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Comment: The best thing you can do with the Olympics ... (Score 1) 578

by mxs (#46194715) Attached to: US Cord Cutters Getting Snubbed From NBC's Olympic Coverage Online

... is not to pay any attention at all to them.

Not only are there things much more deserving of your attention at the best of times when there are no scandals around "The Olympics" (as if), to support the IOC, their choice of country, their tacit approval of human rights violations in Russia, China, and elsewhere, the clusterf*** of corruption, bribery, waste, and wanton nationalistic tendencies is simply morally wrong and stupid. I feel sorry for some of the athletes who are being used as pawns, but they chose this.

If you have too much time on your hand, there are tons and tons of things you can do with it. If you really want to simply consume content, there is tons and tons of that stuff out there in the form of music, books, movies, tv shows, youtube, etc. -- much of it really quite a lot better than "The Olympics".

The FCC is toothless anyway. No need to involve those folk in folly like this. Well, maybe they need bribes too.

Comment: Re:I would feel bad but... (Score 2) 195

by mxs (#35801918) Attached to: Third Humble Bundle Arrives, 'Frozenbyte' Edition

Out of curiosity, why do you feel that PayPal, Amazon Payments and Google Checkout are all so evil, that putting $10 into them is unthinkable, even if it means supporting charities like Child's Play, the EFF, and Indie Developers porting their games to Linux and offering source code?

Full disclaimer, I work for PayPal.

I'll talk about PayPal, not having had much experience with AP (some) and GCO (none).

Let's start with the fee structures. I can almost understand transaction fees for credit card payments given they are passed on to Visa/MC (though I am sure PP does not pay anywhere near as high transaction fees that they charge others). However, for payments from PayPal balance, the fees are atrociously high for not a lot of benefit. This is untenable if you want micropayments, and is really f'n annoying for stuff that is not "micro". When I give the recipient money, I'd like them to receive almost all of it -- possibly commensurate to the actual fees Visa/MC extract with a tiny percentage and no per-transaction fee for PayPal. Right now you're fleecing on balance-payments.

Dispute Resolution -- it takes quite a while. It may have to. Over the years PP has improved on this a bit by opting to freeze specific transactions and not entire accounts -- though this is at the whim of whoever decides something is "suspicious".
Moreover, looking at it from the perspective of a seller, if you want to keep your account, you are pretty much pressured into acquiescing on any and all disputes. PayPal, while charging a LOT of money for their services, shifts the responsibility for fraud towards the recipients of any transaction. Considering it is an eBay company, this is rather an interesting choice -- if I sell something on eBay and the buyer complains about not receiving his item or receiving a degraded version thereof, there is nothing the seller can really do to disprove this -- in the case of physical goods there may or may not be a shipping slip (but let's get real here for a minute, for private transactions the cheaper shipping options do not always provide those) which PayPal may or may not accept -- if you go "digital", there is nothing you can show. If a seller receives a dispute notice on a transaction, they can write it off right then and there. No chance in hell PayPal will eat it. Notice how this also does not give PayPal any incentive to increase account security, fraud protection, etc. You can claim that PayPal "cares" about this regardless, but why should it ?

PayPal acts like a bank, holding a balance, freezing transactions, etc -- at the same time it does everything in its power not to be regulated like a real bank in most jurisdictions. If I go to a bank in Germany to do a transaction, there is regulatory oversight with teeth in these cases. PayPal ? Fat chance.

There have been enough cases of PP freezing recipient accounts entirely; they may state a reason, but that's not worth the email it was sent in. This seems to happen when an account suddenly gets a bunch of payments from many sources. Maybe this has changed and ONLY the "suspicious" transaction are frozen now, but given history, I would not bet on it. Specifically, I would not want to use PayPal for any purpose where there is a possibility of a decent influx of transactions. I can go down to my bank's main offices and resolve issues in a matter of hours, if not minutes, should they really arise. I cannot do so at PayPal, and it can take weeks for them, dragging their feet.

