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Comment Misuse of standard jargon (Score 3, Informative) 123

In the cable business, "homes passed" is a standard metric. It means that service is available to those homes. When Charter is figuring out how much to pay for TWC, they ask about homes passed, because these are potential customers.
Verizon used other meanings of the term, from street English, to mean something else. If it goes a couple of blocks away, it sort of passes, by their standard. If it goes right by the house but they won't offer service, it is still "passed". No cable company would say that, and that's not what the City meant when they negotiated their deal with Verizon.

Comment Re:They value control more than profit (Score 2) 123

No, they want control even if it loses money.
General Motors makes cars. They do not own the dealerships. They let dealers sell the cars. This is good for business. If Verizon made cars, they'd insist on owning the dealerships too, and would not let anyone else repair the cars, or sell parts. They might lose customers to other car companies who were more open, but they'd rather have 100% of $x than 80% of 2*$x, even though that's less. It's dumb DNA, but it's ingrained.
What other business routinely prices well above the profit maximization level -- so high that they lose more business than the higher margins make up for? It's like Mikey D's charging $10 for a crappy burger, and when nobody shows up, raising the price to $20 to make up for it.

Comment They value control more than profit (Score 1) 123

Telephone company DNA does not focus on making profits. They are, at heart, control freaks, and will gladly give up profits if they can keep control of their wires and the content. These are folks who fought tooth and nail to prevent attachment of customer owned telephone sets, modems answering machines, and other devices, even though they made a ton more money once these new applications expanded use of their networks.
Verizon is now controlled by its wireless subsidiary, which wants to disinvest in wireline except for pulling fiber to the wireless towers. So FiOS investment is ending. They'd sell off the rest of wireline if somebody would take it, but other than FiOS it's terribly run down. The "LoopCo" plan that Susan Crawford suggests is the only practical way forward, as it restores utility status to the fiber and opens it to creative users. But that reduces Verizon's control, so they'll fight it, like the scorpion fighting the frog on whose back it's riding.

Comment WiGig will be here faster (Score 1) 116

Huawei is playing with the 5 GHz band which is becoming crowded, and whose availability has country-by-country exclusions. US rule were just liberalized a smidge but it still has exclusions for radar.

WIGig uses the 60 GHz band (57-64 GHz) which has a lot more space. It is not quite ready for the mass market, price-wise, but becoming possible in the $100 rage soon. It doesn't penetrate walls well but it's fine for cross-room very fast links.

Comment Re:More bits then hertz? (Score 1) 116

That's multiple bits per symbol, not symbols per period.
1024QAM, for instance, has 10 bits encoded in 1024 possible values of the phase and amplitude. It's one symbol though. High-speed communications uses a combination of techniques, including OFDM (parallel, lower-speed carriers) and MIMO (separate transmitters).

Comment The LFTR is a different type of reactor (Score 1) 204

The article seems to refer to conventional fission reactors that use thorium mixed in with uranium. I think Bill Gates has invested in a company that pushes that. McDowell's excellent video is about the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor, a much safer design that takes a bit of Uranium 233 as its seed and breeds it out of thorium, never creating a high concentration and burning almost all of it before refueling. A conventional reactor leaves over 99% of the energy in the spent fuel; a LFTR leaves very little.

Comment Rock, not dirt (Score 1) 513

Have you ever tried burying wire in Westford, MA? There's a reason everybody uses poles in New England, the same reason most farmers gave up. The ground has a little soil mixed with lots of big hard rocks. A Ditch-Witch cable backhoe won't work. It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars per mile to bury wire here, so it's only done in core cities or to go under some intersections. And with Westford's low suburban/exurban density (gotta love those big expanses of Chem-Lawn and SUV garages, the Amerucan Way), the number of subscribers per mile is low.

Comment Subsidies paid for it (Score 1) 513

VTel does not provide $35/month gigabit service because they have easy access to poles. To be sure, they own the poles -- they're the incumbent phone company, and have old copper up there which they can overlash. But more importantly, VTel got millions of dollars in federal subsidies. The whole project cost over $5000/home, but VTel itself only paid a fraction, and the federal universal service fund -- that 16% tax on your phone bill -- pays them whatever it takes to make them profitable. Their retail price is a joke. Nice though for the recipients of the cheap service, and Mr. Guite, who owns it.

Comment Re:Price? (Score 2) 112

True. Microsoft botched RT by getting greedy. Like iOS, it is locked down tight, so you can only install "apps" from their store. Sure, that gives MS a cut of the action, Xbox-style, but it's hostile to users and real Windows doesn't have that restriction. Plus it doesn't run real Windows applications. So its ecosystem is pretty narrow and not likely to become very good.

Comment Re:Hope it makes him feel better (Score 2) 362

He walked into an unlocked closet, hooked up his laptop to a campus Ethernet connection, and ran a script to access a web site. The only "crime" was using a script rather than surfing, slower, by hand. He wasn't tapping others' communications. There was just a copyright question over how many documents one should access.

Comment Re:Generation Y's unusual sense of "responsibility (Score 5, Insightful) 362

The prosecutor aims for a high degree of punishment because they hope for a plea bargain, with every intention of keeping the maximum sentence recommendation intact in the event that the case actually goes to trial. It is a way to undercut the constitutional guarantee of trial by jury by raising the stakes so high that a jury trial becomes an untenable gamble.

Thus the Ortiz-Heymann tactics in this case should be seen as what they were, an untenable subversion of basic constitutional rights, by persecutors with a goal of putting notches in their belt, hoping to gain political points with an ignorant public afraid of any and all "crime".

Comment Re:A Loss For Several Reasons (Score 1) 120

Price might have killed the BB10 line too. The Z10 was priced near an iPhone and the Q10 was priced even higher. That's a ridiculous way to break into new markets when you're behind, and when the teardown cost of parts makes it clear that there's plenty of margin to work with. Some imbecile at BBY was greedy and shot the moon, when they should have taken their medicine and priced it competitively. BB10 devices get great user reviews.

Neutrinos have bad breadth.