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Comment Re:Not unlimited, 7 GB (Score 1) 331

One thing worth noting about the difference between 'how laptops use internet' and 'how phones use internet' is that computers will open up TCP connections like they're going out of style, whereas mobile devices are generally optimized to avoid that. The switching gear on the carrier side assumes the latter, not the former. It may not necessarily tax spectrum, but it will tax the networking gear, especially if you're torrenting.

OK, it's been a couple of years since I built 3G SGSN/GGNS "routers" for mobile internet, but that's not how the system worked back then at least. The network didn't know, or care about individual TCP connections from the subscriber. In fact, the network didn't really care about the mobile data at all. All the data to and from the mobile was/is heavily tunneled. The only parameter of the user traffic the network ever even looked at was the IP address. And even that was very limited. The destination address was checked for incoming traffic to the mobile to decide which tunnel to put it in. The source address of the mobile's packet was checked on egress from the network, if egress filtering (to prevent the mobiles from doing IP spoofing) was enabled.

This was by cultural design, i.e. given the option telecoms people will bury their problems under yet another layer of the communications stack. But, by happy accident, it's what preserved the security of the provider networks, more or less. We haven't had any major, large scale outages due to e.g. mobile worms etc, as it's very difficult to affect what the network is doing by sending IP-traffic over it. The network basically doesn't listen to the traffic in the tunnel and hence can't be affected by it.

Now, the ugly thing on the horizon when I left was deep packet inspection, and indeed if you do deep packet inspection then you can run out of resources to do TCP connection tracking. However, the network isn't really dependent on this to "work" (well shaping is a possible exception). So the answer to that question then, to the providers that complain is "Cry me a river. If it hurts when you do that. Don't do that then!"

P.S. If they changed all this in 4G, i.e. making the network more sensitive to what the mobile actually does on the network level, then, I'm of course all ears.

Comment Re: No one should *ever* wonder why... (Score 1) 275

BTW,I have gay friends and have had gay roommates all while still believing in God. And yes I have black friends and have dated women from a variety of nationalities all while being a conservative Christian. Can you all say the same?

Nope. I've never been a conservative Christian, so as that's a necessary condition, I'm going to have to go with "no".

Comment Re: Vietnam (Score 1) 282

It is possible to win a counter-insurgency campaign...

Yes, sure. Witness the British in Malaya, or Kenya to take just two examples.

However, the Vietnamese situation was complicated by external state actors, the North, the Soviet Union. Even if you could have isolated the southern insurgents from their supporting base, (Either the decent way, like Malaya, or the deplorable way, like in Kenya), they could still have received substantial support from the North, like they did during the majority of the war. So any strategy would have had to be two pronged, both a "hearts and minds" to isolate insurgents from their support in the south (the US didn't have the stomach for a Kenyan solution, which is a good thing), and a military intervention against supporting external regimes and their supply lines. Without the latter part, the insurgents would still have had much too much wind in their sails, for too long.

As it was, they couldn't get popular support, in no small part due to the corruption of the southern regime, and a decisive military intervention was politically impossible. A no-win situation if there ever was one.

And even with the right strategy, counter insurgencies take time. Something the US doesn't have, as their political will, and hence staying power has been, and probably will always be, low.

Comment Re: Vietnam (Score 1) 282

Yes. We're in violent agreement there. The problem with fighting an insurgency is that they need only to not lose for them to win, while you need to actually decisively win, to, well, win.

Since the politics of the situation prevented actually striking decisively against the North (which would also have been costly in its own right) or even their supply routes through neighbouring countries, the war was "un-winnable" from the start. Given the situation the best that could have been achieved was a drawn out occupation by security forces of a pacified rural south. Probably complete with an East German "iron curtain" border. Like Korea but much, much worse. (Speaking of the border situation. Not the pacification.)

A pretty crappy situation to be in politically and economically in either case.

Comment Re: Vietnam (Score 1) 282

The Tet offensive in 1968, which garnered a lot of negative media attention in the US, effectively broke the back of the NVA. Until that offensive there were quite a few "traditional" battles. Remember, the NVA was a professional military force complete with armor and aircraft (in the case of the North Vietnamese air force). For several years after this the US was mainly fighting the VC (the guys in black pajamas), not the NVA.

It was actually the other way around. The Tet offensive broke the back of the "VC". They bore the brunt of the onslaught and after the dust had settled the North had to fill in the ranks of the "VC" with regular north Vietnamese troops, NVA. One third of the troops in the south were NVA after Tet, that's how large the losses were. (In fact the unequal losses have made some historians speculate that the whole point of the Tet offensive was to bleed the south dry so that the north could take over. But that's very speculative, and probably going much too far). Didn't matter much in the end, since the north could make up those losses without much trouble.

Now, as others have stated, the main US problem with the Tet offensive wasn't that it was successful, It was militarily mostly a complete failure. However, the US message at home was that "We're winning this, the enemy isn't putting up much of a fight, it'll be over in a year or so". Tet proved decisively that that wasn't true. So even if it took years for the opposition to build up their forces to where they could be a real threat again, strategically and politically it weakened the US position substantially.

Comment Re:We need more carrot, not more stick (Score 1) 170

He was taking longer to resolve the tickets because he was taking on the more difficult cases.

Had the exact same issue in the papers in my city with a heart surgeon that had a markedly higher death rate than the others. He must be bad, right?

Wrong. He had the most deaths because he was the best and most experienced they had. He was the one that got all the cases the others didn't want or could handle. So, the correct metric for his cases wasn't how many that died, but how many that didn't i.e. who's lives he saved. If the "higher performing" surgeons were the only ones available, then fewer people would have died in surgery, but much more patients would have died overall. They would just had been given nursing care, and a "sorry, there's nothing we can do for you".