Unfortunately some of the directions PP is going in are the same directions other payment/cc networks and regulatory bodies are going; as such your suggestion to use cash wherever possible is one I try to follow where possible. Businesses actually often prefer it -- the marketing blurb goes that handling real money costs more money than handling credit card or debit card payments -- this may be true if that is all you accept, ever, but if you accept cash (and who doesn't), you have those costs either way and save on the transaction fees (which are considerable especially for low volumes). In addition I actually get true anonymity. The amount of bullshit and crap spam even moderate use of eBay will yield to your inbox ... argh. I would love truly anonymous debit currencies, but realize it ain't gonna happen. Too bad, really.

Comment: Re:Good idea but... (Score 1) 392

by mxs (#35606658) Attached to: A Handy Radiation Dose Chart From XKCD

I'd rather get my advice from somebody level-headed.

As you've failed to demonstrate I;m not knowledgeable, you've failed to demonstrate I'm not level headed.

Actually, I'll let your statement stand on its own as ample demonstration. Your choice of words, ad-hominem attacks, and general inability to converse intelligently make my point for me.

Comment: Re:Good idea but... (Score 2) 392

by mxs (#35552700) Attached to: A Handy Radiation Dose Chart From XKCD

Apples and oranges. Those complaining that it's too simplified are intellectuals and nerds - exactly the audience this isn't intended for. Those complaining it's too complex are those interested in the graphic actually being useful for education and information.

Option 3 : those complaining it's too complex are beyond help from a simple chart and need to get a better basic education. A chart that has 3 settings "Panic" "Tremble" and "Pie" would not exactly help educating -- it would just be a command-chart not even giving you the option to come to your own conclusions.

Here's an idea - you're an elitist idiot. You don't want anyone educated because that means they might actually want to take part in our representative democracy. You want to hand this country over to a self appointed body empowered to make decisions for the rest of us.

You love hyperbole, don't you ...

The facts remain, in any given field there are people more qualified than yourself to give advice and implement useful solutions. Good leaders (elected representatives) recognize this and get the best advice they can, instead of only what they want to hear, or "advice" from people patently unqualified to give any on the field in question.

And yes, when it comes to a nuclear meltdown scenario, I want the elite of nuclear power research to have much more of a say in what should happen next than an incompetent moron whose suggestions would just as soon cause supercriticality as being utterly worthless. While even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes, I don't want that chance to be taken. Likewise for other fields I am not an expert in.

There is moderation in this process since the decisions get made by elected officials. If they are any good, they will heed good advice.

Piss right the hell off. I'm a citizen of this country and have every right to participate in this discussion.

First of all, you are not a citizen of Japan.

Second, you have a right to speak, but no right to be heard.

Third, if you decide to speak, and if you get the ear of somebody who can effect changes in policy, you damn well better present a coherent case. In order to do that, you need to have researched the topic at hand. A "gut feeling" based on some two-bit tabloid and a moron talking head on TV is not research. Anything else is irresponsible.

Given your statements thus far, I'm inclined to be disinterested in anything you have to say. You may be right on something, but I don't like the chances. I'd rather get my advice from somebody level-headed.

Comment: Re:Ummm (Score 1) 302

by mxs (#35534696) Attached to: Microsoft Conducts Massive Botnet Takedown Action

I mean ok, I appreciate the effort and it makes sense to go after the control machines. But if a huge number of compromised machines are still out in the wild as dormant zombies, all it takes is for someone to find out how to reactivate them and we're back to square one.

I'd be somewhat surprised if MS got /all/ the C&C hosts for this botnet. It would be surprising if they were all situated within the US, for one thing.

Maybe they did enough research to effectively cripple the botnet for now, anyway. But I would not be surprised if the botnet is doing just fine and new redundant C&Cs are being set up as we speak.

Comment: Re:Finally... (Score 2) 187

by mxs (#35534502) Attached to: Visa To Offer Person-To-Person Payments

But why? Paper checks cost the banks money to process and the banks can't wait to get rid of them (and cut down on personal...). Well, couldn't wait to get rid of them of them, they are practically non-existing and only used when doing business with US partners.

