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Comment: Re:Zero Research (Score 1) 41

by _Sharp'r_ (#49195949) Attached to: Mozilla: Following In Sun's Faltering Footsteps?

At least they didn't talk about how Mozilla are leaders in the diversity movement and have pride in having a different standard.

I guess once you put politically correct groupthink over people with a proven track record of innovation, innovation starts to suffer and go away.

This process is also known a "Bad Luck". Sounds like Mozilla is suffering from bad luck...


How Activists Tried To Destroy GPS With Axes 143

Posted by samzenpus
from the here's-johnny dept.
HughPickens.com writes Ingrid Burrington writes in The Atlantic about a little-remembered incident that occurred in 1992 when activists Keith Kjoller and Peter Lumsdaine snuck into a Rockwell International facility in Seal Beach, California and in what they called an "act of conscience" used wood-splitting axes to break into two clean rooms containing nine satellites being built for the US government. Lumsdaine took his axe to one of the satellites, hitting it over 60 times. The Brigade's target was the Navigation Satellite Timing And Ranging (NAVSTAR) Program and the Global Positioning System (GPS). Both men belonged to the Lockheed Action Collective, a protest group that staged demonstrations and blockaded the entrance at the Lockheed Missiles & Space Co. test base in Santa Cruz in 1990. They said they intentionally took axes to the $50-million Navstar Global Position System satellite to bring the public's attention to what they termed the government's attempt to control the world through modern technology. "I had to slow the deployment of this system (which) makes conventional warfare much more lethal and nuclear war winnable in the eyes of some," an emotional Kjoller told the judge before receiving an 18-month sentence. "It's something that I couldn't let go by. I tried to do what was right rather than what was convenient."

Burrington recently contacted Lumsdaine to learn more about the Brigade and Lumsdaine expresses no regrets for his actions. Even if the technology has more and more civilian uses, Lumsdaine says, GPS remains "military in its origins, military in its goals, military in its development and [is still] controlled by the military." Today, Lumsdaine views the thread connecting GPS and drones as part of a longer-term movement by military powers toward automated systems and compared today's conditions to the opening sequence of Terminator 2, where Sarah Connor laments that the survivors of Skynet's nuclear apocalypse "lived only to face a new nightmare: the war against the machines." "I think in a general way people need to look for those psychological, spiritual, cultural, logistical, technological weak points and leverage points and push hard there," says Lumsdaine. "It is so easy for all of us as human beings to take a deep breath and step aside and not face how very serious the situation is, because it's very unpleasant to look at the effort and potential consequences of challenging the powers that be. But the only thing higher than the cost of resistance is the cost of not resisting."

Comment: Re:If I can make it here I can make it anywhere... (Score 1) 567

by wvmarle (#49193939) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should I Let My Kids Become American Citizens?

US jobs have to be the best paying in the world, as the cost of living there is also among the highest in the world, and the tax system there is probably one of the worst - if only because you have at least county level, state level, federal level taxes, and maybe a few sublevels and other kinds of taxes that have to be paid for and all have their different rules on what constitutes taxable income and what not. There is more to income and salary than just amounts of money.

After growing up and studying in a place, most people will stay there. A while back I heard that most people in this world (to the tune of >90%) get born, live their life, and die within a 20-30 km radius. Sure you always hear about ex-pats, people moving far away from home (I'm one of them), but overall most people stay close to home. That's the place they know, the place where their friends are, their families - for most people there is no good reason to leave home. Belgium is a fine place to live, I'm sure.

There are many Chinese that want to get to the US, but don't forget there are 1.3 billion Chinese out there. If just 0.1% of the mainland Chinese population wants to make this move, that's 1.3 million people queueing up - potentially adding 0.4% to the US population, and most of those end up in the university population, making the influx very visible.

In contrast, if 0.1% of the Americans is looking for a job in China (and really - I know quite some that moved this way out of their own free will, plus many that were asked by their company to do so), that'd be a mere 0.32 million, adding just .025% of the Chinese population. Barely noticeable.

