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Comment: Re:Smart people. (Score 2, Insightful) 98

by gnu-user (#31187018) Attached to: Google Makes $500M a Year On Typos

Google acts as a positive force on typo squatting. I had a few limited dealings with a domain squatter who transitioned into typo ad link selling. His desire for google money (it pays a lot more consistently and a better return then any of the other buyers) led him to put a lot of work into the "site" cleaning it up and making it almost normal. Google pushed this and he responded.

Prior to google, his primary revenue stream was the more aggressive/shadier hawkers of payed links. Among other things he offered a "search toolbar" install. Most of that went away with better google money.

While he probably would have had trouble with the "adult" ads, I remember a lot more of the typo squatters relying on those dollars. I'd much rather have discrete adwords popping up...

Keep in mind he was originally sold a bill of goods as a domain squatter. The ISP he uses certainly profits from his business, as well as the registrars he uses. There are a lot of people with their hands in this, not just Google.

Comment: Re:The thing about P2P and bandwidth distribution (Score 1) 497

by gnu-user (#30331480) Attached to: Hunting the Mythical "Bandwidth Hog"

I forget how long I've been in this game...

Not sure what you are referring to, in the 90's there was dialup
and the average price was more like $15/month.

My time frame from memory is about 1994. I came to Minneapolis in 93, and spent roughly a year looking for an ISP. MRNet was the only real
provider, and as a consortium, they priced service assuming you were a
reseller. A friend of mine at 3M actually did use them, and he was
paying $185/mo for dialup, well beyond what I could afford.

Not to surprisingly, this was a reasonable rate from a reseller
perspective. The going rate for a T1 of internet was in the $5K range.

Roughly a year later, some internet enthusiasts put together the
wonderfully named "winternet" and offered access for $25/mo. I was
absolutely thrilled!

They were, of course, selling at a rate that reflected the natural
over subscription of casual internet use, not the potential cost of full
usage. They saw what ISPs were to be before others did.

But it also artificially lowers the speed and increases the rates for anyone who absolutely has to have guaranteed bandwidth for financially justifiable reason and has the means to get it.

Last I checked, wholesale reseller bandwidth was around $100/Mb. That's the rate they charge each other. Here in Minneapolis, the ILEC will sell you a T1 of internet for around $300-$500. If you need guaranteed bandwidth, that's a pretty reasonable markup considering it includes transport cost in addition to internet.

If you are paying $30/mo for "7Mb" (the most aggressive current local consumer pricing) you are pretty much in the position of buying dollar
bills for nickels, nice if you can get it, but clearly there's a "catch".

Comment: Re:The thing about P2P and bandwidth distribution (Score 3, Insightful) 497

by gnu-user (#30328040) Attached to: Hunting the Mythical "Bandwidth Hog"

I remember hunting for an ISP back in the mid 90's. All ISPs priced there service as if bandwidth was going to be 100% utilized. A cheap rate was roughly $200/month...

Overselling bandwidth is a good deal for both the provider and the consumer. Without it the net as we know it would have been stillborn. Yes there are abuses, but the alternative is far worse.

In some more perfect world, an ISP could be counted on to clearly explain all the tradeoffs, but in the world I live in, marketeers speak to rubes, and ISPs differentiate themselves via specious and irrelevant shiny talk of "7MBS bandwidth"

The "harm" you experience when the ISP can not fully deliver in return for the artificially low amount you are spending doesn't really hold much weight. If you need the bandwidth, there are many who will honestly sell it to you. It's just that the real premium for that is 2X to 10X the shared rate.

Comment: how the futures are "better"! (Score 1) 83

by gnu-user (#29528075) Attached to: Delay, Renegotiation Sought For Google Books Settlement

2 examples....

1) I went to visit my grad student mother 5 years ago in New Hampshire. On a whim, I went to the U library and looked at the computers. I looked up a relatively obscure 18th century figure I'm interested on the library catalog. There, on the catalog system were digitized copies of small run monographs that were only really available in a few british libraries. At the time I was floored.

