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Comment Re:You must be new here (Score 4, Interesting) 1833

You must be new here.

This. There are several missing important moderations. "You must be new here" should be one of them. Along with "+1 Troll" (or "+1 look at that") a positive mod for things which are sufficiently bad to be worth reading.

The simplest way to get this is to separate the qualitative from the quantitative i.e. have one drop-down with the score (+ or -) and one with the qualifier. More or less the way metamod works now, but with all the options all the time.

Comment Re:Don't be so quick to take sides. (Score 2, Interesting) 32

Easy - because the alternative IS nothing.

No, it's fucking not. I live in a Least Developed Country and spent a decade assisting it in making region-leading progress in technology. Last year, the UN gave our country an award for its advances. Our Universal Access Policy dictates that 98% of the population will have access to 21/12Mbps bandwidth by the beginning of 2018.

These things are possible when a country actually bucks the lobbyists and industry reps and sets some real goals.

So unless you have some actual real-world insight into this, perhaps you could quit reiterating the same tired point that's just been debunked. 'Is so!' isn't much of an argument, you know.

This is not about free internet for anyone. This is about affordable access to the internet—all of it. Even poor people have money, and they value the internet and the ability to communicate widely. They will pay for the service if it's only offered fairly and affordably.

You say, 'companies don't want to do X' as if that were sufficient reason not to do X. But a country allows a telco a partial monopoly in exchange for a contribution to the public welfare. That includes providing affordable fucking internet to the people of the country.

It astonishes me how people buy the telco line without even questioning it for one second. If you had read the article I linked to, you'd know that telco revenues doubled in the last ten years in the developing world, but services have not grown nearly fast enough to keep up with the developed world. Contrast that with the developed world, where revenues are pretty much flat, but bandwidth use and residential broadband penetration are flying off the top of the X axis on the chart.

Do not try to tell me that telcos can't turn a profit making affordable internet available to most of the developed world. I know that's false, because I'm watching it happen here.

HTH HAND

Comment Re:money changed hands (Score 2) 120

Although it can probably never be proven, occam's razor indicates that money changed hands. It's a more logical conclusion than this level of incompetence amongst the necessary number of employees.

If past experience is any indication, then yes, telcos are perfectly content to engage in the dodgiest of dodgy practices if it means making a buck or two.

Comment Re:Don't be so quick to take sides. (Score 4, Insightful) 32

While Facebook's motives are certainly not selfless and altruistic, they are talking about giving free connectivity to people who'd otherwise have nothing.

That's their argument, but it's based on false premises.

Zero-rated content is problematic because it supplants other means of getting universal access to the internet. We agree that the argument for zero-rating is: 'It's better than nothing.' But that's begging the question. Why does 'nothing' have to be the alternative?

Telco revenues in the developing world have nearly doubled in the last 10 years. Virtually all revenue growth in the telco sector is in the developing world. And yet... not only are we not keeping up with the rate of increase in bandwidth, subscription base and accessibility in the developed world, we're actually falling behind.

Service levels are improving by leaps and bounds in the developed world, in a sector with *stable* income. And yet they're not improving nearly as much in a part of the world that's seen 50% revenue growth in 10 years.

How is it that the only way we can get actual services—you know, the thing telcos are given partial monopolies to deliver—is when customers are commoditised and effectively sold on an exclusive basis to an information service operator?

Comment Re:He's right (Score 2) 154

It was the Swedish media who broke the story, genius. The police were the ones who wouldn't talk about it. Did you even read the fucking article you linked to?

Why did they do it? Well, to avoid giving the Swedish right (apparently they do exist) any proof that their opinions were backed up by facts.

Yeah, opinions that are not borne out by facts are shameful, aren't they? I mean you would know, right?

Comment Re:Don't worry (Score 0) 349

SystemD will fix all of this.

Laugh all you like—and rightly so. It seems that every single attempt to unify and simplify a platform, every single time someone tries to impose the One True Way on a technology, it ends in tears.

Tragically not so much developer tears as user tears.

No matter what the platform, no matter who the creator, every time someone decides that there should not be More Than One Way To Do It, they stuff it up for everybody else.

The reason why failure is inevitable is obvious, if you think about it. It's a bit like an ecosystem winnowing itself down to a single set of survival traits and then dying out in the face of the first change in circumstance. Monoculture has always been a negative survival trait, and it's no different in technology.

So anyone who uses the word 'fragmentation' in this conversation can bite my shiny metal ass.

Comment Re:Voluntary? (Score 2) 428

The message was that while participation was voluntary, there would be consequences for failing to comply.

If there are consequences, I'm pretty sure that's the opposite of voluntary.

Er, I think the concept you need to consider here is opportunity cost. If failing to participate in a purely voluntary practice closes the door to important benefits, then that decision can absolutely have undesirable consequences.

This is a pretty standard tactic when national governments try to influence policies that are, strictly speaking, the purview of sub-national entities. Health and education, for example, are provincial responsibilities in Canada, but funding mechanisms, subsidies and tax breaks make it possible for the federal government to set minimum standards nationwide without explicitly overstepping its mandate.

Comment Re:AGW deniers... (Score 1) 276

I welcome Pacific Islanders. There is about 3 million people in Micronesia, Polynesia, and Melanesia, and maybe half of them are living on these kinds of marginal atolls.

There are 7.3 million people in Papua New Guinea alone—almost 10 million in Melanesia altogether. Happily, most of them live on volcanic islands which won't be as severely affected by sea level rise. Although, for the record, Vanuatu (where I live) was hit by a record-setting cyclone in March, and is currently enduring drought induced by the worst El Niño in recorded history.

Anyway, far less than half of all Pacific islanders live on low-lying atolls. The population of Kiribati is just over 100,000. Tuvalu is a mere 10,000, Federated States of Micronesia is about 100,000, and the Marshalls are just 52,000.

If the measure of their importance is simply counting lives, these places don't matter much.

But if the measure of importance is that they're the proverbial canary in the coal mine (sorry), then yeah, they kind of matter. And how we treat them is going to set a precedent for how we treat the hundreds of millions who will quickly follow—most of whom are likely to be domestic climate refugees.

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