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Comment Re:Cop video storage is a moral hazard for Taser (Score 1) 98

The thing is, I don't think it would be a stated business strategy.

The nature of most moral hazards isn't that they're obvious conspiracies to do the wrong thing, but a set of biases and bad incentives that lend themselves to creating a situation where bad choices get made.

As an example, drug addiction is a moral hazard for doctors. Doctors know that drugs can be habit forming. We expect doctors to be experts in administering them, to have reasonable ease of access to them for treating patients as best they can. The doctor believes his own expertise will prevent him from getting addicted to them. But expertise plus overconfidence in their own knowledge plus access results in a ton of doctors getting hooked on drugs.

Taser for the most part sells stuff to cops. Taser would like to keep cops happy and keep buying cop stuff. Taser "knows its market" and understands what they want. At some point the desire to make money selling stuff to cops and knowing what cops want lends itself to creating holes in accountability, not because some executive said "they're good guys and good customers, they shouldn't get dragged down because some douchebag criminal got a good attorney" but because they want to please their market for reasons that are independently all completely normal and reasonable.

With automated systems, it's much harder to argue that the problem wasn't deliberate.

"When asked why the body camera video of the police beating didn't exist, despite the system supposedly being automated to upload them to remote secure storage, officials noted that 'network limitations' caused by 'budget constraints' prevented the video from being immediately uploaded as originally designed. Police data networks were overwhelmed when the system was first rolled out and the vendor, Taser, Inc, added an on-site caching feature that uploaded the videos in a slower and more controlled fashion to prevent network overload. A problem with the caching server at Police HQ caused 'only a handful' of videos to be lost and Taser officials said this risk will be fixed in a new version available sometime next year."

Desire to sell your product + pleasing your customer = exploitable hole, even though nobody actually *conspired* to do this even though the design goal was the opposite. Had a vendor been selected whose first concern was guaranteeing data integrity, not necessarily accommodating the end user's specific desires, the hazard could be avoided. But this only happens if the vendor's allegiance can be to someone other than the cops, like some kind of oversight board whose principal interest is in data integrity.

This way the vendor's goals are aligned with the purchaser's goals and the hazard is avoided.

Comment Re:Cop video storage is a moral hazard for Taser (Score 1) 98

But that's thing with a moral hazard -- just look at banking and securities. If you jack around the majority of your customers, it will become public and cause a shitstorm, but it doesn't make the moral hazard go away nor has it prevented all manner of moral hazards in banking from being exploited.

And not every -- or any -- potentially "lost" video is going to be tied to some high profile incident where some innocent black woman in a wheel chair took a dozen rounds of 00-buck to her face. The most likely ones will be the low profile ones nobody cares about, where some obvious drunk got manhandled after bar closing and a dozen citizen eyewitness statements back the police version of events completely.

And it's also not likely that Taser would just delete videos themselves -- that's too obvious. Rather than running a system that's totally secure from police tampering, the inclination will be to provide a "friendly" system that offers soft points where the police can prevent videos from getting uploaded at all under the guise of technical glitch or something.

Comment Re:Should they only be in the layer-2 business? (Score 1) 158

The thing is, you're *already* "having a company come in" as a carrier ISP to supply uplink for the municipal fiber. And hopefully/presumably more than one carrier is being used for redundancy. I would also guess that these carrier facility equipment rollouts aren't just some 2U Cisco router with a fiber port and an ethernet jack. Chances are there's enough uplink brought in by all the carriers that they could easily resell uplink to other 'ISPs" in the muni NOC.

I don't know what equipment the muni is using for terminating the fiber connections, but what do you want to guess it's MPLS or something which would easily have the facility to map and aggregate endpoints to some other endpoint within their NOC which would then act like a local ISP. They're probably already doing this so the water department/school/etc can have a private LAN that spans sites.

AFAIK there are still a fair number of regional/smaller ISPs serving niche markets who might be interested in opening a branch for that many fiber connected customers or who could be tasked with acting as the "caretaker" of the L2 network (getting the muni out of that headache) and for whom adding layer 3 service would be no worse than break even if they are already paid for managing the L2 network. In Minneapolis they did something similar with city-wide wifi -- the network was built and managed by an ISP. I doubt the paying wifi customers meet their costs, but the added costs of retail wifi are really low when you're being paid to manage the physical network.

Splitting off layer-2 from layer-3 would also make a ton of sense from a business incubation perspective, because if you were slightly forward thinking the the muni fiber NOC wouldn't just be a spare room in the basement of city hall, but a datacenter-like space which would have room for colo for whoever wanted to be an ISP and for local businesses looking for an offsite location.

