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Comment: Re:Translation-"eh, can we talk this over...?" (Score 1) 229

by j-turkey (#47921141) Attached to: AT&T Proposes Net Neutrality Compromise

That is a very astute summary of the issues.

I would love to see residential ISP's make an honest case explaining why the existing system is broken. (Where end-users purchase internet service from their residential ISP and online businesses purchase internet service from their ISP's - both with the understanding that packets will flow between the two, unrestricted. When demand exceeds capacity at peering points, each end will make a reasonable effort to add capacity at peering points providing customers at each end what they have paid for).

I'm not against the idea of residential ISP's turning an honest buck. After all, they really did invest significant dollars in infrastructure, including negotiation for rights-of-way in municipalities. Further, they need to maintain that network, and upgrade the network as demand increases. I think that they deserve a fair chance for an honest return on their investments. However, the idea that residential ISP's should be allowed to double-dip on selling access seems quite insane to me, and is counter to the open principles employed since the foundation of the internet. We can thank Ed Whitacre Jr, former CEO of SBC for coming up with the idea in 2005/2006 (as far as I can tell) that the residential ISP's customers are both customers and products to be resold to content providers. The Internet doesn't work that way, and never has. The idea that content providers are getting some sort of free lunch on the residential ISP's dime is laughable; it's just a shameful distortion of the facts. The residential ISP's bandwidth has already been paid for by their customers, and the content providers have already paid for their own bandwidth. I have yet to hear a compelling argument from any ISP's about how the existing system is broken (other than, to paraphrase, "because we can").

As a freedom junkie and pseudo-Libertarian - part of me believes that government regulation of the internet opens up a can of worms. However, residential ISP's demonstrating their willingness to distort facts and abuse monopoly powers that they have in many markets. Is there any reason why residential ISP's should not be regulated accordingly?

Comment: Re:A solution in search of a problem... (Score 1) 324

by j-turkey (#47903741) Attached to: Technological Solution For Texting While Driving Struggles For Traction

We have them to generate income for the government, specifically local and state government, to the tune of $6.2 billion last year.

While some towns and small municipalities are notorious speed traps, who abuse the law to generate revenue - applying this to all speed enforcement is an outright over generalization.

The fact of the matter is that speed limit enforcement costs our governments more than it takes in. Your assertion only accounts for revenues, and does not take into account the cost of enforcement; such as police, equipment, court costs, collections, and incarceration (states like Virginia criminalize speeding and actually mandate jail time for exceeding the speed limit by greater than 20 MPH).

I posted this reply in another forum in response to a similar claim where I did some quick back-of-a-napkin math in my own county where traffic laws are very aggressively enforced. I'm not trying to pass my post off as especially scientific and of course my statements aren't universal. However, what I wrote does include sources, and I did the same math in another county deeper in the thread. But it does shed significant doubt on the broad generalization that speed enforcement is motivated (either partially or entirely) by governmental revenue enhancement. Here are a few excerpts if you don't feel like reading the whole thread:

Let's take this out of the theoretical and use my own county as a case-study, just to put things in to perspective. (Don't get me wrong, I'm no expert, just a geek who can type things into Google.) Here is my county's revenue's report from 2011. See page 2. Fines and forfeitures came in at $16M in 2011 compared to $2B in real estate taxes. That $16M is a drop in the bucket for state revenues (0.8%). Not a lot of money made, but how does this stack up against what we spend on it?

I'm glad that you asked - here are some more recent examples: In 2014, my county government estimated fines and forfeitures at $14.8M or 0.4% of annual revenues. However, when you look at where the money goes - judicial administration is 0.9% ($33.2M) of the budget and public safety is 12.3% ($442.8M) of the budget...a combined 13.2% of our annual fiscal budget. If you do the math, it simply doesn't add up to a money-making racket for the state. The facts seem to point to a different conclusion - and I don't claim to have the answer as to why and how (although I could probably google for this).

Anyway, hopefully this will shed a bit of doubt on the blanket assumption about speed enforcement for revenue enhancement. That's not to say that speed limits are always correct, or that speed enforcement is usually done with the best of intentions (e.g. to prove that the police are actually doing something - or perhaps for entirely political reasons)...but it should shed reasonable doubt.