Greed. Sure they don't want to support paper checks anymore. But they want to offer "new" services for less money even less. Banks operate on the principle that nickle and diming their customers is the best foot forward, and any services offered for "free" are just to get them in the door or offer a competitive advantage they'd rather do away with were it not for the pesky morons a decade or two ago who thought free cheque processing should be something to compete on.

Comment: Re:what about privacy? (Score 1) 187

by mxs (#35534448) Attached to: Visa To Offer Person-To-Person Payments

Oh I know. That's why I prefer my PTP transactions to be me handing over (or accepting) banknotes. Unfortunately this is hard to do if you're in Michigan and you want give your pal in Ontario $12 USDs. Not a big deal really but who wants the "imperial entanglements" that go with converting USDs to CDs and paying the conversion fees, showing ID (which will be recorded), and etc.? And of course if what you're buying or selling is pr0n or something else you'd rather not disclose (or be able to be discovered) what's the alternative? Not PayPal that's for sure.

This is by design. The effective untraceability of cash has long been a "problem" for police states such as the US and most European countries. They will make sure no other form of monetary transfer developed from hereon our will ever have that same design flaw. All you need is a boogeyman (for most people, money laundering mafiosi type stories will be sufficient, for the rest use terrorists and child molesters) and suddenly you get access to a vast database of who exchanges money with whom for what when and how often. And it will most definitely not be used primarily to catch aforementioned boogeymen (which can still just deal in ... cash. Or bearer bonds. Or goods). Bonus points for slowly making people who use cash seem suspicious and giving cash an air of criminality (for 500€ notes, for instance, there are bunches of stories about how they are used by criminals).

Things like anonymity or even just simple privacy are not desired. Which is a shame -- I don't exactly want all my trading counterparts to know my physical address, or even my name. Not because of what I am doing being shady in any way, but I simply do not trust most people to use and discard, let alone protect, my data responsibly.

Comment: Re:Credit card fees (Score 1) 187

by mxs (#35534308) Attached to: Visa To Offer Person-To-Person Payments

You aren't factoring in the real costs of the service which is when the credit card companies don't get paid what is owed to them, where they end up selling the debt at a large discount to a collection agency.

Nearly 1.3 million bankruptcies were closed in 2009 alone, with only ~40,000 of them being by businesses. You can imagine that these weren't by people that owed an average of only $100. Its more like an average of $10,000+. Billion of dollars don't get paid back to credit card companies each year.

God forbid they don't extend credit to people unlikely to be able to repay it. That would be, like, like selling mortgages to people who can't afford them. That is what America is founded on !

Certainly there will be unforeseeable bankruptcies. The vast majority of them is foreseeable, however.

Comment: Re:Out of curiosity (Score 1) 586

by mxs (#35447674) Attached to: Student Sues FBI For Planting GPS Tracker

Are either of these things indicative of illegal behavior ?

Yes, that's the whole point of mentioning them...

I am of the exact opposite opinion.

Wow, yes, you are right, an honest view of the world in 2010/2011 has strong evidence that money transfers to Japanese politicians are equally likely to end up funding terrorism when compared to money transfers to the Middle East.

You left out Mexican politicians and drugs. Or Swiss bankers, really. The point is that the mere transfer of funds to a region is not indicative of illegal behavior. If you have intel on a specific person in that region and transfers going to/from him, excellent, now you might have a case. Even Japan has criminal elements -- hell, everybody and their mother even knows their name.

Other than infringing on their civil liberties and rights, sure. In that case, let's record every phone call ever made and keep it archived for a couple of years.

Oh, yes, absolutely. Because my idea (and the way the real world works) of having indicators for suspicious activity and investigating further if enough indicators are present is JUST THE SAME as fully investigating everybody all the time.

