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Comment: Re:Solution: Decouple wired buisness from company (Score 1) 253

by greg1104 (#48907519) Attached to: Verizon, Cable Lobby Oppose Spec-Bump For Broadband Definition

My description of that map slice was bad. I meant to highlight the EU members that are packed together tightly, which the map did, because those so often are used as the examples I don't think are useful comparison points. My text did not match the map though.

The FCC is the Federal Communications Commission. They can't set rules for the entire country if they are unreasonable for some of the states to follow. That's why I was highlighting that the capabilities of the worst states end up being a limiter for whatever rules they can put in place. They can't say "broadband means X in most states, but because telcos in Alaska can't deliver that they can ignore this rule". That's also loads of evidence that if left alone, telcos will just offer good service in the dense areas, and forget about the rural ones altogether. That's exactly what's happened here with mobile phone coverage, several fiber projects, and before that things like DSL Interent connections. So instead everyone gangs up on them and tries to negotiate for everyone at once.

In theory individual states could raise the requirements above those set at the federal level. Unfortunately, the monopoly problems just get worse there. When there's only one provider actually giving service to an area, states have to legitimately worry about them just pulling out of the state altogether if they're pressed too hard. They can't walk away from a federal negotiation like that.

Comment: Re:America is HUGE (Score 1) 253

by greg1104 (#48904567) Attached to: Verizon, Cable Lobby Oppose Spec-Bump For Broadband Definition

When it comes to the population density, you should note that Sweden has a considerably lower population density than most of the American states, yet much better telecommunication infrastructure. Northern Sweden has a population density of about 4 people per square km, yet good access to telecommunication services.

According to sources like this, about 85% of Sweden's population is in urban areas. When you only have 15% of the population that's really spread out, of course it's easy to just spend the extra money to wire all of them up. The population of Sweden is so small, you really can't extrapolate out from it very much to US sized problems either. You could barely fill the NY metro area here with everyone in Sweden.

And our sparse states make Northern Sweden look like a huge party. Nationwide US policy has to consider what's feasible in states like Montana and Wyoming, at 2.7 and 2.3 people per sq km. And then there's Alaska at 0.5...a single state that is also 4X as big as Sweden, too.

Comment: Re:America is HUGE (Score 1) 253

by greg1104 (#48904265) Attached to: Verizon, Cable Lobby Oppose Spec-Bump For Broadband Definition

There's a similar pattern with all sorts of infrastructure people in tiny countries point out are missing in America. The Amtrak trains here operate one profitable line: the one that goes from DC through NYC then to Boston. That's the one chunk of the US where the urban density is similar to the EU.

But all our trains are still an overpriced mess, because the company's agreement with our government has them operating all these less urban lines that just burn money like mad.

Comment: Re:Solution: Decouple wired buisness from company (Score 1, Informative) 253

by greg1104 (#48904197) Attached to: Verizon, Cable Lobby Oppose Spec-Bump For Broadband Definition

No, the main reason European countries have better Internet access is due to their small size and layout. Sweden is roughly the size of California. If the US was a country that small, it would be easy to get fiber to everywhere. First speed test result I found averaged just over the state puts California at 39MB/s down and 9MB/s up. And that's without nearly as much taxation to support the whole thing as EU countries too.

But the FCC has to set policies that cover the middle of nowhere USA as well. Why do you think Verizon already gave up on laying more FIOS fiber? Because they already got all the interesting urban areas. No one can cost justify fiber to the middle of the US. You could lose all of the continental Europe in that wasteland and not even notice it.

Comment: Re:This. SO MUCH This. (Score 2) 478

by greg1104 (#48902469) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

Whenever I find myself needing to manage a group of younger dudes, I look around for some big problem they've been stuck on. And then I solve it, while lecturing on the context of how software like that has been built in various decades. Once someone has watched you quietly take out software enemy #1 on a project, they stop trying to mess with you on their reports.

Comment: Re:This. SO MUCH This. (Score 3, Interesting) 478

by greg1104 (#48900385) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

40 is old for a software developer. Someone who is 40 today entered college just as web browsers were being invented. You could not just connect the dots on library calls to put together an application then. Now you can.

I have a strong sense of wanting to know how things work that comes from having built a lot of software in the 80's and 90's, when you had to know the internals to make progress. That is downright counterproductive in web development now. By the time you learn enough to understand how a library works, the developer who just learned enough to use it already shipped their code. That's the sort of disconnect between age ranges at work now.

Comment: Re:Crazy (Score 1) 70

by greg1104 (#48839955) Attached to: Andy Wolber Explores Online Word Processors' ODF Support

The editors are barely online anymore. Most of the work is happening in your local browser, driven by Javascript code. Some people have even started breaking those layers completely apart to where you don't need the remote component at all, like the Atom editor.

The main benefit of using a browser hosted editor is that you don't have to install (and maintain, and update, etc.) a dedicated editor/word processor. You just go to the possibly local web page that the editor is hosted at.

When you store your document in the cloud, the main benefits are automatic off-site backups, documents you can reach from anywhere, and collaborative editing (again, without installing any additional software for it). More fundamentally, you don't have to figure out how to convey the document to the other person. No more e-mailing documents around and then having to e-mail again after each update. Just share a link to it instead, and people will always come to the latest version.

Comment: Re:Handle ODT files reasonably well (Score 1) 70

by greg1104 (#48839893) Attached to: Andy Wolber Explores Online Word Processors' ODF Support

Using the same editor as the other person doesn't always help. As you pointed out, just using a different printer will give you a file that renders differently on two systems.

The whole layout model used by Word and OpenOffice is fundamentally broken. You can either allow people to place text and graphics at fixed locations on the page, or you can be compatible with multiple printers. It's impossible to do both at once. Printers do not even have identical models for what's considered the printable part of the page, as just the most obvious layer of issues here.

The only way to have a document that can be edited on multiple machines and then print well everywhere is to use a markup language instead of a fixed position word process. I use ReST, Markdown, and Asciidoc for most of the documentation I write nowadays. I can then export into one of these brain-dead formats when needed. ODF just standardizes on the fundamentally broken model. The standard itself is so epically sized and full of ambiguous language, there's low odds any two programs that render ODF into the same page layout.

Comment: Re:And that people... (Score 1) 329

by greg1104 (#48839273) Attached to: Steam For Linux Bug Wipes Out All of a User's Files

I know exactly when it started. I lost my first set of computer equipment at work due to electrical issues in 1990. The capacitor plague era was not a disruptive event. All of those issues were already around--a long as capacitors existed they have been failing like that--they just became a lot more likely during that period.

I assume everyone's data is important to them. Apparently you do not. You can't expect to be taken seriously on this topic with that attitude.

If I were a grave-digger or even a hangman, there are some people I could work for with a great deal of enjoyment. -- Douglas Jerrold