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Comment: Re:No surprise (Score 1) 223

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."

Comment: Re:His choices... (Score 3, Interesting) 194

by kevmeister (#47351003) Attached to: The Internet's Own Boy

Information doesn't want anything. People want to be free.

While the famous quote is personifying information by implying will, I believe that the statement is effectively true. Nature has no free will, so it is not really true that "Something there is does not like a wall ", but entropy clearly demands that they fall and it looks to me like entropy wants information to be free, as well. It takes a great deal of effort to keep information captive, but almost no effort to release it.

People, on the other hand, purportedly want to be free. It takes serious effort to remain free. And, looking at support by the general public for "Big Brother" government (as long as it keeps us safe), it is not clear that most people even want to be free. :Or, perhaps they (or I) fail to understand what freedom really is.

Comment: Re:What is a gigawatt per hour? (Score 1) 461

by kevmeister (#47322213) Attached to: Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly
Since electrical capacity or consumption is almost always measured in watt-hours, I strongly suspect that the number was 22 gigawatt-hours. Some editor "corrected" the '-' to a '/'. Of course it could be the author who simply misunderstood. To those who never made it to high school physics, gigawatts/hour sounds reasonable. After all, if you don't know what a watt is, you can't have a clue that there is a watt-hour. Most things are measured in something per something (e.g. km/hr or km/liter). Torque is the only hyphenated value most people ever see and few ever take the time to think about what any of them really mean.

Comment: Re:Redbox Instant (Score 2, Informative) 364

by kevmeister (#47196915) Attached to: Netflix Trash-Talks Verizon's Network; Verizon Threatens To Sue

I think you need to learn how routing protocols work. I will give you a hint, unless they are using 20+ year old protocols like RIP v1

I don't think you have worked for a real provider for quite a few years. RIP v1 (which is way more than 20 years old) has been effectively dead for years. Every provider has used either OSPF or ISIS for years. A few smaller providers may still use EIGRP, a pretty good proprietary protocol developed by Cisco. This goes back to at least the beginning of the commercialization of the Internet in the late 90s.

But these shortest-path protocols are only used for "interior" routing. That is, within a single administrative domain, like Verizon or Comcast or the University of California at Berkeley. (All of these entities actually have more than one administrative domain to make things manageable or to deal with organizational requirements.)

Between these domain a border protocol, BGPv4 is universal. It is also fairly stupid as it has no information on the interiors of the networks it is talking to. Instead it has a set of metrics that decide what routes to prefer and filter to control what routes are even accepted from neighbors (usually called 'peers'). There are very few metrics. the main one is called AS path length, or the number of administrative domains between points. It is fairly common to edit this path to make one or another path preferred, usually to prefer less expensive paths. Use the free or cheap path if you can and only use the relatively expensive path when there is no other choice. This is a gross over-simplification, but his i not a networking class.

The North American Network Operators Group (NANOG) has several excellent tutorials on routing protocols free on-line if you want to learn more, but, as simple s BGP is, the actual ways it is implemented get very arcane.

Netflix would probably be interested in evidence that Verizon is deliberately limiting traffic. I'm sure that they would be delighted to hear from anyone who can provide things like records of chats or e-mail where Verizon employees makes statements demonstrating this.

Comment: Re:didn't they decline H264 on Windows a while ago (Score 1) 403

WARNING: Revised history alert

Just a few short years ago Mozilla declined to support X.264 on ALL platforms event though there was a native plugin for Windows and open source support on other platforms. This was because H.264 uses a number of patented techniques and Mozilla wanted VP8, a patent-free codec.H.264 clearly won the war as every other browser supported H.264 for its HTM5 support. There was little support for VP8 (or, later, VP9).

Time passed and uptake on HTML5 using H.264 started growing in popularity. More and more pages failed to load properly on Firefox which increased the use of other browsers. Mozilla accepted the power of the market and added H.264 support to Firefox. Once the "standard" was written to allow DRM blobs, the handwriting was on the wall and Mozilla had learned the lesson well enough to at least provide a good, sandboxed way of supporting the blobs.