Yes, it is. Indicators, as you so eloquently call them, need to be captured. There are doubtlessly very valuable "indicators" in phone calls. We wouldn't be investigating anything other than the records that ping, and then dig into it. This is clearly for the good of the people.

You are making the case that infringing on people's civil liberties and rights is a good thing if it prevents terrorism. My point is that you are using very broad strokes fueled by xenophobia and prejudice if you do what you advocate; it's only reasonable to do the same for other groups (be they homegrown terrorists, non-islamic terrorists, etc.) Who knows whether Sweden is not facilitating the development of a new IRA !

Now an argument could be made that what they did here is reasonable. And if that argument can be made, why did they not make it to a judge and get a warrant ?

Well that is the question isn't it. Some judges have ruled, in fact, that adding a GPS tracker to the outside of the car is fine without a warrant. Does that make you feel better? Others have ruled that it's not legal. Are you worried again?

You are not getting the point. These decisions are case-by-case and with oversight by a different branch of government. You can't just stop making the case because somebody else made some other case that resulted in the same outcome you are looking for.

Notice it has nothing to do with racial profiling, Islamophobia, or whatever other red herrings you want to throw out there.

You and I value these things differently then. In my eyes, it does.

Comment: Already presented at 27C3 in Berlin in December (Score 3, Informative) 62

by mxs (#35447518) Attached to: New Attack Can Disable Phones Via SMS

The presentation from the 27th Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin last December (http://events.ccc.de/congress/2010/Fahrplan/events/4060.en.html) is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bkg3AjY6fs or http://mirror.fem-net.de/CCC/27C3/mp4-h264-HQ/27c3-4060-en-attacking_mobile_phones.mp4 .

Comment: Re:welp.... (Score 1) 220

by mxs (#35430474) Attached to: Virgin Media UK Begins Throttling P2P Traffic

To even support configurations as you suggest, with extreme per-customer configuration

Precisely my point, this should not be "extreme per-customer configuration". This should be default. And as I already said -- the configuration I am talking about on my end does not have to be supported by your tech support line. Having the option to do it yourself is what counts. Which I do. I don't expect you to troubleshoot my routing tables, tc, etc. -- in fact I'd be very surprised if anybody at all in your customer tech support line chain would have any idea how.

we'll need to double (at least) our network engineering team AND add a team of developers for good measure, to enable you to actually modify these settings.

A decent sized IP can get decent firmwares with these options quite easily from their suppliers. Take FritzBoxes for example. Or have a look at the various OpenWRT-kind of things as a base. It is not as if you have to reinvent the wheelp.

We'll also need hardware upgrades, and things that support these sort of configurations don't come cheap.

Well yeah, as said, it costs money to provide services as advertised. Mostly in the laying/lighting fibre and non-core routers.

Additionally, right now your traffic is about cut in half by the proxies, and in general it is shaped so it cannot overload our upstream lines. If a customer attempts to overload any specific line, *his* packets will be dropped. This allows an overprovision ratio of (on average) between 30 and 50 (ie. we sell 1 megabit about 40 times).

If we are to support your speeds as you "demand" it (and you seem to think are advertised, even though they're obviously not),

Uhuh. I have yet to see an ad that states the oversubscription percentage, the expected average availability of bandwidth, etc. -- or anything other than the "top speed" (with a small "up to" in front of it, which is not qualified further in any meaningful way).

A customer "attempting to overload any specific line" is a customer trying to use the speed allotted. You are basically not providing him the service he paid for. Again, this is fine if it happens once in a blue moon, it is not fine if it happens every day -- that tells the story of how your oversubscription us miscalculated and your lines underdimensioned.

it will become a more-or-less symmetric line, where traffic cannot be cached very effectively anymore (or it at the very least looses a lot of effectiveness, because it can't cache upstream traffic if you're running servers - p2p or otherwise). Additionally, if you plan to actually use this bandwidth, it becomes 40 times more expensive for us (although on symmetric lines we're seeing about 50% usage, so let's assume it becomes 20 times more expensive, but combined with the caching issues we'll be having, we're back at about 40).

