy in 2 years (Score 1) 158

by gclef (#44540565) Attached to: After Lavabit Shut-Down, Dotcom's Mega Promises Secure Mail

Spam was and still is an enormous economic incentive to replace SMTP....and yet, after a decade of avalanches of spam, we haven't replaced SMTP with something that addresses any of the aspects of SMTP that permit spam to happen. This situation isn't even on the same order of magnitude of economic burden as spam is every single day. So, yes, the current situation *economically* is exactly like it was the last decade: we're paying for the design decisions of SMTP, and will continue to do so until something shinier comes along that people move to. That migration will happen slowly, over years, and SMTP will slowly wither away as the migration happens.

Comment: Re:Privacy in 2 years (Score 2) 158

by gclef (#44535927) Attached to: After Lavabit Shut-Down, Dotcom's Mega Promises Secure Mail

I'm even hearing rumors about replacing SMTP altogether with a more secure protocol.

There have been "rumors" and "proposals" to replace SMTP for almost a decade. It'll never happen. SMTP will die slowly, the same way NNTP is slowly dying. And that will only happen when there's a way to communicate that surpasses it. Web discussion boards basically killed NNTP. I don't think there's anything out there yet to kill SMTP.

Also, encrypting your mail misses the point. Groups like the NSA can still do traffic analysis on the SMTP envelope to know who you're talking with even without reading the contents of the email. The fact that you're in regular communication with a "target" is enough to make you interesting. If the "target" is subject to an full-on investigation (not the browsing that they appear to be doing), then being in regular contact with that target, would be sufficient grounds to apply for (and probably get) a court order to put a keylogger put on your machine.

Expect a lot of wailing and gnashing-of-teeth from the government, proposals to make this or that protocol "illegal" or to require government backdoor access, but in the end it will come down to simple economics.

There won't be much public wailing...they've got the laws they need. Just like what happened with Lavabit, they don't need to ban anything anymore, they'll just show up at any provider & say "give us all of the data you have on person . If you don't have any, start collecting it. Now."

Also, moving data out of the US (to Germany, for example), just means that the NSA has to ask the local spy agency (like the BND in germany) for the information. The Western governmental spy agencies seem to have no problem providing it. In fact, the NSA spying on data overseas would be *less* unconstitutional than what they're doing now....they'd love that.

Face it, the only way forward is something like freenet. The problem is, freenet withered on the vine.

A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems. -- P. Erdos