Do I like it? Hell, no! But I accept that most people simply don't care and it's either supporting DRM blobs or doing without and, while I might go with "do without", the vast majority will not.

Comment: Several errors in TFA (Score 1) 137

by kevmeister (#47034971) Attached to: Grace Hopper, UNIVAC, and the First Programming Language

While the section on Admiral Hopper looks correct to my knowledge, there were some hitorical flaws.

The UNIVAC I was produced after Remington Rand purchased EMCC, though Grace Hopper did work for EMCC prior to its acquisition a year after she started work there. The UNIVAC I was built by Remington Rand. Four years later, Remington Rand merged all three of their computer related operations into the UNIVAC division. The following year Remington Rand merged with Sperry to become Sperry Rand and the UNIVAC division was renamed as the Univac Division of Sperry Rand. Again, in 1986 Burroughs (another early office equipment company) merged with Sperry Rand to become Unisys. It is incorrect to state that Univac was "acquired" by Unisys as Unisys did not exist unto the merger of Sperry Rand and Burroughs. Wikipedia has what I believe to be a correct history of Univac.

The article also states that "Punch-card calculating machines already existed, but crucially, UNIVAC was programmable." I worked on IBM "Accounting Machines" and I assure you that they were programmable. See the article on the IBM 402 and 403. It was programmed by moving wires on a control card... similar to an old telephone switch board. The control board is pictured in the article. Programming was limited and painful, but it was certainly programmable and surprisingly powerful for its time.

While at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory I was fortunate to attend talk by Admiral Hopper (Ret.), then working for Digital. It was a great talk, but she didn't bring enough nanoseconds for the overflow audience, so I am sad to say that I don't have one, though I did have an RG-59 coax nanosecond I had made myself to explain why cable length was critical to certain synchronized operations.

Comment: Re:No link to opt-out in article? (Score 1) 85

by kevmeister (#46848203) Attached to: Verizon's Plan To Snoop On Its Customers

I went to the Verizon Wireless privacy link and both lines (my wife's and mine) were already opted out. It is very possible that I has previously heard of this and changed my settings, though it was not done recently.

I tried to go to the " autoads" page, but I found that to opt out, I had to enable both javascript (no surprise) and cookies. Also, the opt out is shown as a beta tool, so even if I allow cookies and javascript, who knows if it will actually do anything. Hmmm.

Comment: Re:What's wrong with that list = Heritage Foundati (Score 4, Insightful) 410

by kevmeister (#46264583) Attached to: Obama To Ask For $1 Billion Climate Change Fund

The whole idea of the grants is to get things going. While Tesla got most of its startup funding from Musk, most high-tech companies need money from either a venture capitalist or, if seen as too risky, some sort of grant.

In general, the funded firms companies were long-shots with a very significant up-sides for the nation and the economy, and the environment if they succeeded. It was completely expected that many would fail. If the odds were not long, most of the companies would have gotten private capitalization.

And, yes, several more may yet fail, but even the failures are far from a complete write-off. Some produced some potentially useful tech that could not be monetized before the cash ran out or the value was clear enough to get private funding.

Comment: Re:When I hear "I work 60 hours a week"... (Score 1) 717

by kevmeister (#46257613) Attached to: Your 60-Hour Work Week Is Not a Badge of Honor
Time passes and people forget the past (basically before their parents were adults).

Back at the turn of the century (1901, not 2001), according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics the average work week was 53 hours and the "normal" work week was six 10 hour days. It really didn't change much until 1926 when Henry Ford reduced the work week at Ford Motor Co, to 40 hours, though the average work day had been slowly dropping from 10 to 8 hours before that time. But Ford was most likely the first major company to drop from a six to five day work week.

So, yes, people CAN work 60 hours a week and your grandparents (or great grandparents) probably did unless they were farmers. Farmers worked longer hours.

Uncertain fortune is thoroughly mastered by the equity of the calculation. - Blaise Pascal

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