I did not say you had to overprovision. It is understood that, given 1000 households, there will be a large percentage that do not use the advertised speed and traffic all the time. In fact, usage on average will be much, much lower. A marketing guy will now complain about the top 5% of these households as being bandwidth hogs and cut em off (or have techies cut em off). A few months later, there are still 5% that have unproportionately high bandwidth usage. That's the nature of the beast. The idea is not to cut those households off, the idea is to provide enough bandwidth for the usage pattern you are seeing. This will be drastically below 100% on average, but some customers can and will use the allotted bandwidth. And unless you plan to change your advertising, "unlimited" plans, and all that crap, you should provide these things. There is nothing at all wrong with not providing an unlimited data plan.

So let's add all of it together :
-> MUCH more difficult job for network engineering, obviously resulting in increased manpower

As opposed to administrating DPI and customer service calls / complaints caused by that ?

-> MUCH more difficult job, including serious software development for network operations, and I'm absolutely sure we'll need to at least double the department size for that
-> Due to the necessity of hiring an actually competent first line helpdesk, that cost will skyrocket as well

As I already said, I don't want you to support my network configuration. I want you to provide sane defaults, open standards, and a specific, well-defined product. If I shoot my routing tables with a shotgun, it's my mess to fix, not yours. You just better not drop packets delivered to you in accordance with the plan purchased.

-> 40 times as much bandwidth required in our network, both on the (cheap) upstreams and the (VERY expensive) lex interlinks

I hope this can give you a bit of perspective. A factor 25 "above market rate" is not a bad deal - at all. Sorry to say it.

We'll just have to disagree on both the numbers and the intent :) I don't fault you or your company at all for doing what they think is in their best interest. I take issue with false advertising and subverting the practice of "best effort delivery" by curtailing its potential.

We *can* provide massive connection speeds for very cheap, in quite a few datacenters. So if you run your applications on a server you put at our site, we'll gladly sell you 10 Mbit symmetric for less than $100 monthly (because we don't have support issues, you just get a flat internet pipe, all problems are yours to solve (unless you pay consultancy rate : ~ $75 per started hour))

$10/mbit is quite expensive when I am providing the servers, have no burstable, and you can likely fork off the traffic in peering. Hell, I can get 95th transit for a fraction of that, at the same commit. Looking over the big lake (and I am usually based in Europe, so I know the market a bit better here), it is quite easy to get 100mbit/s unmetered including a decent-powered server for that price; even burstable to 1gbps.

And of course, for this kind of connection we don't have to pay to AT&T for lex interlinks.

These are the deals that are available, and I hope this can clarify a bit the business position of these "evil" isps, and your options, and why they are that way.

Unfortunately I can't change these options. Nobody but AT&T can. And until the day comes that 10-20% of internet users are prepared to pay seriously more for these kinds of services, I don't see them happening.

I count AT&T as one of the evil ISPs. Well technically AT&T surpasses them in evilness quite a bit. I realize it's a LOT cheaper to get bandwidth at MAE-E/W than it is to get in a rural city due to monopolistic/oligopolistic corps that basically got a whole lot of infrastructure for free. This, however, does not absolve ISPs of wrongdoing in marketing and spending R&D on shaping, DPI, etc. instead of on infrastructure investment. I hope you also see where I am coming from on that.

Comment: Re:welp.... (Score 1) 220

by mxs (#35424998) Attached to: Virgin Media UK Begins Throttling P2P Traffic

In the US it is very simple - you, as a residential customer are buying "bursting" bandwidth, not dedicated.

Seldomly is this advertised clearly. Hell, most marketing departments try to suggest exactly the opposite.

What you can get out of bursting is, well, what you get. No guarantees at all.

Again, marketing suggests otherwise. The fine print does not, you are correct.