Comment: Re:Ah, come one, don't we trust the Feds? (Score 1) 87

by Shakrai (#49192233) Attached to: US Marshals Service Refuses To Release Already-Published Stingray Info

Ah, but how does the traffic get from Netflix's ISP to your ISP?

Hint: The actual internet is more than the oft-imagined cloud on network diagrams. Network operators agree to interconnect with each other, for mutual benefit, and if such an agreement is unbalanced (because one party is handing off more traffic than the amount they're willing or able to deliver) one of the network operators will end up paying the other.

A simplified version, wherein we're both network operators, Case 1, equal traffic flow:

Shakrai: "I have 3 terabit/s of peak hour traffic that you can deliver for me."
suutar: "Perfect. I also have 3 terabit/s of peak hour traffic that I can't deliver but you can. Let's connect our networks."
Shakrai: "Sounds good."

Case 2, unbalanced traffic flow:

Shakrai: "I have 10 terabit/s of peak hour traffic that you can deliver for me."
suutar: "I only have 3 terabit/s to hand off to you. We're going to bill you for the difference, okay?"
Shakrai: "Sure."

That has been the paradigm on the internet for a very long time, because it's recognized that it costs money to get a packet from Point A to Point B. Networks pay for connections to other networks unless they can absorb a roughly equal amount of traffic. You can't dump terabits of traffic into someone's network without offering them something in return.

Netflix wants to blow up this longstanding model because bearing the full cost of delivering their packets eats into their bottom line. It doesn't kill their business model, the fact that they're profitable attests to that, but it sure seems to keep Mr. Hastings up late at night. If you actually drill down into this issue you'll find that they've hijacked the concept of network neutrality. There a ton of arguments to be made in favor of network neutrality but Netflix is not one of them.

Comment: Re:Ah, come one, don't we trust the Feds? (Score 1) 87

by Shakrai (#49191815) Attached to: US Marshals Service Refuses To Release Already-Published Stingray Info

POTS is dying, largely because it's unable to respond to more nimble competitors that do not have to deal with a legacy regulatory environment. It's arguably already a niche product, one that will be completely dead in another decade or two at most.

And, incidentally, the law in question hasn't been amended since 1996. When the 33.6kbit/s modem was bleeding edge for consumer internet access. Do you remember those days? Because I do. 19 years later and I have the equivalent of a T3 in my pocket, which works almost anywhere in CONUS. Such a connection was unthinkable for consumer access in 1996.

You'll pardon my skepticism if I think that advancement would have occurred that rapidly if we had sought to apply outdated regulations drafted for Ma Bell to the internet.

Comment: Re: Ah, come one, don't we trust the Feds? (Score 1) 87

by Shakrai (#49191769) Attached to: US Marshals Service Refuses To Release Already-Published Stingray Info

Why should Comcast give Netflix free co-location services? It's not Comcast's responsibility to enable Netflix's business model. I have no lost love for Comcast, or Time Warner, or Verizon, it's just that I don't see Netflix as a White Knight here. They're throwing their weight around to try and get favorable treatment that is unavailable to would be upstarts. Frankly I think that's offensive to the spirit of what network neutrality is supposed to be about.

I do see some fundamental problems. One of them (conflict of interest, most ISPs are also in the video business) is discussed in the mainstream. The rest are far too nuanced for most people to understand. To pick one, as the internet has evolved there has been a blurring of the traditional line between end user internet service providers and providers of bulk IP transit services. ISPs like Comcast now run national data networks rival the Tier 1 providers in many respects. I don't think anybody anticipated this development, or the interface between large national ISPs and CDNs.

My fear here is twofold:

1. The FCC is attacking the wrong problems.
2. We're opening pandora's box and regulating something that has flourished without regulation.

I think it would be more beneficial for Uncle Sam to encourage competition in the ISP space than to regulate what ISPs can do. Do you think any of the killer apps we take for granted would have emerged in a highly regulated Ma Bell environment? Because those are some of the regulations that they're seeking to apply.

