maxx_entropy writes: An Ann Arbor , MI based group, Air Blade Rinks is launching a new team sport, played on a zero friction air-pressurized playing surface the size of a standard hockey rink. A prototype rink has been built and the group has a kickstarter campaign in process to fund the construction of the full size version. Link to Original Source
The U.S. Attorney's Office has scheduled a news conference today to announce the indictment of 11 people in a major Internet spam investigation. It described the indictment as one of the largest nationwide. Among the indicted are Alan Ralsky of West Bloomfield, his son-in-law and nine others. They were indicted in Detroit on charges of running an illegal Internet spam operation. Link to Original Source
maxx_entropy writes: I have a cottage in Northern Michigan in an Internet "dead zone." Phone service in the area is provided by SBC/AT&T off an RT about 5000' from the cottage. Said RT is not equipped for DSL nor "will it ever be" according to some of the service techs I have stopped along the road. Charter Cable has not wired the particular area (but can under a their franchise agreement) — their physical plant ends about 500 yards from the cottage area. Satellite is of course available, but the performance leaves much to be desired. I found a friendly person at a local store (about 5000' away) who would be willing to backhaul cable modem service to me if I can find a suitable transmission method. Wireless is out of the question due to extensive foliage and geography. So I thought maybe a leased copper pair from the store to the cottage with a pair of SDSL modems pushing the bits. Boy was I surprised at the insane pricing quoted to me from AT&T — for a "VG-32" dry pair circuit (nothing on it, no battery, just DC continuity) , cross-connected at the RT for a total distance of maybe 6000' — get this — $175/month plus $700 installation. I asked about their tariffed "UNE-L" at $10.75/mo — answer — "only available to CLECs." Here's an official response from an AT&T manager:
"I went back to look at the options for a non digital point to point
services. A VG service is direct analog service channel which provides
voice transmission capability between two points. There are a few
option of the VG, basic analog, exchange tariff, voice grade services of
which the VG32 is the least expensive. The product offering is a month
to month service, so that works well with your business model of a
possible short term solution.
The RT location is irrelevant in the design or pricing of these copper
channels. The rates that you were quoted are accurate assuming that you
do not want the Data Conditioning on the line which provides data
transmission characteristics; that capability adds an addition $600 to
the installation. The VG 32 is not designed to be used for data
transmission off of a DSLAM, so the probability of the service working
to a desirable level without the data conditioning is doubtful."
This seems to be utter BS as all DSL installs these days are done without "data conditioning." Good grief, imagine the costs were proper "data conditioning" be performed your standard consumer DSL service? AT&Ts solution was $100/mo 144kbps IDSL service or $700/mo T-1 service. Old fashioned 1001-A alarm circuits don't seem to be on the price list anymore. Welcome to our de-regulated world.
So, gentle readers, has anyone out there found a way around this insane pricing model? Is it still possible to "roll your own" DSL or has the phone company priced all copper to discourage all competing uses?