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Comment: Re:What's so American (Score 1) 525

Took this to Twitter the other night and Phil Kerpen and some of his friends really got in to it with me. https://twitter.com/mgcarley/s... (https://twitter.com/mgcarley/status/504773718250229760)

Not that they were able to actually have a rational argument - it was more FUD and name-calling than anything else. And of course they brought up Obamacare because, that has everything to do with this topic.

For those interested, the tweets between @kerpen, @ElBuehn, @BillyGribben, and @SetonMotley are from August 27 at https://twitter.com/mgcarley/w...

Comment: Re:Monopolistic thuggish behavior (Score 1) 335

India is far from a "Randian paradise" yet has all those features - to the point where sometimes I think India is even more capitalistic than the US (and I'm not from either country).

They call it "baksheesh" - I used to resist paying baksheesh A LOT but now (and it wasn't until after I came to the US that I realized) I kind of see it as a cross between a token of appreciation (like a tip, which in the US is acceptable in certain situations) and a bribe (being that it's not just limited to restaurants).

And in a weird and twisted way it sort of works, although the quality of anything isn't very high - case in point being potable water - but to combat that, I can just buy a big 30-something litre (10 gallons or so) of drinking water for about $1.

BUT, probably the reason for the system actually "functioning" is not because you have to "tip" for every little thing, but because the amounts are so small (a few hundred rupees or maybe $5 tops - affordable even for the Indian middle-class) - unlike the US where you'd probably be looking at something like a hundred dollars for each thing (so, not so affordable even for the US middle-class).

Of course, it's not just limited to public entities - paying an extra $3-5 (equivalent) directly to the installer will get your phone service connected tomorrow instead of next month, so keeping in mind that India's middle class income is around US$10k these days (about 30% up in the 6-ish years I've been involved with that country), so to get a realistic comparison, a worker in the US accepting a "tip" for faster service or whatever could only be in the vicinity of about $15-25.

Comment: Re:Monopolistic thuggish behavior (Score 1) 335

They really don't. I've yet to see a single franchise agreement that says "sole" or "exclusive".

The problem is that the companies (or municipalities, or both) find *other* ways to stymie the deployment of alternatives (high pole connection fees, stalling permits, lawsuits galore -- just to name a few).

One public works director even told me to go wireless.

Comment: Re:Monopolistic thuggish behavior (Score 1) 335

Careful... I got called a communist and a "useful idiot" (whatever the fuck that's supposed to mean) by some nutjobs (including Phil Kerpen and his friends) on Twitter the other night for suggesting something akin to this (and supporting Net Neutrality/Title II).

They (well, mostly Phil) couldn't present a rational argument or identify the specific clauses they (he) disagree(s) with so they all just went full-retard and resorted to name calling. Of course, being a nerd, I've dealt with far worse in my lifetime so I couldn't help but chuckle.

Comment: Because they can? (Score 1) 181

by mgcarley (#47726153) Attached to: Netflix CEO On Net Neutrality: Large ISPs Are the Problem

You pretty much answered your own question in the summary.

That is the position the large ISPs are taking (on the surface, anyway): we have the only lines the customer can use because we "own" that area, they can't switch, it's us or nothing.

The way I look at it, however is that if I were to peer directly with Netflix and/or host a Netflix cache (even at my own expense in the data center), prospective subscribers (the ones who care, who are also most likely the ones will pay the most) are going to subscribe to my ISP over my competition because we can use it as a selling point: "Hey, your Netflix will never buffer and it will come through at HD quality" - and if we added the bonus that "Hey, Netflix traffic won't count towards your cap" (if a cap is imposed) the customer is going to think the service is the bees knees... then word of mouth happens.

And all of this I think makes yet another great case for open/common infrastructure (not even municipalities running their own ISPs but companies who own distribution networks simply making the infrastructure available and saying to ISPs "here it is, have at it").

Imagine if the existing providers were forced to split in to infra/retail divisions and sell access to the infra at fair and equal wholesale prices to any ISP, thus allowing companies like Google or Sonic.net or any of the other smaller ISPs all around the country to be able to offer services over any infrastructure they could get access to!

Imagine if Comcast, TWC, AT&T, Verizon and so on all of a sudden had to actually compete on quality/customer service etc?

The large ISPs would of course need to be really forced - kicking, screaming and probably throwing tantrums along the way - but I would love to see something like this in America.

Comment: Re:S-class driver with a soda can? Please... (Score 1) 163

by mgcarley (#47599819) Attached to: Fooling a Mercedes Into Autonomous Driving With a Soda Can

100k EUR for the cheapest one, yes. Significantly more with all the mod-cons and larger back seat.

Either way, I have a feeling that people with 6-figure salaries (save yahoos/yuppies and such) - and especially Germans with this income level - tend toward consuming healthier things than soda, instead probably opting for Perrier water or something - at least I've never any of my friends parents (who are the type who would own an S-Class) drink anything resembling a Coke.

Hell, even regular Germans tip the beer in to a glass rather than drink straight out of the can (save maybe university students, but that kind of reinforces the point).

But yes, the post was tongue in cheek... a Maybach would probably be more representational of the Chauffer-driven types ;)

Comment: Re: 20 megawatts (Score 1) 195

by mgcarley (#47590271) Attached to: Inside BitFury's 20 Megawatt Bitcoin Mine

Depending on where you're flying from (the last couple of times I've been it's been from Chicago but I've also gone to/from there via Germany, Ukraine and Qatar depending on where I was starting), the fares are surprisingly reasonable.

