I wonder how many Slashdot readers remember drooling over an HP-67? It was programmable and had external storage. No peripherals, no printer, but real nonetheless.
Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!
hmm that reminds, me what ever happened to internet over electric cables? The elect company's are not saving and replacing old infrastructure as they should be. I've seen plenty of news stories about how bad our grids are and how everything needs to be replaced but is not. Who owns the cables??
The neighborhood grid is owned by a single delivery company (AEP in most of central Ohio), while the generation is provided by "competitors".
The U.S. generally does not have broadband over power lines for two reasons:
- We have more transformers, each with a smaller step-down ratio, than other countries (Europe, Japan, etc.) since our grid started earlier. BPL needs a repeater over each transformer.
- Ham operators put up a pretty major stink about delivering high bandwidth over power lines due to an expectation of (and possibly experimental data showing) interference.
On the original article topic, I would totally vote to have an entity that is (at least lightly) accountable to citizens/voters in order to put a little competitive pressure on the current crop of duopolists. Digital/internet communication has transformed the way most of us work, and has become non-optional. I believe it's informative to note that many times that localities have tried to provide comms services, the entrenched players usually sue. I'm thinking it's a pretty good gravy train or they wouldn't be so protective of the turf.
I am damn tired of the unreliability of our current grid. I am in central Ohio: our power blinks at least once/month, and every few months it's out for hours. After any real storm, it's a week or more.
If my house weren't surrounded by trees, I would have solar to offset/augment in normal times, and to work when the local power providers fail to deliver service.
I'm with others upthread whose expectation is not that "nuclear is impossible to do properly", but rather "Nuclear is impossible to responsibly here". Executives with authority over large projects have an essentially perfect record of focusing on finances and schedule to the exclusion of all other factors, most notably the safety of the many people who are likely affected by the executives' decisions long after the executives have deployed their golden parachutes.
It's also worth noting that the executives involved have an essentially perfect record of focusing (there's that word again) on the difficulty of proving that increased frequency of negative health effects are due to the facilities that they manage.
So in the context of applying "scientific principles" to policy debates whether the debate is over nuclear safety or AGW, it's my opinion that people with well-financed megaphones argue that "science cannot prove anything" while simultaneously arguing that "scientific proof is required" before taking any action. Works for them, not so much for everyone else.
Some specific examples
- Dangers of smoking
- Nicotine addiction
- Effects of polychlorinated bisphenols
- Groundwater pollution due to nuclear technology
Finally, I'm old enough to remember that the only way to get industrialists off their lazy asses in the 60's and 70's was by "government action". "Self-regulation" wasn't worth a good GodDamn.
I tend to favor light regulation to ensure a level playing field, or alternatively a way to ensure a large enough pool of providers that customers have choices.
I really HATE the idea of reducing the market power of the end customer. It is my opinion that the current stream-of-consciousness rulemaking from the current FCC chair has that goal in mind. As things are progressing, with large content-providers being stuck with paying priority upcharge fees for the bandwidth and connectivity that THEY ALREADY PAY FOR, the ISPs (Comcast, TW, etc.) have another set of partners to collude with, without the need to satisfy the paying customers.
A plan that gives local ISPs a revenue stream other than their end customers is yet another erosion of the power of the customers in the marketplace, which is already so weak that we pay double or more for equivalent access than our international counterparts. Our market power is already severely limited by the lack of ISP choice in most communities, linked to the fact that there are only a few large providers nationwide.
I propose a rule requiring that an ISP's only source of income must be its customers. Is this "government regulation"? Or would it pass muster for the free market fundamentalists out there?
Just one developer's observation... I have not yet seen Google fuck over developers and customers with the naked contempt shown by Microsoft or impenetrable garden wall of Apple.
Being operated by humans, I am sure Google will come over to the dark side and mis-use their market power eventually. Hopefully I'll be retired before then, as I am getting bloody tired of having to change infrastructure every time a formerly functional organization's mis-use of its market power becomes an unbearable burden.
No, "network effects" is the right term.
Apple had a very well-designed, well-built and convenient product with iPod. They followed up with the well-designed and convenient software product, iTunes. iTunes is so profitable and flawlessly exemplifies vendor lock-in, that they followed up with the same model for the iPhone and iPad.
One ecosystem, which just happens to not work very well with other vendors' products, and essentially never with open-platform systems.
That model is even sweeter than Microsoft's lock-in model, which was an improvement over IBM's lock-in model.
The company I work for has implemented some infrastructure with iXxx and they basically regret the decision; Apple's control is *very* effective at many levels, much to our disappointment.
what this means is the memory is not on the same piece of silicon as the CPU, just stuffed in the same chip package.
Which allows the designers to count on carefully controlled impedances, timings, seriously optimized bus widths and state machines, and all the other goodies that come with access to internal structures not otherwise available.
Such a resource could, if used properly, be a significant contributor to performance competitiveness.
Huge bucks spent to prevent states from requiring labeling. A great example is the coalition of the unwilling against California prop 37:
As I've written upthread, I would be fine with GMO if a) I were able to be aware of which products feature it so I can study the literature, b) Decide whether to do business with the dickheads indirectly and most importantly, c) Balance the legal power of the patent holders versus everyone else.
I don't suggest punishing Monsanto or anyone else for designing, building and selling a product. Unlike nearly every other business in the marketplace, Monsanto executives are uniquely interested in *preventing* people from knowing whether their product is part of the consumer end product. My only interest merely to be informed. The idea that fully informing purchasers of food products is "punishment" is very instructive.
I flatly disagree with the assertion that it is "punishment" to require that the marketplace be fully informed, and assert that it's a genuine privilege to block the flow of information that would otherwise be used to fully inform consumer decisionmaking.
I hear executives and PR flacks endlessly bleating about "the free market" but spend big money preventing exactly the information flow that makes the market "free". This is true for Monsanto, it's true for bankers and for many other industries that tend to externalize costs (environmental, health, systemic financial risk, etc.). My wife and I live conservatively to minimize our contribution to the power of these people.
Produced by gene splicing techniques of various kinds.
GMO is probably OK despite some unexpected ecological and personal risk. But the people who collectively "own" the "intellectual property" contained in GM organisms are far more interested in their stock value than the delivered value of their products. Executives have a nearly perfect record of hiding dangers and weaknesses of their products, until shitloads of people are hurt or killed and the effects can no longer be swept under the rug. Then when caught with their pants down, they bleat about "freedom".
I want the freedom to find out who is trying to fuck me over.
So people think that industrial food might give them headaches? Tough shit. The fuckers with all the money and all of the control are welcome to show the safety and effectiveness of their product just like everyone else.
Monsanto gets ZERO special privileges. They have spent fuckloads of money on manipulating public discourse without showing any proper evidence of the long-term effects of the genetic manipulation and much worse, this society has allowed them near monopoly power over important parts of our food supply.
Damn hippies? Who the FUCK do you think controls the discussion? Sure as hell not the greenies or hippies or anyone else not in the club.
FYI, I would not have a problem with GMO food as long as it was not managed as some shithead's private "intellectual property" being used to push around too many farmers.
Greenpeace has marginal effects, at best.
Monsanto on the other hand has a huge iron legal fist, uses it regularly and without remorse.
Farmers are running on the slimmest margins as it is, and shithead patent holders are raking them over the coals.
I want to see a label that allows me to choose not to give my financial support to the shitheads trying to monopolize my food supply.