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Comment: Cable customers shafted by state government. (Score 2) 90

by packrat0x (#46609939) Attached to: Charter Challenges Comcast/Time Warner Merger

"Time Warner Cable operates in 29 states, but thanks to the old system of regional and municipal cable monopolies, Comcast and Time Warner Cable don't compete anywhere."

This is your state government(s) shafting you. The states created laws which allow cable monopolies. Local governments collect a franchise fee on the gross revenue of the cable companies operating within their boundaries. In the eyes of local government, less competition means higher prices which means more tax revenue (without voter feedback). Local government passively discourages competition through regulations, filings, public meetings, disclosures, insurance requirements, etc. Some local (and state) governments *actively* discourage competition.

Comment: Re:I am torn! (Score 1) 455

by packrat0x (#46604965) Attached to: Wal-Mart Sues Visa For $5 Billion For Rigging Card Swipe Fees

refuse to accept it unless security is improved

Who would decide the point at which security had sufficiently improved, though? The chip-and-PIN system used in the civilized parts of the world is, of course, much better than magnetic swipe, and *should* become prevalent here in the states. Unfortunately, it would cost billions to upgrade the US's entire infrastructure to support it, and I honestly don't see anyone picking up the tab for any part of such an upgrade any time soon.

The chip-and-PIN system is used by processors to transfer fraud liability from the merchant to the user. EMV was written by committee, and it fails to provide the security it touts. Also, it is not a positive endorsement when "the civilized parts of the world" have a card system forced upon them by their governments.

Comment: Re: How is Norway going to know? (Score 1) 245

by packrat0x (#45705953) Attached to: Norway Rejects Bitcoin As Currency; Taxes As Asset, Instead

To follow up, and make the point even more explicitly, the same logic holds for foreign currency. if I hold Euros for more than a year and the Euro gets strong, I have to pay cap gains on that profit.

Wait, how does Norway tax foreign currency now? Does Norway treat other foreign currencies as normal income / loss? Were they NOT taxing foreign currency gain at all?

Comment: Avoiding bad outcomes (Score 1) 210

by packrat0x (#44100219) Attached to: Patents Vs Innovation - the Tabarrok Curve

One one end of the spectrum is no patents or copyrights. All innovation is either public domain or trade secrets. With trade secrets, people still innovate, but they keep as much knowledge as possible away from the minds of others. This deprives citizens of shared knowledge. The other end of the spectrum is longer terms for patents and copyrights. As the terms lengthen (beyond a generation, beyond life expectancy) this too deprives citizens of shared knowledge.

Comment: Why septic is better (Score 1) 93

by packrat0x (#43526341) Attached to: Viruses From Sewage Contaminate Deep Well Water

Sewer systems are complicated. They have to deal with non-fluid debris besides the effluent. Drinking water is much easier to pipe. The sewer pipes only transfer 70%-90% of the effluent to the treatment plant. What leaks out is full of human pathogens. Possibly animal and plant pathogens depending on what gets sent "down the drain". If we have the available soil at a location, we should use a septic system. The septic tank traps debris and kills pathogens. The septic field returns nutrients to the soil. We should install city sewer only where we cannot use septic systems. Alternatively, perhaps someone can invent a modified septic tank to be installed "upstream" of the city sewer connection.

Comment: Re:Not as black and white as people think (Score 1) 133

by packrat0x (#43319713) Attached to: Is Eccentric Sven Olaf Kamphius To Blame For Spamhaus DDoS?

Have you ever watched a professional thief (or run of the mill locksmith) pick a deadbolt lock? It's so quick it might as well not matter. Yea we should stop using locks too.

Most locks are for privacy, not security. If you want security, use steel reinforced concrete and armed guards.

Comment: Re:Dude, you're getting a Dell! (Score 1) 70

by packrat0x (#43275675) Attached to: Dell Confirms and Details Rival Bids From Blackstone and Icahn

Unfortunately, these "going private" deals usually end with an IPO 2-3 years later. Same old compay with extra debt! The refinancing will make no difference to Dell, since "providing useful products and services at a profit" is what management should be concentrating on.

1) Use other people's money to buy up company
2) Pay self fees for being the Buyout fixer (Profit $$$)
3) Wait 2-3 years
4) Perform IPO
5) Pay self fees for being the IPO fixer (Profit $$$)
6) Sell new shares (Profit $$$)

Comment: Re:Not putting in DRM isn't going to eliminate DRM (Score 1) 351

by packrat0x (#43237749) Attached to: Defend the Open Web: Keep DRM Out of W3C Standards

(OK, the copyright changes in the US are quite predictable: Just look when Mickey Mouse copyright would end, then the copyright period will be extended)?

Actually, "Steamboat Willie" and "Plane Crazy" are what is copyrighted. Mickey Mouse is trademarked.
And "Steamboat Willie" was inspired by "Steamboat Bill Jr." which was named after the Arthur Collins song, "Steamboat Bill".

Comment: Re:The worst thing (Score 1) 284

by packrat0x (#43222457) Attached to: Schneier: Security Awareness Training 'a Waste of Time'

You need both methods.

2 out of 3 companies I worked for had a whitelisted set of tools you were allowed to install. It never contained either a the full set of tools you needed to do your work, nor the newest versions. So you were completly left in the dark if you were allowed to accept this auto-update or not.

This is the setup for employees who do not handle files from the outside world and only need internal networks.

The third company went along the lines of: We've hired expert developers, they all grew up with PC, have their own machines at home - who if not them should be trusted to know what tools they need and to discern usefull tools from BonzoBuddies.

This is the setup for employees who regularly work with outside files.

Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious animal on earth.

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