Comment: Re:cram lots of people in a confined space (Score 4, Interesting) 812

by j-turkey (#47846079) Attached to: 3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room
Why should everyone else pay more so that all other seats are larger to accomodate your height? I fit in the seats alright. Others do, too. Obesity isn't always the fault of an obese person, and I dont hear you suggesting that all seats accomodate them (in fact, they have to pay for two seats). Should small cars for small people be banned just because you don't fit in them? How about mandating that all clothing manufacturers make clothes that fit small people (at your expense) so that short people don't have to pay more for clothes that fit. I'm not trying to be mean about this, but what you wrote sounded ridiculously self-entitled. You are not entitled to special accomodations just because you're tall. You already get them. Tall people tend to make significantly more money than short people. Use that money to buy bigger seats rather than asking the rest of the world to pay more for their seats to accomodate your needs.

Comment: Re:I am skeptical (Score 1) 174

Very astute. One of the aspects of the issue that has bothered me is that politics have solidly collided with science. It's not just the obvious issue of denial that bothers me. The issue is solidly sandwiched between denial and the environmentalist activists who suffer from confirmation bias and outright alarmism; who seem to have a worldview is centers around humans being inherently bad and can only serve to damage the world. Not only that, but that the world is pristine and unchanging, like they want to reunite Pangea (to borrow the bumper sticker phrase). They want everything, and they want it yesterday. There is so often resistance of moving to less harmful energy sources as an intermediary step (e.g. from coal to natural gas or nuclear power generation) because it's not exactly what they want right now (which seems to be a world powered only by solar & wind). Taking it a step further, for those people, it seems like even the subject of geoengineering as one of possibly many ways to mitigate or manage climate change is just plain distasteful...not to mention academic research. I guess that what I'm saying is that the science behind the issue is a small fraction of the whole issue as a social and political beast.

With regard to the throwing a bunch of water (or sulfuric acid) into clouds to fix everything, you are right. When we face complex problems involving deeply complex systems, it's nice to believe in simple solutions. However, I have a bridge to sell those who believe that we can fix this if we just do X.

While much of the IPCC is on-point, that is more on the academic end of the spectrum than where most of the discussion (and action) lies. The cultural change (and change of discussion into something more like what you're suggesting) is what leads to political and even industrial action. It's not just this issue where academia is so far ahead of the rest of the world. Asking anyone to be patient about this issue seems silly, because it's so emotional for many people (and challenges others' world view). In general, as humans, we're better at adapting to a changing world than planning for a changing world - especially when we consider the time-frames. What I'm saying is that we will have to change, whether we like it or not, but it will be in response to the world changing around us...not in response to experts telling us that it's going to change.

Comment: Re:I am skeptical (Score 1) 174

Geoengineering has effectively caused this problem, even though it wasn't necessarily planned geoengineering. Simply burning less fossil fuels isn't going to fix the problem. The ship of climate change has already sailed. Completely halting the release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere today will not turn the problem back in anything less than geologic time.

I like that you mentioned that we won't know if we don't do the research. However, the question that seems to elude many is "what if we don't?". So far, much of the discourse revolves around reducing carbon output...which isn't entirely unhelpful. It's just not entirely practical. Questions about "how do we deal with the projected changes" are pretty practical. And again, when discussing geoengineering, it's not so much what happens if we's what happens if we don't.

Of course, I've always had this sense that there is an attitude from those who consider themselves environmental activists of this dogma that everything that humans do is inherently evil. I don't share this worldview...but this sense will certainly bring any efforts (or perhaps even discussion) of geoengineering to a halt.

Comment: Re:Customer service? (Score 1) 928

yeah, we're robots with no brains. we follow orders. don't question stupid rules and never use human judgement. we are humans, but we should be thought of as cattle.

Hold on...What you're saying suggests to me you may not understand how the process works. Whether or not the father of this family knew it, he was trying to game the system. Sure, he had frequent flyer privileges, but his kids did not. He could have paid extra for them to be up there with him, but he didn't. That's the deal with Southwest. If he doesn't like it, he can fly another airline. Maybe he didn't understand the policy, but the gate agent explained it to him. Here's the thing - he's a frequent flyer. He probably should have known better. Maybe other gate agents have made an exception for him, but they weren't required to. He wasn't entitled to that exception. On other airlines, it would be akin to you buying a first class ticket and two coach tickets and demanding that your coach companions get first class seats...probably bumping two other passengers who paid for those first class seats.

