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Comment: Re:How does this compare to radio? (Score 2) 305

by kevmeister (#49112785) Attached to: Pandora Pays Artists $0.001 Per Stream, Thinks This Is "Very Fair"

Just to be perfectly clear, payola is illegal. It has been an on-going issue for decades, but most radio stations are NOT paid to play songs. When payments are made, they are normally to the DJ or program manager, not the radio station, itself.

Radio stations pay NO royalties to the artists. They do pay to the publisher and the author of the song through a licensing organization. In the US this is usually ASCAP American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) or BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated). For decades the artists/performer has been held to receive "payment" in the form of promotion of the performance by air-play and deserving of no other compensation.

Streaming services (e.g. Pandora) claimed that they were providing the same promotional service as radio and should have the same exemption as radio, but the courts rejected this.

I'm a former DJ at a commercial station and was never offered payola. The boss (CEO) made it clear that anyone accepting payment to play any song would be summarily terminated. (I think he meant "fired", but he might have preferred a more drastic termination.)

Comment: Re:Many people have thunk it. (Score 1) 368

by kevmeister (#48672783) Attached to: Study: Police Body-Cams Reduce Unacceptable Use of Force

You (probably under 125 Kg) + bicycle (probably under 20 Kg) vs even a compact car (probably over 1000 Kg... probably a LOT over). Guess who wins (e.i. lives).

As a frequent cyclist I am regularly amazed at the incredibly stupid things I see others do. Often because they don't know better (e.g. riding on the wrong side of the street) or because they are on power trip (e.g. it's legal to use the full lane even though it is wide enough to allow a car to safely pass).

The first rule of the road for every cyclist who wants to continue being one into his/her 70s is NEVER do anything unexpected by a car. You my end up dead and the car driver may have his/her life ruined because you 1) Don't know the rules of the road, 2) Don't care, 3) You ego and competitive instinct tell you to show them who's boss!

I wish drivers knew the rules, too. I have almost been hit twice because divers turned right in front of me without moving into the bike lane as required and I bet they don't know that they are supposed to do so. I lived to tell the tale because I assumed that the car (or, in one case, the bus) just might turn right without realizing I was there and was able to dodge them. Always, always assume the driver is on his/her phone or otherwise unaware you exist and has no idea of the rule of the road. You will be annoyed at times, but you will live longer (on average).

Comment: Re:I find this odd (Score 1) 156

by kevmeister (#48603971) Attached to: Small Bank In Kansas Creates the Bank Account of the Future

I live in Chile and we have free instantaneous wiretransfers which are required by law to be protected by 2 factor auth, Banks still make boatloads of money, not sure how the US can still be in the dark ages in this regard.

You answered your own question. Banks may make boatloads of money, but they always want bigger boats and more of them. Anything not required that costs money is simply not going to happen unless it is pretty sure to generate more money than it costs or is mandated by government action (wish is pretty unlikely, since big banks pretty much own that part of the government here).

The big banks got most of the minor restraints on risky investments put into place after the 2008 collapse removed last week. Legislation written by Citibank and probably mostly paid for by them as well.

Comment: Re:Agreed, this is not news (Score 1) 116

by kevmeister (#48539431) Attached to: NSF Accused of Misuse of Funds In Giant Ecological Project

FWIW, it is a clear violation of federal law to use ANY federal money to pay for alcoholic beverages. Likewise for lobbying. Some of the others may be, as well. The shirts are probably legal. Business expenses may or may not have been, depending on exactly what they cover, but are likely legal. Lots of things are "fuzzy".

IANAL or a procurement officer, but spent over 30 years dealing with federal procurement rules for contractors.

Comment: Re:Statistics and.. (Score 2) 407

by kevmeister (#48169999) Attached to: As Prison Population Sinks, Jails Are a Steal

In California we are still releasing felons after little or no jail time due to lack of space. It sometimes is almost funny.

Recently Dorris Payne, an international jewel thief, was sentenced to four years for a $40,000 theft from a jewelry store in Palm Desert, California, a crime committed while on probation for a prior theft in Los Angeles. She was released by the sheriff after about a month as a "low -risk" offender (her thefts had never involved weapons) when there was no room available in the county jail. She was in the jail instead of prison because the prisons were so overcrowded that the governor ordered that most "low-risk" convicts be held in county facilities. Not that the county jails had room for them, either.

She was re-arrested for probation violation a few weeks later, but was released in a few days as there was still no room and probation violation does not change her "low-risk" status.

So she committed a crime, was released from LA, committed another in Palm Desert and is still not locked up. Seems like the system is neither protecting the public nor discouraging the criminal from continuing her life of crime.

Did I mention that Dorris Payne is 83? I don't see her as likely to become a model citizen in the future.

Clearly, California has no surplus of jail cells!

Comment: Re:Business as usual (Score 2) 139

by kevmeister (#48070853) Attached to: NASA Asks Boeing, SpaceX To Stop Work On Next-Gen Space Taxi

It's not automatic, but it's not rare. I worked on several telecom contracts worth many millions of USD for a federal agancy. Of the four times this basic contract was bid, for OC-3, OC12, and 10GE and most recently, 100GE including IRUs on the fiber, the award was only challenged once. A different bidder won on each re-bid.

The challenge no doubt cost the taxpayers a great deal of money and delayed deployment for almost a year. I am extremely thankful that it never happened again!

