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Comment: Re:Excellent (Score 1) 136

by kilfarsnar (#48212871) Attached to: Proposed Penalty For UK Hackers Who "Damage National Security": Life

This widens the legal basis to lock up most of the UK government, parliament and secret services for good, as well as many foreign (mostly US) government employees. When will the trials start?

Nope, all that is authorized so it doesn't fall under this law. It's kind of like how the US government defines terrorism as non-state actors using violence against the public for political gain. The key is "non-state". That way when the CIA uses a secret bombing campaign to turn the population of a foreign country against its leaders, it's not terrorism.

Comment: Re:Awesome quote (Score 1) 232

Comcast and Time Warner Cable have divided up most of the U.S. between themselves, and voluntarily choose not to compete in their respective areas. That's illegal anti-competitive practice,

No, it is not. They aren't keeping anyone else from competing, they've just made a reasonable business decision that it would not be profitable for one of them to compete with the other in an already built area, or to try building out at the same time. It's not profitable for two companies to build out the same area and wind up with only half the potential customers. Fixed costs are the same, spread over half the customers, meaning the prices go up. Your desire to be able to choose would mean that everyone would pay more for the same service, not less.

Apparently there is something keeping people from competing if a major player decides it's not worth it to compete.

Comment: Re:Awesome quote (Score 1) 232

No, No No No!!!! It doesn't matter if they are a wolf in wolf's clothing! They have a service to sell, and users should be free to to use it if they so choose. What we should be against is any subsidization, special treatment, or monopolistic practices, always rooted in government. It is a fact, that monopolies can only exist for any great length of time with the help of a government law or regulation insuring their monopolistic status (with only one notable exception: The London DeBeers Corporation) .

It's a fact? Can you even come close to supporting that assertion? We have anti-trust laws specifically because players in a capitalistic system are incentivized to gain as much market share as possible up to 100%.

A monopoly exists and extorts their customers by jacking up prices, or delivering goods and services of a less than desirable quality. Barring any regulation preventing new competition, a competitor will always enter the market; because someone will have a business plan to either lower the cost, holding the quality constant, or raise the quality, holding the cost constant. In the US, capital is not a barrier to entry, as some investment house, or other financial mechanism is always looking to exercise their capital on a solid business plan.

What? Capital is not a barrier to entry because anyone with a good business plan will always be able to find funding? That sounds nice on paper, but I don't think it works that way in the real world. I don't know how much it would cost to try to break into the cable TV business, but I expect it's in the hundreds of millions. Who is going to put hundreds of millions on the line for someone with just a good plan? Not with my money!

That is how free markets work. When there is good competition, you have the highest available quality, and the lowest cost, the market will bear. Choice is good, so long as the costs are realized, and not passed on to tax payers, who are then forced to be come a customer (via a lack of options, or because their taxes have already paid or partially paid for a good or service). These councils need to get out of the business of "selecting" the internet provider and let the free market run its course. The outcome will always be what the customers choose, which is usually a variety of competitors, and thats a good thing!

Choice is good, I agree. But then you say as long as all these things that happen, don't happen. When will libertarians get it through their heads that governments create the framework for markets and that "free" markets do not exist? Econ 101 works because it makes all kinds of unrealistic assumptions about supply and demand and competition and consumer information. You sound like you have come up with the way it should work, and overlaid that on the way it does work.

Comment: Re:What's the Press Office for? (Score 3, Insightful) 111

by kilfarsnar (#48158685) Attached to: Journalists Route Around White House Press Office
Everyone should see the movie Network. It is absolutely brilliant. The dearth of investigative journalism has a lot to do with news departments being expected to turn a profit and get ratings. Once that requirement is in place, everything will be subordinated to the bottom line. Journalism stops and profit seeking begins.

Comment: Re: If I were president... (Score 2) 111

by kilfarsnar (#48158607) Attached to: Journalists Route Around White House Press Office

Your kind are idealists, thinking you can just be 100% open and all will be well. Well, hate to tell you so, but if you step out of your mothers basement you will learn the real world just isn't that way.

It's not that all will be well if you are transparent. It's that you have a commitment to the truth and are honest in your dealings. The old saying that it's not the crime, it's the coverup remains true. And even if it's not a coverup, but just trying to spin the news, that type of behavior causes people to distrust you.