Who should the burden of thinking be shifted to, the airline employees or the traveler? What if you and your companion didn't get to sit together or had to check your bags because this guy's kids cut in line without paying for the privilege (even though you may have)?

I'm not saying that the gate agent acted correctly throughout the course of this (and I don't know if she didn't). In this situation, however, I'm inclined to give her more of the benefit of the doubt than this passenger, given the details of the story.

Comment: Re:No retrofit (Score 1) 106

by j-turkey (#47161033) Attached to: Tracking Tesla's Quiet Changes To the Model S

Since you didn't understand my comment and therefore don't even know the topic of conversation, what could you possibly hope to add?

Actually, I had plenty to add, but since the ability to engage in civil discourse eludes you, and you would rather smugly demonstrate that you're more of a subject matter expert than everyone else, I have desire to engage in any discussion with you. Seriously, do you really talk to people like this, or does Slashdot just have this effect on you?

Comment: Re:No retrofit (Score 1) 106

by j-turkey (#47156325) Attached to: Tracking Tesla's Quiet Changes To the Model S

Tesla must be using a seriously traditional wiring harness. When will automakers move at least the accessories to a bus-style model for both power and communications? I get why all the signals and so on should run through a traditional wiring plant, but the rest of this stuff really needs to belong to a more distributed network. The wiring that could be eliminated in the power window system alone would save pounds.

You mean, like CAN bus? Most already have.

Comment: Re:Caps Are Definitely Coming (Score 2) 475

by j-turkey (#47009179) Attached to: Comcast Predicts Usage Cap Within 5 Years

You make a good point. However, this isn't universal. First of all, as the proverbial fat guy at an all-you-can-eat buffet, I've already chosen pay a higher price for significantly more bandwidth than my neighbors. I have an expectation that I have full access to that. I am also lucky enough to have a choice in ISP's where I live. I cancelled my capped service for a more expensive (and even faster) uncapped service. It's not a hard-and-fast rule, but I'm willing to pay more for a bigger plate - I just don't want to be gouged by my ISP for that plate. I'm not saying that they can't say "no" to that either - it's their network. I just know what I want as a consumer, and my hope is that I live in a place where competition is great enough that I have that choice.

Another thing that is rapidly changing is the ease of access to streaming for the masses. It used to be that only geeks like me would build a dedicated media PC tied to a TV for streaming video. Now, streaming appliances are ubiquitous. Streaming for Netflix (and related services) is available on dedicated devices (like a Roku) for $100. It's built into TiVo, and it's even integrated into most TV's and Blu Ray players. My parents stream internet video, and they're in their 70's. If that isn't a litmus test for the masses streaming internet video, I don't know what is.

The other thing that you mention is that the vast majority of ISP's do not offer any TV service at all. I am not sure where you're getting your numbers on this (and it could be that you're talking about the amount of ISP's versus the amount of subscribers). I presume that you're referring to residential broadband internet. Most Americans choose between Cable and DSL, and some can get FTTH. According to this report, as of late 2013, over 50% of American residential broadband internet is delivered via Cable. DSL is at 34% and is trending downward. I'm not trying to get into a pissing match here, as you make a good point, but what I'm saying is that most customers purchase internet connectivity from providers who do sell TV service. Given this information, it's no surprise that it's not in the best interest of the largest type of ISP to be entirely friendly to streaming video service. This is even more poignant given that the cable and FTTH providers are all trying to sell their own competing streaming service to us. Finally, remember that the AOL/Time Warner merger, while an utter failure, was (in large part) supposed to merge internet and video service to dominate the VOD marketplace. Again, it didn't work, but this has been on the mind of big companies for a very long time.

I'm not arguing against what you suggested that I'm the fat guy at an all-you-can-eat buffet. I totally am that guy. But things are changing. The average consumer is streaming internet video, and the whole content industry is shifting in that direction (e.g. 95% of the HBO-produced shows will shortly become available on Amazon Prime Instant Video). The writing is on the wall, and many of these companies are trying to milk returns from their legacy investments for as long as they can. I can't fault them for it, as these are expensive networks to build and maintain. However, they need to tread lightly, because given the lack of competition in most marketplaces, anything viewed as abuse will make these ISP's ripe targets for federal regulation.