The second problem in the US is very simple. For both DSL and cable there is a "node" to which your home connection is connected. The uplink from the node to the rest of the Internet

Well, usually the rest of the provider's core network, or regional core if they are bigger.

has a limited bandwidth and everyone connected to that node gets to share. When they advertise a 2Mb/sec connection from the home to the node and have 1000 homes connected to a single node (common with cable, less common with DSL) it is physically impossible to give everyone 2Mb/sec when the node connection to the rest of the Internet can only handle 500Mb/sec.

Correct again. And this is where proper capacity planning comes in. If you do your job right, customers will never notice this oversubscription (but for in very exceptional cases like a world-wide news event that everybody and their mother tries to stream). The ISP does not need to provide 2gbit/s from this hypothetical node (and my gut says 0.5gbit/s should be within the realm of being ok for current usage, maybe even overdimensioned -- but this depends on data I don't have). As a provider you now have the choice -- either anticipate consumption on this, let's call it circuit, circuit, or defraud the customer by not fulfilling their advertising promises. If this connection to the core is at capacity for some reason, it's ok -- if that is the exception, and not what happens every single night. If you do your statistical analysis well, this will happen rarely (basically only if customer usage patterns change due to a new killer app you did not anticipate).

There is no reason to assume that 100% of your customers are going to use 100% of their allotted bandwidth 100% of the time.

What we are experiencing in the US is increasing the node-to-home link speed to, say 20Mb/sec but still having the same bandwidth connection from the node. It works great until everyone is trying to use IPTV services and then it fails. Miserably.

Correct. And this is a dire failure in network and capacity planning. Does not take rocket science, at all.

Really, really good operators would try to anticipate these usage patterns and work on solutions -- we have had multicast technology for ages, but it has only very recently seen increased usage for TV delivery, and then only in the local network of the provider. No technical reasons this has to only be in-network. And if Akamai can build effective caches and delivery mechanisms for thousands of networks, so should a decent ISP. Of course that would require some foresight and balls. For instance, BitTorrent does support provider-run reflectors which could easily cut the external bandwidth usage by a ton -- but then the provider would have to have the balls to actually do their job and defend its right to run cache servers, not just bow to the MPAA/RIAA/etc. -- like they have in the past for Usenet. Off the top of my head, I could not name a US national provider I would recommend people trust enough to enable BitTorrent reflector support in in their clients .

Comment: Re:Is this a joke? (Score 2) 258

by mxs (#35424656) Attached to: Wikipedia Moves To Delete the Free Speech Flag

This can't be for serious. They're deleting an image that represents free speech because it violates copyright law?

Am I missing something or is this really as stupid as it sounds?

This is on par with that whole debacle of 1984 getting remotely recalled from kindle's.

It's an excellent expression of art. I'd go so far as to say that the intent of the author was for precisely this to happen. The key is meaningless, the flag is meaningless, the fact that it's being taken down is a very powerful message and comment on where free speech is at.

Comment: Re:5 fucking color stripes in a square. (Score 2) 258

by mxs (#35424572) Attached to: Wikipedia Moves To Delete the Free Speech Flag

That is where it started. It has since gotten out of hand. Plenty (and I mean PLENTY) of good, useful, encyclopedic articles have been deleted. Most by people who have no idea what the fuck the articles were even about. Find something in the "community" rules (=cabal rules) to hang the article with and do it. It's a sport to them.

I have stopped contributing to Wikipedia for this and some other reasons (among which the senseless timewasting in "discussion" pages with sockpuppetry, cabal-mentality, and inane stuttering about bullshit left and right). And I wasn't working on the latest Pokemon monster traits, either. Wikipedia has a real problem in the system. It is not likely to get fixed either -- many people who could and would contribute excellently don't -- because they don't have the time to deal with nitwits starting senseless revert wars, inane discussions that lack understanding of the basic concept the article itself is about, etc.

You are right, there are other wikis out there, other ways to share your information, other ways to share your knowledge, other ways to make your field of expertise accessible to people. I still think it's a damn shame that Wikipedia can't be that place even for its stated purpose. At least it serves as an example of what to avoid in the future.

"If I do not want others to quote me, I do not speak." -- Phil Wayne

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