Comment: Re:Completely converted house to LED, 3 have died. (Score 1) 602

by kevmeister (#48003883) Attached to: The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

Bad caps are a common issue in cheap products of all sorts. Computers had lots of power supplies dying off a few years ago and CFLs have had the same issue. A couple of years ago I bought four CFLs. All died in under a week. I took one apart and found a failed capacitor. I assume all four were from the same production run and all had the same low quality but very cheap caps. All were Lowe's house brand and were far less expensive than the Philips or other CFLs and I'm sure that the components were the very cheapest that the manufacturer could find and probably with specs that were lower than any quality manufacturer would allow. I didn't check, so it is also possible that they were installed backwards, but they tool a little too long to die for this to be likely

My house is 18 years old and almost all of the original incandescent lights are still working fine.Not a single one of the 14 flood lights in the house has ever failed even though those in the kitchen are used quite a bit. I have replaced almost half of my ten CFLs, some more than once. None is over 3 years old

My biggest issue was that the ones I used were top-rated in Consumer Reports. They did not do any life testing nor did they tear down any units to look at the components. I just hope the much more expensive LEDs I have now installed have fewer issues. I'm sticking to name brands with these as well as CFLs. None of these has failed as of today.

Comment: Re:No surprise (Score 1) 226

by kevmeister (#47952299) Attached to: Google's Doubleclick Ad Servers Exposed Millions of Computers To Malware

It's really not Google or any other advertizing reseller as it is the way ads are normally placed on sites. It makes it nearly impossible for even a careful web site to be safe.

Most ads are delivered as links to blobs of ECMAscript. They are difficult to check for malware even by knowledgeable webmasters. And, even the best don't know when some innocuous blob downloaded by might change to something evil at any time. The whole system is nearly impossible to make secure.

For this reason I run NoScript on all systems. Too bad that it blocks legitimate ads, but I just don't want to deal with the potential infections. It also makes some web pages that make heavy use of multiple external services to work difficult to use. Video and streaming are the worst, but I find it to be worth the occasional pain.

Comment: Re:This happened to me (Score 2) 819

Last year on a flight from Hawaii to the US I was told by the flight attendant that I was too tall (6'2") to fly coach and that if I was in coach on another of her flight, I would be removed. She said that the woman in front of me had the absolute right to recline all the way and that it was up to me to adjust myself to a position where she could do so.If my legs were too long, that was my problem.

It was rather annoying to be chastised for being too tall (I'm hardly a giant) when I have had to share a quarter of my rather narrow seat with an obese person (where I was chastised for not understanding that passengers of size must be accommodated. Guess people over 6' tall need to start a group to get recognized as protected group so we get priority over the lean-back crew.

Oh, and after she could not lean back all the way, even with my legs twisted over to the side in very uncomfortable position, the attendant took pity on me and moved the lady in front of me to first class, but then reminded me that she had better not see me in coach again. (She won't. I'll never fly United again.)

Comment: What debt? I don't owe them anything! (Score 1) 570

by kevmeister (#47567001) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'
First, I didn't read TFR. I read the very long newspaper article in the San Jose Merc. I suspect that TFR had most of the same information, but I can't be sure.

The Merc article pointed out that credit cards were not the big issue here. One very significant one was medical bills that were assumed to have been paid by insurance but were not.

Having experienced the volumes of paperwork received from hospitals, doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and so on for a two day hospital stay, two ER visits, and an outpatient surgery, I can believe that people tend to assume that the insurance is taking care of it, but that may not be the case.

I had to make several calls to the hospital billing department because they kept sending claims to the wrong insurance company. I was only aware of this by actually reading every stinking bill and realizing that something was wrong. It would have been easy to have had two very large bills drop to collection before all of the billing and insurance negotiations had completed and I saw that the hospital still wanted a few thousand dollars.

The article made it clear that many people were totally unaware of the debts, often lodged in error to someone with a similar name, even existed until the first contact from the collection agency.

Comment: Re:Could be a different route involved for the VPN (Score 1) 398

That SEEMS to point directly at Verizon as ALTERnet is the Verizon backbone. It was originally the IP backbone of UUnet which was purchased by Worldcom and then picked up out of the bankruptcy by Verizon. So the bottleneck appears to be between the Verizon backbone network and the Verizon ISP network in LA.

At the time Verizon bought it, UUnet and its ALTERnet backbone dominated the Internet. It's shrunk a bit since then.

If you noticed the "SEEMS" and "appears" above, that is because of the complexity of peering and routing in the Internet. Simple traces and such to track down bottlenecks often point to the wrong place. This is made even worse by networks hiding their cores behind MPLS clouds. And, that "hiding" is not to confuse people, but allows for more robustness and faster recovery from things like fiber cuts which don't heal themselves quickly at the routing layer.

I can say with great certainty that many of the comments on this are almost certainly wrong. I especially loved the one about using unused bandwidth on other providers for Netflix to get traffic to Verizon customers. At what Verizon charges for peering, you are not going to find spare capacity just lying around!

Comment: Re:What? (Score 1) 200

There used to be a chart with a nice breakdown of how much the average cable subscriber's bill goes to each of the content providers. ESPN was by far the biggest chunk, Disney/ABC took a good portion, etc. I'd love to see a recent breakdown if anyone has one.

Odd that these should be separately enumerated as ESPN is a part of Disney as is ABC. It's all one happy money printing family.

+ - Highly respected engingeering school graduates more women than men 3

Submitted by kevmeister
kevmeister (979231) writes "Harvey Mudd College, a highly regarded engineering school in Claremont, California, announced that 56% of the latest graduating engineering class was female.

The article makes it clear that Harvey Mudd did put substantial effort into increasing female participation in STEM majors and that the overall graduating class or 2014 was almost half women.

Looks like (with effort) it is possible to get women interested in STEM."

Thrashing is just virtual crashing.