2) In the context of something totally different, I became fascinated by the role of Mark Twain as blurring what "honesty" means. About 15 minutes of googling came up with a Google books reference i would likely have never found otherwise that spoke in a rich and direct way to my thoughts. I ended up buying a used copy of the book. It was an academic book, and I would not have been a likely candidate for purchasing it (I couldn't justify the $60 it would have cost to buy new).

I love books. I grew up with books. Kindle may be getting there, but books are a great form factor. That said, books are still just a medium. The message is what really counts. Putting culture online has many wonderful and far-reaching effects. It also is, and will continue to create a sea-change which will undoubtedly hurt people.

Comment: Re:What did Google do wrong? (Score 2, Interesting) 83

by gnu-user (#29518185) Attached to: Delay, Renegotiation Sought For Google Books Settlement

Can you provide any actual cases even remotely resembling this? I do not believe you can, and thus i believe your argument carries almost no weight.

The settlement specifically applies to works where the intent of the copyright owner is not discoverable. Your example seems to have no application here.

Authors wishes raise some interesting questions. Some that seem worth mentioning.

1) Kafka explicitly did requested his work not be published. Should we honor his wishes? This is not an uncommon situation.

2) At what point do the authors wishes expire? One of the central goals of copyright is to expire that right. Given that the works in question are all quite old, and that the probability that the author has expired, what credence should we give that authors wishes.

3) Since the original book can be resold, and viewed by non-owners (i.e. library patrons) and the right to control that is explicitly denied the author, what distinguishes the Googles attempts?

Comment: hacking the server is a better attack strategy (Score 1) 166

by gnu-user (#29121209) Attached to: Schneier On a Generation Gap In Privacy

It's easy to make too much of cleartext SMTP. Though I can think of attack vectors that would enable wire sniffing attacks, most require significant knowledge of some middleman network architecture. Pretty much all SMTP traffic is traveling over switches, and non-trivial to tap.

Compromising the mail server is far more fruitful. At a minimum the cleartext SMTP traffic become much more accessible. Wire sniffing is passive, and therefore a little scarier, but server compromise is likely much more common, and more dangerous.

Comment: Re:That's why.... (Score 1) 582

by gnu-user (#28972783) Attached to: Bing Search Tainted By Pro-Microsoft Results

Actually, Google's main source of revenue is AdSense.

True, but that does almost nothing to weaken the GP's point. Without the search engine spidering and the enormous amount of search data to mine, adwords/adsense has no real value. It's effectiveness is almost completely dependent to the visible, and very popular search engine.

Comment: I suspect this is a "captive portal" portal issue (Score 2, Interesting) 264

by gnu-user (#27950035) Attached to: Dealing With ISPs That Use NXDomain Redirection?

I worked for an ISP that provided service to hotels. VPN configs were the major source of problems. We implemented a captive portal to try to smooth over issues like

SMTP rejection (SMTP-AUTH was not common, the portal provided silent redirect to local mail server)

Accountability/Abuse -- The rooms were hard-wired, and captive portal gave us some retroactive sense of what room was generating abusive traffic.

Splash-screen/terms-of-service

DNS redirection is one of the core techniques for establishing captive portals. I rather doubt that many smaller ISPs are doing the "sponsored link" DNS redirect. Maybe things have changed since I left, but I suspect there is no significant benefit and some real cost involved for sponsored redirects for all but the largest ISPs.

Most of the support calls were over VPN software. Since all traffic was redirected until the splash screen was agreed to, a small but significant segment of VPN client configs broke. I very much suspect that is the real source of the initial posters issues.

Comment: Re:Coming from an author... (Score 1) 356

by gnu-user (#27688203) Attached to: Copyright Lobby Targets "Pirate Bay For Books"

A little quick googling confirmed my suspicions. Mr Clarke donated books that were sent without return postage

Now why is it part of the authors duty to spring for time and postage to mail a book signing request back to the requestor?

I'd say the sender is thoughtless and selfish, regardless of what you might think of Mr Clarke's behavior.

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.

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