Statistics can only answer the questions you ask...

Comment Re:And all they wanted was a faster horse (Score 1) 732

P.S. And I forgot. While dedicated ARM-missiles are one thing. More and more radar guided missiles have a "home on jam" mode, and likewise a "home on radar" mode. Giving them the kind of capability that if you want to survive, you keep your radar off.

It must by necessity also be a feature of the F-35, since forward area stealth is useless if you turn your radar on. If you're actively emitting signals, passive stealth becomes completely useless.

Comment Re:And all they wanted was a faster horse (Score 1) 732

And FYI, BVR missiles have worked, and are working, They are getting better and better, which is why the guys who really know this stuff, whose lives depend on it ... keep investing in them. They're not the end-all-be-all, so they also invest in the rest of the WEZ's ... that doesn't make BVR missiles useless.

Nope. That's not the reason at all. The reason is that they're expensive as hell. And you don't get filthy stinking rich by selling cheap stuff that works to the USAF...

BVR works against large and slow bombers/transports etc. You can't expect it to work against an airplane that can manoeuvre. The physics of a coasting missile with little in the way of aerodynamic control doesn't allow it. They're valuable to harass the enemy and making him manoeuvre (i.e. as a "pusher"), but not much else.

Comment Re:And all they wanted was a faster horse (Score 1) 732

Not for shooting a missile from an fighter that's much closer to the target than the AWACS. Even if the AWACS has a better radar, it's not that much better, and it's much, much, further away. (Assuming a competent enemy here). AWACS are extremely vulnerable and have to be kept far away from the action.

So a BVR missile shot on data from an AWACS isn't going to happen, no matter what the brochure might say.

Comment Re:And all they wanted was a faster horse (Score 1) 732

If we were in an actual war with an actual enemy (as opposed to the ridiculous occupations we've fucked about with since the 1960s), no one would give a fucking shit about "rules of engagement"...

Yepp they would. The rules against BVR engagements in the kind of scenario we're talking about isn't there to preclude civilian casualties, they're mainly there to prevent you from shooting down your own planes and helicopters.

Even today, in a civilian world, you can't keep track of all your aircraft, and IFF won't save you, because it isn't nearly reliable enough. (And can't be, since, physics and technology sets limitations).

Comment Re:And all they wanted was a faster horse (Score 0) 732

Not unless they're faster than you. Which they're not. and the F-35's stealth capabilities pretty much ensure it's going to get the first shot at BVR.

Nope. In order to shoot BVR you must use your radar. If you switch on your radar, you're no longer stealthy (radar warning receivers are much longer range than radar), and you can expect an anti-radiation missile heading your way real soon now.

That's assuming that BVR missiles work. They don't. Never have, and probably won't in the foreseeable future. (The range is about a third of the stated for one thing.)

Comment Re:Chindogu (Score 1) 110

So yes, wearing giant bug-glasses, or a Jedi robe, or an IR LED tiara, or any other obvious means of concealing my face would stand out like a sore thumb to a human reviewing the footage; if it keeps the camera from automatically checking me in and out of some Big Brother sponsored version of FourSquare, however, I'd call that a drastic improvement vs an increasingly obvious future state of zero privacy.

That is a very good point that is too often ignored. Manual processing hurts. It's hurts so badly that it moves the idea from "let's do that" into "can't be done" territory ninety nine times out of a hundred. The differences in cost between being able to do something automatically with computers and having to do it manually, whether that is watching a security camera, or summing the general ledger, is often several orders of magnitude.

If we can force big brother, or any of his smaller siblings, to do his data processing by hand, then we've quite frankly won... It's not the availability, or not, of the sensitive data in the abstract sense that's the problem. It's the ability to do something with that data cheaply and efficiently that's the deciding factor. Data on an index card in a filing cabinet somewhere is a much, much smaller risk than the same data in an indexed database that's connected to all the other databases in the land, and plenty of computer power to process it.

The index-card scenario takes evil on a Hitler or Stalin scale to turn into a dystopia, but with computers, even a good intention (remember what the road to hell is paved with) is/should be enough to make everybody scramble for the exits. Computers make the situation that much more dangerous.

Comment Re:not likely. (Score 1) 145

Clean room gets around copyright. Patent is a whole other ball of wax. In particular, even if you created a design entirely on your own, if someone else beats you to the punch with a similar enough design to fall under the patent, you're still screwed.

It's even worse than that compared to copyrights. Copyright covers the act of "copying" (and all that entails), i.e. the "building/designing" phase of a patented product. But, with a patented product, not only can't you design/build one that's similar, even though you came up with the idea yourself, you can't even use one. Doesn't matter if you didn't build it, mere usage is also a breech of patent.

Patent trolls have taken this to heart of course, preferably going after users of technology first, users without deep pockets which can be milked for just enough cash and a court case to build a portfolio of successful court cases before they go after the big fish, where the potential payout is.

Comment Re:Patents at work (Score 1) 145

I'm so glad that patents are doing their intended purpose of encouraging progress.

Well, at least they're fostering innovation instead of promoting stagnation..

Since the rest of the world does have to innovate to work around your patents, there's more innovation in society as a whole with patents than would be without... ;-)

Comment Re:Whats left unsaid... (Score 1) 120

The FCC can't strike down a state law. They can argue in court against it or work towards its repeal. They aren't that powerful.

I'm going to have to leave this now, but as a parting shot: The Washington post explicitly says that the FCC does indeed have the power to "preemt" state law (direct quote). (As I understand it without having to go via a court, though I assume that the state can sue the FCC if they want to appeal the decision).

Is this a mischaracterisation of the actual legal process?

As long as we're going to reinvent the wheel again, we might as well try making it round this time. - Mike Dennison