And changing money from USD/EUR/GBP is easy to do just about anywhere once you get there.

Comment: Re:20 megawatts (Score 1) 195

by mgcarley (#47589785) Attached to: Inside BitFury's 20 Megawatt Bitcoin Mine

...Just checking but... you're aware of where the Republic of Georgia is, right? (I couldn't find the source of what you seemed to be quoting, so I'm not sure of the context).

The country has good high-speed Internet access (far better than the US, especially in Tbilisi, but even outside Tbilisi it's pretty good), relatively cheap real-estate, cheap-ish labour, relatively good banking system, relatively temperate climate compared to much of Europe and the power supply seems pretty stable - at least I've never experienced a power outage in any of the time I've spent there (probably a cumulative total of about a year over several visits) - and, compared to some other former-Soviet nations it's not doing too badly on the government/political/diplomatic front, either.

For that matter, I'd highly recommend a visit - while technically not in Europe, Tbilisi in particular feels and looks quite European. From the US you can fly Turkish airlines from large airports (like Chicago) to Tbilisi via Istanbul; within the EU, Lufthansa flies from Munich (or if you're feeling adventurous, several airlines can take you via Kiev or Odessa), from Asia, Qatar Airways via Doha (with an hour stop in Baku).

Passports from most developed countries (US/CA, UK/EU, AUS/NZ, Singapore etc) don't even need to arrange a visa before visiting: just show up at the border and get a stamp and use of English is not entirely out of the question (Russian or German may help, but they'll be super-impressed if you learn a few Georgian words).

Comment: Re:Past due not reported by companies (Score 1) 570

by mgcarley (#47583817) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Seriously, I moved to the US last year... and I'm shocked that I can't pay my bills electronically and automatically... WTF?
I have never used a check before coming to the US, no wonder people end up in collections because of wrong addresses, etc.

Please tell me you're trolling and not really this ignorant.

I've lived in the US my whole life, currently reside in a town of about 20,000 people, and I haven't paid using a check for anything besides my rent for about 15 years now. My cable, electric, water, trash, phone, Netflix, credit cards, etc. can all be paid electronically, and set up to automatically pay what's due (or any amount of my choosing) every month, on-time, via their websites. Although I prefer to keep a few things on manual for better control, all the bills can still be seen online with all the pertinent information & due dates.

I'm in a similar boat. While you can pay online for some stuff (electricity, internet), around here you get charged a "convenience fee", which in the case of my most recent electric bills can be equivalent to as high as 10% of the bill itself. Fuck that - that is not convenient, that is a blatant ripoff. As far as I know, I can't pay the water/trash/sewer online though and definitely wasn't able to pay the rent online.

The only reason I'd ever used checks before coming to the US is because I also lived in and have interests in India where it's mostly a check/cash based economy.

Having lived in several other countries through Europe, the Middle East, East-Asia and Oceania, I would also suggest that the whole bill-payment process in the US is backwards and old-fashioned. Even in the early 2000's I could pay 100% of my stuff online (including rent/mortgage/credit cards) in countries like NZ and Finland.

Comment: Foreigners vs Locals (Score 1) 96

by mgcarley (#47583175) Attached to: Google's Mapping Contest Draws Ire From Indian Government

It could also have something to do with the fact that normally foreigners are not allowed in cantonments and other restricted areas and so the use of locals opens both sides up to problems.

My visa specifically mentions which cities I can live in (so I must register with the FRRO in either of those cities; as far as I know, I don't think I can just up and move from say Delhi or Mumbai to somewhere else without getting some additional permitting or a replacement visa first) but it also says "not valid for prohibited / restricted and cantonment areas" meaning I can't even visit those places without getting permission first (which could be a pain in the ass if someone were to actually check my documents as I move around, because sometimes the only way to get from A to B is through such an area).

So apart from the replies concerning bribery (probably a factor), the government may simply be annoyed that Google is recruiting Indians to do stuff for a foreign entity which involves "areas of interest", which is fair enough I suppose - if said foreign entity were a government, wouldn't that basically amount to spying?

Comment: Re:Symmetrical? (Score 1) 234

by mgcarley (#47542979) Attached to: Verizon Boosts FiOS Uploads To Match Downloads

I fully 100% agree with you and I'm aware there is plenty of legal p2p traffic. I love when our users use all that sort of stuff and our last-mile networks are designed to take advantage of all that sort of thing, with what you might call "hyper-local" caches from a Bulgarian company, and to a lesser extent users can get direct connections through applications like good old DC++ and such (and it saves them on their traffic quotas if they have one).

A large percentage of ISPs in the US are clecs or resellers in some form or another and have nearly zero control over last mile delivery or local access. Including ourselves to a large extent, so the offerings aren't nearly as cool as they are elsewhere.

What I was referencing though was the idea for Netflix to build or license a client like Popcorn Time which utilizes p2p (currently in a not legal way, though obviously if Netflix rebuilt it to access Netflix' library it would be distributing it's content under license), because, in my own experiments, PT has proven itself to me to work better than Netflix on my own connection in the US (and with a higher quality stream) - especially during certain times of the day.

Plus, as far as I can ascertain it would make that whole "Netflix on Linux" issue easier (depending on the DRM) -- no more hacky silverlight nonsense. Probably.

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