Comment: Re:Only pirates & terrorists need more than 30 (Score 1) 475

by j-turkey (#47008905) Attached to: Comcast Predicts Usage Cap Within 5 Years

When I canceled my Comcast subscription due to the cap, the person handling the call explicitly told me there was no legitimate reason for that kind of usage so I must be a pirate. When I tried to politely explain that my Netflix usage exceeded that, I was again told there was not legitimate reason for the kind of usage.

...which is exactly why you fired them. They didn't understand (or care about) the needs of their customer, lumping you, as an outlier, into a group of pirates. They didn't want your business.

I did the same thing with Cox Communications. They had an (unenforced) cap. I know that it was unenforced because I routinely exceeded the cap. Still, I routinely exceeded it with my regular use, which was a liability. I switched to a more expensive FiOS service because it was not only significantly faster, but it was also unmetered. Then again, I am fortunate enough to live in an area with competitive service. The funny thing is that the faster FiOS provided crappy service to intermediary backbone peers, degrading Netflix and YouTube in my case, there simply wasn't enough competition.

Comment: How do you think that it should work? (Score 4, Insightful) 141

by j-turkey (#46370189) Attached to: Live Q&A With Ex-TSA Agent Jason Harrington


Thanks for being here and answering our questions. Given your experience working as a "line" TSA screener, how would you propose that we fix airport security, making it more effective, yet less intrusive for travelers? Clearly, the TSA isn't going away, and they will be the agency that regulates airport security for the foreseeable future. However, would you (for example) suggest empowering agents with additional flexibility? Perhaps implement policies more in-line with real security and risk management strategies, eschewing the current models of "security theater" and reactions to past threats? Maybe eschewing use of TSA's screeners, and having private firms provide security (again, under TSA regulations)? Something else altogether?

Comment: Re:Enough with the security theater! (Score 1) 289

Personally, I think any TSA employee in charge of TSA procedures needs to go through said procedure/screening every day before work.

Actually, they need to be fired and replaced by people with proper risk management training, as opposed to risk avoidance.

Risk Avoidance: Do everything in your power to prevent some risk, no matter the cost Risk Management: Assess the risk, consider the liklihood of the risk, the damage it will cost if it happens, then look at mitigations, how likely they are to work, how much they'll cost, etc... And make the cheapest decision. IE if on average the mitigation will prevent more loss than it costs, you impliment it. Otherwise you just accept the risk.

I agree with you in principle, however, this ignores how politics have played into the equation. What made me realize this was when the TSA proposed a change to the rules to allow small knives (up to 2.36") on planes again. At the time, this seemed like an exercise in proper risk management to me. However, there was an uproar among citizens and flight attendants. For (what appears to be) strictly political reasons, these proposed changes were cancelled.

It seems that the public suffers from a strange dichotomy where many of us are critical of security theater, but we still want security theater. Many want to believe that the government offers a great big security blanket that will never let anything bad happen to us. I'm sure that you and I know that there is no such thing, and the cost of this illusion is extremely high (both financial and to that of liberty).

Comment: Re:Depends on China (Score 5, Interesting) 325

by j-turkey (#46276459) Attached to: N. Korea Could Face Prosecution For 'Crimes Against Humanity'

You nailed it, DPRK is very much dependent on China for support. I don't fully understand why China wants to keep DPRK in power either, but I can shed a bit of light on the issue. You mentioned China's desire for a buffer between their borders and a westernized and America-friendly South Korea, this is a major issue. Another huge issue is that if the North Korean regime fails, China will have millions of refugees crossing its eastern border into areas that are already less stable than they would like. These areas have not developed at a rate consistent with the larger Chinese cities, and millions of Korean refugees would be a huge burden on those areas, threatening the regional stability - which is a hot-button issue for China.

I can't say that any country is immune from supporting regimes where atrocities exist when it supports their interests...but it doesn't stop me from being frustrated with China for supporting a failed regime like DPRK.

"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.