Now you've got a big-city style datacenter facility with a large geographic fiber plant connected. It might attract a lot of other interested business looking for a well-connected smaller town to open a branch office or take advantage of lower cost of doing business. It's about the equivalent of widening the county road to the Interstate and paving your gravel streets.

Comment Re:i8 or nothing baby (Score 1) 79

I rate the Aztek as being less ugly that the PT Cruiser, plus the Aztek never made it outside the US.

Well, this implies you don't live here in the US, where you might actually encounter one of these vehicles. Just like the i3 is staggeringly uglier in person than in BMW press photos, the Aztek is fractally ugly. The more you look at it, the more new things you find to hate about it. When I saw it, I seriously thought it was a concept car that hadn't been refined yet. But no, it was a production vehicle already, in all its... glory. Every proportion just screams wrongness, like a bug wearing an Edgar suit.

Comment Re:Ignorant fucking asshole (Score 1) 136

Sure, but the charge should have been trespassing or something like that. The drone hit some seats. This isn't like having a gasoline fight at a gas station kind of reckless.

No, this was having a baseball game in a crowded park kind of reckless. You could easily wind up hitting someone with a ball (or even a bat) in that kind of environment. This drone was easily heavy enough to harm someone if it fell on them, and he clearly wasn't as in control of it as he thought he was. As well, odds are it was powered by a LiPo, which is a fire hazard. (I have LiPos, I use them, but any time they are outside of their protective storage, you should have an extinguisher ready and you should be able to access any place it might ignite...)

Comment Re:One more reason we need restrictions on drones. (Score 0) 136

Furthermore, behavior like this gives us an idea of what would happen if 'flying cars' were ever readily available.

Whether it's an excuse or not, you really have to agree with Moller (sp?) here. If you get a flying car, it really has to fly itself. A roadable airplane, not so much, but that's a whole other beast (and you can buy one already.)

Comment Re:Ignorant fucking asshole (Score 2) 136

Ah, so people who can't afford an expensive hobby should still get to do the hobby anyway, just irresponsibly?

It's a dumb argument anyway, because most people don't have a front lawn into which they can crash their aircraft. Talk about an ivory tower perspective! If they didn't have stability software, then they'd be buying a heli or a plane without stability software, and then taking it to a public park or a school (commonly the nearest open field to a person's house) for their first flight. And they could well harm someone then. Instead, people are taking their first flights with their quads at home, because you can feasibly do that. They're running a greater risk of personal injury or property damage as a result, and odds are greater that they will learn to fly without crashing into things before they go out into public.

No, the only real difference is the cost barrier is vanishing. Forget all that jazz about stability software; you can literally buy a complete hand-launched glider, all the electronics, and a charger (because you're going to want to run the electronics on a little bitty LiPo for weight reasons) for under $200. A decent radio used to cost that much but now it's only around thirty bucks for a 2.4 GHz 6ch and the programming cable from HK. You can buy a quad off the shelf for about that as well. People were careful with their big fancy RC models back in the day because they built them and tuned them and made them work, and they were expensive. Today's models are cheap. Without that barrier to entry, a whole new class of yahoo may participate.

Comment Re:Or for slightly less per month (Score 1) 79

The higher priced the car, the less they lose as a percentage.

Hahahaha nope. A 1997 Audi and a 1997 Honda both cost around three grand now, but guess which one cost more to begin with? And you take a horrible bath on the most expensive cars (the S550s, the A8s, etc) in the first three years, almost without exception.

Comment Re:i8 or nothing baby (Score 1) 79

Yep the one car that is uglier than a PT Cruiser.

You forgot the first-generation Pontiac Aztek, and arguably, the VW Thing. But the Aztek is undeniable. It looks like the bounding box for a PT Cruiser. It looks like the shipping crate for a Citroen.

I saw my first i3 recently, though, and I was stunned at just how ugly it is in person. Serious wow factor, as in, wow that is about the ugliest pile of shit I've ever seen. I think the technology is pretty nifty, but I wouldn't like to be caught dead in the same photograph as an i3.

Comment Re:Their requirements are lacking (Score 1) 49

For a road-going autonomous vehicle, "dozens of meters" is useless at any real speed.

If you can see for 100 feet, you can stop most vehicles from most non-highway speeds... if you can make snap decisions.

So, how long does it take an autonomous vehicle to decide to brake?

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.