I don't trust much of what I hear in the news, because I know this dynamic is in place. When I hear that ISIL is rolling across Syria and Iraq, and that they are a threat to the US, I think, "Yeah, sure. What aren't you telling me?" The reasons we are given are never the true or complete reasons. In a democracy, that's a problem, and an old one.

The population in the US is presented with an artificially simple view of what their government is doing and what is going on around the world. Things in both arenas are often complicated. It's much easier to just present a picture of good guys fighting bad guys that keeps things straightforward, than to deal with the nuance and deeper details. It's easier for the news media and for the administration. But it's not accurate, and ends up giving people a skewed view of the world. It's convenient for the establishment and destructive to democracy. You can't make good decisions with bad information. And it enables the powers that be to mislead the public in the direction they want them to go.

Comment: Re:Advertiser tracking (Score 1) 86

by kilfarsnar (#48151107) Attached to: Millions of Voiceprints Quietly Being Harvested

I'm also thinking Facebook might be interested in this for general advertising tracking like the above. They do offer voice calls now. If these companies all share voiceprints it would largely be game over from being tracked.

Except if you're not dumb enough to use any of this stupid garbage, which is useless in the first place.

You should see the looks I get when I tell people I specifically do not have a Facebook account. It's like I'm telling them I don't use a telephone.

Comment: Re:Not only in Finland. (Score 1) 314

How can we be expected to respect law enforcement when they pull crap like that?

Because they'll kill you if you don't.

The problem with getting though with crime is that it means the police is expected to be though. And this is how though guys act. This is, always has been, and always will be, the price you pay for demanding "thoughness": you'll get fascism.

Americans brought this on themselves.

Well, sure, but brute force only works for so long and in certain circumstances. The more people lose respect for and become hostile to the police, the less the police will be able to keep order. "Do what I say or I'll kill you" is not a stable mode of operation in the long term.

Comment: Re:Fundamentals (Score 1) 213

by kilfarsnar (#48150665) Attached to: Microsoft, Facebook Declare European Kids Clueless About Coding, Too

What I learned that help me do this, was how to learn. Start teaching that, and you will find they are prepared for whatever comes down the line in the future. Stop making automatons.....

But then they might go learn what they want to learn, and not what big business needs them to learn. Can't have that!

Comment: Re:Apparently (Score 1) 213

by kilfarsnar (#48150215) Attached to: Microsoft, Facebook Declare European Kids Clueless About Coding, Too

Still, one could make the case that many more people need to learn how to program (am I an old geezer already if I hate the term "to code" for this particular activity?) than to become professional programmers, just like many more people historically needed to learn how to write than to become professional writers.

I don't think that analogy holds up. Everyone needs to know how to write to be able to get through life in the modern world. Why does the barista who made my coffee this morning, or the woman down the hall in the marketing department need to know how to write a computer program? They don't. Heck, I'm a Sys Admin and I don't know how to program! Sure, I understand the basic concepts of what coding is and can write a shell script or a batch file (I'm getting into Powershell too). But I don't consider that programming.

From what I see everyday, people would be better off knowing how the technology they use everyday works. They have no idea, from what I can see. People should understand the relationship between clients, servers and networks, what a file system is, etc.; basic computer concepts. Maybe kids these days already know that stuff. But judging from the questions I'm asked on a regular basis, people see their smartphone as a little magic box with a touchscreen. That seems dangerous to me, since it leaves them vulnerable to unscrupulous people with more understanding of the tech.

Comment: Re:Local Backups (Score 1) 150

by kilfarsnar (#48149361) Attached to: If Your Cloud Vendor Goes Out of Business, Are You Ready?

I know everyone loves to hate on "Cloud", but it serves as a great and easy option for off-site backups. That being said, if you are dumb enough to rely only on the cloud for backups with no local copies backed up, then you deserve everything that is coming your way when your cloud service mysteriously drops off the face of the earth.

Part of this is that many of us have suits coming up to us all the time saying this or that should be in the Cloud. They have no idea what they're talking about or whether the Cloud is an applicable solution. They just know it's the new hotness and think their boss will be impressed if they do things in the Cloud. We then have to explain why it may not be the best solution, and risk being seen as an obstacle to leveraging the Cloud. Plus, the Cloud is marketing speak and is annoying to those of us who like to talk about what we're actually talking about.


"Irrationality is the square root of all evil" -- Douglas Hofstadter