Comment: Re:Nauseated. (Score 3, Informative) 142

by sycodon (#49191295) Attached to: Developers Race To Develop VR Headsets That Won't Make Users Nauseous

Getting motion sickness in a VR environment is caused by the same thing as getting seasick or airsick...a conflict between what your eyes see and your inner ear feels. That's why being on deck and looking at the horizon makes you feel better or looking out the car window makes you feel better.

So I don't know what the VR headset manufacturers can do about it.

Comment: Re: Ah, come one, don't we trust the Feds? (Score 1) 87

by Shakrai (#49191171) Attached to: US Marshals Service Refuses To Release Already-Published Stingray Info

There isn't an ISP in the world that promises you any specific amount of bandwidth beyond their network, even for business class connections with SLAs and a 1:1 contention ratio. Any ISP that made such a promise would be lying to you, because they can't control the actions of those networks that they interconnect with. You might do well to learn what the internet actually is; it's a collection of networks that are interconnected. Each network is operated by different people, who can only control their own actions, not those of the partner networks they're interconnected with.

If Netflix wants to reach Comcast's customers they have two choices:

1. Buy transit from someone that has sufficient peering capacity with Comcast to hand off Netflix's anticipated peak hour traffic load.
2. Buy connectivity directly from Comcast.

They've selected Option #2, presumably because it was cheaper than Option #1. What Netflix actually desires is Option #3:

3. Comcast installs Netflix's caching boxes ("Open Connect") free of charge, without remuneration for rack space, physical security, or even electricity, never mind the bandwidth that they consume within the Comcast network and at Comcast's peering points with other providers.

There are a ton of arguments for network neturality that I can get behind, but "My Netflix is slow!" is not one of them. This is one billionaire (Hastings) arguing with other billionaires (Verizon, Comcast, et. al) about who should pay for the other man's business model.

Comment: Re:Ah, come one, don't we trust the Feds? (Score 1) 87

by Shakrai (#49191063) Attached to: US Marshals Service Refuses To Release Already-Published Stingray Info

It's nothing at all like that. I merely question the wisdom of applying a law that was originally written before WW2 to the internet. If you believe there's a problem it would be far better to lobby your Congressman to address it through the Congressional power to regulate interstate commerce. The proponents of this action will argue that Congress is generally useless (at least we agree on something) but I've never been a big fan of "the ends justify the means" as an argument.

Comment: Re:Ah, come one, don't we trust the Feds? (Score 1, Troll) 87

by Shakrai (#49190997) Attached to: US Marshals Service Refuses To Release Already-Published Stingray Info

Some of us have worked on the ISP side of the house (disclosure: I worked for a small one that was crushed by Time Warner a long time ago) and view the Netflix debacle in a different light. Netflix has a history of trying to pass their costs onto third parties, by abusing settlement free peering, pushing their "Open Connect" devices on ISPs without offering to pay the usual co-location expenses, or trying to cheap out on envelopes that wound up jamming in sorting machines and causing USPS all manner of difficulties. That one turned into a major spat as I recall, with USPS having to threaten to revoke their bulk mailing/pre-sort price discounts before Netflix was willing to back down.

The long standing model for internet traffic has been sender pays. If you're dumping more traffic into my network than you take off my hands you pay me to get it closer to its destination. If you're taking more off my hands than I'm taking from you then I pay you. In the final example, we exchange roughly equal amounts of traffic and agree to do so without remuneration.

Is that model still valid today? It's hard to say. It did build the internet as we know it today, for better or worse. It would be easier for me to be sympathetic if this wasn't a pissing contest between Netflix and ISPs. The arrogance of Netflix is truly astounding, from my perspective as someone who worked in the ISP business, and I see it as billionaires arguing with other billionaires about who should foot the bill for their respective business models.

All the evidence concerning the universe has not yet been collected, so there's still hope.